Vale Dr Barry Boettcher AM (1934-2024)

Dr Barry Boettcher AM (1934-2024)
Foundation Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University (1966-1972)
Emeritus Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle


Compiled by Dean Schofield (President, Flinders University Football Club), David Looker (BEc(Hons) ’70) (Flinders graduate and former FUFC player) and Peter Retallack (FUFC Club Captain (1967-68)).


Flinders University Football Club wish to pass our condolences on to the Boettcher Family, following the passing of Dr Barry Boettcher recently.

Dr Boettcher, called by all at Flinders ‘The Doc’, was an integral part of the formation of Flinders University Football Club (FUFC), chairing the meeting in the Flinders University science block which he had called to found the Club, also taking up the position of FUFC’s inaugural ‘Trainer’, though in reality he was ‘General Manager’. The Doc is famously remembered by the Club for briefly sitting in the centre of the field during the 1966 A4 Grand Final in protest to the Umpire about the violence in the game. Flinders University went on to win that Grand Final, achieving promotion to A3 in 1967.

Professionally, Dr Boettcher was an Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences, who went on to become an expert witness in many legal cases, usually as a defence witness, although twice as a Crown witness.

As part of his research, he went with a team to the Northern Territory and camped at Uluru. Boettcher was made an honorary member of the Jungala group of the Warlpiri tribe.

“In later years I collaborated in an international study of DNA sequences of Neanderthal origin,” Boettcher said.

“[Aboriginal people] have a similar proportion of Neanderthal DNA sequences on the X chromosome as Caucasians. In other words, Aboriginal ancestors mixed with Neanderthals before migrating to Australia and New Guinea. We have common ancestry, along with all other humans, except the sub-Saharan Africans – who did not intermix with the Neanderthals. I wrote to the Yuendumu Council, relating this conclusion, pointing out that since we have common ancestry, there is no scientific basis for racism in Australia.”

The Doc was able to attend a lunch held at Flinders University in 2019 and was received with great affection by all who knew and remembered him.

Obituary of Dr Barry Boettcher from the Sydney Morning Herald, May 7 2024.

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