Dr Maurice Balson, known as Morry, has died aged 94.
Morry was at Melbourne High from 1943 to 1946 and was one of the most outstanding students of his time. While excellent academically he was better known as a great all-round sportsman and athlete. His record at the school is amazing: he was in the school cricket, football, baseball, tennis and athletic teams. He was Captain of 1st XVIII, Baseball champion and winner of the open cross country. In addition he was Captain of Como and a Prefect.
After doing a Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne, Morry then did his Dip Ed. He then taught in secondary schools, Camperdown High from 1953-56, Williamstown High 1957-58 and then joined the Psychology Branch of the Education Department. He also undertook a Bachelor of Education, in those days a substantial degree. He went to the University of California, at Los Angeles where he completed a Doctorate in Education in the field of educational psychology. On return he was appointed to the Toorak Teacher’s College where he lectured in educational psychology and then was appointed to the Secondary Teachers College at the University of Melbourne.
In 1964, Professor Selby Smith appointed Morry to the newly established Education Faculty at Monash University. He was a foundation staff member of what was to become a notable faculty, Morry taught educational psychology and proved a valuable member of staff taking on various duties, including supervision of higher degree students. He developed a special expertise in Adlerian psychology. He became an Associate Professor of Education in 1975.
In a long career with Monash he proved an outstanding member of staff and was popular with students and staff. A sociable person he was famous for his cocktails on Melbourne Cup Day and for wonderful champagne parties (in the days before .05 awareness) .
He wrote a number of books as well as journal publications. Becoming Better Parents, was one book which the Age listed as one of the top ten books of its time, he also wrote Understanding Classroom Behaviour which had similar success. He was much sought after to talk to schools, parents groups and kindergartens. In the 1980s he opened a Parent-Teacher Education Centre which he operated from Monash. It was a spectacular success. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch gave $50,000 and in its first year 120 seminars were held. Sadly the centre did not survive Morry’s retirement in 1994. This brought to an end a most distinguished career of a much respected academic.
His wife Dawn and a daughter Deborah had predeceased him, and he is survived by son Ian , daughter Alison, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. His brother Kevin Balson MHS 1939 was a well-known Inspector of Schools.
Dr Alan Gregory AM School historian