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McLEAN, Rev Ewen Charles (1913-1998)

McLEAN, Rev Ewen Charles (1913-1998)

Reverend Ewen McLean was a devoted and highly-respected member of the Geelong College community for almost 60 years and was a member of the teaching staff from 1940 to 1978. Born at Narracoorte, South Australia he was the son of the Reverend Robert Walker, a former Scotch College student of 1889, and his wife Ellen May nee Patterson. Ewen attended the College as a boarder from 1930 to 1931 after previously attending Bacchus Marsh High School. He was a keen participant in the Athletics Teams of 1930 and 1931. Both Ewen’s brothers, John Alistair Kenneth (1912-2004), and Ronald Patterson McLean (1916-2007) also attended the Geelong College. John also trained for the ministry.

Rev Ewen McLean.  Portrait by Robert Hannaford.

Rev Ewen McLean.
Portrait by Robert Hannaford.

Rev Ewen McLean.

Rev Ewen McLean.

Ewen held many significant appointments in the course of his long career in an institution he loved dearly. He was First Assistant in the Preparatory School until 1953. Though he was an unabashed 'Rolland man', he gave unstinting loyalty to all the five Principals of his time. Punctilious in the manner of an earlier day, he was, withal, a sensitive man, especially with young boarding students. With them, his firm patience and enduring calm built a warm environment for the young boarders of the 1940's and 1950's. His regular presence on the junior playing fields with the boys after school and at Saturday 'Sugarbag' picnics on the Barwon, provided an atmosphere of constancy and reassurance. He was from his first year the anchor-man of Junior House, a perfect fit with the Housemaster L J Campbell who was busy as Headmaster of the Preparatory School. For many years, he was 'on duty' every other night and weekend during term. The Junior Dining Room and Dormitories were his domain, a benign but firmly controlled kingdom where, with the able assistance of Miss Fraser, the Matron, his young charges were shaped for the future.

Schooled in theology, he was a natural choice, in 1954, to be ordained as the College's first full-time chaplain. For the next ten years, he sought to expand the religious life of the school and was the spearhead for the College branch of the Presbyterian Fellowship of Australia (PFA). His sincerity and efficiency soon commended itself beyond the school gates. He became, inter alia, Moderator of the Presbytery of Geelong. He became Housemaster of Calvert House in 1966 and, in 1970, was appointed to the position of Registrar. His background knowledge of the school and its families made him an ideal first point of contact for new parents to the College.

After his retirement in 1979, Reverend McLean continued his close involvement with the College for the next fifteen years, taking charge of the School Archives in an honorary capacity, where his knowledge of, and interest in, the history of the College were of inestimable value to the school. Blessed with an active and enquiring mind, Reverend McLean was familiar with every aspect of College life. In particular, he had an excellent memory for faces, and many are the boys who, over the years, have delighted in being personally greeted by their name (if not nickname!) decades after Ewen had last glimpsed them around the school.

As an enduring tribute McLean House was so named in 1980, not long after his retirement. A portrait of Ewan McLean by Robert Hannaford is on display in Davey House. The Old Collegians’ Association recognised his long service to the School by electing him a Fellow of the Association.

Read Reverend Ewen McLean's reminiscences of the 1920s.

Sources: Principal’s Newsletter Term 2, 1998 p 1; Des Davey - Obituary Vale Rev Ewen C McLean Ad Astra August 1998.
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