When Denis Hyland started in prep at Shaw House in 1954 (finishing in 1965) it was the beginning of a 66 year connection with Caulfield Grammar School that has continued to this day.
Brothers at Caulfield
Denis and his older brother Peter were enrolled at Caulfield Grammar together. The family was advised by their doctor that Peter, born with cerebral palsy and a mild intellectual disability, would receive more care and empathy at Caulfield Grammar than at a government school. While there were very few boys with a disability at the School at the time, the family was grateful the Headmaster Frank Archer was willing to take Peter on, and to the School for providing a supportive and caring environment for both boys over many years.
Peter is still going strong at 74, and is now living in aged care and the brothers remain close. Denis remains proud of him. They enjoy seeing each other a couple of times a week.
Denis’ memories of Caulfield Grammar are treasured, and while he was not overly focused on his academic studies, he thoroughly enjoyed his time and the broad range of sports and activities on offer. Like so many others, he loved Yarra Junction Campus. In his own words: “YJ is a great place, it was terrific to be around the animals and milking cows, I was happy to miss castrating pigs however! Getting to drive the grey Fiat tractor at speed was brilliant, ploughing fields, and learning about the stump jump plough are wonderful memories.”
As a member of the School Cadets’ Assault Pioneers, Denis attended YJ many a weekend, building and pulling things back down and he also loved running through the scrub playing war games. He was however “unjustly whacked with the calf collar” (six of the best) by farm manager Len McCrae as punishment for talking after lights out, and to this day claims it was a case of mistaken identity!?
On leaving school Denis worked in the family business, Hyland’s Butcher in Gardenvale, making him the eighth consecutive generation butcher in the Hyland family, dating back to the 1770s in England. His son and nephew continued the tradition and his grandsons may well do so as well. Aged 20, Denis was incredibly proud to receive his National Service conscription notice, spending 1971 serving in South Vietnam, one of only a few Caulfield Grammar students to serve in the Vietnam War.
Like many Grammarians, Denis aspired to run his own business, which he did, first as a florist with his partner, which then evolved into a picture framing business in Murrumbeena. For over 30 years he enjoyed providing his customers great service and the opportunity to give people long term stable employment.
Service and giving
The values of fairness and decency became increasingly important to Denis, with service and giving becoming very strong themes in his life. His interest in philanthropy began almost 30 years ago and his first consideration was Caulfield Grammar. To this day he loves supporting organisations both financially and as a volunteer. Denis was a member of Rotary for 30 years, District Governor in 2004/05, and has been very involved as a volunteer for several organisations on the Bellarine Peninsula for the past 10 years.
Denis was in Buntine House and was fortunate to win the L H Seward award for sport. He loved playing football, cricket and being a rower inspired him to leave a bequest to Caulfield Grammar that will fund a boat. He hopes this will enable the School to “win many rowing races and one day the Head of the River will go to Caulfield!” Denis feels satisfied to have confirmed his bequest.
His advice to others is to “share your thoughts with your nearest and dearest, encourage them to consider leaving a bequest, look after your family, your work life and then choose to support organisations you are passionate about and connected to.”
Caulfield Grammar education
When asked about his vision for Caulfield Grammar, Denis thinks about the children that haven’t been born as yet, wanting them to have the opportunity of a Caulfield Grammar education. Denis recognises and supports the Foundation’s vital role in providing these opportunities, particularly for those who would otherwise not have access to a Caulfield Grammar education. Denis, like many proud Grammarians, remains invested in seeing the School thrive into the future, hoping to see younger past students become part of the CGA and stay connected throughout their lives.