GPS Gold Challenge 2016

They shot and swung and served and ran and bounced – and the inevitable middle-age aches were all for a good cause when 13 leavers from 1983 took part in the 2016 GPS Gold Challenge on 30 September-1 October.

Held every two years as a major fundraiser for the Red Kite Foundation, the event brings together more than 550 GPS Old Boys who have turned, or are about to turn, 50, for competition in a range of disciplines.  On Friday David ‘Ted’ Coupland (78-83) was the equal top-scoring shot at the shooting held at King’s, while at the golf, at Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club, Will Sedgwick (79-83) hit the longest drive.

On Saturday at St Ignatius College Riverview, TAS competed in tennis, touch football, basketball and athletics, while that night at a superb dinner, a representative from each school debated the topic ‘that sport is better than sex’.

A last minute addition was Joe Phanichewa (81-83) who flew in from Bangkok on Saturday morning and managed to fit in a few games of basketball.

Amongst the TAS team was OAU President Graham MacDougall (78-83): “It really was a superb weekend. While many TAS Old Boys were unable to attend this time around, it’s a wonderful few days of I really suggest that all ’85 and ’86 leavers set aside the October long weekend in 2018 for the next  one – you won’t be disappointed!” More information and photos of the weekend can be found at

Regional OAU events planned

The Old Armidalians’ Union is in the early stages of planning reunion functions in Canberra and Brisbane during the next 12 months, for Old Boys of all ages. To ensure you are not overlooked, if you have changed any of your contact details in the past couple of years, please let us know. Either email or fill in the cover sheet and post it back to The Editor, Binghi, The Armidale School, c/Locked Bag 3003 Armidale NSW 2350. It’s really important we have both a postcode for your home town or suburb, as well as an email address, so we minimise the chances of missing anyone.

The date for TAS Reunion Weekend (formerly Old Boys’ Weekend) in 2017 will be finalised in coming weeks  – and what a special time it will be particularly for those who are leavers from 1957, 67, 77, 87, 97, 2002  and 2007!  The OAU and the Development Office are committed to making the weekend a success – so please let us know at or if you are willing to help muster your cohort for a memorable weekend!

Hundreds flock to Old Boys’ Weekend

Aged 19 to 95, Old Boys from across the decades returned to TAS for this year’s Old Boys’ Weekend, from 22-24 July. On the sporting front, for the first time, the students won the Moffatt Shield in hockey against a school team which included one of the first senior TAS girls. The Old Boys won the tennis, but lost to the School in chess, debating (by forfeit) and the shooting (by six points!) – School thereby reclaiming the Croft Cup after several years being held by the OBU. The solid win by the First XV against Shore in the GPS Third XV competition attracted a fantastic crowd to Backfield.

Though numbers at the official dinner in the Dining Hall were down on previous years due to their being no cohort of 50 year leavers (from 1966, the year the Wyndham Scheme was introduced), those in attendance were thoroughly entertained by guest speaker David ‘Tex’ Toppin who regaled amusing anecdotes about his time at TAS as both a student (64-66) and staff member during three different periods (72-76, 80,-84, 87-01)  as well as observations from teaching at schools in Singapore and China.

“In 1963, my parents moved up here and sent me to TAS, having had my first six years at Knox Grammar. I remember walking in, being welcomed and immediately felt part of school. My life time friends were made in those three years and it’s the reason why, after 15 years away, I am back living in Armidale. TAS gave me the opportunity to be my best – as a member of the athletic and tennis teams, First XV rugby, a CUO in cadets, school prefect and a member of the 1966 GPS premiership shooting team, captained by David Willis – none of these would have been possible at Knox,” he said. (David’s speech in full can be found here.)

Elsewhere in Armidale reunion dinners were held for 30, 20, 10 and five year leavers (the latter also a get together of their parents).

Following the OBU Chapel Service at which Cameron Patrick (03-08) preached, the Union’s AGM was held. President Graham MacDougall (78-83), Treasurer Alex Thomas (80-86?) and Secretary Tim Hughes (78-82) were re-elected for another term, along with several committee members and young newcomer Sam Doyle (09-14). Former staff member Max Tavener was bestowed with (honorary) Union membership recognising his contribution to the School and the OBU, before a Special Resolution to change the name to the Old Armidalians’ Union was passed unanimously. Thanks to all the reunion organisers, the Development Office and those who attended for making it such a great weekend.


20 year leavers pull for victory on the Tug-o-War




The Old Boys who played hockey for the Moffatt Shield


The Headmaster takes a shot for the School in competition against the Old Boys, under the assistance of Sam Cannington


Max Tavener was made a member of the OBU in recognition of his service to the School and the Union.


Oliver White, a fourth generation member of the First XV, was cheered on in the Shore game by father Frank (77-80) and grandfather Graham (43-49)


Andrew Dance, Sam Vivers, Michael Forsythe, Joffrey Cannington, Bruce Vivers and Malcolm Gill at the Saturday drinks at Hoskins


Rob Busby (63-68), Peter Guyer (71-76) and Paul Barratt (56-60) on the boards against students Darcy Smyth, the Headmaster and Harry Pollard


Under the ‘watch’ of their headmaster Alan Cash, Pierre Le Count stands on his head to the amusement of his fellow 40 year leavers

Sydney Branch AGM

Sydney-based OBs please note – the Annual General Meeting of the Sydney Branch will be held at Club Willoughby, 26 Crabbes Ave., Willoughby on Monday, 20 June 2016,at 6.30pm. Let’s get together to grow the OBU in Sydney! For more info, to express your attendance or tender an Apology, please contact Secretary Paddy Flower at or 0418 468 708 or President Andrew Erratt at or phone 0418 441 848.

Annual General Meeting – Sydney OB

‘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 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 .

Letter from the OBU President re TAS co-education plan

The TAS Board has announced, on 23 January, a two month consultation period ahead of a decision on opening up TAS to full co-education from Term 1, 2016. If it goes ahead, girls from Year 6 upwards would be able to enrol at TAS as day students or boarders, across all year groups from next year.

As part of this process, 20 consultation meetings will be held with Old Boys, current, past and prospective parents, and friends of the school, in Armidale, in various centres in regional NSW, in Sydney and in Brisbane.

The OBU Executive has been briefed on the proposal and is urging all Old Boys to attend one of these meetings to learn more about the proposal so they can make an informed decision and provide their feedback about it.

A special section on the TAS website, ‘Co-education Consultation Process’, has been created with a letter from the Headmaster, further background information about the proposal, a ‘Q&A’ document, and the dates and venues for the consultation meetings. The link to these web pages is below. This will be added to the OBU website in the next few days.

Feedback can be made by email to the link at the bottom of this letter, or by writing to Co-education Consultation, The Armidale School, Locked Bag 3003, Armidale 2350. Calls can be made to a special hotline number, 0487 549 477. A survey will also be available at a later date.

The school has stated that all feedback will be collated and analysed by the Board to assist it with making a decision about co-education on 31 March.

I encourage you to learn more about the proposal and then have your say on the future of TAS.

Mark Berry,

TASOBU President

Please click here to go to the Co-education Consultation pages on the TAS website.

Feedback on the proposal can be submitted by email.






Old Boys Notes – Binghi 167


Dick Hays (41-46) and his wife Clare celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in September, with 30 relatives and friends – among them Keith Coulton (39-46) who made a valiant effort to attend, and Geoff Reardon (42) who was one of the many Sydney boys relocated to TAS during the war. Dick said the couple were delighted to receive congratulations from several politicians as well as the Queen.

Well done Randal Thomas (90-95) on his marriage to Amy Curtis on 25 October, in Armidale. The wedding brought together many TAS families, and prompted a reunion of several staff!

 Guy Fitzroy (92-97) and his wife Kim, of ‘Avondale’ Delungra, are pleased to announce the arrival of their second child, Ruby, on 11 October. Rugby is a sister for Maggie, and another beautiful grandchild for Caroline and Brian Fitzroy (57-63).

Here and There


 Paul Griffiths (53-61) made the trip from Turramurra to Wagga Wagga earlier this year for a 50 year reunion of the regional television station RVN-2 (now part of Prime7. A photograph in the local newspaper showed him catching up with fellow television identities Mel Grieve, Ray Dineen and Tony Cook.

Bob Gillard (60-64) has moved from Swansea to Taree, sharing a locality – and a PO Box – with his brother Greg (64-66). Since moving there, he says he has caught up several times with Bob Crossman (59-64).


 Chris Davidson (66-70) of Tamworth is currently Principal of Andigen International, a technology company specialising in Environmental Consulting in the design and delivery of state of the art recycling and bio-energy technology.


After many years as a horse-whisperer based on the mid-north coast, Ken Scott (81) is now living near Uralla with his wife Hiroko, whom he met while working in Japan, and married 12 years ago.

Clearly talent runs in the family. Paddy Flower (62-63) sent a clipping from the Manly Daily relating to former Wallabies centre Richard Tombs (84-85) – not his success on the paddock, but that of his wife and three daughters, on the netball court. Richard’s wife Carissa was part of the 1999 Australian world champion team which has received the Team Sport Australia Award through the Sports Australia Hall of Fame. Daughters Latika and Talani both represented NSW at the national titles while the youngest, Ukiesha, starts playing next year.

Currently General Manager, Safety Systems with Virgin Australia, Stuart Aggs (78-88) was one of the keynote speakers at the Swinburne Aviation Industry Conference, Hawthorn Victoria, earlier in the year. Stuart has been with Virgin Australia since 2004, having previously been with Regional Express and Hazelton Airlines. His Master of Science in Aviation (UNSW) follows from his experience in general aviation and as a charter freight pilot and flight instructor – a passion he pursued after university at UNE. He sees both Bryn Griffiths (83-88) and Bill Bailey (83-88) reasonably often as they both reside in Brisbane.

 Rowan Bourne 87-88 has been an electrical power systems engineer for about 20 years (after studying at the University of Newcastle), and is currently a power supply connection consultant with Electrical Network Design. He writes that he is happily married to Sharon and has five year old twin boys, Hamish and Oliver.


Nice to hear some months ago from Michael Stanton (85-90): “We are enjoying Florida’s weather and life by the beach in Juno Beach, Florida.  I am now working for Ocwen Financial Corporation, one of the largest mortgage servicing companies in the US.“

David Kapcejevs (86-91) is a Business Development Manager with Ord Minnett and a key member of the Intermediary Services team. Prior to joining Ord Minnett, David worked at Perpetual as a Private Client Adviser, as a Technical Analyst at Sealcorp (ASGARD) and at Westpac Financial Services in both technical and advisory capacities.

Sinclair Croft (89-94) has been working as a heritage consultant with Graham Brooks and Associates for the past three years. While Sydney-based, his work takes him into regional NSW and interstate, working with developers on proposals concerning heritage buildings or within conservation areas. A keen swimmer at school, he has joined an adult training squad, and recently competed in an open water swimming event on Lake Erie, Cleveland, Ohio. Next year, he will be part of a relay team swimming across the English Channel.

Brett Spokes (89-94) is living in Muswellbrook and working in the mining industry.

Elton Clodumar (93-95) sent a lengthy email from his homeland Nauru, to where he returned after leaving TAS. In 2005 he became Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observer (PIRFO), reporting on the methods and haul taken by tuna fishing vessels. Two years later, he moved to Marshall Islands for five years, working as a PIRFO trainer, working with officials from several Pacific islands agencies including the Secretariat to the Pacific Community (SPC) and Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). He is now also involved in the Australian Awards Scholarships program on Nauru, keen to broaden his knowledge through tertiary study to further equip him to “become an influential individual, an asset to my country and to the limited marine fisheries resources that we small island nations are so dependant on”.

Nigel Henley (90-95) is keeping very busy, teaching several subjects at primary and secondary level at Bundarra Central School. He is also coaching the school’s senior girls touch football team, and reserve grade with the Inverell Highlanders RUFC: “I still play but am ready to give it away!” He and his wife Melissa have a daughter Emily, and sons, Alex, and Thomas.

The White old boys had their own private family reunion at a friends wedding in the Blue Mountains recently. Hadley White (92-97) is a senior design engineer with ResMed in Sydney; Edward White (95-00) is a doctor working in emergency in Tamworth; Anthony White (93-98) is a primary teacher at Bondi Public School in Sydney and (in front) Christopher White (91-96) is a newsreader with NBN based in Newcastle.


David Metcalfe (96-04), Andrew Paterson (99-04) and Luke Brattoni (99-04) are sharing digs in Artarmon.

Charles Cull (00-07) has joined the NSW Farmers Association as a policy adviser. A former Dux of TAS, Charles graduated with first class honours in commerce and arts from the University of Sydney. It was while writing his thesis on coal seam gas that he chanced upon research conducted by NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson – and on that basis, sought a job with the association. He is particularly interested in drought assistance policy and advocating against the introduction of mandatory electronic livestock identification tags for sheep and goats.