Thank you to The Friends’ School Old Scholars’ Association

Posted on April 3, 2020

At the 50+ Summer Lunch on Sunday 1 March, Mary Woolnough (Steven) (1969) and Lucy Loney (Ogilvie) (1988) shared a speech with guests acknowledging and celebrating the work of the Old Scholars’ Association since 1901. A copy of the speech follows.


Speech to guests at the 50+ Lunch, Sunday 1 March 2020

Last year a change was announced for the Old Scholars’ Association. A change brought about by the Old Scholars’ Association Committee after careful reflection and consultation with the School over 18 months.

And in August 2019, the Committee voted to transition from the Old Scholars’ Association to the newly named Friends’ Alumni Community.  This new group had their first meeting a few weeks ago with great excitement and plans for a bright future.

However, before we move on to the future, today we wish to reflect on the past. 

Hobartville Old Scholars’ Association was formed in 1901. Its first meeting was held on March 9th, 1901. E.I. Gower, Headmaster of Friends’ High School, was the meeting chairman. From the meeting an executive was elected.

President: E.I. Gower

Secretary: Frank Heyward

Treasurer: Frank Wells

Other executive members were, Ida Propsting, Mary Pybus, Ruth Mather, Reg Seager and John Gould.

Over the years, The Friends’ School Old Scholars’ Association has evolved and had many committee members. We are deeply indebted to the Old Scholars’ Association for their care and concern for our community and the School for 119 years.

However to truly share our thanks, I would like to share the words of another. 


A thank you to our Old Scholars’ Association

I attended the first Friends’ Alumni Community (FAC) this week.  While it was gratifying to see the months of consultation and subsequent changes come to fruition, it made me reflect on my first experiences on the Committee of the Old Scholars’ Association 30 years ago. 

Back then we met in the President’s living room, membership was by subscription only, and there were only typewriters and photocopiers at our disposal.

The Treasurer had the onerous duty of receiving all the membership monies and donations, a typewritten list had to be updated manually and when the idea of a newsletter was discussed I found myself typing up the stories on an electric typewriter, photocopying photos and putting the whole thing together with scissors and magic tape.  With some help from Greg Hill I might add!

In March 1987 the Committee organized the Centenary Dinner, initially planning for about 600 people, the Dinner turned out to be the largest single event that Wrest Point had catered for as 1280 people attended.   In the same year the Association was given a room at the School and work began on compiling the first computerized list of all financial members. 

Over the years the Association has grown and changed – subscriptions were abolished and a Development Officer appointed. 

Today the Community Engagement Office manages a database of over thirteen thousand old scholars.  They send out by mail two editions of Focus per year, an annual magazine The Torch, and a quarterly electronic newsletter Rose and Waratah.  They provide a first point of contact for old scholars and provide information via social media platforms.  They also organize all reunions and events.  

It is interesting to remember that back in the earlier days you had to pay a subscription to get a copy of Focus, and now all the publications are provided to old scholars free of charge!

So while this is an exciting change for all old scholars we do not forget the many OSA committee members who gave up many hours of their time supporting the School through many generations of students.

I am also particularly grateful to the last OSA President, Richard Batt, and all the Committee for their support in recognising that the environment has changed and that the Association had to change too.  Gina Colhoun (Edwards) staff member, parent and old scholar had served on the Committee for a record 29 years – what an achievement and commitment. 

As ‘Cracker’ Morris said,  “Let us do our duty and hand on a brightly burning torch.” 

To all past OSA committee members thank you for doing your duty. 

The Friends’ Alumni Community will continue to hand on that brightly burning torch. 

Mary Woolnough (Steven), class of 1969. Past parent, current grandparent, former staff member and former OSA Committee Secretary.


At the last OSA Committee Meeting in August 2019, the members were:

President: Richard Batt

Treasurer: Mike Gluskie

Secretary: Mary Woolnough

Executive Members included Kay Allport, Robyn Eastley, Miriam McFarlane, Gina Colhoun, Paul Baker, Mark Nicholson and myself. Some of the Committee are here today.

This Committee deserves our thanks and respect for their wisdom, foresight and collaboration that will enable the newly formed Friends’ Alumni Community to move forward with confidence, steeped in the history of the work that has gone before.

I was going to suggest a Toast. However a moment’s silence, to reflect on the past, the present and the future, seems more appropriate. Perhaps at its conclusion our applause can be for all those who have given their time to the Old Scholars’ Association for more than a Century.

Thank you.

Lucy Loney (Ogilvie) (1988), Development Manager and OSA Committee Member