House of Assembly - Thursday, 11 November 2010, Page 2050
PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE INCORPORATION (VARIATION OF CONSTITUTION) AMENDMENT BILL

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (16:16): I, too, rise to support this amendment bill. I am another old scholar. I should declare also, as I have been asked to sit on the committee to sign off on this amendment, that I have two boys at the school at the moment. Both are boarders, as I was—five years a boarder, in fact—and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single moment of it. It was certainly a wonderful experience and one that I have appreciated for all these years since.

I did ask myself, when I saw this amendment bill listed, why it required an act of parliament for Prince Alfred College to come into being; in fact, it did not quite. I made reference, as the member for Schubert has, to Fred Ward's book, Prince Alfred College: the story of the first eighty years, and I dug deep and found, as the member for Schubert did, on page 54—

Mr Venning: You tipped me off.

Mr TRELOAR: I tipped him off. That's right. I congratulate the members for Schubert, Unley and Norwood on their research, and the member for Kavel for his recollections, no doubt. The book states:

Prince Alfred College owes its existence to the vision and determination of a group of Methodist Ministers and laymen in the early days of South Australia.

In those days in South Australia—and it is probably still the case now—the Methodists (what was to become the Uniting Church) were, in fact, one of the dominant denominations. In thinking about this, I realised that in those days, of course, copper had been discovered in South Australia and a lot of Welsh and Cornish people came out to South Australia to work in the copper mines of Kapunda, Burra and, later, the Copper Triangle on Yorke Peninsula. These people were stoically Methodist or Wesleyan in their approach to life, which considered hard work and temperance virtues.

Mr Venning: No wine.

Mr TRELOAR: No wine, no beer, weak ale occasionally and medicinal brandy perhaps at a push.

Mr Venning: How things have changed!

Mr TRELOAR: 'How things have changed!' the member for Schubert says. In 1865, after discussions that had begun as early as 1854, an area of 13 acres and 12 perches was purchased at Kent Town for £2,750—quite expensive, I would have thought. Unfortunately for the purchasers, there were no funds available for the express purpose of establishing a school, so they went to the sale, bid to the price of £2,750 but had no money to fund that. One of their supporters, Mr Thomas Greaves Waterhouse, put up the funds to be paid back with interest at the going rate of 8 per cent at the time.

Mr Bignell: They should have gone to the bank.

Mr TRELOAR: They should have gone to the bank, you reckon? Mr T.G. Waterhouse very kindly loaned funds and, in fact, in the 1870s had a wing of the new wing of the school named after him. So, there was method in his madness, I would suggest.

In 1867, it became known that Queen Victoria's second son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was to visit South Australia. Prince Alfred was invited and consented to laying the foundation stone of the new school. This was interesting because it was the first time that a member of the royal family, a member of the established Church of England, had consented to be involved in the foundation of a new school that was, in fact, associated with a denomination that was nonconformist, that was not of the established Church of England. So, getting Prince Alfred to agree to this was a considerable coup.

On 5 November 1867, just four days after laying the stone in the tower section of the GPO here in Adelaide, he laid the stone of the original school building at Kent Town. The year 1867 was a drought year here in South Australia and the poor harvest impacted on the development of the school and the building actually slowed. The school was finally opened in 1869, initially in Pirie Street because the main building was not completed, but it opened with 28 boys. By the end of that first year, 1869, the school had moved to its current position, the main building was completed and there were 69 boys enrolled plus 20 boarders.

On further reading, although it was a church school established under the Wesleyan traditions, it was determined very early on—and I found this particularly interesting—that the teaching of religion was to be non-sectarian. I think, considering the men and the people who set up this church and the tenets they established the school under, it was particularly forward thinking of them to consider that the teaching of religion should be non-sectarian.

The 1870s saw considerable growth in the school with enrolments continuing to rise. The addition of the said Waterhouse wing to the main building was completed. Interestingly also, in the province of South Australia, there was no government system of compulsory education until 1875. It was in 1875 when discussions began about the relationship between the Wesleyan Conference and the trustees of the school who held the property for committee.

This is where the act of parliament becomes necessary because, as the member for Schubert quite rightly quoted, legal advice was sought during 1876 to, I guess, distinguish this relationship and preclude it from any difficulties going forward. In 1877, it was suggested that the simplest way out of the difficulty would be for Prince Alfred College to become an incorporated body. A subcommittee was appointed to discuss this plan with the lawyers and finally, in 1878, a private bill was passed in the South Australian parliament by which Prince Alfred College became an incorporated body. As the member for Schubert quite rightly pointed out, it defined quite succinctly the terms within which the school was to be governed.

Mention has been made of many famous and renowned old scholars. I will not go through the list that has already been gone through, but I would acknowledge one other who has not yet been acknowledged today. He is sitting here in the chamber with us, and he is Richard Dennis, parliamentary counsel. Richard, I cannot say that I remember you at school. You were way older than me, I am sure.

Mr Venning: His father was a master. He taught me English.

Mr TRELOAR: In fact, Richard's father, 'Argus' Dennis, taught me, the member for Schubert, the member for Kavel and my father. Richard, your father taught my father. So, there you go—a long association.

The member for Norwood spoke about cricket and the four Australian captains Prince Alfred College had produced, most recently Ian and Greg Chappell, previously Joe Darling and Clem Hill. I would just like to highlight and go back a little to Joe Darling. In 1885, he scored 252 in the intercol game with St Peter's. In 1893, Clem Hill made a record 360 not out on the Adelaide Oval in the annual Saints versus Princes intercol game—two fine cricketers, along with the Chappells and all the others who have gone on to play state cricket as well.

One of the highlights of the school for me now is the old scholars association. It has been mentioned already but there is no doubt that—

Mr Venning: The annual dinner!

Mr TRELOAR: The annual dinner is a highlight of the old scholars' year, there is no doubt. The old scholars association hosts smaller dinners in the regions right around the state and, in fact, there is an annual dinner on Eyre Peninsula usually held in Port Lincoln which I certainly try to get to most years. It is a strong association and it is well supported. I understand it is the biggest association of its type in the southern hemisphere and would be rivalled only by similar associations in the North.

Obviously, old scholars have made a significant contribution to this state, but I would like to say that, in my opinion, the school itself has made a contribution to the state—

Ms Chapman interjecting:

Mr TRELOAR: —and will for a long time yet, as the member for Bragg says. I would like to finish off with the school motto which in Latin is 'Fac fortia et patere' and translated means 'Do brave deeds and endure.'

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! Will the old scholars please contain themselves?