Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Armidale School - G A (Gordon) Fisher

Still travelling down nostalgia lane with photographs from the TAS (The Armidale School) archives, I found this marked 1960 unknown.

Crikey, unless I am very much mistaken this is a photo of Gordon Fisher known as GAF for his use of his initials, TAS's long standing headmaster.

1960 was not a good year for Mr Fisher. Armidale's long standing Anglican Bishop, Bishop Moyes (1884-1972) decided that the somewhat younger Head had to go to make way for a younger man.

I cannot comment on the validity of this move, although I know that many old boys including my Uncle Jim Somerville were very upset. But I can comment on my own experiences with GAF.

I know, for example, that when I refused to continue in cadets at any price, he intervened to allow me to stay at the school. Then, six months later, he promoted me to sub-monitor, an unusual position for a day boy to hold in what was then a mainly boarding school.

I know, too, that he was worried about kids from properties dropping out of school at the Intermediate Certificate.

In those days, there were two public exams: the Intermediate Certificate at the end of Year 9, then the Leaving Certificate at the end of year 11. Mr Fisher's very strong view was that kids should stay at school as long as possible even if this meant that they got bad results in the final exam.

This might hurt the school's academic results, but he thought that this was a small price too pay for an extended education for some kids.

To further facilitate the process. Mr Fisher introduced a special School Certificate at the end of Year 10 so that kids would have an incentive to stay on for another year.

Mr Fisher also gave me books to read from his personal library with titles like "Knowledge for What?". I think that he would take a degree of satisfaction from the fact that, 47 year's later, this still informs my writing.

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