For many law students at The Australian National University (ANU), Beverley (Bev) Joyce King provided more than just administrative services; she was a source of warmth, familiarity and reassurance.
Bev worked for 25 years at the ANU Law front office, ensuring students were equipped with all the printed materials – from course outlines to voluminous readings – needed to succeed in their studies. She died on 19 December 2019 in Canberra. She was 77.
Born in Hay, New South Wales, Bev joined ANU in 1974 when the then-Faculty of Law, established just 14 years earlier, was under the deanship of Emeritus Professor Leslie Zines AO.
“Her first job (at ANU) was as a tea lady. It wasn’t long before she was offered her office job at the Faculty of Law,” Mick King said of his late wife, affectionately known as “BJ”.
Nowadays, students can download most course materials with the click of a mouse.
But it was a different story in the pre-digital age, when students collected their “reading bricks” in-person (and often with a smile and chat) from Bev at the faculty’s front office.
“Bev was always friendly and approachable. She knew most of the students by name, and would point them out to me any time she saw them on TV,” added Mick.
“It wasn’t unusual to hear her using the (paper) guillotine and stapler at home, even at 2am. She was dedicated to making sure nobody missed out on their study notes.
“She was a person who loved life. The students presented her with a beautiful silver plaque when she retired. It was really lovely.”
Emerita Professor Fiona Wheeler FAAL said Bev helped “personalise the law school experience” for countless students.
“She had a friendly presence that was constant and reassuring. Your day was always brighter for having seen her,” she said.
“You knew you could walk into the Law School and someone knew you by name and was keen to help you out.”
In addition to her bond with students, Bev formed a “deep connection” with colleagues throughout her 25 years at the University, according to Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO, FAAL.
“Bev had all the best traits that we associate with a country person; she was a cheerful, laid-back person who couldn’t go out of her way more to help one,” he said.
“She helped set the tone for us at the Law School that continues today.”
Bev’s funeral service was held in Canberra on 6 January 2020. She is survived by her husband Mick, their four children and six grandchildren. Our thoughts are with Bev’s friends and family.