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CAMPBELL, John Hollis (1895 - 1989)

CAMPBELL, John Hollis (1895 - 1989)

J H Campbell (Miles Album)

J H Campbell (Miles Album)

J H Campbell, teacher and legendary Collegian, was revered by generations of students, not least for his contribution to rowing.

Born at Winchelsea on 13 August 1895 to parents Archibald Lorne Campbell and his wife Ester Annie nee Hollis, he was to become a 'School Master Extraordinaire' at the Geelong College. He was known to generations of boys and staff colleagues as ‘JH’ or ‘Misty’ to distinguish him from 'LJ' or ‘Frosty’ Campbell. He joined the College as a day student in 1904, eventually achieving the dual distinction of being Dux of the College in his final year of 1912 and winning the College Cup for athletics that year. When he enrolled his address was Aphrasia St, Newtown. His brothers, Archibald Hugh (1888-1974), and Allister Colin Muir Campbell (1891-1971), also attended the School. He left in 1912.

J H Campbell was also a member of the Athletics Team in 1910, 1911 and 1912, and became a School Prefect in 1912.

His academic awards up to 1908 included the following:
1904, Dux, Preparatory Form.
1904, 1st, English, Junior College Preparatory Form.
1904, 1st, History, Junior College Preparatory Form.
1904, 1st, Geography, Junior College Preparatory Form.
1904 2 Writing Junior College Preparatory Form
1904 1 Scripture Junior College Preparatory Form
1905 Dux of 3rd Form
1905 1 English Junior College 3rd Form
1905 1 History Junior College 3rd Form
1905 2 Latin 3rd Form
1905 2 French 2nd Form
1905 1 Scripture Junior College 3rd Form
1906 Dux of Lower 4th Form
1906 1 English Lower 4th Form
1906 2 Algebra 2nd Form
1906 1 Latin 3rd Form
1906 1 French 3rd Form
1907 Dux of Middle 4th Form
1907 2 English Middle 4th Form
1907 2 Geometry Lower 4th Form
1907 1 Latin Lower 4th Form
1907 2 French Middle 4th Form
1908 Dux of Upper 4th Form
1908 2 English Upper 4th Form
1908 1 Latin Upper 4th Form
1908, 1st, French, Upper 4th Form.
J H Campbell (Annual Report, 1905)

J H Campbell
(Annual Report, 1905)

During World War I, he enlisted at Perth on 15 June 1917, embarking for France on HMAT A74 Marathon from Albany, Western Australia, on 29 July 1918. He arrived in England at the 1st Training Battalion at Sutton Veny and was then sent across the Channel with reinforcements to 11 Battalion on 29 September. He then transferred to the Pay Corps in January, 1919. He returned to Australia aboard HMT Pakeha, embarking on 6 October 1919. After service in the AIF, he worked in a Perth bank and completed his Degree, BA at the University of Perth, then taught at Perth High School.

He returned to the College in 1927, and became Master-in-Charge of the Preparatory School from 1928 to 1930 and Housemaster of Shannon House. In 1931 he returned to Perth for the year. 'J H' was not to leave the service of the College again till his retirement in 1963. Those thirty six years were years of dedicated service to the College in almost every facet of the school's life. Among his many initiatives was the formation of a Drum and Bugle Band which was later replaced by the Cadet Corps' Brass Band.

His work at Warrinn began in 1933, and in 1939 he was appointed Master-in-Charge, untill 1960. During his early years in Warrinn he was assisted by Matron 'Maggie' (McOuat), who spoilt Masters (including 'J H’) and boys alike, and was an essential cog in the running of, and in maintaining the happiness that surrounded, the 'JH' boys. As well as his responsibilities for Warrinn, he became Housemaster of Calvert House, and involved with the House of Guilds. A keen and enthusiastic hiker, 'JH’, was a stalwart of the Ramblers Guild, which boasted among its members - Bobby Radcliffe (Warden of the House of Guilds), Bertie Keith, Alex Hillhouse and George Logie Smith. Photography, like everything 'J H' did, was a great joy to him. There are many boys, their sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends who can testify to the great care, the patience, and the excellence of 'J H's' photographs. At various times he coached cricket and football teams; (particularly the 2nd Eighteen) umpired football matches, from the centre of the oval; coached boys in the art of 'putting the shot' and from time to time provided expert coaching in the skills of hockey.

No doubt his greatest contribution to the sporting life of the College came in 1940 when he was appointed Master-in-Charge of Rowing. His complete understanding of boys; his uncanny capacity to assess their strengths and weaknesses, particularly as to how they would perform under pressure, made him the pillar of the Boat Club. He gave to the Boat Club that stability it needed, for he was ever to be found 'pottering' about the boat shed, making sure that everyone was busy, happy and eager to succeed. Discipline, so essential in such a demanding sport, was not visible as such but it was there just the same.

As Senior History Master he was the proud owner of an extensive library of history books, which he later presented to the College library. His interest in the Geelong Historical Society after his retirement indicated that his love of history had not waned. There seems no doubt that 'JH's three great loves (apart from his sister Sheila) were Warrinn, rowing (the Boat Club), and music, in which the Glee Club held pride of place. His vast collection of records kept him abreast of all the latest performances, and his love for the flute, saw him, on his retirement, as a regular contributor to the Geelong Symphony Orchestra. He was to teach the flute to many enthusiastic boys at the Preparatory School, and give them the benefit of his wisdom, dedication to and love of the instrument. Such was the calibre of 'JH' that he had no favourites: everything he did everyone with whom he was involved, boys and staff, were treated in the same kindly and caring way, nothing was too much trouble for him, and he was not to be hurried in searching for answers. His vast contribution to the education of generations of boys and his influence on them, was not gained from his pre-eminence as a teacher of history, but, from his complete involvement in all the happenings at The Geelong College. Such dedication is the hallmark of the genuine teacher.

J H Campbell circa 1976.

J H Campbell circa 1976.

'JH' was incapable of an ungenerous thought or shady deed. Pettiness, jealousy and dislike of others was not in his make-up. He never interfered in Glee Club rehearsals, but was happy to be called upon to undertake any task asked of him - willingly and gladly. He loved to be involved: never coveted fame or fortune and was happy when everyone else was happy and delighted to be part of the many aspects of College life. That his influence on many boys enabled them to blossom out into responsible citizens was all the reward he wished. A man with a deep and abiding affection for his College and for all those generations of boys who passed through his care, in the many years of his selfless service. Though Fairfax in 'Yeomen of the Guard' said, 'it is easier to die well, than to live well', 'J H' succeeded in accomplishing both.'

J H Campbell bequeathed $10,000 to the Albert Bell Club which was used as a foundation pledge to build a new boat shed in 1995.

Sources: This biography is based on an edited version of the eulogy given by George Logie Smith at the funeral service for 'J.H.' at All Saints' Church on 16 March 1989 and published in Ad Astra No 61 p3; Ad Astra September 1990 p3; 'Geelong Collegians at the Great War' compiled by J. Affleck p148.
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