Late architect gets scholarship wishes after legal dispute

Mike Knott

THE architect who designed Toowoomba's St Vincent's Hospital and the Bundaberg Hospital will have a scholarship named after him after a multi-year legal dispute.

Philip Yeats Bisset, who designed hospitals and religious buildings across regional Queensland, died in 2010 leaving at least $1.2 million to the Royal Australian Institute of Architects to establish a scholarship to allow Queensland architecture students to study abroad.

But the institute initially declined the gift, stating it had issues with Mr Bisset's exact wishes, including, as it is a national body, limiting the scholarship to Queensland students - despite the Queensland chapter already running a number of scholarships. The matter was then taken to the Brisbane Supreme Court where Justice Debra Mullins questioned why the institute would have issues with a single-state scholarship.

"As a Queenslander, his focus was on providing the scholarship for the benefit of students studying architecture in Queensland," she said.

"It is surprising that a national professional body such as the (institute) questioned the appropriateness of administering a gift for scholarships to benefit students studying in the State in which Mr Bisset had studied, lived and worked."

While the institute did not initially want to administer the scholarship, in revised submissions it dropped some issues including running a Queensland-specific scholarship.

"If the (institute) had put forward in December 2013 the (as near as possible) proposal that was the subject of its submissions on this application, the matter may have resolved expeditiously," Justice Mullins said.

She ruled the institute would run the Philip Y Bisset Planning (Architecture) Scholarship that would be granted to one or more final year architecture students to study architecture overseas.

Topics:  architecture scholarship university

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