John Habib '28
Written on the 17 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association
Exert from 1999 Rostrevor Magazine
John and Roma Habib
There are few Rostrevor old scholars who have remained as passionate about Rostrevor for as long as John Habib. John is a Foundation scholar of 1923 and has maintained a close association with the College over the last 76 years.
Born in 1908, John attended St. Thomas at Goodwood and then C.B.C. Wakefield St, before making the trek out to Rostrevor as a thirteen-year-old. John is very proud of his extended family's long association with Rostrevor. In the 76-year history of the College there has only been a period of eight years when a Habib, Haddad, Kardachi, Heup or Thompson have not been on the roll at Rostrevor.
From the 1927 Annual: "Testing the resources of the orchard"
John's recollections of his years at Rostrevor are extensive. In his first year he recalls the unofficial lunchtime excursion to Morialta Falls and his idea of a 'short cut' back to school across the hill only to get lost and return to school, thankfully unnoticed, in time to catch the afternoon tram! In later years, the vigil of Br Tevlin from the balcony of Rostrevor House as he guarded the orchard from hungry marauding homeward bound day-boys. On one such occasion John was caught red handed by Brother with his gaberdine raincoat pockets full of oranges while his friends were up the tree. Brother Tevlin showed some mercy to John and told him to be off. As he walked away a steady stream of oranges found their way through a hole in the lining of his coat and tumbled out around his feet.
John was a Prefect of the College in 1927-28 and he also had a remarkable academic and sporting career at Rostrevor. He won the intermediate Maths Prize in 1924, the Leaving Chemistry Prize in 1925, was third in the College with his Leaving Pass and won the prize for Latin in 1928.
His sporting achievements are a source of great pride for him as he was involved in a remarkable era of what was the making of Rostrevor's fine sporting tradition.
He represented Rostrevor in the 1st XVIII from 1925-28. The 1927 team was undefeated and was hailed as the best A.F.L. schoolboy's team in Australia. John was Vice-Captain then Captain of the 2nd XI in '26 and '27 respectively and then played 1st XI cricket alongside Rostrevor's only Australian Test Cricket Representative, Bert Tobin, in 1928. John recalls Bert as a brilliant fast bowler. John was also pretty handy with the ball and topped the 1XI bowling averages as a slow bowler in 1928. Even so, he remembers with amusement games when Bert Tobin would toil unsuccessfully with the new ball only to bring himself on as a slow bowler as the ball became older, thus keeping a patient John Habib waiting for his opportunity. On leaving Rostrevor John spent some time studying Law before joining his father in the family clothing manufacture business.
John became a member of the Old Collegians' Association known then as C.B.O.C.A. in the 1930s and was active as a committee member until 1951 when he retired as the first Rostrevor President of C.B.O.C.A.
John married Roma Fridday and had two sons, Peter ('69) and Ross ('77). While his sons were at Rostrevor he joined the P&F and was President in1973 and held other Committee positions during this phase of his involvement at Rostrevor.
John continued to work in car sales into his seventies. He and Roma enjoy good health in their retirement. John remains as passionate about Rostrevor and the opportunities ft offers its students as he was in his glory days of 1927 and 1928. In 1998, Rostrevor's Jubilee Year, John was made an honorary Patron of the College.
Author: Old Collegians Association