Many old scholars would now be aware that Mr Raymond John Stanley AM OBE RFD ED passed away peacefully at the age of 92 on Anzac Day 2021. There were over 400 people at his funeral in the Memorial Hall on May 8th, 2021.
Our School owes him a huge debt of gratitude. He was a tower of strength here in the period 1960-1992 and he had an enormous affection for St Peter’s College. He was Deputy Headmaster from 1984 to 1992 and Acting Headmaster on three occasions.
He was a kind man who had high standards and he expected high standards from teachers and boys. He was a wonderful mentor to young teachers. He reminded us of our responsibility as teachers. He said: “If you are enjoying the lessons, the boys will be enjoying the lessons. If you are interested in your subject, the boys will also develop an interest in the subject. If you like the boys, they will grow to like you.” Young teachers received nothing but support and encouragement from him. Teachers have a great responsibility and good teaching can transform the life of a young person.
He made Chemistry lessons fun and learning followed easily from that. He told us to make Chemistry fun in Year 11, with lots of practical work, “pops, stinks and bangs”, as once the boys were interested in Chemistry, it was easy for him to teach Year 12. He had a passion for Chemistry and was an outstanding teacher. He felt a Chemistry lesson was “sterile” unless it had a practical demonstration or experiment in it. He said, “Chemistry without practical is like life without experience”. He instilled a love of Chemistry and Science in many old scholars. In retirement he wrote many Chemistry books.
Teachers felt supported by him and he was a person you would approach to discuss any difficulties you were having. He was a natural leader that teachers and boys looked to for example and direction. Before a School Muster, he could stand in front of the School and, because of the respect the boys had for him, the whole School would become quiet in preparation for the entrance of the Headmaster.
He enjoyed living on the School grounds with his family for 21 years and it was no surprise that, in retirement, he was asked by Headmaster Richard Burchnall to lead the School’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 1997.
There was spontaneous applause in the Common Room when Headmaster Dr AJ Shinkfield announced in 1983 that Mr Ray Stanley was to become Deputy Headmaster in 1984. As he left a lunch gathering of former teachers at the Naval and Military Club on Tuesday April 6th, 2021 for what was to be the last time, there was resounding applause.
Mr Jeff Chittleborough wrote when Mr Ray Stanley retired at the end of 1992:
“At the end of 1971 the Headmaster, the Reverend John Miller made a brilliant and very significant decision. He invited Ray to live on the grounds as Resident Assistant to the Headmaster. So began two decades in which the Stanley influence has, without question, been a major factor in the well-being, the progress, the style, the standing and, above all, the continuing excellence of this great School”.
In the years 1960-1992 few people did as much to see that our School continued to stand for all things that are “strong, and lovely, and of good report” than Ray Stanley.
The 1992 School Captain, David Scott (HWD 1992), now a senior teacher at St Peter’s College, wrote:
“For 33 years Mr Stanley has given outstanding service to this School. Yet I feel this, his last year, was his finest. He has seen one Headmaster depart in grand style, due solely to his own tireless efforts and organisation. No sooner had one left, than another Head arrived. Again, RJS swung into action, and helped Mr Burchnall to settle into Saints comfortably. When you see Mr Stanley in action, you begin to realise just how lucky Saints has been to have RJS as its Deputy Head”.
Here are some reflections from his sons Robin and Russell Stanley:
“Dad installed the values of honour, respect and pride amongst the boys”. “He influenced and positively guided so many young people to respectfully strive for their dreams and be the best person they possibly can be”. Russell Stanley (HWK 1984)
“One of the things about Dad, he was very humble, you had no idea of how he changed so many lives. So many emails and phone calls have told me how my Dad encouraged them, helped them change direction”. Robin Stanley (HWK 1979)
He was an entertaining after dinner speaker. He spoke at the School’s 150th celebrations in 1997 talking about a “load of True Blue”. He was a regular guest speaker at a large number of Old Scholars’ Dinners. He was always chosen by old scholars to be a guest at reunions.
It is people such as Mr Ray Stanley that have made our School an exceptional one. All of us who worked with him, and learned from him, at St Peter’s College will never forget him.
David Docwra retired from St Peter’s College in December 2015 after 37 years’ service and will be 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.