Letter from Jim Frew TC 41-52
Friday 09 October 2020
Letter from Jim Frew 41-52

I was born in March 1934 and first attended the College in May 1941. I think it had around 120 pupils at that time. In those days, Horace Pearson was headmaster and filled that position until the end of 1941 when he retired and was succeeded by Douglas Field-Hyde. I was in fact the last of Horace Pearson’s pupils to leave the College in July 1952.

I completed two year’s mandatory National Service in the RAF from November 1952-54, most of which time I spent at a former Luftwaffe base in north-west Germany.

On return to my home in Tettenhall, I worked for a local estate agent for four years but came to the eventual conclusion that it wasn’t the career that I wanted. My father had been a world traveller in his young days and suggested that I might consider emigrating, an idea that had never occurred to me. After various enquiries and investigations, I chose emigration to Australia – was one of those ‘£10 poms’ – and arrived in Melbourne in March 1960. I found living accommodation at the YMCA and very soon had an office job with one of the local petroleum companies.

I also joined the Melbourne branch of The Royal Overseas League – a Commonwealth social organisation whose main purpose is to foster friendship between Commonwealth countries – and through this I met an Australian lady who became my wife. From our marriage we had a daughter and son. After four years living in Melbourne, we bought a retail business on the Mornington Peninsula some 80km south-east from the city centre where we ran a retail health food business for close to thirty years. My wife passed away two years ago, and I now live solo and am still on the Peninsula. I am very fortunate in that I enjoy good health at the age of 86.

As a life member OT, I still feel very much connected to the College and take an interest in College news. I don’t have any contact with past or contemporary students. The only ‘live OT visitor’ that I have ever had during my 60 years in Australia was a brief visit from Ron Wilkins – a former OT secretary – who has been deceased for a few years, and I have no idea if there have been any other OT migrants to Australia. As this country has attracted so many migrants from countries all over the world as well as the UK, this has very much surprised me.

I note that there have been so many changes to the College since my days there. Girl students didn’t ‘happen’ until well after my time, and the technology available to students nowadays is nothing short of astonishing. In my day, and because of young teachers being away in the armed forces, we had teachers who had been recalled out of retirement, and teaching standards didn’t start to improve until the late 1940s when the young ones had left the armed forces and then had completed their university trainings. Because of this, I think that quite a number of College students struggled to meet the kind of standards required for tertiary entry. From what I have gleaned from the College news and website, things have changed dramatically since my days some seventy years ago

Via Google Earth, I often look down on the College and note the range of new buildings. We used to travel to and from school on foot or by bicycle, and I note that the playground of my day is now a car park!. The Towers was acquired during the war. I can also remember a German nighttime bomber dropping a bomb nearby and, the following morning, I arrived to find that the glass in many windows of the old school had been blown out by the bomb blast. Now, there are so many new buildings built on some of the Towers land.

I still possess two treasured items from those far off school days – my full prefect tie and my prefect scarf, which latter I still use to this day in cold weather. I am attaching a selfie to illustrate. My full-prefect cap never made it to Australia. In my final College year as a full prefect, I wore the short prefect gowns which was discontinued a few years after my time. I appear in two photos of the publication ‘The School on the Hill – see page 33. My hair was a different colour in those days! I wonder if Mr Hancock is still alive – if so, he would be close to being a centenarian!

To read more of Jim's memories of TC see the attached