John McInnes '56

Written on the 17 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association

John McInnes Retires

Excerpt from 2000 Rostrevor Magazine

John McInnes (1956) is a man well known to the entire South Australian community. He has touched the lives of literally thousands of people through his commitment to education, sport, the Church and Rostrevor.

John McInnes Rostrevor College Academic Staff 1971 - 1999

In September 1999, the teaching staff at Rostrevor bade farewell to a man who has served the Rostrevor Community for 29 years as a colleague, teacher, coach and mentor. Indeed, John's association with Rostrevor goes back another 20 or so years to 1950 when he commenced as a Year 6 student.

The character that John projects in adulthood was in evidence in his years at Rostrevor as a student with John accepting leadership roles and positions of responsibility. He was Head Prefect in 1956. From Rostrevor John went to Melbourne to fulfil his ideal of helping people and making a difference and studied with the Brothers at Lower Plenty, Box Hill and Bundoora. His first appointment as a Christian Brother was to CBC St Kilda in 1960 where he worked with fellow old scholar Brothers John Marks (1951) and Noel Guerin (1954). He then transferred to St Kevin's in 1965 and worked with Br W G Hall and Br Rooney. Late in 1966 John left the life of a Christian Brother but not the spirit or the ideals in so far as a teacher in a Catholic school is concerned.

In 1967 John commenced work with the Education Department and worked at Norwood Tech, Le Fevre Tech and Kidman Park Tech. In 1970 he accepted an appointment as Co-Senior in English at Rostrevor alongside Br Don Siebert. Over those 29 years John assumed responsibility for a range of other roles such as Year Level Coordinator, Athletics Coordinator, SSABSA Coordinator and Bus Coordinator. When John joined the teaching staff at Rostrevor there were 21 teachers in the Senior School and 10 of them were Brothers. In his 29 years he has seen the complexion and composition of the College change enormously. He recalls the seemingly unhurried existence of 1971 with the Staff Room located in what was the Dining Room of Rostrevor House. The College was fortunate to have many fine practitioners who set the standards for the Rostrevor of today. Tom Kendell, Br Don Siebert, Dick Whittington, Daryl Hicks, Noel Guerin, Ivor Davis, Kath McCabe, Br Michael Coughlin and Br John Moylan are some of the identities that come to mind when he reflects on that era.

Swimming Champions 1956 L to R: C Peoples (Under 13), R Bailey (Under 14), J Mcinnes (Open), B Freeman (Under 11) A Auld, (Under 12), F Manuel (Under 15). Absent: B Murphy, (Under 16).

He also holds in considerable respect the work of Br Hall, Br Bourke and Br Marks. Br Hall re-invigorated academic standards during his time as Headmaster. Br Bourke was Headmaster during a time of much building activity. He was a man of vision and a great mentor to John in his days as a student and as a teacher. Br Marks also made an impact with developments in curriculum and facilities. Languages, Technology and Physical Education were well served during his years as Headmaster. John's long association with Rostrevor and the Christian Brothers was celebrated with his inclusion on the Pilgrimage to Rome for the beatification of Edmund Ignatius Rice in 1996.

John has many fond memories of events and personalities as a student at Rostrevor. He re-calls the highly entrepreneurial Br Mogg who organised Sunday Fetes, Wrestling Matches and Irish Festivals in order to promote the College. Br Gurr, the U/13 football coach and teammates Gavin Kain, Des and Mick Shanahan and Jack O'Loughlin. Training was conducted in a boxthorn paddock opposite the Bungalow Oval. 

Br Gurr was keen to get John involved in football at Rostrevor. One afternoon he boarded the tram on which a 10- year old, homeward bound John Mcinnes was sitting. Br Gurr escorted John from the tram and made him watch training for an hour and a half.

This was the beginning of John's illustrious football career at Rostrevor!

The First Eighteen - 1956 
Back Row: (L to RJ D Salkeld. PT Ryan, G Harrison, P Michalanney, A Fernandez. PW Ryan. 
Second Row: J Campbell, G McCormack, J Jungfer. E Reilly, L O'Driscoll, V McCormack, D David, P Galvin. 
Front: P McMahon, L Newman, F Sullivan. J Mclnnes (Captain). H Harding, P Cronin, and R von Doussa (Vice-Captain).

He can still recall the chill of excitement and pride of the Adelaide Oval Combined Sports; Br Ray O'Donoghue's patience as choirmaster for over 100 boys; Br Bill Greening's attempts to develop in his students a love of the English classics: Br Kelty's reserved and kindly manner and his appearance at footy training in his Essendon guernsey as he had a few kicks with the boys; the Reformatory boys driving their horse and cart down the Bungalow Oval Rd collecting Boarding School food scraps for the pigs; the boarders' daily recess ration of jam sandwiches being hastily devoured before approaches were made to day-scrags to share their recess; the cadets, the uniforms, the camps and the dimension they added to school life; athletic adventures with Tom Kendell when he and Paul Cronin (of The Sullivans· TV fame) travelled far and wide to Athletics meetings John is particularly proud of his parents' involvement in the Rostrevor community. His mother was very active in the Mothers' Club until her untimely death in 1955 and his father was inaugural President of the Fathers' Club in 1956.

John Mcinnes achieved a lot as a student at Rostrevor. He completed his Matriculation as a Leaving student. He was a Prefect in 1955 an d Head Prefect in !956, Captain of the 1st XVIII in 1955 and 1956, he played 1st XVIII football from 1953 to 1956, he won the Gosse Medal in 1955 and 1956, he was in the 1st XI in 1955 and was an outstanding athlete at sprints, hurdling and long jump. John was also Open Athletics and Swimming Champion in 1955 and 1956.

John' s reminiscences of the students he has taught are too broad to capture here but are typified by names like Bowler, Clancey, Wark, Boots, Cattrall and Carey. He has sustained lifelong friendships with Tony Lowes (1955), Glyn Davies (1956) and John Jungfer (1956).

John married Delores (nee Warman) in 1967 and they have had three children Matthew, Marie-Louise and Joanne all of whom work in the health care industry. Delores has worked part-time for 30 years and with John will begin to plan for life after work.

The Mcinnes family holiday home at Carrickalinga is a good place to start!

Athletics Team 1956 
Back Row (L to R): J Clifford, P Salkeld, H O'Connor, R Raylor.
SecondRow: D Nutt, J Mcinnes, H. Harding.  K. Hancock, N. Collins, M. Shannon, PL. Bussenschutt, A Fernandez, P McMahon. 

Seated: J Campbell, PT Ryan, E Reilly. TP Kendell, Esq (Coach). P Cronin (Captain), L Newman, D David. 
Front: P McDonald, D Grubb. A Brady, J Comerford.
Absent C Crawford.

An extract from the SANFL Coaching Awards Program
1999 SANFL Special Award for Service to Coaching John McInnes

John has taught at Rostrevor College for the past 300 years, mainly in English, and has demonstrated his mastery of the skills of the English language during his addresses to the players where he has not been heard to include many of the recent additions to the dictionary.

John has just retired, and we acknowledge, and we acknowledge the contribution of an exemplary coach and human being and the SANFL thank him for his magnificent contribution and wishes him well for the years ahead.

1956: Played his first League game with Norwood as a 17-year-old student at Rostrevor College.

He then spent 10 years in the Catholic Church as a teaching brother. He left the order after 10 years and rejoined society and married his old girlfriend Delores.

1967: Coached Norwood Under 19s.

1968-1974: Coach Norwood Reserves and assisted with the League team with Robert Oatey during Norwood's restructure. 1969 John resumed his senior playing career and from 1969 to 1973 was Captain/Coach of Norwood Reserves.

He won the 1969, 1970 and 1972 Reserves Magarey Medals and gained a place as a league player with the Club as a young 30+ year old.

1975-1978: Coached Woodville League.

1979-1981: Coached Ferryden Park
(SAFA SA Football Association)

1982: Coached Sturt Reserves and assisted Jack Oatey. He coached seven consecutive League games in the year Jack had his hip operation with 100% success.

1987-1989: Coached Rostrevor Old Collegians

1990: Coached the Sturt Football Club Development Squads.

1991-1995: Coached Norwood Reserves. In all, John coached Norwood Reserves to five Premierships.


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Author:Old Collegians Association


Glen Stuart Rd Woodforde Sa 5072 Australia


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