Andrew Michelmore’s path from his days at Melbourne Grammar to receiving an Order of Australia in 2018 has been anything but traditional.
Early on in his career, Andrew realised he had a desire to look beyond the “approved path”.
“I graduated as a chemical engineer and expected to work in that industry my whole life,” Andrew explains. “But I soon realised I wanted to do a broader range of things beyond operations. I ended up moving into the mining industry looking at left-field technologies, and I started running an advanced ceramics start-up business.”
Before long Andrew was at the helm of a much larger business based in Arnhem Land, working to restore that company’s relationship with the local Indigenous community. “I spent a lot of time listening to the concerns of the local elders and realised that some of the things we thought were valuable didn’t align with their priorities at all,” he explains. “It was a fantastic experience to learn to stand in the shoes of people on the other side of the discussion and see things from a totally different perspective. I’ve used that working here, in China and in Russia. It’s always about that willingness to find a win-win solution.”
Since then, Andrew has held senior roles in an array of major international enterprises including Chairman of the Mineral Council of Australia and the International Council on Mining and Metals. He is also Chair of three not-for-profit organisations.
A Rhodes Scholar, Andrew has a number of significant sporting achievements to his credit including winning a gold medal for Australia in the 1974 World Rowing Championships.
Reflecting on his success, Andrew points back to one of the first opportunities he was given.
“I was a scrawny runt from Templestowe when I first came to Wadhurst,” Andrew says. “I think those who marked my entrance exams took a punt on me. I look back and realise that if I hadn’t gone to Melbourne Grammar I wouldn’t have started rowing, studied chemical engineering, gone overseas, received a Rhodes Scholarship or worked at the companies I have.”
From 2018, the Michelmore Family Scholarship will be awarded for the first time to support a student who is academically gifted in Mathematics and/or Science and would not otherwise be able to attend the School.
“I’ve done well through other people’s benevolence,” Andrew says of the decision to establish the scholarship, together with his mother Mrs Margaret Michelmore.
“Looking at Melbourne Grammar School’s facilities, you realise that other people have made the opportunities you have possible, and that you can help other people have those same opportunities.”