Old Sydneians’ Newsletter - Volume 26

Sydney Grammar School

From the President of the OSU

2021 is finally drawing to a close and, for many of us, it cannot come soon enough. It has been a hard year and, in particular, I want to take this opportunity to applaud our Sixth Form boys, who have probably experienced the most difficult HSC period out of any cohort to go through Sydney Grammar School. I wish them the very best for their ATAR results when they are released in January next year. While one chapter in their lives is now closing, another one is opening – as freshly minted Old Sydneians they will now join the larger OSU community for life. On behalf of the Committee, I welcome you all to the OSU community.

Although this year has seen another swathe of cancelled events, the Committee is now planning some exciting new events for 2022. The first main event to be held next year will be the OSU Golf Day and the Great Debate. We are also deciding as to when the Annual Long Lunch will be held. It will most probably be in the first half of next year, so please stay tuned for further information about this event.

While it has been a difficult time for many of us, numerous Old Sydneians are continuing to shine and achieve new heights of excellence and contribution to our societies. One Old Sydneian, who is continuing to lead the way in his chosen field, is Brett Solomon, the founder and director of Access Now. Brett recently published his TED Talks from his new ‘digs’ at Bryon Bay and I recommend it to you.

Lastly, I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday period and I look forward to attending lots of reunions and OSU events in 2022.

Thank you again to the incredible assistance from the Committee and, of course, Wendy Scotter and Steve Gonski, who have tirelessly worked in all matters relating to Old Sydneians throughout the year, including this newsletter. 

Mr Walter MacCallum (OS 1987)

OSU Caps

The OSU cap, with the OSU badge on the front, has the option to have embroidered your year of graduation and your initials on the sides. It is a unique way of celebrating your ‘Sydney Grammar School journey’. This is a perfect addition for reunions or a gift. The cap is being sold (with all embroidered options included) at a price of $50.00 + GST.

Please click on the link to organise your cap today. 


The Old Sydneians’ Union Scholarship 2021-2022

The OSU has a long history of supporting boys at the School through the OSU Scholarship. The process and award of the OSU Scholarship is part of the OSU’s unwavering commitment to the School, following a long tradition and support of outstanding representatives of the School.

The 2021 Scholarship was a difficult choice as the six boys selected were all excellent. However, the committee decided this year’s award would go to Mackley Stalker (V). Mackley has achieved excellent academic results as well as being a keen sportsman, particularly in rowing. Mackley has consistently demonstrated high levels of leadership skills at the School as a Cadet, a Peer Support Leader, Second Prefect and, more recently, as a discussion group leader for the Form III tutorial on consent, as part of the Future Leaders Programme. We congratulate Mackley on his award.


General Sport

As a result of the COVID pandemic, there was no competitive GPS sport completed during the winter season and the Term IV summer programme. There will be seven rounds of summer sport in Term I 2022, leading up to the Head of the River in March.

Weigall Sports Centre Project

The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) recently announced that the School has planning approval for the Weigall Sports Centre project. The new development, at the top of Weigall near Lawson Street, will provide improved indoor facilities for several sports including basketball, swimming and volleyball.


2021 Reunions Deferred until 2022

1950-51-52 Annual Lunch (new date in 2022 TBA)

1960-1961 60-year Reunion Lunch, Cellos Grand Dining Room, Castlereagh Boutique Hotel (TBA)

1971 50-year Reunion, now Sunday 13 March 2022, Tattersalls Club

1976 45-year Reunion Drinks, (March-April 2022 TBA)

1981 40-year Reunion, now Saturday 12 February 2022, Tattersalls Club

1991 30-year Reunion Cocktail Party, TBA

2011 10-year Reunion Drinks, now Saturday 12 February 2022, The Bellevue Hotel, Paddington

(For information regarding reunions, please contact Wendy Scotter wes@sydgram.nsw.edu.au)

15 July 2021 - OS 2001 New York Reunion at Dante, West Village

 

L - R: Ben Yabsley, Max Feil, Edmund Spencer, Steven Gafen and Srihari Mahadev

12 November 2021 - The Annual John Duffy Rugby Lunch at Doyles, Watsons Bay

Fifteen Old Boys attended. Many were part of the successful 1966 First XV, the first Sydney Grammar School Championship winning team since 1929.

 

L to R: Tony Wehby, David Harris, David Louden, Michael Soulos, Peter Gibby, Tony de Saxe, Bill Grose, David Ross, Peter Gilder, Denis Hillary, Tim Ross, Angus Robertson, Doug Jackson and Vic Keller (Greg Bray absent from photo)

20 November 2021 - OS 1980 40 Year Reunion Lunch at The Norfolk Hotel, Surry Hills

The convenor was Tony Wakefield.

24 November 2021 - OS 1970 Pre-Christmas Lunch at Fortune of War Hotel, The Rocks

The organisers were Andrew Fegent and Yianni Vrachnas, and the informal reunion was regarded as a ‘stand-out success’. Consequently, it was agreed unanimously that one or two events should be held annually.

L - R: Andrew Fegent, John Levingston, John Sanders, Greg Killen, Tony Spira, David Burke, Clark Cameron, Toby Radford, John Coulter, Prof Andrew Benjamin and Yanni Vrachnas


Ray Holland - Teacher at Sydney Grammar School (1954-1988)

Sadly, Mr Ray Holland passed away recently in Adelaide on Wednesday 27 October, aged 88.

Ray was born in November 1932 and educated at Hurstville Public School before attending Sydney Grammar School from 1945 – 1949. There were a number of good pianists in the School at the time but Ray was outstanding.

He won an Exhibition to the University of Sydney where he briefly took chemical engineering before transferring to the Sydney Teachers' College, where he won the Jones Medal for the highest pass in his year. He eventually was awarded an MA with First Class Honours in Musicology and also an LMus for Organ.

Ray returned to Sydney Grammar School as a master in 1954 where he taught for nearly thirty-five years, retiring in 1988. He was initially employed to teach Mathematics and to help with the choir.

In 1963 Ray chose to be Second Science Master rather than Music master. He became Head of the Science Department in 1967 and he remained so until his retirement. He showed great flair, becoming known as a man of initiative and new ideas. He served on many syllabus committees and he was also a member of the Science Council.

However, his chief love remained in music and especially organ playing. Being a practising Anglican, he devoted much of his time to Church Music, and was the Organist and Choirmaster at St Mark's, South Hurstville for 30 years, and later at All Saints' Woollahra. He assisted in choosing hymns for the Australian Hymnal and he advised the ABC's Religious Music Department.

In 1994, Ray was involved in the making of the beautiful, large two-manual Létourneau organ at St Matthew’s, Albury. Soon afterwards, he was appointed consultant for the rebuilding of the organ in St Andrew’s Cathedral where he had long been a regular recitalist. Although he continued to oversee this Sydney restoration, in 1996 he moved to Adelaide to live. Here he maintained an interest in the refurbishment of pipe organs, and regularly attended Organ Historical Trust of Australia conferences.

James Peter McKillop Hannah OAM – Director of Music at Grammar (1979-1990)

James Hannah passed away on Saturday 6 November at the age of 88. His funeral was on Wednesday 17 November in Port Macquarie. Funeral service can be viewed here.

Following on from Peter Seymour, James played a very significant role as the Director of Music in the 1980’s. He was well known for his wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan plays, as well as his ability to bring the best out of choral groups.


James Vicars (OS 1975)

James began writing as a journalist and creatively as a poet and short story writer in his mid-twenties. His work has been published in anthologies and magazines, and James has spent many years as a teacher, lecturer and writing mentor at the University of New England (Armidale). He has also worked in the media as a communications consultant and editor.

While James’s paternal family, the Vicars, has had a long association with Grammar, his new book, Beyond the Sky, about the ‘lost’ life of Australia’s first woman aviator, Millicent Bryant, reveals his mother’s family also had a long connection. Millicent Bryant was tragically killed within a year of gaining her pilot’s licence in Sydney’s worst ever peacetime maritime disaster when the ferry Greycliffe was rammed and sunk off Bradley’s Head by a mail steamer in 1927. Bowen, the youngest of her three sons, had just left school and had to face the grim task of identifying his mother’s body. However, he and his brothers went on to become prominent businessmen, with John Bryant a leader of the dairy industry in Australia and George Bryant, founder of the engineering company Tutt Bryant, becoming Chairman of Trustees.

Roderick Crouch (OS 1976)

Dr Roderick Crouch works as a troubleshooting school principal for International Schools Partnership and currently lives in Costa Rica. Having abandoned his law degree before finishing, Rod found his passion was teaching. He started at Shore as a primary school teacher before being appointed a preparatory school head in Brisbane. He was asked to be the inaugural head of a new boys’ school in Brisbane. International opportunities arose, and his first international appointment was working for the Ruler of Sharjah, in the UAE, leading the Ruler’s school and training others to be school leaders. Subsequently, he led a school in Vietnam where he also chaired an NGO that provided educational opportunities for children in the Mekong Delta.

In his current role as a Global Head in Central America, Rod spends 6-12 months in a school providing guidance to help it improve. Education has been seriously affected in many countries by the pandemic and Rod is committed to helping children grow and learn, wherever they go to school.  

Sandy Grant (OS 1986)

Earlier in the year, Canon Sandy Grant was appointed the 13th Dean of Sydney; a post with a history stretching back to 1858 when William Macquarie Cowper became the first Dean.

From 2004, Sandy was the Senior Minister of St Michael’s in Wollongong where he was involved in a wide range of social issues. He chaired the Diocesan Task Force on Domestic and Family Violence over the last seven years and led the Diocese in addressing this critical issue, including through the adoption of wide-ranging policies and practices for responding to DV in the church. He was a passionate anti-gambling advocate and he also promoted indigenous reconciliation locally in Wollongong and through the Synod, including as a member of the Diocesan Social Issues Committee.

Sandy said, ‘It has been a privilege to provide a voice to the city of Wollongong in the name of Jesus and his followers, and I look forward to trying to offer the same perspective to the great city of Sydney, where I grew up.’ 

In the last few days, Sandy started working in his role at St Andrew’s Cathedral in the heart of Sydney. The School wishes Sandy all the best in his new position as Dean.  

Daniel Chan (OS 2005)

After leaving School, Daniel studied medicine at the University of NSW, before training as a surgeon at St George Hospital. Although he was not in the School’s Cadet Corps, Daniel joined the Australian Army Reserve in 2010 and was commissioned as a Medical Officer in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, where he currently serves as a Major with the Third Health Support Battalion. Earlier this year, Daniel deployed for four months to Baghdad, Iraq, as part of Operation Okra (Australian)/ Operation Inherent Resolve (United States). He served as the general surgeon of the Australian Surgical team. Working in a US-led multinational hospital at Baghdad Diplomatic Support Centre, he cared for soldiers in the international Coalition against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Daniel has since returned to Sydney and will complete his post-fellowship subspecialization in Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery at St George Hospital.

Lambros Photios (OS 2010)

Lambros used to be a keen gamer with an interest in humanitarian work. Now, at the ripe old age of 29, he already employs over 70 staff and is winning software contracts all over the world.

While studying a double degree in engineering and commerce at UNSW, Lambros undertook some software consulting work part-time in late 2011 and early 2012. He then worked with financial institutions, insurance companies and governments (both state and federal) before establishing Station Five, a software development company, in his final years of university.

After two years, in 2017, Station Five became an ‘Australian Financial Review Fast Starter’, and now employs over 70 staff across four office locations. In October 2020, Lambros’ company won a tender with the World Food Programme (WFP) to monitor conflict sensitivity in Mindanao, Philippines, following their awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. Shortly afterwards, in December 2020, the WFP asked Station Five to execute the same program in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, the world's largest refugee camp.

This year, in July, Station Five was granted its largest global tender yet, by the Swiss Government alongside donors including the United Nations for eight years' work (4+4 year option). It aims to funnel aid in Somalia so that it makes the greatest positive impact and does not fall into the wrong hands, such as Islamic State.

Carl Reinecke (OS 2009)

Congratulations to Carl Reinecke, who has written the companion book to the ABC TV series of the same name, Books That Made Us, which is screened on Tuesdays at 8:30pm. 

Carl looks at the history of Australian culture through the books we have read and the stories we have told. Capturing everyday lives and exceptional dreams, the tales have held up a mirror to the nation, reflecting the good and the bad.

Ross Burns (OS 1944)

Many thanks to Ross Burns, who wrote to the OSU recently about his experiences serving in Indonesia and Irian Jaya (now Papua). Ross is 94 years old and speaks fluent Indonesian!

 


The Grammar Shop has some items for sale that may be of interest to Old Sydneians.

Price List:

Apron, black or denim $20

BPA Free Plastic Drink Bottle (white) $14 

Steel Drink Bottle (black) $18

Tea Towel $15

Leather Wallet $85

 

If anyone is interested in purchasing items, please email sgswashop@sydgram.nsw.edu.au.


 

The latest edition of SGS, Edition 13, Winter 2021 is available in electronic form here

Please note: There will not be a December issue as the publication schedule for the SGS Magazine has changed to April and October.

A vast number of hard copy magazines are 'returned to sender' each time the School sends a new edition out to subscribers through the post. If you are regularly on the move and would prefer to receive the SGS Magazine online via email, or would no longer wish to receive a hard copy of the magazine via post, please kindly notify Alumni Officer Wendy Scotter on (02) 9332 5843 or wes@sydgram.nsw.edu.au.

You are able to view most editions of SGS and Foundations magazine anytime via the School's website


Parts of the Archives collection have been digitised and are now available on the School’s website. Here you can access past enrolment registers, copies of The Sydneian, SGS Magazine, Speech Day booklets and lists of Old Sydneians involved in World War I, World War II and the Olympic Games. For further information regarding School Archives please contact Bridget Minatel or Charlotte McColl at SGSArchives@sydgram.nsw.edu.au or phone 02 9332 5833.

The Latest Photos on Flikr

The Paul Ramsay Foundation and the Australian Centre for Public History at UTS have formed a partnership to create a series of projects based on the public history of Darlinghurst. Weaving together voices and imagery from the past and present, this new collection will include: interpretive installations and exhibitions, oral history recordings, a walking tour, and a book. 

Website: Unlocking the stories of Darlinghurst | University of Technology Sydney (uts.edu.au)

OS Norman Stead in 1935

Norman Stead attended Grammar between 1923 and 1925. In 1936 at age 26, Stead was managing his father’s petrol station in Darlinghurst, and was the victim of a violent robbery in which two mechanics, Jim Massey and Aubrey Potter, threatened Stead with a pistol and fatally shot him in the heart when he refused to hand over money. In less than four days, the two assailants were arrested and charged with murder, and in the four months after committing the crime, Massey was executed by hanging and Potter was sentenced to 15 years in Long Bay Gaol. View image herePhoto courtesy of David Meale.

Captain Weigall and his Cadets 1874

During the late 19th Century, the Grammar Cadets and Rifle Shooting Club wore scarlet red cadet tunics as standard dress, marching to The Domain to drill and skirmish regularly.

In the very first issue of The Sydneian from September 1875, a report of an inspection of the Sydney Grammar School Cadet Corps, founded in 1870, by the Commandant in March 1874 is featured;

“Clothing in order, which, with accoutrements, were extremely well put on. Arms in excellent order. Company drill, fair. Markers, good. Manual exercise, very good. Light infantry drill, good. The steadiness of this corps in the ranks is much to be commended.” View image here.

Headmaster AB Weigall 1910

AB Weigall was Headmaster of Sydney Grammar School from 1867-1912. When he commenced, the school was earmarked to close, having only 39 boys enrolled. By 1876, the enrolments were at 400, virtually at capacity for the accommodation provided at this time. Weigall initially resided in the North Blacket Wing of the original school building until the early 1870s when pupil enrolments grew to a size where space was urgently needed for classrooms. View image here.

An article about SGS and the City was also in a recent edition of the SGS magazine, which can be found on our website here.


A Continuing Tradition MGS v SGS

Jim Cattlin’s (OS 1961) book outlining the history of the Melbourne Grammar v Sydney Grammar cricket matches is available, at a cost of $50 plus postage via the following link. It celebrates the feats of players from both schools in the oldest continuing inter-colonial (interstate) cricket match in Australia starting in 1876.

 

AAGPS Games to Play out

Bob Grant’s (OS 1959) book on the origins and development of the AAGPS is available, at a cost of $40 plus postage via the following link. It is a celebration of a unique institution which emerged in the late nineteenth century, and which has had a significant impact on many lives.


Old Sydneians Newsletter

Editor:

Mr Steve Gonski

smg@sydgram.nsw.edu.au

OSU Office

Ms Wendy Scotter

wes@sydgram.nsw.edu.au