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GRUTZNER, Patrick William (1925-2017)

GRUTZNER, Patrick William (1925-2017)

'Pat' Grutzner (Football 1943)

'Pat' Grutzner (Football 1943)

Patrick William Grutzner was born on 27 July 1925 at 'Cambrai', East St Kilda, the son of Dr Frederick William (Wilhelm Auguste) Grutzner and his second wife, Madge nee Abernethy of 'Na-Nareen', Shepparton.

'Pat' was a boarder at Geelong College from 10 February 1937 to December 1943. In 1937, he won the Under 13 Athletics Championship at the Preparatory School with a win in the 75 yds sprint and Long Jump and a second place in the 100 yds sprint. In 1938 he played a pirate in the Junior Dramatic Society's rendition of the 'whimsical play' 'Peter Pan' which was performed at Geelong's Plaza Theatre in conjunction with a performance by the Geelong College Glee Club of Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Trial by Jury' .

At the Senior School, he reached the semi-finals of the College's Under 16 Singles Tennis Championship in 1941. He was Vice-Captain of the Under 16 Football Team in 1941, a member of the 1st Football XVIII in 1943, the 1st Rowing VIII in 1942 and 1943 (stroke 1943), and a member of the Athletics teams of 1942 and 1943 (Captain 1943). He was also a School Prefect and Morrison House Vice-Captain in 1943 and served in staff member, 'Tammy' Henderson's Air Training Corps in early 1944. Morrison House led by P W Grutzner won the Henry Young Memorial Cup in 1943.

During the latter years of World War II, he enlisted (No. 449432) in the RAAF on 24 March 1944 and embarked for Canada in August 1944 for training with the Empire Air Training Scheme, firstly at 7 AOS Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and then at 19 SFTS. He held the rank of Flight-Sergeant at the time of his discharge on 9 November 1945.

'Pat' died on 24 November 2017, aged 92 years.

Phillip Grutzner, 'Pat's son, wrote affectionately of his father shortly after his death: ‘Dad was proud of his German heritage. His grandfather, William Fredrick left Germany in the 1870’s as an 18 year old presumably at the behest of his mother to avoid conscription to fight in the Franco-Prussian war. This for all of our family was a fortuitous move as he would most likely have perished in another of Europe’s horrific conflicts. He came to Australia with nothing but a few skills in dye making and a passion to make the best of his life in a new country.

Ultimately, William settled in Geelong and eventually moved to Melbourne where he ran a dye making business in Burnley St Richmond opposite to where the Victoria Gardens shopping centre now stands. Whilst in Geelong, Dad’s father won a full academic scholarship to attend Geelong College of which he was ultimately the dux prior to undertaking medical studies at the University of Melbourne.

Dad followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Geelong College. Our family over the next three generation have been the beneficiaries of this great gift from Geelong College. For dad his father’s story emphasised in his mind the fundamental importance of education.’

Dad’s years at Geelong College in the 1940’s made a hugely positive impact on him, developed his strong values as well as gave him life-long friends. I am glad that two years ago (2015) I took Dad to Geelong College to see the firsts football game between Geelong College and Carey.'

'Pat's father, Dr Frederick William Grutzner (1887-1974), was also educated at Geelong College, and awarded School Dux in 1905.

Sources: The Age (Melb) 25 July 2017; Pegasus December 1937 p47; Pegasus December 1938 p31; Pegasus December 1941 p54; Pegasus June 1943 p2; Pegasus December 1943 p16; Pegasus June 1944 p16; Pegasus December 1944 p45; Geelong Collegians' at the Second World War by James Affleck p255 citing (The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives; Photo P W Grutzner.) OGC 1939.

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