‘Mo’ Witten turns 100

Cricket lover and Old Boy Spencer ‘Mo’ Witten scored a special century on 7 May, and the School and OBU representatives were thrilled to be at his 100th birthday in Barraba. Mo (TAS 31-32), believed to be our oldest Old Boy, shared some stories with the Headmaster Murray Guest; also present were three of his four sons: Robert (TAS 57-61), David (54-58) and Ian (68-73).



Mo Witten talks to the Headmaster about his years at TAS


Birthday boy Mo Witten with three of his four sons: Robert (TAS 57-61), David (54-58) and Ian (68-73).


Old Boys Notes – Binghi 168

More Athletic record discussions!

 John Myrtle (55-62) was most interested to read Ross Fulloon’s (54-59) communication in Binghi 166 concerning the fate of his under 17 mile record.  “This has set me wondering about the fate of other old records. Old Boys of my generation will recall Ross Lane’s outstanding performance at the GPS carnival of 1962, winning the Open Mile in 4:22. This has set me wondering whether (when converted) this is the TAS open 1500m record or whether someone in the intervening 52 years has run faster? My calculation is the equivalent for the 1500m of a 4:22 mile time would be 4:04.2.”

Well John, indeed the current record for the Open 1500m is still Ross’ converted mile, and you are spot on with your calculation: 4min 4.2 seconds. While the Open Mile was officially retired in accordance with GPS and the International Amateur Athletics Federation guidelines, the converted time for the 1500m still stands as clearly no-one has run a 1500m faster.

John adds that in his final year at TAS, the new headmaster Alan Cash – himself a talented athlete – was determined the quality of the TAS GPS Athletics team improved.

“The squad that we took to Sydney in 1962 for the GPS carnival was quite outstanding.  Ross Lane won the open mile in near-record time and came second in the 880.  Richard How was second in the 220; third in the 100 and was second in the broad jump.  The senior relay was third – a rare occurrence for a TAS team.  Overall we came sixth out of the nine GPS schools, in the senior team competition.”


In this year’s Australia Day Honours List, David Williams (54-57) was named as a recipient of an Order of Australia Medal for service to the Singleton community. A life member of the Northern Agricultural Association (NAA) of which he joined in 1965 and was president twice, David has also supported a long list of other local organisations since his arrival in Singleton in the late 1950s, including Hebden Rural Fire Service, Singleton Chamber of Commerce, Singleton Rugby Club, the Anglican Parish of Singleton, Rotary Club of Singleton as well as serving as a councillor on the Singleton Council in the mid-1980s. In an article in the Singleton Argus, David cited TAS Headmaster Gordon Fisher and his father, a former rector at All Saints Anglican Church Singleton, for inspiring a sense of service.

Speaking of awards, Professor Edward ‘Snow’ Barlow (58-62) was given the top ‘gong’ in writer Jeni Port’s Sydney Morning Herald 2015 Wine Honours List, published the day after Australia Day to acknowledge those who have contributed in a significant way to the Australian wine industry. Snow was bestowed with the mock title Companion of the Order of Australian Wine, for services to the climate change and wine debate. “He might raise an eyebrow but never his voice…never too busy to talk and never too shy to stand up when something needs to be said. Professor Snow Barlow – plant physiologist, agricultural scientist, Melbourne University lecturer (retired), winemaker – has spent decades gathering and dispersing information about the effect of climate change on Australian vineyards. He is the first – and last – word on the subject.” We propose a toast to you Snow – Cheers!

Australian historian Alan Atkinson (58-63) was, in late January, awarded the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for his third volume of The Europeans in Australia. The award is Australia’s most valuable single literary award. Twenty years in the making, the final instalment of the trilogy covers the period from the 1870s to the aftermath of the First World War. He told The Age newspaper he started work on the project more than 20 years ago, never thinking it would take so long. The judges said the “magisterial” third volume was “destined to be a landmark work in Australian historiography, as significant in its way as Manning Clark’s A History of Australia.”

Rev Chris Brennan (82-87) was officially installed as Vicar of Armidale and Dean of the Cathedral Church of St Peter on 2 March. The cathedral was filled to capacity for the happy occasion, with dozens of members of the broader TAS family present. Among those with formal roles in welcoming Chris were Cameron Moore (83-88), Dean’s Warden of St Mary’s West Armidale, and Cr Rob Richardson (69-74) representing Armidale Dumaresq Council. Chris had previously been Vicar of Holy Trinity in Glen Innes. Chris and his wife Samantha (ex PLC) have moved into the historic Deanery, also home to their eldest son Patrick (TAS, Year 7), daughter Natalie (PLC) and Andrew (Armidale City Public School).

Ian Croft (93-98) and his wife Del, of Taroom, Qld, welcomed into the world Owen Tomas Croft on 17 January. Ian is a vet in Taroom, enjoying country practice. Thanks to his mother Janet for passing on the happy news.

Best wishes to Sam Treloar (95-00) and his wife Alison (nee Laing, ex-PLC) on the birth of twins Thomas and Georgina on 28 November, 2014. Arriving five weeks early, they are doing very well and keeping their parents on their toes, according to proud grandmother Janet. Sam and Alison, who were married in the TAS chapel in 2010, returned to Tamworth three years ago. San leads the finance team at Joblink Plus, a not-for-profit employment services business operating throughout north-west NSW and the Hunter.

Lovely to hear news of the wedding of Ben Eveleigh (98-03) to Megan Lee Norris on 13 December 2014. The wedding ceremony was held at Megan’s old school Loreto Kirribilli, followed by a reception at Café Sydney, on the roof of Customs House. Ben’s parents Chris and Maria Eveleigh continue to be busy at ‘Dandloo’ Kentucky, growing hardy trees for farms, while older brother Peter (95-00) is a proud father of two.

Here and There

 We’d love to hear what some of our Old Boys from the 1940s are up to. Drop us a line about your family, travels or interests, to binghi@as.edu.au or to Binghi, c/ The Armidale School, Locked Bag 3003 Armidale 2350.


Nice to hear from Don McDonagh (46-51), who said he is piecing life back together after his house burnt down in August last year. While recently contemplating his time at TAS, Don was wondering if anyone knew what came of Henry Hoe (46), who was aged 17 when in Don’s year in Remove (the equivalent of First Form). “Henry, who was a Filipino I think, was years older than us, and rumour was he was a highly decorated child resistance fighter against the Japanese during World War Two,” Don said. “He was very modest and never skited about his experiences, but when he did open up, he had us just enthralled with his stories.” Don wondered if Henry came to TAS at the instigation of either staff members and ex-servicemen Brian Mattingley or Des Harrison, or indeed the Church? We’d love to know more.

Bob Wilson (54-57) known at TAS as Robert, Rob or by his nickname Audrey – came across the photo of Rick Gough (54-58) and Stephen Booth (54-58) leaning out of what Bob thinks was the sick bay window. The photo was most probably taken in 1955 or 56. “I haven’t seen Rick for around 15 years when he was in real estate in Dubbo. I keep in touch with Stephen by email and can report that while he has had some serious health issues is coping OK, playing the occasional game of golf, and has retired at Meringandan (near Toowoomba).” Bob says he is enjoying retirement at Merewether and playing plenty of lawn bowls and golf. “I also keep in touch with Peter McGlynn (54-57) who was my Best Man in 1966. Peter has also had some serious health issues but is all clear, and retired and living at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast.” The photo, along with others he sent, will be added to the TAS Archives.

More photos of the school were sent by Bruce Moffatt (51-58). As well as a few of the front of the school when it was covered in wisteria (but not blooming), is a shot of Graham Willis (49-58), Ian Kiernan (52-58) and Graeme Hartigan (54-59) munching on some tomatoes growing in an ag plot on the southern side of Brown St. We wonder how many actually made it to the kitchen?


Two years ago Paddy Dwyer (64-70) and his wife quit their jobs, travelled the Caribbean, bought a yacht and sailed it back to Sydney, where they operate a yacht charter business, OzCat. Paddy writes that along with driving many of the biggest charter boats, a 12 hour day is quite the norm. “When I have time off driving my own or a few other boats I teach people scuba diving and underwater photography. Then if I really have any time off we have our portable home to travel around in! So it’s definitely no retirement, although many of my guests say I have the best job in the world – sailing on Sydney Harbour and getting paid for it.”

Peter Sanders (66-73, Staff 90-98) has moved to Mitchell’s Island, the largest of several islands at the mouth of the Manning River near Taree.


Great to hear from Les Witts (78-84), who combines contract farming in the Burren Junction and Rowena districts, with ownership of Country Style Lawnmowing in Port Macquarie. Les and his wife Fiona (daughter of ex-Australian cricketer Peter Philpott) have two daughters Eliza (18) and Monique (16), both talented hockey players. “I still play cricket and rugby when I get a chance, and enjoy a few beers with fellow Old Boys,” Les writes.


After beginning his teaching career in 2009, Nick Aggs (86-91) was the following year employed by the Shanghai United International School, where he is now the Director of Performing Arts and Head of Pastoral. Nick loves the hustle and bustle of Shanghai and lives in the Former French Concession with his wife Toni. Back in 1997 he and his brother Anthony (89-91) formed jazz fusion band Afro Dizzi Act, releasing a handful of critically acclaimed albums, touring internationally (including being the first western band to tour North East India) and nationally, and was voted JJJ top 10 World Music albums for 2008.

James Brown (92-95), now a London-based film producer, has had a stellar year, with actress Julianne Moore winning the Best Actress Academy Award for her role in his critically-acclaimed film Still Alice. The film tells the story of a middle-aged linguistics professor who receives the shock diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimers disease. James, with producing partner Lex Lutzus, bought the rights to the novel after his sister Caroline gave him the book to read in 2011, telling him she thought it would make a great movie. In her acceptance speech Julianne Moore acknowledged the vision and passion of James, who was in the audience to hear it.


Haldane Begg (97-07) has completed his degree in Medicine and has been accepted by St Vincent’s Hospital for his first internship. Meanwhile brother Angus (98-11) has completed a degree in Science (Electrical Engineering) at Melb University and has been accepted for post graduate honours. Thanks to their mother Sandra for this information.

James Bondfield (96-02) has moved from Bondi Junction to Lennox Head, where he works as a helicopter pilot. In the same day’s mail was a note from his former Warwick primary school and TAS classmate Tom Jubb (01-02), now a project engineer for Scentre Group Construction in Newcastle. Tom and his team managed the redevelopment of several shopping centres and other Westfield assets. Prior to that he had been with John Holland Constructions since graduating in Construction Management from Newcastle University in 2008. “I actually have Ben Perkins (96-02) to thank; he graduated in the same degree a year prior to me (I took a year off after school) and managed to get me an interview with the right person. Sometimes that’s all you need to be on your way.” Tom and his wife Jacqui have a daughter Annabelle, born in 2013. As to James Bondfield: “He’ll have to ditch his RM Williams for board wax and surfboard, living up there!!”

Lewis Crothers (03-08) has been posted to Townsville with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment which has moved from Darwin to help modernise the Army and move towards the plan to create three like combat Brigades, each with an Armoured Cavalry Regiment. Lewis writes: “It’s an exciting time in the Army at the moment – there’s lots of change happening and some great capabilities coming online.”


Joss Guyer (06-12) dropped us a line from his native England to advise he is now studying Outdoor Education at the University of Cumbria, and has developed a passion for mountaineering. “I have been in a documentary about the first ascent of the Matterhorn, which should be airing on BBC 2 shortly! During the 2014 summer I worked at a Swiss summer school as an activity leader and also a successful summit of Mont Blanc, amongst others.” Joss is using his attempt at the Matterhorn this September to raise £1,000 for the mental health charity Student Minds; visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jossguyer1 .