Who was Laurie Payne?
This week I would like to share my reflection on Laurie Payne, shared with the School community at the opening of the Laurie Payne Gymnasium on Wednesday morning. As Mr Baker has said this was a wonderful event and the Laurie Payne Sports Centre will be a wonderful facility for Gippsland Grammar. It is important that our community recognises the man after whom it was named and that his memory lives on in future generations of students. Please find my reflection below.
At some point in our lives, we all come across larger than life characters; real people we have met who live on in our memory, we tell stories about them to our children and friends and we share our memories with others who knew them when we meet. Laurie Payne is one of those characters. I have no doubt that a generation of Gippsland Grammar students from the 80s and 90s continue to tell stories about this charismatic man.
In 1982, when Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were belting out their “I love Rock and Roll” hit on Countdown, it was Laurie Payne, the larger than life Physical Education teacher here, at what was then known as St Anne’s and Gippsland Grammar School, who plunged a shovel in the ground just next door and turned the sod which marked the beginning of the old gymnasium which was to be named in his honour and which now marks this wonderful new sports centre.
It’s a great pleasure to be able to share with a new generation of students and friends of the school a few thoughts about this man whose name will continue to be a presence at our School. Charisma is a term which describes a captivating presence. I have read that there are 3 qualities, which in the right quantities, produce a charismatic person. Those qualities are power, passion and warmth, and it’s in this context that I would like to talk about Mr Payne.
He was a powerful man. Mr Payne was physically strong and powerful. A former PT trainer in the British navy and trainer of SAS soldiers, he came to the School in 1974 and some students, in particular boys as PE classes were segregated, undoubtedly had to endure PE classes; it was as if they were in the military. He had represented England as a boxer at the Olympics and later trained the Olympic Boxing team. When he spoke he expected students to listen. If they didn’t or if they had two hands in their pockets, they would have to “drop and give me 20” which meant immediately doing 20 pushups under his guidance. Whether it was athletics, water polo or weights, those who weren’t giving their best, would spend a period running around the outside basketball courts, carrying a metal bar in each hand. It was a different time and he was old school. Even after he retired he was running a boxing Gym in Stratford.
I think it’s fair to say that he used his power and strength to push but also to inspire people to do their best. And along with physical fitness, this was his passion. A famous educator Kurt Hahn said there is more in young people than they think. He went on to say that the aim of education is to impel people into value forming experiences… to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit and tenacity above all, it is culpable neglect not to impel young people into experiences.” Kurt Hahn was a founder of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and on many weekends Mr Payne would organise hikes and provide those experiences. Under his guidance many students achieved their Gold Award and in 1980 eighteen students received their Gold Award. I believe he really valued this award as it challenged students to push themselves to achieve, it impelled them into those value forming experiences. If there was one phrase he repeated often, it was “give it a go”. This is what he encouraged from all his students, “push yourself and give it a go”. He lived by this motto himself continuing his passion for training in New Guinea after he left the school after some 15 years.
Laurie Payne exerted his power and had great passion, but he also had that third quality of a charismatic leader, warmth. It’s my experience that this warmth was evident in the small things he did. It was clear in the quiet words, or not so quiet words, of encouragement. It was there when he would run along with the student coming near the back in the cross country encouraging them to keep going, reminding them that they could do it – if a student was trying, he was their champion. And it was there in the huge smile and way he lifted his arms in greeting when you met him in the street years later, always asking about family and friends.
Laurie Payne was a respected, charismatic teacher and mentor to a generation of students throughout the 70s and 80s. As I reflect on this charisma, I hope that in commemorating his name in this building that his passion that students “have a go” and really push themselves to be their best, will continue to inspire you all, and future generations of Gippsland Grammar students.
Year 12 Trial Examinations
Having sat formal trial examinations in the second week of the holidays, Year 12s have now received their results and teachers have spent time going through goal setting and managing revision based on results. The results of the trial examinations have been notified to parents through a report forwarded late this week. I encourage all parents to discuss the results focussing on setting goals for the coming weeks.
Darcy Wade (Year 9) and Quinn Wade (Year 8)
During the second week of the school holidays Darcy and Quinn competed in the Pony Club Australia National Championship at Murray Bridge, South Australia from the 29 September to 4 October in the discipline of Tetrathlon. Tetrathlon is a modern pentathlon competition with the exclusion of fencing. The athletes complete a 1500m cross country run, 4min swim, shooting and a showjumping/cross country course of 14 obstacles with points being awarded for performance in each phase. The athlete with the highest points is the overall winner. The event is an Olympic sport and it is the first time it has been included in the PCA National Championships. Both boys competed very successfully in the Junior Tetrathlon for athletes Under 17 after their selection earlier in the year. Darcy, 15, and Quinn, 14, did well in all events helping the Victorian team to a win in the team competition. Darcy also won the PCA Australian National Junior Tetrathlon Champion, winning the competition by over 200 points. He won the swimming phase, came 2nd in the 1500m run, equal 3rd in the shooting and 2nd in the horse ride from a field of 42 competitors from six states across Australia. With their younger brother Cohen winning gold with Victoria in the National Primary Showjumping event at the Australian Interschool Championships in Sydney at the same time, it was an excellent family achievement. Congratulations to all the Wade boys on their outstanding results.
Jessica Thompson (Year 11)
Congratulations to Jessica Thompson on gaining second place, with her image ‘Rabid Forest Fire,’ in the Under the Coverslip Competition held at the University of Melbourne.
I have included some thoughts from Jessica below on this competition which outlines details of how science and art were combined in this event. Jessica’s image will now be displayed at the School of Biomedical Sciences official launch and the Ian Potter Art Gallery in February.
The day, held at Gene Technology Access Centre and the School of Biomedical Science, was a special day directed at Year 10 and 11 students, and it gave us a bit of an insight into the life of a student studying at University. It combined aspects of both Art and Science, which for me are my hobbies and complete passions. The day was an absolutely fantastic experience where, at GTAC, I got to learn about and use various microscopes. Then we took pictures from under the microscopes and added an artistic twist to them over the following week; using the Black Saturday bushfires as my inspiration, I came up with 'Rabid Forest Fire'. The day also included a tour of the Harry Brookes Allen Museum, containing the largest collection of real human tissue specimens in Australia, where we learned about human anatomy, and for me, this was the highlight of the day. Jessica Thompson
Well done Jessica.
Join us for a great night of free food, entertainment and education. Phunktional Limited in partnership with Gippsland Women’s Health, Wellington Shire Youth Council, and Victoria Legal Aid present a free community performance of ‘Love Drunk’, a high impact and engaging theatre performance that uses dance, music and comedy to bring awareness to issues of sexual assault, binge drinking and racial tension.
“Love Drunk is powerful because it uses humour and themes relevant to young people to engage them around this tricky legal concept. The audience are involved, entertained, and almost without noticing it, educated” - Rebecca Burgmann, Victoria Legal Aid Managing Lawyer, Gippsland region. For more information on the performance go to: http://www.phunktional.org.au/love-drunk/
This interactive show will encourage open discussion on these topics, and will assist in bridging the gap between youth and local support services. Following the performance, a special panel comprising of local legal and health professionals will provide advice and resources for supporting young people through these issues.
- When: 15th of October, 6:00pm – 9:00pm.
- Where: The Bundy Hall, Bundalaguah
- What: Free refreshments, light supper and entertainment
- How: RSVP at www.trybooking.com/IZJB