Role of GM&B Heritage Committee

The role of the GM&B in the area of school heritage has been an ongoing one, dating back to the research by Dr Alan Gregory AM for his book, Strong Like its Pillars, the History of MHS 1905-2005.

The role of the GM&B Heritage Committee was eloquently articulated by Tom Wodak, the former GM&B Heritage Portfolio chair, in his final 2012 AGM Report as follows:

“The School’s heritage is important. History, custom and traditions matter. They need to be known and preserved. The challenge is for GM&B Patrons to devise things which they can do, or engage in jointly with current students, or inspire students to undertake, the product of which will add to the School’s Heritage Collection.

The challenge will require both proposing concepts, and ways of implementing them. I feel that this is a way of re-invigorating the subject of Heritage, and look forward to some inspiring proposals.

Of course, whatever is proposed by GM&B should be done in co-operation with the School’s Heritage Committee, and the School Archivist. I expect that the conduit for this will be through School Principal or someone he delegates for that purpose.”

GM&B Membership support for MHS Heritage

On Tuesday May 14, 2019, members the GM&B Executive met in the Heritage Room, and the May Executive Meeting was preceded by a heritage update by the Honorary Archivist, Luke Savage.

Luke continues to be busy working in his own time on weekends. The Collection in the Heritage room has been sorted for ease of access, with each box being clearly labelled. There are boxes containing Speech Night programs, Sentinels, Opera and Play Programs and Old Boys Magazines. There are also boxes divided by era for ephemera (pamphlets, brochures, tickets, etc.).

Under Room 9 has been organised with two bookcases for back-copies of the various school and old boy publications and Luke is working his way through cross referencing with the database to ensure that the archives have a complete set where possible. Also requests for back copies by former students can be easily met (for Unicorns, CD’s etc.). Cataloguing is now mostly up to date for items other than photos and paper files, with all new donations being processed on the next day that he is in, including acknowledgement to the donor. Also, all enquiries are being responded to promptly.

Luke was thanked and congratulated on his dedication to the massive task at hand. His tireless work has continued through 2020 and 2021.

Robin Tuckerman was the recent GM&B Heritage Portfolio chair. This position on the Executive is now vacant.

The projects currently underway, or contemplated, include the following. A priority needs to be developed and agreed to by the School, through Principal Dr Tony Mordini, and the GM&B through MHS Heritage Archivist Luke Savage.

Suggested priorities are as follows.

Review of the School’s Heritage program.

At the previous Principal’s request, Alan Gregory and Tom Wodak were asked to undertake a review of the School’s Heritage Program, and to create a set of guidelines and protocols, for added consistency and transparency. Ultimately, these will be proposed to the MHS School Council for adoption. The project remains a work in progress and needs to be reviewed by the new Principal, Dr Tony Mordini.

The topics include proposals for managing the Heritage Collections which include student data; photographs; School papers; special reports; Media, including newspaper and journal articles; School sites; uniforms, badges, memorabilia; teacher data; data on administrative and clerical staff; Curriculum; School Art Collection; School Music; and the Recognition programs, which includes the Distinguished Old Boys Gallery, Distinguished Teacher Gallery, and Sports Champions.

Many aspects of the project require further consideration, including privacy issues, and protection of sensitive information. There is a need to see that appropriately trained personnel are available and resourced to manage what is seen as an important part of the School’s traditions.

This would seem to be the highest priority, but the GM&B would need to obtain counselling from Alan Gregory, Tom Wodak, Dr Mordini and/or his delegate on the best way forward.

This review needs to be finalised and reported to all concerned so that particular projects can be undertaken through the cooperation of the School, OBA and GM&B.

Distinguished Old Boys Gallery.

Currently, the School has on display a photo-biographical collection featuring 208 distinguished Old Boys. There were 174 from Rounds 1 and 2 and a further 34 were inducted in May 2011.

There is a real need to allow for nominations and inductees to be determined on a regular basis, at least every 5 years but preferably every 3 years. This process should continue to be transparent with all details and criteria displayed on our website.

The inductees, if more than a handful, should be acknowledged at a function in the Memorial Hall, otherwise at a Senior Assembly of the school.

The GM&B is prepared to undertake the continuance of this wonderful gallery of prominent Old Boys, including all processes through until the inductee ceremony.

The DOB Gallery increases the profile of the school and its former students and will continue to be a great source of inspiration to current students and as agents for the MHS Foundation.

Distinguished Teachers Gallery.

The DTG originally established to mark meritorious service to the school by its teachers, who also contributed significantly to state-wide education, needs to be reintroduced.

The Teachers Service medals system implemented in 2005 to replace the DTG recognises length of service to the school only, disregarding the level of performance. This appears to be at odds with the first concept.

In a similar way to the successful DOB Gallery mentioned above, if proper and transparent criteria were established and former students from that era were asked to nominate then the process would be sustainable. Prejudices and doubtful nomination procedures would be eradicated.

The GM&B would be prepared to support this proposal and execute it for the school on a similar basis to the DOB Gallery.

An oral history project for year 10 students involving MHS identities.

Many former students of, and others associated with MHS, for example Ron Seaman, Alan Middleton, Margaret O’Bryen and Lorraine Pole, have rich memories of events, personalities and aspects of school life that are worth finding out about and recording. These could be obtained by interviews, conducted by current students at the School. The oral histories would add greatly to the School’s Heritage collection, and provide a good learning and training experience for the students. The Principal is investigating how this proposal could be implemented.

The GM&B Heritage committee could assist in this process by compiling an agreed list of questions that could form the basis of each interview. The interviews could occur in a person’s home or in the MHSOBA Board Room at a mutually convenient time. A GM&B person could be present on these occasions to ensure everything happened as per the plan.

Electronic/Digital Photo Albums

We are strongly of the belief that with the good work of former Archivist Glen Turnbull in digitalising most of the current photographs in the Elden Room it would be most worthwhile producing electronic albums based on year groups, decade groups or school themes (e.g. cadets, AIRTC, sporting teams, musical productions, Speech Nights, etc). Selected music from the school archives could be added to these albums for various effects.

The GM&B would be prepared to work with the School Archivist to plan, caption and activate these albums, which could be published on the MHSOBA website and used for reunions and other events. This would ensure that all school photographs are easily located and sourced by Old Boys for whatever purpose. It would greatly facilitate interest in reunions and Foundation fundraising activities.

Using former students as surrogate father / grandfather figures.

There are many students at MHS from single parent homes, without an older male figure. The School has recently introduced a concept using retired teachers as surrogate father / grandfather figures. Because of the positive feedback from those involved, the School Principal Jeremy Ludowyke will investigate the possible involvement of former students in such a scheme.

It is felt that although this is a very worthy project the GM&B doesn’t think that this is a role for the GM&B Heritage Committee.

Other Projects

From time to time the school or OBA or GM&B may consider additional activities worthy of further investigation. A file on each of these should be prepared and a brief report presented to the Principal prior to engaging in further development.

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