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THOMSON, Douglas Bruce (1926-2016)

THOMSON, Douglas Bruce (1926-2016)

Douglas Bruce Thomson, was born on 19 July 1926 in Newtown, Geelong.

Known as ‘Bruce’, he was enrolled by R G Thomson at Geelong College on 10 February 1937 and left in December 1943. He had previously attended St Andrew’s E G1. During his education at College, he studied the piano with George Logie Smith. This period formed the foundation of a life-time interest in church music. He won the Middle School Division of the Robert Gillespie Prize in 1941.

On leaving school, Bruce joined the Victorian Education Department, trained at Melbourne Teachers' College and taught in Rural Schools commencing in 1944 as a student teacher at Bell State School. In 1949, he returned to Geelong College as a staff member and Form teacher. He assisted with music teaching from time to time and was editor of Pegasus Magazine.

The Principal, Dr Buntine wrote about ‘Bruce’ at his departure at the end of 1953:
‘The friends of Mr Bruce Thompson will be sorry to see him sail for England in the new year. However, as the venture is to further his musical studies we must let him go with all our good wishes for the future. Mr Thomson, an old boy, has been connected with the school for some years. He returned as a master in the beginning of 1949 and was Assistant House Master at Warrinn for a period. Amongst many of his activities, Mr Thomson will be remembered for the Annual Founder’s Day Services at St George’s and for his invaluable services in producing the Pegasus since 1949.’

Following his arrival in London in 1954, he did Public Relations work for a number of years. In about 1960, he became Music Master and Director of Music at Boarzell Preparatory School in East Sussex where he taught piano, and class music. He was also the organist and Chapel choir conductor. Bruce returned to Australia in 1968 and joined the Music Branch of the Education Department. He continued in that role until retiring in 1986.

After retirement he continued his musical pursuits and was organist and choir master of St Peter's Church, Box Hill; Canterbury Presbyterian Church; St Andrew's Uniting Church, Geelong; and St George's Presbyterian Church, Geelong.

He married Mona Ainslie of Tamborine Mountain, Qld in 1986. They soon came to live permanently in Geelong.

Bruce died in Geelong on 2 July 2016 after a short illness.

1 Possibly the former St Andrew's School at 139 Noble St and now part of Geelong Grammar School. This was the former residence of E G Gurr, a former City of Geelong Mayor.

Sources: Pegasus January 1941 p16; Pegasus June 1944 p7, 70; Pegasus December 1953 p4; M Thomson. OGC 1939.
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