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.






OB Peter Cousens makes film directorial debut

He is perhaps best known for starring in international productions of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, but for Peter Cousens, the newest challenge has been directing an Academy Award winning actor in his first feature film.

Tamworth born and educated at The Armidale School, Peter Cousens latest venture is the big budget slavery film Freedom, which will have its Australian release on 21 August.

“It was really thrilling directing a feature film. Coming from another discipline in the performing arts, primarily from music, acting and producing, I was lucky because I was surrounded by some really wonderful people,” he said.

These “wonderful people” included Oscar-nominee cinematographer Dean Cundey (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and Oscar winner, Cuba Gooding Jnr.

“I was challenged by the notion, the experience of directing Cuba Gooding Junior,” Cousens said.

“Here I am on the set where I’ve actually got to say to him, ‘I’d like you to do something different’ – and it did run through my mind, ‘hell’s bells, here I am, a boy from Tamworth, directing an Academy Award winning actor.”

Born into a creative Tamworth family, Cousens’ passion for performing arts was nurtured during his six years boarding at TAS, where he performed in everything from Gilbert & Sullivan operettas to serious drama.

“I shall always be grateful to TAS, not only for the opportunities and encouragement it gave me in music and drama, but also for the values it inculcated in preparation for a rewarding life,” he said.

Cousens –who is also executive producer and has a cameo in Freedom, which also stars his daughter Daisy – said he was inspired by the subject matter, which tells the story of two men separated by 100 years who are united in their search for freedom.

In 1856 a slave, Samuel Woodward (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his family, escape from the Monroe Plantation near Richmond, Virginia. A secret network of ordinary people known as the Underground Railroad guide the family on their journey north to Canada. They are relentlessly pursued by the notorious slave hunter Plimpton (William Sadler). Hunted like a dog and haunted by the unthinkable suffering he and his forbears have endured, Samuel is forced to decide between revenge or freedom.

One hundred years earlier in 1748, John Newton the Captain of a slave trader sails from Africa with a cargo of slaves, bound for America. On board is Samuel’s great grandfather whose survival is tied to the fate of Captain Newton. The voyage changes Newton’s life forever and he creates a legacy that will inspire Samuel and the lives of millions for generations to come.

“I wanted to infiltrate American filmmaking and try and make films that change people’s lives, by reaching a whole lot of people in a very powerful way.”

Freedom opens in Australia on 21 August, with screenings in his hometown of Tamworth. Armidale audiences will be treated to the film screening at the Belgrave Cinema 22-23 August.

Please click on the image below to view the trailer.

Peter Cousens Freedom

Peter Cousens has a cameo appearance in his screen directorial debut, Freedom.


OBU Reunion at Parliament House

OBU Reunion at Parliament House

The lunch, held in the Speaker’s Dining Room on 25th October, was hosted by George Souris, Member for Upper Hunter since 1988 and presently Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality & Racing, and Minister for the Arts, and organised by Bruce Jacob. Fourteen members of the year attended (with Rob Busby, Deputy Chair of the TAS Board, also in attendance) with classmates gathering from as far afield as Rockhampton (Andrew Palmer), Brisbane (Bruce White), Geelong district (John Lyons), Orange (Duncan Stuart) and Uralla (James Croft). A highlight of the gathering was a pair of photographs provided by John McIntyre, of the 1962 Under 13 A and under 13 B XV, with a youthful Don Cowan (Housemaster, Dangar House 1960-63) posing as Coach. (Don has recently retired from the Priesthood in NZ, and now lives in Auckland.) A fine time was had by all present – and the occasion even resulted in a small surplus, the funds being donated (and gratefully received) by the Sydney Branch of the OBU.


The photo (courtesy of Richard Chaffey) shows:

Standing L to R: Duncan Stuart (1964-66), Rodger Martel (1963-67), George Souris (1961-67), Ross Farrell (1965-67) Peter Williams (1962-67), John McIntyre (1962-67), John Lyons (1960-65), Bruce White (1964-66), Andrew Palmer (1962-67), Rob Busby (1963-68), Don McRae (1962-67), Richard Chaffey (1962-65).

Seated L to R: James Croft (1959-67), Peter Johnstone (1962-67), Bruce Jacob (1965-67).

Sydney Menzies Lunch

Sydney Long Lunch Success

The inaugural TAS OBU Sydney Branch long lunch was held at the Menzies and was by all accounts a very successful day. Over one hundred old boys fronted up for an entertaining afternoon with our very own David Morrow (1970) telling stories and interviewing Paul Langmak who regailed us with stories from his time as a rugby league player. Our Master of Ceromonies was none other than Dai (David) Griffiths (1992) who regonised many in the audience especially those who had represented Australia at their chosen sport. It was fantastic to see such a wide spread of old boys, Haille Smith (1950) to Ben Tooth (2010). The day would not have happened with out the support of the TAS OBU Sydney Branch committee with a very special mention to Paddy Flower (1963) for counting everything that could be counted and to Alistair Flower (1993) sponsoring the wine & beer, organising & sponsoring the raffle prizes and organising the helpers to sell raffle tickets. A great event that will only get larger over time. Thank you to everyone who took time to come to the event.

The Sydney Branch would like to extend a huge thank you to Anne White for her support of our branch over the years and wish her all the very best for the future.

Andrew Erratt (1979)