Mr Guthrie Edward Melville Wilson
Qualifications: OBE, MC, MA, MACE Years: 1966-1979
Mr Guthrie ‘Gus’ Wilson was Dux of Palmerston North High School in 1933. He received his Master in History, was a Rugby Blue, a Rhodes scholar nominee and an accomplished novelist.
He served in Italy during WWII, narrowly escaping from a firing squad and was awarded the Military Cross (his book, Brave Company, is based upon his service).
Mr Wilson married Ms Madge Lorraine Svenson in 1938. They had two sons and a daughter and lived in Mosman.
He joined Scots from Newington College and built his reputation on demanding quality teaching for all students, not just the best ones, with a focus on traditional principles including academic achievement and presentable uniform at all times. He enthusiastically encouraged courteous behaviour.
Wilson was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in June 1977 for services to education. He retired at the end of the school year in 1979 and signed off his last Speech Day address by encouraging parents to have boys clean their shoes daily.
- Building began in 1971 of the new gymnasium and swimming pool (these buildings were proposed by Mr Allen McLucas), both were opened in 1973. Other buildings in the Wilson era included the scoreboard (which was recently refurbished in 2017) and the Preparatory School (adding Foreland Court) after Kambala was demolished in 1968.
- The first electronic calculator (computer) was installed in 1972. Staff and students required detailed instructions on how to use it.
- An unexpected building project developed on the evening of 3 June 1975. Fire seriously damaged the old Middle School building. Fundraising began after an immediate and spontaneous gift from St Joseph’s College of $5000. The repairs, including a much-improved Auditorium, were complete for the beginning of 1977.
- By 1977 Scots had a number of ‘Micro Bees’ and Mr Wilson was informing Council on computer awareness. This led to overhead projectors and videotape players making their way into the classrooms.
- A Cadet unit crossed the Kokoda Trail for the first time in 1969. The Commonwealth Government abolished funding for cadets, though the College Council decided to retain cadet training and a cadet unit crossed the Kokoda track again in 1978.
- The Pipe band flourished and went to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the first time in 1973, then the World Festival tattoo in Toronto in 1979.
- In Sport, Scots joined AAGPS Basketball in 1974, and won AAGPS Cricket twice in 1967 and 1968.
- In 1978, Scots 1st and 2nd IV won at the AAGPS Rowing Regatta, before claiming victory at Head of the River in 1979.
- The 1st XV played outside Australia for the first time (on tour in New Zealand) and won the AAGPS Premiership in 1978 and 1979.
- During the Mr Wilson’s stewardship, Athletics was also very strong, winning the AAGPS Athletics Championship multiple times.
Did You Know?
- Some staff at Scots today were appointed by Mr Wilson.