In some places the Association is described as being founded in 1907. This is
more than likely due to the fact that Vol. 1, No. 1 of "The Southportonian" Nov.
1907 has a section "Old Boys’ Notes". It has been suggested that the first
editor. Charles Thorold may have been more responsible for its inclusion than
any active association. In fact the man generally accepted as the founder of the
O.S.A., Mervyn Dane COLLINGS, was at school 1904-07. Old Boys were encouraged to
celebrate an Old Boys’ day with a cricket match against the School XI from 1909
with M.D. Collings of New Zealand Insurance Co. in Brisbane and Maurice G.
Delpratt at the school, as contacts. Another early stalwart was J. Harvey
HOLMES, who was treasurer of the association from 1928-47 and more than any
other, established the association’s strong economic base.
The first recorded meeting of the Southport High School [The school was called
S.H.S. until formally taken over by the Diocese in 1913 as the Diocesan School
and renamed The Southport School.] Old Boys was held in the Y.M.C.A. premises
Brisbane, on Thursday July 6th, 1911 at 8.00pm. Present: M.D. Collings
(Secretary and Chairman), R.S. Billington, A.H. Raymond, K.B. Chapman, J.H.
Holmes, R.C. North, N.S. Billington, L. Pegler, J. Isgar, L.R. Brown, N. Watson.
At that stage it was resolved, after lengthy discussion, that an S.H.S. Old
Boys’ Club be formed at that time rather than an Old Boys’ Association.
The listed objects of the club were
- To bring into closer union the past members of S.H.S. with each other, and their
- To form clubs in the different sports, and to send teams to compete against the
Activities took place between the Association, as it was referred to even then
and the school until with the outbreak of W.W.I., activities lapsed till after
Meantime The Southportonian carried lists of Old Boys on service during this
trying period. By 1916 it was reported that there were 220 Old Boys serving.
At the conclusion of the school’s Annual Athletic Sports on 23rd August, 1919, a
meeting was held at the school at which Rules and Regulations were adopted and
the Old Southportonians’ Association was formally established.
The first Office Bearers were
- Patron - The Headmaster
- President - Major R.H. Nimmo
- Vice-Presidents - R.J. McWilliam, I.D. Lawless, Capt. R.S. Billington.
- Secretary and Treasurer - Mr C.A. Flint (Director of Studies at the school)
- Council - Messrs M.G. Delpratt, L. Delpratt, A.R. Sparkes, C.E. Cook, R.O.
Baynes, W.W. Pike.
The annual subscription was fixed at ten shillings.
It must be noted that M.D. Collings, A.H. Raymond and N. Watson, prominent at
the 1911 meeting, did not survive W.W.I.
The first official O.S.A. Dinner is recorded as being held in Sydney on 2nd
July, 1920. Some fifteen members are pictured in the record preserved as the
front cover of O.S.A. archivist, C.G. Pearce’s front cover of R.73 of November,
1978, one of the series of Reviews Numbers 67-75, now popularly known as The
Historical Reviews, of which Mr Pearce was editor.
Steady progress in the growth of the association led to the decision to publish
in November 1933, O.S.A. Review No.1. The opening paragraph of its editorial
"It is with great pleasure that we present to you, all Old Southportonians, this
the first, but we hope by no means the last copy of the Old Southportonians’
Review". Its object is to circulate amongst the Old Boys the news of their
various doings, and to keep them, as we know they want to be kept, in closer
touch with each other and with the School. The Founder, who had retired in 1929,
was asked to contribute to this first issue. Included in his article -
"There - I think of 1901 - and of the small but so deeply interesting start of
the dear old school, which has not only so filled my life but has by my
association with the splendid fellows, who have gone through it, done so much to
make my life and my character. It was such a funny little start with half a
"After its small start, that school grew and grew beyond my highest hopes and
amongst its many members there came that delightfully and attractive Mervyn
Collings, whom everyone loved. He brought with him a glorious enthusiasm, which
was later on used to start our Old Boys’ Association. It was one of the
tragedies of the War that deprived us of him, but his spirit remained and after
the War it was the power of his spirit which gave the impetus, which caused that
Association to develop into the force which it is today".
The first editor of the Old Southportonians’ Review was none other than Mr A.J.
Campbell, possibly the only one of the prominent Old Boy members of the Council
at that time, who survives to this day.