John Cave '40

Written on the 17 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association

John Cave

Excerpt from 2001 Rostrevor Magazine

John Cave with Grandson Michael Baker.

The 1930s were tough times for all with the Depression and then imminent war. John Cave ('40), as a twelve-year-old, was experiencing his own personal depression with the death of his sole provider, his mother. Placed in the care of his aunts he was enrolled to board at Rostrevor from Fullarton Rd at Dulwich. Thus, began his association with Rostrevor and a new sense of belonging. 

John was to spend 5 years at Rostrevor in what was a significant period in Rostrevor history. He was to witness the first use of the Mackey Wing, the opening of the Senior Dormitory, the Chapel and the picture theatre and, in the tradition of the Brothers capitalizing on the potential of the boarders, he was to have a significant role in these developments.

John Cave returned to Rostrevor this year as a grandfather to Alex ('98) and Michael (Year 8) Baker and it is a privilege for Red & Black to record some of his reminiscences of life at Rostrevor in the 1930s.

On leaving school in 1940, John, like so many of his contemporaries, was to enlist the following year in the AIF. He served in New Guinea, Moratai, Tarakan and Borneo as an artillery driver. After his discharge in 1945 he had a 'spell' before gaining employment with Richards Industries, Car Manufacturers, who went on to become Chrysler and then Mitsubishi. In 1947 he joined G.A. and R.L. Cole Bus Company and drove the Victoria Square - Daw Park run for a few before joining News Ltd as a driver city and country deliveries. He spent the remainder of his working life with News Ltd and concluded as their Garage Manager in 1988.

He married Daphne in 1947 and they had 4 girls; Susan (dee.), Sandra, Mignon and Cathy mother of Alex and Michael. Cathy is an active member of the Rostrevor P&F.

John's sporting achievements at Rostrevor were significant. He played in the 1st XVIII and 1st XI for two years as well as the Drive Tennis team and after the War went on to play Reserves football for Norwood in w was an exciting era for that Club. He trained under the legendary Jack Oatey and alongside Norwood legend$. John Marriot, Sam Gallagher and old scholar Peter Vivian. In the late 1950's he coached Glenroy FC to 3 successive Premierships. (Glenroy became the Campbelltown FC and then Campbelltown/Magill FC).

From the 1940 Annual.1st XVIII 
Back: F. Madigan, J. Cave, M. Connors, V. Pedler Middle: J. Griffith, B. Ahern, L. Dunn, B. O'Leary, K. Ward, P. Moore, D. Fiora, L. Gillespie. 
Front: R. O'Donohue, R. Forrester, L. Hayes, B. McPherson, J. Broderick, L. Breen, J. Tonkin.

He continued his interest in football when grandson Alex captained and played for Walkerville Juniors with son-in-law Peter Baker as coach the side won two consecutive Premierships. He also supported Alex when he played for Norwood U/17's. 

John's sleeping accommodation for the five years he attended Rostrevor was the northern upstairs balcony. He admits it being cold on occasions but recalls no-one complained. His dormitory master was Br Meir and like so many old scholars he has fond memories of Br Mogg and his entrepreneurial ways.

Br Gurr was very strict on boys smoking so it was to John's amusement when he and a group of boys bumped into Br Gurr in the city one day puffing on a cigar. John recalls that Br Gurr was so, concerned that, younger boys not take up the habit that he instructed the older boys to confiscate any cigarettes they found in the possession of younger boys!

As a boarder for so many years, a period when resources and money were scarce, John recalls the many roles the boarders played in the running of the property outside of classroom time. One mammoth job was the removal of two Moreton Bay figs that grew on site that is now the Chapel. What seemed like every spare moment, over a period of weeks was spent by the senior boys lopping branches and excavating the roots. When a sufficient amount of the root system had been exposed then the Brothers organised for Mr. McCarthy, a local carrier, to bring a bullock team to finish off the job.

From the 1939 Annual. Sub-Intermediate Class. 
Standing: J. Cave, M. Connors, M. Lynch. A. Jolly, P. Pullen, V. Pedler, R. Kempe, J. White, F. McFarlane, B. White. P. Thomas, F. Cavanagh, M. McCarthy. 
Middle: M. Coffey, K. Rohlfing, P. Pyne, J. McDougall, S. Sugars, K. Tait, M. McMahon, J. Jordan.
Front: F. Herring, T. Boyce, I. Hannan, B. Kenny, J. Olsen, K. Smith, G. Ward.

John also proudly recalls that he was the very first student operator of the new project kindly donated by Dan Clifford (with encouragement from Br Mogg). He also recalls that Mr. Clifford also donated the essential seating from one of his theatres that had undergone refurbishment (possibly also at Br Mogg's suggestion).

John has not sustained close friendships with boarding school contemporaries but has enjoyed catching up with old scholars over the years. He played in a number of old scholar games against Sacred Heart which were annual social and sporting events.

He has caught up with Kevin Ward and Bryan O'Leary over the years and has fond memories of team mates Barry Ahern, Frank Harby, John Simpson and Brian McPherson.

It is an honour and pleasure for Red & Black to be able to profile loyal old scholars like John and to pass on valuable anecdotal history to our community. The Old Collegians' acknowledge John Cave and thank him for sharing his 'living history' and wish he and Daphne all the best.


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Author:Old Collegians Association


Glen Stuart Rd Woodforde Sa 5072 Australia


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