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Old Sydneians’ Newsletter - Volume 33

From the President of the OSU

Last Friday, on 22 September, 160 Old Boys gathered in the “Strangers Room” of NSW Parliament House to celebrate the 130-year anniversary of the Old Sydneians’ Union, which commenced on that very day in 1893. The day has been described as an absolute highlight in the OSU calendar with some amazing one-on-one interviews conducted by the Committee’s very own Dominic Knight (OS 1994) with the Headmaster, Dr Richard Malpass (OS 1994), Michael Dillon AM (OS 1964) and Will Edwards (OS 2006) – all providing extremely interesting and enjoyable stories about themselves and their lives. As the photos in the newsletter attest, a great day was had by all; some getting home in the late hours of Friday evening. A special mention to our oldest Old Sydneian at lunch, John Packham (OS 1950), who travelled all the way from Tasmania. Well done and thanks!

To commemorate the anniversary, the OSU and Archie Rose have collaborated to make available a limited-edition Archie Rose Whisky and Gin. To grab a bottle, go to the Archie Rose website through the link below – only while stocks last!

Shop | OSU Tailored Whisky & Gin | Archie Rose Distilling Co.

The next big event on the OSU calendar is the Annual Golf Day, which is a teams competition for the JH Buckle Trophy. It will be held again at The Coast Golf Club this year on Wednesday 25 October.

If you are interested in attending, please email Nick Manettas of the OSU Committee

Lastly, as we move into that time of year, I would like to wish the current Sixth Form the very best of luck for the upcoming HSC examinations and of course, my best wishes go to all those Old Sydneian parents who have children sitting the examinations this year – congratulations you have almost made it!

Recently, I had the privilege to attend the School's Assembly to provide an insight about the Old Sydneians’ Union. (See below video)

Dr Richard Malpass

Michael Dillon AM

Will Edwards

Please Note: All Old Sydneians are welcome to attend the OSU Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 29 November at College Street at 6:00pm.

Walter MacCallum


The first concert on Thursday 27 July was the Combined Bands Concerts, which featured all of the College Street bands, as well as bands from the two Preparatory schools. The Annual Form V Instrumental and Vocal Competition was held on 10 August and on 17 August, a guitar concert was held in the Alastair Mackerras Theatre. The Term III concert on Tuesday 22 August was a special event for our Form VI boys, who were featured in many of the senior ensembles that performed on the night. The Annual Music Dinner followed soon after on Saturday 26 August and the final musical performance of the term was the HSC Recital Day on Sunday 3 September, where the boys performed their entire programmes for the HSC examinations, which were held the following week.


With thirty-one football teams and over 450 boys involved in the football programme, there were highlights across the board, from 13s to the Opens, from the Fs to the As. The Second XI had another fantastic season, ending as unbeaten runners-up, with six wins and four draws. Our First XI had a challenging season against strong opposition. To their credit, they showed determination, recording three wins and coming sixth. 


Grammar rugby recorded pleasing results again this year. Special congratulations to the 13As and 14Bs, who were undefeated during the season. In the Opens, the Thirds only lost their last game, and the 1sts were in contention for the premiership until their loss to the eventual winners, The Scots College.

 Bo Baffsky (VI) and Grammar fans at The Scots College

‘Back to Weigall’ Day Saturday 22 July


Our seventeen-team squad played over 150 matches throughout the season, yielding positive results. 13A and B, 14A, 15A and B, and Thirds all placed second in their respective divisions. Firsts and Seconds demonstrated an exceptional standard of play but the volleyball powerhouse, that is Sydney Boys High School, took both Championships.

Upcoming School Events in Term IV

Monday 9 October – Term IV starts; Army Cadet Corps Ceremonial Parade at Weigall
Wednesday 18 October – Ithaka Lecture 7 in Alastair Mackerras Theatre (John Bell) at 6:00pm
Wednesday 8 November – Ithaka Lecture 8 in Alastair Mackerras Theatre (Clare Kenyon) at 6:00pm
Tuesday 14 November – Jazz Combos Concert in Palladium Theatre at 6:30pm
Friday 17 November – Ensembles Concert in Alastair Mackerras Theatre at 6:30pm
Tuesday 21 November – Term IV Concert in John Vallance Hall at 6:30pm
Wednesday 22 November – Literary Night in Alastair Mackerras Theatre at 6:00pm
Friday 24 November – Air Force Cadets Ceremonial Parade at 4:00pm at Weigall
Tuesday 5 December – Edgecliff Preparatory School Presentation Day
Wednesday 6 December – St Ives Preparatory School Presentation Day
Thursday 7 December - College Street Speech Day

After the success of last year’s match between the OSCC and the First XI (in which the OSCC prevailed), the game will be held again this year at Weigall on Friday 12 January 2024 at 10:00am. The boys found this fixture useful last year as part of the preparation for the Tri Grammar series, and the OSCC enjoy every chance they can get to return to Weigall.

In addition, the OSCC is hosting an annual internal, informal game at Weigall on Sunday 3 December. If interested, please contact Alex Beale on 0434 181 006. 

All are welcome to attend both fixtures.

Upcoming Reunions

Friday 3 November – 1963 60th Reunion Lunch, Weigall (Convenors: Jim Barkell, Tim Ross) 
Saturday 11 November – 2003 20th Reunion, School Tour, Big School Cocktail Party (Convenor: Jeremy Atkin) 
Wednesday 15 November – 1950-1954 Annual Lunch (with partners), Alastair Mackerras Theatre Foyer 
Saturday 18 November – 2013 10th Reunion, The Phoenix Hotel, Woollahra (Convenors: Emmanuel Hart, William Lee) 
Saturday 25 November – 2018 5th Reunion, The Bellevue Hotel Paddington from 5:30pm (Convenor: Charlie Abel) 

1955-1957 Reunion Lunch on Friday 14 July at the Weigall Pavilion

1988 Reunion and School Tour on Saturday 22 July

 Reunion at the Bay Area, San Francisco, USA, on Thursday 3 August

1993 30-Year Reunion and School Tour on Friday 4 August

1983 40-Year Reunion and School Tour on Saturday 2 September

Did you know?

The Old Sydneians’ Union has supported the Taronga Zoo through its Alligator adoption since 2005. This generous support has helped to fund vital conservation projects in support of reptiles and amphibians across Australia.

Dr Leslie Glen (OS 1956)

After practising as a specialist general surgeon for 46 years in the inner west of Sydney, Leslie is on the verge of retirement.

When he started working in the inner west areas around 1976, they were popularly referred to as “working class”. There were lots of factories (and pollution), transport, shipping and waterfront activities, which employed most of the local residents. Their solidarity, generosity and compassion were always on display. Everyone loved the Balmain Tigers RLFC of course!  Mingling within this Anglo-Saxon-Celtic society were the post WWII newcomers, chiefly southern Italians. His surgical practice was completely Italian speaking and rapidly became established for that reason. He was appointed as a visiting surgeon to Balmain District Hospital which was “incorporated” by Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1992 when he transferred to Concord Repatriation General Hospital.

There was a brief life change from 1985-88, when Leslie worked as one of two surgeons, at Vila Central Hospital, Vanuatu, for 3 years with Australian Government Aid sponsorship. Friendships and an emotional attachment remain and will occupy some of his retirement time.

After School, Leslie was unfortunately exposed to racism and bigotry. It made him realise, for the first time, that many of his school friends had come from different cultures, races and religious foundations. Multiculturalism was truly in place at Grammar, well before it became more widely established in the Australian community.

Leslie has been on the Board of Balmain Tigers RLFC since 1989 and has been Chairman for the past 8 years. In retirement, he also hopes to travel and improve his French and German.

Dr Richard Barnes (OS 1978)

Richard is a structural engineer and in January this year he became the first person to continuously kayak solo across the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New Zealand.

He left from Hobart and the 62-year-old landed in Riverton, on New Zealand’s South Island after 67 days at sea. This was his second attempt at the crossing. In 2021, he had to give up near Lord Howe Island after 75 days because of Cyclone Seth.

Richard’s vessel, Blue Moon, was custom-built and designed by him. It contained three main compartments. The first was for drying clothes, sleeping, and using electronic devices. The second was for eating and changing, and the third was the cockpit. At 10m long, it weighed 600 kilograms when he started the journey.

In April this year, a group of about 30 1978 Old Sydneians gathered to listen to Richard talk about his voyage. Many of them had followed him daily by checking weather conditions, his exact location and questioning why he was doing it and why they couldn't. They were amazed at his natural curiosity, positivity and determination to kayak approximately 10 hours a day. Richard answered many interesting questions and he mentioned that he hoped his challenge would spur others to push life just a little further.

(Many thanks to Kymbal Dunne (OS 1978) for helping to provide information.)

OS 1978 Gathering at Tattersall’s Club

Dr Barnes on Blue Moon

William Boag (OS 1964)

Will was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010 and told that his life would deteriorate slowly but dramatically. Being a person who strongly believes in confronting issues, he responded by donning a ‘Walking for Parkinson’s’ sign on his back and walking over 800 kilometres across Spain on the Camino de Compostela. In 2022, Will initiated what he believes is the first Parkinson’s Marathon in Australia which is now held each year on the closest Sunday to 31 July at the Artarmon Reserve in Sydney. He completed his second full marathon (42.25 kms) in 2023 and is encouraging other participants to do their version of a marathon according to their capacity, between 2 and 42 kms.

For over 10 years, Will and his wife Corrie have raised over $60,000 for the Parkinson’s Research charity Shakeitup, and his blog is available here through his link At the bottom of his home page is his Tedtalk, which may help those struggling with PD. He may be contacted on 0422346155 or by email on

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

Rafat Ghabrial (OS 1981) passed away on 18 July 2023

Raf’s parents were from Egypt and were both very well-respected doctors. After spending time in the UK completing their medical specialty training, Raf’s family moved to Australia in 1975. He and his older brother Amgad (OS 1979) attended Sydney Grammar School and Raf made many friends, including Associate-Professor Timothy Steel, who gave a eulogy at his funeral.

On leaving School, Raf started dentistry, but he soon transferred to medicine. He specialised in ophthalmology and, after marrying Barbara in 1995, he undertook fellowship training in oculoplastic surgery, spending a year in both the UK and New York. After returning to Sydney, he became a prominent Macquarie Street specialist ophthalmologist. Raf worked at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, The Sydney Eye Hospital and Concord Hospital. He was awarded the title of Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.

Raf was passionate about helping people and surfing. When he discovered that one of his favourite surfing places was the Indonesian island of Nias, he combined his two passions and created the ‘Friends of Nias Charity’. The clinic provides free medical services for people living on the island and is supported by donations from the public and money from Raf's enormous fundraising efforts.

Raf passed away on 18 July this year and he is survived by his wife Barbara and four children.

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

William Sydney (Bill) Tait (OS 1941), Peter Allan Moore (OS 1943), Ross Burns (OS 1944), Keith Foldi (OS 1946-7), Dr John Pinhey (OS 1946-7), Allan Hart (OS 1949)

John Greenland (OS 1957-8), John Rourke (OS 1958)

John Wray (1962)

Dr Robert (Bruce) Hilliar (OS 1970), Jeremy Jones (OS 1976), Louis Tillet (OS 1977), Warren White (OS 1978)

Christopher May (OS 2001)

The latest edition of SGS MagazineEdition 16, Autumn 2023 is available in an online electronic format here

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

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

The School’s Archives would appreciate some assistance from the Sydney Grammar School community in identifying the following photo. We suspect that it may be from the 1970s.

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

Archives is reprinting the following rugby photo in the hope that we can identify it more accurately. Many thanks to Scott Smith who suggested that the player holding the ball may be either Jim Lucas (OS 1971) or Leon Mackiewicz (OS 1971).

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