Graham de Vahl Davis has passed away

December 24, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Graham de Vahl Davis, a former leader of the New South Wales Jewish community, passed away this morning at the age of 88.

Professor Graham de Vahl David AM

Between 1985 and 1959 Graham de Vahl Davis in accepting the presidency of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, a role occupied by his father Gerald between 1955 and 1957.

Current president Lesli Berger told J-Wire: “Graham De Vahl Davies was a stalwart of our community and a distinguished President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. He came to national prominence when he confronted Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze about the plight of Soviet Jewry, and that episode was typical of his forthright yet principled approach to leadership.

He made an invaluable lifelong contribution to enriching and strengthening our community and he will be deeply missed. We extend our condolences to Bettina Cass and all the members of his family.”

Graham de Vah Davis was an Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales. He wrote of himself: “Computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer were my principal topics of interest since the mid-1960s. I was involved in the introduction of CFD to Australia, and I developed the largest and best known CFD research group in the country.  I worked to a large extent on problems in which the flow is wholly buoyancy-driven, or in which buoyancy causes a significant modification to a forced flow. Such problems occur over a wide spectrum of applications.

A technique known as the method of the false transient, enables steady solutions (when they exist), to be obtained in computer times which are one to two orders of magnitude smaller than before; in addition, the method possesses accuracy, stability and convergence characteristics as good as, or better than, earlier methods. As a result, it is now practicable in many situations to compute solutions to the full three-dimensional equations. The method is widely recognised internationally. It has been applied to a range of problems of two and three-dimensional natural convection in rectangular, cylindrical and annular enclosures.”

The Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord expressed his deep condolences to his family and to his partner, Professor Bettina Cass.

He wrote this tribute: “I grew to deeply respect Prof de Vahl Davis from my days as a journalist at the Australian Jewish News in the late-1980s when he was president and immediate past president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Behind his deep and broadcast-quality voice, there was a warm and gentle human being who took time out to listen and chat,” Mr Secord said.

Prof De Vahl Davis could flow easily and effortlessly across a range of topics. This included his field as an international expert on computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer; to the Shoah, Soviet Jewry and antisemitism to his knowledge of contemporary theatre.

While I wrote articles for the Australian Jewish News during his tenure on serious topics including Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry; Nazi war criminals in Australia and rise of right-wing groups in Sydney, my favourite encounter was when I was researching a story about an alleged ghost rabbi in Western Australia who shared his surname.

While Prof de Vahl Davis said he ‘did not believe in ghosts for a minute’, he was pleasantly surprised that there claims that his ancestor, Abraham De Vahl Davis, a Broome pearl trader who had died in a maritime disaster was supposedly haunting the home of an Anglican Bishop in Western Australia.

He played along and recanted with pride his family history and the legend of the so-called cursed ‘Roseate pearl’.

Prof de Vahl Davis was quite amused by the whole thing and even posed for a photograph with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

By most importantly, Prof De Vahl Davis was a true intellectual with a dry wit who lead the NSW Jewish community with distinction and honour.

His passing is a profound and deep loss to the Jewish and non-Jewish communities and I extend my deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Graham de Vahl’s late wife was Vivianne de Vahl Davis. He is survived by his partner Professor Bettina Cass, his children Dr Shelley (Rochelle) Alexander and  grandchildren are Joel Alexander, Rob Alexander, Shoshana Bookey, Sruli Bookey and Gershon Bookey. He has three great-granddaughters. 

Professor Gerald de Vahl Davis AM

Born May 11. 1931, Sydney

Died December 24, 2019, Sydney

Comments

3 Responses to “Graham de Vahl Davis has passed away”
  1. Riaz ul haque Niaz says:

    Dr davis has been a very good man and I had known him since 1963 until 1967 for my post graduate degree.he was a very good teacher and was a very good man. I was very impressed by his ability to teach me in the research work leading to M.S.in Mechanical engineering.i was
    Sorry to hear that he expired and my deepest thoughts and prayers for him. I offer my best wishes for the family. May God rest his soul in peace and give his family peace in life and to bear this loss .

  2. Riaz ul haque Niaz says:

    I was a student of Dr davis fromand I was very sorry to hear about the death of Dr Davis
    He was a very good man and I offer my deepest sympathy for his family.
    I pray for his sole to rest in peace.

  3. Anne Sarzin says:

    I got to know Graham while we both served on the Council of Sydney University’s Mandelbaum House. He was a true gentleman, kind and courteous. His erudition and humanity were great assets and he made invaluable contributions to Mandelbaum Council discussions and projects. May his memory be a blessing in the lives of his family and in the lives of all who knew and loved him. I wish Bettina and the family long life.

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