Vale Frank Emerson

It is with immense sadness that Kirrawee High School recently learnt of the passing of the great Frank Emerson.

Frank was a much-loved and highly respected Mathematics teacher at Kirrawee High School from our inaugural year in 1966 through to 2008 – 42 years of service to our great school and public education in NSW.

A talented footballer in his early days, going through the youth system at Liverpool FC, Francis J Emerson began his career in England as an Art and PE teacher. He retrained as a Mathematics teacher in Australia and quickly established himself as a highly intelligent and astute mathematician with a quick wit. It was his mix of intelligence, pedagogical mastery and a wonderful sense of humour that allowed him to engage and relate to generations of Kirrawee High School students. He taught the Extension Mathematics courses (previously known as 3 Unit and 4 Unit Mathematics) over many years at KHS and, in the staffroom, was widely considered to be a true gentleman and an ever-present source of collegial support.

He is very fondly remember by current KHS staff members:

“My very first lesson as a Year 7 student was Mathematics with Mr Em. Straight away, here was this teacher with a cracking English accent, and a fantastic sense of humour, who clearly loved his Maths and loved his job. It was that first moment of loving life as a Kirrawee High School student.”
– Mr Mark Mitchell, Class of 2001, Head Teacher Mathematics

“To me, he was the math-a-magician. His mind was just incredible. He always had a warm smile and was easy going in the classroom. Mr Emerson was never frustrated or made us feel dumb when we didn’t understand things straight away. It was always “That’s ok, you will get it. Let’s keep trying, don’t give up””
– Ms Carolyn Whyte, Class of 1990, TAS Faculty.

“Quite simply, he was the most intelligent teacher I ever worked with. An absolute legend”
– Mr John Whitaker, Mathematics Faculty


Upon retirement, Frank had thoroughly earned quality time with the family in Malaysia, where he passed away in December 2018.

This article simply does not do Frank justice. His legacy as a distinguished mathematics teacher who taught generations to love and appreciate the beauty of Mathematics, and who simply made school a better and warmer place to be for everyone is without doubt.

Frank Emerson (below) with a KHS colleague, 1969.