Blue, Black and White
The history of the Launceston Church Grammar School, 1946–1996
In 1996 LCGS celebrated 150 years as the oldest continuing school in Australia (no, Hutchins, you started a few weeks later, the evidence is clear). The headmaster, Christopher Strong, asked me to write its history. I had no intention of it because of logistical problems (me living in Hobart), but he was so persuasive and charming that about half a minute after meeting him I agreed.
I loved writing this book. The school’s history was fascinating and I met some wonderful people, like Sir Raymond Farrell, on the board for forty years and graphically frank about it – especially the way the board would get sick of a certain trait in a headmaster and sack him, appoint someone the opposite, then get sick of him etc: a drinker, so they appointed a teetotaller but pacifist, so they appointed a soldier but autocrat, so they appointed someone nice … and so on. It was hard condensing all the information into one book, but very satisfying.
I had never encountered anti-Hobart bias until I met John Gunn. He was an Old Boy from a family who had a lot to do with the school, and I went to his home to interview him. In the garden was a cannon. ‘What’s that pointing at?’ I asked him jokingly. ‘Hobart’, he said, seriously.