Old Sydneians’ Newsletter - Volume 35

Sydney Grammar School

Dear Old Sydneians,

This is my first message to the community since taking on the office of President and I want to start by welcoming a strong committee comprised of thirteen members ranging from OS 1964 to OS 2018. I also extend my sincerest thanks to my predecessor Mr Walter MacCallum for his dedication and devotion to the role of OSU President. Walter will continue to serve on the Committee as the immediate past President and will be leading a number of our key initiatives this year.

I am excited for the task ahead of me as my Committee and I roll out a number of new and existing initiatives. Our purpose, unwaveringly, is to serve the community of Old Sydneians through engagement with the School, its activities and the activities of our members.

One of our key initiatives for 2024 is to formalise OSU Mentoring, connecting established professionals with Old Sydneians in their penultimate year at university as well as emerging in their respective industry. We are seeking mentors and mentees to pioneer and help shape mentoring within the OSU. More information will follow shortly.

With respect to the professional network, we have commenced engagement through a new “Grammar in Business” networking initiative which was hosted by Tim Lindley (OS 1991) held on 17 April at the Hickson House Distillery.  

Recent leavers from 2022 and 2023 gathered for an inaugural Recent Leavers’ Drinks. We hope to make this a regular engagement for every year moving forward. 

2024 marks 150 years of Rugby at Sydney Grammar School and as such you will receive news of a combined Old Sydneians’ Union and Sydney Grammar School event, coinciding with and in support of Back to Weigall Day on Saturday 10 August 2024. In conjunction with this celebration, Jim Cattlin is publishing “Alligator Grammar! A History of Sydney Grammar School Rugby” it is available to pre-order a copy for $65. A stalwart in our event calendar is The Great Debate (July) where the OSU competes against some of the top schoolboy debaters at College Street. Other events and opportunities to pique your interest and engage with the Old Sydneians’ Union in the year ahead include the Annual Lunch (September), Annual OSU Golf Competition (June and October) and the GPS Gold Challenge (October). There are a number of key reunions throughout the year.

As Term I concludes, I want to reassure our community of our alignment to the School and its initiatives. We are in full support of and are excited for the new sports centre planned for Weigall. The Sydney Grammar School Prefects are looking for donations for their annual Prefect Raffle with funds in favour of their chosen charity, Gotcha4Life. Should you wish to donate a prize to their raffle, please reach out to Mr Johnston at caj@sydgram.nsw.edu.au.

Since our last newsletter a number of Old Sydneians received honours at recent Australia Day proceedings. I'd like to highlight these Old Sydneians and congratulate them all on their respective achievements; Ronald David Ferster AM (OS 1968), Professor Julian Colin Gold AM (OS 1967), Richard Charles Potok AM (OS 1977), Associate Professor Allen-John E Collins OAM (OS 1984), Gary Mark Inberg OAM (OS 1972), and Robert Edward McKeown OAM (OS 1958-1959).

On a sombre note, you will see later in this newsletter, the list of Old Sydneians who have passed in the last three months. My condolences go out to their families.

Finally, I look forward to engaging with as many of you as possible in the year ahead as we provide opportunities for you to connect with the Old Sydneians’ Union and the School. If you are wanting to be involved in any of the upcoming initiatives or know of other initiatives amongst our community, please reach out to info@osu.com.au.

Nick Manettas (OS 2009)
OSU President

The first OSU Meeting for 2024 was held at College Street on Wednesday 7 February

List of OSU Committee Members

President 2024
Nicholas Manettas (OS 2009)

David Ross (OS 1965-66)

Craig Duly (OS 1977)

Immediate Past President
Walter MacCallum (OS 1987)

Committee Members
Peter Gibby (OS 1964), Tony Wakefield (OS 1980), Tim Lindley (OS 1991), Dominic Knight (OS 1994), Leon Shohmelian (OS 1999), Andre Bressan (OS 2000), Tom O'Neill (OS 2009), Ethan Tsui (OS 2018), Cian Bowes (OS 2021).

GPS Challenge

The 2024 GPS Gold Challenge will be held on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 October. The Challenge is a reunion of the nine GPS schools held every two years for students approaching/just turned 50. This year the classes of 1991 and 1992 will have the opportunity to come along and take part in rowing, golf, shooting, tennis, indoor cricket, basketball, touch footy, athletics and swimming followed by a debate and dinner on the evening of the 12th at Newington College. The sporting is more social than serious just like the sideline banter, and the event also raises money for the Redkite Foundation.

For more information visit www.gpsgoldchallenge.com.au or reach out to Tim Stoyles (OS 1991) (tim@sydneywyde.au) or Angus Boyd (OS 1992) (angus@angusboyd.com).

John Willis (OS 1962-3) has been to Head of the River seventy-seven times! He rowed in the 1961, 62 and 63 SGS First VIIIs and his father rowed in the 1924 winning SGS VIII 100 years ago!

There is a horse by the name of Weigall Tiger that competes in Queensland. It is owned by Rob Zuttion (OS 1961) and the jockey’s silks have the Sydney Grammar School colours.

Jason Zhu-He (OS 2020) was part of a team that won two pre-moot competitions in Stockholm and The Hague!He also received the First Best Oralist Prize at the Permanent Court of Arbitration Pre-Moot. Jason is grateful to his coaches, the University of Sydney and everyone who assisted him.

Ithaka Lectures – Dr Michelle Dickinson

Dr Michelle Dickinson spent her career engineering nanotechnology solutions for the technology industry. Now the bestselling author, educator and creator of Nanogirl, Michelle is passionate about making science accessible and enjoyable for all. Join us on Wednesday 15 May at 6:00pm in the Alastair Mackerras Theatre. Tickets are now available to be purchased.


The Term II Concert will take place on Thursday 16 May at 6:30pm in the John Vallance Hall.

Musical Production

Sunday in the Park with George is this year’s Musical. Dr Douglas Wilson, the Director, says “It is the story of two men driven to express themselves through art. Georges Seurat, a nineteenth century painter, has passion for his work but struggles with the reality of his relationships, while, a hundred years later, his grandson has commercial success as a modernist sculptor but struggles to re-discover his passion. The show is a celebration of human ambition and a moving and amusing reflection on the complexity of life itself”. Tickets will be on sale early next term.

Summer Sport Update


The First and Second basketball teams have continued to try their best against very strong opposition. The younger age groups have shown some strength, and we look forward to developing their skills in the future.


Our cricketers had a successful summer. After travelling to Brisbane, the First XI won the T-20 Tri-Grammar Cup for the first time, and they also won the prestigious ‘Bat’ against Melbourne Grammar School for the first time since 2020. The Captain of Cricket, Zack Winslow (VI), is to be commended for his selection as Vice-Captain of the Combined AAGPS XI. He was joined in this representative team by William Powell (VI) and Myles Kapoor (IV). There is also considerable depth and skill in our junior teams, with our 15As, 14As and 13As teams all recording multiple victories during Term I against strong GPS opponents. The future of cricket at Grammar is looking very promising indeed.    


We welcomed a new Director of Rowing to the Shed in January. Mr Stephen Stewart, a Newington boy, represented Australia at a number of Olympics and won a bronze medal in Athens, 2004, rowing for the Men’s VIII. The Junior Shed has been revitalised this season, with many Year Eight and Year Nine quads recording first and second places in their races on a regular basis. The Senior Shed consolidated their efforts in training with many pleasing races. The highlight was the determined effort of the First VIII at the Head of the River, placing fifth, ahead of The Scots College, Newington College and Sydney Boys High School. All in all, it was a great season and the Shed is looking forward to more of the same next year.


Tennis continues to be successful across all age groups. Some of the highlights include:

  • Three players were selected from our very young Firsts to represent the GPS.
  • The under 13s beat St Joseph’s College without losing a game, winning all 18 sets 6-0.
  • The under 14s lost just one set in their last four fixtures.

Thursday 23 May – 2024 UK Centenary Dinner, House of Commons (Convenors: James Aitken, Adrian Jack)

Friday 30 August – 1964 60th Reunion Lunch, Venue TBC (Convenors: Peter Gibby, Col Rooke, Mark Fesq)

Saturday 7 September – 1974 50th Reunion, Venue TBC (Convenor: Simon Furber)

Friday 18 October – 1984 40th Reunion Lunch, Weigall Pavillion (Convenors: Matt Toll and Jonathan Isaacs)

Friday 18 October – 1994 30th Reunion, The Rawson at the Rocks (Convenors: Jon Tindall, Guy Keller)

Saturday 19 October – 2004 20th Reunion Big School Cocktail Party and School Tour (Convenors: Leon Dier, Harry Lehmann, Theeban Rubasingham)

Saturday 26 October – 2014 10th Reunion Gathering, Venue TBC (Convenors: Joshua Kovoor, Harry Godber, Sonat Erozan)

Wednesday 13 November –1950-1957 Annual Lunch, Alastair Mackerras Theatre Foyer

Saturday 16 November – 1969 55th Reunion Lunch, Royal Automobile Club (Convenor: Doug Wood)

Saturday 16 November – 2009 15th Reunion Gathering, Venue TBC (Convenor: Nick Manettas)

Members of the 1971 First XI and First XV met at the Phoenix Hotel on Sunday 17 March.

Steve Edwards, Jim Manzie, Rob Guest, Ian Freed, Mark Sewell, Mitch Jakeman, Sam Lamond, Greg Bush, Craig Brown, Leon Mackiewicz, Ross Titley

David Hardaker (OS 1975)

After qualifying for the Bachelor of Arts/Law at the University of Sydney, David ended up taking a road less travelled for a Grammar pupil: he became a journalist. In some ways it was an accidental choice. All he knew was that he wanted to make the world a more just place.  

One of his first jobs was with the Sunday Telegraph where he received a rugged initiation into the world of tabloid journalism at the hands of a legendary old crime reporter. His first question when it came to newsworthiness was always the same: ‘How many dead?’ 

The key questions of newsworthiness and justice changed as David’s career progressed. From newspapers, he jumped to television at 60 Minutes in the 1980s. Then came a move to the ABC where he spent the bulk of his career. Starting at Four Corners, he moved to the 7.30 Report (in the time of Kerry O’Brien) and then to radio current affairs where he worked alongside the great PM presenter, Mark Colvin. 

All of it was preparation in a way for the toughest job of them all, as the ABC’s Middle East correspondent, based in Israel. From here he came to know two of the world’s greatest cities: Jerusalem and Beirut. (Cairo, where he lived with his family for a period, is a close third.) It was in the extreme pressure of this part of the world that the ideas of newsworthiness and justice took on a whole new meaning, now defined by matters of life and death on a grand and historic scale. 

David Hardaker is the author of a new book, Mine is the Kingdom: the rise and fall of Brian Houston, which is available in bookstores. 

Scott Mendelsohn (OS1994)

Scott left Sydney Grammar School not really knowing what to do. However, after stints at Westpac, Macquarie Bank and some work overseas, he decided to launch a Coconut Water business in 2014. Natural Raw C was born.

Starting out with just coconut water, Raw C also now supplies coconut milk, sparkling coconut water and organic coconut oil. Its products are stocked nationally through the major supermarkets and independent stores. Raw C exports to five countries and is about to launch in the USA.

Scott credits a lot of his business success to the days at College Street where captaining the Athletics and Basketball teams helped him forge skills as a team player and leader. Scott also has a strong bond with his school mates and has regular catch ups with them. 

Michael Levas (OS 2018) and Dean Kalas (OS 2018)

Michael and Dean studied Commerce (Finance) / Laws and graduated from The University of New South Wales (UNSW) last year.

In November 2023, they led a team of six to compete in the 15th annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition. The team was awarded 1st place and are the first Australian team to achieve this. The competition was hosted at 7 World Trade Centre in New York with 16 university teams from around the world participating. 

To reach this level, Michael and Dean progressed through three separate domestic rounds, each with a different real estate private equity-style case to become Australian champions. This entitled their team to receive an all-expenses paid trip and invitation to compete in New York.

The Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition, developed by the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, tasks teams with analysing a commercial real estate private equity transaction over a five-day preparation period and presenting their analysis and proposal. The teams are judged on their investment recommendations and presentation skills. Judges in this competition are senior real estate executives. Sponsors of the competition’s international finals included Blackstone, KKR, BGO, CBRE, QuadReal, and other top real estate investment firms.

Michael is now beginning his career at McKinsey & Co and Dean is working at Macquarie Capital. 

Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation (CRBF) 

The 22 January 2024 would have marked the 25th birthday of Cooper Rice-Brading, whose name the Foundation proudly bears. 

The Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation (CRBF) was conceived by Cooper from his hospital bed, very soon after his own diagnosis with osteosarcoma. Despite a grim prognosis, Cooper dedicated himself to altering the trajectory of those walking this road behind him, culminating in the formal establishment of CRBF on 28 March 2017, with a visionary mission to make sarcoma history. He did so knowing that his work was very unlikely to assist him in any way. Cooper tragically lost his life to sarcoma some four months later on 24 August 2017. He was 18 years old.

The enduring impact of Cooper's vision and the Foundation's exponential growth are evident, with CRBF doubling in size annually since its inception. The foundation actively channels every dollar of all DGR funds into high-level sarcoma research, raising community awareness leading to early diagnosis, and into offering crucial support to patients and families affected by sarcoma.

In 2024 CRBF will proudly announce a milestone achievement, having allocated over $2 million in non-government funding to advancing sarcoma services and research in Australia. 

Congratulations to the following Old Sydneians:

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia:

Ronald David Ferster AM (OS 1968)
For significant service to the community through a range of organisations.

Professor Julian Colin Gold AM (OS 1967)
For significant service to medicine as a clinical epidemiologist and researcher, and to community health.

Richard Charles Potok AM (OS 1977)
For significant service to the indigenous community, to education, and to the law.

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

Associate Professor Allen-John E Collins OAM (OS 1984)
For service to medicine through a range of roles.

Mr Gary Mark Inberg OAM (OS 1972)
For service to the Jewish community of NSW, and to business.

Robert Edward McKeown OAM (Ted McKeown) OS 1958-59
For service to the community of inner western Sydney.

We congratulate the former Headmaster on his award:

Dr John Taber Vallance AM
For significant service to education, to library services and programs, and to the arts.

150 Years of Rugby at Sydney Grammar School

This year, our Rugby Club is planning a celebration of 150 years of Rugby at Sydney Grammar School. 

Back to Weigall Day will be on Saturday 10 August and we extend a warm invitation to our Alumni and past families to join us to watch our teams play the last home game of the GPS competition against Sydney Boys High School. The proposed kick-off time for First XV is 2:00pm, followed by afternoon tea. A special rugby Alumni dinner is being arranged for the same evening. Invitations for the dinner will be sent out early next term. 

In order to assist with finalising the plans for Back to Weigall Day and the Alumni dinner, we would appreciate it if you could answer the questions here.

This is an alumni event. Current rugby players at the School will not be attending. Current staff, past coaches and past Parents and Friends of Grammar Rugby will be invited.

Comments or queries can be directed to Ms Sharon Ditmarsch at publications@sydgram.nsw.edu.au.

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

Old Sydneians who have passed away since our last OS E-Newsletter:

Perry Robert BROWN (OS 1941-2)
James Tregarthon BISHOP (Jim) (OS 1945-46)
Geoffrey Donald BRATT (OS 1946), Roderick Cashel CAMERON (OS 1946), Michael Stephen Desmond HANLON AM (OS 1946)
Dr Richard Vousden YOUNG (OS 1946-47)
Maurice GREEN AM (OS 1948), Ronald James McNALLY (OS 1948), Alan Thomas TEMPERLEY (OS 1948)
Lindsay Sinclair PATON OAM (OS 1948-49)
Ian Fraser BOYD (OS 1952)
John CROSBY (OS 1954-55), John Neville FISHER (OS 1954-55)
Peter Richard FIELD (OS 1956)
Basil Forbes HENRY (OS 1958-59)
William Barry BRIDGES (Bill) (OS 1959)
Bruce Desmond CARR (OS 61-62) 
Mark David LAPIN (OS 1965), Robert (David) MACDONALD (OS 1965)
James Sidney PATFIELD (OS 1968)
Bruce Leslie GOTTERSON (OS 1978) 
Professor Roger Elgin MYERS (OS 1984)
John Hamilton BURKE (OS 1987)


Marteques (Glenn) Glenn Clark, master at College Street from 1981 to 1993 and then Headmaster of Edgecliff Preparatory School from 1994 until 2001, has sadly passed away in 2024.

Glenn was appointed Headmaster of Edgecliff Preparatory School, after serving as acting Headmaster following Peter Harwin’s departure in 1994. Glenn imparted devoted and loyal service to the School over 21 years. At College Street he was actively involved in teaching History and Asian Studies and also in rowing, fencing, debating, the Cadet Corps.

While Headmaster of Edgecliff, Glenn managed some very significant changes in the character of the School as well as holding it together during a construction program which amounted to the virtual rebuilding of the School. He retired as Headmaster to pursue other interests in education and undertake a range of recreational pursuits such as travel, research, writing, sailing and diving.


(Lillian) Li Gin (Librarian at Edgecliff Preparatory School) died on 11 January, aged 70.

Li arrived at Edgecliff in 1998 to find a library system that was based on a card catalogue. She worked tirelessly putting the information onto a computer database to help create a web-based system. She was a passionate librarian who engaged, supported and inspired countless boys and staff over the years, and she was actively involved in debating. At the end of 2018 she retired with the intention to read, relax, travel and do some volunteer work for reading groups.

The latest edition of SGS magazineEdition 17, Spring 2023 is available in an online electronic format here. Edition 18, Autumn 2024 will be available in coming weeks.

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 the Alumni Office on (02) 9332 5843 or alumni@sydgram.nsw.edu.au.

You are able to view most editions of SGS magazine anytime via the School’s website.

The SGS Archives would appreciate some assistance from the Sydney Grammar community in identifying the boys in the following ‘fun’ photo from 1978.

Any information can be passed on via sgsarchives@sydgram.nsw.edu.au and please let us know whether you do not want your name to be acknowledged as a contributor in the next newsletter. 

Many thanks to George Conomos, who tried to assist in identifying the boys in the following 1956 rugby photo.

Standing from left: Colin Mountford, George Conomos, ??, Mr Stevenson (Stevo), D. Gain, Sean Chapman, Bruce O'Brien.
Seated from left: Ray Michaels, W.D. Rollo, Don Birkett (Captain), Tony Knevitt, ??, David Schreiber.

Alligator Grammar! A History of Sydney Grammar School Rugby

Just in time for the 150 year celebration, Jim Cattlin (OS and First XV 1961) has published Alligator Grammar! A History of Sydney Grammar School Rugby. The book delves into the 150-year history of rugby at the School, with 440 photos of teams, action shots and illustrations. It is available to pre-order a copy for $65


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. 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 Office 

Ms Wendy Scotter
Ms Charlotte McColl


Publications Office

Ms Dimetra Skondras-Silva