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SCOBA Garden of Honour
Established in 2004 the SCOBA Garden of Honour is a Scots College Old Boys’ initiative to say thank you to those people in the life of Scots who have made a significant contribution to the life of the College and its students and who are deserving of permanent acknowledgement.
This Recognition is open to all have participated in College life including members of the Board of Governors, Staff, Parents, Old Boys and others.
For more information about the Garden of Honour including criteria and the nomination form click here
Click on each image below to read more about our Garden of Honour recipients.
Paddianne Neely QSM
The service which Paddianne Neely has given to Scots for 30 years very readily meets the criteria for which the Garden of Honour was established. The plaque for Paddianne records that her years at the College extended from 1986 through to 2016, a level of service which very few can match.
Having qualified as a teacher, it was possibly not surprising that the role established at Scots as the archivist arose through friendship with another teacher at the College who knew of her skills and resolve in looking after the special features needed to ensure the archives and records are secure into the future. This link resulting in Paddianne being invited by the Board in 1986 to establish the College Archives.
Reporting to the College at that time, Paddianne came to a building shrouded by many trees, with a somewhat dismal outlook, and to a room that has been described as a “broom cupboard” which was to become the repository of what archives were available (some old school reports, an architects model of the Aitken building, assorted school magazines, a pile of unidentified school photographs and other odd items). From this beginning Paddianne set forth in her determined manner to ensure that from now on memorabilia, items covering the history of the College through photographs, records of significant events and achievements, and treasured items held on to by past pupils often unsure as to where they should go when the family no longer wanted to retain them, would be properly and efficiently recorded and held for safe keeping.
Never one to not tackle what would have seen as an insurmountable problem, Paddianne took off on visits to other schools and colleges through the country to view how their records and archives were kept, followed by a visit to schools in Sydney who provided the details and knowledge of how best to conserve material and establish a sound archival system for records and historical artefacts. Very soon that “broom cupboard” became far too small and the first of many shifts within the College took place.
Paddianne reports that 11 shifts have been necessary as classrooms changed, facilities within Gibb House were modified and more appropriate space was needed. Throughout this time, an array of memorabilia and archives were being amassed as Old Boys became aware of the moves underway to properly hold and record such materials, and the steps being taken to fully establish accessions registers for all gifts made to the College. The 75th and 90th anniversaries provided a catalyst for treasures to be passed on to the College, from missing photos of the major sporting teams to be located, down to some of the original cap badges, and a particularly unique item of the identity tag that all boarders had to wear in case of an invasion by the Japanese in World War Two.
As the volume of material increased the Board invested in new display cabinets and special boxes to properly store this material for posterity. A special highlight over these years has been the earlier anniversaries and the photographic displays specially mounted for each occasion. This reached a peak at the centenary in 2016 which showed so clearly the benefits that come from having a sound and secure archives system for which the College can be proud. No one who attended the celebrations in 2016 will not recall with pride the efforts and time given by Paddianne to ensure that 100 years of Scots was on display, with items from the past and records to show what has been achieved and the place of Scots as a leading Presbyterian boys school. Special mention must be made of Paddianne’s husband Don, who in his quiet and unassuming manner has helped in many ways to support the growth of the College archives, none more so than in the many weeks in the lead up to the centenary and the major display.
Today Paddianne is being duly honoured through her name being added to the Garden of Honour, as a person with the skills and attributes to ensure the rich history of the College is now well preserved and expertly displayed. Very fittingly Paddianne was honoured by the Queen with the award of the Queen’s Service Medal in 2015 with special reference to her abilities and service in maintaining archives and records for not only Scots but also for Wanganui Collegiate School and other colleges and for displays for the Wellington Cricket Association at the Basin.
It is fitting to acknowledge the other Scots family members present who have been recognised in the Garden of Honour. Each has made a significant contribution to the history of the college.
The Old Boys’ Association salutes Paddianne and is delighted for her name to be added to the Garden of Honour to mark the significant service given to the College as the Archivist from 1986 to 2016. Her contribution in a very tangible manner through the superb work undertaken to preserve and archive historic material, carried out in a skilled and professional manner has ensured the history of Scots will give increased pleasure to Old Boys and visitors to the College in the years ahead. By this means Paddianne is rightly recognised as a person worthy of being accorded a plaque in the Garden of Honour in 2018.
3 November 2018
Ian Symonds MNZN
The dates shown on the plaque for Ian from 1956 – 2015 clearly indicate the many years following his education where he contributed in so many ways to ensure that Scots would not only continue to provide those features which have marked it as a prime example of an independent boys school, and which during those years would go on to reach the stage where it has become a leading example and contender for the best Presbyterian church school throughout the country.
Without listing Ian’s contribution and commitment to Scots year by year, his initial involvement was through becoming a member of SCOBA, moving on to a year as President of the Old Boys’ Association in 1977/78. This duly lead to being appointed to the College Board from 1977 continuing through to 1996, serving as Deputy Chairman from 1988 -1990, and culminating in being elected Chairman from 1991 – 1996. In a statement recording Ian’s service and commitment outside Scots, it is described that “ when you think of Ian, you readily think of words such as loyal, hard-working, committed, kind and generous”.
This statement goes on to state that “ Ian was always happy to give of his time and in his own quiet way a master of constructive criticism. Ian taught us not to waste words and always focus on the heart of the argument “
These attributes were clearly to the fore during his time on the College Board, and the many challenges he faced. At the time of his standing down as Chairman, a very fitting statement records Ian’s contribution –“ the College owes a debt to Ian Symonds whose dedication and sound judgement guided the deliberations of successive boards during the early and mid 1990’s, a period when the security of independent schools was far from clear”.
Not ready to stand aside following his significant contribution as a Board member and then Chairman, he continued this close involvement to the furthering of the special nature of Scots by becoming a founding member of the Scots Foundation, and serving as Chairman from 1998 -2000.
Alongside this commitment to the College, Ian gave of his time more widely within the community with service to St John’s Church on the Board of Managers and as an Elder. Also during this time, Ian served on the Queen Margaret College Board of Governors, and from 1994 – 2000 on the Independent Schools Council.
After this lengthy period of service to the College and to education both locally and more widely, Ian continued to make a major contribution to the Wellington community following his appointment as a J P in 1992. Once again his hard-work, willingness to serve and generous nature was to the fore when besides the regular duties as a J P, Ian served on the Wellington and Porirua District Court panels. A particular role was a Visiting Justice to prisons, an experience often described as humbling, but one where prison staff remember Ian with respect for his fairness and willingness to listen.
And then in more recent years Ian was a nominated adult, which meant he was available to support a young person in police custody who did not have family or whanau to accompany them. Hs attributes and willingness as a J P lead to him being a member of the Wellington J P Council, and serving a term as President from 2003 – 2005 and then in 2011 elected as a Life Member.
This service to the community in these roles, and alongside his significant commitment to ensuring independent education was strongly based , Ian was recognised in 2009 by being awarded the N Z Order of Merit (MNZM) – this accolade reflects the service which Ian gave without hesitation.
Ian Symonds a man with a strong Christian faith, widely travelled, a lover of music, and a man who never hesitated to remind us to “ use as many of the seconds which life gives us every day, as in the bank of time, what you lose each day, cannot be recovered the next day.”
Written by George Fairbairn (SCOBA Secretary)
John “Digger” Miles
John “Digger” Miles – a man whose contribution to Scots College can be described as being one of generous and tireless service over two decades, and during that time through many actions both known and probably some unknown to other than a very select few , was involved in making sure that physical changes within the college boundaries enabled the school to flourish. The significant changes that occurred during this time, has ensured that Scots is now a college that can hold its head high and is recognised as a leading place of education not only within Wellington, but across New Zealand.
Scots was very fortunate when a deck-hand arrived in Wellington from Australia looking for work on a ship to return to his home country of England, but he stayed here in the city, married, and settled down with a family. It was again fortunate when “Digger” decided that Scots was the school where he should send his two sons to ensure they received a good education and better than he remembered from England (his daughter went to QMC). That wise and far-reaching decision by a person described as a man involved in demolition work, saw “Digger” very quickly active within the Parents Association, and in a short space elected as President of the Parents’ Association in 1987. With that step he automatically became a member of the Board. Very soon thereafter he became a permanent member of the Board, and his contribution to Scots leaped ahead as he saw and envisaged projects which would benefit the College in many ways, whether it was the acquiring of a building from a site in Wellington which was going to be dumped, but which Digger saw had good features and could readily be used to further enhance the facilities, or by removing what was an eyesore or impediment to the smooth running of the college and needed to be demolished or dumped.
In a quote that accompanied the nomination of “Digger “to the Board, it is stated” it was a unanimous decision of the Board to invite him to stay as a permanent member. The reason for this was that during his early term he proved time and time again he was an action man, where others debated whether or not, John acted. Sometimes not always with the intended result, but always with benefit to the college.” It is further quoted “quite simply this man was worth any two suits on the board, and achieved much for the college. He brought sanity to many debates, he loved Scots through having seen what it did for his boys, and he more than repaid that debt with untold hours of endless toil, from which the boys of the College and the wider college family are now reaping the benefits”
Another example of “Diggers” actions to resolve an issue, was the large tree at the main entrance on Monorgan Road that obscured traffic and was clearly dangerous. The city council would not act even though it was their tree. “Digger” acted, the tree was cut down, the Council was furious but the problem was solved for the price of a new seat in the Botanic Gardens!
It is well known and recorded that Digger together with John Mawson and Pat Blades (who was recognised in the Garden of Honour last year) were described as the “three musketeers” and it was not uncommon for a meeting to adjourn while these three went outside for a smoke. !! It was “Digger” who nominated Pat Blades as his Vice President resulting in a woman being on the Board – Digger said at the time such nomination was “to provide the best bloke for the job” and how right he was proved.
There are many similar stories told about this contribution by ”Digger”, the article in the recent issue of The Quad does touch on many of these. Ian McKinnon could have told of many encounters while he was Headmaster, where in strong words and language issues were solidly debated, a spade was called a spade or something more appropriate, but from this always came a very successful outcome that benefitted the College.
In more recent years, Diggers Pavilion was a well-known building in the grounds, next to the main pavilion and another “valuable asset” which added to the facilities for the college. This building clearly demonstrated his affection and service to the college through being able to envisage an item which someone else was going to discard or demolish – in this case it was the solid porte-cochere from St Paul’s Cathedral in Molesworth Street, no longer needed by the Anglicans, but worthy of a place at a Presbyterian school!! This copper roof became the crown on Diggers Pavilion.
Some thoughts were provided by Yvonne Curtis who served on the Board with Digger through the late 1980’s early 1990’s. Yvonne particularly comments on his friendship and wisdom which she appreciated. She states that during this time Digger’s influence was very evident as the Board was in the process of over-seeing the beginnings of major physical and governance changes which has enabled the college to continue to flourish as a church school and to support maturing boys to find their path to becoming “All round men”, a credit to their community and themselves.
Another comment came from Barbara Cribb – “John provided practical and sage advice, particularly on building renovations and new buildings, which was beyond what would normally be expected of a Board member. Barbara also commented that she “hoped the copper from the roof of Diggers
Pavilion was sold for a decent sum when the building was demolished in more recent time!! And comment by his daughter-in-law who is a research fellow at Melbourne University who commented recently that “My father-in-law enjoys a lifestyle that to put it bluntly would leave the hardiest of cardiologists weeping in their public health information pamphlets. Statistically he should probably have died many years ago if regard is had to smoking, disease and death connection studies. However he is not immune to the charms of scientific discovery when it suits, and never fails to encourage me to push aside my tumbler of water in favour of a nice healthy glass of red wine.
From all these comments, I hope it has given a picture of a man who has contributed to Scots in a very practical manner, always looking forward as to how an item or action will make for a better environment for the boys and the wider college family, and which goes well beyond what was expected.
But as many have commented, and I am sure will be echoed by those present today, the service was always loyally given, Digger was steadfast in serving Scots in a manner that displayed his commitment and wish to do what he could to better the amenity and its use.
When Digger decided in 2003 it was time to move on, he retired from the Board without any fanfare but knowing he had made a difference in so many ways and for the betterment of the College. His comment as reported in The Quad is very appropriate – he remembers his time with fondness, and the many nice friends he made – it was a lot of fun.
For these reasons the Scots College Old Boys is honoured that John “Digger’ Miles can be added to the Garden of Honour to enable this generation to remember his contribution to the College by this tangible means, and for future generations to know that here was a person who had obviously made their mark and who was very worthy of being accorded this recognition in 2015.
Patricia (Pat) Blades
Her initial involvement was as an active and committed member of the Parents’ Association leading to being elected as the Parents’ Association representative to the Board of Governors in 1987/1988, and in 1988 becoming the first female President of the Association. Her skills and abilities were soon recognised through being nominated to serve on the College Board of Governors in 1990 becoming only the second woman to be so nominated to the Board, a position she served with considerable distinction for close to 20 years.
During this period of growth at the College and its continuing development and position as a leading Presbyterian boys school not only in Wellington but nationally as well, Pat displayed her credentials through her capabilities, eagerness to work away at issues without any unnecessary fanfare, and at all times supporting the best interests of the college. A fellow board member recalls her as the “Den Mother” ,no doubt referring to her career as a theatre nurse, while another member rightly acknowledged her leadership and commitment to this role by referring to her as “Brigadier Blades”. Underneath these references, was her willingness to see things being done without unnecessary time-wasting or irrelevant discussion. Again another board member described Pat Blades when endorsing her election as “ the best bloke for the job”.
After this major contribution as a board member from the 1980’s until 2004 when she stood down, Pat Blades was recognised for her depth of knowledge of the college in all aspects. She considered herself privileged to have been with the college through thick and thin, when in her early days of board involvement, there was the distinct possibility of it having to close down through financial difficulties, with its grounds and buildings seriously run down and its reputation unflattering.
From this position of direct involvement and commitment as a member of the College Board, Pat Blades then moved on to become the first female trustee of the Scots Foundation, a position she served with distinction until standing down through ill health in 2014. At the same time she was invited to be a member of the Scots College Society Inc. recognising the service and commitment given to Scots over many years
During 2014 it was unanimously agreed by SCOBA to recognise the significant service and support given to Scots College through a number of roles all of which met the criteria that their contribution must have been significant and deserving of effort, that has been given without favour or benefaction and of an exemplary nature. From her early days as a caring and supportive mother for her sons at the college, Pat showed in so many ways that strong commitment of service that marked her being very worthy of such recognition.
When the decision was made in mid- 2014 to so recognise Pat it had been hoped that together with members of her family she could be present to attend the unveiling of the plaque at the Garden of Honour. Unfortunately her illness precluded this occurring, however Pat was aware before her death that this recognition had been endorsed, and a plaque was being added to the wall along with the other 14 persons so recognised to date. At a private occasion in early 2015, her immediate family were present to view the plaque and to note this fitting recognition given to a lady who had left a mark on the life of Scots College through many years of service and strong commitment to the values of the college.
Written by George Fairbairn (SCOBA Secretary)
Alistair Miller – a teacher, a man with artistic ability and talents, sensitive to the needs and aspirations of others, with musical skills and talent both on stage and behind the scenes, and a person with a proud Scottish heritage – this is but a short summary of the man we come today to honour and acknowledge.
The dates showing on the plaque for Alistair of 1966 – 1996 clearly indicate the years that he was at Scots, as a teacher, housemaster, and Pipe Band master. But those 30 years alone are not sufficient to justify this recognition in the Garden of Honour. Rather it is the dedication that was shown over that time initially in the primary school for the first 4 years, followed by his many years in the secondary school, including a period of nine years as a Gibb House master. Within his teaching career he initiated the Graphics and Design Course for the secondary school – you can but imagine what his thoughts would be if could see the opportunities now available to boys in the new CPAC building, and the challenges and creative skills now provided.
The special contribution from Alistair to the life and history of Scots was through his Scottish heritage, and his contribution to the Pipe Band – a special feature of Scots for so many years, and one of which all Old Boys and the whole community can be rightly proud. Alistair managed the Pipe Band from 1982 to 1996, and a quote from “The Scot” of 1989 rightly notes that “special thanks go to Mr A R Miller, who is the pipe band father – he organises all the parades, contests, camps and other events in which the band has now become a participant.”
To further quote the Pipe Major at that time (James Gould) – “his association with the ban goes beyond that of a manager, shown by the way he is involved with the various camps and evenings”. A particular event introduced in the 1970’s was the ceilidh ( a traditional Scottish music and dance evening) , now a regular tradition and annual event, started initially as a fund raiser so the band could compete at the National Championships in Dunedin.
For Alistair, but equally for his wife Jeanette, the Pipe Band was an extended family member. Jeanette was also committed to the ceilidh event, and a staunch supporter of all band activities. The great banners of Scottish castles hung each year for the ceilidh (not sure if they still exist) were all painted by Alistair. From this close involvement with the band in all its events and happenings, it was through such commitment that the band became a notable part of College life, which continues to this day.
Always active in musical events, both at the College, as well as in the wider community. Alistair’s name would appear as stage manager for a local musical production, and is reflected in a report on the production of Oklahoma in Wellington in1983 which read – “the A R Miller’s fine skills in design and construction were once more displayed in glorious fashion.” That artistic ability and sensitivity also extended to the restful tree-enhanced quad at the College often enjoyed by small informal groups. Somewhat changed in more recent years, but the concept of a special area for enjoying nature in the midst of a busy school environment remains.
A man with a strong Christian faith, an outlook that was optimistic and always ready to assist others particularly the slow learner, and a love of all things musical , all contributed to his making a commitment to the life of Scots College that will continue to be spoken of by Old Boys, parents, and friends of the College. Through these 30 years of devoted service to Scots, Alistair was joined by his wife Jeanette in all those activities where her commitment was often equal in many ways.
It is such a delight that Jeanette could be present today when we honour Alistair, and she can join with us all in paying our respects and remembering his contribution to Scots in this very tangible manner.
On Sunday 26 August 2012; approximately 50 members of the Scots community, including a number of former members of the College Pipe Band and their parents, gathered at the College to celebrate the induction of Alistair Miller [Teacher, Housemaster, and Pipe Band Master 1966–1996] into the Garden of Honour.
George Fairbairn [1954–1957], Secretary of SCOBA, welcomed guests and introduced Alistair’s widow, Jeannette, who had travelled up from Alexandra for the ceremony.
George read the citation of induction after which guests were led down to the Garden of Honour by Year 11 Piper, Oliver Stapleton Stevens, where College Chaplain, Richard Carr, conducted a brief induction service. The Piper played a lament, and Old Boy Robert Perry [1981 – 1987] played the same tune he composed when a student at the College, in honour of Alistair and Jeannette Miller when they moved into their home in Falkirk Avenue, Seatoun.
The ceremony concluded with a prayer from the Chaplain, after which guests were invited to afternoon tea in the secondary staff room. Many attendees also took advantage of the opportunity to tour the newly opened Creative & Performing Arts Centre and the Hodge Sports Centre.
Richard (Dick) Meddins Evans
So, when we think about what we hope will become of the boys who come to Scots, we can do no better than to think of Dick Evans as the model we all aspire to.
After a bare 4 months as a day boy Dick became a boarder at the start of 1935 only to return home at the end of that year and complete his Scots education as a day pupil, in 1943, as the war in the Pacific intensified.
Dick was a member of the 1st XV rugby team in 1941 and 1942, the Pipe Band in 1942, and the athletic team in 1942 and 1943.
He was the Senior Athletic Champion in 1943.
Dick left Scots College as an 18 year-old with ambitions to join the Fleet Air Arm and, after a short period at Lincoln College and then a few months working for the Evening Post where he learned some key lessons about entrepreneurship, he set sail for the UK to train to be a Fleet Air Arm pilot.
His closest friend at the time, Scots College old boy Sandy Fanselow, travelled to England with him on the same ship.
But the war was winding down and after half a year square bashing and training in England Dick was de-mobbed and put on a ship back home to Wellington.
The call of the family business was strong and on arriving back in Wellington he started work in the L Evans & Co family drapery business – located in Cuba St near the Hope Bros clothing shop owned by the Living family and the James Smith Department store owned by the Smith family (both major families in the history of Scots College).
Dick was always an active member of the Scots College Old Boys Association and became its President for three years in 1961
By this time Dick had already become famous in his own time for his support of Wellington rugby – the passion which was to make him an icon of our city.
Dick was the local precursor for the passionate rugby fan who dresses up to go to the Wellington Rugby 7’s every February.
For the best part of two decades, or more, there wasn’t an important rugby fixture played by the capital’s team which wasn’t promoted and boosted as a matter of Wellington pride by our man Dick Evans, resplendent in his black and yellow striped brocade Rembrandt suit and boater with his trumpet in hand and at lip.
Dick can probably lay claim to being the image people had in mind when they coined the “Absolutely, Positively Wellington” slogan for our capital city.
More than any other person from the early 60’s to the mid 80’s Dick was Mr Wellington personified – not for him the drab grey image of the public service town.
He coined the slogan C’MON Wellington and in 1965, when the visiting Springboks came to Wellington, founded the Wellington Rugby Supporters Club which is still going strong today – 45 years later.
It’s no small wonder that, with all this energy being expended on the city and the sport he loved, he had enough left to give to his old school.
But time and energy he had – in spades.
Dick Evans most tangible legacy is the magnificent Chapel and Assembly Hall which sits in pride of place on the Monorgan Road frontage.
In 1960 Dick used his celebrity status and his very considerable entrepreneurial skills to raise the huge sum (at that time) of £26,000 to build the Chapel and Assembly Hall first proposed by the Old Boys in 1950 as a project to build a chapel.
Dick set up numerous fund raising dinner parties all over Wellington; travelled everywhere raising funds; spent one night every week for all of 1962 chairing and encouraging the team involved in addition to the two or three lunch hours every week canvassing, and also promoted a fund raising Ball.
But a Chapel is incomplete if it doesn’t have a good organ said Hugh Reid our music master and Garden of Honour Inductee.
So Dick ensured there were sufficient funds in the kitty to purchase an electronic organ and thereby endeared himself and the Old Boys to the music staff and choristers for the ensuing decades.
Len Plimmer wrote, in his Story of Scots, “His (Dick’s) work and inspiration were in evidence throughout the whole project and through whose efforts a handsome organ was installed in the Chapel in keeping with the magnitude of his actions”.
Unfortunately one of his legacies to the College has fallen into disuse: in 1963 he presented the Scots College community with the Dick Evans Trophy for the Annual Cricket match between an Old Boys 1st XI and the Scots College 1st XI.
This trophy probably sits in a cabinet somewhere in the College but is no longer competed for.
Boys are so much more mobile these days and past generations of Old Boys obviously found it too hard to get a decent team together to compete for the trophy – after all it’s no fun to get done by the College 1st XI every year. Maybe we can re-instate the trophy as we lead up to the Centenary in 2016.
As the Selection Panel said in its assessment of the candidates who were put forward this year, and I thank all those who submitted nominations, the story of Dick Evans is compelling. The criteria which govern entry into the Scots College Garden of Honour demand an exceptional contribution.
The relevant parts of the criteria state as follows:
•The service rendered to College life must be of an exemplary nature with a firm foundation of merit.
•Therefore this is not an award that purely recognises length of service or benefaction, but rather one that commemorates service that has reached a deserving and laudable echelon of effort and contribution. Those selected must have made a contribution of prolonged significance or are acknowledged as having made a real impact if of short duration.
Richard Meddins (Dick) Evans exemplifies what the Scots College Old Boys meant when these awards were initiated.
Ladies and gentlemen – the Old Boys salute Dick Evans, a man who has worn the lifelong label – “I am a Scots College Old Boy” – with pride and honour and as a result brought honour to his College and his peers.
I thank you all for joining with the Scots College Old Boys Association today in recognising the contribution of a man who, for all of us, epitomises what it means to be an Old Boy of Scots College. – Francis Wevers
Bruce Grenville Cathie
He left 6 years later with his University Entrance and Higher Leaving Certificate to commence his university education and enter the accountancy profession.
Bruce demonstrated the leadership qualities, which were eventually to result in his nomination for the Garden of Honour, from those days as a pupil in the College.
He was Company Sergeant Major of the school cadet corps – the highest rank a student at the school could be promoted to; the secretary of Aitken House; a prefect in 1943 and Head Prefect in his final year.
Bruce was a public speaker of note and a cricketer while at school. In later life he developed a passion for golf and tennis.
His involvement with the school community was uninterrupted by his transition from schoolboy to old boy. He became a member of the SCOBA Executive Committee in his first year out of school and then in 1950 was appointed to the College Board as one of the Old Boy’s representatives on the Board.
Bruce contributed as a Board member from that time until he finally retired as Board Chairman in 1973 – 34 years after he started as a pupil in the third form.
During his time as a board member and finally as chairman the school underwent a huge transformation with new buildings such as the Gibb House new dorms and common room, the science lab block (now replaced with an even more modern structure), and the Chapel/Assembly Hall. Bruce played a major role as the Board’s Treasurer for much of this time in ensuring the ongoing financial viability of the school while the huge capital commitments essential to the development of the infrastructure were successful funded and completed.
For 34 years Scots College was an integral part of the life of Bruce Cathie and he gave so much back – for that we honour him.
Duncan Mackellar Hercus
Known to all as “Tote”, he remained at Gibb House for five years during which time he was pursuing an M.A. course in Education which he completed (with First Class Honours) in 1933. In 1932, he was appointed to the position of first assistant after the resignation of T.M. MacDonald.
Aside from focusing on the spiritual needs of the school, Hercus also had classes in mathematics, science, and manual training.
During his earlier time as a visiting chaplain Duncan Hercus had emphasised the need for a chapel to provide a focus for the religious life of the college. A fund for the building of a chapel was started to be raised in 1948, but owing to difficulties in those tumultous times, the project would experience a cycle of losing and gaining momentum through the years. In 1950 that a proposal from the Old Boys’ Association to raise money amongst themselves to build a chapel was established, but their efforts, aided with funding originally intended for a Hall of Memories, still proved insufficient. In 1956 the Board’s Committee of Ways and Means reported that an Assembly Hall was the priority, but owing to the difficulties confronted with earlier building plans, a combination Chapel-Assembly Hall became very attractive.
Backed by a committee composed of representatives of the College, the Board, the parents, and the Old Boys that was formalised in 1958, aggressive fundraising was undertaken and building finally commenced in July 1962. A year later, on 10 August 1963, the Chapel-Assembly Hall was opened and dedicated by the Moderator of the General Assembly, the commemmorative stone being unveiled by the Governor-General, Sir Bernard Fergusson during the service.
While Hercus’ dream of having a chapel in his time as chaplain in the College did not materialise, in his final years he was able to share the spiritual aims of the then headmaster G.A. Leary and greatly enjoyed working with him.
Duncan Hercus became head of the mathematics department in 1950 and also head of science until 1958.
A skilled woodworker, Duncan designed the chapel communion table and pulpit desk. With a keen interest in Church architecture, he was for some time a member of the General Assembly Committee on Architecture. His book, Building of Churches, was published in 1945. His passion led to dramatic improvements in the standard of design of Presbyterian churches and manses, as proposals for church buildings were required to be sent to the committee.
In September 1961 he accepted a call to the Te Aroha parish to which he ministered until his retirement in 1970. He died, after a long illness, in 1989.
John Oliver Booker
The First Seven Thousand records his prowess at athletics and in particular as a sprinter and middle distance runner. His speed was an obvious plus on the Rugby field and he got to play in the 1st XV for 4 years from 1943-1946, as Captain for the last two.
But his interests were not just on the sports field, John Booker was also a member pof the Pipe Band for 3 years, rose to become President of the School Council in 1946, and was also a part of the team who published our school magazine, The Scot, in his last year.
To cap it all off he was a Head Prefect and winner of the Pattie Cup in his last year.
John Booker trained as an accountant at Victoria University and was in an accountancy practice in the city.
But the skills of bookkeeping had to have a practical application and in 1950 John Booker went into his father’s uniform manufacturing business TR Booker Ltd, which still exists today as Booker & Spalding.
John Booker’s ties with the school deepened when he married Pamela, the daughter of the Headmaster at the time, Keith Glasgow, in 1954.
John Booker was a prominent figure in the Wellington business community for many years and played equally prominent roles in the leadership of the apparel, textile and garment manufacturing indutries at the national level.
John Booke is another who epitomises the contribution Scots Old Boys make to their community.
Today we remember him especially for the 15 years he spent as a member of the Old Boys’ Executive, the years from 1954 to 1956 that he was President and the years of contribution he made as an Old Boys’ appointee to the Board of Governors.
Written by Francis Wevers (SCOBA Chairman) for issue 12 of The Quad Magazine
Harry Gee MBE, JP
David Murie remembers: ‘60 years ago having enjoyed many years of rather pedestrian PT at Scots – war years meant that staff overall were generally under-achievers athletically, through age or medical factors – our lives were turned upside down with the arrival at the College of an ex-Naval Physical Instructor called Harry Gee…
‘The first period with him had us reeling with shock of a totally different regime of physical training. Our comfortable lives were behind us as we attempted activities that were totally foreign to us…
‘Gone were the days of the leisurely stroll to the Gym… Harry was always there waiting to (hurry us along) to ensure we received the full allotted period of PT.’
Keith Peterson: ‘Harry was admired as a nuggety and competitive hard driver by most pupils, feared by those who like me often counldn’t meet his demanding standards. My contemporaries will surely remember his compulsory dreaded character-building runs from Scots through Strathmore and around the coast back to the College. Harry took great pleasure in providing gymnastic training to (and beyond) his own high level of capability… and successfully coached ‘thirds’ rugby teams.
Tony Wilson: (‘The Quad’ December 2003) ‘Athletics was Tony’s first love and he was fortunate that Harry Gee was in charge. Even if he did “make us run around the waterfront to rid us of smoke and loosen up the muscles.” It was Harry who persuaded Tony to concentrate on athletics, which he did with success.’
Colonel Glasgow 1946: ‘He took boys below standard in all-round physical activities and under his capable energetic leadership made outstanding progress in the school.’
In Harry’s first year, 1946, at Scots College 76 boys learned to swim and were awarded certificates. Scots won the Maxwell Trophy for competition against Wellington schools for swimming (x 2 years) as well as the Duthie Cup. He took classes throughout the College and taught the rudiments of boxing. Gymnastics reached new heights. Lifesaving, cross country, athletics and intercollegiate athletes soared to giddy heights. Even the ATC Unit ran to 50 boys under Squadron Commander P/O Harry Gee, all keen to fly, shoot and play basketball. Sctos became a force to be reckoned with in Wellington school sports competitions during his five year tenure.
In 1952 Harry was asked to return to the RNZN and take position of Office Responsible for all physical training and sporting activities. His departure from Scots was a matter of keen regret.
David Murie: ‘Some years later when visiting Auckland my phone call resulted in an invitation to take the naval launch across to the depot to meet Harry. Stepping ashore at the Base I became aware of a steady beat which I realised was the sound of a squad moving in double time. As the sound came closer there came the well remembered voice calling ‘Pick up those feet’ and I nearly turned and fled. Luckily, I remained and as the ratings staggered away, the familiar figure moved towards me, fresh as a daisy, to give me a warm welcome.’
Harry died in November 2005 as he had lived involved in a sporting activity, scuba diving while on holiday in Hawaii, with his family, at 89 years 11 months.
Keith Peterson: “You might well say Bloody typical.’
(Reprinted from the Dec 2005, Issue 10 of The Quad Magazine. Written by Paddianne W Neely, College Archivist)
Sir Clifford (Ulric) Plimmer
Cliff Plimmer had fond memories of his time at the college the life-long influence of Dr Uttley and of Taymond Bridge, and long maintained a close connection with college affairs. He served on the executive of the Old Boys’ Association from 1927 to 1929 and again from 1946 to 1949 being president in the last year. He was a member of the Board of Governors from 1948 to 1963, vice-chairman from 1957 to 1963 and an honorary life-member of Scots College Incorporated. He worked to help set up the Scots College Foundation and as the first chairman of trustees: he made a number of generous gifts to the college.
His four sons all followed in his steps and attended Scots and when his second son Richard died in his late teens in 1957, he presented the main entrance gates to the College as a memorial to him.
He was generous in support of charities, one of his greatest interests being in the work of the Salvation Army. In November 1998 he received from them the Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service. He had been suffering ill-health for a time prior to his death in December 1988.
Source: The First Seven Thousand, A Jubilee History of Scots College 1916 – 1990
David Wilson Virtue
David Virtue started his association with Scots College in 1918 and was a Prefect and Dux of the College in 1920.
Immediately upon leaving school at the end of 1920 he joined the fledgling Old Boys’ Association Executive and then held the position of President of the Association for four years from 1922 to 1925.
David was one of the first two members of the Old Boys’ Association who were appointed to the Board of Governors which administered Scots College and Queen Margaret College jointly.
As the records show their role was to provide the Board, which was comprised mainly of members of the Wellington Presbytery, with a better understanding of the practical problems of the college.
In 1930 the Board of Scots College was separated out from the Boarfd of Queen Margaret College and David was appointed to the Scots Board,
When he became Honorary Solicitor for the College in 1933 he had to relinquish his position on the Board. He fulfilled the position of Honorary Solicitor for the next thirty years until he died in late 1962.
David Virtue was actively associated with Scots College for 44 years and, as the Board of Governors recorded in their minutes on 11 February 1963, he did so ‘with distinction and diligence at all times displayed a lively interest in the welfare and progress of the school’.
Written by Francis Wevers (SCOBA Chairman) for Issue 12 of The Quad Magazine
Hugh M. Reid
It was an end to a means; he originally planned to stay in New Zealand only to earn sufficient funds for a trip to England. But after staying at Scots College for twelve months he was persuaded to stay on. From the first year and for all of his time at Scots he was a housemaster, becoming senior housemaster after K.R. Wadham gave up the position in 1961.
Hugh Reid’s most notable contribution to Scots is music, notably choral music, for the whole seventeen years that he was at Scots. From his first year, when he directed the newly-formed college choir in a presentation of T.S. Elliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral”, the college’s participation in choral work continued to expand. A long succession of Gilbert and Sullivan productions in all of which he was musical director gave immense enjoyment to the boys from Scots and the girls from Queen Margaret College who took part, and to their audiences.
One of the more notable of the Savoy opera productions was that of “The Mikado”. The first of five successful performances was given on the evening of the new chapel-assembly hall’s official opening by the Governor-General in 1963. Also, house choirs were established and a church choir was trained, which sang every Sunday morning in Seatoun Presbyterian Church and at Advent performed the King’s College Cambridge, Festival of Carols. There was even a staff choir.
His other involvements at the college included organising tennis, helping with CORSO, and a five year period as master in charge of The Scot.
His vision of a trip to England materialised finally in 1955. In 1954 Hugh Reid was on the point of leaving Scots but in that year he won a New Zealand Government Bursary that enabled him to spend twelve months in England. The Board gave him leave and he spent the time at Trinity College, studying under Sir Adrian Boult and Sir William McKie, the organist and choirmaster at Westminster Abbey. During his time in Britain and Europe he visited over ninety schools, attended “five or six cathedral or choral services each week”, and found time to go to the Edinburgh Festival, the Salzburg Festival, and to Glyndebourne as well as King’s College Chapel at Cambridge and the rather more accessible Covent Garden, the Albert Hall, and Sadlers Wells theatre.
When the new chapel-assembly hall was built in 1963 it housed a new electronic organ the cost of which was largely met from funds raised by Dick Evans. Hugh Reid was deeply grateful to him for the support this contributed to the choir’s performance at assemblies and services in the chapel.
In mid-1964 Hugh Reid left Scots and returned to Australia. A farewell notice in The Scot was written by the headmaster Gordon Leary: “we shall miss his open friendliness and generosity, his unshakeable loyalty and inspiring leadership.”
In 1977 came the news of his death at the age of only fifty-two. As a memorial to him, the Old Boys’ Association had the chapel organ restored and it was dedicated at the secondary school prize-giving at the end of that year.
Condensed from The First Seven Thousand: a Jubilee history of Scots College 1916-1990 by James Brodie
Vivian Francis Odom Francis
Known to all as “Tote”, he remained at Gibb House for five years during which time he was pursuing an M.A. course in Education which he completed (with First Class Honours) in 1933. In 1932, he was appointed to the position of first assistant after the resignation of T.M. MacDonald.
Vivian Francis served Scots for nineteen years, through the remainder of J.H. Murdoch’s terms as headmaster and for all the time in which J.R. Sutcliffe held that post. At the time of his departure he was the longest-serving of any member of the secondary staff. His teaching areas were English, history and geography and for the whole of his time on the staff he was involved with the cadet academy, as commanding officer from 1926 to 1944. One of his hopes as early as 1940 was to have the cadets affiliated to The New Zealand Scottish Regiment, a circumstance delayed by the war and not achieved until 1959. His two sons both attended Scots.
His task as acting headmaster while K.W.R. Glasgow was away on active service was a difficult one. Glasgow had been at Scots long enough to make it clear what sort of school he wanted it to be and the degree of initiative that Francis could exercise in the headmastership was clearly limited, but his heandling of the college’s affairs was both capable and considerate. Problems of wartime shortages, of air-raid shelters being constructed (for Scots was mid-way between the potential targets of Fort Dorset and the Miramar oil storage tanks), of the military occupation of the pavilion, of staff away in the armed forces, all fell to his lot.
The boys seemed to have rather enjoyed the Emergency Precautions Scheme practices that were a feature of 1941: “When three bells go during school time, it means fun. The E.P.S. scheme goes into action and the school bounds out into the open for a few minutes peace and quiet.”
Rationing was also a persistent difficulty, although the parents of boys with a farm background helped to ease the situation somewhat.
With the end of the war approaching and Keith Glasgow’s return expected, Vivian Francis looked about for a post elsewhere and at the beginning of 1945 had moved to Australia to become headmaster of Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne. In 1949 he obtained a position at Knox Grammar School in Sydney where he taught for the next twenty years, becoming deputy headmaster before his retirement in 1968.
In 1976 the college celebrated its sixtieth anniversary and Vivian Francis, along with two other long-retired staff members J.R. Sutcliffe (1930-38) and Miss Elsie MacKenzie (1917-1945) were able to attend.
With his wife, Vivian Francis spent the first five years in retirement at Matcham, a country town fifty miles north of Sydney. The Old Boys’ Association News of January 1989 recorded his death at Brisbane, in July of 1988. His interest in Scots never ceased, for in his will he arranged for the establishment of a fund from which books can be purchased for the English section of the Scots library.
Shirley Martin CBE
They were always staunch supporters of the College. Alan, along with Arthur Williams, hand built all the seating in the old Primary School playground while Shirley became enormously involved with the Ladies Auxiliary. She became its President and was later a representative on the Parents’ Association.
As their business grew (Alan was the businessman who founded LV Martin & Sons Ltd. and turned a small music and radio shop into a houseware empire), so did their role as benefactors of the College. With Shirley’s good taste and commonsense they provided valuable prizes for raffles and Gala Days as well as equipment for the College such as speaker systems. Shirley was a hands-on hard working member of the committees. She was not afraid to turn up at the College in times of emergency when the Matron was ill to wash dishes at breakfast for the boarders, or to dig ditches with the then Headmaster, Mr John McFarlane, prior to a Gala when the fields were flooded. She also found time to be wardrobe mistress and to source specialised fabrics for productions such as ‘The Yeoman of the Guard’ and ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.
Alan was President of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht club for 20 years and had a life long love of sailing. Together they established ‘The Shirley and Alan Martin Sailing Academy’. This enabled Scots College boys as well as pupils from other schools, over a period of 10 years when Mr. Ian McKinnon was Headmaster, to attend the full course at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Shirley’s outstanding voluntary service to numerous organisations saw her awarded the Companion of the British Empire in 1993. Currently she is the only woman on the Scots College Old Boys’ ‘Garden of Honour’ and remains a member of The Friends of Scots College and The Scots College Society.
Condensed from an article by Paddianne Neely (Scots College Archivist) in Issue 15 of The Quad Magazine
Stanley (Stan) Painter
It was Stan Painter who was the prime mover in developing the Staff Committee for the whole college. He served as its chairman for five years and in that time the new staff room was built and a staff agreement co erring terms of appointment was developed – the first such agreement for independent schools in New Zealand.
On his retirement in 1976 those writing of his contributions to the college remarked on the fact that “he was always approachable and ever ready to lend a sympathetic ear to help solve everyday problems. He always demanded the highest standard possible from the boys, but with understanding humanity, has not expected miracles, and has been quick to praise any worthwhile achievement no matter how small… while at the same time never shirking the unpleasant necessity of severely reprimanding and who actions could in any way tarnished the good name of the school.” (He had been described as possessing a stinging forehand and a powerful backhand.)
In 1971 his duties were extended when he was made senior housemaster of Gibb House, a position he relinquished after five years of conscientious service, part way through 1975. In 1976 he retired from teaching the New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association. For, as much as teaching, tennis had been his life. In earlier years he won eight New Zealand junior titles and later, in 1948 and 1949, he and Ron McKenzie won the New Zealand doubles championship. Twice he toured Australia with the New Zealand junior team and in 1967 and 1969 he was captain of the New Zealand Davis Cup team. In 1960 he was the national selector. As well as being one of the country’s noted tennis players, Stan Painter has been very much involved with tennis administration. He was a member of the NZ Lawn Tennis Association Management Committee for fourteen years and its chairman in 1968 and several succeeding years.
Source: The First Seven Thousand, A Jubilee History of Scots College 1916 – 1990
L.I. Plimmer, known as Ken by his family, was a founding student and boarder at Scots College. As a member of the Scot College Old Boys Association Executive he was later pressed to research and write a college history The History of Scots for the 50th Jubilee in 1966. This he did with outstanding dedication, assembling and reading the minutes of the Board, working through the school records and the accumulated photographs.
Without the earlier concerns there would not have been records to search, but Len Plimmer added to the information by asking Old Boys to send in their accounts of life at Scots. He himself, from his own experiences and those of this three brothers, had a fund of first hand details to add to the record. His book The Story of Scots is a store of information on college happenings year by year for the time up to 1966.
Source: The First Seven Thousand, A Jubilee History of Scots College 1916 – 1990
Kay Raymond Wadham
He returned to Gibb House in 1946 and from the next year he was senior housemaster until 1961 when he and Morva Wadham moved from the flat in Gibb House where they had been for fifteen years, to live nearby in Strathmore. On leaving, the two things he remembered as “the best things he had done” while in the house, were his work in renovating the dormitories and his efforts towards providing a new common room.
In the classroom, English was his dominant interest and from 1950, and perhaps a little earlier, he was head of the department of English and Social Studies. Of his teaching of English, Dr B.D. Inglis wrote in The Scot of 1973, “His work in English has left its mark on most of us. He saw the great importance of a thorough training in the use of language and expression as a means to achievement in a wide variety of other fields… Kay Wadham’s teaching was effective across the whole range of his pupils’ natural ability. He sought to bring out the best in every one of us. And all of us who have had the great good fortune to be taught by him have had our lives enriched.”
On the sporting scene his college interest was cricket which he coached. As well, he played in the staff team in the annual match against the Old Boys. He coached college teams in rugby over a fourteen-year period and was the Scots representative for more than fifteen years on the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. His personal interest was golf. He was a long-term member of the Miramar Golf Club and around 1959 he won the junior championship there.
He devoted the major part of his life to Scots and to the people who lived and worked there. Some of this caring found expression in his work for others through the Staff Committee.
After his retirement in early 1973 he returned to the college in the next three years as a part-time assistant to teach English for several periods each week. This he did up to the time of his death in May 1976
Reference: The First Seven Thousand: a Jubilee history of Scots College 1916-1990 by James Brodie