Old Sydneians’ Newsletter - Volume 27

Sydney Grammar School

From the President of the OSU

Welcome to 2022. This is our first newsletter for the year, and we are already at Easter! The OSU Committee has commenced planning for the year with renewed vigour now that the COVID-19 restrictions are easing. We are more hopeful than ever of being able to not only hold our usual events this year – the Great Debate and the annual lunch – but also new members get-togethers and at least one golf day (possibly two). Please stay tuned for more information about these upcoming events. I also hear from Wendy Scotter that many of you are re-organising past reunions missed and new reunions falling within this year. It will be great to see as many of you gather together at these reunions and I hope to catch up with you when they are held.

There are two important announcements, that I would like to bring to your attention. Firstly, I had the pleasure of presenting Mackley Stalker (VI) as the recipient of the 2021 OSU Scholarship. Mackley impressed the Committee with his well-rounded excellence and passion. I have no doubt that Mackley will be a strong contributor for the balance of his school life and beyond. Secondly, I would like to congratulate Dr Andrew Bell SC on his appointment to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW. Dr Bell needs no introduction, and his curriculum vitae would take up the entirety of this newsletter. Suffice to say that we are vitally proud that an Old Sydneian has been appointed to this incredibly important position. Dr Bell’s son Tom is one of our newly minted Old Sydneians, having left Grammar in 2021. Please join me in congratulating Dr Bell.

Mr Walter MacCallum (OS 1987)

The Ties that Bind

Sadly, as a result of COVID-19, there have been fewer opportunities for reunions and face-to-face get-togethers. Old Sydneians have looked for other more remote methods to continue their school friendships. Here is one example. 

Thirty years ago, two Sydney Grammar School boys, Marcus Lim (OS 1991) and Hung Ta (OS 1991) came equal first in the 1991 HSC. Marcus was the son of Malaysian parents, while Hung came to Australia as a refugee from Vietnam.  

At School, they had a close friendship and a shared desire to succeed. They studied together and spent their relaxation time eating spaghetti bolognaise and sipping cappuccinos at Bill and Toni’s. Afterwards, they both completed a commerce/law degree at the University of New South Wales and spent time together in New York around 2000.  

Today Marcus lives in Sydney and is the managing director of his own private equity firm. Hung, however, stayed in New York and is managing director of his own litigation firm. They used to phone each other regularly and, before the pandemic, they would coordinate their travel diaries so they could meet overseas. Now they chat on WhatsApp almost every day. 

As Marcus says about Hung: ‘He hasn’t lived here for 20 years, but I think the best thing, if I come back to that day (when we received our HSC results), is that Hung and I are still really good friends.’ 

Hung Ta (OS 1991)

 Marcus Lim (OS 1991)

Sport at Grammar

Unfortunately, cricket was affected by bad weather this term and some games were cancelled. Our Firsts team was dominated by excellent spin bowling and came sixth. Congratulations to Nicholas Stanwell (V) who was selected in the GPS Firsts. Our Seconds team consisted of many young boys, who made good starts with the bat but were unable to convert them into big scores. Nevertheless, they showed great promise, coming third.

In basketball, Sydney Grammar School had our most successful season in ten years. Competing against extremely strong sides, the Firsts and Seconds both won three GPS games and came fourth. Sachin Absolum (VI) and Owen Marschner (VI) were rewarded with selection in the GPS Seconds.

In tennis, a strong junior group is emerging through both the under 13s and 14s. The Seconds included a young boy from the Under 14s Kai Sloane (FII) and finished a most creditable third in the table. The Firsts came sixth, finishing with an 8-1 win against Sydney Boys High School. With only one Sixth Former leaving next season, an even stronger performance is expected next season. Jeffrey Chen (V), for the second year, was selected in the GPS team.

Our rowers recently competed in the Head of the River, which was contested at Iron Cove for the first time in the race's 129-year history. The First VIII raced well but finished in seventh place. The younger years showed great promise this season too, with the Year Nine First and Second Quads recording many victories throughout the season. 

Unfortunately, the Sydney Grammar School Athletics Championships was postponed due to rain and will take place in July.

Sadly, as a result of COVID-19, there have been fewer opportunities for reunions and face-to-face get-togethers. Many reunions are ‘on hold’ at the moment. However, the following have been arranged.

1981 40-year Reunion (delayed) on Saturday 7 May at Tattersalls Club

1971 50-year Reunion Lunch (delayed) on Sunday 22 May at The Castlereagh Club

1960-61 60-year Reunion Lunch (delayed) on Thursday 20 October at Cellos Grand Dining Room, Level 4, Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, 169 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

1950-51-52 Lunch on Wednesday 16 November at the Alastair Mackerras Theatre Foyer

2011 10-year Reunion (delayed) on Saturday 3 December at The Bellevue Hotel, Paddington

Reunion dates to be advised:

1962 60-year Reunion (Convenor: James Barkell)

1967 55-year Reunion (Convenor: Richard Allsop)

1972 50-year Reunion (Convenors: Craig Moran and Peter Kindred)

1982 40-year Reunion (Convenor: Michael Sharp)

1991 30-year Reunion (delayed)

1992 30-year Reunion (Convenors: Angus Boyd and Phil Freeman)

2002 20-year Reunion (Convenor: Chris Glenn, The Bellevue Hotel)

2012 10-year Reunion (To be confirmed)

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

Arthur Thomas (Archie) Keeble - Teacher at Sydney Grammar School (1919-1957)

Archie Keeble was born in England but graduated with a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney. After teaching in state schools, he joined the staff of Sydney Grammar School, becoming the Science master in 1922. He had a liberal approach to the teaching of science subjects, challenging the boys to think rather than slavishly following a text. He had a particular interest in Physics and his love of music enabled him to become a valued member of the School Orchestra. For many years, Archie looked after the School’s tennis programme and, although he suffered from ill health, he rarely missed a day of work. After his wife died, Archie retired in 1957, and moved to Victoria to be near his son Tom, a Grammar old boy, who worked for the CSIRO. He lectured part-time to students of Physics, before he died suddenly on 31 August 1966.

It is thanks to Ruth Sparkes that we are remembering Archie. She highlighted Archie Keeble’s great influence on her father in the obituary of John Barry Goodman (OS 1944-1945), who died on 23 December 2020. We are proud to publish it below.

One teacher who had a profound influence on Barry, and was much admired and respected by him, was Mr Archie Keeble, a Science teacher at Grammar with some ‘left-leaning’ political ideas. Barry described him as ‘a brilliant educator’. He worked harder for him than for any other teacher and his influence on Barry extended throughout his life.

Mr. Keeble encouraged the boys to do extra experiments in their own time after school, at home and in the holidays. A particularly noteworthy experiment Barry conducted was to investigate the properties of Thermite, the material that incendiary bombs were made from, after school in the playground. Barry lit a magnesium ribbon flare and plunged it into a steel can containing Thermite, which resulted in a melted steel can and a hole in the box it sat on! Due to Mr. Keeble’s encouragement of Barry, he later studied Chemistry and Physics at the University of Sydney as part of a combined Electrical and Chemical Engineering degree. Barry then became a farmer and was involved in permaculture.

Barry Goodman (OS 1944-1945)

Steven Lewis (OS 1974)

Steven’s earliest political memory was as an eight-year-old in the now long demolished grounds of the old Edgecliff Preparatory School, debating the merits of the Labor and Liberal parties. A lifetime of political activism followed with Steven recently re-elected for a second term as a councillor on Waverley Council, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Steven chairs the council’s Strategic Planning and Development Committee, which deals with the myriad of planning issues in one of Sydney’s hottest and property markets.

A member of the Labor party for more than 40 years, Steven was the endorsed ALP candidate for the seat of Wentworth running against another old Sydneian, Malcolm Turnbull, in 2010.

When not involved in local government affairs, Steven is a principal in a city law firm specialising in defamation, media law and commercial litigation representing clients in many high-profile defamation cases.

John Whitfeld (OS 1983)

One of John’s ancestors, Edwin Whitfeld, was a teacher when Sydney Grammar School opened in 1857. Five generations of the family, including John, have attended the school subsequently.

After school, John studied engineering before going into IT to support small companies. He developed a passion for sailing, and he has completed twenty-seven Sydney to Hobart races.

In the most recent race across Bass Strait, with his wife Anne navigating, John skippered the oldest yacht in the fleet, Solveig. Still carrying her original CYC54 sail number, Solveig, the famous 71-year-old Halvorsen 36, designed, built and raced by the equally famous seafaring Halvorsen brothers in the early years, crossed the finish line at 08:42.11am on New Year’s Day. It may have been the last boat to finish but it was a great achievement by John and his crew.

Jarrod Antflick (OS 1996)

After school, Jarrod undertook a Bachelor of Health Science degree at UTS, as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) at the University of Sydney.

After working in Sydney, he moved to London to take up a job in private practice. He was asked to work in the US with Tyson Gay (second fastest 100m sprinter) in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics. Soon he was working for British Athletics whilst undertaking a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy part-time at La Trobe University Melbourne.  

After being the first to own and utilise a UTC (ultrasound tissue characterisation) machine in the UK, he set up a consultancy practice in the UK and the US. Later, he accepted a role at The Fortius Clinic in London to begin a tendon clinic, with a focus on better conservative management and return to sport for private patients. He has also worked with elite athletes from organisations, such as the English Premier League and English cricket and rugby teams.  

Jarrod continued building the consultancy in the US to include onsite biomechanics, as well as assisting teams with the monitoring and management of players with Achilles and patella tendinopathy. This now includes ten NBA teams and two NFL teams.  

He commutes to the USA monthly for work, but he lives in London with his wife Rebecca and two-year-old son River. Jarrod is currently undertaking a PhD in Bioengineering at Imperial College London.  

Kirby Rappell (OS 2002)

Kirby began researching superannuation funds after completing his Commerce degree. Originally focusing his studies on biotechnology, he figured out that this was a passion but not his talent. He also took a career detour, spending a number of years selling boats to fund his university studies.

Upon returning from overseas after university, Kirby was confronted with the challenges of entering the jobs market during the Global Financial Crisis. Fortunately, in 2008, he joined SuperRatings as a Quantitative Analyst researching and rating superannuation funds. In 2011, he was asked to manage the research team before being appointed to run the business in 2017. This role allowed Kirby to learn about the fascinating, growing retirement sector, that holds over $3 trillion in Australians’ retirement savings.

Reflecting on his time at Sydney Grammar School, he remembers debating at St Ives Preparatory School and how much it helped him to effectively communicate when talking to the Trustees of Super Funds in Australia and abroad. Kirby is determined to ensure that more support is provided to as many people as possible, so they can retire with certainty and dignity. 

John Rasko AO (OS 1979)

Congratulations to Professor John Rasko whose book has been longlisted for the 2021 Walkley Book Award. In it, John, a leading physician-scientist, and writer-historian Carl Power take us on a wild historical tour of the scandal-prone field of regenerative medicine. Written in a popular format, to be understood by teenagers, they expose all the dirty little secrets that the hype merchants prefer to ignore - the blunders and setbacks, confusions and delusions, tricks and lies. Click here to view publication details about Flesh Made New.

Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division

Congratulations to James Barkell OAM (OS 1962)

For service to the community through a range of organisations.

Michael Dillon AM (OS 1962)

Sir Edmund Hillary's long-term filmmaker, Michael Dillon AM (OS1962), will be speaking in the Alastair Mackerras Theatre on Wednesday 27 July at 6:30pm. For information about the evening and access to tickets, please visit the following link.  

Sadly, many of our Old Sydneians have passed away in recent times, and the School sends condolences to family and friends. 

Here below are some prominent old boys, whose obituaries could not be included in time for the The Sydneian 2022 edition. 

Peter Charles William Howard (OS 1963) died 20 November 2021 

Coming to Australia from Fiji in 1955, Peter attended Sydney Grammar School from 1958-63. He represented the Rugby First XV in 1963 and excelled as a swimmer, winning nine senior events with two records at the School Swimming Carnival. He was also a Prefect and a Cadet Petty Officer of the RANR Cadets.

In 1968 he graduated with a BA from UNSW where he was a valuable member of the Rugby Club. After graduating with an LLB from UNSW in 1977, Peter returned to Fiji where he held senior positions in Government before setting up his own law firm. 

He returned to Sydney in 2012 where he lived until his passing. He is fondly remembered as a great friend, a wonderful sportsman, and a quiet achiever with a generous disposition.

(Thanks to George Conomos for helping with this information.) 

John Digby (Digby) Cooke (OS 1946) died 30 November 2021

Australian racing driver and former Bathurst class winner Digby Cooke has passed away on the Gold Coast after suffering a recent stroke.

Cooke, 93 in October, began his career in open-wheel cars in 1949 and eventually found himself working for the legendary Tom Sulman at his garage in Surry Hills in Sydney.

Sulman was a member of the “Kangaroo Gang” sports car team whose members included Jack Brabham and Tony Gaze and, on Sulman’s return from the UK, Cooke left the Surry Hills operation and set his own shop and tuning business up in Lane Cove. Cooke’s focus shifted towards tin tops and Bathurst in the early 1960’s. He was a relief driver for Ron Hodgson and the pair drove a Morris Major at the Bathurst 6 Hour event in 1962. Cooke competed in long distance races at Bathurst from 1962 to 1972 and had to wait until his final appearance in a Ford Escort with Geoff Leeds to claim his first-class victory.

Cooke went on to build a very successful insurance broking business and was based on the Gold Coast where he had an impressive personal car collection which included a replica Jaguar XJ13 racer, a 550 Ferrari Barchetta, a Porsche 996 GT3 911 and Robnell Cobra which was personally tuned by Bo and Glenn Seton.

Digby is survived by his wife Gwen and children Rowan and Adam.

Paul Anthony Cockburn (OS 1965) died November 2021 

Paul Cockburn studied at the Ealing School of Art, London, and formed Design Field in London in 1969. He returned to Australia in the 1970’s and the Design Field consultancy grew over the next 20 years to undertake projects for clients including Apple Computer, AWA and Black and Decker. The group’s most recognised project was the redesign of the Eveready Dolphin lantern in 1972 and again in 1989. 

Paul also worked as an automotive writer for Wheels and later Motor Magazine. He was well-known in motoring fields as was his cherished E-type Jaguar. 

Sadly, Paul died last year after a long battle with cancer.


David Emanuel (OS 1951) died 25 February 2022

David Maurice Emanuel was born in Dover Heights on 23 June 1934. He was a fifth-generation Australian and very proud of that heritage. 

In David’s final school year (1951), he was selected in the School’s First XV, with solid performances also seeing him chosen in the GPS Third XV. Outside of rugby, he was an all-round athlete, captaining the school swimming team to a GPS championship in the same year. He was also a proud member of the Bondi Surf Club as a lifesaver while at the same time training and boxing with his father by his side.

David continued his rugby journey with Eastern Suburbs and, in his third year with the club, he represented NSW. In 1957, he made his Test debut for Australia in the second Test against New Zealand in Brisbane. All up, David played nine Tests for Australia in a two-year international career. He was and forever will be, Wallaby #425. Once he retired from rugby, he began to coach at Easts and helped set up Easts’ junior team ‘the Wallaroos’. He was also asked to coach the Maccabi Rugby Club when it was established and, until this day, the boys in those teams have kept in contact.

David started his business career helping his father sell his artwork before moving on to work with his uncle Stanley and his jewellery business. He then ventured out on his own into clothing manufacturing and eventually a homewares business. Being a well-known sportsman, many doors opened for him. 

David will be remembered fondly by his school friends whom he still met for lunch, rugby teammates at reunions and surf club pals when walking and swimming at Bondi Beach.

He was a generous man who often quietly helped those in need without any hesitation or recognition. He gave his time to volunteer driving for the Burger Centre and supported many charities.

David is survived by his sister Janese, daughters Lisa and Fiona, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


Lindsay Newton (Edgecliff Preparatory School Master 1955–1984) died 24 February 2022

Lindsay was a loyal teacher at Edgecliff for 29 years until he retired in 1984. He was Deputy Headmaster and Acting Headmaster at times when Reg Billing was on leave. He enjoyed coaching the School’s cricket, football and tennis teams.

His memoirs state, ‘The whole of my teaching career was very fulfilling, though at times not easy. Standards were high and I wanted to do the job well. The staff were always friendly and ambitious and the boys generally hard working.’

He was an active church member throughout his life, being Sunday School Superintendent and Churchwarden at various churches. During his retirement he was a volunteer mini-bus driver for twelve years, serving elderly people in the Eastwood area. Lindsay was a keen gardener, tennis player, a sailor, a woodworker and a golfer. He took delight in sharing these interests with his children, grandsons and seven great grandsons.

He was proud to claim that he was retired for more years than he had worked. He was a gentle man, who lived a life of humble service. He was 97 years old when he passed away.


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

Please note: Edition 14, Autumn 2022 will be released to the Grammar community in late April.

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.


Archives on the Grammar Website

A virtual tour of the Sydney Grammar School Archives Museum can also be accessed via the School website Archives page. Once inside, simply click on the tags to discover more content, including photos, footage and audio media.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the zoom in/out function on your mouse to optimise your viewing experience of text and images found within the tags. For further enquiries, email sgsarchives@sydgram.nsw.edu.au

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.

In Gallant Company

Dr Philip Creagh’s (OS 1965-1966) book honouring the Old Sydneians who died in World War I is available, at a cost of $65 plus postage via the following link. No other school in Australia made such a contribution or suffered so many casualties in World War I as Sydney Grammar School. This book includes short biographies of each Old Sydneian who didn’t make it home, comprising details of their school career, the circumstances in which they found themselves during the war and events leading to their untimely demise.

Old Sydneians Newsletter


Mr Steve Gonski


Alumni Officer

Ms Wendy Scotter