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BUNTINE, Robert Walter (1929-2014)

BUNTINE, Robert Walter (1929-2014)

'Bob' Buntine is best known as a teacher and talented rowing coach at Newington College, Sydney where he was Deputy Headmaster for over 20 years until his retirement in 1996.

Born at Melbourne on 18 February, 1929 he was the son of former Geelong College Principal, Dr Martyn Arnold Buntine (1898-1975) and former Australian Chief Commissioner of Guides, Gladys Selby nee Spurling OBE (1901-1992). He first went to School at Hale School, Perth where his father was Headmaster before moving to Geelong College in 1946 for two years when his father was appointed as College Principal. At College, he developed his life-long affection for rowing starting in the 3rd VIII in 1946 and eventually rowing in the 1st VIII in 1947. That was a busy year for him as in 1947 he was a School Prefect, vice-captain of Calvert House, a Cadet Lieutenant and a member of the Music Committee. He continued this interest in music throughout his life later playing the tuba, clarinet and piano.

Robert Buntine Rowing, 1947).

Robert Buntine Rowing, 1947).

From College he entered Ormond College studying arts at the University of Melbourne from which he graduated in 1951. He rowed with Ormond College and the University earning his ‘University Blue’. There followed a year at sea on merchant ships and after a brief period in the UK, and Western Australia he joined Trans Australian Airlines (TAA) as a researcher in Head Office. Five years later he joined Balm Paints (Dulux) as Group Training Officer before, in 1960, changing career towards teaching. To this end he gained a Diploma in Education through the University of New England in 1962 and eventually a masters degree from the University of Sydney.

‘Bob' taught at Kings School, Parramatta for 14 years from 1960 to 1974 becoming housemaster of Broughton House and Master in charge of rowing. He coached many crews including juniors and 1st VIIIs during a period in which the King’s School won the AAGPS Head of the River four times in a row after a drought dating from 1920. During this period he completed both his Dip Ed and then M Ed. He was Headmaster at Wolaroi College in Orange before moving to Newington College in 1975 where he remained until 'retirement' in 1996. He married Ivy nee Marles in 1958 and his two daughters were pupils at Abbotsleigh School and learnt French with Pauline Turner who was later to become Principal of Geelong College. ‘Bob’ also taught terms at Leys School, Cambridge and Tabor Academy, Boston. ‘Bob’s brother, John Buntine, also attended College.

Retirement for ‘Bob’ was merely a phase change and he continued to coach rowing with Newington 1st VIIIs winning many Head of the River titles. His interest in the maritime world continued with him becoming a foundation member of the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney. ‘Bob’ lived at Mosman until his death on 8 March 2014, aged 85 years, and fittingly, his memorial service was held at Newington College.

Sources: Ken Fargher; Sydney Morning Herald 11 March 2014. Obituary King’s School; Image King’s School; Ad Astra July 2014 p45. OGC 1943.
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