Peter Mair presents his cricket shoes to Matt Burke and Alec Peden hands over his sprint shoes to Marty Campbell. These will be displayed in the College Archive Centre
Peter Mair presents his cricket shoes to Matt Burke and Alec Peden hands over his sprint shoes to Marty Campbell. These will be displayed in the College Archive Centre Judi Haidley

Old boys recall school days

WHEN a bunch of old school chums meandered through the Scots PGC College grounds last week, they were met with an entirely different world from what they were familiar with seven decades ago.

Their "Spartan-style" school has long since been replaced with world-class facilities and while it looks like a whole new world, it still felt like home.

Every five years, Alec Peden and his classmates from the graduating class of 1948 return to their old stamping ground and to them, it feels as though they have only just left.

Although their numbers have dwindled slightly over past years, their bond with one another is stronger than ever.

"I think there are different types of friendships in life and the friends you make at that impressionable age stay with you," Mr Peden said.

"It is quite strange because we get together and within an hour or so, it's like we've never been apart."

The group also gets together once a year at different places across the country and Mr Peden attributes their friendship's longevity to their time as boarders at the Warwick college.

"We were very close friends in those days because there wasn't the tremendous number of extra-curricular activities there is today," he said.

"We lived together, went to class together, played sports together and we didn't see our parents between vacations."

The students were left to make their own fun and entertainment back in the '40s and Mr Peden and his mates did just that.

"We had to make our own existence and our own distractions from study and we used to do a fair bit of walking," he said.

"We would leave and go walking along the river - and we weren't allowed to swim in the Condamine River - but we would walk two or three miles and go swimming.

"We walked everywhere and would walk from Toolburra into Warwick for football and back again - on top of playing football."

Touring the school grounds rekindled many memories for the former students - some of which they are more fond of than others.

"Compared to the campus today, it was a pretty Spartan existence," he said.

"I was there for eight years and we had a cold shower every morning of our lives and in the middle of winter in Warwick, that wasn't the most pleasant thing to do.

"Sometimes you could divert the prefect's attention just long enough to turn the hot tap on a little bit."

Punishment was definitely not as it is today, but Mr Peden said the students accepted the tough regime.

"Discipline was fairly strict and some of the headmasters were a bit more sadistic than others," he said. "Corporal punishment was there in those days and there wasn't one of us that didn't get caned - the maximum was six of the best, I remember."

Despite the threat of the cane hanging over their heads, the members of the group were known to indulge in a little mischief.

"When we get together we enjoying talking about the school days and the funny things that happened," Mr Peden said.

"There were only two or three of us that didn't sneak a smoke at school and when we were walking through the school last week, one of them pointed to a manhole in the ceiling and said 'do you remember that's where we used to stash our cigarettes?'"

During their visit, Mr

Peden and fellow past student Peter Mair made a special donation to the school.

"I had my running spikes that I wore when I was at school and I was wearing them when I broke the interschool record and ran 100 yards in 10 seconds," he said.

"So I polished them up and donated them to the school.

"Peter was the captain of the cricket team and he donated the spikes he was given by (former headmaster) John Dunning when he only had a pair of sandshoes to play in.

"That was a really pleasant experience for us."

Although life inside the Scots PGC grounds today is vastly different from what he remembers, Mr Peden said he was grateful and proud of his schooling past.

"If given the chance I would undoubtedly trade it for the education on offer today, but what we had was a good education and we have all gone on to have very successful lives," he said.

"The friendship is undoubtedly the thing that binds us together and as we mature we can appreciate the benefits of going to Scots.

The Scots PGC class of 1948 will reunite again next year and while no official destination has been set, Mr Peden said they had their eyes set on a Noosa rendezvous.

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