Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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WEBB, Donald

WEBB, Donald

'Don' Webb c1954 (Covin)

'Don' Webb c1954 (Covin)

Staff member and most notably, Warden of the House of Guilds for thirty years, Don Webb was a pivotal figure in the development of Regional Art Galleries in Victoria. Don Webb was employed at the College firstly from 1939 to 1943 as an Art teacher and again from 1949 until his retirement from teaching in 1976. He left the College at the end of second term in 1976 to take up the position of Executive Officer of the Regional Galleries Association of Victoria.

In 1939, he was appointed Warden of the House of Guilds, which had been established with considerable publicity as an educational experiment in 1935. Donald's contribution was 'to give stability and stamina to the project so that it developed and achieved relevance'. The Principal in 1976 described him as 'Tactful and considerate, wise and humane, ... a good friend.’

Under Don Webb's direction, the House of Guilds was involved in a wide variety of projects, including the construction of the air raid shelters during war time, designing and making the properties and scenery for the Glee Club performances, and working as property manager and, with a group of boys as stage hands, actually putting the scenery in place. In 1972, he was Acting Vice-Principal and in 1976 Deputy Principal and Acting Headmaster of the Preparatory School. He was particularly involved with the Presbyterian Fellowship of Australia (PFA), weekend camps and a myriad of social-service undertakings. He was also Chair of the Common Room Staff Association.

The Encyclopedia of Australian Art stated, 'His achievements in education included service as a member of the Arts and Crafts Standing Committee for public examinations in Victoria and the initiation of a new art curriculum in arts and crafts for secondary schools. But his important contribution was to act as Secretary, then Chairman, of the Regional Galleries of Victoria for more than twenty years. His report to the Victorian Government on his return from a study tour of regional galleries in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe in 1967 formed the basis for subsequent regional gallery development in Victoria. He resigned as Chairman in 1976 to become the Association's first Executive Officer.'

A typical Don Webb line drawing depicting the activities of the Geelong College working party at SAINT PHILIP’S COLLEGE, Alice Springs in August 1964 is held by St Philip's.

Don's sons, Peter Webb OAM, Roger Webb, and Andrew Webb were educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Ad Astra November 1959 p4; Ad Astra, March 1976; Pegasus 1976 p5; Ad Astra, August 1991 p11; Ad Astra December 1991 p15; Pegasus 1991 p100.
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