Saint George’s Home for Boys 1915 – 1991

January 25, 2007 at 11:24 am 160 comments

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The new SGH URL is: http://saintgeorges.wordpress.com/

Recent 2008 SGH news:

  • Old Boys wax poetic — to great effect
  • Jaycee Milner (84-88 Beaton House) joins the conversation
  • Marc Wastie shares photos from the seventies
  • Mike Dollman contributes “Study Camp” photos from the sixties
  • “DC” Dudley Claude Pringle remembers “Goggies” in the late 50’s
  • Canon Eric Richardson turns 95
  • Brian Gannon meets with Eric Richardson in Cape Town
  • Fr. Norman “Bee Bop” Clayton found alive and well at 84 by John O’Neill . . .
  • Vanessa Hurlimann (nee Finlay) remembers the “Big Walk” of 1972

Parade Ground - 2007

SGH “Parade Ground”: 2007

Click here for a “bird’s eye” view of Saint George’s Home for Boys

Bishop Bavin St. George’s School in Bedfordview, South Africa, may be less than 15 years old, but the great jacaranda trees which shade the extensive, well-kept grounds have been there since shortly after the St George’s Home for Boys opened in 1915.

When the lovely but dilapidated Herbert Baker buildings were restored under the watchful eye of the current rector, Reverend Morgan Ellis, the gardens, too, slowly began to take shape and are now a valued part of the Bishop Baven St. George’s school.

I recall life at St. George’s home for boys in the early seventies when my father, George Harold van Pletzen, assumed a post as Housemaster of Crawford House for two short years. Although not employed by the Home, my mother, Helen Kay van Pletzen, devoted herself fully to providing for the boys under her care in this piously Anglican, militaristic place.

Courtesy of Marc Wastie:

Efficiency squads: 1977 and 1978

Charles Wastie and Newton Besant

Marc Wastie receives the under 10 Athletics Trophy

Freddy de Jager and a Project Volunteer (Steve?) outside the Feeding Shelter

Memorial Service: 1978

Saint Georges in the News: 1967 (Courtesy of Mike Dollman)

Click on any image for a larger scan

1967

1967

Lidgeton, Natal 1966

Study Camp at Lidgeton, Natal, 1966. Mike Rossouw, Trevor Stringer, Robyn Putter, Greg (surname eludes me), Mike Dollman and the master was “Tubby” Laughton.

Robyn Putter, 1966

Michael Roussouw and George Budd, 1966

Michael Rossouw and George Budd, 1966

10K \

Dawnview students after a SGH soccer match in 1978

1972/3 Saint George’s Home u/14B

SGH under 14B Team: 1972/73 (Courtesy John O’Neill) Double-click any photo for more options

Notable Names

Notable names: Canon Eric Richardson, Father Norman Clayton, Audrey (RIP) and Ken McHolm (RIP), Heather McHolm, Kennedy McHolm, George and Helen van Pletzen (1970 – 1972), Raymond Last, Frederick Lourens, Brian Gannon, the Rossouw brothers, William Wilson, Stewart Clark, Keith Frandsen, Harald Gunkel, David Grissselle, Richard Levey, Karel de Waal, Neville Rennie, Jeffrey Girout, Peter Ford, Mervyn Ekron, Mike Dollman (1966 – 1967), Michael Rossouw, Albert de Jager, JJ de Jager, John Inns (RIP), Roger Inns, George Struagh, Peter Ford, Tony Girout, Gary Hand, Andre, Linda and Blane van Pletzen (1970 – 1972) and most recently “found” — Wendy Thompson, Steve Towse, John O’ Neill, Shane Botha, Peter Burrow, “DC” Dudley Claude Pringle, Stuart Wavel Pringle, Trevor Stringer, Robyn Putter,Tubby Laughton, Jaycee Milner (84-88), Craige Milner, and Nick Young.

Old Boys’ Gallery

The Reverend Michael Rossouw David Rossouw

Michael Rossouw (left) and David Rossouw


Dudley Claude Pringle

Dudley Pringle

Trevor Budd


Housemaster’s Gallery

Brian Gannon

Eric Richardson

George Harold van Pletzen

Beaton House

Beaton House at Umtentweni (Courtesy Steve Towse) Double-click any photo for more options

Spackman House

Spackman House at Umtentweni (Courtesy Steve Towse) Double-click any photo for more options

Heather McHolm and boys

Heather McHolm and SGH boys (Courtesy Steve Towse) Double-click any photo for more options

JJ de Jager

JJ de Jager (Courtesy Steve Towse) Double-click any photo for more options

Contemporary students gather outside Crawford House

Crawford House Boarders in the latest incarnation of SGH: Bishop Bavin School

It was at Saint George’s Home for Boys that I received confirmation (March 21st 1972) and was first exposed to the liturgy of the Anglican Communion in this chapel.

St. George’s Chapel ca 2006

1971 Confirmations: Kennedy McHolm, George van Pletzen, Raymond Last, Frederick Lourens, John Rossouw, William Wilson, Stewart Clark, Audrey McHolm, Helen van Pletzen and Susan Tomkine.

St. George’s Home for Boys

1972 Confirmations: Keith Frandsen, Harald Gunkel, David Grisselle, Richard Levey, Karel de Waal, Blane van Pletzen, Neville Rennie, Jeffrey Girout, Peter Ford and Mervyn Ekron.

Confirmation Certificate 1972 St. George’s Home For Boys

A recent picture of Norman “Bee Bop” Clayton’s flat / recording studio

Father Norman Calyton’s “Bell House.”

Looking towards the Chapel – 2007

imgp3122.jpg

Scott and Blane in the Sanctuary – 2007:

St. George’s Chapel Sanctuary - 2007

The Refectory – 2007:

Refectory - 2007

Blane and Linda van Pletzen outside Crawford House in 2007:

Blane and Linda

The swimming pool in 2007:

Swimming pool - 2007

Debbie Wright and Shane Botha: October 1976.

Shane Botha and Beryl Baxter

Do you have photographs and memories to share?

Have an interest in, or a history with, St. George’s Home for Boys? Please feel free to use this posting as a means of making contact.

Where are you”old boys”? Where are the “survivors”? What are your stories?

Please send your scanned photographs and stories to bvpr@mac.com for inclusion in this site.

Brian Gannon — 2007 — at his home in Cape Town

Brian Gannon — 2007

This week (January 2008) I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Canon Eric Richardson who was brought on a short holiday to Cape Town by his daughter Debbie who was visiting South Africa from New Zealand. Eric recently turned 95 years old, so it was a pleasant surprise to find him looking and sounding the same as ever. We communicate by e-mail, but I haven’t been to Johannesburg for more then thirty years so I hadn’t seen him for all that time.

All who knew him will be pleased to hear that he is living very much in the present tense! We talked about our families, books we were reading, politics … the usual conversation topics. Then we discussed some issues around the church in the modern context and he was both animated and up-to-date in his views.

It was a great visit. We “go back a long way” and next year it will be fifty years since he invited me to work with him at St George’s Home.

Warm greetings to all St George’s people who visit this this blog.

Christmas 1971 - Photographed by Norman Clayton

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Entry filed under: Anglican, Global Village, Goggies, Identity, Saint George's Home for Boys, SGH.

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160 Comments

  • 1. Mike Dollmann  |  March 2, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Hi Blane.

    I am an St Georges Home “old boy” and spent two years there from 1966 to 1967 and prior to that I spent two years 1964 to 1965 at the old Stanger High school Hostel. From your site it would appear that you also had some connection to that school.

    Should you wish to contact me, please feel free to do so on 082 455 8790 or by e-mail miked@barloworld.com.

    Regards

    Mike

  • 2. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  October 24, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Blane
    Don’t know if you remember me but at the tiime you were in Crawford I was in Simpson where my father was housemaster. I remember your family well. Seeing the names you have listed has really called back the past as I remember most of those boys and may even have some pics of some of them.
    Have just returned from a holiday in the UK where I saw one of the Project Trust volunteers, Steve Towse, and he has been in touch with Father Clayton as he lives quite near Steve. Steve is also in touch with Nick Young who was known as ‘Mr Plod’ as he was a policeman in the UK before, and after, coming to St Georges.
    Feel free to email me.
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 3. Blane  |  October 24, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Wendy! My god how lovely to hear from you. Yes, I remember you well despite the very short time we were together at St. George’s as “Housemaster’s kids.” Can you share contact information for Fr. Clayton and others?

  • 4. Anon  |  October 29, 2007 at 9:48 am

    My apologies for prefering to remain anonymous. My thanks to Blane for making this forum possible. I met both Blane and Wendy, as well as their parents, albeit briefly, in St Georges. Both were Housemaster’s kids and I doubt either would remember me had I divulged my identity.

    Nevertheless, is it not curious that it took a ‘Housemaster’s kid’ finally to reveal the existence of an institution, near the heart of Johannesburg, that ‘cared’ for boys for more than 70 years? I can anwer that question: having spent the whole of the 1960’s there I believe I am well qualified. Even before I arrived from JCH (those who have ears, let them hear) St Georges posessed a fearful reputation for discipline. And it was well deserved. Gone was the gentle ambience and true caring of JCH and in its place we found a harsh, violent reality that till shocks me to this day, more than 40 years later. It was a violence inflicted on boys by ‘well-meaning’ housemasters (two of whom are listed in your notable names above). They split the skin on our buttocks using thin bamboo canes to the extent that we often bled. On one occasion, in an attempt to protect myself from a lashing, my wrist was split open.

    And I learnt my lesson well. Soon I too would inflict violence, using my fists, on the smaller boys around me and in turn was beaten up by those older than I. And this violence came from the very top, filtering its way down like a fine mist that permeated everything.

    I wish to make it clear that Father Richardson was the most gentle of all the masters. On one occasion I had to report to him for a caning (I was caned too by the headmasters of both schools I also attended: Wychwood Primary and Malvern High) and the one I received from Father Richardson was laughable. He was so nervous that he was almost in tears. When he delivered his ‘tap’ I laughed in his face. I was 12 at the time. I was not being rude: I simply understood that this man was gentle and kind; unlike Thwackem, Whackem, Brainem and Cainem, the regular masters who made their canes sing as they weilded them, whistling through the air and landing with a loud THWACK!! on vulnerable buttocks. I was 9 years old when this brutality began. Try this some time: stand in a Q outside a housemaster’s flat waiting your turn for a caning; hear the boy currently being punished beg for mercy; hear the cane whistle and land; hear the door open and the master beckons you forward; see the previous boy exit with tear-streaked face clutching his bum. Such sport. I was 9 years old when this brutality began. I would be 16 when it ended. By then they thought, perhaps, that such big boys might strike back and so withheld their punishment. And in fact some big boys did but thats another story.

    The violence was one reason why nobody who has been in St Georges wants to reveal that he has. There is another that is much more profound: shame. It is a deep unfounded shame that we feel as a result of being discarded. When I left the home, I revealed to very few that I was an Old Boy. My children, when they had grown up, were asked if their father ever spoke of his school years. Never, they replied. Because I was so ashamed. Now I am much older and understand that it was no fault of mine that I came from parents who had a disastrous relationship and were incapable of caring for any child, let alone me. But the shame still persists and I blush to write these words.

    And yet….and yet there was so much to admire in St Georges. Not just admire. To love. I unashamedly admit I loved the place, despite what I already have said. I never went hungry and was clothed for all occasions. I made very close friends and everything was provided. And as for sports, well, we had our choice of any and all. Name it and we played it.

    But I am still so deeply ashamed. But those are my feelings on the matter of St Georges and I am sure other Old Boys may beg to differ. I don’t mind. Say whatever you want.

  • 5. Blane  |  October 29, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for this response. Fear and shame are powerful motivators, and you have stirred my memories. It would be unfair to hundreds of “Old Boys” if I were to try and paint a rosy picture of life at St. George’s as I knew it — or, for that matter, any picture at all. Yours is an authentic voice. I was only there for two short years. I realize, too, that I am writing from a position of privilege; as a “Housemaster’s kid” I was given preferential treatment at every turn. But I do want to share a little of my witness to corporal punishment while I was there.

    Like you, I grew up in colonial Africa where corporal punishment was a common practice in schools. The threat of “six of the best” may have kept me in line, but I have since learned that fear is a short-term motivator. I often witnessed lines of boys waiting for their canings outside my father’s study and elsewhere in other houses. I, too, remember hearing the distraught cries of boys begging for mercy behind a closed door and the sound of a thin cane used in anger.

    St. George’s was a strange blend of pious Anglicanism and strict, militaristic discipline. (I recently visited a former House Master at his home in Cape Town who referred to his disdain at the “frog marching” that took place on that black slate parade ground between the chapel and the refectory.)

    I think it’s important to acknowledge that St. George’s permitted an environment in which such abuse could take place. Such an acknowledgment should be just that – a recognition that this happened. Hundreds of boys were shaped in this particular culture; many look back on those days with some fondness. (And here is the curious tension you share about when you survey your seven-year experience: the shame of being a “discarded” child, the violence of abusive corporal punishment and the love for this place where you were fed and clothed – a violent sanctuary.)

    So thanks for your brave contribution all these years later. Perhaps there will be other voices out there who might benefit from your frank and poignant recollection as a St. George’s “Old Boy.” There is a tremendous amount of dignity in your story and I’m grateful you took time to tell it.

  • 6. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  October 30, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Hello Anon
    Thank you for your brave and insightful comments – brave because I think it’s really hard to confront such painful memories. The experiences you describe are certainly familiar to me and although I never witnessed them I certainly spent many hours listening to them.

    One of the reasons that prompted me to do a net search was because in the last two years I have become reacquainted with a former assistant housemaster – one of the guys who came over from the UK to spend some time in St Georges – and it is in our many discussions that we have both come to realise that St George’s was a traumatising place for so many of us. It’s the first time for both of us to have someone else to talk to about common traumatic experiences and in some way, for me, has started some of my own coming to terms with that period in my life. My experiences can never be equated with yours by any means and I think it is a testimony to the human spirit that you and so many other people did indeed survive St George’s. That survival has indeed left its scars both literally and figuratively on many of us, housemasters’ children included, although our perspective can never be the same as those of the ‘boys’.

    I am glad that with maturity has come some perspective for you although I am indeed truly sad that you had such a traumatic time in a place that should have been a refuge for you and a time of trying to rebuild your family. Thank you for sharing your story with us

  • 7. Anon  |  October 31, 2007 at 5:45 am

    Ah Wendy! When we met you were a very young girl with an awful metal contraption in (and on) your foot. You poor thing, I so silently sympathised with you! But you were so rightly proud and would have none of it. My apologies if I have revived any painful memories but mine of you were only delightful.

    I had just completed my National Service in the Air Force and with nowhere to stay. Father Richardson kindly allowed me to live in Simpson, assisting your father with the boys. Unfortunately, I was not much help and would eventually leave to start another career in the wider world.

    But thank you, Wendy, for your kind words and I am certain you are as beautiful now as when I first met you – may the sun never set on your happiness and may unhappiness be a mere speck you carelessly wipe from your eye.

    Blane, I shall respond to you in a separate email. You have been most kind to have written to me and I am currently constructing a reply.

    Allow me to say that I am delighted that neither of you has had the misfortune to see and do what I saw and did between the ages of 0 and 18. Very few days have passed, since I emerged from the gates of St Georges, wherein I did not entertain suicidal thoughts. But both of you are important witnesses that the brutality we boys encountered (and I must also admit, inflicted on those around us) was not imaginary.

    In conclusion though, we had everything too. Food, warmth, clothing, education and a roof to cover our heads. But it was impossible for me not to be a witness to a much greater misery. Had I but been black, mine would have many times worse. I thank God, from the bottom of my heart, that I was born white in apartheid South Africa.

  • 8. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  November 1, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Dear Anon
    Thank you for your kind words. I had and have had many contraptions on my feet as it was discovered that I actually have a muscular dystrophy. The pride/stubborness (depending on who you talk to) however remains :) as I want to live as full and normal a life as possible.
    It is only as an adult that I really got to grips with the extent of how much St George’s affected me and, with that, the insight of how much more it must have affected the boys who lived there.
    In my ideal world all of us who survived our different experiences of the home are able to find some peace and put the past to rest whilst never forgetting or denying what happened. If we can help each other to do that then that would be first prize for me.
    I am glad we have connected in this way and I wish you well.
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 9. Michael Anthony Rossouw (1961-1967)  |  November 6, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    I happened to stumble on this site whilst doing some research for pictures of the Chapel windows of what is now the Bishop Bavin School.I am in much pain whilst reading the “blogg’ from the annonymous old boy who wrote about the canings, the bullying and the goings on that went on in a place that was supposed to be a caring environment.
    Yes ,I too had my share of canings, probably less than most because I kept my head down and played the game by the rules.
    I probably received more canings at Malvern High school than I did as a boy in the home! Nevertheless that does not justify the hurt and abuse experienced by the annonymous “old boy” and I’m suremany other old boys of the home, who received such treatment.I thank him for being as brutally honest in that which he wrote.
    I last attended an old boys day in 2000, just before I left to work in SE Asia. Whilst we all enjoyed seeing each other and chatting about the days when the home was “THE” Home, I was appalled as the afternoon went on and the tongues were loosened up after a good few cold castle lagers , to hear the horror stories about the behaviour of individual masters both of my era and beyond who seemed to take great dlight, if not relish ,in this kind of abusive behaviour. Small wonder the Home was closed to make way for te Bishop Bavin school.
    The number of “old Boys” (some of them in their 50’s and early 60’s now)who told horror stories, some of which were quite unbelievable given the names of the indivdual masters mentioned who committed these acts of abuse, was alarming to say the least. “How” , I asked myself “did I come out relatively unscathed?”
    “How was this allowed to happen? ” I asked myself.
    Did i miss something here?
    In retrospect I guess I was immune to what was going on. No master ever tried to have his way with me as i’m sure they would have known I’d have spilled the beans.Many of masters who were in charge of my house were good to me as mentors and as caring friends.
    Eric Richardson is a man for whom I have the highest regard. His efforts to bring the home into line with child care models of those similar to childrens homes in the UK in the 1960’s were way ahead of his time.There was much resitance to his claim in 1963 after his UK sabbatical , that St George’s ,as it was then run , was “a slum” and was no better than the workhouses of 19th Century Dickensian England.
    Many of us (and I was one of them) who do have some good memories of the Home were stunned at the manner in which the Home was “closed” , a better word would be “stolen” from us and replaced by the current Bishop Bavin School. But again, in hindsight,many boys left the home vowing never to darken its doors again and quite rightly so for obvious reasons.
    Again in hindsight, none of the old boys were aware of the changes that had taken place in the child care field and ,looking back, the closure of the Home as we knew it was probably long overdue. Did anyone really care? The closure of the home under Barry Lodge and his committee in the form that we knew it was probably long overdue , given that at the end of his tenure as “director” there were probably 30 or 40 boys left in the home which was built to accommodate near 200 odd boys. Alternative models were never discussed with the old boys and many probably didn’t care because we were left in the dark in the whole process of the home’s closure and the reasons for it..
    Anyhow, that’s history. Many institutions Like St Gerges did not survive the post apartheid era . I sometimes wonder though whether the St george’s in which I grew up would have made a viable alternative for the many street children and gangsters et al, roaming the streets of Johannesburg and other cities of our beautiful, but crime ridden country.We will never know.personally I’d rather have seen the work of StGeorge’s continue with our countries disadvantagd youth tatn it bing turned into a toffee-nosed snobbish playground for the neuvaue riche! Anyhow, that’s cruel to say such a thing , given the success the schoolhas made as a private school in the New South Africa.
    No institution can claim to be perfect. I guess the home as I knew just did the best they could with what they had.
    What then did the Home do for me?
    I received a good education, albeit that I only learned to read with understanding once I’d left school , as a boy in the home. People like Mrs Davis and Ma Van deemter at Wychwood guided me through my primary years with much care and affection.I had the privilege of learning the Queen’s English and an appreciation of English Literature from Vera Kirkland, Ep Cheyne and Peggy Morgan; a sense of how historians should be read and interpreted under Muriel Noaks and Miss Beveridge (Ma Be as we clled her); the rudiments of mathematics (not my bet subject) under Mrs Smith (Ma Frik as we used to call her) Mr Burgess , JJ de Jager and John Durie, and an appereciation of the World and my responsibility to do my part in looking after it (long before the concept of climate change and global warming were even mentioned )from Eugene Wright (Ma Braun) to name but a few of the many caring teachers I had the priviledge of knowing.
    Headmasters like Bob Morrison and John Edmund (Johnny)Johnsen,were ,for me ,en of outstanding educational ability and educators for whom I have the highest regard.
    (I have visited Wychwood Primary and Malvern High on my last vist to South Africa and I must say they reflect in many ways what the “New” South Africa , now in its adolescent years, is about.)
    I received the loving care of women like Betty Richardson, Audrey Mc Holm, the many “Sisters” who ran the surgery and looked after me in my many asthma attacks,and the many “Ma’s” who ran the kitchen and linen rooms.
    I learnt much from men like Kennedy James McHolm, Brian Gannon, George Adams that I could achieve in life what I wanted in terms of a career if i worked hard towards it.These were truly unique individuals who were “father figures ” to me and without whom I’d never ahve become te person I am today, even with my imperfections.
    I was inspired by old boys who had done good things with their lives that I too , like them could also be a “somebody” ; guys like Frederick (Nutsy ) Moore, Dr Tommy Geddes wo were great teachers, Fr Dale White, a priest in Canada, the late Bill Stewart ( not an old boy but a great teacher and product Malvern High school ) to name but a few, who, despite their backgrounds led meaningful lives in serving others.
    Above all , St George’s Home gave me a firm Faith in a loving God; not a ‘pie in the sky kind of God sporting a long white beard,but a Saviour who died for me and my miserable sin and the sin of the whole world. I thank God for His love for me every day.
    I have not been the success story many prdicted that I would be when I left the home.None of us are perfect and we make mistakes along the way. St George’s did little if anything to prepare me for the things like marrige and parenthood. I don’t blame the Home for that; I had a caring Mother but a father , who, whilst he cared, was not always the caring soul he could be when he was drunk and abusive to us and to my dear Mother..
    I am not making any apologies or trying to ‘white-wash ‘ what the annonymous old boy has written, but for me , St Georges home, with all its imperfections ,was the only home I knew.
    I am a school chaplain today teaching in the Philippines.
    Places like Burma , Mandalay, Rangoon, Malaysia , Singapore , Thailand and Indonesia were just names on a map in my history and geography class until I ventured out into these parts..
    I thank God every for God’s gift of life to me and for St George’s home and the chances that the home , with all its imperfections , gave to me, for without the Home and it influence on my life , I too would probably have been a crime statistic , imprisoned for life or dead.
    Eric Richardson ( now in his mid nineties and still as sharp as a razor) quoted the writer to the Hebrews in his address at the “closure” of the Home , saying, “We have no abiding city for us here on Earth, we are looking towards the city which is to come…'” Hebrews 13:14
    So I take the best of what the home gave to me as a boy and I try to forget the pain inflicted on me by certain individuals, masters and boys , who will remain nameless..
    Perhaps it’s the coward’s way out but its the only way I can deal with it.
    I gave up visiting the home (the Bishp Bavin Campus) in 2005 when my brothers and i asked if the home’s chapel could be made available to us to bury my brother., Des who ad died whilst I was visiting that year. We were politely told “We don’t do that if you are not members of the community.’
    I guess we are no longer part of what was the only home many of us knew.It is sad for me that when and if I am ordained a priest, i shall not be allowed to celebrate myfirst Eucharist at the altar at which I received my Christian faith. That is very sad but who knows, maybe there are some forgiving people in the capus which bears the name of one of the finest bishops I have ever know, +Timothy John Bavin
    ( now a monk in Alton Abbey in the UK) after whom the newBishop Bavin/ St George’s is named.
    God Bless you all.
    Yours sincerely
    Deacon Michael Rossouw
    Thanks for letting me saythese things. I hope I have not offended anyone in doing so. If I have , I ask your pardon and forgiveness.
    My work here involves visits to a locla orphanage run by an eveangelical church called the Phillipine outreach. I must say that when I look at the dorms, a little smaller than ours at SGH, I do get more than a tear in my eyes when I leave after visiting the kids, boys and girls who range from babies abandoned by their parents because of poverty and another mouth to feed and older kids who have been abused by parents and relatives. Looking back, I was one of the lucky ones and I have God, SGH and caring men like Eric Richardson and the late Ken mcHolm and many others to thank.

  • 10. David Rossouw  |  November 7, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Well,well,well…..Wendy Thompson. How the heck are you. Good to hear about you, albeit in response to anon’s letter of trauma experienced. I guess we all have war stories to tell.

    We went to varsity together, I recall taking you to some do on campus during your O-week. Incidentally, I thought you were very beautiful, but, being the village nerd, did not pluck up the courage to take ask you out.

    Blane van Pletzen, Crawford House, ja I remember your family and iIf I recall correctly, you were a blondie and had a cute sister and a very beautiful mom. Are they still alive???

    I’ll get back on another occasion w.r.t a full comment on the website. Ja, it was tough at “The Orphs” , but, the life lessons learnt wer invaluable.

    I’m Principal of a school in Randburg and was formerly a lecturer at Wits where I specialised in Teacher Training. My key mentors at St Georges were Mackie and The Beek (Richardson) who, despite many negatives at the home, were steadfast charachters.

    I’m at principal@ssb.za.net if anyone wants to catch up. Will give a better response to anon and share properly at a later date.

    Wendy, would love to make contact again. I had dealings with Geoff Bills (also passed on and his wife Jean) daughetr when she was secretary at my son’s Nursery school (He’s now 20). I think you guys were at school together.

    Mackie always used to preek on about us being future fathers and husbands – good ones – I took that message to heart.

  • 11. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  November 7, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Hello David
    It’s good to hear from you. Will email you at your address. Thanks for posting
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 12. Linda Mac Millan (van Pletzen)  |  November 8, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Good to hear the comments of all. I was very young when at St. Georges (8 -10)
    Blane and I visited there in June 2007 – it is now Bishop Bavins and many meories cam flooding back. There I learned to ride horses, smoke cigarettes, swear and to stand up for myself. I remeber many faces – names – Quintan Taljaard, Marcel, the Thompson twins – Ralph and Ronald. Carry On movies in the hall. The early morning bugle. That was many many years ago ……

  • 13. david  |  November 23, 2007 at 3:03 am

    well now, a double edged sword, a home that had such good to it, yet had darkened halls and shadows, boys and masters alike. i was in simpson house and later at crawford, there i played hide and seek at the back of simpson, jumping off the store room roof onto old mattresses. built a fort and found a box of light photo sensitive paper and made shapes on it for hours on end, played soccer, rode horses, made candles, sang in the choir, participated in the swimming gala, diving competions and so forth, Ouch Mr Carr had the meanest cane around and we all agreed that he could at best give the worst canning ever, yet he was gentle, yet he was careing, did the most beautifull wood carvings and what i remember best about him was lights out, taking time to say good night to all the boys, saterdays we would sign out 50cents and if you were rich one rand from the book and running to the corner cafe for nickerballs, chips and coke. The school was strict i admit, heads inspection the worst, brushing window sills and panes with a tooth brush, ha ha coming from school and getting hot slap chips and a small carton of milk for lunch. but there was a darker side, older boys forcing there way onto younger boys for sex when the lights went out, let me leave it there………………….we all have stories good and bad, what i can say about it all is that i suppose i am better man from all of the experiences even tho scared by the bad ones,

  • 14. Anon  |  November 24, 2007 at 9:22 am

    There once was a mine dump alongside the playing fields, just beyond the wild area that still exists today. The dump was quite substantial, about 30 metres high, comprising the soft yellow sand so typical of a gold mine dump. Of course it was out-of-bounds to the boys but that did not prevent us regularly playing there. We often jumped from its summit and the fine sand cushioned our falls. Rolling down the steep inclines was always a pleasure and countless hours of fun were dissipated aboard this relic of bygone days.

    Over the years and around its base, smaller piles of sand had accumulated as a result of wind action. Most of these were small but some were large enough to hind behind for whatever nefarious reasons that might spring into the minds of boys. It might be a wank, quickly and surreptitiously undertaken, the little dump acting as a curtain against prying eyes. Or it could be a leisurely crap, slowly and thoughtfully enjoyed. A dump behind a dump, so to speak.

    Joss and I were walking around the base of the major dump and passing through the maze of smaller ones when we heard a noise just beyond a pile of sand, too tall for us to see over. It was at the time of Guy Fawkes. Joss carried a whopper of a fire-cracker and we were looking for the best way to maximize the destructive power of the explosion we knew would ensue once the fuse was lit. The year was the mid early 60’s, about 1963 I would say, when Health and Safety still had decades before it would see the light of day. The firework we possessed was akin to a stick of dynamite with the potential to shift the entire mine dump across Joburg, several kilometers away. These were commonly sold to us across shop counters provided we had the dosh to pay for them.

    Joss and I looked at each other when we heard the noise. We detected the distinct sound of somebody straining whilst in the throes of a crap and we quickly climbed the small hill, the sound of our bare feet utterly silenced in the soft sand. Two pairs of eyes peered over the summit. There we beheld Walter, his shorts a small distance away, his back to us and beneath his naked rump, an accruing pile of soft brown dung. Joss and I looked at each other instantly reading the other’s thoughts. I quickly lit the cracker and Joss rolled it down the incline towards the unsuspecting Wally. Unbelievably, it nestled against the growing pile of brown stuff and still Wally was unaware. I could barely contain my mirth and I could see Joss turning purple as he also gulped down his laughter. We knew the ferocity of the beast we had released and knew too that when it exploded not much of Wally’s poo would be left. As likely as not we might be covered in it so we ducked our heads and waited for what seemed an eternity.

    BOOM!! We looked at each other thinking we had killed Walter because not a sound could be heard from the other side. Slowly we looked over the summit and this time Walter was standing fully erect, his face purple with rage. “You f___ b___s!!” was all he could say. Not one scrap of his efforts remained. It was if a shovel had collected it and flung it to the winds as a fine spray. Other than a dent in his dignity and a really red bum (which was clearly evident to both Joss and me), Walter suffered no other injuries.

    Joss and I lay on our backs in the soft sand and laughed so much we could hardly breathe, tears running down our cheeks. My very best mate, Joss, laughing with me in the sand.
    A few years later, around 1966, two non-St Georges boys were playing on the dump. They were running along the top and jumping off the steepest edge, landing safely in the fine sand below. Just as we did. Suddenly the pinnacle collapsed and covered their bodies. They were both suffocated. Later, rumours circulated that the distraught mother had desperately tried to replace her missing sons by asking Father Richardson if she could adopt two boys from the Home.

    Before then, the dump was out-of-bounds. Now it was strictly out-of-bounds. We needed no further warning and only foolhardy boys risked playing on the dump. Later it was covered with a top-cover soil, grass planted and a reservoir of sorts built into it. I see today that it has been completely removed. Methinks the gold content, locked within the fine yellow sand, was the reason why.

  • 15. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  December 4, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Hi anon
    You have a lovely turn of phrase. I can just picture the scene. I remember the dump and the rather overgrown area in that region – below the Old Boys’ field as it was known.

  • 16. john rossouw  |  December 7, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    I am in the process of photographing all the archives of St Georges home and editing the book on it’s history written by George Adams If anyone is interested they can contact me on johnros@iafrica.com
    I echo the sentiments of my brothers above that the home was a good place despite everything and I certainly reflect through the archives what a unique and special meaning it has in my life

  • 17. Blane  |  December 7, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Hello John:

    This is good news. When I was last at St. Georges this last Summer, I had asked after memorabilia and history. No one at Bishop Bavins seemed to know of any such thing. One lady remembered that there had been a room devoted to St. George’s history but thought that it had been packed up and moved.

    Where are the archives? Can you share a little more of what you are finding there?

    I am so interested in what you are finding.

    Thanks for doing this.

  • 18. david  |  December 11, 2007 at 1:04 am

    i was in st georges from 1980 to 1989. started off in beaton house and ended up in smuts house,
    many fond memories

  • 19. john rossouw  |  December 11, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Greetings Blane
    You may recall you, your sister and I were close friends during your stay at the home
    The closure of St Georges in 91 to make way for Bishop Bavin school was at the time a highly contentious issue which is well documented in George Adam’s book
    All memorabila was moved into a museum (the old boat shed between Taylor House and the workshop)
    Barry Lodge headmaster at the time was so enraged with the old boys that he threw all memorabia onto the rubbish dump
    Fortunately someone retrieved most of it and I have been able to potpgraph all the trophies and photographs that remain but a great deal has unfortunately been lost
    The relationship between the home and the school remains delicate but we have managed to find place in the chapel for a great number of items and are progressing well in getting other items placed in appropriate places throughout the school
    The task is ardeous and time consuming but I am targeting to complete same early in the new year with completion of the book by St Georges day in April
    The old boys field below the soccor field made way for a retirement village in 88 which today helps to fund what remains of the home from proceeds of residential unit sales and I serve on the board of directors of the village as my contribution to the ongoing work of St Georges
    If you let me have an email address I will forward you some photos for your website

    Regards

    John

  • 20. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  December 12, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Hi John
    Thanks for sharing that info. There is so much history vested in those records – and so much of people’s lives – that it’s good to know that you have been able to work on preserving what is left. I look forward to the completion of the book in the new year.
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 21. john rossouw  |  December 14, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Greetings Wendy

    Please give my best regards to both Steve and Nick assuming they remember me (Nick if I recall was in the choir wth us)
    I am also keen to receive any contact details for Norman Clayton in the UK as I wrote to him last year but did not get any reply
    Dave tells me you married our old school friend Kevin Jones so it is a small world after all
    R your folks still alive and if so what are they doing
    Also how is your sister
    I seem to recall she was a teacher when we knew her at the home
    I visited with Eric Richardson last night to avoid sitting in traffic on the way home and we shared a drink and a chat for an hour or so (who would have thought as a boy of 8 that I would one day do that)
    Afterwards I washed the glasses and jokingly asked him if I had passed inspection
    He is in excellent spirits despite his age of 95 but his eyesight and hearing are deteriorating
    His state of mind and memory are however excellent and I printed a special copy of the book in large font for him to proof read which I refer to as “his homework” and use my visists as a means of checking to see if he is doing his “prep”
    Whilst it is taking time he is relishing in the task and has aded some vital insight and annecdotes to the project
    His daughter Deborah is comming out from NZ in December and their whole family will be together for Christmas
    He also gave me the contact details for David Laughton who was a one time housemaster of the home in the 60’s and 70’s
    on a relief basis flitting between Simpson, Beaton. Taylor, Smuts and Crawford houses
    We used to always refer to him as Tubby as he was rather plump
    Nevertheless he was an excellent football coach and despite his portlyness could move around a football field with the best of players the home could muster at the time
    I phoned Dave last night but he does not seem to remember much but I have promissed to meet with him when my brother Mike visits in December from the Phillipines
    He did however remember my late brother Des as well as our mom and was very sad in hearing of their passing
    I have had an email from Linda and will make an effort to meet with her in the new year
    In the meantime my best wishes to all of you for a peacefull Christmas and new year

    Regards

    John

    Regards

    j

  • 22. Wendy Thompson  |  December 14, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Hi John
    It is indeed a small world. I will pass your regards on to Steve. He is in touch with Nick.

    For ‘my sins’ my folks work for Kevin and I. We run a trading company and my dad takes his job very seriously as he supervises the loading of the trucks for us. My mom just sits in the office, types the odd letter and answers the phone. To use Kevin’s words – she sounds like Red Riding Hood’s granny – but it keeps her busy. Thanks for sharing about Eric Richardson. It’s good to know that he is still going strong. his son, Michael, is a doctor in Hillcrest which is very close to where we live and it is just like looking at a younger version of his father! amazing.

    I still find it incredible that all the people you guys mention are so familiar. I have also made contact with Linda and hope to see her when she comes to visit family in Durban. Kevin and I, although it is more often Kevin than me, do come to Joburg and so, if that happens before David comes down to Comrades I would like to try and make a plan to see him. It ilil be good to catch up.

    Thank you for your good wishes. May you have a peaceful Christmas and new year as well.

    Regards
    Wendy

  • 23. Len Deacon  |  December 28, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    I have just been looking through some of the comments in some of postings in this web log. Boy does it bring back memories.I was at the home during the 1970’s when many of the people you talk about run the show. like Father Richardson and Clayton and Mr Ken McHolm, men who were very focussed on what was right. I have learnt many a hard lesson from them. It has been a long time since then.

    Well take care.
    God bless you
    Len.

  • 24. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  January 3, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Everyone
    Hope that you all had a good festive season and that 2008 will be a good year for all of us.
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 25. GAVIN SCHAFER  |  January 13, 2008 at 12:49 am

    It would be great to hear from all the old home boys , we remember all the good times and the bad ( i suppose) BUT IT TAUGHT US THE VALUES OF LIFE. I AM VERY PROUD TO BE AN EX HOME BOY,THIS INCLUDES ALL MY BROTHERS; GARRY, DONALD, NOEL, WAYNE (who has passed away) we spent a long time in the home from 1970 to 1978, the housework and prep, well what can i say? CALL ME. hey LENARD DEACON AND WENDY THOMPSON!!!!! THESE NAMES BRING BACK MEMORIES . I wonder how ” HERBIE” is doing? my mom YVONNE SCHAFER remembers him well, and so do we.I did my last years years as headboy of smuts house and drum major of the band, taking over and tought by JOHN ROUSSOUW. my patrol leader in dorm 3 in smuts house was DAVID ROUSSOW and my geography teacher at Malvern high was of course MICHEAL ROUSSOUW.I have told you who i am now all you HOME BOYS give me a call !!

  • 26. Wendy Thompson  |  January 13, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Hello Gavin
    Great to hear from you – although I am not one of the ‘boys’.
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 27. john rossouw  |  January 17, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Hi Gavin / Len

    Good to hear from you both

    Please pass my regards to you brothers and mom
    I last saw Gary in the late 90’s when he called on my old company as a rep
    Len I assume it’s you who is involved with Bankmed as I often see documnentation with your name and phot when I consult at Absa

    Regards

    John

  • 28. Blane  |  January 18, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Just had word from Wendy that Fthr. Norman Clayton has passed away. Any information about his life — and death — would be most welcome.

  • 29. john rossouw  |  January 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Blane this is indeed sad news as the only surviving core member of the home is now Fr Richardson
    Michael was out for Christmas and he Dave and I attended the baptism of Fr Richardson’s geat grandaughter which he officiated
    It was a special service for us as his entire family was present from all over the world including his daughter Deborah from New Zealand and her husband, son and daughter
    His son Michael was ever the proud grandfather and we recalled many fond memories of our lives togetehr at the home in our short time toggether
    As regards Fr Clayton he arrived at the home shortly after Fr Richardson in the early sixties bringng with him a staunch entrenchment of Anglican faith and tradition
    My memories of him are that he was an outright perfectionst
    Choir practice always used to run late and the Saturday evening film had to be held up until he was satisfied that we were up to scratch for the next day’s service
    He even used to force us to have hymn paractice on Friday evenings to ensure the standard of hymn singing was worthy of the worship he sought to instill in us
    Despite his traditional ways he was very modern in his enjoyment of popular music of the day and he soon acquired the nick name of Bee Bop which stuck with him throughut his years at the home
    He drove a mercedes benz motor car which was always immaculately maintained and he lived in the flat above the bell tower
    Fr Clayton was also a keen caravanist and he toured many parts of the country with a number of boys
    His tenure at the home brought a multitude of experiences and opportunities previously not available to the boys and in the late sixties we were able to listen to Radio St George, a closed network he set up which tranmitted radio and music programmes throughout all the houses. He was very involved with hi fi technical developments having had a background as a radio controller in the war and he was constantly asked to test the latest audio equipment on the market for which he wrote reviews for prominent global publications
    His landmarks at the home were many and those which come to mind are
    The choir
    The renovation of the chapel
    Radio St George where many of the boys were taught recording and broadcasting skills by him
    The Communicants – a religious pop group comprising my brothers Michael and Desmond and Tom Stevens (a volunteer from the UK much the same as Steve Towse and Nick Young) – later joined by Dennis Randall
    They wrote their own passion play for easter and a nativity play for Christmas which they performed at numerous churches around the country
    Bee Bop also managed to use his then influence with the SABC to have them play on the English service radio but the fuddie duddies at the time felt that pop music had no place in the traditional church and their recordings were bannned (Thank goodness the world has progressed since then)
    Photogrophy – the work of the boys at the home received both local and international acclaim and whilst sorting through the archives of the home I came across the David van der Berg photo etitled “Our Father ” which won a top international salon award
    Other prominent photogrophers were his brother Raymond and Craig Cooper amongst others
    Other interests which he initiated were radio drama and music appreciation where we all lay around in his flat on Sunday evenings listening to classical music
    Another landmark was an award winning short film entitled “The Cuckoo’s Nest which was a story about St Georges Home and the work it was doing in the community which was released in 1969
    Under his influence the home choir was the first to appear on SABC television and I achieved instant celebrity status amongst my friends at school when they saw me on the tube in 1975 and 76
    His sister Laura was also a strong supporter of the home and it’s boys and I remeber being spoilt on many occasion by her
    together with my co choristers in the choir
    On leaving the home in 1977 to take up a PR position the Anglacan church in the UK he was awarded the Honours Tie and I received his address in 2005 from a letter of condolence he wrote to Ken Mc Holm and the family following the death of Ken’s wife Audrey

    I wrote to him sortly thereafter as I was anxious to share with him news of my family and to ask him if he still had coppies of the recordings of the Communicatns as I was looking for one as a momento following the death of our brother Desmond
    I never heard from him so I am not sure if he received the letter

    Those of us who knew him will have our own memories
    He was never considered to be an easy person but his work at the home was very special and unique and in his own way he certainly made a life long lasting impression on the character of myself and my brothers as well as many other boys

    His passing closes yet another chapter of the unique story which is St Georges and on behalf of my brothers I extend our sincere and deepest condolences to his family and friends
    May he rest in peace

  • 30. Blane  |  January 18, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you, John, for this rich memory of Fr. Clayton. What a remarkable man, and what an impact on your life.

  • 31. Brian Gannon  |  January 19, 2008 at 10:54 am

    This week I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Canon Eric Richardson who was brought on a short holiday to Cape Town by his daughter Debbie who was visiting South Africa from New Zealand. Eric recently turned 95 years old, so it was a pleasant surprise to find him looking and sounding the same as ever. We communicate by e-mail, but I haven’t been to Johannesburg for more then thirty years so I hadn’t seen him for all that time.

    All who knew him will be pleased to hear that he is living very much in the present tense! We talked about our families, books we were reading, politics … the usual conversation topics. Then we discussed some issues around the church in the modern context and he was both animated and up-to-date in his views.

    It was a great visit. We “go back a long way” and next year it will be fifty years since he invited me to work with him at St George’s Home.

    Warm greetings to all St George’s people who visit this this blog.
    BG

  • 32. john rossouw  |  January 21, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Greetings Brian

    You may have heard from Fr Eric that I am involved in editing George Adam’s book on the history of the home
    Also together with my brother David I am photographing all the remaining archives of the home (You would be interested to know there exists a copy of the staff photo from the 60’s which has you in it)
    Fr Eric suggested I contact you once the exercise is complete
    to talk about it’s publcation but alas their will be a limited readership who would be interested but at least their will be some archive evidence of the home’s existence and the outstanding work done by so many incredible people over the years
    You may recall our RSCM choir school in 1976 held at the home under your direction and I have only just realised that I am in the 1970 photograph of the choir taken by Fr Clayton (3 rd in back row)
    My brother Michael visited over Christmas from the Phillipines and you will be pleased to hear he is relatively well
    I understand that he is in touch with you from time to time via email
    I am also involved with St Georges Village on the board which is built below the football fields and one of my fellow directors is David Butcher with whom you were invloved in setting up St Nicholas Home together with Derick James
    Plz can you let me have your contact details so that I can keep in touch
    You can send same to me at johnros@iafrica.com

    Regards

    John

  • 33. Michael Anthony Rossouw (1961-1967)  |  January 22, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Dear Friends
    Can anyone from the UK find the obituary for Fr Norman James Clayton AKC.
    I am anxious to contact his sister/s (Laura?) assuming she is still alive.

    Norman always said she was an example of a living “saint” (indeed she was, having to put up with the many demnds he and others made on her time and expertise.)

    Laura was the secretary to the late Dean of Jhb, the very rev’d Gonville Aubey fFench- Beytach, CR who was deported from South Africa after a sham of a treason trial in the 1970’s!

    As my brother John has said in his “blogg” on Bee Bop’s work and ministry in the Home , Norman was not sombody everyone could get along with.

    He, NJC, also ministered in the UK and in Rhodesia , now Zimbabwe , prior to working as the first chaplain to St George’s…( I wonder what NJC would have felt about Mugabe’s mismanagement of Zimbabwe ! Talk about Zimbabwe ruins, Mugabe has managed to absolutely and totally wreck what was once beautiful and thriving country, the jewel of Africa as it was called prior to its independence!)
    Yes the Bush War and t sanctions had taken its tool on everyone, citizen and “freedom fighter alike, but boy he has really mnaged to mess up the country completely. where else in the world does one find a 25 000 00 0 dollar bill?

    I was able to agree to disagree with Norman on many subjects on many an occassion; Art, film , music and even Theology and doctrine . At one particular time we disagreed on something in one of our discussions, which resulted in my being “gated” one going out Sunday (in my Matric year nogal!)
    I was made to read C.S Lewis’s “Screwtape Letters”. This was one punishment which I actually enjoyed as I learnt a lot about this Oxford Don’s incredible spirituality.

    Norman (and Eric Richardson) prepared me for Confirmation in Dec 1962. EHR completed the very thorough course Norman designed , as Bee Bop was in hospital for a major stomach op.at the time in th old Jhb Gen Hospital… I remember visiting him there then; many thought he would not recover from such an ordeal but BeeBop DID recover remarkably and went on to serve the home as its chaplain for another 12 years or so after that ordeal.

    Please , if anyone cn help m e to write to hi s surviving family , I’d appreciate it.

    I was shocked to hear of his death . My brothers and I have been trying to get hold of him, particularly t o get copies of the taped music Tom Stephens and I wrote as members of the group “The Communicants” in 1966 and ’67.

    Knowing the circumstances and cause of his death will give me ( and I’m sure many others who knew him) a sense of “closure’ on his life and what he meant to many of us who knew him.

    His life was one of boundless energy and he was a real perfectionist.

    Not many who knew him understod him ,but his influnce on my life has been substantial to say the least, especially in my growth in the Faith.

    I pray that he will Rest in Peace.

    Blessings to you all from the Philippines.

    Dn Michael Rossouw
    (Brent International School, Subic Bay Campus, Philippines)

    PS Speaking of hospitals…anyone remember the Army medicals at the old Drill hall?…

    “Hoes?” (Cough) said the Army Doctor
    ‘Mine’ I replied
    ” You trying to be funny , hey!” he retorted
    “No Doc” i said sheepishly in my nakedness amongst the other 10 000 or so recruits in that dreaded place.
    “Does it hurt?”said the Doc
    “No ! Only when I laugh! ” I replied.

    Needless to say the Army Medico, like Queen Victoria , was not amused.

    Pronounced “fit for duty” I spent the next 10 years doing weekend camps and call up duties in the old Commandos. No wonder I stayed in the Band! At least there I didn’t have to kill anyone! But that’s another story for another day.

  • 34. Michael Anthony Rossouw (1961-1967)  |  January 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Sorry Blane,
    I know the picture taken in 1971.
    I’d left the home by then but I think my brother John is the guy third from the left in the back row on the “cantoris'”side of the chancel.
    Perhaps John knows the guys. Some may not have been choirboys at the time as many were chosen for their “cherubic” faces when pics were taken.
    All in the name of PR and much fund-raising at the time !
    I recognise some faces but am unable to put names to them. The one taken in the 1960’s would be one i could help you with. I’l try to trace it in my memorabilia.
    Will try to upload a picture for yu soon
    Michael

  • 35. john rossouw  |  January 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Looking at the photo the names escape me almost entirely although I suspect the 1 st person in the back row is William Wilson and the last person is Richard Rheeder but I may be mistaken

    Regards

    John

  • 36. GAVIN SCHAFER  |  January 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    NO WONDER I HAVE NOT RECEIVED MAIL? I THINK I GAVE THE WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS. THE ABOVE ONE IS CORRECT. THANKX ONE AND ALL. gavinsc@cmh.coza

  • 37. Michael Rossouw  |  February 2, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    ANYONE HAVE ANY NEWS ON FR NORMAN CLAYTON?
    I THOUGHT THAT IT’S ONLY IN TV SERIES LIKE “DALLAS” (now I’m really dating myself!) WHERE THE DEAD COME TO LIFE.
    PLEASE LETS HEAR WHAT THE SITUATION IS. I HAVE BEEN GRIEVING HIS PASSING FOR THREE WEEKS NOW ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT NJC IS ALIVE AND WELL!!
    SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED BUT THE NEWS I GOT ON MY LAST VISIT TO THE OLD COUNTRY WAS THAT HE HAD INDEED PASSED ON.
    Keep in touch

    Michael Rossouw

  • 38. John O'Neill  |  February 2, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Sorry for not posting this information a bit earlier, but I have had a pretty busy weekend. On Thursday evening I had an hour long phone conversation with Norman Clayton. He is still alive and living in a seaside town on the Yorkshire coast. For a man of his age, he is now 84, he is lucid and although his memory isn’t quite as sharp as he would like it, he did recognise many names who have posted on Blanes’ blog. He asked me about other people, who I can barely remember myself, as I was last in St.G’s in 1974. I wasn’t into photography, choir or classical music, so I was quite amazed that he actually knew who I was!

    Hopefully, if I can re-arrange some of my plans for February, I will go and see him. He stays about 200 miles from me. John Rossouw, he still has the music you are looking for. He did get the letter you wrote to him, but he said he finds writing a chore now. He also has a lot of photos which I think you would be interested in. When I go to see him, I will try to get copies of the photos and see if I can get the music you want copied from reel to reel tapes onto CD.

    It did take me a bit of time to track Norman down, but I think it has been worth the effort. Not only was it worth the effort, but he was delighted that so many people were thinking of him. I stumbled across Blanes’ blog totally by accident and have enjoyed reading the posts. I doubt very much if I would have posted on the blog, if it hadn’t been for Michael looking for a copy of Fr Claytons obituary!

    I have sent Blane a copy of a photo from the early ’70’s. It is the St.Georges u/14b team. I’ll ask him to post it and we’ll see how many names we can come up with. I know about 7, but can’t remember the rest.

    On the Christmas Greetings photo of the choir, I think the person second from left in the back row is Craig Cooper, but it’s just a guess.

    If anyone would like to email me, or ask any questions I can be contacted at sgh198@ntlworld.com

    I was in Crawford House and my two housemasters were, George van Pletzen and Dave ‘Tubby’ Laughton.

    John

  • 39. Blane  |  February 2, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you, John for taking such extraordinary effort to find and “resurrect” Fr. Norman Clayton. Many have been praying for the repose of his soul these last three weeks! Look forward to hearing more of your story and memories of that grand and sometimes fearful place we call “Saint George’s Home for Boys.”

  • 40. Wayne De Jager  |  February 2, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    My father and his siblings attended St. Georges in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Two of them, Albert and Fred did stints as house masters (I think Gerald also was a house master for a year). I’m not sure how long Albert was house master at Tailor House, but I remember him being there for many years. Fred was house master of Simpson House for about two years. I lived with him at the time, and so I spent two years at St. Georges myself. I sang in the choir (occasionally appearing on TV, and also recording the Rhodesian National Anthem at EMI records as the lead soprano). I also played soccer for the under 14’s and under 16’s. This was in the late 70’s. I attended Jeppe Boys High at the time.

    The five De Jager (Dave, Lesley, Gerald, Albert, Fred, and Desmond (who was killed in motorcycle accident when he was 21)) brothers all passed through the home, and are now in their late 50’s and early 60’s. They all built wonderful families, (I have 16 cousins), and have had successful lives. I believe they all have positive memories of the Home, and I wonder if they would have turned out that well if it weren’t for the home. Although my grandmother hated leaving her boys there, the Home helped our family significantly. It still amazes me how these brothers all turned out so well. Albert got married to Patricia at the St. Georges chapel, and our family photographs are scattered with many photographs taken over the years at St. Georges.

    Another family who passed through the Home are the Crawford brothers (Howard, Ian, Andrew (now deceased), whom Uncle Fred and I still remain friends with. A bunch of tall blokes, those guys are!

    I fondly remember trips to Port Shepstone for the holidays, all my friends at Simpson house (Peter, Trevor), the romping and mischief we used to get up to.

  • 41. Michael Rossouw  |  February 3, 2008 at 6:53 am

    Dear Wayne
    Great to here your news.
    The DeJager family, like the Rossouws, Joneses, Grisselles, Wentworths , Bloomfields, Schaeffers, and many many more also come to mind as you write.They all left their mark on the Home in one way or another.
    I’d like to hook up with Albert and Patrica…Pat and I wrote matric the same year 1967. She was at the old Belgravia Convent which became the Belgravia commercial high school and I was at Malvern. Albert was then trying to “court” Pat as she was quite beautiful. Needless to say, Bert Gibson, my housemaster at Taylor house and a man who in his simple caring way was a good fatherly figure to us, kept his daughters sheltered from the the boys of the home.(As any watchful father would do!)
    I remember too Mrs Gibson . She and I worked together at the Cahmber of Mines many years ago. She may well have passed on… a lovely woman who shared her husband’s work and had a very soft spot for many of us little urchins.
    Bert’s ashes are laid to rest in the Garden of remembrance at the chapel crypt near the Haggert Building, next to be the Choir vestry and the bandroom, a place where I spent much time in my time at StGeorges.
    Albert was senior student officer and home prefect. He gave many good years of service back to the home as a master in Taylor house, although he was an old boy of Spackman House
    He made a career in retailing I believe after leaving SGH as a master and we lost touch. He was also an NCO in the Grahamstown Rifles.
    Uncle Freddy and I were in the band as tenor and bass drummers… he may have been a buglar but I cant remember. Uncle Gerald was a bugler who often played all the bugle calls which ruled our lives in the home calling us to meals, waking us uo in the morning, last post and retreat at camp….etc
    It would be good to catch uo with Pat and Albert. Please give them my fondest regards.
    I am a school chaplain now very far from home in the Philippines..
    Thanks for checking in…isn’t the net a wonderful tool to use…
    I wonder how we managed when we used to write letters and wait for months to hear anything from anyone…
    Blessings to you all
    Deacon Michael Rossouw(SGH 1961-1967)

  • 42. john rossouw  |  February 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Greetings Tich and Wayne and all other Home Boys and girls and online travellers
    It is indeed great news to hear Bee Bop is still allive and well and that he recalls much of his life at the home
    John when you visit with him please pass on my regards and best wishes
    Please convey to him also our appreciation for all he did for us as boys in the home
    Fr Clayton took many photographs of the boys whilst at the home and he was meticulous in detailing names on the back etc so John if you are able to get some from him it would be great as I am trying to put together a pictorial history of the home from all the archive photo’s I have managed to wade through
    Also if you are able to get a copy of the Communicants music it would be a wonderful gift to share amongst those interested in listening to it
    In particular the passion play and nativity play were incredible pieces of work
    some words of one of my personal favourites goes
    “I love crazy music
    and I love rock n dance
    I love going out with dolls
    and I love holding hands
    I also love my God with me
    It may seem odd to you
    Yes God can join in all our fun
    Yes girls and dancing too

    Every time you look at us
    You’l probably thing were odd
    But nevertheless I tell you
    That we are the sons of God etc”

    Yes Wayne I remeber both Freddie and Albert very well
    Albert and Patricia were my houseparents in Taylor House and I remember baby sitting your couzins Rickie and Tracie as toddlers
    I seem to recall your mom’s name was Ethnie or Enid and her her family had a connection with Johannesburg childrens home in Observatory
    I also remeber the death of your uncle in 72 and Albert had a photo of him walking his dog (a black labrador) on the beach in Cape Town hanging in his office
    Freddie’s cell number was on my brothers phone and I tried to call him when Dessy died but the number was unfortunately no longer valid so please let him know of Dessy’s passing in 2005
    One of the photo’s which they will all be interested is the swimming team of Spackman House in the mid sixties which has most the brothers in it
    They were all incredible swimmers and Albert trained me to win all my breastroke races at the home in 75 and 76
    Freddie also won the Victor Ludorum a number of times and I have photographed all the names on the trophy over the years
    He was also an incredible backstroke swimmer and I stand to be corrected but a number of his records were still standing when the home closed
    Anyway it’s great to have this online community and I would encourage as many boys and girls as possible who have the technology and know how to use it to share their stories and memories

    Regards and blessings to you all

    John

  • 43. Len Deacon  |  February 3, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Gavin, John, Wendy and other friends.
    It is so interesting to read all the blogs. John by the way yes I am the same Leonard that is employed at Bankmed. Small world when you really think about it.
    Does any one have Father Richardson,s address in Cape Town. i Would love to visit him. I too live in the Cape. He meant a lot to me when I was really confussed about life and why I was at St Georges. If this information is confidential here is my e-mail len.deacon@worldonline.co.za.
    well God bless you all.
    Len.

  • 44. john rossouw  |  February 4, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Gretings Len

    Father Richardson lives in Joburg in Braynston village Homestead Ave diagonally opposite Sandton Medi Clinic (unit 48)
    His number is listed in the directory but you need to keep calling as even at 95 he is still very active in his ministry in the village and the wider Bryanston Anglican community
    My approach is to pop in late afternoon / earrly evening to avoid the traffic and we sometimes have a drink together whilst we chat (he still enjoys a good glass of brandy)
    I am sure he would be very glad to hear from any old boys as he always relishes my all too infrequent visits
    His daughter emigrated to New Zealand a few years back (previously ex Cape Town) and the Cape reference is to her taking him on holiday there on the family’s recent visit to SA
    If you ever happen to be at a meeting at the hospitl in your line of work then perhaps you could look him up
    Incidientally Len, my brother in law is Dr Stefaan Bouwer from the ENT society and in addition to his medical practice he has extensive deallings with the medical aid industry in terms of tarrif negotiations etc so you may well have come across him

    Blane please let me know what I need to do to upload photo’s to the blog

    Whilst I have hundreds and am still to complete the archive exercise at the end of Feb I will be selective in terms of only posting ones relative to correspondents on the site

    Regards

    John

  • 45. Steve Towse  |  February 5, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Hello!
    I was PT volunteer- already mentioned above.1976-1978, initially with Bob Richardson in Beaton then with Herbie Thompson in Simpson.
    Fr clayton is alive and well and living in a retirement home here in Uk. I am writing to him today, having only got his address myself yesterday.
    Please feel free to contact me

    steve.to@hotmail.co.uk

  • 46. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Hi Steve
    You need to leave your address :). Thanks for writing in. Do you think you could remember what year the pics were taken? It would be interesting to see if anyone recognises any of the faces.
    Thanks
    Wendy

  • 47. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Hi everyone
    Thanks for posting all your news. It’s really good to hear what everyone has been up to.
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 48. john rossouw  |  February 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Wendy / Steve

    I suspect the photo’s were taken in 1975/6 which was my last year at the home as I recognise some of the faces (unfortunately not any names)
    Strange to see a youthfull looking Peter Nicholls and Joan Harpur in the Spackman house photo and Bob (dekkie) Richardson(we used to call him that as he was like a detective always spying on us to see what we were up to)
    I last saw Peter at Ken Mc Holm’s memorial service in 2006 but he used to play the organ at Christ Church Mayfair where my mother worshiped so she did see him on a regualr basis
    Joan came out when her sister Audrey Mc Holm passed away in 2005 and she was fortunate enough to spend time with Audrey whilst she was still lucid which was a very special time for her
    When we chatted at the “Old Boy’s” 75th anniversary luncheon she still joked about the meagre pension she still receives from the home for all her years work there
    By way of trivia Ken met Audrey at Joan’s wedding as at the time Joan’s late husband was a housemaster at the home as were Ken’s parents
    They fell in love and she joined him in his work dedicating her liife towards the caring work of loking after the boys
    Ken in fact was studying medicine at Wits at the time and he gave up being a doctor in preference to a true calling inchild care
    Joan’s son Robert was also the first baby to be born at St Georges so it should be no surprise why the family have such an affinity to towards the home and why she returned in the seventies to take up a role as housemother in Spackman house
    Great to have your email address Steve
    I will try and drop you a line soon as it would be great to catch up for a chat much the same as we used to do all those years ago

    Regards

    John

  • 49. john rossouw  |  February 5, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Having had another look at the U 14 football photo I seem to think the goalkeeper in the middle of the back row is Sydney Burrow
    By way of update Gary Hand emigrated to Australia in 1974 to reunite with his mother and Tony Girout is a plumber by profession but currently is a pastor running a chuch in the Southen Suburbds last I heard

  • 50. Steve Towse  |  February 6, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Just checking the photographs,Umtentwini photo’s were in mid 1977, Heather and the Simpson House boys(who had nowhere to go on a Sunday!)was taken in early 1978.

    Dear Wayne,
    I was in Simpson when Freddie became housemaster. He was a very kind man and I have positive memories of him.
    About twenty years ago,here in Chesterfield UK, I met a SA man called Luke Olivier who was an ex home boy, we met via our children both attending the same pre-school centre. Anyway when we were looking at some of my photographs of St George’s he suddenly exclaimed that he recognised Albert for some reason,had a think and then said,O Yes he married my sister Pat!!.
    I don’t have contact for Luke now but could try and locate him. Pllease pass on my regards to Albert and Freddie, it would be good to hear from them,
    steve.

  • 51. Michael Rossouw  |  February 17, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Dear Friends
    ‘Just to let you all know that I chatted to Fr Norman last week. He is indeed very much alive and we spoke for about an hour.
    He kind of implied that he is a bit of a loner and that he no longer has any surviving relatives. I assured him that he had many…in the form of the many boys who knew him as their spiritual father and caring friend.
    I’ve not spoken to or seen Fr Norman since he left South Africa so it was good to hear him.
    I shall be attending the Episcopal Church in the Philippines Convention (Synod) in Manila next week . it wiil be interesting to see what the mind of the church is at this time, particularly with all the devisive issiues facing the Worldwide Anglican Communion right now.
    I guess we all have to be faithful to God wherever we are and listen to that “still small voice…”
    One of NJC’s favorite hymns is:
    “God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year. God is working His purpose out ane the time is drawing near. Nearer and nearer draws the time, the time that shall surely be
    When the Earth shall be filled with the Glory of God as the waters cover the sea…”(Hymns A&M 271)
    In all of life’s trails we need to remember that God is in control.
    It was really great to hear Beebop speak, as eloquently and as sharp as ever.
    I asked him if he still says a daily mass..he says he does but not every day. ” in a home for retired clergy, the eldest of which is an archdeacon of 101, he says there are many of us and I leave it to the younger ones.
    I for one am very thankful for his witness and influence on my life and spiritual growth.

    Blessings to you all

    Deacon Michael Rossouw, Subic bay,Philippines.

  • 52. michelle  |  February 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I wonder does anyone recall someone called Alec Reckas

  • 53. Wayne De Jager  |  February 22, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Dear John and Steve,

    I am moved by your recollection of my family’s history, including the reference to Ethne and her Mom, who was a senior member of the JHB Children’s Home. Her surname was Stafford, and we still call her Staffie. She is now retired and doing well. She lives with Ethne in Edenvale/Bedfordview area, and I last saw her in 2006 at Lee’s wedding (Fred de Jager’s daughter).

    Albert and Pat were divorced many years ago. Albert lives in Cape Town, and is a real estate professional. He and Pat got divorced many years (15, 20?) years ago. Their children now have kids of their own.

    I remember Gerald (being tall) as a good swimmer. Fred, Gerald and Leslie are all semi-retired on a wonderful, huge property in Plettenberg Bay these days, and they all seem to be having fun.

    Steve, you were at Simpson house when I was there. I wonder if we knew each other?

    I can certainly put folks in touch with my family members. Send me an email directly at wayne@biomassive.com and we’ll make connections.

  • 54. Wayne De Jager  |  February 22, 2008 at 8:53 am

    corrected email address

  • 55. john rossouw  |  February 25, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Dear all

    I returned from a business trip to India and Bangladesh over the weekend to find a letter from Bee Bop Clayton
    In it he enclosed a number of photographs he had taken over the years at the home including photo’s of the Communicants and my late brother Desmond
    Included in the Package too was a cd of the first Evensong broadcast from the home chapel on SABC radio in 1975 and a copy of the first live broadcast of Radio St George from the tower studios on SABC radio in 1968
    He ends by adding his personal greetings to all I was pleased to read in the letter that he still possesses his wry sense of humour
    Wayne he did ask about Albert de Jager in the letter so if you do have an address please let me have it so I can touch base and forward his details on to Fr Clayton

    I am sure Albert would be very interested in a copy of the evensong broadcast as both his and my voices are very distinct on the recording as we sang bass in the choir together at the time

    I spent Sunday pawing through the SGH archives at COACH and came across copies of the photos Bee Bop had sent me which helps a great deal as many of them have names of the people on the back ans well as dates when they were taken (Wendy there is one of a staff meeting with a youthfull looking Herb and Marion at the head of the table)

    I will spend the weekend of 17/18 March finalising the project but the plan is to complete the book as soon as possible thereafter

    Thanks to Shirley Moulder the outgoing head of COACH we have managed to have all the old trophies displayed at Bishop Bavin School and once I have finished my exercise a number of key artifacts will be strategically placed at various places on the property

    The plan is also to have a dedication service later in the year to offically recognise th SGH archives into Bishop Bavin school which we hope to have officated by the new Archbishop of Cape Town

    Wayne I have the Spackman house swimming photo’s which I would like to send to you to pass on to your dad and uncles rso please let me have an address I can send them to

    Kind regards as always

    John

  • 56. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  February 25, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    thanks John for the news – It might be interesting to do a then and now because Herbie and Marion are obviously not youthful looking anymore:)
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 57. Mike Dollmann  |  March 1, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Hi there Mike,
    I was at St Georges from 1966 to 1968 and was a resident of dorm 1, Taylor House for that time. I was in the cadet band with you and Des, and was wondering if by any chance you had any photos of the band over this period. I can clearly remember Father Clayton taking a few group photos, but for some reason these were never distributed to us. I was in Father Claytons photography group and did ask for copies but this also did not materialise.

    If you or anyone else has such photos please let me know, as I would really like to get copies if possible. You can contact me mikedollmann@gmail.com

  • 58. john rossouw  |  March 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Mike there are defintely photos of the band during this period as well as from the potogtophy club
    I am co ordinating these and hope to have them available in the next few weeks but will let you know when

    Regards

    John

  • 59. Mike Dollmann  |  March 3, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks a lot John – that would be great.

  • 60. Gary  |  March 7, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Hi all,
    It is so refreshing to find this site and speak to people who know what i had went through as a wee boy.I spent 2 years in nazarith house priror to going to St Georges, which still send shivers down my spine.I remember i spent most of them years being very frightened and lonely, it was definetly not a happy enviroment the disapline shown to very young boys was not love or effection “which was needed” it was pure brutality.Anon basicaly said it all in his touching comment,thanks anon.The one memory that does stand out, would be after the dinner if you were not dismissed you knew that a home boy or boys were going caned “jacked” but the frightening thing was nobody knew who it would be,i guess it was a good way to keep order in the house but it was extremly distubing.I had my fair share of beatings from both St geroges and Nazarith and to be honest it has made me into a much more loving and careing person with a very strong mind.
    Thanks and
    Take Care.
    Gary

  • 61. john rossouw  |  March 19, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Michelle
    Do yu know when Alec was at the home, which house he as in etc as I may be able to pick up something from the archives

    Regards

    John

  • 62. john rossouw  |  March 19, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Blane
    I received an email from John Barret recently which I suspect he may have received my address from you He left the home in 1969
    Unfortunately when I repied the mail bounced back address unknown
    If you do have any contact details please can you forward them on to me
    By way of update I met with George Adams a few weeks ago
    He is well and is anxious to get the book on the home finalised
    Bishop Bavin school have also met with him as they too now are seeking to get a greater understanding and deeper appreciatin of the heritage and legacy of our home which they have inherrited
    This is a major step towards the reconcillation between the two institutions which is greatly needed
    This weekend is easter so I close by wishing you all much inner peace during the celebration of the reserection of our lord and with fond yet distant memories of the easter services at the home

    The last supper and washing of the feet on Maunday Thursday
    The all night watch
    The stations of the cross on Good Friday and
    Midnight mass on Easter Sunday

    Warm regards

    John

  • 63. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  March 20, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Looking for guys that were at the home from approx 1971-78:

    Charles Wastie
    Terrence Wilson
    James Saunders

    Well done for the most interesting blog!! Very informative; though heart wrenching too! Attended soccer games and a rare disco in the hall wayyyyyyy back then

  • 64. Wendy Jones (Thompson)  |  March 21, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Hi John and everyone else
    Thank you for your Easter greetings. Those services certainly bring back many memories, particularly the all night watch. May I take this opportunity to wish all those of you who celebrate Easter a very blessed Easter.

  • 65. John Rossouw  |  March 21, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Vanessa
    I remeber your three friends very well
    They were initially in Simpson House and then I think Crawford
    They all went to Marvern High
    Unfortunately I have not heard news of them since the 80’s
    I suspect I may have some photos of them from that time and if so will let you know
    A general message to all who visit this blog
    Please tell everyone connected with the home to visit it and post their news
    Regards

    John

  • 66. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  March 21, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Many thanks – will mention the blog to interested parties
    Regards
    Vanessa

  • 67. Danielle  |  March 24, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I attended Malvern High from 81 – 85 and knew a few SGH boys. I spent much of my time at the Home, having dated one of the ‘boys’, and have fond memories. I also remember Mr Giles, who was a Housemaster for a short time (he was my swimming coach in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in the 70’s). The names of the boys I can remember are:

    Sean Lionel Swart
    David and Stephen Kelly
    Ronald Jenkins
    Carlos da Silva
    Tony Botha
    John Ashburn “Scotty”

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Old Boys’ stories. Thank you!

  • 68. john rossouw  |  March 25, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Danielle

    I bumped into Carlos da Silva a few days ago
    He owns and runs an Adega restaurant in Edenvale

    Regards

    John

  • 69. Sean Swart  |  March 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Hi, I’m sean Swart I joined St Gearges in ’78 to 1988 long stay and loved it. I joined the home after my gran psaaed away she used to run the kitchen “Molly Swart’ I joined Beaton house (number 30) and then Crawford house (number 173) became Senoir Studen Officer – only because Mr Macholm saw something that no one else saw including myself, I captain of every soccer side at the home, I did every thing there was to do from horse riding swiming running except the choir and I did all this , not because we had to “tabloids” and Macky down the back of you neck (It all started this way) I loved competing although I always came last at first, but then I ended up still to this day holding the 1500m record and won the Victor ledorum. Went to the army – as we all had to do did my basics at 1 Reconnaissance Reg. on the Bluff in Durban and served the rest of my time with the Pararbats in Angola, during all my lifes highs and lows I have NEVER forgotten St Georges, If it was’nt for Ken Mcholm, I dont know. Would not mind getting in contact with some Home boys, Although I do regulary speak to Ronald Jenkins, Shaun and Mark Shultz.

  • 70. gary tobin  |  March 26, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    hi sean,
    dont know if youl remember me but i was in beaton house between 1980 1982,i have a younger brother called mark.i can remember all the boys you have mentioned in your comment.if you dont remember me you might remember when we found the wallet with money in it,we split the cash only to find out it was another home boys lol.
    mark and kind of dissapeared in july 1982, my father took us to scotland where we have been ever since.
    its good to know that you and the other lads are doing alright.
    enyway if you or any of the other lads fancy a chat please contact.
    take care
    gary

  • 71. Sean Swart  |  March 27, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Gary, I remember you well, the wallet belonged to a senior in Graford house, I run into him every now and then. We found it on the way to the shops. How, the hell are you doing “Homeboy’ I remember you, you use to run the 100m f_#&*@! fast. What are you up to these days? This is my e-mail address, seanswart@gmail.com
    I have just spoken to Ronald Jenkens 5 min ago he lives and works close to me, I chat to Shaun Schultz at least once a week, I am in contact with Anthony Johnston and Peter Johnston as well as Miles Osborn. Please keep in touch. PS The Lewis brothers, who were in Beaton house with us, Tommy, (red hair) i forget the other names right now, also moved to Scotland soon after their mother died. I would love to talk to Tommy again, him and I became close friends – I still have the pencil case he gave me, his father who had no money arranged for the family to go back to Scotland, Tommy was trying to tel me me this, they went to school one day and never came back, every one was looking for then, I found this out while I was in the army and talking to someone who new them and the family.

  • 72. Ronald Jenkins  |  March 27, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Hi all, Ronald Jenkins here. I was at bthe orphanage from 1980 – 1987. the best time of my life. I regulary chat to Sean Swart, Shaun & Mark Schultz as well a blood nut Mike Kruger.
    I look forward to any responses.

  • 73. john rossouw  |  March 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Welcome to all new visitors to the site and here’s hoping this will become an online community of boys and girls associated with St Georges home
    I spent some time yesterday and today photographing the archives at the home and what was interesting for me was that the photography group of Fr Clayton in the 60’s and 70’s was the most preserved of all the items.

    Each photograph is mounted on a white board with the name of the photo and the photographer on the back. The boys belonged to the Jhb Photographical Society and the Witwatersrand Photographic club. Many of the photo’s were of such a standard they were submitted to regional competitions. Those that were have their score on the back and some have their awards noted on them as well “bronze silver and gold.”

    I remember the display board outside the dark room below the stairs where bee bop would change the photo’s every two weeks to showcase the latest work. It was in fact quite an honour to have your picture selected by him for the display. What I found most interesting was the way in which boys used photography to tell the story of life at the home as anything and everything that happened there is recorded in print. It was also remarkable to see through the photo’s how the boys grew in terms of skill adjusting for light and aperture etc as they perfected their craft. The range of subjects also widened to include wild life, still life, landscapes, portraits and rural life.

    Mike Dollman, there is one of your photo’s there and if you would like it let me know and I will get it to you.

    I do believe that some of the prints are of such a high quality that they need to go on a permanent display at Bishop Bavin school and I will try and arrange that.

    On a more personal note I retrieved my file and those of my 3 brothers and made copies of them. These remain confidential records in the custody of the home but even today there are requests from old boys and family members to retrieve various documents.
    Reading my old school reports from Wychwood and Dawnview was something else and I saw how my marks got worse over the years as I began to focus more on life and less on schoolwork. Included in the file is your medical record detailing every inoculation and stay in hospital or surgery.

    Most fascinating was the assessment reports. These were completed annually by your housemaster and details your ability to adapt, relate to your peers, interest in sport, academic progress and leadership capabilities. Whilst these reports were highly subjective and without any scientific basis they are incredibly accurate (given that I know myself pretty well and can relate back to my various stages of development at the home ) This just goes to show how well these housemasters came to know us living with us 24/7.

    I also came across a school project of Jenny Bill daughter of Geo and Jean where she chronicles the story of the home why it exists and what it aims to achieve. Also uncovered was the Christmas card catalogue detailing the various charity cards over the years sold to raise funds.

    Regards and greetings to you all

    John

  • 74. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  April 5, 2008 at 1:31 am

    A friend in Texas, USA – Beryl (Baxter) has just shared a photo from 1976 of Shane Botha, who was at St George’s Home at the time – and friend from Dawnview High – would you be interested in said photo – if so, what email add should I send it to? Would you be interested in any class photos from high schools that some of the guys attended ie pertinent photos …

  • 75. Blane  |  April 5, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Hello Vanessa:

    Thanks for your visit and for offering your photographs. Yes, please do send them. Anyone who wants to contribute photographs, please email them to bvpr@mac.com

    To help identify the photographs, please tell when and where it was taken, who you can identify in the photograph (use simple directions like “back row, third from the left” etc.) and a little bit about yourself and how you came to have the photograph.

    Kind Regards,

    Blane

  • 76. MikeDollmann  |  April 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Hi John,

    Your research into the SGH archives really sounds interesting and I would like to know more about it. I would really like to get that photograph that you saw. I have all the other photographs that I received certificates for. Only one is missing and if my memory is correct, it was titled “Refreshment”.
    Is there any way in which I can contact you (telephone/e-mail?

    Regards

    Mike

  • 77. charles wastie  |  April 22, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    for anyone who would like to contact me.
    [vannessa,would be great to hear from you]

    charlesw@axiz.co.za

  • 78. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  April 26, 2008 at 2:24 am

    Thanks again for such an informative and ‘working’ site – Have reconnected with Charlie Wastie after some 28 years !! Wouldn’t have happened without it, so – here’s to many more !!

  • 79. trevor and kevon budd  |  April 29, 2008 at 4:00 am

    just found this internet site and i am keen to gather old pics and meet online with the survivors of simpson house and smuts house and anyone who remembers the trevor and kevon budd

  • 80. john rossouw  |  April 29, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Greetings to Trevor and Kevon and Charles Wastie

    Just to let everyone know I am hoping to complete the home archives exercise early in May
    All the photos (some are not of a very high quality) are in folders with some descriptions where I was able to comment and add names so I will let you know whn they are available
    It is unfortunately too much to print and at least on a CD you can elarge the image to recognise yourself and your colleagues
    I would also welcome feedback on missing names etc to help complete the process once you have had chance to look at the pics
    Vanessa (James) – I think -please can you let me have an email address for both yourself and Berryl Baxter so that I can chat about life post Dawnview
    I went back to visit the school in 2004 and had a look on my name on the honors board whcih was wierd after so many years
    The school hall also seemed much smaller and I had long chats with Mrs Murray (head of school now retired) Miss Cunningam (our English teacher) and Lee Roger (Mc Millan) who is the school secretary
    I also made contact with Mrs Beukes my old English teacher who teaches at the convent in Edenvale
    My email address for those interested is johnros@iafrica.com
    Regards

    John Rossouw

  • 81. Dave Dry (formerly Brandon W. R. Phipps  |  April 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    I must admit – stumbling across this website was a jolt to say the least. I remember many of the names listed on your site, all of what they say rings true. I, just like so many others before me, came from a broken home with so much abuse and pain, to ‘THE home’ in 1975 and was politely delivered to Simpson House and enrolled at Wychwood Primary. Unfortunately the abuse by older boys and house-masters alike, was a sorry situation – I was victim too and soon learned to use this as a weapon of survival (as strange as this may sound). Be-that-as-it-may, thank – you Lord for providing me with a stable environment. Mr. Carr did indeed have a heavy hand when it came to the cane. I finished Matric at Malvern High and left SGH in 1987, having served on the Bedfordview Town Council as Mini-Mayor in 1983. Tragically I lost my dear friend and ex-housemaster of Smuts House – Colin Ross – a few years later. This was a mentor and gentle individual who gave his life for the boys and horses at SGH. Years later at my mothers funeral, Ken McHolm – having known her well said – “She was a remarkable Lady.” I honestly believe that all those ‘Heads Inspections’ and the experiences fundamentally moulded me to become an individual strong in character and a formidable survivor in life with a sensitive spirit. Well done on a remarkable website! Just what I needed in our tumultuous times.
    trevid@iburst.co.za

  • 82. Trevor and Kevon budd  |  May 2, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Brandon Phipps – that name rings a loud bell in my head. I was also in St. Georges / Simpson House. Got a vague mind picture of you / dark haired boy. Well it was many years ago a lot has changed in all our lives and I hope you are well and in good care. I am keen to meet up with past memories and hopefully people in the home.

    Go well and pass on a message to me: palominoct@yahoo.com

    Trevor

  • 83. trevor and kevon budd  |  May 11, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Wendy & Herbie Thompson

    Trusting you are well ?

    I am trying to find the names and address for my hosts while i was at simpson house under your care in the 1970’s.

    Please could you contact me – my e-mail address is palominoct@yahoo.com

    Many thanks
    Trevor Budd

  • 84. john rossouw  |  May 11, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Hi Trevor

    It may be worthwhile to check your file at the home as their should be a record on the file as I doubt Herbie will remember
    You can call the home on 011 616 4015
    I recently collected copies of my file and those of my brothers Michael Desmond and David

    Mike Dollman you can contact me on johnros@iafrica.com or my cell 0833277923

    Regards

    J

  • 85. Wendy Thompson/Jones  |  May 12, 2008 at 12:54 am

    Hi John Thanks for the suggestion. I will nevertheless ask my dad as he may remember something. Regards
    Wendy

  • 86. Beccy Stones (Clarke)  |  May 12, 2008 at 1:10 am

    I just happened across this site and found it fascinating. I met some St George’s boys at the RSCM Choir School in Grahamstown in 1998/9 and was sad to hear shortly afterwards that the home had closed as it seemed to turn out some very musical boys. At the time I didn’t live in Jo’burg, and never made the connection with the sprouting of a Bishop Bavin School. I remember Stephen Kruger (age 18 in 1988/9) and Ronald Peterson, a brilliant musician and composer (matric 1989). I am in contact with both Geoffrey Tracey and Colleen Edgecombe, whom Ronald was friends with that Summer School. They played a wonderful piece for 2 pianos and violin that Ronald composed. At the same concert, Ronald performed something on cello that was composed by a friend of his the same age, not sure if he was from St George’s too. If you want pictures, I have a couple.

    Also I recognise some names from the Rhodes University Chamber Choir alumni database – Mike Rossouw for one. If there are more of you who sang in the RUCC, contact me on beccy@bigfoot.com so I can update your details.

  • 87. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  May 12, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Blane, thank you for posting the Big Walk certificate and the photo – thought I should mention that the photo was taken after one of the many soccer games attended at SGH in 1978

    Amazing to read Beccy Stone’s post – re musical talent – Charlie Wastie too is very talented in this area , singing and playing various musical instruments – told me too that he’d even appeared on TV!! just goes to show what God gives and can do with us – in the midst of it all!!

  • 88. Marc WASTIE  |  May 13, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    HEY
    ALL YOU EX HOME BOYS
    HOWZIT

  • 89. Brian wastie  |  May 13, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    anyone out there
    I would like to know where to get photos
    I was in Photography with Father Norman Clayton
    And won quite a few awards, would like to see them
    Anyone heard from marlon Joel
    lwastie@telkomsa.net

  • 90. charles w  |  May 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Wayne,
    would like to link up with freddy,ethne.were very close at one stage, Howard Crawford,the holidays at Umtentweni[we were in matric together,at Malvern High.

    And for any body else who might want to chat.

  • 91. trevor and kevon budd  |  May 14, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    att. john rassouw

    trevor here i would like to order a copy of that disc you are making of all the pics and things of old st georges. please call or email me 021 4488990 /083 444 1403
    trevor and kevon budd
    palominoct@yahoo.com

  • 92. john rossouw  |  May 19, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Trevor and Kevon

    I will let you know once it is ready as I still need to do the last bit of copying as well as transpose a bunch of 35 mm slides from George Adams on to disk

    Hopefully by end June

    Brian Wastie

    I have not come across any of your photo’s specifically but I will keep my eye open as a lot of them have no names on them
    Do you perhaps remeber some of the titles as that may help as I will definitely get them to you if I can find them

    To all of you Vanessa suggested setting up a SGH page on facebook which seems to work very well as I have reconnected with a number of school fiends ex Dawnview High so I am looking in to this

    If any of you are on face book already then link me to your existing profile so I can keep you all in the loop as it is a highly effective and very speedy networking mechanism

    Regards to you all as always

    John

  • 93. Wendy Thompson/Jones  |  May 20, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Hi John andf# others Am on Facebook as Wendy Jones on the South African network
    Cheers

  • 94. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  May 26, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Stuart & Dudley Pringle – 1955 – 1959

    Hello fellow St. Goggians … though most of you won’t remember that name … it was Sint Goggies … to most of us of the period above.

    This is my first time connected to this blog page, which arose in a wave of nostalgia and curiosity. I did not even know that
    SGHB was no more and had become Bavin House … so reading back on all the entries … I found little to connect to, names, boys, house masters … house master’s kids ..,. GIRLS at St. Georges?

    Seems much changed after I left in mid-1959. Today I gather, that John Rossouw is trying to put together a difinitive history of the place in stories and pictures and I must commend him for this.

    It is an impossible task, of course … there are so many stories… so many details lost to memory and time … even the names of ‘closest’ friends fade. So with this proviso, I would like to add a little of ‘my history’ and time at St. Goggies … almost 50 years ago

    My older brother Stuart & I were deposited there in January 1955. *(My younger sister, Sandra was later entered into St. Mary’s Orphanage in the Southern Suburbs a few years later).

    We were both lodged in Taylor House – H.R. Robson was the housemaster then and lived in the beautiful little house ajoining it with his wife and daughter Jennifer. He was known as the ‘Boss’ and despite his stern demeanour, he was a fair man and became the father figure we did not know and to whom I shall always be grateful for his encouragement and concern for us.

    Brian Wiley and Pat Keyser were the two seniors of Taylor House at the time and both served as band leader from 1955 through 1957.

    Rev. Strong took over as head that same year when Rev. Short retired. Strong was a stuffy little man without much personality and the year after I left (1959), I believe Father Richardson took over.

    Albert De Jager (Spackman House) was one of the seniors and later became headboy … although I cannot remember if that was before or after Paul Kruger (Beaton House) was band leader and headboy (Paul also beat Stuart to the post for the coverted Victor Laudorum trophy in athletics in 1957 or ’58).

    Nutsy Moore (Beaton House) was my contempory and class mate and like another Beaton boy, Errol Fouche, they both played the meanest bugle ever. Stuart later became headboy of Taylor and bandleader (1958) with both these two musicians in the band at the time.

    Errol was a musical genius and had a hand-writing style of a god … which I tried to copy. I heard that he committed suicide. Nutsy was also a helluva swimmer … particularly breast stroke, but Charlie Meyer of Spackman House was unbeatable and moved like a torpedo in the water.

    Mervin Perkins (Spackman) also a bright but moody spark of intelligence, was one of friends … who later committed suicide.

    John Ford … a new comer during my time … bunked-out one night , stole a moped and killed himself in a high speed accident.

    Brothers Burgie (Burghart) and Freddie Oosthuiizen were twins. Burgie was a drummer and Freddie a bugler in the band … and Burgie also was so good looking he actually looked like the Ameican Actress, Jane Russel.

    Horse Wilshire (Spackman House) was my last closest friend and with Freddie Oosthuizen, we were an inseperable trio. Years later I ran into Horse in London at the OVC in Earl’s Court. He’d become an aircraft mechanic and was doing well. He told me that Freddie had died … but I cannot remember how.

    My first year at St. Goggies and attending Malvern High School, I came first in class (got a watch from the Home as a present), captained the under 11 soccer team and made good at cricket, boxing, athletics and swimming … so the next year I was promoted to Dorm Corporal … much to my older sibling’s chagrin. I never rose ‘higher’ than that though, as puberty hit me and other ‘things’ became more releavant. Stuart later became head of house, so that alleviated his earlier embarrasment.

    We attended MHS when it was still located on Kensington St. (before the move to new location on Mars Street in 1960). My class teacher for three years was Vera Kirkland and she was my English teacher as well … it is to her that I am especially grateful for a simple lesson: No matter what you learn in life, if you cannot speak your own language fluently … you can express nothing of consequence. It is the greatest tool of life!

    She introduced me to Shakespeare, poetry and theater, along with Muriel Noakes (my last year class teacher) and drama coach. Miss Kirkland … you’re the most.

    Bob Morrison was ‘The Boss’ at school … Durie was my Geography teacher and inspired a lifelong passion to travel the world. (I have lived and worked in 12 countries and have learnt a lot of languages) A Mr. Jurie taught handcraft and carpentry which was the foundation of the handskills I still enjoy today.

    Noakes taught history and drama and she too inspired a similar passion for history and cultural studies that I have pursued all my adult life.

    Mr. O’Niel taught math and although I have an abiding need for math in everything I do … I could not learn a thing from that man … he was just too intelligent and unable to teach affectively … at least not to me.

    But the most enduring character at MHS must surely be WOP Cunninham of Mechanics & Science … who can forget the WOP laugh?

    Billy Malan of Beaton House was a bully … (until one day my brother offered to beat the crap out of him) … but he could sing like a nightingale. Unchained Melody was his favorite and despite my fear of him … I could listen to that voice forever.

    I read about the ‘mine’ dump alongside the (Old Boys) sports fields … but no mention of Treasure Island? The Bluegum spotted quarry ajoining the main football field, was the battleground for klei-lat fights between teams from the senior houses. Quince sticks and clay at 40 paces was a painful sport … but we loved it.

    Then there was Summer Camp – UMTENTWENI. My last year I was leader of the advance party to get the camp ready for the rest of the kids – who followed a week later. Those were the best times. Rock ‘n Roll and girls to meet … in Port Shepstone and Margate.

    Two years before, my brother and I built a canoe from wood and canvas. We were allowed to take it down on the train and eventaually to leave it in the camp storage when we returned to JHB at the end of the vacation. When we weren’t using it ourselves to explore the rivers and lagoons around our camp area, we’d rent it out to someone else for 2 shilling and six pence for the day. That was a lot of money then … it could buy you a pack of cigarettes (1 1/2 Shillings), a cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie.

    Years later (1996), I was engaged by a lighting company in Durban to design and produce a massive party for 10,000 kids in a sugar terminal on Maiden Wharf. I was there for 3 weeks and whilst there, rented a car and drove down the coast (75 odd miles) to Umtentweni to visit the old camp site.
    It took forwever to find it as the area had been built up with residential streets and blocks since. When I did discover it, it was an overgrown field surrounded by encroaching growth and much smaller than I remembered … it used to camp 180 boys and masters in bell tents and marquees. Nothing remained of memory.

    Today, my elder brother Stuart lives in the high desert of Nevada on a ranch in a valley surrounded by mountains (not too far from Las Vegas) with his 8 kids. His wife and companion of the past 30 odd years died two weeks ago from a long battle with cancer. A documentary film-maker most of his adult life, he turned to philosophy and spiritualism. Becoming a shaman (witchdoctor – studying with Peter Tshabala in JHB) and a buddhbist monk after a couple of years in a Zendo in Japan.

    He has written a remarkable book called; Psyche – Genetics
    The Metaphysical Implications of Human Evolution – or … the Origin of Conciousness if you wish.

    I, in the meantime, have become a lighting designer and inventor of big-beam ultra-violet light. I met my wife (from Holland) in Israel in 1967 (during the Six Day war) and married her 8 years later in Holland. We have two kids, a 39 year old son and 29 year old daughter – both of whom are film and TV producers in Amsterdam. My dauhter has two children … also a boy and a girl … so I guess I am complete.

    I moved to the States in 1989 and reside in Los Angeles (but not in Hollywood), bringing with me my company Wildfire, Inc. and lighting inventions. Many of my special effects lighting tricks have appeared in many movies, TV shows, staged shows, roll ‘n roll shows including with most of the great performers of the 80’s and nineties. Many Theme Parks (Disneyland etc.) casinos (Caesar’s Palace – Forum Ceilings) and others, feature my work.

    What I have not said here, is that I have bad memories of ST. G’s. I suppose I do … but really can only remember one sad ocassion. Sitting on the sports field one evening at twilight in my football togs … I should have been getting cleaned up for supper … but lingered feeling alone and abandoned … when old Joseph our grounds keeper, came up to me out of the gloom and asked me why I was crying. After listing all my grieviances, my lack of freedom and parents … he looked at me and said: ‘My people have no shoes … you have shoes and boots for everything.’ I was 12 and the profound implication of what he had said, so embarassed me that I never had that feeling of loss again.

    We cannot change one moment of the past and the cards we were dealt … all we can do, is learn to play poker and win.

    When I lived at Taylor House, there were photos of bygone years of other homeboys in the 30’s and 40’s and stories abounded on how tough it was in the ‘old days’. It was tough when I was there, but I also could see that it got less so during my time and I am sure it continued to do so. Anon had a bad expertience, but as he admitted, he also loved the place … why? Because there were more good memories than bad!

    The past is past and is unchangeable. Why dwell on the negative when it cannot make you happy in the present. The lessons of the past are the tools to a better future .. it is up to each one of us to make the best of it, if not for ourselves, then at least for our dependents.

    I sold my company to my partners in LA. It is still the number one Blacklight lighting company in the world today – (but not doing any better 15 years later than when I ran it). I still take on special lighting projects for clients today … but only if they are challenging. Mostly I am either writing another novel, poem or short story … or designing some new invention I have come up with.

    Reading back on these notes, I realize that all the other entries that precede me, date from the late sixties onwards, so I hope that some of these names mentioned here, will still resonate with some of your blog readers … as I would like to hear from anyone from that period in the 50’s.

    Photos? I have none not one from that period except a school class photo from 1958 Std. 9.

    Hlalagahle shamwari’s,

    D.C. Leslie-Pringle.
    Los Angeles, USA
    May 24, 2008.

  • 95. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  May 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Last Note:

    Any homeboy from the period 1955 to 1960 who might remember the Pringle brothers and who wishes to make contact, can reach me at my e-mail address:

    D.C. Leslie-Pringle
    leslielite@verizon.com

  • 96. john rossouw  |  May 28, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Greetings DC

    What incredible merories and thank you for taking the time to record them
    Even thoough your time at the home relates to the year I was born all the names mentioned are very familiar to me as my elder brothers were at the home in the early to late 60’s
    There are many photographs from the early years which I have managed to salvage but few in the years leading up to the time of Eric Richardson but hopefully when I put the package togehther finally it will at least bring back some memories of your time there
    Strong as you point out was not a good head and only lasted less than a year
    During his tennure most the boys ran away to Pretoria to pettition the prime minister against the way he was running the place (Strange how democracy worked in those days)
    In the book Robson described him as a massachist
    He replaced Short (nephew of OWL Skey- 2 nd head after Aldridge all of whom were very popular with the boys as was Kerswell a non priest and former magistrate and one of two heads who were non clergy – the other being Ken Mc Holm who you should also remember)
    You seem to also have done remarkably well for your self and it is great to hear these stories as the history of the home is littered with people who were unable to brige the divide some of whom you have noted above
    Yes the home was not idel – it never could be – but it provide a much better alternative to anything else available and did a remarkable job with so many of us with very little
    I too am a writer and a dabbler in poetry but I did not have the benefit of learning from mesdames Kirkland and Noakes as I went to Dawnview High
    Fortunately I too had an English teacher who pushed my boundries and I was able to reconnect with her after 30 years to share my work
    You may be familar with a poet in the states by the name of David Whyte whom I have met and interacted with He also had a profound mpact on my work David was a marine zooligist and gave it up to become a poet He now consults to major Corporates on “real conversations” and a lot of what is published on this SGH site is exactly that
    Some of my poems are on the forum on his website and you can find them on http://www.davidwhyte.com
    I was also fortunate to meet his good friend Richard Olivier son of the late Sir Lawrence
    Richard is a remarkably down to earth noble peer and he runs leadership workshops around the world on the characters of Shakespeare
    Henry V – Inspirational leadership
    Malcom and Macbeth – Steward leadership and
    Julius Ceaser – Power and Influence
    Umtemtwini was aslo remarkble and their is a photo I found with a view of the sea which extends beyond the home flag which is flying
    For me it encapsulates everything that was camp
    Every day we would break the flag before breakfast and those days still remain some of my happiest memories

    I will forward your news to my brother Mike as I am sure he will want to connect wth you and I will keep you informed on my slow but nevetheless steady progress on the preservation of the homes legacy

    Warm regards and thank you for sharing these experiences

    John Rossouw

  • 97. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  May 29, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Hi John,

    It was very thoughtful of you to respond to my nostalgic outreach … it is much appreciated.

    A week or less ago, I found myself standing beside the postbox at the front gate of my expectations … realizing for the first time in many years, how much I missed so many parts of my past. To make contact with such a vital and pivotal part of my formative youth, for no apparent reason … became compulsive and I could not but turn to Google to find it.

    I am delighted that I did and your efforts to bring this all together for so many others who, like me, are doubtless as starved for final closure of those oftimes traumatic years –
    is as a beacon in the dark shadows of memory.

    And as we all know, the best way to cure the blues, is to relive them through interaction or communication with others of our common home and experience. A shared understanding is as strong as the bonds of a family. And although not always as cohesive then, we we’re nevertheless a family with a shared experience … albeit, each in his own way … depending from which path his life brought him there.

    I always thought of our ‘family’ and our ‘home’ as;
    St.George’s Sanctury for Lost Souls. But because I felt safe and secure at St. Goggies, that description was more wry humor than tragic.

    Thank you for telling me about David Whyte. No I did know of him … but checked out his site and looked for you. I did not find you and must presume you are in the Forum Section. I did not go there due to immediate time restraints … but will check it out in the course of the week. I did however read some of David’s stuff and found it insightful and lucid.

    I write a different metier I must confess … and hope that Shakespeare had ego enough to be flattered by emmulation.
    Shadows of my life appear in everything I write … in one form or another … but in poetry, it leans to observations of the duality in life and nature.

    Would you mind e-mailing me your e-mail address, I should like to read yours and send you a piece of mine if you are interested.

    I look forward to hearing from Michael. I am sure he in turn would like to connect to my brother Stuart. He too is a priest. A bhuddist … but nevertheless … a servant of God who also spent time in monestries across South East Asia.

    Warmest thanks for bringing me Home.

    Dudley.

  • 98. john rossouw  |  May 30, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Greetings Dudley

    Thanks for the reply and yes my poems are in the forum section which are chronicled in date order from mid 04 to late 05
    I too have spent much time reflecting on my youth a large part of which relates to St G’s and the process has ben strengthened by the work I am doing on the archives and trying to preserve the history albeit that I am finding less time these days to complete the exercise

    In light of ourrespective spiritual journeys I enclose my poem on childhood which I hope you and others enjoy

    Regards and enjoy the weekend

    John

    The Child within

    Who have I become?

    This person of cold emotion
    who finds it difficult to laugh, and love

    Was I always like this?

    Or have circumstances
    forced me to become my stranger

    One who finds no skill in labor
    and walks quietly among colleagues
    busy with self acknowledged sense of worth

    Meeting behind closed doors
    they champion and rise to a cause
    that speaks only in words

    Without evidence of deed

    They structure performance
    to reward shortcomings

    On which they heap monetary value

    Offering tenfold
    the value of the workers and families
    they have just retrenched

    I look within
    and question

    Is this really me?

    I look within
    and envy the child I once was

    I search for that existence where I was once free

    Felt pain
    cried at will
    Laughed
    Loved
    and was loved

    I recall how I lived

    In the face of illness
    Which could make each moment my last

    I cherish those memories
    And my childhood of emotional freedom

    That I have given up to ransom

    I yearn for a sense of who I once was

    I look for ways to break down
    the fortress I have built around me

    That shuts out my emotion
    and makes me
    my own lonely stranger

    In my heart

    I ache for a time
    when I will again travel
    my journey of before

    Embracing my mortality

    Savoring the child within

    That child
    who I once was

    And will be

    Again

  • 99. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  May 30, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Greetings John,

    Thank you for your poem, The Child Within. It is both poignant and familiar and speaks to that personal pain so many of us experienced in our initial dazed state … wondering how we landed up where we were … when we entered St. Goggies and lived it’s ritual and structural dynamic.

    I was 11 and my brother 12 in 1955. We had however, previous experience in orphanages … starting with a year in St. Hyacinth’s Convent in Nigel for a year … then later for a year in The Haven in Greenside and then later again in ‘Welgelegen’ in Alberton … so the separation shock for us was possibly less so than for those boys who experienced it for the first time.

    I won’t say we were old hands at it but we were ceratinly a lot more fatalistic about it than most. Nevertheless, discovering self is a long and hard process when your life has been upturned and dictated by circumstance of misfortune.

    I know none of the names of the bloggers above, yet still feel that each an everyone of them is a brother who shared my personal experience. I greet you all and Hail, you are worthy, more than you know.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Blane for creating this site and the blog page … it is a tenuous connection to many things past …. but is as a lifeline to the precious link of our collective memory. I find myself waiting daily to see who has entered the discussion, hoping for a familiar name to pop up with whom I can share just one very personal moment of recollection.

    What I also observe, is that there is a gathering of sensitive, intelligent souls out there and there is definitely a desire to express our pain, desires, hopes and dreams of release from
    the anguish of past misery through the catharsis of collective memory.

    The french recently released a film called; ‘The Orphanage’ and I think that it kicked my longing into gear to come to grips with the past … to put it to rest. Something tells me that a South African version … set amid all the conflicts of English/Afrikaans – white and black in apartheid Souith Africa, could be an interesting concept.

    Hereunder I have attached a copy of ‘Atomic Atman’ – the conflict of duality … self and metaphysical self. I don’t know whether it will open in this blog as I have never done this before … but I hope so and hope you too can identify with one or more of it’s stanzas. It speaks to the many aspects of the evolving (or devolving) man.

    Sincere regards to all.

    https://episcopal.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/atomic-atman-l-homme-savage/

  • 100. Anonymous  |  May 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Dudley

    Plz forward the doc to johnros@iafrica.com

    Regards

    John

  • 101. Stuart Pringle  |  June 1, 2008 at 12:49 am

    I have no official source for the following history of St. Georges. It is basically my personal assessemnt of the situation as I understdood it during the five years I spent there. 1955-1958.

    The iplan and money for building St.Georges Home was proposed by the Anglican Church in England, as a home for South African boys who’s fathers had died overseas, fighting for the British Empire during WWI and WWII.

    In honor of the fallen soldiers it was decided that only the best England had to offer for their sons, would do. St. Georges was designed and built to operate on the same principles as the boarding schools and playing fields of Eton and Harrow, where English royalty sent their sons. The Home was originally staffed by English dons and headed by an Anglican minister appointed by the Arch Bishop of Canterbury.

    The South African Army also contributed to the building and running fund of the Home, with the proviso that the home be run as a cadet school.

  • 102. Keith Frandsen  |  June 3, 2008 at 4:10 am

    I was a homie in the late 60’s early 70’s. Taylor house. A member of the choir, photo club and band. I started out as a buglar and ended up as the drum major. John and Michael I remember. Nice to hear that you are all well. My number is 0720222499. Regards Keith Frandsen

  • 103. Anita Kennedy  |  June 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Can someone help? We are trying to find out if our father was an inmate of this childrens home 1922-1926. All we Know is that after his fathers death in June 1922 he was put in a Roman Catholic Childrens home. His name was William George Kennedy born 19th May 1911

  • 104. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  June 4, 2008 at 12:33 am

    John – The Child Within……………raw,emotive and touching
    to write in this manner denotes an ability to reach within the shadows and express light – wonderful !!

  • 105. John  |  June 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Welcome Stuart and Keith and thank you Vanessa and Dudley for feedback on my poem
    I received your posting on email Dudley and I must say it is a truly remarkable piece of work, one not easily absorbed in one reading
    I will give it more attention when I have time and will offer you feedback
    Keith I found a photo with you in the choir with the rest of us in 1970 when Mark de Wit was choir master and when I showed Dave my brother the photo he recognised you and some of the others instantly
    You were drum major the year before Dave in 73, him in 74 and me in 75/6
    I also recall you comming back in the 80’s to help out with the band which is something the 3 of us did from time to time
    Anita sadly none of us are from the early generation of the home but I would suggest you contact them on 011 616 4015 and see if they are able to track any record of your relatives time there
    I hope this helps

    Regards to all in our small but growing network of old boys and girls and my thanks again to Blane for making this opportunity possible

    John

  • 106. Wendy Thompson/Jones  |  June 8, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Hi
    Thanks for posting the newspaper clippings. Lots of familiar names. One in particular with whom I have had recent contact – in the Under 12 is one F Stopforth. I did bookkeeping work for Fred for a number of years. It was onlly after I started working for him that we made the connection – St Georges/Goggies boys are all over the place!
    Regards
    Wendy

  • 107. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  June 9, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Hi John,

    Glad you received my e-mail. Blane volunteered and posted Atomic Atman on his worldpress site and as you said, not easy to absorb in one sitting … in fact, for some people it is not easy to read at all. I’ve been told it cuts to the bone.

    For Anita to note, St George’s was an Anglican home, not Catholic and the term ‘inmate’ applies to prisons and mental institutions not homeboys … although we sometimes thought we were one or the other. But I do hope you have some success in tracking your father’s past.

    Religion in one way or another wraps itself around our past in many ways and we witness that it touched some of our members more so than others … e.g: your brother Michael and mine both became priests … although Stuart as a buddhist, is refered to as a monk … and of course Blane too is a minister.

    In this vein I would like to contribute how it affected me personally.

    Fourteen months after leaving St. Goggies, I followed my brother up to Tanganyka (Tanzania as it is now called), working as field officers, prospecting for diamonds for two different Anglo-American Corp. subsidiaries callled Williamson Diamnds and Western Rift Exploration Co.

    While traversing (on safari) in the bush, Ione night asleep in my tent, I had a ‘Kunbdalini’ experience (Serpent of Wisdom). It was both freightening and later uplifting … for shortly afterwards, I had the overwhelming desire to become a priest myself … this euphoria lasted about a fortnight and then passed, but the memory of that horrific night experience has never left me.

    Then, a number of years later, in Rhodesia, by pure co-incidence (there is no such thing as coincidence), I met an elderly lady who turned out to be my grand aunt, wife of my maternal grandfather’s brother. Through her, I came to learn much about my mother’s family, of whom I knew very little save that I had a horde of uncles, aunts and cousins.

    She told me that my grandfather and his brother were the sons of the rabbi of Vilnius (Vilna), capital city of Lithuania one of the Baltic States. Both he and his brother escaped the Russian Bolshevic pogroms of 1907 and fled as refugees to South Africa.

    So, my grandfather was a jew! At 53 years of age he married for the first time with a catalogue bride from Ireland who was just 16 and not jewish. They had 14 children, my mother being the 3rd. youngest.

    In jewish law, if your mother is jewish, you are too … but mine was not, as her mother was not either. However, it appears that for the decendents of a rabbi there is an exception, as they are considered a ‘holy’ family.

    So what Faith am I?
    Hereunder, is how I ‘evolved’ under this dichotomy.

    It’s about Faith!

    FAITH

    Iam a man of no Faith,
    Yet have Faith in All.
    I have faith that the sun will rise,
    That rain will fall and crops will grow.

    I have Faith that we will learn to preserve
    and discontinue to destroy.
    That world peace is possible,
    despite evidence to the contrary.

    I have Faith that one day
    I will escape fear and find courage.
    For I am the center of my universe,
    created in my Father’s image.

    In all human endeavor their is choice,
    as we all are a composite of the Duality.
    Right and Wrong, Positive and Negatgive.
    Light and Dark, Yin and Yang.

    Forever endowed to maintain the balance,
    Too much Light – and we are blinded.
    Too much Dark – and we are reduced
    To sleep and procreation.

    My life’s purpose defined to seek this balance …
    In harmony with the countless atoms of God’s love
    that rains down on me every moment of my existance,
    and in rythym with the environment that surrounds me.

    What I disturb – shall disturb me,
    What love I bring – will return to me.
    Give and ye shall receive.
    For the Universe provides – what goes around comes around

    Cause and effect -Yin and Yang.
    Have faith, for the Duality is One.
    It is all in balance and we are perfect.
    God knows, we have but to leaern it.

    In me all things are united
    and I am One with the Universe.
    The Beginning and the End.
    Alpha and Omega.

    Have Faith,
    for the Duality is two parts of the Whole.
    Have Faith,
    for Two halves make One.

    My father told me so!

    So be it.

    Sincere regards to all.

  • 108. Blane  |  June 9, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Amen.

  • 109. charles  |  June 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Being an old home boy and having many memories of SGH,it is great to hear of so many of the boys who have made a mark in society and have managed to get past the life we had in the old place.Yet we always go back to where it all started,being pushed and taught the values of life in the harshest ways,echoes of house masters pushing you to your limits,the rivalry we had at sports,at everything we did.Fighting to be number one in the home was also a thing,boys will be boys and the toughest survived,leaving their mark and a legacy of who is or who was who.The pranks, the bunking out,our trips to Umtentweni and so many other things that we used to get up to.
    But the biggest mark of all was the the boys we had the pleasure of knowing,those that touched our lives in special ways,the housemasters and evenour shcool teachers.
    There are so many i remember and those i choose to forget.Nevertheless,i think in a lot of ways we are who we are today because of SGH,ever wondered what would have become of us if there was no SGH and we never had the guidence,good or bad.
    Well,thank heavens we had a place to go,we had a place to belong and im glad that i am who i am today…..it could have been so different.We all choose to erase certain things in our lives and yet we experianced the emotions and feelings that would last you a life time.
    JUst a little thank you to those who crossed my path at SGH and made me a better person.

    Live life,love life…you only have one,and you and the Good Lord above are in partnership in this all….So,Homies,never look back and have too many regrets…It could have been worse.

    Take care
    Charles

  • 110. Dave Dry  |  June 9, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Attention: John Rassouw Dave dry here. I would be interested in a copy of the CD also. Please advise when ready to trevid@iburst.co.za Many thanks. Dave

  • 111. S.W. Pringle  |  June 11, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Reviewing The Movie
    « Thread Started Today at 6:56pm »

    ——————————————————————————–
    From birth
    and beyond
    vortex
    of change
    whirled
    spun
    turning swirls
    wheels of fate

    Spewn out
    spirals
    pools of stillness
    bruised
    spent
    sucked again and again
    the eddying pull
    in -out – in
    the relentless stream
    of life

    Hope -hopeless – hope
    float now
    see
    thought is quiet
    suspended
    timeless
    watch the current

    Old images
    half forgot
    rush by
    jet some in the torrent
    some
    knife-sharp in the instant
    many-sided
    cutting
    shame!
    others fogged
    gliding away
    entangled webs
    of memory

    All those noisy moments
    strung together
    like counting knots
    on the twisted string of circumstance
    a private rosary
    of take
    fate
    mistake

    Could one spermatozoa
    in a cloud of wriggling life
    have altered one inch
    in the great scheme of things?

    What change in the shape
    of the river bed
    can be cause by a tiny grain
    temporally caught
    in an eddy off the main?

    Endless questing
    through the Ages
    never satisfy
    a restless mind

    Which real is real
    when all views are relative
    when all moments
    are one

    The finger of fate
    stirs the eddy again
    driving me to know
    if I can plot my course across
    the flow of force
    for I weary
    of being battered
    and bent and spent
    by the vagaries of chance
    and mischance

    Smallness of mind
    knows
    it knows naught
    yet knows
    all powers are mystic
    all goals are deceiving
    that power
    for power’s sake
    turns grace
    into disgrace

    Wisdom my Lord
    jut for an instant
    so that I can know
    if I can know

  • 112. Wendy Thompson/Jones  |  June 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Charles Thanks for the photos. They bring back lots of memories-:)

  • 113. Jaycee Milner  |  June 14, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Hi, My name is Jaycee. I attended SGH from 84 to 88. My late brother too was at the home same time. Craige Milner and he was in Taylor house. I was in Beaton house and I am gratefu to all the people who gave me the best memories of my life. My email is attached and would love to get into contact with anyone who can remember me.
    Personally i was sad to see the history of SGH go. I was never a fan of the new idea. But perhaps it was just meant to be…
    Thanks to you all for keeping the memory alive.
    Jaycee

    jaycee.milner@eu.sony.com

  • 114. Trevor Budd  |  June 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    well to all the homeboys, at least i made contact with someone from the past .I hope to make contact with many more. I was in st Georges home for boys from the early 70s. I was in Simpson house and then moved on to Smuts house. I do recall i was very rebellious to all things around me . I was a good athlete but even then i never pushed myself i just went with the flow. I guess i just was not correctly motivated. I do recall everything i did was by force and fearful instruction by my peers who put the fear of god in me. Well i turned out …i suppose as best most could be , but hey i survived.

    Trevor Budd
    palominoct@yahoo.com

  • 115. D.C.Leslie-Pringle  |  June 18, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Remembering Rock ‘n Roll.

    Here’s a memory that might seem quaint … if not outright archaic.

    In 1955 when Stuart and I first entered St. Goggies, rock ‘n roll was just getting started. In 1952/3 Bill Haley recorded; Rock Around the Clock and Elvis was close behind, as was Gene Vincent, Ricky Nelson, Eddie Cochran and Tommy Steele in UK.

    12 inch stovepipe jeans and ducktail haircuts were the rage, although that was a little tough for us ‘homies’, as shortback and sides were still the left-over rage of the British military
    influence in our lives .i.e. ‘Major’ Moss of Spackman House.

    Taylor House had a rec. room upstairs which had a single ‘ornament’ … an old tube-fired radio that the seniors were allowed to listen to after showers and before lights out. Friday night was the BIG NIGHT – LM Radio’s Hit Parade.

    Doesn’t seem like much now does it? With everybody walking around with ipods and shuffles and cellphones with more computing power in them than the Apollo 13 program had to get to the moon and back. But those Friday nights were treasures to us … hearing the next big hit was our idea of a good time. And of course, it gave guys like me a chance to try out my dance moves.

    So don’t laugh. That was serious stuff to us back in the day.

    John, I finally found two of your poems in David Whyte’s Forum (there must be over a hundred entries from many writers), ‘Oh to be me’ was really cool, but ‘Little Boy Lost’ was too close to home to be comfortable … but it reveals that no matter which generation we are, we all feel much of the same joys and agonies along life’s winding road. Thank you for steering me there.

    Blane, in case my last posting did not get through (after a week or more of internet disconnect), thank you for the ‘amen’ adendum to my poem; ‘Faith’.

    As I said then, I feel it is worthwhile repeating now, for there is a message of cofidence in the words of Stewart Brand
    in the opening pages of his original ‘Whole Earth Catalogue’ from the early sixties; ‘We are as gods, we might as well get good at it!’

  • 116. Trevor Budd  |  June 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    DearGavin i read with distress about your brothers passing away. I knew Noel very well as he was my brothers good friend (kevon budd) we spent time with each other after st georges I really had a liking for him. With respect to you and your family please may i pass on to you even at this late stage my sincerest and truthful emotions of concern and joy the precious memories in my mind be of console to you all, and to myself.
    Please may we have communication as i do indeed remember the day when your mother put Herbie Thompson in hes place with regards to beating all the homeboys with violence and hatred.

    God speed to you all and may the joy of life and the spirit of overcoming be your strength as it was mine./

    Trevor and Kevon Budd

  • 117. S.W Pringle  |  June 22, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I read the piece written by Anon regarding caning and must say I disagree with his generalization of what the St.Georges Home experience was like. Though it sounds like he had a particularly sadistic housemaster, that was certainly not the general rule, at not least in my time there. 1955/1958

    “Robbie” Robinson was my housemaster at Taylor. He had an explosive temper at times, especially after a few whiskeys, but, in general he was a fair man and a good judge of character. He always appointed good dorm prefects who helped him keep a reasonable level of discipline. His tongue lashing when things got out of hand, humbled all of us. All the boys from all the houses called him “The Boss” .IIn my final year he appopinted me headboy. I remember telling him that I was a secret smoker and could not, in good consciousness, discipline other smokers. I suggested he let me have a smoking room where I could inviite other senoirs who had the habit, instead of having them sneak out for a cigarette. He found my argument reasonable and for the first trime since the Home’s founding, the seniors had a smoking room. (In the 50’s lung cancer was not public knowledge)

    Moss was in charge of Spackman. He had been a majpr in the British army, ran the cadet corps and was also a very fair man.

    “”Bugs” Capener ran Beaton. He was an avid amateur entomologist. During camp at Umtemtweni, he showed those of us who were intereted how to attract and collect insects. A small group of us would crowd into his tent and listen to him read a chapter from Edegar Rice Burrouighs’ Martian saga by Tilley lamp each night. He was a kindly man and was much liked by all of us.

    Rev. Strong was headmaster of St. Georges during my four years there and was much disliked by all of us as a stuck-up prick. He took a particuklar dislike to me as headboy. He certainly turned me off religion, a fact that took me years to recover from.

    I got my share of canning during the years there and have never felt traumatized for it. Nor did it turn me into a bully.

    As stated in an earlier post, the Boys of St.Gearge’s Home got close to the same treatment as the sons of British elite at Eton and Harrow. That upbringing has served me well thorugh the years since, in my relationships with people from all walks of life. As an international telebvision producer, II interviewed dozens of powerful people all around the world and have always felt a ease with my manners among them.

    I am sorry to hear that St.Georges Home has changed into something else..

  • 118. Barney Naude  |  June 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I was a home boy from 1982 to 1987. For me St Georges gave me stability and discipline, for which I am extremely grateful.
    When i first arrived I battled with rules and structured life, but once I settled in, it was great. I had my share of jacks from Mr Macky, and Mr nichols, the never ending speaches of Mrs Harper, (hopsing), which we never called her to her face. But the most iffluential person for me was Mr Callum Rae.
    I’d be greatful for the contact details of all the Spackman house boys from the eighties as Callum is coming to vissit, from Glasgow, and if we could get as many of the boys together while he is here, for a reunion of sorts, it would be great.
    I have read some of the personal stories here, and would like to put in my views. The discipline was extremely militaristic, (rule by fear), which on its own didn’t really work. once Mr Rae became our house father, we behaved better, not for fear of jacks, but not to dissapoint Mr Rae. this is not to say that we were model children, we still got up to mischief.
    best to all and hope to hear from some of the boys soon.

  • 119. MARC WASTIE  |  June 24, 2008 at 3:07 am

    I was in the home from 1971 to1979 and i have great and sad memories of the home like i guess weve all experienced, to me the home was my home as i come from a broken home and i now look back at what oppourtunities were made available to us as a home boy we had great sports made available to us like football like athletics like swimming horse riding which helped me tremendously
    we got a taste of ice skating free tickets were arranged for us on wednesdays until 5 oclock we sold programs at big soccer games and some big boxing matches there was also the hobbies and craft center that exposed some of us to arts and crafts.
    the things that father clayton controbuted like photography and radio st george .these things were not available to anybody but us homeboys .even though i didnt like all the marching ,by the time i was in the army i was well prepared.i concider it to have been apriviledge to be a st georges home boy.

  • 120. Trevor Budd  |  June 24, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    different opinions are the ingredient of good discussion(Trevor Budd)..my own idiom

  • 121. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  June 24, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    As long as you have a voice, be heard
    a pen – write
    – insightful memories!!

  • 122. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  June 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Catch-Up!

    Barney Naude – duriing the 50’s there were two Naude brothers at the home. For the life of me however, I cannot remember either of their first names but recall that they were both in Beaton House. The elder of the two was a first class drummer in the cadet band … and I think he also became drum-major for a period of time. Any relationship to you?.

    (Dr.) Tommy Geddes has been mentioned here in earlier postings but he had an elder brother, Nicholas, who was both my contemporary and class mate for three years. Has anyone any idea of what became of him?

    Vanessa Hurlimann – You must have dated a homeboy back in the day to have attended soccor matches and the ocassional disco party there. Obviously you have much affection for ‘society’s castoffs’ as you’re a regular contributor to Blane’s site. Thank you for taking the time with your thoughtful and supportive comments. It is a rare generosity.

    History in Black & White.

    Personal: On July 27th. 2008 – it will be exactly 50 years since I walked out of St. Goggies with Boss Robson’s blessing that mid-year. He knew that I was done … that I had started there with such promise, but had slowly slipped away, year by year from fulfilling that destiny. Truth be known, I regret it now.

    South Africa: In 1948 (just 10 years earlier), the Nationalist Government came to power and forever changed the course
    of a promising destiny for our country. With them came that pariah, Apartheid … the brainchild of Hendrik Verwoerd and the Broederbond (aka The Ossebrandtwagt).

    I mention this, as wherever I travelled after I left SA., I was constantly confronted by people telling me that I was a racialist. I honestly never thought that I was, (I always thought of myself as a liberal – in fact, a bit of a ‘kafirboetie), but freely admitted that I thought it normal for an 8 year old white child to call an adult African male, ‘boy’. Why was that?

    Many of you have doubtless travelled abroad and have probably experienced much the same kind of allegation.

    In 1984, I ran into an old friend of mine in Amsterdam, Holland. His name was James Georgiadus – Jimmy the Greek. In 1976 at the time of the Soweto riots, James was the President of Nusas at Wits. He took it on the chin from both the left and the right and as a law student, he was really confronted with the Black & White social disparity. Ultimately, he had to make a run for it and landed up in The Netherlands as a refugee, where he had to take his entire law degree all over again at the University of Amsterdam.

    At the time we met there, he was just opening his first office to commence his practice and engaged me to design and construct it. During the course of that endeavour, he gave me a little book to read entitled: Black & White in South Africa by a guy called Peter LeMay who had dedicated it to Helen Suzman, the one voice in SA in opposition to Apartheid.

    In it, he spells out the Nationalist agenda and the program of indoctrination of every South African … both blacks and whites … that followed. Suffice to say, I sincerely recommend that each one of you try to get hold of a copy of that book and read it. We are not born racialists … we learn it!

    It has taken me my entire adult life to unlearn that horrid propaganda and to become, nevertheless, proud of being a South African. If that has been possible, so should it be possible for all St. Goggians to be proud of being ‘Homeboys’.

    I am.

    l

  • 123. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  June 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Ghosts of the Past.

    (As an adendum to the above).

    My father was a self-taught civil engineer who died in a horrific accident while building a steel bridge over the Orange River. I had barely known him as I was 3 years old when he came back from the WWII b ut I had nevertheless, bonded closelky with him by the time I was eight when it happened, and could not accept it that he was dead.

    For nearly 16 years therafter, I suffered insomnia as a result of that radical separation … I just would not accept that he was really gone and secretly believed that one day … I would find him somewhere in a crowd of people.

    Peter LeMay’s book is full of historical photographs of early turn-of-the -20th.-Century SA. Somewhere in the middle of it, there is a photograph of South African troops, gathered for a battalian photograph in the desert outside Tobruk (North Africa). My father was a Sergeant Major and he and his best friend are to be seen, standing arms around each others shoulders in front of an arena array of his troops.

    There he was, in the middle of a crowd … and that put that ghost to rest. I never suffered insomnia again.

    Amen. (Thank you Blane).

  • 124. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  June 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    If poetry be the food of my soul
    write on write on

    the written word is held dear to me –
    the eye unseen, the word a window to your soul

    but – yes – I did indeed date a homeboy – a special soul then and now
    and had lots of other friends there too
    depth in friendship………………
    ‘societies castoffs’ – never thought that way…………
    rejection is a bitter seed
    sweetened only by the love of the Father

  • 125. John  |  June 26, 2008 at 12:57 am

    WOW I have been absent from the blog for some time and I have returned to find a thriving online community deep in discussion not just about the home but about the richness and challenges of life indispersed withn some great poetry and deep insight
    I was also saddened to read of the passing of Noel Schaffer and my condolences to the family as we were very close whilst at the home
    Welcome to all the newcommers most of whom are known to me as well as to those of later years who are not
    I share with you all the news of Georgie Adam’s 80th birthday which I attended with him and a few of his closest friends on Sunday the 22nd
    George as you can see above is the author of the book on the home I am in the process of editing
    In additon to being a housemaster of Smuts house 1968/9 and Simpson house 1963 – 67 he was also an old boy from the 1940’s during Mr Kerswill’s tenure as head of the home
    Others in attendance ON sUNDAY included George Woods son of the late John Woods (SGH 1968) who is godson to Georgie, Paul Courtney (SGH 1972) and Des and Doreen Steel (1940’s)
    I will endevour to send a photo via email for the site
    At the 75th anniversary of the SGH Old Boys Assn in 2005 George reminded me that it was not the buildings but rather the community of each other which is St Georges Home and I certainly feel that in being a participant with you all on this blog
    My regards to you all and my hope for the growth in this very special and vibrant online community

    John

  • 126. S.W Pringle  |  June 26, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Orphans and children from broken homes, raised from a young age in institutions by strangers, all share a special relationship with God. He/She served as our invisible parent – intimate witness to our young lives – confident of our secret hopes and dreams.

    Our lack of phsyical parents give us a specialized view of family values and the larger social structures that are built on them. We are objective social observers, forever watching and evaluating human interactions from the side-lines, seeing millions of tiny details that parented kids take for granted.

    It is from this objective view-point that I devised the Psyche-Genetic theory. Knowing how and why the very first human became conscious and how all societies evolved from that first family, has allowed me to see where this huge striving throng of humanity is at present and where it is destined to end. That holistic view of our reason for being has served to intregrate me with all other children of God and has allowed me to find my own special place inside the human family.

  • 127. Vanessa Hurlimann  |  June 26, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Psalm 139 v 13-16

    For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together
    in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully
    and wonderfully made;
    I know that full well.
    My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made
    in the secret place
    When I was woven together
    in the depths of the earth,
    your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me
    were written in your book
    before one of them came to me.

  • 128. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  June 27, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Welcome Home John.

    Now you see what you and Blane have started?
    You’ve got the whole neighborhood joining in.

  • 129. Anon  |  June 27, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    St Georges,St.Georges
    You hold me close
    You have my secrets
    You have my fears
    Marks on the walls,
    on doors and in halls.

    Echoes in the Dorms,
    footprints on the floors,
    my shadow still wanders
    aimlesly,seeking….

    What was my role,
    where was my place
    was it all a race…..

    Is all who i was,
    be who i am.
    for then a boy
    became a man.

    for ST Georges
    you hold…….
    my book of life
    my book of strife
    That was my life.

  • 130. anon  |  June 28, 2008 at 4:15 am

    to anon – my heart
    though in part given
    for reasons yet to unfold
    my soul –
    complete in friendship you hold

    Oh the life and lives within the walls
    what sacred memories
    what hallowed dreams
    all to all – visionary may seem

    nonetheless tis real……………..

  • 131. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  June 28, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Thought of the day.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. (Mahatma Ghandi).

  • 132. Trevor Budd  |  June 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    who can tell me when is the next old boys gathering association
    taking place and where. I am keen to attend the next one as i have never attended any before.
    trevor budd

  • 133. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  June 30, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Thought o the Day.

    Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.

    *Joseph Campbell

  • 134. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 1, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Thought of the Day.

    Happiness is a how, not a what, a talent nor an object.

    *Herman Hesse.

  • 135. Albert de jager  |  July 1, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    What a delightful surprise to stumble upon this site yesterday, and to be so overwhelmed at the rush of memories of St George’s and all the unforgettable boys and adults who made up this unique community. As Charles Dickens once said..”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. However, for whatever reasons each of us have, they were the most unforgettable times.
    I would love to take the time to recount all the times from the miserable Rev. “Tommy” Strong, grumpy “Boss” Robson and the gentle “Bug” Capener in 1958, to the new era of the Giles-like Vicar, Eric Richardson (who often almost succeeded in setting himself alight with his pipe), the delightful and demanding Norman Clayton (of photographic, music and TV fame) and the passionate sport-as-a-therapy standard bearer, Ken McHolm.
    Between these two eras lies a world of stories and reminiscences which beg for the telling and re-telling by those who have been there.
    The names on this site are a wonder in themselves; Stuart and Dudley Pringle from the wild days of Rock and Roll, Brian Gannon who brought passion and fun to Choir and stage (who can ever forget Nicholas?) the slightly more studious and definitely musical Michael, John and Des Rossouw. Charles and Marc Wastie, George, Trevor and Kevon Budd, Nutsy Moore, Tommy Geddes, Keith Frandsen, Lennie Deacon, Gavin Schafer, Craig Milner, and so many more (even my beloved Nephew Wayne from America….Hi Wayne. When are you going to visit here again?)
    What a rollcall of memories.
    Thank you Blane for setting up this site and giving all of us this chance to step back into the past for a short while, in order for us to reafirm our place in the present.
    Fondest greetings to you all till next time.

  • 136. john rossouw  |  July 1, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Greetings Albert and welcome to our growing online community

    Your quote from Dickens sums up the very essance of St Georges as we knew it and I am reminded from your posting that you were one of a fortunate few who witnessed the changing of the guard from the first generation of Robson,Rice, Symes ,Moss and Kuipner to the era of Richardson and Mc Holm

    This was not only as a boy at the home but also as a long serving housemaster of Taylor House where I shared the experience of my senior years under your stewardship

    I also remember well our time together in the back row pews of the choir and the long hours of practice which Bee Bop subjected us to

    In is letter to me recently (a rare treat as he never writes) he enquired after you so I will let him know you are well when I get round to a reply

    I am happy to pass on his address but don’t expect a reply from him

    I am not sure if you picked up from the blog that I have been busy photographing what is left of the archives and if you have some free time I would welcome some help on the editing of George Adam’s book on the home

    It is an accurate and well reserched record of events over the years but lacks the nuances of the real stories we all have of what was once a very special place in all our lives

    Perhaps over time we can collate our own version of life at St Georges from an accumulation of these personal contributions

    I found the photograph of the Spackman house swiming team with you Freddie and Gerald and if you wish to have it I will retrieve it and make a plan to get it to you

    Bee Bop also sent me a copy of the first evensong broadcast from the chapel and our respective voices can be destinctly heard in the background

    You are probaby aware that Makkie passed on in 2005 as did Audrey and their ashes are buried in the garden of rememberance outside Smuts House

    Their is also a plaque in their memeory in the sanctuary of the chapel

    Anyway its great to hear from you after so many years and here’s hoping we can keep in touch via the blog

    Warm regards

    John

  • 137. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 2, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Bingo!

    Finally a voice from the past. Hi Albert, welcome aboard. I remember you of course. You were Headboy when Stuart and I entered St. Goggies … a distant and remote senior to new pipsqueaks like us … but nevertheless, an unforgettable image in your drum major uniform.

    I had heard that you came back as a housemaster after I left some 4 and half years later. What a nice surprise this has been to return to the memories of so many years gone by.
    Whatever it was that inspired Blane to set this site up, we must presume it was heaven sent.

    I’ve got to warn you though … it’s a little thin on the ground for us senior citizens. Basically, up to now it’s just you, Stuart and I. I suspect that most of our peers haven’t heard about the internet … perhaps even computers … so it may be some time before we hear from more of those old geezers.

    As John said, here’s hoping we can continue to keep in touch via this blog.

    Adios muchachos fom the City of Angels.

  • 138. Albert de Jager  |  July 2, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Derek
    How good to hear from you. There were however, two groups of de Jagers in Goggies, and the ones you are talking about was the JJ and Gert de Jager group. I was of the de Jager group that had Les and Derby in Taylor House with you in ’58. At that time I was in Simpson House with “Bomber” Brown. If I recall correctly, Paul Kruger was Head Boy of Beaton House at the time. However I do remember you and Stuart quite clearly as I spent a bit of time in Taylor House until space was arranged at Simpson for me. I also seem to remember that Taylor House also housed, amongst others. the O’Donahue brothers, “Cowboy” Johnson, and that wonderful bugler Errol Fouche.
    Be that as it may, you are quite correct when you say that we “old geezers” are thin on the ground, and I hope that others of our era will respond to this site.
    Yes, I did indeed return to SGH as Housemaster of Taylor House in the 70s and while I look back with regret over the many mistakes I made while learning the art of Housemastering, I will forever hold dear the many good times with boys in St Georges.
    I look forward to many more “chats” on this site in the future.
    Keep well in The City of Angels,

  • 139. Albert de Jager  |  July 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Michael and John.
    Thanks for the reply John, and I certainly remember our time singing from the back pews of the choir stalls. Unfortunately I now find it difficult even to sing Happy Birthday to my grandkids, but I remember that we made a rather formidable Basso Profundo in our day.
    Yes Michael, I did marry Patricia (Gibson as she was then) but, as these things are wont to happen, we seperated 22 years later, but still, I am happy to say, retain a good friendship and talk often. She is still in Jhb while I am in Cape Town. Her Mom is still well and kicking, and I will pass your best wishes on to her. Talking about our marriage, we married in the St Georges Chapel, and had our reception in the Smuts downstairs rec compliments of Geargie Adams, wonderful man that he is.(Can’t seem to get away from the place can we?) Rick and Tray are also living in Jhb and have “produced” 2 children each much to my delight.Michael, I see that you are a school chaplain in the Phillipines these days, well, I certainly expected that your calling to serve others through the Church is no surprise at all, but The Phillipines is certainly surprising, and I’m sure therein lies many a tale.
    By the way John, I would really love to hear that recording of Evensong some day, and I would also be more than delighted to assist you in your endeavours regarding the history of St George’s. You can contact me at albertdejager@telkomsa.net at any time.
    By the way DC, I have just realised after reading an earlier blog from you, that Errol Fouche was not in Taylor house but rather in Beaton.Also, we shared many of the same teachers at school, namely Vera Kirkland, Muriel Noakes, Bob Morrison (and later, his daughter June) , and WOP Cunningham the mad scientist. A more dedicated and efficient group of teachers you could not wish for.
    Anyway, enough for now.
    Greetings from beautiful Cape Town.

  • 140. Albert de Jager  |  July 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Dudley….my sincere apologies!! Where on Earth did I get the name Derek from? Senility I believe.

  • 141. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 3, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Albert,

    You got it right first time (in your original blog) … now the question is … just how bad is your senility? And it’s catching, ’cause I can’t remember where Derek came from either.

    But yes, I must have it too … confusing you with JJ. 50 years have certainly played mush with my grey matter. In any event, thanks for reminding me vis a vis the de Jager saga. Now I do remember you – sans the fancy drum major costume.

    … and will someone please answer Trevor Budd regarding the next Old Boys Association gathering … the question has been hanging out there like old fruit.

    Incidentally, the term ‘homeboy’ or abbreviated to ‘homie’, is used here in Los Angeles by the local Mexican gangbangers or ‘chollos’, when referring to a gang member. In fact, ex-homies have set up a local facillity called; Homeboy Industries that seeks to give ex-gang members job opportunities.

    Finally, how are you progressing John with your archival labors? I notice that the ‘due date’ continues to recede … but know that we are all rooting for you to complete it … as I am sure everyybody will want a copy of George’s book with your intense contribution included.

  • 142. John Kelly  |  July 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I was in St Georges from 1980 – 1983. I was in Taylor House. My brothers David and Stephen Kelly were in Spackman House. David went on to Crawford House and Stephen to Taylor House. I attended Dawnview High School. I am still in touch with a number of Home Boys. My memories are plenty some good and some not so good but over all the good far outweighs the bad. Considering my upbringing the home was my home.
    I have been to a few old boy reunions at the Bishop Bavin over the years.
    David Rossouw we met at Mr McHolm’s memorial service – it was a very moving service especially when you played Last Post.
    Albert de Jager its good to hear that you are doing well last time I saw you was 1983 you bring back many good memories of my time at the Home. I will always have a great deal of respect for you! You are one of the few Housemasters that had a true passion for what he did and it came through in your character. I’m sorry to hear that you and Pat have parted ways and am glad to hear that Tracey and Ricky are doing well. Do you remember what I used to call you? (Fluffchops) I remember the one December holiday that I remained at the home and you took the boys out on a few occassions – some really good laughs and times were had by all.

    I would like to thank Blane for taking this initiative and creating this site, its appreciated and long overdue.

    Kind regards to all ex homeboys,
    John Kelly

  • 143. S.W Pringle  |  July 4, 2008 at 6:46 am

    I remember Og Paterson trying to circumsize himself with a razor. He had no idea how to go about it, thinking it just meant cutting the thin strip of tissue just under the cherry. Then, of all things, one day he stuck his penis in a bottle, got a hard-on and could not remove it. He was too scared to smash the bottle, so old Robbie had to be called to the rescue. Best of all Og stories was down in Umtentweni. He dropped a half a crown down the Harlies and went in after it!!!
    Wonder where Og is these days?
    Don;t make ’em like that any more.

  • 144. charles  |  July 4, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Hi Albert,
    What a surprise,phew, its been some years and then some ,since i last heard anything from or about the de jagers.
    I left a previous note for wayne to know the where abouts of Freddy. We had some fantastic times during my last year at SGH and then after leaving and going to the army.
    I last heard that Fred was in CT and that he and Ethne divorced.
    THe days he was living in Jhb,Cyrildene,the crawford boys,the trips to Umtentweni,i remember them well.

    Yes,so many memories,the choir,the tv programs we did,the coca cola advert[just as jaws 1 came out …if i remember correctly]the football,the swimming,the fierce competition,the rivalry,it was great,and rubbed off on all of us .

    Please give my regards to Fred and i will leave my mail address
    should he like to chat.charlesw@axis.co.za.

    greetings
    charlie wastie

  • 145. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 4, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    And another one touches base!

    What a great Connexxion this site has become. What a collection of personal and shared memories are contained herein.

    Hail fellow St. Goggians, I greet you.

    Vanessa, I have just read your shortest ever poem again for the second time … a duet of lines twixt unseen eye and windows to the soul. Great stuff!

    Poetry, short and succinct. A whole story in spare words that’s the stuff of serious writing … are you published?

    Well don’t stop … blog some more.

    If short and sweet is a choice, here’s one;

    Shadows passing in the night,
    as swift as light, out of sight.

    Dudley.

  • 146. john rossouw  |  July 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Greetings John and welcome to the blog
    Yes DC the due date of the archives does keep receding but it is taking time to sort all the many photogrpahs and other items
    I am hoping to get to Bishop Bavin some time next week for the final session whereafter I will give you an update via the blog
    As regards the next old boys do it seems to have gone into remission since its 75th anniversary in 2005 and needs a group of volunteers to revive it
    A suggestion was made at the time to change the name as the home in its latter years was opened to girls as well as boys (much to the irritation of Eric Richardson)
    Also whlst we are many in number we are a diminishing breed and the only way to sustan existance of the association is to find a way to open it up to members of the Bishop Bavin alumni and this would have to be explored by both groups
    Their has been much divide between the school and the home over the years but the archives process has seen this gap being bridged and the school now seems to have a willingness to link its present to its rich and colourfull heritage
    This is evident in the fact that certain buildings and hallways are named after former heads of the home and what remains of our trophies are now proudly dsplayed in their origial cabinets in the hall (now known s the refratory)
    Their is also a series of photos of the offical opening of the Herbert Baker designed buildings by HRH Arthur Duke of Connaught in 1920 hanging there
    My wish remains that I together wth the St Georges home alumni will one day take tea with our Bishop Bavin peers on the lawns adjacet to the Des Steel pavilion which the SGH old boys built with the funds they raised
    Shirley Moulder former head of COACH which incorporates St Georges Home has proposed a service to commemeorte the restoraation of the archives and perhaps the time has now finally arrived to bury the hatchet and make this vision a reality

    With warm regards to you all

    John

  • 147. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks muchly for the up date John.

    It would seem that for all those surviving, a final closure is ordained. But you’re right, sustaining the Old Boys Association as a sportsclub at best and/or a once a year, raise the flag event requires, money manpower and support.

    Perhaps in this wonderful digital age a virtual club is already forming via this blog … perhaps a once a year getting together event at a shared expense … whatever the venue, is not a bad alternative to a bricks and mortor reality.

    Nevertheless, the work you are doing now with the purpose of incoprporating pictures to your edited text in George Adams book is a work of love (so time does does not matter) and it will be appreciated by many families of homeboys for many years to come. Once again. Thank you.

    Dudley.

  • 148. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 4, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    The Og Blog.

    Stuarty’s wonderful ribald story of Slogger Og opened a flood gate of memories relating to that infamous gardener. He certainly was one of a kind.

    Og … Ronald Paterson … was not blessed either by nature nor by health. Not that he was unhealthy, on the contrary, he was as strong as an ox. But he was cursed with the worst outbreak of acne or pimples I have ever seen on a human face (and we all know where that comes from).

    He had thin, curly, strawberry blond hair with a white/white skin that was mostly red, because he was always sunburned. He loved to work in the garden and thanks to him, Taylor House often enjoyed fresh tomatoes from the vine … that is, those that survived and ripened on the vine. Thieves were rampant around Taylor House at harvest time.

    Og was in dorm 1 downstairs (8 x cubles for two), but unfortunately his cubiclethat he shared with Brian Kennedy, was on the side opposite that from the one looking out onto his garden. As he did not have a window to look out at it, he would sneak out at night and disappear into his garden … to count the tomatoes … sometimes twice a night … I heard. Perhaps Stuart can confirm it, as he too lived in dorm 1.

    I lived upstairs in 3rd. dorm so never saw this ritual myself. But I can testify to the next story.

    Umtentweni 1956 (that blissful place) … Gary Riley was dorm 3 Patrol Leader and also head honcho of the tent I shared with 5 other ‘homies’ and the fearsome Riley G and Og, who was tent corporal.

    One day we were on kitchen duty, confined to the camp site and beach all day in between preparing meals (peeling potatoes) and cleaning up dishes and dining area. Riley never worked … he had us, the miserable six and Og to boss over us. Gary would just disappear until everything was done. So would Og after a while.

    But this night Gary came back early to our worksite. sitting on upturned zink basins while washing 180 odd sets of dishes and utensils. ‘Where the hell is Og?’ shouted the bandy legged schot. Nobody knew of course.

    Gary sent us off in every direction to find him. 10 minutes later when we re-gathered at the kitchen site, there was a sudden snap of twigs behind us. Riley G produced a flashlight instructed us to spread out and we went looking into the forest of young bluegums and coastal brush bounding the kitchen.

    Gary up front calling; ‘Og show yourself! Where the …. are you?’

    Another twig snapped and the flashlight snapped upright.

    Right above us sat Og, 12 to 15 ft up straddling a branch at the fork of a heavily leafed tree. His shirt flapping free as he had no pants on … in fact, he had no pants. They were on the ground at our feet.

    And there sat Og! The Slogger was humping a Paw Paw!

    Gary swore, sharp and loud (I can’t repeat what he said), but it sure shook up the sheepishly grinning fruitalator, so much so that he lost his balance and, still hanging onto his beloved papaya, hit the ground with a thud and a whoosh … and his darling fruit was no more.

    Og was winded, but not out and when he stood up, he still had his erection!

    You’re right bro’ … they don’t make ’em like that no more.

  • 149. Wendy Thompson/Jones  |  July 4, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Hi have been out of action for a while – yet another spell in hospital courtesy of unexpectedly dislocating my knee twice in two days. It’s great to hear from you, Albert. Also I managed to catch up with David recently on a visit to Joburg and whilst we were having chocolate cake, courtesy of his staff end of term function, we phoned JJ (de Jager). Thank you David for the wonderful visit – and chocolate cake – The world is indeed a small place.

  • 150. S.W Pringle  |  July 5, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Duggie Holden was one of those short guys (ala Napoleon) who are absolutely determined to prove he was equal to the best And he was too – in almost everything he did. He played a snappy wicket keeper. He was easily the best soccor player we had during my time – and even got a pat iof the back from Sir Stanely Mathews his own self when the great footballer visited St Goggies. Dug was patrol leader of his dorm and ran it like a martinette. Same strict discipline in his tent down at camp.

    For all his ecellence, Dug had an Achillles heel. Ego. He was convinced he was lord and master over all of his peers. I believe that I had a hand in making him think twice about that. During one Saterday morning work detailI, I unerringly stepped on his neatly raked gravel path just before Robbie came out for inspection. Incensed by my trespass, Dug ran up and kicked me in the backside. Caught by surprise, I automatically swung round and gave back in kind – and the fight was on. Robbie came out right then and instead of stopping it, he stood by and let the two of us have it out. I think he too felt that Duggie needed taking down a peg or two. I won the fight and Dug never spoke to me ever again. Years later I saw him standing in a queue outside a cinema. He cut me dead when I greeted him. Pity. I admired him for everything else. But that part of him remained small.

  • 151. anon  |  July 7, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    DC – a thank you for the compliment and a smile at the thought of being published –
    just love the play on words – would love to write more
    mostly adlib, inspired by what I read – it’s usually an instantaneous thing –
    this blog has been incredibly inspiring!!
    regards
    Vanessa

  • 152. Albert  |  July 8, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Wendy, great to hear from you too. Hope your knee problems are now behind you.You know Wendy, the one truly untold story of St George’s is that of Housemasters’ children. While they were not subjected to the discipline of the Home, it could not have been easy being neither “fish nor fowl”. I know that Ricky and Tracey often found it difficult playing second fiddle to the boys at times and when playing with the boys, found it hard sometimes hearing their parents being “slagged off” by some of them. It could not have been easy for all of you.
    However, I must say that the boys were generally very kind to them and some even adopted a sort of big brother role, which was heartening and appreciated by us.
    John Kelly. What a pleasant surprise. Thank you for your kind words and yes, I do remember you calling me “fluffchops’, if for no other reason than that it was practically the only nickname I was given which was actually printable. I’d love to hear what has happened in your life since St George’s. Keep sharing on this site.
    Charlie Wastie…another well-remembered person. I remember so well the fun times you and Fred had together (not all of it totally legal I might add) Fred has semi-retired to the de Jager compound in The Craggs near Plett where he and my brothers Les and Gerald have all built houses on the land they bought in this most beautiful part of SA. Fred’s e-mail is colfred@absamail.co.za and I know he would love to hear from you again, He is away at present but should be back next week. To you too, keep talking on this site and let all of us know how things are going in your life.
    That’s it for now.
    Regards from the beautiful (and wet) Cape.

  • 153. Wendy Thompson/Jones  |  July 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Hi Albert
    It’s good to hear from you after all these years. I think you have captured so clearly how it felt to be the child of a housemaster. It’s true that one doesn’t really belong in either world – that of the boy and that of someone outside in the community. But, hopefully with maturity as adults we do learn to get a bit of perspective. Unfortunately as an adult also comes the understanding of how, if we had been in our parents’ shoes we might have done things a little (or a lot) differently. I say unfortunate because we cannot go back and undo the past. I also think there is sometimes a tendency for us, as housemasters’ children, to ‘own’ our parents’ actions and, again, we have to realise that we cannot take responsibility for what they may or may not have done. Phew -heavy stuff and I have to say it took me some time to work through that and make peace with some of the past.
    Having said that however I am delighted to be able to see names and faces from the past and to hear how people have got on in life. In my own personal journey of ‘putting things to bed’ in relation to St Georges I have also found a great deal of personal ‘healing’ in being able to reconnect with people I knew and lived alongside at St Georges and I look forward to continuing with that for the rest of my life. Regards
    Wendy

  • 154. Mervyn Wiesendanger  |  July 10, 2008 at 8:23 am

    I attended SGH in 1983 to 1988. I remember some of you and others not. I had mixed feelings about the place but never regrets. Taking into account I do have some memories that I am very fond of. John Kelly for one, I will never forget you and what you did for me in Std 6 after I got my ass kicked by a bully who hated homeboys and you become like my big brother that I never had, John Thank you my friend.

    Steven Kelly introduced me to this site and he is the only person I keep in contact with. Steve and I were in the army together and once again a big brother who made days and life easier for me. Steven and John I will never forget the 2 of you. Thank you both.

    I attended Dawnview High and since moved to The USA in 1995 I have lost 6 friends and sad to say one of them from SGH, RIP Craige Milner.

    Other than that Albert it is good to see you on the site. How are you and the family? Please send my regards. Currently I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and enjoy life, my wife and her family. Have 3 kids, 2 girls in College in California and a son learning how to be a restless teenager. Life is good. Have a castle or lion larger or if you prefer a black lable on me for the “HOMEBOYS” – never forgotten.

    Regards to all

    Merv

  • 155. S.W Pringle  |  July 11, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Hi Merve.

    I live on a ranch in Dyer, Nevada, midway between Las vegas and Reno.
    Though some thirty years your senior, two old homeboys are more or less neighbors in a farway land.
    If you ever pass by, you are welcome to stop and have a cold Coors.

    Stuart.

  • 156. D.C. Leslie-Pringle  |  July 11, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Is this heaven … or what?

    Merv, you’re about to meet yet another big brother.

    He certainly is mine.

    Humbha haghle n’faan.

    Dudley

  • 157. Mervyn Wiesendanger  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Thank you Stuart for the welcome invitation although I never knew Dyer existed. I am in San Diego today on business and heading back to Vegas on Saturday. Let us stay in contact and maybe soon we will meet up in Dyer or Vegas for that Coors you promised me. Make sure that the Coors is not light or hot.

    Take care and we will talk soon

  • 158. S.W Pringle  |  July 12, 2008 at 5:52 am

    THE NEED FOR CHANGE

    Conditions change and when they do, they force us to adapt. Presently The United States of America and advanced democratic countries in general, are still largely operating on educational, political and economic ideologies designed more than two centuries ago at the start of the industrial revolution, during the era of national formation. Communication was slow then, the world was not so crowded, the population was largely rural, the need for machinery was great, and natural resources were plentiful. Government via representation; crowding children into classrooms for the training of a literate work force, building a national infrastructure; international competition for trade; unregulated exploitation of natural resources; individuals capitalizing on the collective effort and amassing huge private fortunes; was considered by all developed people to be the right and proper way to build a rich and powerful nation. As the world leaders the West continues to operate under those ancestrally-designed national philosophies today.

    In the meantime, as the world population expands exponentially, and the demands on the planet’s resources increase proportionately, human evolution is entering a new era that requires more universally orientated educational, political and economic demands, which are not being properly or adequately addressed. To characterize the growing emergency at its most basic level, when there are more mouths than food, conditions in the rat cage become distinctly uncomfortable, even dangerous.

    Literally everything is moving at an exponential rate. With the West, led by America, sticking to the old ways of doing business the net effect is not only causing massive environmental damage, it is engendering global-wide resentment among the poorer nations, leading to acts of international terrorism. Again, analyzed at its most basic level, the West is not facing some alien attack here.. The argument over the fair distribution of wealth and resources is taking place within the larger human family. What is happening in reality is a growing insurgency initiated by our own disaffected kin, so we cannot simply nuke them into oblivion. In this New Age milieu, old Age laws and old armies can no longer enact and enforce conformity to redundant western values. This insurgency within our ranks will never end until a level of global equality of opportunity is in place.

    For many, our global policies are not only harmful, our refusal to change borders on the obscene. Children are so morally outraged by our behavior thousands of them prefer an honorable death by suicide bombing rather than bow down to it. As a result we are wasting trillions of dollars trying to protect ourselves from our own greed..

    In order to adapt to the new paradigm we have to initiate entirely new and more sustainable methods of operation in the basic fields of education, agriculture, housing and energy. We have to accomplish this mass shift of consciousness before the pressures of changing conditions over-whelm us all. Fortunately, we have the advanced technology to do it. Actual change is mainly a matter of altering the collective will. The question is: How do we evoke it? Reason alone is not enough.

    There is always a natural resistance to change. We tend to cling to the devil we know rather than take steps into the unknown. Custom is sacred. Waiting for conditions to worsen before hastily adapting, leaves us in danger of complete collapse. We need energy to create new energy. All dead civilizations went down the dead-end road of unsustainable energy exploitation and reacted too late, forcing them back into the jungle.

    The educational hurdle facing change is the basic reality that our political leaders are lawyers, trained to enforce and perpetuate old constitutional laws, endlessly party bickering in a Congress that is largely servile to the dictates of the military/industrial complex. Those economic titans in turn are mainly MBA graduates from business and military schools, trained to expand and enforce capitalist doctrines around the globe for private gain. In bald terms, our leaders think locally while acting globally instead of the reverse. They do not have the training or freedom of imagination required for sustainable change on a global scale.

    The economic hurdle that is gradually sinking all of us in rising sea levels is in anchoring the medium of exchange on money. There is simply not enough cash in circulation to engage in the huge planet management projects that are required to clean up the environment, build the new cities and bring on-line the sustainable food and energy infrastructures able to support present and future population growth, and in the process give full employment to six billion people. Printing more money will devalue it. Those rich few holding the notes will never allow that, so millions starve for want of food and work, simply because money is scarce and therefore keeps its value. On top of that, short term plans for quick profits that put hundreds of millions in bonuses in corporate CEO’s pockets, keep more sustainable long-term projects off the drawing boards.

    Recessions and inflation are artificial fiscal barriers that mean nothing in real survival terms and unnecessarily frustrate the full human potential for creative expression. The work-ethic is deeply imprinted in all of mankind. This planet has enough sunlight energy shining down on it to support a hundred billion people in great comfort. Under present policies we are struggling with just six. If we educate a new generation of children in a different way, money will not necessary be needed to motivate them. The challenge of effectively managing an entire planet as a single estate will be motivation enough,

    As it is, tens of thousands of young geniuses, reared on the World Wide Web, cannot find the capital to get their ideas off the ground. This new breed of progressive thinkers must come to the fore and demonstrate what kind of large-scale global changes are possible.

    The solutions for change articulated in this web site are designed for sustainable operations. The reasons put forward for why we must change from the old ways in this valley or eventually founder, are bluntly stated. This is not a time for being politically correct. The solutions for change presented do not pretend to be the only ones possible. They’re not meant to demean or harm anybody. As stated: We are all the inheritors and executors of ancestral decisions made when conditions were different. The intention here, at the dawn of a new era, is to give all of us a lead as to what changes are possible and how we might go about achieving a more sustainable existence. We urge all those who are sitting on the fence, to make up their minds about change and make the move.

    S.W. Pringle
    Director
    Global Stewardship Foundation
    White Wolf Canyon
    Dyer, Nevada
    10th July 2008.

  • 159. S.W Pringle  |  July 12, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Sorry. The last paragraph refers to solutions posted our foundation’s Global Stewardship web site. I should have removed it before posting on this one.

  • 160. horton crossbow  |  October 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    horton crossbow

    Saint George’s Home for Boys 1915 – 1991 | Blane

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