Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Memories of 25 Years Ago. By ‘S’

Part 1 1896.
from Pegasus December 1921 pp 21-23.

To the present Collegian, mention of the year 1896 probably conveys an impression of almost pre-historic times, but to boys of that year, who, with the writer, timidly but eagerly entered the school grounds through the little, red, deeply-initialled gate in Talbot Street, on that never-to-be-forgotten first day at College twenty-five years ago, the intervening years seem to have hurried past with disconcerting rapidity—certainly ‘it seems but yesterday since we were boys together’ at the old school, striving and struggling at the same tasks and pastimes, and sharing in the same frequent joys and occasional woes incidental to the lives of schoolboys of that period.

It is surprising how vividly, even after the lapse of twenty-five years, incidents and personalities of that time come to mind. The old school and its grounds, so different from those of the present day, tin-faces and voices of masters and boys, the football and cricket teams and the matches in which they engaged—all are clear in one’s memory, and these few random notes are written with the hope that boys, both present and old, may find something of interest and amusement therein.

What were the school buildings in 1896? In making a comparison with those of the present day, it will, perhaps, be better to commence by stating what buildings and rooms we managed to do without. There was then no pavilion, no Assembly Hall, (roll-call being held in Room B), no Chemical Laboratory, no Prep. School, no Hospital, no Library, no ‘Warrinn’.

The weatherboard building contained a gymnasium with a tan floor, a shelter shed having for its sole contents half-a-dozen lockers for football and cricket material, and a miserable little skillion on the south side, damp and dark, with a shower in one corner. This skillion was courteously called ‘the day-boys' dressing room.’

The class rooms were four in number. ‘A’ and ‘P’ were much as at present: ‘D’ is now the Masters' Common-Room: while ‘C,’ sometimes known as the Chamber of Horrors, was a wretched little den which has since been much improved and—I believe—converted into the Medicine Room. Boys of the present day would not, I am sure, appreciate Room ‘C’ as it then was - dark, damp and musty, with the multitudinous weird smells of the adjacent kitchens constantly pouring in through the solitary window.

The Dining Hall was one half (the worse half) of its present size —the masters possessed no Common-Room—the Boarders' Dressing-Room was a vision of the future, while the dormitories and bed-rooms were so few in number, and so different from those of the present day that it would be difficult to describe them satisfactorily to the present Collegian. They provided accommodation for about 40 boarders comfortably.

One peculiar feature I remember well concerning these bedrooms was that the walls were thickly covered with unframed pictures of many kinds, sizes and shapes, mainly cuttings from illustrated papers and magazines. Interesting possibly, but decidedly unattractive—in fact, hideous! To my boyish eyes, however, they were beautiful.

The ‘Masters' Cottage’ was, in 1896, the most easterly of a terrace which still stands on the top of Prospect Road Hill. That splendid old man, Hugh McKay, friend and servitor of the principal Dr George Morrison and his family, occupied another cottage in the same terrace.

The school grounds also were in those days vastly different from the present magnificent enclosures. No oval existed at that time, and a row of pine trees extended from Noble Street to Aphrasia Street right across the grounds. The stumps of some of these trees may still be seen, and present boys may judge by them where the trees then grew on the site of the present oval. The land now comprising the western end of the Oval was utilised by a Chinaman for a vegetable garden, which proved a source of much joy and consolation to us all, particularly during the tomato season.

The present top paddock was the senior football ground, and the quagmire that in winter existed where part of the Oval is now situated, sufficed for the ‘seconds’ and ‘middles.’ Hugh's vegetable and fruit garden flourished somewhere near where the tennis courts now stand, and this garden occasionally filled the gap when the afore-mentioned Chinaman proved too vigilant. The cricket pitch, on which wickets were, if I remember rightly, prepared by the boys themselves, was located near the present practice wickets. All ‘home’ matches were played there, and as the path fence was some 10 yards nearer the pitch than at present, boundary-hits were not at all difficult to obtain, and counted 2 or 3 runs according to which end they were hit from. The outfield was usually covered with very long grass, which was occasionally mown with a scythe. This long grass somewhat compensated for the nearness of the boundaries, and was of course, a delightful feature from the bowler's point of view.

The tennis court, situated on the site at present occupied by the Assembly Hall, was certainly not as fine as those at present fortunately possessed by the College, but it nevertheless produced some magnificent players—indeed, at times, the College teams were practically invincible. Some of the photographs in the Dining Hall will fully corroborate this statement.

The boarders in 1896 numbered about 28, and the day boys possibly 70. The football twenty, and the cricket eleven were, however, quite good, and old boys of that period are justified in waxing enthusiastic concerning the prowess of such footballers as F McFarland, E G Greeves (father of the present boys of that name), A E Dear, S Young, S Robertson and others. The above-named were also fine cricketers, and K M Baird (now Presbyterian clergyman at Terang) was undoubtedly one of the finest cricketers and tennis players the College has produced.

Part 2 1897.
Pegasus May 1922 pp 31-34

The year 1897 was, if not a year of great prosperity and progress, yet one of steady maintenance of those exceptionally high standards that had made the College so well known throughout Australia. This excellent result was in great measure due to the splendid work done by the Masters, whose zeal and enthusiasm for the school knew no bounds.

How memories crowd around as one recalls their names! At their head, guiding, directing and controlling, was the Principal, Dr George Morrison, MA, LLD (‘The Doctor’), then about 60 years of age. What old boy of those days can fail to picture vividly in his mind's eye ‘The Doctor’, with his impressive and dignified appearance (emphasized by his tall hat and frock coat), or to remember with admiration his calm and sure control over the many affairs connected with his important trust, his unerring judgment, his kindliness to the trembling new or nervous boy, his severity to the erring one?

This great Founder of the Geelong College had guided its destinies with consummate skill and ability for nearly 40 years, and now that he felt the weight of years commencing to press upon him, it must have been a great consolation to him to know that his important life-work would be carried on by no unworthy successor. The passing years increasingly demonstrate the value of the great work done by the Founder and first Principal of the Geelong College, Dr George Morrison.

But what shall I write in my endeavour adequately to describe to Collegians of later years, our second-in-command, Charles Norman Morrison, MA, son of the Principal? I feel that I must fail wretchedly in this portion of my task, and shall therefore touch but briefly on the subject, trusting that my readers will be able, as time goes on, to gather from the various anecdotes in which Mr. Morrison's name is certain repeatedly to occur, some knowledge of the spirit and personality of this great man. To assist in this direction, I would strongly recommend the perusal of those sympathetic ‘In Memoriam’ lines by ‘H’, which appeared in the Pegasus shortly after the death of Mr. Morrison, and which may also be found in ‘Feathers from Pegasus.’

Tall, spare, of erect and athletic build, Mr. Morrison, (‘Normie’ or ‘Captain’, - the title of ‘Skipper’ being of much later birth) was, in 1897, in his early ‘thirties’. On his capable shoulders was beginning to fall much of the responsibility of management, and the remarkable progress of the College during the succeeding years is a sure testimony to his ability and power.

What was the secret of his wonderful success? His magnetic personality, his charm of manner, his genuine sincerity (so evident to all), his generosity to the needy (so frequently hidden from all but the recipient), his boyishness amongst boys and his manliness amongst men - these were certainly traits in Mr Morrison's character which endeared him to all. In addition, however, he was a strict disciplinarian, maintaining thorough control over the whole institution, a wonderful judge of boys and men, and possessed a keen business instinct coupled with great tact. His various methods of dealing with the over-indulgent and proud parent of the probably very ordinary boy, frequently afforded us intense amusement.

Mr Morrison's occasional sudden and volcanic outbursts of annoyance in class-room or on parade-ground would fill us with momentary terror, and his shouted and very uncomplimentary remarks concerning ourselves, our relatives (great-great-grandmothers in particular - the ??? annoyance, the more groats!) and friends, our appearance, brain-power, etc etc, would be listened to with bated breath. Quickly, however, were almost sure to follow his gusts of laughter, (echoed shrilly by the class or company, of course), as the humour of his remarks, or our appearance of subdued humility, appealed irresistibly to him.

Mr John B Kerr (‘Joker’), who had charge of much of the work of preparing candidates for the annual Matriculation Examinations in November, was a source of great strength to the College. Mr. Kerr was a man of the highest principles, scrupulously fair and just to all, and a fine disciplinarian. His heart was in his work - fancy holidays were a source of annoyance to him rather than of pleasure, - and that he was highly respected goes without saying. Mr Kerr was appointed Vice-Principal of the College and Head Master of the Lower School some little time after the death of Dr Morrison.

Time plays strange tricks with one's memory, but I think I am right in saying that in 1897 the only other Masters on the staff were Mr. C Stanton Crouch and Mr H K Walker (‘Don’). Mr. Crouch acted as cricket coach, whilst (to quote from the Annual Report of 1897) ‘the Tennis teams, victorious in every match they played, were under the training of Mr. Walker’.

Both Mr Crouch and Mr Walker were very popular with all, although maintaining thorough control over those placed in their charge. Do I not yet recollect Mr. Walker's sudden frown in the class-room, his up-pointed finger, and his fierce ‘Up, up’, as he directed some unfortunate youth to ‘stand on the form’? Unfortunate indeed, as how could one escape notice if ‘The Doctor’ or Mr Morrison were to enter the room? - a horrible possibility, as the writer has painful reasons for remembering.

Mr Crouch later went to Wesley College, and Mr Walker to Melbourne Grammar School, to our great regret.

Miss Young visited the College once or twice a week, and heroically endeavoured to teach a few of the boarders ‘the theory and practice of Music’, a laudable undertaking indeed, for has not Music been defined as the ‘concourse of sweet sounds’ the ‘spirit of poetry and song’, etc, etc? But alas, alas for definitions! The Music Room was that now occupied by the Bursar, opposite the Principal's Office, and the ‘sweet sounds’ arising from, the unfortunate piano in that room were only too frequently the cause of explosive outbursts of feeling from the luckless master and boys in Room B.

Miss Sasse had a small class for Drawing, while Mr. Lupton was instructor of Elocution, but I fear that these subjects interested us only as a means of escape from some more detested lesson, as the results were, to put it mildly, not good.

The Gymnastic Class was under the supervision of Mr. Metzger, and here the popularity of the work made good results more easily obtainable, S Nasmith, W Robertson, R Braham and others being clever gymnasts. R Braham was Champion Gymnast for 1897.

Part 3 1897.
Pegasus August 1922 pp 34-38.

At the time of which I write, the School year was not divided, as at present, into 3 Terms, but into 4 Ouarters. The principal holidays consisted of a few days at Easter, 4 weeks at Midwinter, and 8 weeks at Christmas.

Cricket was played during the 1st and 4th Quarters, and football during the 2nd and 3rd. The College Regatta was held in April, the Tennis Tournament in November, and the Athletic Sports Meeting on the Corio Oval in December, after the ‘Matric’ examinations. Those highly interesting events of the present day, viz., the Head of the River, Races for 8-oared boats, and the Combined Sports Meeting had not then been inaugurated.

The College Regatta of 1897 would not appeal to present Collegians as a very exciting affair. The boat-sheds were situated near Prince's Bridge, and were much smaller than at present. Spectators were few in number, the rowing was the reverse of skilful, particularly in the junior events (in which the shouting and the splashing were amazing), and the races consisted entirely of 4-oared events. Schools in those days did not possess 8-oared boats, and there was no competition against other schools to quicken our interest in rowing.

The races were rowed from ‘Pak’ (Pakington St) or thereabouts, upstream to the sheds. Notwithstanding all drawbacks, however, the Regatta was a joyful event. The ‘crab-catching’ - frequent and fantastic, - the shrill yelling and wild steering of the coxswains (who, blind with excitement and much splashing, found collisions and bank-running easily accomplished), the ever-present glorious possibility of a capsize, and the very occasional close finish, - these were the attractions that drew the whole school irresistibly to the river bank on College Regatta Day in April of each year.

Mention of a capsize brings to mind the fact that it was compulsory for every boy, before joining the boat club, to pass a swimming test at the Western Baths, which were under the supervision of ‘Pro’ Searle.

A C Whiting (‘Carpet Bag’), big, good-natured and capable, was Captain of the Boats in 1897, and the principal regatta event of that year - Senior Fours - was won by S Ross, J Chirnside, P H Toose and A B Dixon, a fairly heavy combination.

It is interesting to note that J F S Shannon, now a member of the College Council and Old Boys' Association Committee, was a cox in this regatta. There can therefore be little doubt that at least one straight course was steered on that occasion.

Ford Shannon was then at the commencement of his College career, and became a tower of strength to the cricket and football teams of later years. No old boy of 1903 can ever forget the many remarkable cricket matches of that year. In these games Ford Shannon's bowling played no small part, his figures on one occasion being 7 wickets for no runs, and the opposing team's total score reaching only 2 runs!

In dealing with the teams of 1897, it must be remembered that the College was not then a Public School, but was a member of the Schools' Association of Victoria; other schools in the Association being Brighton Grammar School, Cumloden, Carlton College, Caulfield Grammar School, University High School and Haileybury College. Matches were also arranged with Ballarat School of Mines, Scotch College, and Geelong Grammar School, and the games against the last-named were, to us, the events of the year.

The cricket and football teams of 1897 were fairly good. There have been many better College teams and many worse, both before and since that time.

The cricket team possessed a champion batsman in its captain, E M Baird (now the Rev E M Baird, and a member of the College Council), who was possibly the finest cricketer that the College has iscssed, although the brilliant performances of Gordon Melville (1904), and one or two others must not be overlooked. E M Baird's batting average for all matches in 1897 was 45.2, and in the following year 87 - splendid figures obtained by most consistent play.

W M Robertson (average 14), H Young (13.9), A B Dixon (10.6), T De Gruchy (10.4) were also useful batsmen. E G Greeves was a skilful wicket keeper, and V M Robertson (7.5) and A B Dixon (8.8) secured the bowling honours.

The cricket team of 1897 was only moderately successful playing matches, winning four, and securing second place in the Association, Cumloden (then a fine school in Alma Road, St. Kilda) being first. Games were lost against Cumloden (44 to 81), Scotch College (36 to 174), and Geelong Grammar School in the first match (innings and 18 runs). The return match against our old rivals was however, won by 85 runs, thanks to a magnificent innings of 144 not out by E M Baird.

The football team was certainly a ‘big’ team, but, like the cricket team, was only fairly successful. It was remarkable that the football suits were identical with those of cricket. Again matches were lost against Cumloden (4.4 to 8.12), Scotch College (2.4 to 5.12), and Geelong Grammar School in the first game (1.1. to 13.13), and again the return match was won against the last-named school (3.4 to 2.6) after a most exciting contest. Further, as in cricket, four matches were won out of seven, and 2nd place secured in the Association.

It was at the beginning of 1897 that important changes were made in the rules governing Australian football. Among these were the reduction of the number of players in a team from 20 to 18, the adoption of the 10 yards minimum for a mark, and the system of scoring by points, the first two of these alterations improved the game immensely, and by the adoption of scoring by points (previously goals only were counted), such an absurdity as a game being won by 1 goal 0 behinds to 20 behinds (this actually occurred!) became no longer possible. A straight-kicking forward was a treasure 26 years ago!

Football ‘tops’ also were very different from those now worn. It is unnecessary to detail alterations that have been made, as present boys are presumably familiar with the photographs of past teams in the Sports' Pavilion. It will suffice to say that the College colour was navy blue (the present colours being adopted after the College became a Public School in 1908), the cap, navy blue with white stripe from front to rear, and the blazer striped blue and white. I fancy any boy in the school was permitted to wear this blazer if he wished, although few outside the cricket and tennis teams did so.

E G Greeves was captain of the football team of 1897, and here again the College possessed a champion, for it is probable that ‘Teddy’ Greeves, L Strickland (1900) and G C. McNeilage (1908) were the finest footballers the College has produced during the past 25 years. This is saying much, for other names rush to one's mind - nevertheless, the statement may stand.

E G Greeves was amazingly fast on the football ground, and excepting only F L Stodart (1904), was the fastest short-distance runner who has ever attended the College. It is delightful to note that his sons are now at the College upholding their father's reputation in no uncertain manner.

Other fine footballers in the 1897 team were F B Somervail (‘Binny’), H J Young, W M Robertson, Struan Nasmith (a clever rover), and J D Mack.

The moderate performances of the College teams of 1897 almost embolden me to venture to draw comparisons between teams of long ago and those of more recent date, and to discuss briefly that old, old subject, ‘Were there giants in those days’? Such comparisons and discussion would, however, be quite futile: neither old boys nor present boys would be in the slightest degree shaken in their loyalty to their respective champions, and who would have it otherwise?

There have undoubtedly been some remarkable College football teams in the past—those of the late ‘eighties’ and early ‘nineties’:- 1901, 1903, 1913, and 1914 are examples. Also there have been some wretchedly poor football teams; and with the exception of that of 1903, College cricket teams of past days have not been renowned for their prowess, and I would therefore ask present boys not to feel discouraged at their apparent lack of success against other schools. The opposition that College teams have now to face is much more formidable than that of 25 years ago, and old boys are strongly of the opinion that recent and present teams have done, and are doing, exceedingly well against great odds.

Our cricket and football training in 1897 consisted of ‘compulsory’ practice on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, although on Mondays, those who preferred ‘detention’, were permitted to engage in that delightful pastime. How wonderful that so many ‘preferred’ detention, particularly as Mr. Kerr's sternness on such occasions was almost terrifying!

Another great drawback to detention on Monday afternoon was Mr Morrison's habit of strolling through the class-rooms a little after 4 o'clock, armed with a long and flexible cane, which was wielded with great skill and vigour on those unfortunates who were required to complete a side for cricket or football practice. Much preparatory rubbing of hands greeted ‘Normie's’ appearance on such occasions, for all well knew what was in store. Just as ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’,so I fancy I can hear the ‘swish’ and the shouts now, and my hands still tingle, my scanty locks still stand on end, as my memory recalls those fearsome scenes of anguish of ‘the good old days’ of long ago.

After football practice it was the custom to run (in ‘togs’) round ‘little square’ (Claremont Avenue), ‘big square" (West Melbourne Road), or in extreme cases, ‘Aberdeen St. Square’. Are these runs still taken? Aberdeen St Square was popular with some, as the way home led past ‘Loh's’ tuck-shop in Skene St.

Mention of ‘Loh's’ brings to mind the fact that a few years later E Syer established his famous tuck-shop on Prospect Road hill - which I fancy still stands - and later built the present shop in Aphrasia Street, nearer the College grounds.

Part 4 1897
Pegasus December 1922 pp 25-28

The last term of a school year is usually the most interesting, to masters and boys alike. This general rule held good in 1897. During the 4th quarter of that year, notwithstanding the necessary 11th hour ‘stewing for exams’, time had to be found for the concluding cricket matches, rifle-shooting contests, the Annual Sports meeting, tennis tournaments, (Quarterly and ‘Matric’ exams, and, finally, the dread but very welcome Speech Day, or, as we termed it, Distribution Day.

The cricket matches have already been dealt with, and as ‘exams’. are sad events, the results being interesting mainly to the victims, we shall, therefore, hurry on, and I think it may safely be said that in a few brief recollections of the Cadet Corps and the Rifle shooting matches at Williamstown, we can surely find reasons for great pride and pleasure.

The College Corps was. for many years, remarkably efficient, and there can be little doubt that the reason for this lay in the outstanding personality of the Officer-Commanding, Captain C N Morrison. Captain Morrison's ability as an instructor and disciplinarian on the parade ground was extraordinary. His high-pitched and ear-piercing command ‘Company! Show-w-n-n!’ (attention!) was something to remember, (and to obey!), while the dread of such outspoken comments on our efforts as ‘A—, you're waddling’, or ‘B—, you march like a camel’, was more than sufficient to induce every cadet to do his utmost to avoid ‘The Captain's' displeasure.

Drum-Major Rashleigh, who was for so many years in charge of the College Bugle Band, was a splendid old soldier, with a great pride in the College Corps and his Superior Officer. His fund of stories seemed inexhaustible. One such, which I must narrate although it may be a ‘chestnut’, referred to a general parade of the battalion of which the College Corps formed part. The Drum-Major had occasion to ask the rather irascible General Officer-Commanding for instructions where he should march the College Band, and received the impatient and not very courteous reply ‘Oh, march them to Jericho’, or words to that effect. A startling command surely! Our old Drum-Major was, however, equal to the occasion. Saluting gravely, he replied 'Yes. Sir’! turned smartly to the grinning band, and roared, in a stentorian voice that carried far beyond the limits of the parade ground. ‘Band! to Jericho, (Quick Mar-r-r-ch !!’ For some minutes the parade was in confusion, spectators as well as the battalion enjoying the situation immensely.

The College successes in Rifle shooting matches became, in those days, almost monotonous in their frequency. Thus, in 1897, the shooting teams, competing in 4 matches at Williamstown, open to all schools in the Colony, won 3 of them and secured 2nd place in the other. Sgt W M Robertson won the title of Champion Senior Shot: Lieut A Whiting and Sgt Lobb were 3rd and 4th, while Cadet Orr, shooting in the Francotte section, proved the ‘best young shot’ at the meeting. The College Cadet Corps was certainly at the top of the tree 25 years ago.

It is amazing to recall that the Juniors, practising with the Francotte Rifle used a short range in the School grounds. The targets were fixed against the old blank south wall of Room A, underneath the present ‘Sleep-out’, and the cadets shot from near the present tennis-courts!! It was the markers' duty to warn trespassers from the line of fire, but on more than one occasion tragedies were narrowly averted, and about 1898 this range was dismantled.

Since the days of the great ‘Gus’ Kearney, the College has been a noted ‘tennis school’, and the ‘1st four’ of 1897, consisting of K M Baird, W M Robertson, E G Greeves, R Braham and P Brett was particularly strong. Four matches were played during the year; all were won by the College. Great interest was taken in the College Tennis tournament, held in November. The principal event, Singles Handicap, was won by P G Brett, with E M Baird 2nd.

By this time the school year was fast drawing to a close. The days being warm and long, river and country called aloud, and ‘crews’ left early every Saturday morning to spend a glorious day ‘down the river’ at the ‘Break’, the ‘Willows’, the ‘Lakes’, or even at the ‘Heads’. ‘The Captain’ (sic N Morrison) was usually a member of one or another of these crews, and many good stories could be told of his pranks on such occasions. Space, however, forbids at present.

Walking and cycling ‘crews’ (all Saturday parties were termed ‘crews’) were also numerous. The Dog Rocks, Viaduct, You Yangs, Junction, and Spring Creek (Torquay) all had their weirdly garbed and youthful visitors every Saturday. The egg-collection - not now so popular, fortunately - grew steadily, and was placed in charge of J D Mack and C E Dennis, who spent much time and care in classifying and labelling the specimens.

The Athletic Sports were held on the Corio Oval a few days before ‘break-up’. Present boys may like to compare some of the following results of 1897 with those of 1922:—
Putting the Weight, 30ft. 10in.
Long Jump, 17ft. 10in.
High Jump, 5ft. 3 1/8in.
Mile, 6 min. 45 2/5 secs.

Such distances and times would certainly not be considered satisfactory in these days. It will be noticed that no time is given for the 100 Yards. E G Greeves ran magnificently in this event in an attempt to break the then-existing College record. For some reason, however, the timekeepers failed in their duty, and no time was taken. In recalling this incident, I cannot help wondering if ‘Teddy's’ anger has yet abated!

The College Cup was won by E G Greeves, and the Old Boys' Cup by W M Bell, S B Calvert being 2nd. Mr Morrison won his heat in the latter event, but was unplaced in the final, much to the disappointment of the boys.

The last great event of the year 1897 - ‘Distribution of Prizes’ - was held in the Geelong Town Hall. The report was read by ‘The Doctor’, and the prizes were distributed by Mr Charles Shannon. The writer has a vivid recollection of that particular day, because, possibly through some error, he secured a prize which is still cherished as a silent witness to at least one glorious triumph of the past.

In the list of prize-winners for 1897 may be found some interesting names. Amongst these Robt Officer, Harold and Alf Collocott and G H Ouinton all became splendid athletes, and were the mainstays of many College teams a few years later. The Scholarship winners were A K Goller and H C E L Douglas. It is pleasing to hear that the two sons of the former are now boarders at the College. ‘Alf’ Goller made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.

I wonder if Dr R R Wettenhall remembers that he was awarded the Conduct Prize for 1897. Roland was, I fancy, the last member of the older generation of the Wettenhall family to attend the College, and there is no doubt that he worthily upheld the family name whilst there.

Part 5 1898.
Pegasus May 1923 pp 33-37.

When work was resumed in 1898, after the Christmas holidays, the indications were that the College would experience another successful year.

The assembly at ‘roll-call’ in Room B, on the opening morning was apparently up to the average in numbers, and pleasure was expressed that so many senior hoys had returned to school.

E G Greeves was once more with us, and what a tower of strength he would be to our teams! There also were V M Robertson, E M Baird (our champion cricketer), A C Whiting, H Young, S Nasmith and others. With such stalwarts we need fear nothing!

As, therefore, we listened to ‘The Doctor’ reading the morning prayer, and as we answered ‘Adsum’! as our names were called by him from the old school rolls, we felt that we were fortunate indeed, and that this College was for many reasons, without doubt, ‘the best school of all’. How could we feel otherwise? In our masters and senior boys we had full confidence. The College buildings were considered well up to the average standard of those days. Our grounds were unsurpassed. The general tone of the school was excellent. Splendid as were the College history and traditions, we felt that this year of 1898 would add to those records one more page of which none need feel ashamed. It was in such a spirit of cheerful optimism that, 25 years ago, we boys of the Geelong College entered upon another 12 months of work - and play.

But a great and terrible blow was soon to fall. It was Tuesday, 15th February, just a week after the commencement of term. As the morning progressed, it was apparent to all that something was wrong. ‘The Doctor’ had handed over his Latin class to another master, and had retired to his study. Mr Morrison, shortly afterwards, left his Room B. class to its own devices. Agitation and dismay were evident in the faces of the other masters. Messengers hurriedly came and went. A general assembly of the school, in Room B., summoned at mid-day, was therefore not unexpected, and there the mournful news was imparted to us by the Rev Henry Kelly, then Vicar of All Saints' Church of England, that our beloved Principal, ‘The Doctor’, had been suddenly stricken with illness, and had passed peacefully away.

I shall not dwell longer on this sad event. Present boys are, however, strongly urged to read carefully the record of the life and work of Dr Morrison, as outlined in the College History; for of the great founder of the Geelong College it was said: - ‘He was a good man, an accomplished scholar, and a wise and loving friend, and his influence will continue to last as these Southern lands make their own history’.

The death of ‘The Doctor’ naturally disorganized for a time the general life and work of the College. Mr Morrison was prevailed upon to accept the serious responsibility of Principal, although, as I am personally aware, he had grave doubts as to his fitness for the task.

Mr Walker and Mr Crouch had left the College at the end of 1897, and their places had been filled by Mr H C Delmer, BA, and Mr J G Leadbeatcr, BA, LLB. Mr Morrison now found it necessary to appoint an additional master to the staff; thus, in 1898 started the connection of Mr W T Price, BA, with the College. Little did Mr Price imagine that he would, 17 years later, be appointed Principal of the Geelong College. It is worthy of note that at this time the teaching staff of the College (with the exception of Mr J B Kerr) consisted of very young men. Mr. Morrison was himself only 31 years of age.

Mrs George Morrison continued to preside over the domestic affairs of the College, and was assisted by Miss Greenwood.

To Collegians of many, many years, mention of Mrs Morrison's name must bring treasured recollections. From the foundation of the College in 1861 until 1909. Mrs Morrison's tactful and gracious management of the House endeared her to all. The value of such work can hardly be over-estimated. It is pleasing to know that Mrs Morrison and Miss Greenwood are both well. Their home is in South Yarra, but the College is constantly in their thoughts, and a keen interest is taken in the welfare of old boys, whose careers are followed closely.

Hugh Mackay, the Doctor's faithful assistant, is still ‘Hugh’ as of old, and is living in Geelong. The weight of years may be pressing heavily, but Hugh's interest in the College remains unabated.

Mr Delmer was appointed Sports Master early in 1898, and certainly had excellent material with which to make good teams. Mr Leadbeater had charge of the junior classes, if I remember aright, and must have spent many weary hours in Rooms C. and D. It was Mr Leadbeater who, during the winter months, organized Saturday night concerts in Room A. These concerts were a ‘howling’ success, in more than one sense, and the ‘star item’ was always Mr Leadbeater's own performance on the tin whistle. In particular, ‘The Death of Nelson’, with ear-piercing variations, never failed to arouse symptoms of deep distress amongst the members of the audience!

During the 1st Quarter of 1898, the College cricket team played four matches, winning three of them. A noteworthy event was the dismissal of the Carlton College eleven in one innings for 16 runs. The defeat was sustained at the hands of Geelong Grammar, who were victorious by 77 runs. This defeat was, however, avenged later in the year, when the College won by six wickets, a result certainly due in some measure to the coaching of ‘Charlie’ Over, one of the ‘crack’ professionals of the MCC, whose services Mr Morrison had secured for one afternoon each week.

The captain of the cricket team was E M Baird - a remarkable school cricketer. His batting average in 1898 was 87. His dismissal from the batting crease (an infrequent occurrence) was a source of great joy to opponents. Once set, ‘Ernie’ Baird firmly refused to budge, and gave not the slightest encouragement to the forlorn bowlers or fieldsmen. His runs for the year totalled 609 - the nearest approach to this was 191. E G Greeves (vice-captain), A C Whiting, A B Dixon and W M Robertson were also good batsmen, and the two last-named were bowlers of considerably more than average ability.

W M Robertson was, 25 years ago, one of the best all-round athletes the College has produced. As footballer, cricketer, tennis-player and gymnast he was in the front rank. ‘Billy’ also won the College Cup in 1898 and was an excellent rifle shot. It was, I think, W M Robertson or his brother, Stuart who made the record cricket hit on the College ground. Present boys will, of course, want to know how far the ball travelled. Prudence warns one not to make very definite statements on such subjects, but report at the time had it that, when recovered, the ball had sea-weed clinging to it!

A C Whiting was another whose athletic prowess filled us with pride. Tall and powerfully built, ‘Carpy’ was a most useful footballer and cricketer. He was Captain of the Boats and Champion Gymnast of the College for 1898. It was, however, by his weird poetic effusions, scattered profusely through his school books, that A C Whiting is possibly best remembered by many of his contemporaries. These productions were invariably written during ‘Study’ or school hours, and engaged his attention to such a degree that he became perfectly oblivious to his surroundings.

On one occasion Mr Kerr (‘Joker’), noticing ‘Carpy's’ abstraction during ‘Study’, walked up quietly behind the ‘poet’ to ascertain the reason for such mental concentration. His delight was evident to all as, peering over the writer's shoulder, he read the following: -

‘Look not on me with thine eagle eye,
Oh, Joker, I implore thee.
I would far rather you would try
to totally ignore me.

Oh, Joker, you're a mighty man,
Your hair is ashen grey.
Your hat is like a watering-can
And mouldering with decay.’

And so on for some five or six more verses!

A C Whiting's patience - was exemplified by the fact that he cut his initials on every post in the old post and rail fence extending from the boys' entrance in Talbot St, to the ‘pigeon-holes’ near Room A. A short length of this fence still stands. Any present boys who can find the initials ‘A C W’ on these posts may know that the patient work was done 25 years ago.

Cutting or writing names and initials on desks and walls was not discouraged in those days. This will explain the state of some of the old desk tops preserved in the Sports pavilion. It was not until the purchase of the new single desks that the practice was forbidden.

Part 6 1898.
Pegasus August 1923 pp 33-36.

Little surprise will be aroused by the statement that boy nature was, in 1898, much as it is in 1923, and that, in consequence, football was, during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of that far-away year, the only subject at all worthy of our serious consideration. ‘Can we beat the Grammar?’ was the all-absorbing topic, for in those days, as at present, the rivalry between the two schools was extremely keen, and the teams usually well-matched.

Twenty-five years ago the College and Grammar School were very small schools, but there is little doubt that the average age of the members of the teams was somewhat greater, and the teams bigger than those of the present day. Possibly, however, they were not more skilful. I fancy that the College football team of 1898, big as it was, would be scarcely tested by that of 1923. This is quite a matter of opinion, of course.

The College, as a member of the Schools' Association of Victoria, played all the teams in that group, the strongest of our opponents being Caulfield Grammar School, Brighton Grammar School, Cumloden, and Haileybury. These games did not interest us greatly. It was an unusual occurrence for the College to be defeated, although it did happen occasionally. Frequently our only interest in these matches was with regard to the possibility of our heroes amassing a record score. I remember 33 goals being registered on one occasion against one of the weakest of our opponents.

The College won the football premiership of this Association 13 times in 10 years, and the blue pennants which still fly on special occasions were the trophies won in this competition.

Two football matches were played in 1898 against Geelong Grammar. The first of these resulted, to our astonishment and dismay, in our defeat by 4.13 to 1.8. The second match was, however, regarded by all good Collegians as a true indication of the prowess of the respective sides, as we were victorious by 8.16 to 1.2. I can remember clearly our joyful and arithmetical conclusion regarding those latter scores.

One incident only of the first Grammar match of 1898 remains fast in my memory Mr Morrison, now our Principal, was, during the course of the game, endeavouring to appear interested in the animated conversation of the devoted mother of one of the College players Smith-Jones (possibly) by name. The game, however, was then at a critical stage, and appealed to Mr Morrison irresistibly. Smith-Jones, as luck would have it, was playing poorly, and our ‘Chiefs’ anger was slowly, but very surely, rising. At last the inevitable happened. As the good lady paused for a very short moment to take breath, her unfortunate son made a particularly bad and costly mistake. Mr Morrison's rage broke all bounds. His piercing shout of ‘Smith-Jones, you stupid idiot!’ was followed instantly by a horrified exclamation from the forgotten lady, and by a cascade of laughter from all those in the vicinity who were fortunate enough to hear and witness the comedy.

Although the College was not a Public School, games were arranged in 1898 against Scotch and Wesley. In both of these games we were defeated.

All 1898 boys will remember well Mr Morrison acting as umpire on practice afternoons, and how we strove to excel at such times. His umpiring was the reverse of impartial, as his humour and sympathy for the weaker side were always strongly in evidence. How often he would seize the ball himself and run madly with it (for a short distance) in an effort to assist the ‘under-dog’. ‘Free kick to Allan McKenzie!’ he would shout. ‘McKenzie, sir,’ one would say, astonished: ‘why, sir, Allan has not been near the ball all day.’ ‘Quite sufficient reason!’ would come the reply that we fully expected. And so, with shouts and laughter, the game would proceed. But how we did strive when ‘the Skipper’ umpired!

Allan McKenzie! What a host of memories is recalled by the mention of this name! What popularity was enjoyed by this tall, gaunt, 19-year-old school-boy! What stories could be told of his heroic rescue of a drowning man from Corio Bay, and the wonderful ovation accorded the rescuer at roll-call on the following morning - of his many and dilapidated pipes - of the ghosts and foxes that frequented Hugh's vegetable garden during study - of his ‘bone-shaker’ bicycle, ridden so furiously in the street on one occasion that an unfortunate cow was overturned, much to her indignation!

But this will not do; I must hurry on. In addition to E G Greeves, W M Robertson, H Young, A C Whiting and S Nasmith, whom I have already mentioned, there were several interesting personalities in the College football team of 1898. Among these were the brothers Collocott, Alf and Harold, the two eldest of the family which did so much for the College in the following years. Harold became a wonderful school-boy athlete a year or two later.

H Quinton, who afterwards became Captain of the Geelong League team, was an extremely popular day-boy, and his death a few short years after leaving school was deeply regretted. Nor must I forget W Moodie, the College Captain of 1899, and L Strickland, who led the splendid team of 1900. L Strickland was an excellent captain and magnificent player. He played with the Geelong League team, whilst still at school, as a ‘ruckman’ - a remarkable position for a schoolboy to occupy. Was it not Len Strickland (he will correct and pardon me if I am wrong) who was concerned in the following incident which occurred one oppressive afternoon later in the year? The scene was in Room A, and the principal characters, Mr Kerr, energetic and keen on instilling knowledge into an unwilling class, and Len Strickland, placidly dozing on the back seat. Many must be able to remember the following dialogue:—

Mr K: ‘Strickland!’ (No reply).
Mr K: (more loudly): ‘Strickland!!’ (No reply).
Mr K: (walking to the sleeper and shouting in his ear): ‘Strickland!!!’
S. (starting) : ‘Oh, ah ! Yes, sir !’
Mr K: (smiling): ‘What did I say last, Strickland?’
S. (also smiling): ‘Strickland, sir!’

All Old Boys who were pupils of Mr Kerr, will recollect his frequent question to the apparently heedless, ‘What did I say last?’ Many a time has the writer, to his sorrow, been caught by this conundrum.

Just a few brief lines about the tennis of 1898, for I have already occupied too much valuable space. The tournament was played on the old court, on the site now occupied by the Memorial Hall. On this court, surrounded by cypress and pepper trees, many a hard game was played before E M Baird proved himself the College Champion for 1898. Here, also, the Grammar 1st four was defeated by E M Baird, R Braham, W M Robertson and E G Greeves.

The College 2nd four was also too strong for its rivals. I would like to dwell on the names of this 2nd team, consisting of J Gatehouse, A B Dixon, H Collocott and J D Mack, for much of interest could be written thereon. But space forbids! Possibly an opportunity may occur

Part 7. 1898.
Pegasus December 1923 pp 35-38

What more remains to be told of 1898? Certainly, more than can lie here recorded, for every school boy knows that the closing weeks of the school year are of superlative interest. So we find that as glorious Spring gradually merged into Summer, we boys of 25 years ago found each lengthening day all too short for our many activities, and but grudgingly surrendered to tired Nature each evening the few hours necessary for sleep and rest.

For the charm of summer days at College remains ever with one. The long, long days down the river with ‘the Skipper’ - the Saturday excursions to Dog Rocks, Torquay (then Spring Creek), or You Yangs, on foot or on bicycle, or in the College ‘chariot’, with ‘Soldier’ as our gallant steed - the glory of bathing in river or bay - the hours at cricket or tennis in the well-loved College grounds - can these delights, accentuated as they were by the ever-present thoughts of the long Christmas holidays just ahead, ever be effaced from memory?

It is probable that the call of river and country was more insistent 25 years ago than at present. On Saturdays, ‘Town’ was strictly forbidden. Moving pictures, like motor-cars, were unknown, and those who may have preferred to idle away the long, lazy days in the buildings or grounds knew full well that by so doing they would incur the scorn of their comrades or (more dreadful experience!) the explosive wrath of the Principal.

Cricket, rifle-shooting, tennis, training for the Annual Athletic Sports, with possibly a little extra study in view of the matriculation and other examinations so soon to be faced, filled in these golden days. Mr Morrison was not a cricket enthusiast; nevertheless he frequently bowled a few balls at the practice nets - or rather, net, for we possessed but one small back net. His efforts were interesting, but not inspiring. I remember him bowling one over in a practice match, and claiming afterwards, with that well-known sudden burst of laughter, that he ‘howled one exceedingly straight ball, but unfortunately it went too high over the batsman's head to be effective’.

‘The Skipper's’ humour and generosity were ever in evidence. During a particularly trying lesson in Geometry or some such equally detested subject, he would suddenly ease the situation by turning to one and saying smilingly, ‘Norman Watson, if you break your 'duck' tomorrow, I'll give you a new bat’; then to another, ‘Bob Stanlake, you're grinning, if you make a 'duck,' I'll give you the cane’. The bat was a possibility; the cane would be forgotten.

I suspect strongly that Mr. Morrison welcomed the opportunity to relieve the monotony of teaching whenever possible. One instance will suffice - it is typical of many such. Mr Morrison and the Vice-Principal (Mr Kerr) were firm friends, each with a whole-hearted admiration for the other's many excellent qualities, and the understanding between them was very evident to all. One lazy afternoon, while Mr Morrison was instructing a Room B class in the horrors of Algebra, a well-known step and knock were heard without. The door was locked. Mr Morrison knew this well, and after several resultless commands to ‘Come in’! he shouted loudly, ‘Harry Wadelton, open the door and see who that stupid idiot is outside’. Harry did so, and exposed to the view of the convulsed class the delighted face of the Vice-Principal, Mr Kerr.

The College Sports were held on Wednesday, December 7th, 1898, on the Corio Oval. Practically every boy in the school (83) took part - it was a point of honour to do so - and some excellent performances were registered, the most noteworthy being:—High Jump (5ft 5ins) - E G Greeves; 100 Yards (10 4/5 secs.) - E G Greeves; Long Jump (19ft. 1 5/2ins.) - W M Robertson; Weight (32ft 4ins) - A C Whiting. W Robertson won the College Cup. The Old Collegians' Cup, for which there were 96 entries, was won by M E Wettenhall. W D Adams ????? (Bill, of course) won the Under 16 Cup.

I notice, also, that a junior race was won by Norman Dougall. Nearly 20 years later, Norman Dougall won the Military Cross, and gave his life for his country in the Great War. Those who remembered Norman at school were not surprised to hear that his Commanding Officer wrote of him that ‘a finer, braver or more honourable officer and gentleman never wore the King's uniform’.

Other names that will recall interesting memories to all 1898 boys are those of Robert Officer, Junr, Eric McFarland, and Harry Wrathall. I wonder how many old boys can remember the great long-distance fight between Harry Wrathall and J A Matthews, which lasted for a whole week of lunch hours! Harry Wrathall's name may now be read in the long list of Geelong Collegians who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.

It is interesting to read the names of the various prize-winners at the Annual Distribution of Prizes. Addresses were delivered by Sir Henry Wrixon and Professor Morris, but I am sorely afraid that the educating and instructive thoughts expressed, fell to a large extent on deaf ears, as far as we boys were concerned. For who amongst us could listen patiently to an address on ‘Education’ when the long' holidays were to commence on the following day? Had we not had Education in plenty for months past? Were we not eagerly waiting to cheer ‘the Skipper’ when he rose to read the Principal's Report - the Cricket Captain (E M Baird) as he received the Dux of the College prize - the Cup Winner (W M Robertson) - the Champion Gymnast (A C Whiting) - Alan McKenzie, as he strode to the platform to receive his special prize for writing, and others?

And then, when each had passed more or less successfully through his own little ordeal, how we cheered and stamped until the dust rose thick in the Mechanics' Hall, as cheers were called for ‘The Principal, Mr Morrison’, for ‘The Masters’, for ‘Mrs Morrison’!
But enough! Similar scenes are witnessed year by year, and it is well that it is so, for it is probably on this day only of all the year that full expression is given to those feelings of loyalty and devotion to School, to Principal and Masters, which lie deep-seated in the heart of every normal and healthy-minded school boy. Boys leave for their homes full of the true school spirit; while the masters and others in authority are encouraged and strengthened by the conviction that their work has not been in vain nor their efforts unappreciated.

Just one note more, for I see the name of Roy Lamble as a scholarship winner of 1898. Roy Lamble's long connection with the College as boy and master began thus auspiciously, and continued almost without a break until the Great War, which changed the current of so many lives, claimed his expert services in 1914. Captain Lamble was Adjutant of the Geelong AIF camp when the present Vice-Principal of the College, Mr A H MacRoberts, there donned his first military white hat and ‘blueys’ in September, 1915.

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