08 Mar 2016   ::   Old Sydneians' Newsletter – Number 5


Photo: The Malaya Vietnam Honour Board in Big School


Dear Old Sydneian,

You may have heard that I have told the Trustees that I intend to move on from the School at the end of Term I in 2017. By then I will have served more than seventeen years as Headmaster of this great School. Over the course of the next twelve months I hope to see many of you; in April this year I will be holding a reception in London for Old Sydneians who find themselves there, and there will be many more opportunities for you to engage with College Street. In particular, I would be delighted to be able to welcome you to any or all of the events listed at the end of this Newsletter.

The School engages with its alumni in all sorts of ways: through Old Boys' orchestras, jazz groups and sporting clubs. In addition, we give casual, part-time work to many younger Old Sydneians. Over many years, we have also enjoyed a close and productive relationship with the Old Sydneians' Union. At their most recent annual general meeting, the OSU elected a new committee, and a new president, Mr Ian Plater (OS 1969). We're looking forward to working closely with Ian and his committee.

You are always welcome to contact me directly. Wendy Scotter in the Old Sydneians’ Office and Bridget Minatel, the archivist are similarly happy to hear from you.

John Vallance

Book Launch: A Continuing Tradition: MGS v SGS Cricket Since 1876

On Saturday, 6 February, over fifty Old Sydneians – proud and passionate about their school cricket – attended the launch of Jim Cattlin’s (OS 1961) long-awaited book about the historic cricket match between MGS v SGS, on a pleasant afternoon at the Weigall Pavilion.

Dr Vallance introduced guest speaker, veteran cricket commentator Jim Maxwell, who presented Dr Vallance with a letter from his great-grandfather, Headmaster A.B. Weigall. Author Jim Cattlin, who acknowledged the support of the School Archives and and mentioned the recent passing in January of Bruce John Ritchie (OS 1947), displaying his impressive school blazer (image included below) kindly supplied on the day by son David Ritchie (OS 1976).

A Continuing Tradition: MGS v SGS Since 1878 sets out in detail the history of the annual cricket fixture between Sydney and Melbourne Grammar Schools remains the oldest continuing interstate cricket match in Australia, with Brisbane Grammar School also joining the competition in 1998.

If you are interested in obtaining Jim’s book of 544 pages including 200 photographs, and including information on many notable players and teams over the years, please either visit Wendy Scotter in the OS Office or Bridget Minatel in the School Archives at College Street to pick up a copy in person, or make contact to request the book to be posted.

The cost is $50.00 and payment can be made either by bank transfer (preferred), cheque or cash. Please add $10.00 for postage (within Australia). If you would like further information about the book or wish to contribute a memory you have of the match in which you played, please email
Author Jim Cattlin speaking at the book launch in the Weigall Pavilion

Vale Bruce John Ritchie (OS 1947)

Old Sydneian, Senior Prefect and sporting champion Bruce John Ritchie (SGS 1940-1947) passed away peacefully on 15 January 2016, at the age of 89. Late of Buderim on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, and formerly of Parramatta and Cronulla, Bruce was a much loved Old Boy, and is remembered as an extremely talented, yet warm and modest individual.

While at school, Bruce achieved what many only dream of – Prefect from 1945–46 and Senior Prefect in 1947, a member of the First XI 1943-47 and Cricket captain from 1945-47, a member of the First XV from 1945-47 and Rugby captain in 1947. He was also a member of the Senior Tennis Team of 1947. While at Grammar, Bruce scored 240 runs n/o against The King’s School in 1945, placing him in good stead to later play for NSW shortly after leaving school. Bruce was team mate of the late cricketer and commentator Richie Benaud while playing for the Central Cumberland Cricket Club, now Parramatta District Cricket Club, becoming a great friend and the best man at Benaud's first wedding.

His three sons are also Old Sydneians; David (OS 1976), Malcolm (OS 1978) and Michael (OS 1980).

The Ritchie family have kindly donated Bruce Ritchie’s impressive school blazer complete with 12 sports badges, that will be framed and displayed at the Weigall Pavilion.
Bruce Ritchie as a member of the First XV in 1945
Bruce Ritchie’s school blazer

Anzac Assembly and Lunch

This year’s Anzac Assembly and Lunch will be held on Friday 29 April 2016 with guest speaker Rick Cranna (OS 1962) addressing the assembly. Mr Cranna’s friend and fellow Old Sydneian, Private David Fisher, a member of the Special Air Service Regiment, fell from a rope from an RAAF helicopter during an operation in 1969 above the jungles of Vietnam. His body was finally found and repatriated from Vietnam in 2008.

If you are interested in attending this important event, please contact Wendy Scotter in the OS Office on 9332 5843 or email
Royal Australian Air Force helicopter and troops on the ground during the Vietnam War
Royal Australian Air Force helicopter and troops on the ground during the Vietnam War

Phantoms of Bribie by Ian Mackay

On 17 February, Ian Mackay (OS 1951) launched his book Phantoms of Bribie: The Jungles of Vietnam to Corporate Life and Everything In Between, an autobiography covering his eventful life from school days as a talented sportsman and Wallabies hopeful, to operational service in Malaya and Vietnam, where he was a commander during Operation Bribie in February, 1967 and his later life as an executive of Honeywell Security and Defence Systems.

Mackay’s 280-page book was launched by Major General PW (Gus) Gilmore, AO, DSC in the historic and picturesque setting of the Officers Mess at Victoria Barracks in Paddington, Sydney and is available through Big Sky Publishing by visiting or email
Ian Mackay signing a copy of his new book

Scheduled Reunions for 2016

Dates & venues yet to be announced

1971 45-year Reunion                Organiser: Sam Lamond

1981 35-year Reunion                Organiser: David Orsmond

1991 25-year Reunion                Organiser: Kannan Thangaraj

1996 20-year Reunion                Register your interest to be an organiser

2001 15-year Reunion                Organiser: Andrew Lim (Nov/Dec date tba)

2006 10-year Reunion                Register your interest to be an organiser

2011 5-year Reunion                  Organiser: Lachlan Wylie

Annual Melbourne Reunion        Organiser: Tony Johnston

Old Sydneians’ Reunion in Zurich, Switzerland – Please register your interest to attend at


David Horton Art Exhibition

The Headmaster Dr John Vallance warmly invites you to attend the official opening of Sculpture and Works on Paper by David Horton, Art Fellow (2012-current). 

Please join us for drinks from 5-7.30pm, Friday 11 March 2016 in the SGS Art Department on Level 6, Stanley Street entrance. The exhibition is also open for general admission 14–24 March between 9.00 am and 4.00 pm (Monday-Friday).

Image: After Matisse’s Goldfish and Palette, varnished steel, 2015


Upcoming OS Events

Fri 15th AprHeadmaster’s Drinks in London (venue to be announced)

Fri 29th AprANZAC Assembly in Big School followed by lunch in the AMT Foyer

Fri 21 Oct – 1976 40-year tour of College Street followed by drinks on Sat (details tba)

Mon 7th Nov1950-51-52 Annual Lunch (venue to be announced)

Fri 25th Nov1945-46-47 Annual Lunch in the Wallace King Room, SGS

Wed 7th Dec 1948 Annual Lunch at the Greenwood Hotel, North Sydney

Wed 21 Dec1986 30-year Reunion at Wolfie’s Grill, The Rocks

Please contact Wendy Scotter on 9332 5833 or for further details.

Your Help is Needed!

Expressions of interest are sought from Old Sydneians to volunteer their time to assisting with various tasks in the School Archives. The ideal candidate would have a high attention to detail and be very proficient with a range of computer-based tasks including, but not limited to, scanning archival photographs, entering descriptive data in the Archives database and cataloguing books from the Archives collection.

If you think this sounds like you and have a day to spare each week or fortnight to help out, please contact Archivist Ms Bridget Minatel on (02) 9332 5833 or alternatively email

Upcoming School Events

The School extends a warm invitation to all Old Sydneians to attend the following school events:

Sat 12 MarchAAGPS Head of the River – Sydney International Rowing Centre, Penrith

Thu 17 March, 12.30 pmOpen Day – College Street

Sun 20 March, 4.00 pm – Bach Birthday Organ Recital – Big School

Thu 31 March, 6.30 pm – Term I Concert – The New Hall 

Sat 2 April – Football v St Patrick's College – Weigall 

Open Day

The next School Open Day will be held on Thursday 17 March between 12.30 and 3pm. While these Open Days are aimed primarily at prospective families, you, as an Old Sydneian, are very welcome to attend and have a look around the School.

You will simply need to RSVP via the Old Sydneians’ Office on (02) 9332 5888.

Address details?

Have you moved recently or changed your email address? If so, please email us on or call the office on (02) 9332 5888 and we will happily update your details over the telephone. Perhaps you may also know of an Old Sydneian who has not received this. If so, please ask them to contact our office, and we will give them the opportunity to receive this and any forthcoming newsletters.