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News ian 2/20/2014

Boys will be Boys... and another old saying on boys came from Ignatius Loyola who said, “Give me a boy at seven and I will show you the man.” It made me think about what sort of boys certain ‘grown up’ men would have been.

North Sydney is home to a number of excellent schools that do well academically and have alumni who have succeeded in business, politics, medicine, sport, the military and the arts. Rydges North Sydney has had a close association with many of these schools because of a shared geography.

When checking out lists of famous alumni there are, of course, many names that are only recognised as being ‘famous’ by others in their particular fields – personally, I glaze over at lists of Rhodes Scholars, research scientists and corporate movers and shakers. I go straight for those I feel I ‘know’ through the world of arts, entertainment, public life or for being locked away for doing something naughty…

Two of the neighbourly boys’ schools are North Sydney Boys High and Sydney Church of England Grammar School, which is better known as Shore. NSBH is a public selective school that does gangbusters academically and Shore boys’ parents dig deep into their pockets to pay for an all-round education at this GPS school. SCEGS alumni are called Shore Old Boys and NSBH alumni are Old Falconians (the school address is Falcon Street, North Sydney).

Now, humour me here… I am going to throw a hypothetical dinner party for 16 blokes (functioning at their physical and intellectual peak) with an invitation accepted by eight men from each school.

Notable Old Falconians who contributed to the arts include author Paul Brickhill (Reach for the Sky, The Dam Busters, The Great Escape), actor Lex Marinos, director Chris Noonan (Babe), journalist Peter Overton, Tropfest founder & actor, John Polson, shock jock Howard Sattler and Greedy Smith from Mental as Anything. To add a bit of diversity, entertaining cricket legend, Allan Border.

Got half the table seated…

And from Shore, these chaps can fill the other seats. To balance the sporting slot, tennis legend John Newcombe… then we have journalist and biographer of Patrick White, David Marr, Chris Taylor from The Chaser next to Sir Frank Packer… to balance Greedy we have Tim Freedman, songwriter and lead singer for the Whitlams… then we have larrikin Prime Minister John Gorton and Hollywood star, Errol Flynn – he can be counted on to keep the drinks flowing. Flynn, incidentally, was expelled from the school for theft – and for being caught having a fling with the school’s laundress. The final seat goes to a man who once coached me at rugby and was one of the most intriguing, entertaining, charismatic and bizarre characters I have ever encountered. His name was Tim Bristow and in a chequered career he was a male model (Chesty Bond), private eye, rugby player, bouncer, convicted criminal, racehorse owner and what was known as a ‘hard man’.

Going to be a lively night methinks! And if you want to let your imagination really go for a wander – picture everyone named above, in the same room, at age seven… and it is little Frank Packer’s birthday party! Would it be a case of give me the man and I’ll show you the boy?!

Of course, if you are in town to visit one of these schools or indeed are in the mood for your own dinner party, Rydges North Sydney will make you welcome!

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