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KEITH, Bertram Robert ‘Bertie’ (1902-1996)

Bert Keith.

Bert Keith.

KEITH, Bertram Robert ‘Bertie’ (1902-1996)

‘Bert’ Keith attended the Swanston St State School before entering Geelong College on a scholarship from 1916 to 1919. After a short period teaching in Tasmania and at Scotch College, Melbourne from 1925 to 1926, he became one of the longest serving staff members of Geelong College from 1927 to July 1971.

He taught French, Geography, Latin and History, and edited the School Magazine Pegasus. Through the House of Guilds and the Exploration Society he took a leading part in many pioneering schoolboy expeditions including the first school trip to Central Australia in 1948. During World War II he contributed to the war effort by assembling mines, shovelling salt and proof reading at the Geelong Advertiser newspaper. 'He acted as representative of the Alliance Francaise de Victoria in organizing local oral examinations, soirees, and dramatic presentations and in 1949 the French Government recognised the value of his work by awarding him the Medaille d’Honneur.' He was Acting Vice-Principal in 1966; Academic Assistant to the Principal, 1968 and Secretary, OGCA, from 1969 to 1971.

'Bert' was a keen and knowledgeable supporter of the Old Collegians’ Association and was President in 1959. He was also Honorary Secretary and Executive Officer and as such produced the newsletter Ad Astra. With G C Notman he co-authored the text and edited the 1961 Geelong College Centenary history. In 1977, he produced a biography of former Principal, Sir Francis Rolland and a brief history of Interflora entitled Where the Wattle Blooms.

‘Bert’ Keith was the son of parents Robert Livingstone Keith and Emma Farlamb nee Cooke. His brother Norman Francis Keith (1910-1994) was a College student in 1926 as were three children. Roy Robert Keith, OGC 1937-1948; Graham Leslie Keith, OGC 1940-1951 and Ian Andrew Keith, OGC 1954-1967. The B R Keith Modern Language Prize, awarded annually at College, is named in his honour.

Sources: Ad Astra June 1990 p10; Ad Astra November 1996 p21.
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