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I was delighted to read the piece about Major General Mark Kelly in our last Gesta Non Verba. Those who knew Mark at James Ruse and who have watched the development of his career always knew that he would rise to the highest levels of the Army and – watch this space – the Australian Defence Force and the Nation.
I had the great pleasure to dine with teacher Colin Anderson and (Class of 72 Scholar) Christopher Dent some months ago. During that wonderful evening we discussed years at James Ruse, the boss, former students and the recent ’72 Reunion (which I missed). Naturally, our reminiscences turned to the various Gilbert and Sullivan and other musicals including the various roles Mark played over the years. Of particular note was that Mark DID make a stunning Dianna in mini skirt (Orpheus in the Underworld) – but then I guess such things should not be mentioned about a Major General – and certainly not in front of the troops!
Nonetheless, my memories of Mark are inexorably linked to memories of his family. Mark’s parents were both very much loved members of the greater school community and they were particularly supportive of the arts and our musicals. Probably like today, students travelled from all over Sydney to attend James Ruse. In my case I travelled from Scheyville (near Pitt Town) almost every day. So it was therefore not unusual for me to stay overnight at various boys’ homes including Chris Dent, the Mottram family, Bruce Potts, Greg Cowell and of course, the very loving and welcoming Kelly family. Would readers believe that in those days I even stayed with some of our teachers – probably frowned upon nowadays but let me assure all it was much appreciated way back then.
After leaving James Ruse, we boys (as our school was then) went in our different directions; me into agro-politics, followed by agricultural, then mainstream journalism. In something of a brain snap, I joined the Army, became an officer and my path once again merged with the then Captain Mark Kelly. As much as Mark had evolved into a full-blown, stiff-upper-lip and starched infantry officer, I always enjoyed the thought that his sense of humour and wit from the days of James Ruse still lurked below the surface.
Just as I will continue to thoroughly enjoy basking in the reflected glory of Mark Kelly’s advancement within the ADF and on the national horizon so I predict that we will see other “James Ruse boys and girls” contribute to the development of areas such as commerce, medicine, law and the arts. In concert with these traditional pursuits however, I hope that the influence of our school and the heritage we enjoy will have moulded students who have the inherent goodness to improve the lot of our neighbours and make our global community and physical environment so much the better for our being.
Dooralong Valley Resort 12-14th March 2004
Reunion of the 1972 HSC class has just been held at Dooralong Valley Resort. And what a weekend it was! 22 people arrived Friday, another 32 on Saturday plus 10 day-trippers on Sunday. This gave a total of 57 ex-students and 7 former teachers (plus 30 wives/partners and children) in attendance on Sunday afternoon.
Sadly the years have taken their toll – the search for the old gang revealed that at least 5 of those hopeful young men, who did their HSC in 1972, have failed to make it to 2004. Another dozen are not on the Australian electoral roll and cannot be accounted for – although some are suspected to be overseas.
But for all that it was a magical weekend. The tone of things was set on Friday evening when the early arrivals, relaxing with drinks on the Lodge verandah at Dooralong, were treated to the sight of a young kangaroo hopping across the lawns, followed a few minutes later by one of the Dooralong Deer.
Apart from a few drops of rain (nowhere near enough to cheer the farmers among us) the weather was benign: mild and humid throughout the weekend.
Highlights of the Reunion included the memorabilia display and the trivia night on Saturday. The memorabilia display featured (among many other things):
Copy of the 1971 document that ended the “short back and sides” era forever and made the wearing of hats optional for Senior students,
Display of biographical material re James C Hoskin, including his Sydney Morning Herald obituary,
Bound copies of James Ruse Gazettes of the time and extensive photo albums containing class and sporting photos (both thanks to Robin Legge at James Ruse),
George Jackson’s school hat in authentic condition (only students of the era will understand exactly what that means) and
Several letters to unsuspecting 12 year olds informing them of their selection for the 6 challenging years at Ruse.
The trivia night covered all aspects of the 6 years including sport, the musicals, personalities (teachers and students), academic achievements and 1960’s/1970’s music. Special questions were included throughout the night to maintain the interest of wives/partners.
Other activities included tennis and cricket competitions and a Cryptic Clue Hunt on Sunday morning for those who had not “kicked on” too late the previous night.
Former students came from as far away as Oxford, England to attend and others from Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and far flung rural parts of Western and Northern NSW. One was found in the oil and gas industry in Indonesia but was unable to get here.
Sunday afternoon was the planned climax of the weekend with a Buffet BBQ followed by presentations and speeches and a mini concert by former JR English Teacher Mike McClellan (the “Song and Dance Man”).
Popular Agriculture Master Earl Walters presented the Cricket prize to Jonathan Woodward and Grant Kennedy. Former Maths teacher June Spencer (nee Ash) presented the Tennis prize to Andrew Carson and Roy Shore. June was surprised that we still knew where she lived – perhaps she did not quite realise just how many teenage boys were in love with her circa 1969-1970! 1972 School Captain Dave Tucker presented the prize for the Cryptic Club Hunt to Coffs Harbour Radio DJ Terry Daniel on behalf of “Lisa’s Lost Souls”.
Legendary English Teacher Colin Anderson had the job of presenting the Trivia prize to “Jim’s Macadamia Nuts” led by Michael Miller. The “Macadamia Nuts” thanked Col with an impromptu performance of the Can Can, recalling Col’s hilarious 1970 Musical “Orpheus in the Underworld”. “Orpheus” was a daring production for a school in those days.
A surprise visitor was Matthew Ward, a member of the James Ruse HSC class of 1973. He is presently headmaster of Dooralong Public School, a few kilometres from the resort. Founding James Ruse Headmaster James C Hoskin actually attended Dooralong Public for a time in his youth. Matthew read a letter that his school had received from Mr Hoskin acknowledging the connection with the Dooralong Valley. Matthew was then given the task of presenting a James Ruse flag to Ron Lovitt, the initiator of the reunion.
Short speeches were given by Colin Anderson who explained and re-enacted his part of the classic “School of Barbarians” episode from 1964, Dave Tucker who recalled some amusing anecdotes and Ron Lovitt who suggested, rather unkindly, that the hale and hearty teachers who attended the reunion “couldn’t have been as old as we thought you were” when they taught us 30 years ago.
A big thank you is owed to classmate Grant Kennedy who is now the manager of Dooralong Valley Resort. Grant gave us discounted accommodation rates, a free buffet dinner on Saturday night and free use of the venues used for the trivia night, the memorabilia display and the Sunday afternoon BBQ and speeches.
It should be noted that on the previous weekend Grant had hosted a grand opening for Dooralong under its new ownership. People like John Singleton, radio personality Alan Jones, businessman Ross Turnbull, Telstra boss Bob Mansfield, Wallaby Steve Finnane, former Rugby League boss John Quayle and Prime Minister John Howard were entertained by John Farnham and Kamahl. Not a bad “warm-up” for a JR reunion, I guess!
The reunion was a magical experience. The teenage years from 13 to 18 are a highly impressionable time. As the weekend progressed people were astonished by just how much came back as memory after memory was triggered by contact with the companions of their youth.
If you get a chance to go to the reunion of your own year group, then go. You’ll be astonished by the way some of your mates have changed, amazed at how little time has affected others and you’ll laugh and laugh and laugh at the memories of how your mates and yourself jumped over, around or through the obstacles on the road to the HSC.
Next Reunion for 1972 class is proposed for 2009. If any of the years close to 1972 are planning a reunion let me know and I can help you out with contact details for a dozen or so teachers. They probably taught you too. Also contacts for guys who might have had a brother in your year. Get me at email@example.com.
Website for 1972 6th form will continue to be maintained. Reunion photos are being added now. Address is:
In December 1966 James C Hoskin sent out letters to 110 or so unsuspecting 12 year olds informing them that they had been selected for the 6 long years at Ruse. A number of these letters are still in existence - the text below was supplied by Peter Smith.. Note the use of the title "Master" for the addressees and the requirement to complete the enclosed enrolment form "in your neatest handwriting"! For each and every one of us, a letter like this started our association with The Boss and James Ruse.
Dear Master Smith,
I wish to congratulate you on being selected for entry to my school. Would you kindly complete the enclosed Enrolment Form in your neatest handwriting, and bring it to the school on Wednesday, 1st February, 1967.
You have been placed in Class 1C. The home room of this class is No. 18 in the Cameron Block.
For the purposes of sport competition, you have been placed in Mullavey House, and you should buy a T-shirt of the appropriate colour.
I also include an information sheet and details of school uniform.
James C Hoskin,
This page contains links to various Websites about ex-JR people.
A number of guys also have entries on the www.schoolfriends.com.au website. Here I have only listed schoolfriends entries that contain substantial biographies. You have to be registered with schoolfriends to access their site, but it costs nothing to join.
Colin Anderson: Colin's achievements both before and since James Ruse are listed in stunning detail in the Citation for his honorary Doctorate of Arts awarded by Charles Sturt University in 2000. Colin is "more or less retired now" but still enjoys hearing from his former students. Any contact messages for Col may be sent to Ron Lovitt and will be passed on to him.
Mike McClellan: The story of Mike's Songwriting and Musical achievements is told on his music website. He has a separate website for his marketing business.
Jim Armstrong: Jim is unable to attend the reunion but has sent the following message:
In case anyone is interested I've been working for the Soil Conservation Service and all its subsequent manifestations since I left uni. I started in CowraGrenfell, then to Inverell and now in Goulburn. Mainly doing work on soils, water quality, and catchment monitoring. Had a project in Indonesia for a number of years which involved several short trips to Java and South Kalimantan. My wife and I are currently living in town but hope to retire on a few acres somewhere eventually (as long as it does'nt involve too much work!).
Graeme Cox: Graeme lives in Canberra and is a Director of a company called Intology Pty Ltd (Intelligent Technology). Intology deals in a range of Technologies mostly concerned with accessing and managing knowledge assets, including email and the internet. He has an impressive range of clients including Government Departments, Telstra and the NRMA. To see the sort of thing that Graeme is getting up to access his website: http://www.intology.com.au
Wayne Deeth: after working for a lot of years as a Maths teacher Wayne now operates his own company Future Achievement Australia. His website www.futureachievementaustralia.com.au gives an idea of some of the things he gets up to during the week. He has also started working with camels (yes camels!!!) on his property at Thirlmere. Apparently bull camels are very dangerous so Wayne only keeps cows but they play a central role in some of his team building activities for clients.
Gary Garner: left JR after School Certificate to become a jackaroo in Western NSW. Since then his career has been adventurous and varied. His personal website is at:
Mike Golding: Mike and Benjawan Golding are both accredited teachers and run a business involved in interpreting the Thai language. Their clients have included the Dept of Defence and the Victorian and Federal Police. Mike taught at the Royal Australian Air Force School of Languages for three years and presently teaches at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. For details see Mike's website at:
Mal Hiley: used his Civil Engineering skills to organise a staff and management buyout of the old Waterways Authority wharf construction section to create Waterway Construction Pty Ltd of which Mal is now the General Manager. In 1999 he became chairman of the Sydney Harbour Maritime Forum which represents the interests of all "working harbour" industries. You can get an idea of the sort of things Mal has been getting up to on his company website www.waterway.com.au
Michael Miller: has a diverse work background including professional acting work in film, stage, televison and commercials. See his entry on the www.schoolfriends.com.au website. You need to be registered with schoolfriends to access this website but it costs nothing to join.
Mick Randall: has mostly worked for local councils and has interests in motor bikes. See his entry on the www.schoolfriends.com.au website. You need to be registered with schoolfriends to access this website but it costs nothing to join.
Greg Smith: did most of his growing after leaving James Ruse. Is much taller and broader than he was when we knew him. Greg became an accountant and has built himself a very interesting little niche in an unexpected corner of the Accounting profession. See the "About Us" page of his website http://www.charitax.com.au for a full understanding of what Greg has been getting up to.
Trevor Truscott: Trevor is unable to attend the reunion but has sent the following message:
I've been living in QLD since 1989 when I transferred with QANTAS. My wife Sandra and I have 5 grown up kids between us. We live at Cleveland which is a bayside suburb of Brisbane. Hope you have a great time at the reunion (I'll be in Melbourne). I'd be happy to be contacted by anyone who wishes to do so.
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