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News > Docco's Diary > Docco's Diary | Memories of 1972 at SPSC

Docco's Diary | Memories of 1972 at SPSC

David Docwra takes a look back to 1972 when the School celebrated its 125 Year Anniversary.

As a large number of reunions of old scholars approach later this year, it is interesting to look back to 1972 – 50 years ago – when our School was celebrating its 125th anniversary.

1972 was a good year for St Peter’s College.

After the Founders’ Day Service, which was held on Friday 14th July 1972, the Bishop of Adelaide formally opened a School Museum at the Cottage on the Southern side of the Main Oval. Many old scholars will remember this Museum.

Later the same morning, the first official visit by members of the School Council was paid to the new Music Centre on the first and second floors of the North wing of Old School House. The Music Centre had one large teaching and rehearsal room and twelve practice rooms. Many old scholars took music lessons in this Music Centre.

1972 was the final year of teaching for Mr LR “Bob” or “Trunk” Vollugi who retired after 36 years on the staff. He is remembered with great affection by many old scholars. The Headmaster said, referring to “Trunk”: “The successes of the Athletic Club in his last year with us are a wonderful reward for all his enthusiasm and devotion to sport at the School. He has always set the highest standards, and year after year he has won the deepest respect of those he has trained, and during his time as Housemaster of School House, he made a most valuable contribution to the boarding side of our School and largely due to his efforts, the whole standard and level of boarders in the School was raised”.

1972 was also a good year for sport.

In Athletics we won the Achilles meeting at Scotch College against Scotch College and Pulteney Grammar School. At the School Sports, John Frayne won the Open Championship, Geoff Frayne was the Under 17 Champion and Bruce Frayne was the Under 15 Champion. This was three of five championships – a unique performance for one family. Bruce Frayne was later to go on to compete at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

The Boat Club had one of the most successful seasons in its history. At the Head of the River Regatta six trophies were won including the coveted Gosse Shield for the First VIII Crew. The Head of the River Regatta was held on the Torrens in 1972. This required a series of heats. Our First VIII defeated King’s in the Final.

We won the First XVIII Intercollegiate Football game. In 1972 it was played at Adelaide Oval. We were 15 points up at half-time, but in the third quarter Stephen Copping kicked four goals to add to the two he had kicked in the first half to put us 27 points up at three-quarter time. The final score was SPSC 13.9 (87) to PAC 9.6 (60). Stephen Copping was later awarded the DM Fowler Cup for outstanding service and ability in the 1st XVIII. The Opie Medal for the best player in the Intercollegiate Match was awarded to A M Dunstan.

Some old scholars may remember that on 25th February 1972 MacDermott House organised a “pie eating” competition in the Little Quad (now Allen Quad). Graham Southcott was proclaimed champion after completely consuming two pies in 42 seconds!

At the Headmaster’s Conference in 1972, attended by our Headmaster Rev JSC Miller, there was discussion of schools as communities. The Chairman at the Conference said that a school “gives the assurance of a secure environment within which all may be confident of the recognition of their identity and encouragement to use their gifts and talents for the benefit of others”. Is this not equally true 50 years later in 2022?

Another theme of the 1972 Conference was that the school is the link between the family and the community at large; the school provides “the arena in which a young person comes face to face with the problems of the wider community, with the need for social responsibility, tolerance, cooperation and positive living – that is the development of one’s peculiar gifts and talents and the contribution of these qualities to the life of the community at large”

Is this not also true in 2022?

Headmaster Reverend JSC Miller, in his 1972 Speech Day address, talked about the desirable ingredients of the community life which we should hope to achieve in our schools. He talked about “love, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, caring for others”. He talked also about “the qualities necessary to meet the vigorous demands of life, such as discipline, the habit of hard work, the rigours of intellectual study, the cheerful acceptance of tiresome duties, of responsibility, and the moral courage to maintain one’s principles and personal standards”. He mentioned “loyalty, springing from pride in the community of which one is a member”. He said “A community thrives on love and loyalty and cannot survive long without it”.

In 1849, the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Researched and written by David Docwra
David Docwra retired from St Peter’s College in December 2015 after 37 years’ service and is fondly remembered by many as a dedicated teacher, a committed coach of squash, cricket and soccer, and most especially as a passionate Head of Hawkes House for 21 years. David remains connected to St Peter’s College and regularly provides historical articles for the St Peter’s Old Collegians newsletters.

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