Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 29, October 1985

The Waihi College Jubilee celebrations held on March 9-10, 1985 attracted 823 registrations, of which 611 were ex-pupils, many coming back from overseas for the event.

The weekend commenced with a Wine and Cheese Get-to-gether on Friday night and culminated in a Church Service in the College Assembly hall on Sunday morning and conducted by the Rev. Mark Chapman of Clevedon. A member in the 1960's of Waihi's famous "Wheeler Dealer" band, Mark brought his guitar along and entertained the congregation by accompanying himself with several appropriate songs. He spoke on the theme of fellowship and coming together - a very meaningful subject for the weekend - thus cementing the friendships and memories formed during that time.

Saturday morning saw the ex-pupils meet together at the South School, Moresby Avenue - the site of the first Waihi College. They then paraded up to the present college where the rest of the morning was spent in sporting contests.

A barbecue lunch followed and then the bell rang for assembly. The Roll Call was made by three former teachers and two long-serving present teachers, namely, Mrs. Margaret Cleary, Mr. Ray Cleary and Mr. Ron Ingram and Messrs. Jack Harvey and Jack Morgan, Deputy Principal. Always a strict disciplinarian, this very popular teacher, Jack Morgan, amused the old pupils by prefacing his remarks.....

"Now I don't want any mumbling as you answer your name, and remember the 'Sir'.

And if you want a smoke during the afternoon, go to the toilet block or behind the bike shed as you always did before."

* * *

The Official Opening was held in the college grounds with the Chairman of the Jubilee Committee, Mr. F. C. Saunders. (Principal 1975-1983) extended a welcome to those present. At the same time he paid tribute to the first Principal of the College, Mr. D. E. Swinton.

Other speakers were the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr. S. G. Baker; Kaimai M.P., Mr. Bruce Townshend; Chairman, Ohinemuri County Council, Mr. Basil Morrison; and Waihi's Mayor, Mr. O. J. Morgan.

In his remarks Mr. Morgan spoke about the town's pride in the surroundings of the College, with the beautiful stand of native bush which had been spared first by the pioneer Hollis family and later by the planners of the College. This additional 9 acres was over the actual amount decreed for this size school. As it was proving difficult to go against this rulling of the Education Board, the planners invited the Minister of Education to visit and he agreed to their wishes. Mr. Morgan also spoke of the involvement of the college in the community.

* * *

A dinner slotted in between the day activities and a cabaret was highlighted by the speech from Mr. John Kelly, Head from 1965-69, who paid tribute to perhaps one of the most popular teachers the college had ever had, the late Penny Bowden.

It was a most successful weekend and well worth all the work put in by the hard-working committee.

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FIRST CONTROLLING AUTHORITIES following the transition of a District High School to full secondary status:-

1954 Committee of Management: T.J.F. Spencer Chairman, E. W. Grant, H.A.F. Haszard, A.A. Thomas, W.E. Ludwig, H.E. Timbers, H. Orchard, F. W. Tribble.

1957 First Board of Governors: E.W. Grant Chairman, B.T. Pope, W.E. Ludwig, H.A.F. Haszard, E.C. Morgan, S.A.J. Faville, D.I. Saunders, W.R. Lapsley, H.C. Tuck, P.B. Mulhern.

Board Chairmen:

Mr. E.W. Grant 1957—1961

Dr. H.C. Tuck 1961—1967

Mr. N.E. Fergus 1967—1973

Mr. H.J.J. Bange 1973—1976

Mr. K.A. Tribble 1976—1981

Mr. S.G. Baker 1981—

1958 Mrs. D.M. Heath first female member of the Board


Mr. D.E. Swinton 1954—1964

Mr. J.R. Kelly 1965—1969

Mr. R.C. McDonald 1970—1975

Mr. J.E. Morgan - Acting Principal May 1975—May 1976

Mr. F.C. Saunders May 1976—1983

Mr. H.T. Shepherd 1984-

* * *


1901 Waihi School became Waihi District High School and teaching at secondary level commenced.

1931 The school was burned down.

1932 The re-built school opened as Waihi Intermediate - with secondary attached. Principal F.R. Slevin, ex Waihi student.

1947 Mr. D.E. Swinton appointed principal.

1953 After strong representation from the school the Minister of Education agreed to the establishment of Waihi College as a full secondary school with intermediate department attached. (a reversal of the previous position).

1954 Waihi College - name adopted with change of status. "Waihi High School" had been favoured by some.

The control of the school was the responsibility of an elected Committee of Management headed by Mr. T.J.F. Spencer. The South Auckland (now Hamilton) Education Board had overall authority.

Mr. D.E. Swinton was appointed principal. Mr. C.G. Bowden deputy and Mrs. M.A. Cleary senior assistant mistress. One of the assistants was Mr. J.E. Morgan presently deputy and another Mr. F.C. Saunders who was later to become principal.

The change of status brought no change in buildings and teaching continued in eight prefabs with technical subjects, dressmaking and home economics being taught at the old tech building in Kenny Street.

The pressure for new buildings was strong - but resisted by the government. A new site was purchased however – Hollis' farm. Most spectacular student success was probably that of Kevin Steel, Joe Benfel1, Barrie Wintle and Ron Heslop who gained second in senior grade aggregate points at the Waikato Secondary School Athletic Championships. Waihi was one of the smallest schools of the twenty-six competing.

1955 No sign yet of move for new buildings. 1st XV members travelling in green prefect (guess whose!) arrived at the opening of a maternity hospital instead of the Pukekohe rugby grounds where a Waikato v Southern Counties match was being played.

Dorothy Larsen (now Baker) broke Thames Valley records in both 75 and 100 yds athletics events.

Gala day - probably the first New Zealand school occasion televised. Mr. Ted Grant with camera and receivers provided this treat.

1956 Gala day. The one and only bull fight ever to take place at Waihi College.

Arts Shield entry. "Mike McCarron's speech on the College Cadet Unit was well received despite the fact it had a serious effect on morale".

Good news on new buildings - development of grounds at the Hollis site commenced in December.

1957 Establishment of Waihi College Board of Governors. First chairman Mr. E.W. Grant.

College pipe band made its first public appearance at the college gala. Fifth form poet Ken Watters wrote:

Old MacDonald had a band


And in that band he had some girls


That beat the drums and blew the bags

And even frightened the fifth form wags .. etc.

Diana Kinns gained a University Junior Scholarship.

1958 March. Construction of the new buildings commenced.

Mrs. D.M. Heath joined the Board. First female member.

1st XV (John Pullan captain, Campbell Smith coach) defeated Te Puke H.S. 12-6, Huntly Coll. 35-0, Tauranga Coll. 11-3.

Staff once more defeated 1st XV at soccer and the A basketball (netball) teams.

"The Middle Watch" who could forget Ken Watters' Marine Ogg.

1959 New buildings proceeding well.

Athletics: Val Morgan (now Dillimore) won the N.Z. Athletics Championships 100yds and 220yds (record equalled). At the B.O.P. School Athletics, Trevor Jones, Intermediate, 1st 100yds (record), 1st 220yds, 1st 440yds. Val Morgan, Intermediate, 1st 75yds (record), 1st l00yds (record). Julie Davis, Senior, 1st 75yds (record), 1st, l00yds (record), 1st l00m hurdles (record).

Mr. N.C.C. Small, college music teacher, composed the ballet music for the first all-New Zealand ballet 'Children of the Mist'.

September - the big move to the new site. Forms 1 & 2 remain at Moresby Avenue to continue as a separate and quite independent school.

Arts Shield:

1960 11 March. Official opening by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Walter Nash.

April: Sandy Cowdell self-taught violinist chosen for National Youth Orchestra.

May: Val Morgan selected as member of N.Z. team for the Rome Olympics.

School roll 350 - short of teaching space. Plans for further buildings (C-block) being prepared.

1961 February: Construction of C-block under way.

Dr. Tuck new Board chairman.

Thames Valley Athletics Championships, Ben Heath, 1st senior l00yds (record), 1st 220yds (record). Rod Steel, 1st senior 440yds, 1st long jump, 1st triple jump.

Arts Shield. Sandy Cowdell as Charley's Aunt must rank as one of the finest characterisations we presented in inter-house plays.

Term 3. C-block completed. Rooms occupied.

About 2½ acres of bush added to the school site.

1962 February: Death of Jack Silcock former head boy of the school.

March: Even if the visit of the Governor General didn't reach the expectations of some the holiday given was appreciated by all. Baths seen as a top priority. Funding discussed.

1963 April: Major baths fund-raising under way. Monster Queen Carnival launched. (Remember J.E. Woolf?) £5,500 ($11,000) profit. Joan Paterson the winning queen.

Heard of Loosehead Len? He was awarded Best-All-Round Boy trophy at prize-giving.

It couldn't happen now. Mr. Morgan took a rugby team to Tauranga by train.

1964 Board elections. Dr. Tuck continues as chairman.

The school roll continued to increase. Extra pre-fabs provided. Baths construction commenced.

After 40 years of teaching, 17 as principal at Waihi D.H.S. and College, Mr. Swinton retired in December.

Mr. J.R. Kelly, previously H.O.D. English at Lynfie1d College was appointed principal. He was an ex-Waihi D.H.S. pupil.

1965 February: Mr. Kelly took up his appointment.

20 Feb. Official opening of the school baths by Mr. Swinton. Accidental death of John Coombes past dux of the college.

July: College chess team won the B.O.P. Waikato Schools Chess Tournament. Leader Ewen Green has since made a name for himself in chess circles.

Good year for the golfing students with Lesley Nottle, Heather Saunders, Clyde Smith, Neil Nottle and John Saunders all placed in the Thames Valley Schools tournament.

1966 April: Spectacular crash of a glider which was landing as a gala attraction.

July: Death of Mr. R.G. Young who had been Woodwork instructor at the college for the previous 24 years.

August: Cheryl Mason competed in Australia as a member of the N. Z. Skiing team.

1967 April: Inaugural meeting of School Council.

Arts/Science challenge instituted. Winners Neil Nottle, Roy Purvis.

1st XV co-winners of Coulter Cup.

John Greaves leaves as A.F.S. to California.

Evening Classes report 'Probably because of the Influence of T.V. there has been less interest in evening classes."

Excellent results in Scholarship (two credit passes) and Bursaries (4A and 1B) examinations.

There is talk again of the need for a gymnasium.

1968 Mr. and Mrs. Bowden were overseas for the year.

Mr. A.R. Cleary was acting deputy principal.

April. Mr. Whitmore and Mrs. Kaye became engaged (both staff members).

June: Barry Margan ex-Waihi student returned to give a pianoforte recital.

Science Arts Challenge 'Flying Machine', Helen Bange, Bronwen Shepherd, Sheri Hinch, Wendy Bailey the winners.

1969 Sixth formers visit New Caledonia. Jeanette's appendix trouble resulted in an extra week for her - and Mr. Miller, the teacher in charge.

Indoor basketball introduced. Boys and girls teams entered in the local competition.

Death of Mr. D.E. Swinton.

Staff Changes: Mr. Kelly resigned to take up an appointment as principal of Fairfield College. Mr. Bowden retired after 16 years as deputy-principal. Mr. Saunders left to take up an appointment as principal of Ruawai College. Mr. Cleary retired after a long spell as H.O.D. social studies. Mr. Cowern retired to Waihi Beach.

1970 Mr. R.C. McDonald began his appointment as principal. Mr. McDonald had been H.O.D. science at Hamilton Boys H.S.

Mr. Morgan was appointed deputy principal.

A very successful year for A netball team. Won opening and closing day tournaments and the A-grade competition.

Members: Margaret G., Pauline B., Vicky K., Dianne R., Carol L., Wendy D., Sharon K., Toni T. Also beat Huntly, Mt. Maunganui and Waiuku Colleges.

Mr. Clare and 6th and 7th boys relay run from Hamilton to Waihi.

1971 A.F.S. student Pamela Merritt arrived from Tennessee. Later in year was best speaker in Thames Valley Rotary Public Speaking competition.

Alex Ainsley won Form 5 section of Ngarimu Essay contest.

Gymnasium funding under way with Rotary sponsored concert.

July: James K. Baxter speaks to sixths and sevenths.

C. G. Bowden back – part-time teaching.

1972 Barry Crump speaks to fifths and sixths.

August: Farewell to Mr. Len Butler groundsman since the school was established on the new site.

September: South Island tour by college group led by Mr. Leadley.

A modified Arts Shield. Senior plays replaced by Act 11 of The Pirates of Penzance.

1973 First recipient of Pye Study Award was Karen Parker.

"Vertical" structure in class grouping was introduced.

No prefects were elected this year.

Gymnasium fund—raising continued.

Modified Arts Shield - no senior plays competition.

1974 Mr. McDonald seconded the Department of Education for terms 2 and 3. Mr. Morgan acting principal.

August: Deborah Bange left to attend Soquel H.S. in California as an American Field Scholar.

Gymnasium fund at $9000.00. Hoping to make a start on the building in 1975.

December: Mr. McDonald resigns as principal. Mr. F.C. Saunders principal of Methven High School appointed to commence Term 2 1975. Mr. Morgan continued as acting principal.

Wendy Leonard and Katherine Lucas spent six weeks in Tahiti as part of a student exchange. Two Tahitian students were hosted in July and August.

1975 Term 2 Mr. Saunders takes up appointment as principal. Public meetings were held to confirm the formation of a Forms 1-7 school.

The decision was made to disestablish Waihi Intermediate and to establish Waihi (Forms 1 - 7) College from February 1976. Preparations for the increased roll were made.

1976 January: Additional relocatable and semi-permanent buildings moved in.

February: First Forms 1 and 2 pupils enrolled. Total roll 740. Additional staff appointed now 31 full-time, 5 part-time. Move made to obtain additional buildings of a permanent nature.

Mr. K. Tribble elected as Board chairman.

First time involvement of students in the blood donor scheme. Shirley Chester Waikato/Bay of Plenty Form 7 Albaina Francaise oral French competition winner.

October: College Association formed.

Back into Calf Club activities again. Mercers figure prominently.

Mr. and Mrs. Mellor retire after 10 years as caretakers. Electives introduced in sport, craft, interest and general recreational activities.

1977 February: Whangamata brother and sister Terry and Christine Butcher appointed head boy and head girl - a unique situation in this school's history.

Gayle Millard a Rotary Exchange Student from Oklahoma joined the seventh form.

Dean Taylor Ph.D. (chemistry) and Neil Rutherford (geology) were capped.

First time the school has entered a boys' hockey team in the Valley competition.

Murray Tribble selected for the Northern Districts' secondary school junior cricket team.

1978 College's first guidance counsellor appointed Mr. A.W. Western.

Mr. McLean introduced an extensive Outdoor Education programme for the whole school.

Over 130 students complete life-saving examinations.

Hobson's Choice presented for four nights. First major college production. Miss. P. Grover in charge.

Miss. Gibbs formed the Maori Culture Club with 45 junior students.

Mr. Biggs started school orchestra.

Board elections, 7 women, 4 men. First time women have outnumbered men.

Jan Baker runner-up in N.Z.T.V. Superkid competition.

New buildings. Planning and construction under way - new library, two laboratories, senior common room, seminar and study rooms. Contract price almost half a million dollars.

Junior school participated in town centennial celebrations. Pantomime presented by junior school 'Sleeping Beauty'. Very well received.

Mrs. Cleary retired after over 20 years as senior assistant mistress.

1979 Building programme continued. Library completed. Pressure now to have the gymnasium built. Fund raising activities to provide additional facilities at the gymnasium.

July: Visit to the school of Mr. W. Rowling M.P.

A good year for netball. 16 teams competed in the town competitions. A netball visited Sydney.

October: Department approval for calling of tenders for the gymnasium.

November: Library officially opened by Mr. Bruce Townshend M.P. Main speaker Mrs Diana Moorehead (Kinns).

College gained first place in Waikato and fifth in New Zealand in the secondary schools' life-saving (highest number of awards) competition.

Mr. Bowden finally retired from all teaching after 50 years in the profession.

1980 January; Work commenced on the construction of the gymnasium.

February: Miss P.D. Alcock commenced duties as senior assistant mistress.

Shelley Samson is in Johannesburg as a Rotary Exchange Student. Ashley MacPherson from South Africa is at the college as an exchange student from South Africa.

Four houses replace Arawa and Tainui. Empire, Dominion, Amaranth, Royal. (Names of reefs mined in Waihi.) Arts Shield continued, but changes continue. Finals only at night.

Miss Gilmour took a group of students to Noumea.

Hockey and rugby teams travelled to Sydney for 10 days.

Waihi Beach to Waihi cycle race inaugurated. Teams prizes to Tauranga Boys and Waihi College.

October: Gymnasium finished and in use.

Adventure playground building completed. Started in 1978.

Howard Morrison and other Department of Maori Affairs officers visited.

December: Mr. R. deLautour resigned to take up a position as principal of Mangakino High School.

1981 March: Official opening of the gymnasium by the Prime Minister, Mr. Muldoon.

Tennis court area was extended.

Very-good year for Carlene Dillimore including a win in the N. Z. Jun. Girls Championship 400m in record time. Won Thames Valley Schools Championships over 400m and 800m both in record time.

Donations from College Association and Pye extend video facilities.

May: A Netballers travelled to Brisbane and Surfers.

A Soccer team won Thames Valley schools' championship. Five soccer teams played in the Valley competition.

Second 'Annual' quiz organised by Miss. Alcock.

November: Aladdin the pantomime this year,130 involved.

First Related Arts Festival at the college. All local schools involved.

December: Retirement of Mr. Dick.

1982 February: Rotary Student Exchange Jan Baker in California.

Antoinette van Rooyen from South Africa at Waihi College.

Re-introduction of horticulture at third and fourth form level.

Fifth formers all study six subjects. (Over 20 pass 6 S.C. subjects in the end-of-year exams).

Girls' soccer introduced. A good start, won first game 7 - 1.

August: Music Hall replaced Arts Shield. Produced by Mr. Geoff Haworth with a cast of 70. Colin Kennett was an excellent chairman. Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable production.

Waihi College hosted a section of the N. Island Secondary Schools hockey tournament. Eleven teams competed. Waihi won the section.

December: Peter Pan the year's pantomime. Same high standard.

Mrs. Bowden retired after over 20 years as librarian.

Another good year for Carlene Dillimore who represented N. Z. in Australia.

Deryl Hanson gained a National Junior Scholarship.

1983 T.V. Secondary Schools Swimming Championships. Jeffrey Gamble, intermediate champion in 50m, l00m breaststroke, l00m freestyle each one in record time.

Athletics: John Caie won senior 1500m and 3000m in T.V. schools' championships. Christine Torrens equalled Val Morgan's 1958 high jump record.

Blood bank set up at the college in April and October.

Netball: A team visited Australia.

New head girl Mary Chappel is niece of head boy Robert Schaare.

July: Mrs. M. Haszard retired after 24 years as principal's secretary.

Farm Unit established. After months of negotiating a lease was gained on an adjoining property of 11 hectares. Control under the Farm Unit Committee.

Major production this year 'Half-a-Sixpence'. Mr. Buckman took a group on a South Island tour.

College Honours system introduced in Representative, Blues and Honours grades.

Cathi Woods, Rotary Exchange Student from Canada joined the sixths.

October: Death of Mr. C.G. Bowden.

Successful year for the debating team. Defeated Paeroa, Thames, Matamata Colleges. Narrowly defeated in Waikato final by St. Paul's, Hamilton. Team: Colin Maitland, Richard Weavers, Christine Myers.

December: Retirement of Mr. F. Saunders. Appointment of Mr. H. Shepherd.

1984 Mr. Shepherd commenced duties as principal.

Mr. W. Buckman in Bristol, England on a one-year teaching exchange. Mr. Tony Wright his replacement.

Alison Lind, Rotary Exchange Student in Washington State U. S. A.

S.C. Horticulture Class re-established - after a break of about 30 years.

Computerthon raised $6000.00. Class set of computers purchased. Maori Culture Group - conspicuous success under Diane Wijohn's leadership.

Rotary Australian Twin Exchange. From Australia for a term Helen Armstrong, Cathy Smith, Wayne Gretin, to Australia, Adele Houston, Terri Setters, Vaughn Guenter.

Major production 'Oliver'. Quite outstanding.

First time Waihi College competed in N. Island secondary schools skiing championships.

December: Host Whangamata students completed their Waihi College association. Whangamata Area School opens January 1985. Miss. P. Alcock, senior mistress retired after 5 years at the college.

Mr. J. Morgan advised that he will retire in May 1985. His association extends beyond 30 years, 15 as deputy principal.

Dr. Hetherington was Waihi's beloved Doctor for 43 years until the time of his retirement to Taupo in 1973 where he passed away in 1984.

(See Page 40 No.28 Journal) [see Journal 28: Dr L R Hetherington OBE - E]