Alumni Then and Now: Tim Overall, BEc ‘69

I felt a little isolated but philosophical about it and prepared to accept the challenge.

In 1966, TIM OVERALL, BEc '69 started an economics degree. In 1966, Tim Overall's number was also called, as his story in the new edition of ANU Reporter explains.

It was the call for military service for the Vietnam War. He received a letter at his family home in Canberra.

"My first reaction was to ring all my friends to see if they'd received a letter. None of them had," he says.

"In that sense, I felt a little isolated but philosophical about it and prepared to accept the challenge."

The family had a military background. Overall's father had served in the Second World War and an older brother was in the regular army, so the family's reaction was that it was 'the call of duty'.

Besides, when you were conscripted for Vietnam, there was a clause to let you finish your university degree first.

The time of Overall's enrolment in the 1960s was also a time of protest against the war in Canberra and across Australia.

"I remember [US] President Lyndon Johnson visiting the city. I wasn't participating in the protest but I was caught up in the crowd of thousands on Northbourne Avenue," he recalls.

"It was difficult at times because I was challenged by friends and people I was at university with as to what I was going to do. Was I going to join protests? Or was I going to comply with military service?

"I complied and a minority of my friends and associates found that difficult to accept and I lost one or two friendships. Equally, I gained the respect of other close friends."

Despite this, Overall continued to strive to be a model student.

"I was determined to graduate at ANU in the shortest possible time. So I really just focused on achieving academically, which didn't come easy for me," he says.

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