Passion for lifelong learning

Over 30 years ago Lewis Frederickson dedicated himself to lifelong learning, partly as a means to escape a particular type of life.  

“I was a bumpkin from the Whitsundays working on a factory floor,” Frederickson, now the Chief of Air Force Fellow at UNSW Canberra, smiles. “I went to a TAFE College to do Physics and Maths, so I could escape. That got me into the Air Force, but I kept studying outside of work hours, in History and Literature. I achieved a Master’s degree, then a PhD in History, just as a hobby.”  

In the Air Force Frederickson was an air combat officer, part of the non-pilot air crew. He also carried out other roles during three decades, before retiring and training as a school teacher. But before his new career could begin, the Air Force drew him back into the fold.  

“In 2018 I completed my secondary teaching degree, then the Air Force asked if I wanted to fill this position,” he explains.

 The Chief of Air Force Fellow is selected and appointed based on the individual’s academic merits. Their role is to strengthen the longstanding, co-operative connection between UNSW and the ADF. 

In this role, Frederickson lectures and runs tutorials within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is also a researcher, currently working on a book on an Australian Flying Corps / Royal Air Force operation on September 21, 1918, which decimated the Turkish Seventh Army, and a biography of an Army officer from the Great War.  

Frederickson is most passionate about his opportunity to mentor and guide students and academic staff around the rigours of military training.  

“If I can positively inspire in any young officer a passion for learning, or inspire some spark in an individual as a leader so that they do the best that they can for their subordinates in the ADF, then I will consider that I have succeeded in this role,” he says.