Full Name: Ronald George Barden
Original Appointment at Monash: Chair in Fluid Mechanics
Date of Application: September 1962
Date of Commencement: 1 January 1963
Date of Retirement: 1974
After attending Medway Technical College in Kent, Ronald Barden went on to complete at Bachelor of Science with Honours at Battersea Polytechnic in London. Between the years 1939 and 1944 Barden worked as an apprentice at HM Docklands in Kent, and was promoted to Draftsman. In 1947 he became a Technical Assistant at J & E Hall in Dartford, before moving to a teaching position at Battersea Polytechnic in 1948.
In 1949 Barden moved to Australia and took up a lectureship at the University of Technology in Sydney. Three years later he once again relocated, this time to the University of Adelaide where he spent six years as a Senior Lecturer of Applied Thermodynamics. In 1958 Barden was promoted to Reader. In 1959, as well as teaching, he also started pursuing consulting activity in response to the rapid development of industry in South Australia and the high demand for consulting engineers.
Barden applied for the position of Chair in Fluid Mechanics at Monash University in 1962. In September he was invited to an interview at Monash, and instructed to ‘book a tourist 1st class air passage through Cooks’ and charge it to Monash’. The interview a success, Barden was offered the position five days later. Barden’s relocation expenses and temporary housing in Melbourne were covered by Monash as he and his family moved from South Australia to Victoria. The Barden family – Ron, his wife Betty Anne and their two daughters Annette and Penelope – travelled from their home in Linden Park to their new home in Camberwell by car, covering a distance of 779 miles.
On 3 October 1962 a press release was issued by Monash stating that Dr Ronald G Barden had been appointed Foundation Chair to the Faculty of Engineering in the field of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics.
Barden worked in the Department of Mechanical Engineering for a period of eleven years. While the Dean Ken Hunt was on study leave in 1966–67 and again 1971–72, Barden held the position of Acting Dean. During his time at Monash Barden continued, with permission, to engage in some private consulting. He also spent a period of time on study leave – from December 1968 until January 1970 – returning to the UK where he spent eight months at the Institute of Sound and Vibration at the University of Southampton.
On 30 April 1974 Barden wrote to the Academic Registrar of Monash advising of his intention to resign and enter into private practice.
I hold the past eleven years or so here at Monash as a most pleasurable and satisfying part of my life. I feel that not many have been so fortunate as I have in having the opportunity of participating in a new venture and being personally rewarded in a most significant way as the whole complex evolved. It has also been a wonderful experience to have worked so closely with many dedicated staff – academic, administrative and ancillary, who have collaborated so well together as a team to achieve the aim of creating a scholastic centre of high standing.