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Rodney Rookwood spent his early life in railway camps in North Queensland, where is father worked as a bridge carpenter. Rod learnt, at an early age, the lessons of the bush; to be self reliant, innovative, dependable and the ability to work with others.

Rod started his working life at the North Queensland engineering company of NQEA, in 1964 where he started as a design draftsman. This is where his brilliance shone, taking part in many of the engineering projects undertaken by that company.

Although his design ability will live on in the items he created, he will best be remembered for his contribution to the development of other people. Advice and help was always forthcoming for those in need of his assistance whether it be theoretical, practical, mechanical or personal. Those who were customers of the company found him to be an invaluable technical resource for all things engineering.

Rod had almost completed his Degree in Engineering externally, and it is in the area of advice and encouragement to fellow students that he will be especially remembered. The University of Southern Queensland has agreed to accept his life's work as his thesis, and award his degree posthumously.

Rod died tragically at an early age while supervising the erection of a bagasse bin at a sugar factory in Jamaica.

To commemorate his contribution to the sugar industry, his assistance to people in the industry and his help and encouragement to students of engineering, ASSCT and his wife, Rosemary Barker, have offered this bursary for design excellence.