WOOD, Patricia M nee BULL (1928-2017)

Modified on Wed, 03 Jan 2018 12:56 by Con — Categorized as: Biography - All, Biography - Staff, Geelong College

Pat Wood, 1981.

Pat Wood, 1981.

WOOD, Patricia M nee Bull (1928-2017)

Staff Librarian, 'Pat' Wood, joined the staff of the College in 1959 as a part-time Librarian in the George Morrison Memorial Library to become the first female member of the Senior School teaching staff. 'Pat' earned a Preliminary Certificate in Librarianship in 1946, later gaining Registration as a Librarian and membership of the Library Association of Australia (LAA) in 1970.

The Principal described her contribution: 'Her outstanding work continued in the Library until her retirement in 1981. Her knowledge, appreciation of literature, her enthusiasm and administrative ability, together with a warm and engaging personality had a profound impact on the way in which the present Library operates as a Resource Centre. She was instrumental in the establishment of a Guided Reading program in Years 9 and 10, and her primacy in the field was recognised by 2 schools and libraries.'

Hugh Seward, College Council Chairman and a student at College during Pat's time, praised her abilty and character:

'Pat Wood was a extraordinary woman , loved and admired by the many students who ventured into the sanctuary of the Geelong College library during her decades of service to the school.

When she joined the Senior school staff as librarian, eventually overseeing the George Morrison Library with its decoratively carved bookshelves, she transformed it into a functioning modern library. Although now moved from the cloisters to a different position within the school, the current library celebrates her name with the 'Pat Wood Reading Room'.

She was a pioneer as the first female member of the academic staff in the senior school in an era soon after the Second World War when the staff comprised of war veterans and other men seemingly from a bygone era. Like Australian society at that time the school did not embrace culture and literature as essential learning, but Pat did. She served as an island of refinement within a school of stern men and impressionable boys. Those with similar appreciations, be they staff or students, were drawn to her, and many remained friends for a lifetime.

I cannot claim to hold those same levels of cultural appreciation but I felt nurtured by Pat during my school years. I was aware that many boys, challenged by the rigorous school environment of the 1960's and 1970's sought refuge in her library protected by her care and kindness.

I enjoyed her hospitality on Sunday evenings when she and her husband John would host the Library Committee in their Shannon Avenue home with cake and lemonade. This kindled a friendship that has lasted 50 years, with visits to Fremantle or in more recent years to Noble Street. The Pat and John team have been an inspiration to many of their friends, gathered over the years, always welcoming us into their home and sharing their kindness.

Pat has been loved by many and will be deeply missed. We extend sympathies to John, Chris, David, Maria and family.'

In recognition of her work at the College, she was elected as the first female honorary member of the Old Geelong Collegians' Association and was subsequently elevated to Honorary Life Membership in 1981. 'The Patricia Wood Reading Room' , in the George Morrison Library also honours her. It was officially opened on Thursday 8 December 1994.

'Pat' Wood died on 3 July 2017.

Sources: Principal’s Newsletter Term IV 1994; Hugh Seward - obituary; Geelong Advertiser 5 July 2017; Eulogy by Chris Wood.