Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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See Also Physical Education Prize

Physical Education as a compulsory activity was introduced into the College in 1935 under the direction of Neville Acklom although it included some aspects of what previously had been taught as Gymnastics.

Physical Education Class, 1939.

Physical Education Class, 1939.

In 1936, the Principal, Francis Rolland, wrote about the introduction of Physical Education to the School as follows: 'This year has seen a distinct jump forward. I know that 1936 is Leap Year according to the calendar, but why should not the College be a little ahead of the rest of the world. "One advance has been in the greater consideration given to Brother Ass, to use St. Francis's term for the body. On this two-footed ass the happiness and usefulness of the rider so largely depend that no Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals should be needed to make us attentive to its claims. 'It is recorded in the Old Testament that an ass once spoke. Brother Ass has certainly become vocal in our own day. He does not deny the superiority of the mind, in fact what he asks is more help from the mind. Why should not the teacher of the body, he argues, be as well-equipped academically as the teacher of the mind, and with the same status as all the other members of the Common Room, and be broad enough in outlook to teach other subjects than physical culture?' I confess that Brother Ass's plea made a profound impression upon me, and induced me to appoint as Director of Physical Education a trained teacher who had however specialised in the study of physical defects and their remedies. His task was to be to supervise all physical exercises apart from games, with special care of boys who needed particular exercises for particular weaknesses, and to have the oversight of boys who did not possess a fulfilment of those important duties at the beginning of this year. Parents have received the results of his most careful examination, and classification, in which he was most generously helped by our school doctor, Dr. Kennedy. A beginning has been made with remedial exercises. The complete scheme will be in force next year. The results of Mr. Acklom's investigations, should they interest other schools, are at their service. They revealed that 30 per cent, of healthy boys have serious or slight physical defects which can be remedied, but which would, if neglected, lessen efficiency in after life.’

Sources: Pegasus June 1939 p6.
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