I have very fond memories of my days at James Ruse and the disciplines that embodied this unique School, when in those days having to write a letter to the Principal (Mr James Hoskins) and in turn the Dept of Education, providing our reasons for acceptance to attend this school along with a reference from our Primary School Principal. This was in the early days of J.R. and the school had recently relocated from Carlingford Rural School, then located on the hill above Carlingford. In 1961 the school consisted of some 350 students, about a quarter of this was the entrance year of 1961 enrolment. The school offered young city students the opportunity to study Agriculture at secondary level ( the curriculum was lead and developed by a father of one of my fellow students at the time), and provided what previously was only available at Hurlestone, Yanco and Farrer Agricultural High Schools, other than a handful of NSW country high schools, for predominantly country students. That being said, there were some country students attending JR at that time living with relatives in Sydney to attend the school.
Our Principal, Mr J Hoskins, was considered at the time one of the most respected and influential headmasters in N.S.W., and as a result took the school to become one of the state’s leading high schools at the time and the rest is history, to the academic level and beyond. During this developmental period of J.R. we had regular sporting events between the other three Agricultural High Schools within the state and had an outstanding record with our sporting achievements in Athletics, Swimming, Rugby Union, Tennis and Cricket at the CHS representative level. The school along with the total support of the headmaster and staff introduced Drama (which at the time was not considered an agricultural pursuit or preferred discipline.........by some!!!), nonetheless commenced the start of many Gilbert and Sullivan and other dramatic plays ( no girls at JR then and had to make do with what we had for the female roles).
The school also initiated an active Junior Farmers Club, the first Interact Club (junior Rotary) in Sydney, and the J.R. Cadet Unit. I am sure the diversity of the school, discipline, respect and leadership that was engendered during those years has remained with us all and has provided a sound platform for our lives along with the “ups and downs” I’m sure we have all experienced. On leaving J.R., I joined a major Feed and Flour Milling group in Sydney and left the city with my wife and family (son), to manage a smaller rural venture in the same industry at Dubbo, then later to the NSW north west at Caroona Feedlot,(Quirindi) for some 10 years, Moree with a multi- national oilseed processor including a short stint back in Sydney, then back to the bush at Wallabadah (near Quirindi) where we had a small grazing property, educated our 3 boys (Farrer Ag High) and our daughter (Calrossy) and started a Grain Trading business, then, hence refer to my earlier mention of “ups and downs”, and survived the “downs”, with my family, whom now, all live in rural NSW with their wives/husband and families.
I have lived in Saudi Arabia for the past 4 years with my wife and work for a Saudi Business consortium as the Operations Director, running an Oilseeds Crushing Plant on the Red Sea, about 350kms north west of Jeddah. This has been one of my most interesting challenges of my career, both culturally and professionally, and about to embark on further project developments that are nothing short of amazing. I get back to Oz for a month, three times a year and enjoy what I believe is the best place on the planet, to visit family and friends (incl. some of the J.R. ex students occasionally). I have attended a number of J.R. ex students reunions over the years and look forward to attending many more (god willing........we are all looking at 60 in the rear view mirror now), to enjoy the company of the class of ’65 and others, differing from the physical standpoint, our personalities don’t change.
GESTA NON VERBA
David Kidd (1965)