John Long

Malvern Grammar School was established in 1890 by Charles McLean and, in 1924, the school moved to the current site of Caulfield’s Malvern Campus in Willoby Avenue, Glen Iris, with A J (“Joe”) Marsden as its new headmaster.

In 1948 the school’s name was changed to Malvern Memorial Grammar School, the “Memorial” part of the name honouring those past students who had died in the two world wars.

Until 1960 Malvern was a school in its own right, offering classes right through from kindergarten to matriculation (Year 12). Like Caulfield Grammar it had an association with the Anglican Church and from 1929 to 1958 both Caulfield and Malvern were members of the same sporting association – the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria (AGSV). Caulfield had been a founder member of the AGSV in 1920 and Malvern joined in 1929. In 1958 Caulfield left the AGSV and joined the Associated Public Schools (APS).

An affiliation agreement between Caulfield and Malvern commenced in 1961, under which Malvern closed its senior secondary classes and students in these classes were offered a place at Caulfield. From 1961 to 1979 Malvern offered classes from kindergarten to Year 8 with Malvern students transferring to Caulfield in Year 9. Following the decision to open the Wheelers Hill Campus, the Shaw House Primary School that had operated in Mayfield Street, St Kilda East, from 1949 to 1979 was closed and the Malvern became the sole primary feeder campus for Caulfield, offering classes from kindergarten to Year 6. Malvern Campus became coeducational in 1993, at the same time as Caulfield Campus.

John Long was President of the Caulfield Grammarians’ Association from May 1998 to May 2000. He is the only CGA President to have attended Malvern Grammar School when it was separate a school from Caulfield.

In recent times John has reached a point in his life when retired from active full-time employment, enjoying a reasonably good level of health and being surrounded by a loving family, he has had an opportunity to reflect on his life journey.

“A significant part of my life – in excess of six decades – has been associated with Caulfield Grammar School”.

He commenced schooling at Malvern Memorial Grammar School in 1954 as a recipient of a bursary for being a member of the Choir at the All Saints’ Church in St Kilda East. His involvement with the choir included two before school practices a week and singing at the 11am and 7pm church services each Sunday.

John recalls that his Year 3 teacher, Mrs Stillman, was the only female class teacher he had throughout his years at school. The Year 3 classroom had two entrances, one from the rear corridor and another from the Ballroom. Unlike today, John remembers, no pedestrian traffic was allowed to use the stairs in the Ballroom. All movement was via the stairs at the back of the Ballroom or via an outside staircase.

Mr Ralph Skitch, who taught mathematics and geography, left a strong impression on John. He admired Mr Skitch’s ability to sketch maps in freehand on the blackboard but feared his famous “wolf whistle” that brought instant dead silence to the Ballroom. A strong disciplinarian, some of Skitch’s sarcastic remarks about students were, John says, “legendary”.

John’s school days at Malvern were influenced by three headmasters – A J Marsden, Dr Rupert Goodman and D B (Boyd) Coutts.

Following the affiliation of Malvern with Caulfield in 1961, John transferred to Glen Eira Road to complete his senior secondary years. Unfortunately, not all his Malvern classmates transferred to Caulfield, and Ralph Skitch and Dr Alf Di Battista were the only Malvern teachers to move to Caulfield.

Some highlights from John’s time at Caulfield included: 1) receiving house colours for cross country running, 2) being a senior member of the Australian Rules football umpiring squad; 3) his appointment as Troop Leader of the 7th Caulfield scout troop that was based at the school; and 4) his involvement in camps at Puckapunyal as a cadet unit corporal. John enjoyed attending the economics classes conducted by John Day (known as the “General”). He received second class honours in matriculation economics and was appointed School Officer (Library) in his matriculation year (1965).

During his time at Caulfield the headmasters were Rev. Stan Kurrle and Bruce Lumsden.

After finishing school, John was successful in obtaining employment as a junior audit clerk with a city firm of chartered accountants. He studied accountancy at RMIT, attending night lectures conducted at Melbourne High School during the first four years of the course. His employer allowed him to complete the final section of the course as a part-time day student at RMIT’s city campus.

After graduation, John was awarded associate membership of the Australian Society of Accountants. He undertook further study in the 1980s at Chisholm Institute of Technology (now Monash University’s Caulfield Campus), completing a Graduate Diploma in Accounting & Finance. He became a member of the Australian Institute of Management and after changes within the accounting profession, a Certified Practising Accountant. In February 2022 he was awarded his certificate for 50 years membership.

It was not until the 1980s when John was appointed Finance & Administration Manager of Malvern Elderly Citizens Welfare Association (MECWA) that he found his real ‘calling’ – the aged care sector. In 1993 John and his wife Cheryl, a registered nurse, were granted Approved Operator Status and subsequently received approval for a number of Commonwealth Government places. This was the first step in the establishment of The Elly-Kay Centre, a residential  aged care facility in Mordialloc. Later in the decade they established another residential aged care facility in Inverloch – the Seahaven Community Centre being the largest employer in the district.

John’s involvement with Caulfield Grammar School was reignited when his son David attended the school from 1988 to 1993. Attendance at Caulfield Campus Parents’ & Friends’ (P & F) meetings eventually led to him being elected P & F Vice-President and subsequently President in 1992 and 1993. This position involved membership of the School Council.

Joint activities with the Caulfield Grammarians’ Association led to John joining the CGA Committee after David left school. He held a number of executive committee positions before being elected President in 1998. While occupying the positions of CGA Senior Vice-President and President he again served on School Council. John continued on the Committee for a number of years after finishing his two-year term as President, including being Honorary Secretary for a few years. A highlight of his presidency was a change in the membership requirements that allowed both teaching and non-teaching staff to be honorary members of the Association while employed by the school.

John was elected a Fellow of the CGA for long and distinguished service to the Caulfield Grammar School community in 2015 and was presented with his Fellowship Certificate at the Annual Founder’s Day Dinner.

John is very proud that his family now has a connection over three generations with Caulfield Grammar School. His grandson Angus (David’s son) was enrolled at Malvern Campus from 2013 to 2016. He resumed at Caulfield Campus in Year 7 in 2021 following David’s return to Australia after a period working in Singapore. David’s daughter Zara began at Malvern in Year 2 in 2021.

John’s advice to his grandchildren and their friends is: “Honour and respect the past, live in the present and look to the future. Live and work but do not forget to play, have fun in life and really enjoy it.”


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