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100-year Reunion for a Living Scotch Treasure

Reverend Bill Morgan visits Scotch College 100 years after his first day at School.

Senior School Assembly

With much trepidation in the air and the presence of Channel 7 News Crew, the Senior School held a very special assembly to welcome back one of Scotch’s greatest living treasures, Rev Bill Morgan, who commenced his Scotch journey exactly 100 years ago in the Junior School when aged seven.

As he progressed through the Junior and Senior School, along the way:

  • he rowed in the 1933 and 1934 1st Crew
  • in 1934 he was a member of the 1st XVIII football team
  • in 1935 he captained the 1st XV Rugby, 3 years after Rugby started as a sport at Scotch
  • in 1934 and 1935 he was Captain of Morrison House
  • in 1934 he was a School Prefect
  • in 1935 he was appointed as School Captain

He was a member of the OSCA Council from 1936-1950 and he was also ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria and served as Moderator.

Bill was accompanied by his son John (‘70), Mr Scott Montgomery, Executive Director of OSCA and current School Captain, Dion Whitfield.

School Principal, Dr Scott Marsh warmly welcomed back Bill to his school and after much applause by our awe-struck current students, presented him with a Scotch Foundation Certificate to recognize the past and current support that he has made to his school.

Junior School Assembly

After lunch in the Junior School’s Ramsay Room, Bill’s next appointment was to attend a special Assembly in the Junior School Assembly Hall. There the boys – from Prep to Year 6 – sat and listened most attentively as the Head of the Junior School, Tom Savill welcomed Bill Morgan as a very special guest.


‘How long do you think it is since Bill Morgan started at Scotch?’ Mr Savill asked the boys. To much laughter, a Prep boy called out, ‘A very, very long time ago!’ A Year 1 boy added: ‘One hundred years!’


Mr Savill agreed that it was indeed a very, very long time ago – in fact, he said, it was 100 years to the day since Bill had started at Scotch.


A page from the Scotch Admissions Register was projected onto the big screen, showing that ‘William Morgan’ began his Scotch career on 5 June 1923, and that his attendance record was perfect for at least his first two months at the school.


Year 6 boys Ethan So and Angus Murray were ready with some questions. Asked to recall his early days at Scotch, Bill said that most boys in his year had started in February, and as his first day was in June, he felt very much like a new boy.


Feeling a little sad, at lunchtime on that first day he wandered down onto the oval where boys were playing ball games. A ball flew through the air nearby and in a reflex action, Bill caught it. An older boy approached him: ‘Get off the ground!’ he said. Bill has never forgotten what came next. Bill’s older brother, John, confronted the first boy: ‘Leave him alone! He has as much right as you do to be on the ground!’ That act of brotherly kindness made him feel much better, and has resonated with Bill over the 100 years since that very first day at Scotch.


Asked who his favourite teacher had been, Bill recalled several teachers’ names and the classrooms in which they taught, but he said, ‘I’m not prepared to name my favourite teacher – I loved them all!’


To the question, ‘Did you get into trouble at school?’ Bill replied emphatically, ‘Oh yes!’ He said that the cottage of Bob Horne – Scotch’s Groundsman from 1895 to 1929 – used to be where the school hospital now stands. Bill and another boy had crept under a hedge to pick some apples from a tree in Bob’s garden – but they were caught in the act! Their response was to flee, running down what is now Monash Drive and out into Glenferrie Road, chased by Bob Horne, who caught up with them at the level crossing when the gates closed to allow a train to cross.


They were frogmarched back to school, and next day they rather nervously fronted the Headmaster, Mr Waller, fully expecting to be caned for their misdemeanour. Instead, Waller spoke quietly to them about what was wrong with stealing, and taught them the value of honesty. That message has also resonated with Bill over the mists of a century.


He encouraged the boys to appreciate the excellent Scotch education they were enjoying, and to strive to make Scotch a better place that it was when they started.


Thanking Bill for his presence at Assembly, Tom Savill said the boys had learned a lot from Bill about the value of responsibility, respect, honesty and trust. The boys applauded Bill, then moved off quietly to their classrooms.


All that was now left was for Bill to make his farewells and, supported by his son, John (’69) to make his way home, after a remarkable day commemorating a unique event in Scotch’s history.

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