Canberra Boys Grammar Old Boys ReunionShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
When do you become an old boy or old girl- of your school? Is it the day you leave, which is a bit too soon by my calculations because that’s in the ‘former’ student category, or is it after a significant passage of time? Firmly in the category of old boy is 99 year old Irwin Prowse. A sprightly gent with a memory bank that retrieves and remembers in excellent detail and a happy demeanour that has stood him in good stead along with his recommended Uncle Toby’s traditional porridge in the a.m., whiskey for p.m and don’t over exercise.
He’s an old boy of Canberra Grammar School back to catch up with the various decades of 30, 40 and 50 years ago as a weekend of celebrations brought them all together for the dinner at the National Portrait Gallery.
Born in Adelong in 1914 he attended the school as a day boy then boarded for his final year which he’d repeated to do Latin- four years jammed into one - that was required for pharmacy studies he wanted to do.
The war got in the way but his Canberra history is to treasure with his dad running the J.W.Prowse hairdressing, tobacconist and stationery shop in the Sydney Building. His Uncle Dick Prowse had the lease on The Blue Moon Café around the corner.
We talked about the businesses close by with next door Ally Nish whose shop was the go to sport’s store for bikes and the etceteras for fixing. Snows was on the corner for all manner of drapery and haberdashery and the fun of watching you money fly through the air on their overhead cash carrier system. But Irwin became a public servant and retired as the Acting Deputy Director General of Social Services, and is now happily living at the Morsehead Home.
One old boy from the school was absent but Irwin is proud to tell his story of beating the formidable intellect of Gough Whitlam in an Ancient and Modern History exam in 1932 where he got an A and Gough a B. The Sunday roast at the Whitlam house on Melbourne Avenue for boarders is remembered fondly as are wise words from Cannon Edwards to maintain a healthy mind in a healthy body and to never argue with the umpire or referee.
Thanks Irwin, I enjoyed your stories, but I can't handle the porridge its chook's food!