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News > Old Scholar > Thank you Tony Keynes

Thank you Tony Keynes

Few people in the history of St Peter's College have shown as much genuine affection for our School than Tony Keynes OAM, who retires from the SPOC Committee after 47 years of service.
15 Jun 2023
Old Scholar
Tony Keynes with SPOC Executive Oren Klemich, Oliver Sheahan and Andrew Jonats at SPOC AGM
Tony Keynes with SPOC Executive Oren Klemich, Oliver Sheahan and Andrew Jonats at SPOC AGM

Tony Keynes (SCH 1970) recently concluded his tenure as a member of the St Peter's Old Collegians Committee. Having joined the SPOC Committee in 1977, Tony dedicated an incredible 47 years of service to the St Peter's Old Collegians community. During his remarkable tenure, he served as President for 14 consecutive years and held the esteemed position of Chairman twice. Tony's exceptional contributions have set a record that is likely to remain unmatched in the future.

Perhaps this is an appropriate time to consider Tony’s enormous contribution to SPOC and St Peter’s College.

Image: Tony Keynes as MC at Old Blues Lunch 2021

Tony's association with St Peter's College began in 1964 as a boarder from Eden Valley, entering the Preparatory School (now Junior School). He was the eldest of three brothers to attend Saints, following in the footsteps of his father, Bill Keynes, who was also an old scholar. Tony's early achievements, documented in the 1964 magazine, showcased his athletic prowess, captaining the School House Athletics Team and securing victories in various events.

Image: 1965 SPSC Athletics Team

Image: 1968 SPSC Athletics Team

Throughout his time at St Peter's College, Tony wholeheartedly embraced the vast array of opportunities offered by the school. He captained the School House Junior Athletics Team in 1967 and won the Under 16 880 yards event at the School Sports in 1968. In 1969, he held the positions of Vice-Captain of School House, Sub-prefect, and Vice-Captain of Athletics. His accomplishments included multiple victories in running events and impressive placements in cross-country races. In 1970 he returned to St Peter’s College for his last year as Vice-Captain of the School and Captain of School House. The Headmaster, Rev JSC Miller, said in his 1970 Speech Day address:

“Tony Keynes, Vice-Captain of Athletics and Vice-Captain of the School, has worked most closely with Captain of School, Adam Pedler, and this dayboy-boarder understanding has brought great strength and unity to the school. I am personally grateful for what they have done — together with the other prefects — for the School throughout the year”.

Image: 1970 In the Big Quad: The Headmaster The Rev John Miller with Tony Keynes, Vice-Captain and Adam Pedler, School Captain

Reflecting on their friendship, Dr. Adam Pedler (MAC 1970), Tony's long-time friend, shared fond memories of their time together at Saints.

“Tony and I were best mates since Grade 7. A love of music and Athletics. I lived in Trinity Street, so it was perfect for a boarder to come over and play “Blood, Sweat and Tears” on my Dad’s stereo. He was the drummer in our band so hard to meet girls, but I had some contacts for him.

We often went to the family farm where he taught me to ride a motorbike. Well, he roared off and brother Tim showed me the gears and brakes! I remember him helping his Dad, Bill, with topping up the car. Unfortunately, water was not good in the petrol tank!

We had the best relay change ever and kept it for many years …school days and 10 years in SPCAC, until my medical training took me away. Tony was my Vice-Captain in 1970 and he was very thrilled when my son Rupert was School Captain in 2008”.

Image: Entertaining students and staff at a School House Dinner 1984

Tony, himself, has written: “As a School House boarder, I had rewarding experiences, tempered with some quite challenging times. Mixing it all together, I must say 7 years at Saints really helped me develop as an individual. Saints offered up a wonderful bucket full of opportunities for us all. I loved the long-term friendships, sport, boarding, leadership opportunities, playing in the band "Venturi Inserts" and some studying”. He said: “I never really left Saints, as the School has played a big part of my life”. 

After completing his schooling, Tony embarked on a successful career path that included a machinist apprenticeship, winning the Australian Apprentice of the Year award, and undertaking a two-year study tour across various countries. He subsequently established his own successful business, Tafair Pty Ltd, specializing in engineering sales, specialised services, and contracting which he ran for 32 years.

Image: With the Achilles Cup and students in 2019

Despite his professional pursuits, Tony has maintained a deep connection to St Peter's College. He served on the Council of Governors for 14 years and played an instrumental role in the establishment of the St Peter's College Foundation. He dedicated his time to various roles, including President of SPOC and President/Captain of SPCAC. Tony also continues to provide coaching to young athletes and remains an active contributor to scholarships and philanthropic initiatives at the school.

Tony is passionate about providing opportunities for students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend St Peter’s College and in 2018, established a General Excellence Scholarship, with the support of a circle of donors, which provides life changing opportunities for boys to attend the School. As a Patron of the Founders’ Circle, established to honour and recognise those who have chosen to provide for future generations through a gift in their Will, Tony has committed to leave a legacy to support the scholarship program at St Peter’s College.

He is a living embodiment of the School’s motto, “Pro Deo et Patria”, to serve God and country.

Recognised for his outstanding service, Tony was awarded the Foundation Medal in 2021. He received an Order of Australia in 2019 for his services to athletics and served as President of Athletics SA. In 1995, Tony was awarded the Collegians’ Award for meritorious and outstanding service to the School, one of only 15 recipients to have received this award since 1961.

Image: With guests and former Headmaster Simon Murray at the Fleurieu Lunch 2012

The motto of School House was “There are others” and this has been a motto Tony has lived by. He has volunteered at the School in various ways for the last 52 years. Tony has attended hundreds of SPOC reunions, lunches and dinners and has represented the SPOC Committee at Regional Dinners across the State.

It is noteworthy that Mr Peter Crouch, Secretary of the Prince Alfred Collegians, wrote a letter to be read out at the recent SPOC AGM on 1 May 2023, in which he said: “There have been many ways to describe our unique relationship, but for me it is the people that make it special. The one constant in all of this has been none other than Tony Keynes. Tony has been the man that seemed to be always there. I take this opportunity to thank him for his support, advice, and, in particular, his friendship. As he leaves the old blues from his official capacity, I wish him all the best knowing that he will always support the old blues with unwavering loyalty”.

All of us who know him would say that his energy and enthusiasm are unlimited and infectious. He brings a positive perspective to everything he does. He is a man of great generosity. He is a loyal and passionate old scholar and we thank him for his enormous contribution to the St Peter’s Old Collegians Association.

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. In recognition of his contribution to the School and SPOC, he was awarded St Peter's Old Collegians' Honorary Membership in 2023.

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