VALE MRS SCHOFIELD. Mrs Schofield was the first secretary appointed to James Ruse AHS. She recently passed away, aged 96. Her two sons, Mal and Jamie, attended the school. Our condolences go to all the family.
Vale Andrew (Andy) Watson, who was principal of the school 1983 – 88. Mr Watson passed away on 4th May. The school was represented at his funeral by Ms Connors and four students. Mr Watson until recently did not miss the annual musical.
VALE Lesley KINSCHER (Staff 1980’s) Lesley passed away peacefully on August 6, 2009 aged 56 years.
Barbara Steen (Deputy Principal 1988-90) passed away peacefully in Berkeley Vale Nursing Home on August 17, 2006 after a short illness.
VALE LESLIE LINO 1921-2005
Leslie Helen Lino was a gifted, amazing and inspirational person. When she passed away on Sunday 28 August, James Ruse Agricultural High School lost one of its greatest influences. It is impossible to adequately express just how much we owe to Leslie, not only for her work in the classroom but as one who was influential in helping develop the school’s traditions and ethos.
A foundation member of the staff, Leslie arrived at the school before its founding Principal, James C Hoskin and before it gained its present name. She was employed as a teacher of her beloved French, but also taught Latin, English, Music and briefly, Mathematics. She was responsible for the earliest overseas language trips at the school, taking two groups of French students to New Caledonia.
Leslie is best remembered for her involvement in the James Ruse musical productions, having been there with Colin Anderson when they began in 1963. In the early years, she was the Musical Director and pianist, but in time, she became Director and Producer. The annual production was a vital part of Leslie’s teaching year from 1963 until her retirement in 1987. But that was not to be the end of the story, for she returned every year to take her place in the production team until finally bowing out with “Crazy For You” in 2003, after an amazing 41 shows! The final years of productions were difficult following a major heart attack and bypass surgery in 2000.
We all need to understand the commitment that Leslie made to the musicals at James Ruse. Based on a 40-hour working week, it can be confidently estimated that she spent the equivalent of more than three-and-a-half years (without holidays) in rehearsals outside school hours.
Leslie taught so many students a love of the stage. She passed on the lessons she had learned from others, especially Colin Anderson. Many have taken the skills and confidence they received from being on the stage at James Ruse and have carried them into their careers.
Leslie had a great gift when it came to casting students in their roles. She always demanded a professional attitude – while the production team would joke that it would be “right on the night,” she never had the attitude that “close enough is good enough.” She knew the value of a good chorus and demanded that they work as hard as the principals. She always gave 100% to the students and expected 100% from them in return. She was meticulous and would spend hours getting the little things right.
Leslie’s contribution to James Ruse can be summarised in two words: commitment and devotion, and these qualities rubbed-off on those around her and were an example to everybody. She loved teaching and was very proud of her students, especially when a musical came together. There is no doubt that countless individual lives and the life of James Ruse has been deeply enriched by knowing and sharing so much with Leslie Lino.
Students past and present, as well as teaching colleagues, joined with friends and family on September 5 to celebrate the life and contribution of Leslie Lino – a James Ruse staffer who retired from the school in 1987 after 29 years service.
The celebration for the life of Mrs Lino was led by her children Barry, Tricia and Peter who each contributed to an amusing, honest eulogy for their friend and mother. They were supported by Professor Dr Colin Anderson who, together with Mrs Lino, pioneered what would become four decades of James Ruse musicals.
Such was the high esteem in which Mrs Lino was held that many of the leading men and ‘ladies’ from musicals staged as early as the 60s and 70s attended the service at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. Many came from interstate and most went on to a wake at the North Ryde RSL.
Today’s student body – represented by the Year 11 Jazz Ensemble, sang a glorious arrangement of the McCartney/Lennon hit “Yesterday” – provided a fitting and moving tribute.
Mrs Lino’s service was an opportunity for men now in their 50s, and who had not seen each other for over 30 years, to embrace and share their memories of her music, her sophistication, her occasional stubbornness, her boundless charity, her pursuit of excellence and her grade.
Mrs Lino provided many boys with firsts…their first taste of exotic foods, their first use of chopsticks, their first revelation of a musical spirit within them and their first taste for just a little fine wine.
Mrs Lino became close friends with many parents and she was admired and genuinely loved by the many lives she touched.
Pete Smith (1972)
some thoughts of Mrs. Lino ……..
although my Music teacher for my 1960’s High School years, I have always remembered Leslie for her musical director’s role in the Leslie Lino/Colin Anderson double of Gilbert and Sullivan productions.
Initially there is a vagueness that Leslie also taught some introductory French in First Year, but it was the Second Year when Col A arrived and the collaboration began between the two to bring to the stage the G&S production of “HMS Pinafore” – it didn’t seem so scary then, but 40+ years on the thought of getting First and Second Year students to slip into petticoats and frocks to play the female roles …….hmmmm! thankfully an early shot of testosterone permitted me to keep my pants on.
In Third Year, an audition led me to the role of comic lead in “The Mikado” and as minor an event as it may seem, it became one of the defining moments in my formative years of adolescence, for it was from this time when the relatively socially-sheltered son of poultry farmers was given the opportunity to develop a self belief and self confidence (possibly misguided!) that has remained with me from that time.
Many, many extra-curricular hours were spent in Leslie’s home, rehearsing hour on hour, sharing time with other members of the cast, Leslie’s daughter Patricia (the choreographer with the greatest legs) and son Peter, and almost inevitably sharing an evening meal and occasionally a glass of wine! Which at times became less occasional……and once even quite frequent – an education indeed. I imagine it would be very difficult to emulate those teacher-student experiences today!
Fourth and Fifth Years allowed me to continue this relationship through the productions of “Pirates of Penzance” and “Iolanthe”, and in Sixth Year in 1967 when I was told that my HSC studies precluded my inclusion in the cast of “The Gondoliers” there was a real sense of loss.
Since 1970 I have resided in New Zealand (Leslie’s country of origin, which is why it always sounded like she talked posh) and through Colin Anderson, ex-class mates and class reunions I have kept up with Leslie’s Life – my thoughts of her and her contribution to my Life are, like her, in a very Special Place.
Jim Jacobs (1967)
My first memory of Leslie was of this rather imperious figure gliding across the quad with her head tilted slightly up and her right arm cradling a cardboard box as she made her way to Room 5 (I think the old weatherboards were numbered 1 to 5).
My immediate reaction was “Damn, I hope I don’t end up with her!”
Just goes to show you how stupid I was!
Leslie Lino was that one teacher who transcended the role to become a mentor, guide, confidante, sounding board, conscience and most importantly of all, friend.
My time at Ruse started in 1974. I was not the “brainiac” that some of my peers were and whilst I was able to hold my own in a very competitive environment I was not the happiest of little vegemites!
This is where Leslie came into her own. She was able to draw out a talent or skill that was lying dormant, get the young person to recognise it, work out a “rough” and then polish it to as close to perfection as the young person could.
Leslie had the knack of building people up in a subtle way. She was not overt. Her suggestions were just that, suggestions. She left it up to the individual to see if they could take it that step further, to see if it was a good fit.
James Ruse was a very masculine environment back in my day and to participate in the musicals without also playing union or being in the cadets’ left you open to criticism (putting it mildly!). Leslie made this OK. She helped me realise that I was my own person and I should be less concerned about what others thought and more about what I thought about myself.
Travelling from Camden to Carlingford every day made it difficult to participate in the rehearsals, so Leslie rang my parents and offered to have me stay over on Friday nights for the principals rehearsals and then take me to the full cast rehearsals on Saturday afternoons at Ruse.
Friday nights were a blast, great company, good rehearsal and of course a great meal! What teacher would feel comfortable doing the same or similar these days? Saturday mornings were generally spent doing some yard work in her garden. Back in the day I thought it rather overgrown and messy, now however I realised that it was an abundant garden, one that reflected the gardener to perfection.
After leaving Ruse I kept in contact with one person. It was Leslie Lino. The quick chat over the phone, the Christmas card or the occasional letter was our method. Our contact was not constant, definitely sporadic and yet it was like we had never left off from the relationship we had started when I was her student. She congratulated me on my marriage, gave advice on how to connect with stepchildren and was genuinely pleased for me when my daughter was born. She was interested in my life and me.
The only recognition I received from Ruse was not academic; it was for drama. I cherish the Leslie H Lino Award because it represents to me what Leslie stood for.
I will miss Leslie. She was the linchpin to that part of my life and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for her warmth, friendship and guidance. Leslie Lino has a lot to do with who I am today and once again I thank her.
Grant McClafferty (1979)
In Year 7 French, Mrs Lino would sometimes tell us one week that we’d have a French test next week. We had the drill down quite well. When she walked in the next week and said “French test” we’d all go “What French test, you didn’t tell us there was a test!” – which successfully got us off the hook more than once.
One week she walked in and told us to get ready for a French test. In near perfect unison, the whole class went “What French test?”.
Mrs Lino smiled that broad, Cheshire-cat smile, laughed… And we had to do the French test!
On a slightly more serious note, I appreciated her generosity – not to mention that of her daughter Patricia and Alan Best’s too, in putting together the school musicals, That commitment meant Tuesday afternoon, Friday afternoon and night, Saturday afternoons and some mornings for a fair slab of the year – not to mention all the behind the scenes organisation. Many of my best memories of school arise from those musicals.
Margaret Stuart (1983)
It is sad to hear of the passing of Mrs Lino as she played a role in my life at school which I remember well.
She was my French Teacher in junior school at a time when teaching a language to young snotty kids would have sorely tested the most dedicated of practitioners. She also taught at a time when technology was first introduced at the school to assist with Languages.
The “Language Laboratory” was a collection of headphones, leads and booths all somehow connected to Mrs Lino who, with her frozen smile, painfully endured the sound of my now enhanced French accent. She would be saddened to know that my son is now inflicting similar pain on another generation of French Teachers.
Mrs Lino also arranged the music for the Gilbert and Sullivan productions at school and later became the Director of the Drama presentations.
I recall her involvement in Rudigore and the Mikado which were all outstanding successes. Unfortunately for Mrs Lino I had a singing voice similar in quality to my French accent and no matter of Technology made things any better. To her great patience and generosity she allowed me a position in the chorus which I gladly took up.
I wish to extend my condolences to her family.
Peter Chaffey (1973)
Memories of Leslie Lino – an enthusiastic French teacher (we had a choice of language of French or French). She was easily sidetracked by one student in my class who took great joy in seeing if he could divert Mrs Lino into a topic unrelated to what the class was supposed to be discussing. One fond memory I also had was bringing along delicious French food to class, and even having a French cooking day at her house.
Karen Hanselmann (nee Chudleigh) (1988)
It’s funny how things go in full circles.
I was a lowly Year 7 French student. I was also a rather naughty Year 7 French student. During one lesson with Mrs Lino I was so naughty that she said, “See me at recess.” I was dreading this recess meeting.
I approached Mrs Lino in her office, overlooking the School Oval. I sat down in her office, and she asked me one question, “Have you considered trying out for the School Musical?”
I was shocked. I was expecting a berating, possibly even a hiding! I’d been naughty in class and here was this teacher asking if I wanted to be part of a Musical!?
I said that I would think about it. I eventually turned it down due to sporting commitments, but the invitation stuck in my mind. A teacher, whom I thought would not give me much thought, had taken the time to notice me and possibly some hidden talents.
This may have been a total reflection of Leslie Lino. I took up the offer in Year 8, and I was part of the JRAHS Musicals all the way until 1st year university (in the band in Year 12 and Uni).
Some of you may remember my attempts to woo my own “wife”, Rosalinda, in the role of Gabriel in Pink Champagne (1989). I remember all of the JRAHS Musicals that I’ve been involved in, including the first (Orpheus in the Underworld, 1986).
I’m thankful for the life of Leslie Lino, for noticing a young boy, who has now become a teacher who is attempting to notice the hidden musical talents in others.
Grant Mitchell (1990)
I knew Leslie Lino, as many did, through several James Ruse musicals. She was famous for keeping the cast under control with her whistle, and we always knew our preparations were looking dire when the dreaded whistle came out. Once, when I visited rehearsals after I had graduated, she turned to me with a cheeky grin after a particularly harsh blow of the whistle, and asked me if I thought the cast hated her yet. Another famous call was to “open your mouths” while you were singing, and I fell particularly foul of her on this count as one rehearsal I attended with a dislocated jaw! Leslie Lino has been an institution in James Ruse Musicals, and will be missed by many.
Mitchell Isaacs (1998)
Layla Sumners (Wing) 1985
Anyone who was at James Ruse from 1963-1967 or 1970-1972 will remember Colin Anderson. While he was always recognised as a highly unique individual, it was only many years after leaving James Ruse that I began to realise just how remarkable this man’s story truly is.
In his Ruse days Col was a flamboyant teacher of English. He was deeply involved in extra curricular activities such as the sketches and speeches that enlivened formals and farewells. These were sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching, but always appropriate – always, just right. In the classroom he had the knack of putting things in a way that students of the era could “dig” and he often used his acting skills to bring set texts to life. But above all he was synonymous with the annual Musicals.
Thirty years later, when Col was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Charles Sturt University, the citation for the Doctorate referred rather unkindly to James Ruse Agricultural High School as an “unlikely arena” for such a flowering of the arts. But in his early days, Col’s entire life story would have seemed improbable.
Colin Anderson was born in 1937. He grew up in the hard industrial city of Newcastle and attended Newcastle Boys’ High School. Like James Ruse, it was a selective school, but in the 1940’s and 1950’s it was an uncongenial environment for little guys who wore thick glasses and liked Shakespeare. Col’s memories of it are not happy ones.
On leaving school he worked for 5 years as a clerk at the Newcastle Abattoirs. He may have remained there except that one day he announced to his shocked father that he wanted to study English at the University of New South Wales on the Newcastle University College campus. Working class boys weren’t supposed to go to University in those days. It just wasn’t done – but he did!
In 1963 a nervous young man turned up at James Ruse to commence a teaching career. Like all young men at the beginning of their careers he struggles to make it work. He had difficulty in controlling classes and it was in response to this that Jim Hoskin suggested that it would help to raise Col’s standing and confidence if something could be found that he could do that nobody else could. Col’s reply: “I like doing plays”. The Boss approved the idea and the first Gilbert and Sullivan musical was put on later that year.
Col found his feet and began to find personal fulfilment in his Ruse life. Half a lifetime later in a speech at a 1992 reunion of the JR class of 1967, Col said “if Ruse helped to make you what you are, let me tell you that you made me what I am. I treasure very deeply my time with you. You taught me to revalue myself, to find a self-respect I had never known before, to find an identity that I have clasped to my heart. And when I say you, I include my colleagues – Elaine Peterson, Leslie Lino, John Dixon, John Pearman, Graham White and, of course, this wonderful, grand, extraordinary man, Jim Hoskin. He – and James Ruse Agricultural High School in general – turned my life around and I will always be aware of and thankful for that.”
In the mid 1960’s Col was involved in the highly successful satirical television series The Mavis Brampston Show. For an ex-abattoirs clerk life must have begun to seem very sweet. I rather suspect that the period of effortless happiness that comes to most of us in adolescence, came to Col not amongst his scornful classmates in Newcastle, but a decade later while he was still a young man in the far more sympathetic and liberal environment of metropolitan Sydney and Jim Hoskin’s James Ruse.
In 1968 Col resigned from the Department of Education and set sail (as was the fashion of the time) for England. He sailed from Darling Harbour where a large contingent of his students sung and chanted some of his own material as they waved him off. In London he taught, acted, directed and travelled the length and breadth of Europe seeing the sights – and, of course the plays – of all countries. In 1970 he returned to Oz; where the Boss moved quickly to re-engage him. So there he was – a bit older now, a bit more worldly, a bit more hardedged. But still full of volcanic energy and very, very determined to make his mark on the world.
It was at this time that I first became properly acquainted with Colin Anderson. I will confess that I was an impressionable 15 year old but I WAS highly impressed. I liked Col and looked forward to his periods immensely. At first he entertained us to catch our attention. But then, more and more, he challenged us.
He resumed his interest in the JR musicals and in other extra curricular activities. During this period he also spread his wings in the educational establishment as his talents were sought by the Education Department for in-service workshops and demonstrations. He took my class right through 4th, 5th and 6th Form and the exam results were good.
In August 1972, Col was offered a lectureship in Drama Studies at the Riverina College of Advanced Education in Wagga (later to become Charles Sturt University). He should have taken up the appointment straight away but he stayed with his 6th Form English class right through to the HSC. He gave a brilliant and very funny address at our farewell luncheon and left James Ruse on the day that we did.
Col reached Associate Professor status at Wagga. On leaving the University in 1992 he has worked as an actor and as a dramatic and musical director and producer in Australia, Great Britain, the United States, Denmark, New Zealand and Malta. In 2000 Charles Sturt recognised his contribution to the Arts by awarding him an honorary Doctorate of Arts. Still lively and well, Col in “more or less retired now” and lives in the inner Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
More information on Colin Anderson can be obtained from:
The Charles Sturt University citation for his honorary Doctorate of Arts at: http://wwwdb.csu.edu.au/division/marketing/ne/newsm187.htm
The interview with Col published in the JR book on the 40 Years of Musicals
The speech given by Col in 1992 which is published on the 1967 Year Page of the JR Union Website.
Ron Lovitt (1972)
James Colin Hoskin. Known affectionately as The Boss, Mr Hoskin created James Ruse and set it on the road to becoming the prestigious place it is today. He was universally respected and was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Australia for Services to Education in 1990. Mr Hoskin was born in 1913 at Yetman in North Eastern NSW, the son of a Cornish tin miner turned farmer and grazier. His mother was a suffragette and a member of the Communist Party. His family moved around NSW and he attended many schools, ending up at Fort St High School in Sydney.
He graduated in Agricultural Science at Sydney University and commenced teaching at Grafton High School in 1936. At the age of 26 he became Deputy Mayor of Grafton and he married his wife Jesse, the daughter of a local grazier. He was Deputy Principal at Muswellbrook before taking over Carlingford Agricultural High School in 1958. He left James Ruse in 1978, the year in which he turned 65. He remained active and continued working (as an articled clerk) in his son's legal practice in Parramatta to the age of 81.
He remained sharp as a tack into his final years and was renowned for recognising men on the streets of Parramatta 15 or 20 years after he had last seen them as schoolboys at James Ruse. After surviving six years of us and almost another quarter century on top of that, he died at the age of 83 on November 14 1996. His Memorial Service was attended by numerous former staff and students of James Ruse among whom his memory will always continue to live.
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