About Sandy

About Sandy

TSS Cameronia -our ship from Glasgow to Sydney, 1951

Alexander Wilkinson Scott, more commonly known as Sandy, emigrated as a young boy with his family to Australia in 1951 from Northern Ireland via Manchester and Glasgow.

On arrival in Batlow, New South Wales (NSW) he completed the last two years of his primary education at the local central school then travelled daily to Tumut High School where he gained his Leaving Certificate.

He began his higher education at Armidale Teachers College where he qualified as a teacher with a speciality in Agricultural Science. During his early career he taught science for 11 years at high schools in Bega and Dubbo in NSW and was then appointed as a lecturer involved in science education at Armidale College of Advanced Education (ACAE) and University of New England (UNE) for the next 20 years. For the ten years prior to retirement he was Principal of two UNE residential colleges, Smith House followed by Drummond and Smith College.

Between the start of his teaching appointment and the early years at ACAE he completed his BA, a MLitt and a PhD degree from UNE, taking the first two degrees as an external student and his doctorate as a full time student.

Sandy -writer, educator and naturalist field guide.

The Smith House and the Drummond and Smith College Shields/Badges,
ATC, ACAE, UNE, Armidale NSW

He has always enjoyed travel beginning with his six-week ship journey to Australia, followed in Batlow by Scouting experiences including camps at several local sites, in Canberra and the Pan Pacific Jamboree in Melbourne. Interschool visits and football carnivals during his high school years enabled travel to many other centres throughout the NSW southwest slopes and eastern Riverina including Junee, Yass and Cootamundra. As a member of the local swimming club he also travelled to Adelong and his next-door neighbour incidentally introduced him to the western plains during a visit via West Wyalong to Ungarie. This journey by truck took fruit and potatoes to Ungarie and returned with bagged wheat for stock feed. This visit had a lasting impact on Sandy as he experienced a new set of flat landscapes as a contrast to the mountainous Batlow countryside or that which he had grown up with in Northern Ireland.

Sandy also had an interest in trout fishing with weekend trips into Honeysuckle Creek, southeast of Batlow and to the narrow but rich waters of the Goobarragandra River northeast of Talbingo. As a High School cadet he enjoyed a bivouac at Wee Jasper, southwest of Yass and on two occasions attended week-long courses at the army base in Singleton, Hunter Valley NSW.
As a trainee teacher he was based in Armidale on the Northern Tablelands of NSW over 900km from Batlow. During his two years there, in addition to lecture room and laboratory experiences, he undertook his practice teaching at schools in Ballina, Alstonville on the north coast of NSW and in Tamworth in the northwest region of the state.

Adapted from Spatial Services, NSW Government; Creative Commons: 4.0 Licence.

Southern NSW indicating locations visited from Batlow: Tumut, Adelong,
Canberra, Tumbarumba, Wagga Wagga, Junee, Cootamundra, Yass and Ungarie.

Adapted from Spatial Services, NSW Government; Creative Commons: 4.0 Licence.

North Eastern NSW indicating locations mentioned: Armidale, Ballina, Alstonville and Tamworth

As a lecturer then senior lecturer at ACAE/UNE he enjoyed exposing students to new environments whether this was a three day camping excursion at Red Rock on the north coast of NSW or working in association with a colleague to take students travelling in Central Australia and eventually venturing onto tours throughout the Kimberley (WA), the south of Western Australia and Tasmania.


During Sabattical leave from ACAE, Sandy was associated with Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and following this semester long appointment took the opportunity to visit several other US States and Canada. As a residential college Principal, he established relationships between a university in Pennsylvania and UNE and introduced a semester-long student exchange program between the two institutions.

On retirement from a life associated with UNE Sandy worked with Odyssey Traveller, a small Australian company offering educational travel experiences for adult Australians and New Zealanders. With this company Sandy developed and led travel programs within Australia and many other countries including those of the British Isles, Alpine Europe, Western, Central, Eastern and South-east Asia. Several programs combined multiple countries such as the Caucasus, the Silk Road, Vietnam and Cambodia and Mongolia-Russia. His most recent Program Leader position was leading a group in 2019 to the Baltic States, beginning in Berlin, Germany then travelling through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and ending in St Petersburg, Russia.
Countries visited on programs developed and led for Odyssey Traveller

Coral Discoverer -one of Coral Expeditions three small ships

These experiences along with his even wider set of personal travel destinations, together with his formal qualifications, enable him to confidently lead these travel groups and interpret the landscapes through which they travel.

Sandy has also had a long association with Coral Expeditions, an Australian flagged small-ship expedition cruise company with its home port in Cairns. He has had annual part-time employment as a Guest Lecturer with this company beginning in 1998. Over the last few years Sandy has worked mostly on Coral Discoverer and has concentrated on cruises along the Kimberley coast. In response to guest questions about this pristine and remote part of Australia, Sandy was stimulated to write two books.

In his private life Sandy and his wife Margaret have moved from NSW and live in Glengowrie, a southern suburb of Adelaide, SA. Here he can interact with his two daughters and their families and occasionally is able to visit his son’s family in Perth. He enjoys writing, gardening and with Margaret taking their camper van to interesting Australian destinations.