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WOOLLEY, David Leon Talbot, AM (1924-2005)

WOOLLEY, David Leon Talbot, AM (1924-2005)

Oboeist and historian, David Woolley became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 ‘for service to literature as a scholar and as a historian of the life and works of Jonathan Swift, and to music’ .

He was born in Shanghai on 30 August 1924 and came to the College from Japan as a boarder in 1937 after having attended the Yokohama International School. His father, was Leon Talbot Wooley, then working for the Rising Sun Petroleum Company in Yokohama. At College he rowed in the 3rd VIII and participated in several Glee Club musical productions including, in 1940, the chorus of the Pirates of Penzance before leaving at the end of his fifth form year. Unsurprisingly, he was a member of the Music Committee in 1941. After leaving school at the end of 1941 he immediately pursued his interest with the oboe which he had first played at the College. David served in the RAN during WWII and was de-mobilized in January, 1946.

Harvey Lade wrote ‘ In my 1940 school diary I noted that on August 26 there was a concert in the Morrison Hall, which was quite a success except that David Woolley's oboe broke down in the middle of his solo!’ Since 1949, David's appointments included Principal and Co-Principal Oboist with the Melbourne Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Sydney Symphony and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestras. He recorded and toured with them all. Following his retirement to Perth in 1987 he commenced research and writing. His last mammoth achievement was to write the four volume Correspondence of Dean Jonathan Swift. In 1987, Monash University honoured him with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws to mark his scholarship and musical achievements.

Sources: Obituary by Harvey Lade (1938) Ad Astra No 109 January 2006 p26.
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