Accounting veteran Fred “Chocka” Bloch hanging up his boots

Accounting veteran Fred “Chocka” Bloch enjoyed a career full of achievements as much inside the classroom as out in the university community. From accounting to football and jazz to politics, Fred Bloch made the most of his 43 year tenure at the Business School.

After completing his schooling at Adelaide Boys High in 1956, Fred Bloch never imagined he would spend the majority of his career at a university. But a turn of fate during his first job working for National Bank saw Fred selected to undertake a university degree sponsored by the bank, and Fred never looked back.

“The bank started a program to send two staff members in each state to study economics and I was lucky enough to be one of the two in Adelaide because I had just finished a banking diploma by correspondence,” Fred said.

“I finished Honours in 1967 and the following year left the bank and became a tutor in the Commerce Department, which was then the smaller part of the Economics Faculty with only about seven permanent staff.

“At that time in Commerce, Ken Wright was the professor and other notables were Bob Newman, Geoff Mitchell, Ann Wills and later Fred McDougall.”

During his 43-year tenure Fred became known as much for his unique teaching antics as his involvement with the Student Union, Blacks football club and Jazz Club.

“I joined the Uni Jazz Club, then run by Keith Conlon, Peter and Martin Wesley-Smith and Bob Lott. Later Trevor Mules joined and changed it to the Jazz Rock and Blues Club.

“We had regular concerts in Union Hall, and regular record sessions, and a frequent visitor was history professor Trevor Wilson and Psych Department heavy Ted Nettlebeck,” Fred said.

“Then I got involved with the Student Union and became chairman in 1972 and 1973, taking over from John Bannon, a loyal North Adelaide supporter. The Union heavies were Horace Swales-Smith, Harry Medlin, Ralph Middenway, Colin Pickering and David Muir.”

But most of Fred’s time outside of class was taken up with the ‘Bob Neil’ Football Club, more commonly known as the Adelaide University Football Club or the Blacks – the only club up until 2007 to have been represented in A1 in every year the South Australian Amateur Football League (SAAFL) has operated.

“From 1980 to 2006 I filled just about every position in the Club including handing out the cordial at quarter time, but I gave that up when the Vice Chancellor Don Stranks took over the job because his son Steve was one of the A Grade stars.”

Fred’s commitment to football was formerly acknowledged in 1999 when he was awarded an Order of Australia for service to youth and Australian Rules Football through the Adelaide University football club. After creating a lasting impression on multitudes of accounting students in the university’s hallowed halls and mentoring budding young footy players on Adelaide’s fields, Fred is hanging up his boots, handing in his whiteboard markers, burning his overhead projector slides, and retiring.

The Commerce Alumni Network held a BBQ in Fred’s honour in November 2010 to celebrate these stories and memories.

Academic Achievements:
1967 – Qualification B.Ec (Hons)
1968 – Started teaching at the University of Adelaide
1993 – 2005 – Head of School, School of Commerce
1973 – Qualification PhD (Expectation, Risk Aversion and the Term Structure of Interest Rates in Australia)

Football Facts:
1961 – Recruited from Berri, Fred made his North Adelaide league debut on ANZAC Day when, playing in the centre, he was best afield in the Roosters’ 16.11 (107) to 12.10 (82) defeat of Norwood.
1965 – Won North’s premier individual award in 1965
1999 – Awarded an Order of Australia on 26 January 1999 for service to youth and Australian Rules Football through the Adelaide University football club.

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