By Graeme Rainbow, College Archivist

I happened to catch up with Greg Lowe at the recent Old Scholars match between Saints and Hutchins. During the course of the conversation I learned that his father was turning 80 the following day. It made me aware that OVAtions had not carried a story on Doug Lowe. Doug was inducted onto the St Virgil’s College Heritage Roll in 2007 – the first edition of OVAtions was September 2017.  The stories of inductees prior to 2017 have not be adequately told.

I contacted Doug to get his ‘go-ahead’ to include his story in this edition. This was received and came with the following comments:

"St Virgil’s is why I am who I am – I was blessed with some wonderful teachers, some great classmates and school friends, many of whom I have continued to come in contact with in a variety of places and circumstances".

"I remember vividly the night of my induction and I regard my medal it as one of my most treasured possessions".

Doug also noted that his greatest achievement was his life partnership with his wife Pam and their provision of a safe, secure and loving environment for their children to grow to become adults of whom they  are very proud for what they have achieved and the families they are now growing with their partners.

DOUG LOWE  AM  (SVC 1950 – 1959)

Inducted onto the St Virgil’s Heritage Roll of Honour, 2007

Born, May 15 1942                          

Married Pam (Grant), 1963

Doug & Pam have four children  – Debbie, Greg, Joanne and Michael. (Both Greg and Michael attended St Virgil’s.)


  • Completed an apprenticeship in Electrical Fitting at the  EZ Company, Risdon, 1960-65
  • Australian Labour Party State Secretary, 1965-69
  • Member of the House of Assembly, 1969-86
  • Minister of the Crown, 1972-81

Ministerial Portfolios held:

  • Housing
  • Chief Secretary (Incl. Museums, Galleries & Libraries)
  • Local Government & Consumer Affairs
  • Environment & Planning
  • State Planning & Development
  • Industrial Relations
  • Health
  • Energy
  • Treasurer & Finance
  • Deputy Premier of Tasmania, 1975-77
  • Premier of Tasmania, 1977-81 (Australia’s youngest Premier at 35)
  • Member of the Legislative Council, 1986-92
  • Deputy Leader of Government in the Legislative Council, 1989-92
  • Chief Executive Officer of Tasmania Branch of AMA, 1992-2004
  • Chairperson of Premier’s Physical Activity Council, 2004-07


  • AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honours List   

          For services to the community of Tasmania, particularly in the area of social welfare, the development of health policy and to the Tasmania Parliament.

  • Centenary Medal recipient

          This medal was established in 2001 to commemorate the centenary of the Federation of Australia and to honour people who have made a significant contribution to Australian society or government.

  • Australian Sports Medal.

          This medal was established in 2000 to honour people who had made a significant contribution to the development and advancement of particular sports (in this case Swimming) at the State and/or National level.


  • As Housing Minister, introduced reforms in Tasmanian public housing subdivision including placing all power and telephone lines underground by integrating services, together with the preservation of foreshore and special reserves to provide greater community recreational amenity.
  • In what became a most significant event in reconciliation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, in 1974, ordered the removal of the remains of revered elder Truganini from the storeroom of the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, to be respectfully stored and documented and, in partnership with the representatives and friends of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre cremated her remains and two days later, 8th May, 1976, scattered her ashes in D’Entrecasteaux Channel adjacent to her homeland Bruny Island this was exactly 100 years after her death at the age of 73 years. (Truganini’s skeleton was exhumed from the grounds of the Cascades Female Factory soon after her death and displayed for decades at the entrance to the Tasmanian Museum).
  • In 1978, introduced Hansard Parliamentary Recording Service to both the Tasmanian House of Assembly and the Legislative Council for the first time since the inception of responsible Government in Tasmania in 1856.  The system introduced was the most modern word recording system for keeping and maintaining a verbatim record of business in both houses of Parliament.
  • From 1978 until 1981, was at the heart of the “Dams Debate” in the Parliament and the Tasmanian community.  In 1980, Government accepted a package of decisions which resulted in the conservation of the Franklin and Lower Gordon rivers and the establishment of the South West Wild Rivers National Park, later to become known as the South West World Heritage Area which in 1982 was officially listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  These events are detailed in “The Price of Power” published in 1984 by Macmillan Australia.

Doug has been and continues to be active in a number of Community, Catholic Education and Sporting organisations.

  • Life Member of the Lady Clark Geriatric Association
  • Life Member of Tasmanian Swimming Incorporated.
  • Doug is also a Senator in Australian Jaycees.

An Outstanding Old Virgilian

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