25 Mar 2014

Farewell to a Former Head of School, Bob Buntine (1929–2014)

Robert (‘Bob’) Buntine, who served as Senior/Deputy Headmaster at Newington from 1975 to 1996, passed away on 8 March 2014. Just the night before, the Robert Buntine Room in the AJ Rae Centre had been named in honour of his many services to the College and contributions to its successes during his long association with our community.

Before coming to Newington, Bob had taught and been a Housemaster at The King’s School and Headmaster at Wolaroi College in Orange. At King’s he built an enviable reputation as a Rowing coach, coaching several crews to GPS Regatta wins.

As Deputy Headmaster, Bob had charge of the daily operations of the College. His conscientious and efficient management ensured smooth organisation: the school was said to have run like clockwork. As MIC of discipline, he was fair but decisive. His innovations included New Daily and Black & White.

Bob worked closely with Michael Morgan OAM during a golden age of Newington Rowing, co-coaching the 1st VIII and other crews and making a major contribution to the remarkable record of successes in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bob and his wife Ivy attended Chapel services regularly and he was a strong supporter for the chaplains. He was also a keen contributor to the musical life of the school, playing the tuba and clarinet and singing, including in a staff barbershop quartet.

Bob’s son Barnaby (ON 1985) attended the College from 1978 to 1983.

After retiring as Deputy Headmaster in 1996, Bob compiled a comprehensive register of past students, which forms the basis of today’s past student data in Synergetic.

Bob and his wife Ivy have been beloved and welcome figures at events at the College since his retirement. Their friendship covered a wide range of people, particularly in the Newington and King’s communities.

On 13 March a Funeral Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration for Bob’s life was conducted by Rev Dr Peter Swain OAM RFD (Chaplain 1970–1999) and Chaplain Michael Bennett in the College Chapel. Over 350 of his relatives and friends, including many from the Newington and King’s communities, gathered to farewell him. The service featured readings by Bob’s grandchildren, Sophie and James, and eulogies by his children, Sarah, Victoria and Barnaby, and by Michael Smee (Headmaster at Newington 1993–2003) and Jon Wickham (Headmaster at The King’s School 1984–1997). As befitted a great Rowing coach, a guard of honour of rowers from the two schools joined 600 Newington boys to line the Memorial Drive to honour this dear friend of the College.


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