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BUNTINE, Martyn Arnold (1898-1975)

BUNTINE, Dr Martyn Arnold (1898-1975)

See Also BUNTINE, Martyn Arnold (Centenary History Text, 1961)

Dr M A Buntine

Dr M A Buntine

Dr Buntine was Principal of the Geelong College from 1946 to early 1960. Under his direction the Preparatory School was planned and built. He was born at Kilsyth in 1898, the son of Walter Murray Buntine (1866-1953) and Bertha Florence nee Gibbs (1868-1960). A student at Caulfield Grammar School, he graduated in Arts at Melbourne University in 1922 before completing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education at Edinburgh. He married Gladys Selby nee Spurling (1901-1992) who, known as 'Jim' became Australian Guiding's Chief Commissioner from 1962 to 1968. At the age of 28, Martyn was appointed Head of Camberwell Grammar, a position he held for four years before moving to the Hale School, Perth from 1931 to 1940. He enlisted in the AIF at Perth in 1940 serving in Australia and North Africa. On his discharge in December, 1943 he was ranked a Lieut Col with the 2/28 Battalion. He returned to the Hale School, Perth before commencing at Geelong College as Principal in 1946.

The School magazine Pegasus in an obituary of 1975 described his achievements at the School as follows: 'He arrived at Geelong in that very difficult post-war period when rising prices were eroding the value of accumulated monies, while materials, manpower and building permits were strictly controlled. These handicaps coincided with a wave of applications for enrolment, leading to the agony of outright refusals and the complications of waiting lists. Accommodation was overtaxed; staff conditions were deteriorating because of financial inflation and oversize classes. Despite such problems, the College gradually regained sufficient momentum to complete some outstanding projects. The War Memorial west wing was opened in 1950, completing the quadrangle, and eventually the long envisaged new Preparatory School became a reality.

However, Dr Buntine was much more than a good follower: he was also an originator in his own right. Through his personal efforts he upgraded the 'New Prep'. project by trebling its land area. He was 'staff minded', obtaining an improved salary scale with a regular system of promotions; he worked for the foundation of the Combined Schools' Superannuation Fund, from which he was himself too old to benefit; he persuaded the Council to purchase several properties as masters' residences. He instituted the school uniform and took the lead in introducing the kilt for the cadet corps. One of his last efforts was to assist actively in the campaign for the Centenary Building Fund.

The College in the Buntine years reached high academic levels and enjoyed a golden age in extramural activities, with two cricket premierships, four boatrace wins and outstanding results in athletics. The Glee Club maintained a high stand¬ard, while the Exploration Society spread itself in ventures as far afield as Central Australia, with the Head sometimes participating.'

After a brief 'retirement' from the Geelong College he was appointed to Knox Grammar School, Sydney as a senior staff member. His portrait by Sir William Dargie is on display in the Senior School Dining Hall.

Sources: Pegasus June 1960; Pegasus 1975 p103 Obituary; Ad Astra Sept 1975.
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