High Notes, Vol 8 No 15, June 01 2007
From the Principal
The Sir Roden Cutler VC Memorial Gates Dedication, May 24
I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet – the Gadigal people of the Eora nation – and to pay my respects to elders past and present and extend those respects to any Aboriginal people here today.
As a scholar, sportsman, soldier, leader, diplomat, concerned citizen and statesman, Sir Roden Cutler was an example in action of our SBHS ethos - with truth and courage. At High in 1934, Sir Roden was awarded School Blues for swimming, water polo and target rifle shooting. Sir Roden was described as a trier, a leader and a role model for younger boys. At High, then as now, we idealise the good all-rounder - the person who has the talent, courage, will power, self-discipline, flexibility and communication skills to succeed in a variety of endeavours. Sir Roden was such a man. His integrity in public life was legendary; his gallantry conspicuous, his humility inspirational. He was able to interact easily and warmly with people from all walks of life. He loved his sport. His lifelong dedication to public service and charitable causes marks him out as a very special Australian icon – a man of the people.
Most importantly of all for us here, Sir Roden held his old school in high regard and throughout his life supported its activities. His involvement as patron of our organisations made him special to our community. He was a point of reference for the school in its history and a champion of its causes. He dedicated buildings and made himself available at ceremonial occasions, despite his commitments as Governor. Even as late as 2000, nearly two decades after his retirement, he attended an Anzac Day assembly with a 1934-40 class reunion at High, despite his ill health and the inconvenience of being confined to a wheel chair. He joined in the singing of the school song with his old classmates. He followed closely the fortunes of the cadets and the rifle team and was very pleased with the gift of a picture of the High GPS Championship target rifle shooting team of 2001. It was with a solemn pride that twenty School Prefects formed up behind our school banner and led the procession into St Andrews cathedral at Sir Roden’s state funeral in 2002.
Sir Roden’s motto of ‘service in all places’ inspires our school charities program. Our Year 11 students have Sir Roden Cutler Charities as their nominated charity. Upwards of 200 students are serving the community today through their fundraising activities. Sir Roden lived the daily frustration of relative immobility, first as an amputee and later in life when wheelchair bound. This important charity bearing his name, has as its primary objective, the alleviation of this problem for some of society’s unfortunate people, those unsupported and needing transport. For many reasons then, as a major local memorial to Sir Roden, these gates will serve cohorts of High students as a symbolic call to service and as a dignified reminder of the importance of developing community spirit.
The Sir Roden Cutler Memorial Gates project was conceived during 2001. We wanted a fitting memorial to him. After his death an appeal was launched to fund it. Hundreds of people donated. Rusty Priest took an interest in the project and introduced me to Bill Harrigan of Bondi-Waverley RSL who helped to raise a significant contribution, as did the SBHS class of 2005. Two major private donations from Keith Kent and the Wrighter family, allowed the first stage of the project to proceed. I acknowledge the great assistance given to the project by Heritage Services, Department of Commerce, and the sandstone supplied at cost, authorised by the then Minister, John Della Bosca. Vivian Sioutas, of the Government Architects Office, was particularly helpful during the process, as was Garry Rimmer, the supervising stonemason. The stone was selected, cut and fashioned.
Late in 2005, when Chris Williams of Sir Roden Cutler Charities told me that the statue to Sir Roden was going to be unveiled at Manly Vale PS by the Governor General and he needed the gates to be a finishing point for the wheelchair roll he was organising for the inaugural Sir Roden Cutler Day in May, I had a few months to have something in place. Thanks to Norm Lamerton, The High Club came to the rescue with a very large contribution to allow stage two, the placement of the pillars and plinth course, attaching the gates and fences, to go ahead. The gates were there in time for the wheel chair roll.
Since last year, stage three, fixing the plaques to the pillars, laying the memorial stone, laying out a garden, landscaping, paving and uplighting the pillars, has been completed, partly funded by the SBHS P & C and by school funds. The total cost of the project has exceeded $150,000. It represents a great High Family fund raising effort over five years. It demonstrates the initiative, resilience, self-reliance and drive that has characterised High for 124 years of its history..
Situated on Anzac Parade, not far from the obelisk commemorating the establishment of a memorial roadway to honour servicemen of the Great War, the Sir Roden Cutler VC Memorial Gates add another dimension of military remembrance to the area, reinforcing its original purpose. Also, the school has acquired a substantial and impressive entrance. It makes our school feel special in yet another way.
Today, on the anniversary of Sir Roden’s birthday, we are trying to keep his example before us as we raise money for the charity bearing his name. We trust that as our boys and the many visitors to the school pass through his gates over the years ahead they will be touched by the memory of his example of courageous, steadfastly humane behaviour.
The school is honoured that your Excellency, as another decorated soldier statesman, could set aside the time this morning to dedicate the Sir Roden Cutler VC Memorial Gates. It is with great pleasure that I invite Your Excellency to deliver the keynote address to mark the occasion.
The Governor General addressed the assembly.
I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet – the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and pay my respects to elders past and present and extend those respects to any Aboriginal people here today.
Good morning to you all. And thank you for welcoming Marlena and me here on this very special occasion.
Last year I had the privilege of unveiling a statue in Manly dedicated to the memory of a most remarkable man, Sir Arthur Roden Cutler, VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE.
And today, on his birthday, I am honoured to perform another dedication, this time in the form of the magnificent Sir Roden Cutler VC Memorial Gates at his beloved Sydney Boys High. Like the statue, these gates are testimony to the enduring admiration and respect we all have for one of the nation’s most renowned and accomplished citizens – a soldier, diplomat, Governor, family man and humanitarian.
For many Australians, Sir Roden Cutler was the epitome of a gallant and respected military officer, his commanding presence in full regalia enhancing hundreds of ceremonial occasions. Sir Roden was the only Australian artillery officer to win a Victoria Cross in World War II and the only soldier to ever win that decoration fighting against the pro Nazi Vichy French forces, in Syria in 1941, a campaign in which my own uncle was killed.
Following distinguished diplomatic service, Sir Roden became the longest-serving Governor of New South Wales, spending 15 years in the appointment, from January 1966 to January 1981.
Sir Roden was committed to a life-time of service to his country and his fellow Australians. Both in war and peace, he displayed physical and moral courage of the highest order, linked to a lively intelligence, an embracing compassion, a keen sense of humour and devotion to his family. As the old saying goes: “He walked with kings yet had the common touch.”
Sir Roden was born in Manly on this day in 1916, one of three sons of Arthur William and Daphne Cutler. He was educated at Manly Village Public School and gained admission here, to Sydney Boys High School, at the age of 15. After school he worked for the Texas Company Australasia, later to become Texaco. He studied economics at Sydney University at night and later joined the public service. In March 1936, he joined the Sydney University Regiment. On 10 November 1939, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the militia.
He enjoyed all sports, especially riding, rifle shooting and water polo, and was awarded a University Blue in swimming.
Sir Roden’s heroism was demonstrated early in life. As an 18 year-old lifesaver, he swam to the aid of a surfer who was being circled by a large shark. The shark brushed him twice as he helped the surfer to the beach. In April 1940, he transferred from the citizen’s militia to the 2nd Australian Imperial Force, receiving a commission in the 2/5 Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, of the 7th Division.
In June 1941, as an artillery officer during the Syrian campaign against Vichy French troops, Sir Roden won his VC for what was described as "most conspicuous and consistent gallantry … and outstanding fighting" at the fiercely contested village of Merdjayoun.
One of his men recalled: "He was cool, he was calm, his orders were clear and concise. There was not one element of panic, and that did a lot to inspire those serving under him." He led an assault which captured several enemy positions and largely contributed to the taking of the village.
Lieutenant Cutler's exploits from 19 June to 7 July 1941 included repairing a telephone line whilst under heavy fire, repulsing enemy tank attacks, setting up an observation post in enemy-held territory to help bring under fire a road used by the enemy and, with a 25-pound field gun, demolishing a post threatening the Australian advance.
Three weeks later, during the battle of Damour, Lieutenant Cutler personally captured eleven enemy soldiers (French Legionnaires) from three machine-gun posts, but was severely wounded. Raked by enemy machine gun fire during the last of his courageous actions on 6 July, Sir Roden lay alone and in agony for some 26 hours, before being rescued by comrades and Vichy French prisoners; by which time his right leg had become septic necessitating an amputation. In the meantime, his earlier citation for a Military Cross was upgraded (correctly) to the Victoria Cross.
After being invalided home, Sir Roden returned to Manly to a hero’s welcome and was discharged from the Army in December 1941. At the war’s end, and following much good work on the home front for his fellow service companions in his position as State Secretary of the RSL and then Assistant Commissioner at the Repatriation Department, he married very happily, Helen Morris in May 1946 – a union which produced four fine sons – and embarked on a highly successful diplomatic career at the ripe old age of 30. Lady Helen passed away in 1990 and several years later he was blessed with another happy marriage, to Lady Joan Cutler, who we make especially welcome today.
In the Diplomatic Corps, Sir Roden served for 20 years with distinction in the following important posts: High Commissioner to New Zealand 1946-1952; High Commissioner to Ceylon 1952-1955; Australian Minister to Egypt during the Suez Crisis 1955-1956; Secretary-General, SEATO Conference 1957; High Commissioner to Pakistan 1959-1961; Australian Representative to Independence of Somali Republic 1960; Australian Consul-General, New York 1961-1965; and Ambassador to the Netherlands 1965.
In 1966 he was appointed the 32nd Governor of New South Wales at the relatively young age of 49. Those who remember his time as State Governor, speak of a tall, dignified and handsome man, with an abiding warmth, an acute sense of humour, and an ability to mix easily with everyone. He travelled widely to attend as many activities as possible in rural and regional New South Wales, and he was a great supporter of organisations such as the Australian Red Cross, Legacy, Girl Guides Australia, Scouts Australia, St John Ambulance, and the RSL.
A cricket lover, and an accomplished sportsman in his younger years, Sir Roden was patron of the Bradman Museum in Bowral. In 1998 Sir Roden joined forces with close friend, and former war nurse, Mollie Edwards, to raise $2 million for a memorial, in Canberra, in honour of service nurses.
This generosity and concern for others lives on today through the Sir Roden Cutler Charities, an organisation that helps the infirm, the aged, the incapacitated, the disabled, and others who need transport to places like hospital or other venues to obtain the necessities of life.
Sir Roden also had an endearing modesty. He was often bewildered by his continuing popularity during a long public life. As one Australian journalist put it, lurking beneath his statesman's bearing, Sir Roden had a hint of classic Australian self-deprecation. Colleen McCullough’s biography Roden Cutler VC, describes how difficult it was to get him to speak of his war exploits. “It’s all in the official citation,” he’d say. When asked about what he was thinking during the Syrian action, he would matter-of-factly reply “About what I was doing.”
When a fellow officer informed him he was to be recommended for a Military Cross, Cutler expressed his disapproval, on the basis that he did not want to be ‘set apart from the others’. Ironically his reluctance for recognition set him apart. McCullough saw Sir Roden this way:
“It is all as distinct as it is true: the heroism, the almost limitless willpower, the degree of intelligence and common sense, the uncanny knowledge of people and events, the warmth, the humour, the fidelity and – most astonishing of all – the humility”.
“I do not think,” McCullough says, “that he has ever of his own choice let anyone down. And with it all, such an essential simplicity.”
As I said at the outset, I am indeed privileged to honour the memory of Sir Roden Cutler – a truly national figure. And these memorial gates represent in perpetuity, I would suggest, an invitation for all past, present and future students of Sydney Boys High to follow his example as an outstanding citizen, soldier, leader and role model.
Ladies and gentlemen. It is now my pleasure to unveil the plaque and dedicate the Sir Roden Cutler VC, Memorial Gates.
Winter Sports Assembly
My address to the winter assembly is reprinted below.
Special guest, Mr Zemancheff, parents, coaches, staff and students, welcome to our winter assembly for 2007. This traditional sports assembly is held on the land of the traditional custodians of this place, the Gadigal clan of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to them today and to their elders past and present.
The boys who have made it through the trials season in their sports and have been selected in GPS teams will be presented to you at this assembly and deserve your acknowledgement and respect. They are going to put their bodies on the line for the school. They are going to do the training sessions, the travel, the matches and the recoveries, to uphold our sporting traditions and fulfil our commitments. They will be working around sports schedules to get their homework and study done. They are your teams. Support them. We want junior boys to emulate them and in the future to train even more intensively. You have to sweat for success.
I am concerned about our level of preparation for the winter season. Many of our teams seem to lose focus or shape in the last five or so minutes of each half. Teams score against us, negating our good efforts for 80% of the game. Fatigue may well be to blame. We need to have three training session per week for teams A to C level at least to gain appropriate fitness levels. The bar has been raised. More boys should be in weights training for six weeks before the competition season starts. We are running speed and endurance sessions with Jason Tassell. The standard is out there. The programs are in place. The personnel are there to assist you. Boys from the 7Es to first grade have to meet the training standard required to make you collectively competitive.
The GPS Headmasters have been wrestling for nearly a year with the issue of when to commence the winter sports season. After five meetings dealing with the matter it was resolved that the AAGPS would abandon its experiment of the last few years with running the winter sports season before the athletics season. Despite the CAS Heads decision to leave their calendars untouched, we decided to go it alone. Dr Hawkes of the King’s School noted: “There was general satisfaction amongst the Heads that there had been a change in the sporting calendar which would allow for far better preparation of students for their winter season of sport in 2008 and onwards.” The issue for us was always safety and allowing sufficient time for boys to prepare themselves. Next year our first GPS competition game will be on June 21 and in 2009 on June 27.
Next year we will have longer to prepare. Don’t let yourselves and your teams down by not taking advantage of what the school is offering to help you be competitive. Get in early and have a crack. Next term summer sports people should be preparing for their season if they are nit engaged in winter GPS competition.
Our special guest speaker today, Mr Edwin Zemancheff (class of 1973), played in the last High XV that won the GPS competition and they were undefeated champions. He was selected in the combined GPS 1st XV and toured with the Australian Rugby Union Schoolboys to England, Scotland and Wales in 1973. He played first grade with Northern Suburbs Rugby Club 1974-81. He went on to sports administration as Waratah Team Manager under Rod McQueen (1991-92). He is a director of NSW Rugby Union, of the Australian Professional Surf Riders Association and of the International Association of Surfing Professionals. He supports heart research as a board member of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
In his professional life Mr Zemancheff is a solicitor and international partner in Baker & McKenzie, the world’s largest law firm with 70 offices in 38 countries. We thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to come and have a look at our 1st XV playing at McKay and to address us today. As a fine example of the High all rounder – scholar, sportsman, leader, involved citizen and administrator – please make welcome Mr Edwin Zemancheff.
Sir Roden Cutler Charities Day – May 24
Round 4 of Inter-School Chess Eastern Division
Senior 4 v 0 Ascham Inter A 4 v 0 Ascham F Inter B 2 v 2 Ascham E Inter C 4 v 0 Ascham C Junior A 4 v 0 Ascham Junior B 4 v 0 St. Andrews B Junior C forfeit to Sydney Tech. B Junior D 3 v 1 Rose Bay CReturn to Index
SHS Cadet Unit
On Thursday 24 May High Cadets mounted a guard for His Excellency, the Governor General Major General Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC on his arrival at the School to officially open the Sir Roden Cutler Memorial Gates. Commanded by Cadet Under Officer Weiping Lu , the guard was armed with the F88 Austeyr rifle, having been trained in the relevant drill by the Unit CSM, Cadet Warrant Officer Anthony Ho.
It’s been, perhaps ten years, since High cadets mounted an armed guard at the School; then the cadets carried the old 7.62 SLR rifle.
Cadets performed a number of other duties on the day. They provided assistance to the school through the provision of waiting services, dressed in stewards outfits, and by assisting a number of our elderly guests and veterans who were in attendance. Sir Roden Cutler was a member of the cadets at Sydney High, a lifelong supporter of the organisation and a Victoria Cross recipient. Sydney High School Cadet Unit is one of the few cadet units in Australia to have a VC recipient amongst its alumni.
Sydney High School Cadet Unit is one hundred and twenty four years old, being founded alongside the school in 1883 making it the oldest organisation within the School. It last paraded for the Governor General in 2006 at Manly Village Public School.
On the first weekend of June Sydney High School Cadet Unit will be participating in a range shoot at Holsworthy Military Area in which cadets will be practised in the safe handling and maintenance of the F88 rifle and have the opportunity to live fire on the range. Other activities will include living in the field, field navigation and operation of military radios.
The cadet program at High aims to develop young people in a holistic sense: boys are challenged to perform leadership tasks, engage with and command their peers and master rudimentary practical and theoretical skills of decision making, management, field-craft, first aid, navigation, communication procedure and weapons training. Activities such as the ceremonial parade held on the 24th of May are important in developing the self esteem of boys, providing opportunities for senior cadets to train and guide junior cadets, developing a sense of group, school and national identity and fulfilling the ceremonial requirements of His Excellency’s visit.
The Unit will be off to Annual Camp at Singleton during the July holidays. There they will meet and train with cadets from around the state. Annual Camp is sponsored by Defence with training, accommodation, transport and meals provided at no cost to the cadets or school.
Sydney High School Cadet Unit currently has a strength of fifty members, parades on Tuesday afternoons from 1530 to 1730 hours and is open to all boys over the age of twelve years and six months of age. Enquiries regarding the cadet unit or recruitment should be directed to one of the senior cadets (signified by their distinctive badges of rank on the uniform worn on Tuesdays) or by calling the unit’s Officer Commanding Major Richard Knowles on 0409 304 611.Return to Index
The following items have been collected at the Outterside Centre at Abbotsford following the completion of the rowing season at the end of March. Please contact the caretaker, Viv Littlewood, on 0414 410 658 to arrange an inspection and/or collection. Items not collected by 30 June will be placed in a local charity bin.
School Uniform Items
Year 8 Parents Dinner
Come and enjoy a night out with other Year 8 parents
Wednesday 13 June at 7 pm at
Non La Vietnamese Restaurant
$33 per person for food (includes vegetarian dishes) BYO drinks
SHS Old Boys Union
Did you know?
Year 9 Parents Meeting
An Invitation to Year 9 Parents
Tuesday, 12th of June at 7:30 pm
in the Staff Common Room (near the School Office).
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Ms Marina Trompetter, Head Teacher English at SBHS, has kindly agreed to speak to the meeting about the English program. Parent Group meetings are an ideal opportunity to meet other parents in your son’s Year, raise questions, make suggestions and air any concerns you may have.
SBHS/SGHS P & C Meeting
The Joint SBHS/SGHS P & C Meeting will be held on
Wednesday, 20 June in the Campbell Hall at Sydney Girls High School at 7.30pm
The Speaker will be Dr John Bennett, General Manager of the Board of Studies who will be talking on "The HSC Examination and Assessment Procedures and Future Curriculum Developments."
All parents are warmly invited to attend Tea and coffee will be servedReturn to Index
Grateful Thanks From the Canteen
Thanks also to Cindy Yeung who very kindly donated a second hand fridge to the Canteen.
Thanks to both lovely ladiesReturn to Index
Athletic Training Tops on Sale Now
Ms Jocelyn Brewer
Sydney High Football: The Onion Bag
GPS round 2: Saturday 2 June
Dolan CupThe 15Ds have taken the early lead in the prestigious Dolan cup. The first round leader board is shown below.
1st grade met a strong and skilled Newington side with both teams determined to get off to a winning start in the GPS comp. In an intense first half, both sides had opportunities to take the lead, however a combination of some smart keeping from Lachlan Street and solid defence, led again by Josh Weight, saw High go to the break nil all.
The second half saw Newington dominate possession due to High turning the ball over too regularly and to easily. A simple through ball into the path of a Newington striker led to the first goal, despite the efforts of High’s defence to run him down. Newington’s captain scored their second with a piece of individual brilliance and the game was all over.
Not the start High was after, but there were plenty of encouraging signs, not least the desire and application shown by all players.
In other matches, 5th grade opened the GPS 2007 season with a hard earned 1-0 win against Newington. The match was played at a very fast pace right from the whistle. High dominated the first half. They were rewarded when Josh scored from a free kick with a scorching shot which gave the Newington keeper no chance at all. Newington stepped up their game in the second half and put the High defence under some pressure. They almost got their goal but Matt made great save in the final minutes to win the match for High. The man of the match was Josh and special mention for Matt, Paul, Adrian and Alex. Well done boys.
6th Grade defeated Newington 3-2
3rd XI 2 def. Newington 1
16As 1 def. Newington 0
With the score tied up at 0-0 at half time, a dramatic change was necessary in order to create more chances. As a result of more creative play, and a greater use of the flanks the opportunities were created and Kent converted. A lovely through ball saw Kent score yet again. A 1-0 victory.
14Cs v Newington Score line: 0-1
13 Ds 2 def. Newington 1
I would also like to recognise the help of Year 11 students Michael Serban and Michael Myronenko, who both, without being asked, took down a set of nets and carried equipment back to the pavilion. Thank you both.
Quote of the Week
GPS WK 2 v Shore Sat. 2nd June
Venues and wet weather numbers for this weekend
Rumour of the week