Born at Sivas, Turkey on the 5 of December 1923, Aski Hacibekiroglu came from a modest background.
A bright young man, he won a Turkish government scholarship to study at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in London. He was able to continue his studies with a Master’s from King’s College at the University of London, and returned for a requisite two years of work in Turkey.
Aski was in London during the World War II bombings. He boarded with a family named ‘Alva’, and after being naturalized as a British subject in 1954, he changed his name to John Gilles Alva.
In 1950 he worked as an engineer on a project to submerge telephone connections through fiber optic cable under the ocean between England and the US.
In 1962, he decided to move to Australia after receiving a job working as a Senior Lecturer for the University of Newcastle. During the trip aboard the Himmalaya he met the love of his life, Sylvia Fitzgerald. They married in Melbourne in on 9th February 1963, and moved to a house in Borragul on Lake Macqurie.
John was a much-loved lecturer in Electrical Engineering and retired in 1985. In their retirement Sylvia and John travelled, were involved in the Toronto Probus group, and John worked the share market. Their will left a substantial legacy for the University of Newcastle and for John’s college in Turkey. The University received personal mementos and papers from the Alvas’ house in Borragul, which make up the Alva Collection.