Ronald W Woss (55-59)
Born in 1942, Ronald W. Woss AM attended Wesley College as both a day student and boarder in Hardey House.
Ronald completed a Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree, at Perth Technical College (now Curtin University) and practiced as a pharmacist in the United Kingdom and Australia. In 1969, he retired to try his hand at other ventures.
He chaired various ASX listed companies and was involved in mineral exploration, oil and gas exploration and production, aquaculture, IT and private banking. He also headed a syndicate that searched for sunken treasure in the waters of the Spanish Azores.
In 1970, Ron established The Woss Group of Companies, which manages a portfolio of commercial office buildings, retail shopping centres, urban land developments, listed and unlisted public and private investments.
In 1989 Ron’s daughter Melanie committed suicide just prior to her 18th birthday. Her family decided to publish her diary, and pledged to help other young people deal with acute mental health issues. Melanie’s diary is now found in most school libraries and Ronald received many letters afterwards, that started off with ‘Dear Mr Woss, thanks for saving my life!’
Mr Woss was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2018 for his significant services to youth, particularly in his support for research into suicide prevention and to the wider-community through a range of charitable organisations.
Ronald received further awards in 2019 with an Honorary Doctorate from Edith Cowan University. He was recognised as an insightful and engaged entrepreneur, who had made outstanding contributions to society as philanthropic leader and his passionate support of arts, culture and mental health.
Some of Ronald’s key philanthropic achievements include:
Youth Focus WA
In 1994, Ronald established a charitable trust known as Youth Focus. Today, Youth Focus delivers innovation and accessible mental health services and programs across
Woss Family Scholarships in Medicine and Nursing, The University of Notre Dame Australia
Over 100 medical and nursing students have received financial support via these scholarships.
In 2011, the Australian film Red Dog was released by Woss Group Films. Ronald was an Executive Producer and his son Nelson, the film’s Creator and Producer.
Perth International Jazz Festival
Established in 2012, Ronald was the Festival’s Inaugural Chairman.
Visiting Jazz Artist Program, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
World-renowned jazz artists are sponsored to spend a week at the WAPPA campus as Jazz Artist in Residence and mentor and perform with jazz students.
Nursing Scholarships, Edith Cowan University (ECU)
Financial scholarships for worthy nursing students at ECU.
The University of Western Australia Mental Health Institute (formerly Young Lives Matter UWA—Foundation)
Ronald, the inaugural Chairman, is committed to making The University of Western Australia (UWA), the world centre of excellence for the prevention of suicide. Recently the Institute established The Living Room as a safe-haven for UWA students.