China in My Eyes

50 years of continued friendship

China in 1964-66

Why Colin and Alyce went to China in 1964

by Veronica Mackerras, with input from Colin and Alyce Mackerras

When the Menzies government advertised scholarships for Asian Studies in Canberra, Colin’s mother suggested  that he should apply. Considering Catherine (Colin’s mother) was much more interested in Europe than Asia and was influenced by the fear of China, which was  very strong in the 1950s, it was a remarkable suggestion. Catherine thought that China would be important for Australia’s future, and  encouraged Colin to apply for the scholarship. the suggestion to  apply for the scholarship changed Colin’s life.



Alyce’s parents were farmers and didn’t think it necessary to study another degree or go to an Asian country. Nevertheless, she also got a scholarship for an Asian Studies degree in Canberra. She then went to Japan and then off to Cambridge where she married Colin and were able to go to China for a 2 year work contract. The couple had got engaged in Canberra, before they went to Cambridge.


Alyce's homestay family in Japan 1964

Alyce’s homestay family in Japan 1962

My beautiful picture

Wedding in London 29 June 1063














Links to other pages under the section ‘Life in China 1964-66’


Life in Beijing in the 1960s


First Students

Street Scenes

Places Visited


Signs of Revolution

Wuhan Diary

Various travels 1970s & 80s