Over the years at Murdoch University Peter’s duties covered a full range of academic activities (research, teaching and administration) but his real interests lay in research, mostly concerning Metallurgy. But he also had a major involvement in the teaching of chemistry, chemical laboratory techniques and thermodynamics, including Molecular Structure and Synthesis of trace elements in biological systems. By 2003 he had overseen 9 students who obtained their PhD and 13 who passed their Honours degrees.
He gave lecture courses at Universities overseas during his Outside Studies Programs; one of these was at the Montanuniversitat Leoben, Austria, a world-renowned centre of excellence in mining and metallurgy and other lectures at the Universities of Messina and Palermo in Italy. His Sabbaticals were spent at universities in Sweden, Italy, and France with many shorter visits to other European and American universities. He also worked on research in collaboration with Kevin Murray of South Africa, Prof. Glenn Hefter at Murdoch and numerous others such as Prof. V. Papangelakis in Toronto. He was elected to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Commission on Equilibrium Data and on Solubility and often acted as referee on many manuscripts submitted to a number of prestigious Scientific Publications as well as acting as an external examiner for Ph.D. candidates from Australian universities. He was successful in attracting significant external research funds for a number of his projects.
When they arrived in Perth. Australia towards the end of 1985 Peter and Heather enquired about the best or most suitable schools for the boys and were advised that Mount Pleasant Junior and Applecross Senior were both good. So after looking at houses in Rossmoyne and other suburbs they settled on an older house, 44 Ogilvie Road, in Mount Pleasant which provided convenient access to both schools and was not too far from MurdochUniversity.
Following on our touring around Europe in 1986, we headed to Perth after a short stopover in Sydney where we met up with my niece, Terry Freemantle. We stayed with Peter and Heather for a week or so, took a quick trip south to Albany to see the type of countryside en route and then returned to South Africa for two years. Peter spent Christmas and New year with us in Somerset West in 1987/8 and we emigrated to Australia in June 1989, moving in with Peter, Heather and the two boys at No:44 until they left for six months in France. The plan was that while they were away the builders would complete the new house at No: 46, which was promised for the end of the year. However, it was not delivered until the following June so we all had to remain in the old house after the family returned from France. They moved into 46 from June until it was sold in October and we also arranged to sell and rent back No: 44 for us. Our possessions were shipped on the ‘George Lynos’ departing 5/3 and arriving in Fremantle on about 22/3. Finally, in 1991 the plans were passed for the development of the three houses on No. 21, and the bulldozers moved in on 3rd. July, but because of the approximately 6 month delay once again for completion and hand-over, it was not until 30th December 1992 that we sold the Federation double story house on the street front. As Phillip was retired and our income only from interest on shares, we had difficulty obtaining a bond for the single storey house in the middle, but Peter very kindly assisted us over this by increasing his property bond until we eventually completed repayment to close our debt in 2003. It was not easy coping with the building of the four houses because we were unfamiliar with the local regulations and customs, many of which were very different from our previous experience and the long delay by the builders added to the complications regarding financing the development. However, at the end of the whole project, by selling three houses and retaining the two we all wanted, both Peter and Heather and we were able to procure homes to our liking in a particularly nice, quiet and crime-free area. So we count our blessings because immigration is never easy at any age.
Peter and Heather May’s children were:
Born 9.10.1976 Crail, Scotland