Alumni Gathering – Darwin 2013

The Annual gathering of the Australian Alumni Association was held at Darwin, NT. from Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th August, 2013. . The convenors of the function were Mahiban Thomas & his wife Sujatha (batch 81). The meeting was well attended with over 60 Alumni from Australia, India, Malaysia, USA and the UK. Dr. Sunil Chandy, the Director of CMC and three professorial staff from Vellore also participated.

As few of the international visitors and alumni arrived a day ahead, Mahiban and Sujatha generously hosted a dinner for them at their home on Wednesday night. Sunil Chandy and his wife Gigi along with about 20 others attended the function. It was a great way to kick off the events to follow over the coming days.

On Thursday 15th evening, there was a welcome cocktail party which was held at the Mindil Beach. There was a great turnout; a secured area was cordoned off, permitting an island of peaceful quietness for social interaction amidst the beautiful sunset and the bustle of the fantastic market.  Every one who attended had an enjoyable time, especially tasting the exotic fare from the international food stalls.

Scientific sessions took place on Friday and Saturday. The sessions were held in the magnificent venue of the Darwin Convention Centre. The meeting was supported financially by the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre of Australia (NCCTRC). Our special thanks to Dr Len Notaras, the Chief Executive Officer.

The theme of the meeting was ?Trauma? – several Alumni spoke on various aspects of trauma that were within their areas of expertise. We had the privilege of having 4 guest speakers from CMC Vellore –  Professors Roy Gnanamuthu (Thoracic Surgery), Thilak Jepagnanam (Orthopaedics, Lead Clinician for Trauma in Vellore), and VTK Titus (Orthopaedics, Humanitarian Aid) along with Prof. Sunil Chandy, the Director of CMC. Speakers also included surgeons from the Royal Darwin Hospital, members of the Emergency Department, and the local Retrieval Service, along with the Chief Medical Officer of the Indian Ocean Territories. The key note speaker was Dr Chris Giannou, recently retired Chief Surgeon of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, who gave the opening and closing talks which were very informative and entertaining. The quality of the presentations was of very high standard at par with high calibre international medical conferences we have attended in the past.

On Friday night the delegates enjoyed a Cruise Dinner on the Darwin harbour. It was a beautiful night and gave the opportunity for social interaction while enjoying the delicious finger foods and ample supply of drinks. Group photos of alumni were captured for the posterity; it was delightful to note that there were many alumni from 50?s and 60s batches being present.

The Australian Board of the Friends of Vellore held their AGM to coincide with the Alumni gathering. The meeting took place on the Saturday 17th afternoon. This gave opportunity for some of the alumni to take part in the proceedings of the Board. Mahiban was very proactive in inviting a few Christian friends from Darwin to the Board meeting. It was envisaged that this group will be the nucleus around which a branch of the FOV would be established in Northern Territory.

On Saturday night there was a gala dinner at the Crocodylus Park. Following the welcome champagne, we were treated with life animal interaction and viewing of crocodile feeding. It was an exciting experience for many of the guests. We had a lovely dinner under the stars while being entertained by a lively band and by our very own Benjy D?Souza. Sunil Chandy spoke at length about his vision for CMC during this dinner, and it was well received by the alumni as well as the invited guests.

On Sunday morning, the worship service was conducted by the local Baptist minister. It was followed by the Annual General Body Meeting. Nitin verma relinquished his position as the president and a new executive committee was unanimously elected. The new office bearers are:

President:       Vineet Nayyar

Secretary:      Benjy D?Souza

Treasurer:      Mahiban Thomas

Following the AGM, most of the delegates dispersed  off, but a few stayed behind to enjoy the ?Time to Share? ? reminiscing our time at CMC, recollecting many amusing  incidents from our college days through the 50?s to the 90?s.

It was sad to leave after three days of fun and frolic and enjoying the company of our fellow alumni. But we are looking forward to meet again, God willing, in Brisbane, next year.

Words can?t express enough our gratitude to Mahiban and Sujatha for making it all possible. We appreciate that lots of thoughts, many hours of preparation and hard work has gone into making it an unforgettable occasion. We will carry the memories of the great time we had in Darwin for a long time to come.


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