Modified on Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:00 by Con — Categorized as: Biography - All, Biography - Students, Geelong College, Memories, Reminiscences and Stories, Sport


By 'Potts'

Part 1. First published in 'Pegasus' December 1911 pp21-28.
'Potts' was the nickname of Dr Arthur Norman McArthur (1869-1951).

In 1861, those who answered to the first roll call at the newly opened Geelong College were: - John Leonard and Louis Calvert, F G Campbell, J Mc N Campbell, A S Chirnside, J L Currie, Das Simpson, R Skewes, E R Sparrow, E Stodart, M M Stodart, H M Strachan, and R N Strachan, Mr Morrison's chief of staff - in fact, his first master - was the late Geo F H Hutton, who was so well known in this city.

In 1863, there were 24 boarders at the Geelong College (Knowle House). J Johnstone (now of the Manse, Kyogle, New South Wales). James Skene (son of the Surveyor-General). Robert Hope (eldest son of Dr R C Hope) and Sam Leon were in the matriculation class. Johnstone was credited with the first position gained in Matric, and obtained six W's, and won, with Mr. Justice Hood, who passed at the same time, the distinction of being the first to obtain W's in the three mathematical subjects. Sam Leon, late President of the Old Collegians' Association, won the double classical and mathematical exhibition in 1865. Charlie Wheatland, whose rousing oratory always brings enthusiasm at Old Boys' Reunions, was one of the very old brigade, and little Teddy Sparrow was only a shaver when he daily used to ride his pony to the School. I wonder would he remember 'Couch' Knott, an excellent footballer, very witty, and noted for his 'snore' at night? Harry Pike, a clever fellow, and one of the best scholars? Philip and Willie Anderson, John Calvert and Bob Willie, Bob Hope, Jim Skene, Jack Gundry, Aleck Scott, Jack Campbell, a champion at diving, Jack, Bill and Bob Adams, all fine athletes? Jim Campbell had passed matric and left by this time (1863). Tom Hope, Ted Stodart, and a younger brother, Jim Strachan, afterwards a Cambridge double blue in running and rowing in 1870, and also Norman Strachan.

'Pekin' Morrison was then a two-year old. His father used to bring him round the schoolrooms, and sometimes he left him to hear the little fellow say, 'Open, open' (interval between), till a last kick at the door, and 'Open, old George,' came to the father's great joy. He would place him on the mantelpiece in the classroom and stand back and say, 'Jump.' The little fellow would jump off the mantelpiece and be caught in his fathers arms - again father greatly delighted,

Bob Morrison, of Meredith, was the strongest athlete of the School, and left in 1863. Joe Dowling and his cousin, Donald Craig, an excellent cricketer and footballer, and as hard as nails. Ted Lloyd, the fastest sprinter in the School. James Oswald, good scholar and athlete, and good fellow. Jack McKellar and he were a lively pair. George and Willie Ware, Bob Tymms, David Robertson and his brother James, known as 'fuzzy,' a great athlete, excellent at football and cricket. Swan, a nice-looking popular young fellow at 14 years of age, weighing 12 stone, was also there. Bob and Andrew Chirnside, little boys then, Andrew slightly bigger than his brother; the boys delighted in making them put on the gloves with each other, and they had no objection.

John Garbutt, late Headmaster of Ballarat College, passed matric, and the late Professor Kernot had won the matric, mathematical and classical exhibition. Professor Kernot, later, was President for the first four years of the existence of the Old Geelong Collegians' Association. Jack Currie, another late President, had a great reputation at School for acquiring Scripture prizes, and later developed a great taste for coursing and racing. He wishes to bring in a law to put in gaol for six months any man who shoots a hare. Through his generosity the College Rowing Club was presented with a racing boat, the 'Lorna Mary.' Arthur Greenwood, the ever genial and cheerful, whose meteoric rhetoric is cheered to the echo at all reunions. He got a Scripture prize, too. Ted Caffrey and George Rout were inseparable friends, and Dr Morrison caught them smoking. Ted had a beautiful meerschaum, coloured to a turn. The doctor jumped on it, and naturally those mighty shoes left no relic of nicotine extravagance ; but George's pipe was a thickened stump of a cherry tree. It was also jumped upon. The sturdy cherry bowl rolled ; the doctor's shoes looked heavenward, while the back of his head struck the floor and, I am told, strained a joist.

But all these names are so familiar to one's memory that one lingers on them more than one is permitted. There are so many years to review - hasten on, hasten on. Jack McArthur, of Marmont fame, an old School captain. Didn't he try to run away from school with two or three others, but a junior master and the pangs of hunger brought him back. Watty Currie, Jack McArthur and Joe Dowling, with others, were at the Heads with a master. The latter took a stroll into the bush. The boys were surreptitiously smoking cigars. A swim was suggested. Cigars too good to lose, so were hidden in pockets. The swim was being greatly relished, till smoke was seen issuing from the clothes on the beach. Some say that one boot and one sock was rescued, but few know how the boys arrived back at school. H M O'Hara was a good singer, splendid minstrel at school long before he became a famous surgeon, and his early training leaves him the best raconteur in Melbourne. Bert Anderson it was who loved a maid at Mrs. Gibson's school. A love-letter was found by Mrs. Gibson and sent on with indignation to Mr Morrison. Mr Morrison made poor Bert read his own love-letter to the whole class. Watty Currie, a splendid gymnast, would delight a very special audience by hanging from his toes from the big beam near the roof in the gymnasium. Would you be surprised to know that Jack Dowling, while a schoolboy, captained the Geelong Football Club? He
was a great player and very popular. He also won a College Cup. In 1877 we see Mark Mogg, the fleet sprinter on the football field and the track, but two years later outclassed in pace by Chil Howell.

About 1877 commences a series of matches with Geelong Grammar School, and during 1877 and 1878 there was a consecutive series of five matches played, all resulting in a draw. What a battle that was! Arthur Robertson, Billie Boyd, Chil Howell, Stewart McArthur, Ernest Morrison, Bill Reid and Toppy Longden all fought hard for their School in those days. Stewart McArthur, an old cricket captain and our present pleasant President, played with Geelong occasionally, and at cricket was distinguished as a long-stop with the old Corio team. Later he played with the Essendon Football Club. Bill Reid, an old Geelong footballer, is now on the Geelong College Council. Neil Campbell, who has done so much for the Old Collegians' Association, and particularly for the Memorial Hall, looms large in College affairs. An early judicial decision spoilt his athletic prowess. They say he was beaten by 'Hoofie' Longden at least by half a foot in the 100 yards, but the verdict of the judges was Campbell 'won by a nose!' To maintain the benefit accruing from this decision he altered his style, and never regained his natural aptitude for pace.

Nearly all the Waughs were called Joe. A name is applied to the first, and if it is good enough it sticks right through the family. It was Bill who represented the family at Jubilee, with a rotund figure, and greying beard, but we all spoke of him as Joe. He enjoyed leaving his sheep to be amongst us.

A F Garrard, somewhere about 1873, won the Dux prize. After he left school he kept going, and won one or two Old Collegians' races. He has done much for the Church of England Grammar School, but is still with us in hearty good wishes. Billie Boyd was a great footballer, prominent v/ith Geelong. Then there is the athlete of the eighties, whom we all know so well—the genial boniface, Jack Baker, of Geelong and Carlton football and cricket fame. He still keeps in condition at both games, and when last seen on the running track he won the 'Veterans' Race, beating 'Potts' McArthur by a clear 'bingey' - the official verdict being half a yard.

Reg Morrison captained football and cricket for two years. In a Grammar and College match he wrestled with 'Big Man' Armytage; they still wrestle against each other at bridge. What a combined scholastic and athletic career Reg has had, and weren't we all glad to see his son in last year's crew! He is helping the School along now as a Member of the Council. Jim Boyd, a great footballer and cricketer, distinguished himself at the sports by jumping a great height; it seemed yards high. Wally Macpherson used to play with the Geelong Football Club. He did not run; he used to gallop. Andrew Simpson also was pretty slick from half-back, and doing a grand stand run, his opponent caught the back of his pants - they parted laterally - an overcoat abated the serious condition. The slight, active Cammie McArthur, dodging so neatly playing with Geelong, presents a different figure to what he did then. We would like to hear his comic songs and recitations again amongst Old Boys. Geordie Bell had a nickname for everybody, and he used to give Bill McQueen a bad time at first, but Bill became a magnificent footballer and scholar, and good cricketer. Does anybody remember Wally Reid, when school captain, playing with Geelong against Fitzroy ? At the end of the third quarter it was five goals to nothing against Geelong. At the end of the fourth quarter it was five goals all - a draw - and Wally had kicked them all. Atty Reid was a great footballer for Geelong, and so thin you could not see him sideways - the public called him 'Shadow " Reid. He was a good scholar. Ernie McArthur was captain of the School in 1886. He and his brother Norman ('Potts') went to Adelaide with the Geelong football team. Later Ernie became very well known as a game amateur steeplechase rider. 'Potts' can still be seen on the horizon. Percy Dowling even now sticks to rowing. He always had the sharpest of natty penknives in his pocket, with which he would artistically do some wood carving, preferably on a desk or table, to be caught occasionally by the Doctor, who would shout at him, saying, 'See, Dowling! Suppose I went to your father's house and whittled my name on his dining room table, wouldn't he be inclined to expel me? Eh!'

The first of the Wettenhalls were coming along and showing great prominence, both as athletes and scholars. Herbert and Arthur started off as the leaders of the family bunch. The Guthries : - Tom, Bonnor and later Frank. Bonnor took his name because of his height and slogging. He never used to hit; he would just swing through - result, fours and sixes. Frank later was pretty useful at football.

We are coming now to some pretty tough athletes. In 1889 the Geelong College football team was an extraordinary one. Several of this team were in the Geelong football 20. Mick Kearney, who was still at school; 'Shacko' Tymms, Mat Armstrong, Bob Reid, Vin O'Farrell and Clive Morrison, with Frank Guthrie and Billy Bell substitutes. Is it any wonder they were a champion team? Bob Reid, as captain, the youngest of the illustrious family of 'Pine Villa Reids', one of the best and hardest, and making the sixth of that family that played with Geelong. 'Gus' Kearney, whose fame as an all-round athlete and gentleman, is known all over Australia, was one of the finest sportsmen any school has ever turned out. In any game where eye, hand, and brain must work simultaneously, 'Gus' excelled. A champion at tennis when still at school, he remained unbeaten for many years. His magnificent football was watched for years by thousands of spectators. He was generous to a fault to his opponents, and what an object lesson to the hitting, elbowing player of to-day. Mick Kearney was the smallest boy ever played in a School match, and his little marks picked up from Harry Steedman were wonderful. He was untiring in the ruck, and played for about 20 years for the School.

Mick Kearney and Dave Baxter had a hand in placing some cardboard pieces the size of each step on the stairs, and through each piece the business ends of tacks protruded. It was required that the slippered feet of the Principal would tread on a tacked step, and receiving most of the points in one foot, he would sit on the next step to remove the pedal impediment and receive the next piece of cardboard firmly embedded elsewhere. I suppose the sudden rise towards the ceiling would remove this caudal impediment. Apparently the scheme was a unique success, as every boy was called down from their beds to the office and received the whacking they must have been looking for.

But by far the neatest of all neat footballers was Alf Jarrett. Norm and Arthur Morrison were very prominent, both as scholars and as footballers. How unruffled they were under the most strenuous circumstances! At the University also they were very prominent oarsmen. But 'Shacko' Timms as a footballer beat them all. When he went to England he played 'Rugger', and it is said that he played in 21 international matches. That would mean seven years with three internationals each year. Stanley Calvert, the adviser and friend of Norman Morrison, when he left school made himself known and beloved to all Old Collegians. His untiring energy, his tact, his zeal for all that was College was remarkable.

Part 2 First published in 'Pegasus' April 1912 pp 9-13.

Jim Baxter, now a famous eye, ear, and throat specialist in Collins Street, became famous at school for an unique record. He was the only boarder who passed through Dr Morrison's hands without ever taking a pill or powder - and that was after the Doctor had learned to keep the boy talking after administering a powder, so that there would be no ultimate chance of spitting it out after he left the office. It is supposed that this early avoidance of swallowing powders or pills decided Jim to become a throat specialist.

Our 'Lecky', the College historian, GEORGE REDMOND was Dux of his year, and a great half-miler. His pace on the running track is now eking out from the finger tips to his facile pen as he tells the public the various shuffles and side-steps of caucus government as seen from the reporters' gallery in the Federal Parliament. But when we think of energy for Old Collegians we look to the cheery and ubiquitous JIM D'HELIN - full of bustle and energy, hating only unpunctuality, with business methods carried to a nicety. A grand little footballer and cricketer of not so many years past.

We now see the BRAHAM family coming along. Roy captained the Cricket, and 'Algy' the Football team, and they were all a pretty handy family, especially in recitations. A. COLLOCOTT and H. COLLOCOTT will still go anywhere to play a game of cricket. BOB OFFICER, an old College Captain, writes a cheery letter from the back blocks, wishing the Jubilee all sorts of good luck. He was a splendid footballer, and we will not easily forget his speech as senior present boy at one Old Boys' Reunion.

JIM GATEHOUSE too, best of good fellows, won a College Cup. I have a photo in my book, showing him winning the High Jump, and under it is written 'The Egg and Spoon Race', clearly a transposition.
ROLEY WETTENHALL is as thin as ever, and I can still see him in my mind doing his mile in evens, with that neat lithe swinging step that never faltered.

A Grammar boy told me once that as long as GORDON MELVILLE was at school there was no hope for them to win a cricket match against the College. His bowling during his three years captaincy was absolutely the best schoolboy bowling in Victoria. His batting also was superb. And he was backed up by one or two good ones. What about FORD SHANNON and Gordon dismissing the Brighton Grammar for 2 runs. Gordon got the hat-trick, and Ford 7 for 0. Hot stuff, eh? Then we have the score made by M. JACOBS and Melville against Carlton College. Going in first, they made 353 without being separated - Melville, 193, Jacobs, 131.

The Napoleon of College cricket, however, was ERNIE BAIRD. He was a beastly nuisance to opposing bowlers, kept on piling up runs, and never thought of getting out. Hundreds were nothing to him, and he found it just as easy to get other fellows' wickets as they had difficulty in getting his. He finished his scholastic career by being Dux of the College, and having an average of 87. I call that good, but grasping. But may his reverence long prosper.

ROY LAMBLE teaches the present boys to be as good as he says he was when he was at school, and brother Gilbert still pleases the academic eye with more and more brilliant work at the Medical School at Melbourne.

The two ROBERTSONS, best of good sportsmen, and sons of 'Furzey', were much in evidence at the Jubilee, each with a charming wife.
The WETTENHALL family - six, eight or ten of them - have pretty well got through with schooling, but we will not worry. We see other families strong in the male line looming up in the distance. The MCFARLAND boys, for instance, headed by that typical cornstalk, Bob, - long limbed, lean, and strong as fencing wire - certainly no Adonis, but good right through. Grand footballer, and winner of College Cup. Frank and Harold followed, and later, Eric showed up very prominently. In fact, these boys have pasted their names all over the honour board. Bob, Frank and Eric, Football captains ; Frank once, and Eric three times captain of boats ; Bob, Harold, Frank and Eric, winners of the Geelong College Cup in their respective years. That is family consistency for you. We only hope their sons will come along and do likewise. I wonder would Harold remember Jack McRae winning the Amateur Pole Jumping Championship of Victoria, clearing 9 ft. 11.5 in. At the College Sports he cleared 10 ft., and looked like an aeroplane.

What FRANK STODART could not do in the way of sports was not worth one's while recording. He just could not help being good at everything he touched. His football was grand. When he got the ball and dashed along the centre, one felt like Timothy in 'Our Miss Gibbs', - 'He simply whizzed past you.' Later, at Polo he could hit and he could bump I can feel one yet.

RUSSELL KEAYS was a tennis player while at school, and in his good moments can still show you as brilliant tennis as ever you want to see. But he really shines in managing the crowd of difficulties that arise in the big Easter Tennis Tournaments, or watching every detail to make a big Ball a success. And the fleet ERIC RUSSELL. Eric broke heaps of amateur athletic records in high jumps and hurdles. The Council of the Amateur Athletic Association spent a lot of time in trying to knock out these records because there was 'a wee bittock freshet blowin' fra the sou'-west,' which helped in his pace, or his highest jump was aided by him rising opportunely on the top of a billow of hot air, and so on.

GEORGE MCNEILAGE, about the same time, was a splendid all round athlete. PULLAR, too, distinguished alike for his colour and his prowess in all kinds of athletics, rowing, football and cricket. He did everything in a big way. And so on. I could go bringing in names that are so recently before us that their deeds do not require recalling. Latterly, we begin to see a repetition of more and more well-known Old Boys' names appearing. The sons are following in the footsteps of their dear old dads. Salmons, Longdens, Reids, Stodarts, Cochranes, Bakers, Calverts, McArthurs, Strachans, Morrisons, etc., etc., are appearing again on the Register, and so may it go on, and it behoves every Old Collegian to make it a sacred duty to see that his name appears on the Register again by means of his son.

Sources: Pegasus Dec 1911 pp 21-28; Pegasus April 1912 pp 9-13.