Memento mori – another from the Class of 1959

Look at my 2013 post Found–something from my last year at high school.


Look at the Latin prize in Fourth Year, our second-last year at SBHS. David Chadwick, here some years later, but still very recognisable.


And that is from his obituary, published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

He was born in 1942, an only child, educated at Rose Bay Public School and Sydney Boys High School. Chadwick grew up with and played cricket and junior rugby league with Geoff “the Bull” McMah and John Fuller who later made significant contributions to the Sydney University Rugby League Club and played many years of grade cricket in Sydney at all levels…

Chadwick obtained a Bachelor of Arts at Sydney University, majoring in German, and later completed a Master of Arts with first class honours, his thesis concerning the great German poet and writer Goethe…

When he came to Sydney University there was no rugby league club. Rugby league had been played by Sydney University in the Sydney first division from 1920 until approximately 1937, with the club making the grand final.

In 1962 Chadwick was instrumental, with the strong backing of Bill Buckley, president of the ARL, in re-establishing the Rugby League Club. In that year Uni entered two teams in the under-18 and under-21 divisions in the tough South Sydney juniors competition. Chadwick took major roles, including president and captain and coach for the next 40 years in building and sustaining the club and having a significant influence on the lives of many of the players.

During the late 1960s and early ’70s he captained Sydney University into two grand finals (1969 and 1971) in the second division first-grade competition, played for combined second division twice (against New Zealand under-23s and New Guinea) and for Combined Australian Universities on two occasions, including a tour of New Zealand. In 1970 he led Sydney University Rugby League back to the first division to play the pre-season Wills Cup competition for four games…

See also Vale – David Chadwick by Judge Stephen Norrish QC.

… Dave’s primary occupation was that of a school teacher in the State school system, either teaching German, or teaching English to students with English as a second language. Most of his later teaching career was at Chatswood High School.

He was an outspoken progressive on social and political issues, willing to engage anybody within or without the club on the controversies of the day, be it Vietnam and conscription (which he opposed), apartheid, humbug and religion, among other topics.

For any young player at the club engaged in conversation with him at the Forest Lodge Hotel, or at the Grandstand, or watching him going ‘head-to-head’ with David Hill, Peter Hennessey, Ron Spackman, John Kean, Roger Allebone, Ron Clarke, John Floyd and others of like mind to him, was a wonder and an education.

He had a great sense of humour. He loved a laugh, but he also could display vicious temper, even petulance, when it was required or not! He could be both irascible and thoughtful and considerate; sometimes in the same spoken sentence!

He was always politically active. The high water mark of his activism was his incursion onto the Sydney Cricket Ground with Meredith Bergman and her sister Verity during the Springboks first game in Sydney during its 1971 tour. This created so much acrimony through the demonstrations that were held, that subsequently all Australian sporting teams severed sporting ties with South Africa until the abolition of apartheid.

During the Sydney games for the Springboks he, Meredith and Verity were the only people to get through the police cordon. He lent his membership card to Peter Hain, then a leading British anti-apartheid demonstrator later to become a British Cabinet minister, who was detected with Dave’s member’s ticket. It was confiscated and Hain was kicked out of the ground….

Particularly in the mid to late 70s I encountered Dave again in his role as ESL teacher, and also from time to time at that famous Sydney University watering hole, the Forest Lodge. I think we met again there in 1987-1988 when I lived for a time just two doors up from that pub.


The Forest Lodge c. 1940 and today. Not improved by modernisation…

So there were times I knew Dave reasonably well. And now he is gone.

Not the first by any means. See 50 years on – 1: a classmate’s story (2009). And in reminiscent vein: 1959 revisited, Trams down Cleveland Street via Memory Lane, The year my voice broke…, 1957 or MCMLVII and Nobel prize winner’s obituary triggers memories.

Lenny Basser, left, and my good friend Roger Dye far right.

1958 when we were 15 – Roger and I, that is.

Classmates of Dave Chadwick