20 Jun 2017

Give Peace a Chance – Rockfest17

Rockfest17 was a feast for the senses. Themed around ‘Songs of Peace and Protest’, this year’s concert showcased some of Newington’s most talented students from the Contemporary Music program as they took to the stage to make a statement and take a stand for peace and humanity. 

Head of Contemporary Music and Rockfest co-ordinator, Mr Chris Paton said “My aim was for the boys to gain a musical insight and interpretation of war, injustice, equal rights and protest throughout the 20th Century and to further develop their social conscience and empathy for others”.

He adds, “throughout history, Music, Art and Literature have frequently been used as a means of raising awareness to human suffering, injustice and social issues. None more so, than in the second half of the 20th Century when Rock Music in the mid 1960’s (as opposed to Rock and Roll of the 1950’s) became a significant platform for the ever-growing Anti-Vietnam War sentiment. Although the protest song movement began as a response to anti-war sentiment, they have since gone on to highlight many other humanitarian causes.”

21 bands auditioned over three days in the lead up to this annual event and as a result the quality of the acts was at an all-time high. Boys paid homage to both local and international acts such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Midnight Oil and U2 with some performances combining elements from the Orchestra and Choir. 

2016 Old Boys and regular Rockfest headliners, Jack Jacobs (ON 2016), Leon Vitogiannis (ON 2016), Terry Christoforu (ON 2016) and Jacob Turl (ON 2016) returned to the stage as The Equalitaives.

Testament to the legacy of Rockfest, Contemporary Music Student Leader, Daniel Pascale (12/FL) said “When I was in Year 7 and performed at my first Rockfest, I found that the experience of performing at such a professional concert made me more of a mature and thoughtful musician. This all stemmed from the commitment you had to give to your band. It really helped define what team work was to me.” 

A big thank you to Head of Contemporary Music Mr Chris Paton, the parents and Newington Community for their ongoing support, in particular the Creative Arts Association for giving up their own time on the night to put on a fabulous BBQ for the boys and to also keep the dance floor energised by selling drinks and snacks on the night. 

Until next year!


De-grading our students’ work

It’s nice to have an impact on boys when you walk into a classroom. 

But there are some days when the focus of attention turns from me, to what I am carrying.  Some days there is a perceptible, even audible intake of breath around the room as, for the first time in weeks, twenty seventeen-year-olds are quiet without request and seem tangibly nervous. There is no playful wit from the back of the room commenting on my tie, no half-muttered (but well researched and planned) backhanded question “How did those Parramatta Eels go on the weekend, Sir?”.  

The only difference on those days is that I am carrying a folder of marked assessment tasks.  They might be test or exam papers covered in red ticks, essays with copious notes scrawled on the back page, or feedback sheets with coloured-in boxes and comments on a recent presentation. Someone says what they are all thinking; “Oh no, we are going to get our marks back.”

When I start talking they are all ears, not a sound to be heard.  At second glance there appears to be a sea of glazed eyes, sort of staring, but not really focussing.  I make some joke, and (very strangely for the quality of my usual material) not a groan or a complaint.  The boys are “there”, but really not really “there”. 

I pass the papers out, and there are strange sounds. Sighs of relief, whispered curses, the inevitable cry from one side of the room to the other “What did you get?”.  The rest of the lesson is punctuated with common refrains, irrespective of the subject or year group.  The apparent injustices perpetrated by the marker and their criteria, the calls for redress and review on one part of one of the sub-sections of the second-last question because “I really think I deserve an extra mark” and the holy-trinity of assessment queries: “What was the top mark? What was the average? Do you have class ranks, Sir?”

When you watch the boys walk out of the lesson, you wonder whether their lockers have secret compartments in their bases that for generations contain returned assessment tasks over the years, never again to see the light of day.  I wonder whether the lining of their school bags are in perfect condition, protected by layers of marked essays and exam papers stuffed deep down and forgotten as the year wears on.  Their marks live on in their memory, enshrined forever in spreadsheets, but I wonder whether the work that produced them and the questions they should provoke have the same lifespan.

It also intrigues me that students find marks a greater source of anxiety than any other of the parts associated with assessment.  It is not the feedback on their work they find confronting, nor is it the corrections or edits that were made.  It is rarely their teacher’s recommendations of strategies to improve their work, and it is almost never the rubric or detailed marking criteria that gets distributed.  It is the 15/20, the 62%, the 18th out of 24 that lingers in mind.

There is a substantial body of research that argues that the traditional ways that we measure students’ performance, using marks and grades, gets in the way of learning and gets in the way of students getting more out of themselves.  Black and Wiliam (1998) in their seminal work on assessment shines a light on the links between the tasks students complete and their academic progress over time.  They argue that any test or task or project promotes progress when it is part of a road-map for how to move from where they are now to where they want to be, and gives ‘some understanding of a way to close the gap between the two’.  Marks and grades may give us an indication of where someone is at any point in time, but that 75% or that Level 3 grade do not give anyone any direction about which way to go.

Do we need to take marks away from our boys, to degrade their work?  How often, when students get assessment back do the grades distract students from the feedback that gives that direction? How often, on one hand, does the disappointment of a mark overpower the ability of a boy to look honestly and critically at what their teacher has said and recommended?  On the other, Lipnevich and Smith (2008) note that students who get grades they are happy with ‘focus on the quantitative aspect of learning’ and lose motivation to perfect their work. (p 37).  Their satisfaction sets a ceiling on their effort – they have done enough to get where they are, the mark is no motivator to achieve more.

Comparative research is interesting.  Studies where students, on receiving an assessment back, are only provided feedback with no marks show that there is growth in student performance (for all levels of ability) over feedback that includes marks.  Interestingly, it tells us that there is almost no difference in a student’s academic progress if the student only receives a grade or mark compared to receiving marks and a grade. The mark written at the bottom of the page in red pen, with a little circle drawn around it, drowns out all else.

We all want better for our boys as their teachers or their parents.  Many tasks and subjects ask boys to submit drafts and work-in-progress so they can test their ideas as they develop them.  Lots of teachers use returning assessments to help the boys identify short and longer term strategies as they head into the next term.  Lots of classes will ask boys to think about where they are now and to set goals for where they want to be. There is a richness and a pragmatism about all of these that can tangibly help boys improve. And when they are the focus of conversation, they will.        

We are not about to blank out reports or return exams with a red “censored!” sticker over the top of the box where the mark should be.  But we will continue to ask more of our boys and encourage them to chase down and reflect on feedback, rather than worrying about their grades.  We will continue to use research to explore the best ways that assessment its associated feedback can create better opportunities for boys to learn.

I hope that I can wander into a class to give back a set of papers at some point in time and their instinctive response will be ‘Thanks Sir, but what do we do now?’.  That would be an interesting conversation.

Mr Trent Driver
Deputy Head of Stanmore / Head of Academic

  • Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139–149.
  • Lipnevich, A., & Smith, J. (2008). Response to assessment feedback: The effects of grades, praise, and source of information. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.


Silver at Nationals for Senior Sabre A Team

The Senior Sabre A team have succeeded in bringing home a silver medal from the National Fencing Championships held in Queensland over the weekend, congratulations to the following boys:

  • Tom Barker (11/FL)
  • Leon Qian (10/MA)
  • Alistair Shaw (9/LE)
  • Oliver Smart (9/KL)
  • Winston Lin (12/FL)
  • Jack Murtough-Coombes (11/KL)
  • Ben Diskin (9/MO)
  • Deklan Rollason (11/MO)

Congratulations also to Ben Diskin (9/MO) who has now been chosen for the Australian Cadet Team, a great achievement for a boy that started fencing in Year 7. Ben is planning on making it into the World Championships next year, and if he is lucky the Youth Olympics in Tokyo after that.


WONTOK Conference

On 2 June, fifteen Newington boys travelled to Roseville College for the annual WONTOK conference. ‘WONTOK’ stands for ‘one community’. In joint force with two other schools, we discussed global problems the world now faces. The WONTOK organisers placed particular emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); a list of seventeen long term objectives put forward by the United Nations.

The first task of the day was to choose a particular goal that interested us the most. I decided to choose the goal addressing sustainable cities and communities, as I deemed this to be highly important in a world so dependent on finite resources. There were very many other goals that were to be discussed, as seen in the image below.

At the start of the day, we were introduced to Roxanne, an Anglicare worker from Papua New Guinea, who told us some stories about the struggles her people have faced. She discussed the various goals of Anglicare in PNG, linking them to the SDGs.

Papua New Guinea is a nation suffering from poverty, a lack of education, hunger, domestic violence and a lack of good health and sanitation. Clearly, there are some huge issues there that need to be addressed to improve the quality of life for everyone. Roxanne and her team of workers provide many services to help combat the challenges, including literacy programs, domestic violence programs and family support networks. She was truly inspiring and her presence really made the event more impacting, which highlighted the importance of her cause.

During the day, we were split into mixed groups of different ages and different schools. My group’s first activity involved the production of paper bags out of newspaper. We were divided into four groups and were told that we needed to make batches of five bags to sell to a depot. With this money we were going to make from this, we were required to raise 1000 rupees to pay for rent and 1000 rupees for food, to sustain our family. Frantically, we got to work, making bags as quickly as possible. In our first “week”, we fell short of our goal by 300 rupees. Due to this, one of our team members was deemed inactive, due to the effects of starvation. We started week two with some remaining paper bags from the first week, and managed to make our goal of 2000 rupees, with 400 to spare.

This exercise was quite effective in demonstrating how hard it was for impoverished people to gain money, especially in a large family with children who worked very long weeks, yet gained very little money in return (remember 2000 rupees = $41). We were confronted with their problems on a much smaller scale which in turn highlighted the harsh conditions they live in. Due to this, many children miss out on a childhood and education due to the need to help their family make enough money to survive. This is a sad and harsh reality that needs to be urgently addressed.

Our next activity focussed on disease. We essentially played a large scale version of the board game ‘Pandemic’, based in Australia. Our goal was to eradicate a given disease as quickly as possible. This activity demonstrated the importance of good health and sanitation, which are two of the SDGs. Luckily, our group managed to eradicate the said disease and save Australia. The game really showed how complicated it was to destroy a disease due to wide spread Globalisation, relating to the recent Ebola outbreaks in Africa. The instructor also made the point that as soon as cases were detected in America and Europe, more effort was placed into finding a vaccination for the disease. This raised some equality issues and is again another matter that needs to be discussed more on the global stage.

The third activity of the day was a mock trial of four innocent people who had been detained for being near a riot. This problem was set in Haiti and focussed on unjust organisations and governments. It was extremely hard for us to defend the innocent convicted people, as the judge and police were corrupt and wouldn’t acknowledge the defence we put forward. The frustration we experienced was very real which demonstrated to us how hard it was to fight for the rights of people who live under the jurisdiction of unjust governments.

The fourth and final activity focussed on the 13th SDG; Climate Action. We talked about global warming and how we could stop it from occurring. We discussed renewable energy then focussed on a less familiar problem; climate refugees. We discussed how villages and communities are facing severe drought and adverse weather. The sad truth is that we have had so much opportunity to help improve our climate, but have taken little action. This is another issue that needs to be addressed by every society and community. It is good to see that there are now conferences being held to discuss climate change, such as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Summit held in Paris.

In all, the WONTOK conference was a worthwhile experience for those involved. Everyone seemed to take away thought-provoking ideas to help improve our world. I’m glad we could participate in a conference of this calibre, whose agenda is one that promotes peace in a sustainable world.

Dale Schlaphoff (11/FL)

Introducing SchoolTV

To complement the Wellbeing Series, which aims to equip parents with the tools and required knowledge to have tough conversations, the Head of Students, Mr Bob Meakin and Newington ICT have joined forces to bring you SchoolTV.

SchoolTV is an online resource that showcases content from leading Australian Wellbeing providers such as Beyond Blue, HeadSpace and ReachOut to offer information and guidance to you and your son on issues such as:

  • Social Media and Digital Reputation
  • Sexting
  • Cyberbullying
  • Drug & Alcohol Use
  • Suicide & Self-harm
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Within each of these topics are short videos, interviews with leading specialists and factsheets to help you remain informed regarding some of the concerns facing young people today. 

In the upcoming Black and White newsletters, we will be unpacking some of these concerns edition-by-edition to help parents and boys remain savvy and safe. 

To get started with SchoolTV simply log onto SPACES and click on SchoolTV on the right hand side menu titled ‘My Places to Go’ or Click Here.


Leunig on what he finds to be true

“I tend to want to just open things up, to create little mysteries and share things that mystify me in my life. We all can find our truth in this life — we find things that are uniquely true to us.”

This was the crux of renowned cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher and poet Michael Leunig’s address to the Newington community at the third Centre for Ethics Public Lecture, entitled “What I have found to be true”.

Michael Leunig is featured regularly in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age. His commentary on political, cultural and emotional life has spanned more than forty years. In his work, he draws out the idea of an innocent and sacred personal world, an internal narrative amidst the grand and collective narratives our communities and nations tell us. 

“It’s as if there are two lives. there’s the main game: what we are told is important, what the newspaper features on the front page, what we’re all meant to be concerned about.

“But there is something else — our unique, private and peculiar observations and feelings. We might call that the life of the spirit. Our musings, our reflections, our sorrows, our dissatisfactions.”

Leunig believes the work of an artist is to bear witness to this personal life and to open up gloomier internal narratives that are rarely discussed in day-to-day life. 

 “I think to develop one’s own truth and to hold it, and feel its worth, lies at the heart of our creative life — one cannot have a creative life unless from a deeply personal position.”  

Leunig also considers the idea of “Negative Capability” as an important aspect of modern day living. “Negative Capability” as he explains it, is “the capacity to live without knowing everything, to live without needing to be conclusive on anything.”

He added that when we can accept this position, our mind is them allowed to be more creative, to tease out and play with uncertainties. “The creative mind likes to hold it open, wait and see, act upon it as you go,” Leunig said. 

Speaking on traumatic world issues such as war and racism, Leunig left the audience with the wisdom that “the small joys do matter” and encouraged the audience to embrace difference. “To bear each other’s difference, is really the work of life I think.” Leunig said.

At the next Centre for Ethics lecture, the College will welcome Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security, Mr Alastair MacGibbon. To reserve a place contact Newington College reception on 02 9568 9333 or email contact@newington.nsw.edu.au. Find out more about this year’s program by visiting the Centre for Ethics 2017 Insite.

The Importance of Holidays

Holidays are a wonderful way to have a break from regular routines and recharge our batteries. We might get a chance to travel, catch up with friends or family, finally read that book we got for Christmas or really get stuck into the garden. Students can spend more time with friends, biking, skating, surfing, getting to the movies or just time at the park. No nightly homework has got to be a plus and not having to think about school the next day is liberating for everyone.

Hopefully you will also get to have some family time where as a family you try something new. Family holidays help promote family memories. Hopefully we feel more relaxed so conversations are easier, we laugh more and maybe appreciate each other more even if we don’t realise it at the time.

Planning for a holiday is a good bonding exercise with each person getting a say in what they would like to do or see. Learning to save for a special event is important and can make you value it more. There is scientific proof that travelling enables you to think more creatively – detaching from a familiar environment can help every gain new perspective on everyday life.

‘Reflecting on our happiest memories of joyful time spent together as a family can be extremely powerful in bringing relief and respite when faced with the darker times that life can bring’.

My Mum and Dad loved an ice cream on holidays!

Of course holidays may not always be what you had hoped for. You may experience

  • Stress
  • Travel delays
  • Jet lag
  • Money worries
  • ‘All that time together’
  • Nothing to do “I’m bored”
  • All your friends are away
  • Chores

Changes in routine can sometimes cause young people to feel isolated and alone so here are some tips to help prevent this.

  • Encourage them to keep in touch with friends to help maintain relationships.
  • Give them responsibility at home like looking after a pet or choosing and helping to cook for dinner.
  • Encourage physical activity and join in if you can – walking, swimming, even a visit to an outdoor café.
  • Ensure they are still getting enough regular sleep and healthy food.
  • Try some new recipes, bring out the board games, crosswords, share music or watch family movies to encourage conversation and engagement.

Coming back to school after a break can be stressful. Take note if in the days beforehand your son isn’t sleeping as well or complains of headaches or tummy pains. All can show that he is anxious about school.

Speak positively about school and let them know that you are aware they might feel this way. Tell them it’s normal to have some butterflies but that you will help them get back into the school routine.

Remind them of something they have to look forward to and importantly remind them of the lovely holiday you all (hopefully) just had.

Happy Holidays!

Sister Margaret Bates
College Nurse


The 39 Steps

Mounting a production of The 39 Steps is like juggling the complete works of Agatha Christie – weighty, wordy, suspenseful situations flying through the air with theatrical trickery and a generous dose of absolute silliness. It is the kind of play that takes a cast who are willing to
 be flexible, energetic and have a bit more than your average amount of fun on stage.

Under the direction of Mr Ben Williams and supported by Mrs Rosalind McKenzie and Mr Ian Oosterhoff, the cast and crew from Years 9 and 10 along with girls from PLC Sydney brought this weird and wonderful spy-action spoof to life.

For the sake of art, the performers were willing to put on characters at a moment’s notice and to tackle problems as varied as affecting ridiculously broad Scottish accents or traveling in a vehicle held together by nothing but the willing suspension of disbelief.

Hearty congratulations to the cast, led ably by Philip Langshaw (10/MA), crew and staff involved. And a big thank you to all who came to support the show!

Ms Tamara Smith
Head of Drama

Year 11s serve up good cheer at Exodus Dessert Van

Our Senior Service Learning boys have almost completed their fourth term volunteering in the Exodus Foundation Dessert Van, a Friday night shift that sees representatives from each House accompanied by their parents serve dessert to up to 120 homeless clients in Woolloomooloo.

The Dessert Van runs in partnership with the Exodus Food Van that operates nightly in the area building on the boys’ experience preparing food for Exodus’ guests in the Loaves and Fishes Kitchen.

For the boys, working on the Dessert Van has both been an eye-opening and rewarding experience. Year 11 student Oliver Smith (11/MA) who has worked in the Loaves and Fishes kitchen said “I really enjoyed it as we got a different perspective of serving the homeless in the community, and we saw how the work we did in the kitchens actually made a difference on the streets of Sydney, improving the lives of many people on a daily basis.” 

Likewise, the boys got a sense of what it means to make a difference. 

“I learnt that serving people food and having a chat can really make someones day better. It shows the simple things in life are the most important, and a good conversation can really improve someones day” said Brennan Sortwell (11/MA)

Fellow Year 11 boy Daniel Baykitch (11/MA) agrees saying he was amazed to see how many people were waiting for food, and how quickly they dispersed into the night afterwards.

Thank you to all the boys, parents and staff that have assisted with the Dessert Van and the driving to and from its base in Ashfield.

Rugby Season Launch

The 2017 Rugby Season was launched Friday, June 2 at Dockside, Darling Harbour. This was the 20th year of this annual event and with over 250 guests attending the event was hailed a success.

President of the Rugby Association Dominic Brandon lead the proceedings followed on by a special address from former Rugby Captain Tom Serhon (ON 2016), who gave an inspiring and emotional speech to the 2017 squad. Director of Rugby Mr Ben Manion announced the appointment of co-captains for 2017, Angus Duvall (12/FL) and Rory Lynch (12/ME).

Our guest speaker was Benn Robinson who was joined on the panel discussion by Rod Kafer and Owen Finegan and hosted by MC Gordon Bray AM, the ‘voice of Rugby’. An event like this needs colourful speakers and we are very appreciative that these ex-Wallabies donated their time to attend this event. 

Thank you to those current parents, Old Boys, sponsors and guests that came along and supported the lunch or gave donations towards the silent auction. A special thanks to the table of Old Boys celebrating their 50 year reunion and for making the effort to gather members from the 1967 1st and 2nd XV to attend the event.

The lunch is a highlight in the Rugby calendar and with the success of the event this year, planning has already started for the 2018 season. Good luck to all the players. Go New!

Careers Expo 2017

One of the most popular events for Senior students as they begin thinking about life after Newington is the Careers Expo, an evening split into three parts: the P&F Careers Expo, the ONU Careers Advice Evening and the Tertiary Application Seminar. Conducted in the Centenary Hall, the Year 12 Common Room and the OBLT, the expo involves nearly 70 exhibitors, 50 ONs and was attended by more than 400 parents and students this year.

The top-tier Universities and a number of Colleges had representatives in Centenary Hall ready to offer advice and information about courses ranging from childcare, event management, game development and more. 

From here, the boys moved to the Year 12 Common Room, where fifty Old Newingtonians spoke to boys and parents one-on-one about their own career paths and what their job entails. The conversations ranged from ‘How did you get into it?’ to ‘What did you do to get to where you are?’ to ‘How much can I earn doing this?’

At the same time, the Deputy Head (Academic) Mr Trent Driver,  gave an informative and highly entertaining talk about the university application process, demystifying the ATAR and providing sound advice for the parents embarking on the HSC journey.

Thanks must go, first and foremost, to Ms Sabine Tanase, whose wonderful dedication and organisational skills made the night. I’d also like to commend Mr Driver for his presentation and Ms Chapman from the Development Office. Thanks also go to the staff who assisted on the night, namely Mr Mee, Dr Stevenson, Ms Goldsmith, Ms Tsvirko, Ms Troncone and Ms Macaulay who ensured the smooth running of the night. My appreciation extends also to the Grounds staff, Communications Office and Catering staff.

Mr Shane Serhon
Head of Careers


Impro Australia Theatresports School’s Challenge

Congratulations to our Intermediate and Senior Theatresports teams who both placed at the Grand Finals of the Impro Australia Theatresports School’s Challenge held at the Enmore Theatre on the weekend.

Both teams were one of 8 to compete for the top prize in their age division after intense heats and semi-finals with over 60 schools competing in each competition.

Congratulations to Intermediate team who placed third

  • Finn Hoegh-Guldberg (10/MO)
  • Philip Langshaw (10/MA)
  • Rory Olsson (10/ME)
  • James Evans (9/FL)
  • Dominic Young (10/PR)

And the Senior team who narrowly missed the top spot, coming second by just one point.

  • Simon James (11/PR)
  • Lachlan McIntyre (11/JN)
  • Nicholas Fitzsimmons (11/FL)

A special congratulations to Simon James who was named the recipient of the Elliott Miller Prize for Most Valuable Improviser in the Senior competition. Congratulations to the boys who represented the College with skill and tenacity on the Enmore stage!


Michael Swordfish nominated for AWGIE Award

Michael Swordfish has been nominated for an Australian Writers’ Guild Award (AWGIE). the Australian Writers’ Guild has been around since 1967 to recognise and reward excellence in performance writing.

Michael Swordfish has been nominated in the Community and Youth Theatre category. The awards will be announced on 25 August, 2017.

New Women bringing the community together

Even with busy schedules everyone needs to take the time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. On Thursday, 1 June, the New Women of Newington, a Parents and Friends group came together at the Annual NEW Women Cocktail Function. The night was a social gathering for current mothers of Newington boys hosted at Aqua Luna Waterfront Dining in Drummoyne. It was a sellout event with more than 200 mothers attending and was organised by Nikki Harmer, the Vice President of New Women.

Other than swapping stories and getting to know each other, the night aimed to raise funds for Year 11 rower Harry Crouch who is representing Australia in the World Junior Rowing Championships. By the end of the night, over $1,300 was raised to help send Harry to Trakai, Lithuania. We wish Harry all the best.

Thank you to all of those who attended. Looking forward to seeing all the mothers at the next event.



Sport Report

Cross Country

Last week fifteen Newington Cross Country boys attended the CIS Championships at Eastern Creek.

From the CIS competition the following boys were selected to represent CIS at the NSW All Schools Championships in July:


  • Matt Dyster (11/FL)


  • Angus Beer (10/ME)


  • Bailey Habler (7/MO)
  • James Smith (8/MA)
  • William Smith (8/MA)


  • Henry Isherwood (7/MA)

Well done to all boys who attended the day.



The following boys have been selected to represent the GPS Presidents XV U16 teams

  • Thomas Latu (10/KL)
  • Jacob Ratcliff (10/ME)
  • Aiden Fisher (11/FL)

This week sees the traditional GPS v CAS and CHS rugby fixtures, congratulations to the boys listed below who have gained selection in the GPS Rugby teams.

  • Damon Foley (11/ME)
  • Saul Lewis (11/MO)
  • Rory Lynch (12/ME)
  • Finn Kearns (12/KL)
  • Liam Janson (12/PR)
  • Chris Icanovski (12/KL)

Congratulations to all boys, and the very best for the week ahead.








Congratulations to Dr Roger Davidson OAM (ON 1940)

Readers will be delighted to learn that one of the most loved and respected members of the Newington community, Dr Roger Davidson (ON 1940), was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Roger was honoured ‘For service to medicine, to education, and to the community.’

Roger has been a part of Newington life since he entered the College aged nine in 1932. At school he was a fine scholar, a keen cricketer and an active participant in the College’s musical life, Cadets and production of The Newingtonian, and served as a Probationer Prefect. His son Timothy attended the College from 1963 to 1972.

Roger’s Newington connections in adult life have been characterised by selfless service in many forms. A GP with a local practice, he served for more than thirty years as the College’s honorary medical officer, treating both Boarders and Day Boys when needed and establishing and operating the Saturday Sport Clinic. He served as a member of the College Council for twenty-five years and as its Honorary Secretary and Executive member for over twenty. He has served at different times as President of the Old Newingtonians’ Union, chairman of the 70 Club and office holder in Lodge Wyvern. Most recently he has led the team of volunteers working with the College’s archives, contributing a huge amount of time and effort to the task. Among other things he has entered over 119 000 entries in our past student positions and achievements database! Thinking of Newington’s future as well as its past, he became a founding member of the Founders Society, the College’s bequest group, in 2010.

Roger’s experience and meticulous records in the Saturday Sports Clinic provided the basis for a pioneering study of schoolboy rugby injuries, published in a series of articles in medical journals. The results led to important changes at the national level which improved the management of such injuries, resulting in undoubted health benefits for thousands of young players. His service to medicine in the broader community during his long medical career included honorary surgeon/medical officer and other roles at Marrickville District Hospital, Eversleigh Hospital, Royal Hospital for Women, Braeside Private Hospital (now a part of the Wyvern House campus), and the Salvation Army and its Bethesda Maternity Hospital.

For many years, Roger has put his musical talents (he is an accomplished cellist and pianist) to good use in community service by playing the piano and leading singing for patients in the dementia ward at the Concord Community Hostel aged care facility. This is more than just ‘helping out’: it reflects his understanding, as a former general practitioner, of the importance of regular activity and mental stimulus for elderly people in declining health. His service to the community has included service on the Council of the Family Life Movement of Australia and as a member of the Newtown Rotary Club.

Roger has received a number of awards over the years for his specific services for the Salvation Army, for sports medicine and for volunteer leadership. In 2008 he received Newington’s highest honour for its alumni, the Newington Medal, recognising the full range of his contributions to the Newington community and in the broader community over so many years. Now he is rightly recognised through the Medal of the Order of Australia. If you see him about the College, please feel free to congratulate him.

Mr David Roberts
College Archivist