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COLLINS, Trevor Marcus ‘Sandy’ (1919-2012)

COLLINS, Trevor Marcus ‘Sandy’ (1919-2012)

'Sandy' Collins, College Preparatory School.

'Sandy' Collins,
College Preparatory School.

Born on the 18 May 1919, the son of Basil Noel Marcus and Gladys Iolantha nee Palmer, ‘Sandy’ Collins was at the College from 1925 until 1938, and rowed in the bow seat in the victorious 1936 College crew – the first College crew to win the Head of the River. 'Sandy' held the bow seat for three years from 1936 to 1938, a period which began a lifelong enthusiasm for rowing. In 2009, at almost 90 years of age, he was still active as a rowing official in the Judges Box or presenting prizes. At College, he was also a School Prefect from 1937 to 1938, House Captain of Morrison House and a Cadet Corps Sergeant as well as earning House Colours in swimming and football. He remains a stalwart supporter and benefactor of the College.

Before World War II, he served with the Militia in an anti-aircraft unit, training at Williamstown racecourse with the staff from Queenscliff Fort. He was involved in building gun sites at Williamstown, Maribyrnong, Essendon, Ballarat Road and Coode Island and the unit became known as ‘Curtin’s Curious Creatures’. Sandy recalled that, after enlisting in the AIF and entraining with 71 other troops to Sydney on Christmas Eve 1941, then on to Brisbane, and Townsville, all under a cloak of secrecy, they were ‘delighted’ to hear ‘Tokyo Rose’ ‘congratulating the honourable Australian Government on sending 72 Victorian bushmen to Townsville to build gun sites’.

In Townsville, he was promoted and served in the Headquarters 56th Australian Anti-Aircraft Battery, working as the sole Australian in the Operations Room with the Americans, while his mates were manning the guns. The battery then headed further north to Atherton Tablelands, then to Horn Island and Thursday Island. Towards the end of the war 'Sandy' found himself in charge of a timber mill, knowing nothing about timber and rather bemused by his appointment. He was eventually discharged on 14 February 1945. After the war, he returned to the family Business, Collins Wool Traders of Latrobe Terrace of which he was a half-owner. That business closed in 1988.

'Sandy' Collins at the Head of the Schoolgirls' Regatta, 2009.

'Sandy' Collins at the Head of the Schoolgirls' Regatta, 2009.

His zeal for rowing is well known and he started coaching crews soon after he left School. He has been a member of the Geelong Rowing Association for over 40 years and President twice - with a term of 10 years as President on both occasions. He was member of Rowing Victoria for over 20 years not retiring until 1999. 'Sandy' was a life member of the Albert Bell Club (ABC). His service to sport was recognised by the APS in 1997 when he was honoured by the Association.

Staff member Richard Morris, a rowing coach for many years, recalled that in his younger days 'Sandy' used to drive the safety boat that followed every race in a flamboyant fashion. Richard recalled that such was the exuberance of Sandy’s driving that one of the College crews was swept off course by Sandy's wake. Sandy’s father, along with ‘Charlie’ Brown and ‘Archie’ Shannon, was one of the principle instigators of the scheme to bring Charlie Saleh from Sydney to Geelong College as a rowing coach. His maternal grandfather, Charles Frederic Palmer (1862-1934), was a student of the College from 1878 to 1881 and a well known player for the Geelong Football Club.

His father, Basil Noel Marcus Collins (1891-1946) was also educated at Geelong College.

'Sandy' died, age 93, on 14 June 2012.

Sources: James Affleck, Geelong Collegians’ at World War II; Collins Family; Geelong Advertiser 16 June 2012. OGC 1936.
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