The area now known as Queens Park was once a meeting place for the Bidjigal, Kameygal and Gweagal people of Botany Bay and the Gadigal and Birrabirragal people who lived nearer to Watsons Bay. Waverley College students have unofficially used and shared the Queens Park playing fields since 1937. For over 70 years, sportsmen and scholars have made memories upon it, and legions of parents, staff and friends have used their own money to feed and water the Waverley community in its two legendary pavilions, and to keep its grounds green. Prior to this time, all Waverley College sports games were played away at Waverley Oval or on Council grounds. But by 1937, the enthusiasm of Reverend Brother William Virgil Green and local member Mr John A Waddell MLA, galvanised the Premier of NSW to grant a section of Queens Park to Waverley College for a playing area under a “permissive occupancy” lease.
Through the gargantuan efforts of the Brothers and Waverley College families, including student Phil O’Sullivan (Class of 1938), his father Eugene, and three homeless men befriended by Phil who were living in a nearby cave and urgently needed work for food, truckloads of rubbish were removed, the bushland cleared, and then levelling work began. Thanks to these devoted volunteers, the uneven ground and rough gully were transformed into effective playing fields, and in 1939 the first football season went ahead with gusto.
At the end of 1940, couple Tom and Midge Hayes began their relationship with Waverley as parents and volunteers when enrolling their eldest son Noel, and despite the lack of facilities, Midge is recorded as serving tea to visitors under the Moreton Bay fig tree. A large copper was boiled and her hospitality continued even when raining, under the cover of umbrellas. Her husband Tom, a Bondi butcher, ran the BBQ for the 1st XI Cricket during their playing season, and Midge liaised with the Mothers’ Committee to provide meals and refreshments at Queens Park for players and guests.
Despite the newly-levelled playing fields and hearty refreshments, sportsmaster and teacher Brother Michael de Lellis Murphy recalled the ongoing inconveniences the players experienced when they needed to change:
“Lack of accommodation for dressing, showers, etc., made the use of the ground difficult. The Ludlow Hall, fitted with showers became the dressing room for Queens Park! Imagine the boys of 1939-50! All came to Ludlow Hall, changed into sporting gear, walked down to Queen’s, played their matches, trudged back to Ludlow, showered, dressed and toiled down to Bronte tram stop to go home. The First XI and XV later had the luxury of hot showers and afternoon tea in the Boarding School.” (‘Before Queens Park and Before the Associated Schools’, p90).
The Green Gables Pavilion
Builder: Mr Barney (Bernard) Fennell (Class of 1924)
Destroyed: August 1960
In 1950 the new Parents’ and Friends’ Association was established (founded 1951), and together with the Old Boys’ Union, provided funds to build a wooden and tin pavilion which began construction in 1950.
“For years there were no change rooms at Queens Park. When it was decided to build a two-storey block alongside the shed, it was the Brothers under the guidance of the builder, Barney Fennell, and the inspiration of Brother Murphy, who helped build the edifice, hammering on the exterior boarding, and painting the whole building within and without. In those days, there were no rollers to help the novice painter, so it was brush, brush, brush. I remember Brother Chanel Fields and self, spent two days putting the sealer on the large ceiling upstairs, much harder work than undercoating or applying the final coat. My disgust next morning when it appeared most of the sealer had disappeared into the material! Even though we left quite a few ‘two bob pieces’ on the woodwork from our amateurish use of hammer, the change rooms proved to be a fine, functional building.” – Bill Woodruff, Waverley College Christian Brothers Teacher 1945-54
Alongside the Brothers and the expert help of Mr Fennell, were additional volunteers including current day students, parents, Old Boys and friends, as well as Mr W Brown whose expertise was employed for the roofing and plumbing. By Christmas 1950 the roof and flooring were complete. The pavilion was located next to the shed under the trees at the northern end of the playing field, known affectionately as ‘Green Gables.’
Opening Day was in 1951 on the day of the Old Boys’ cricket match. Headmaster Reverend Brother J P Lacey particularly thanked Mr Fennell and the time and service of the ladies of the Parents’ Association who prepared the meals.
Waverley students enthusiastically reported on the new pavilion in its student publication The Waverlian:
“The ground floor has three separate bays and showers for dressing and washing; and a tuck-shop. Upstairs there is ample space for dining and kitchen facilities for catering. Over sixty can dine at a sitting.” – The Waverlian, May 1951, p13
Situated under the big Moreton Bay Fig (where Tom and Midge Hayes had been operating previously), it served as a function room and change room for cricket and rugby. Facilities also included toilets, a Referees’ Room and storage space.
Over the next decade, a hard-working group of women from the Parents and Friends’ Association provided catering and ‘Tuck Shop’ service from Green Gables, and in 1951 Mrs Byrnes managed this weekly operation. 1950s editions of The Waverlian report the “sumptuous hospitality” of the Green Gables Girls and Eastern Suburbs Ambulance officers, who every Saturday assisted at Queens Park.
Visiting masters and teams were entertained during inter-college fixtures in the upstairs dining room, and trophies and photographs of international representatives and Old Boys of the College adorned the interior.
In August 1960, vandals made a successful fourth arson attempt. As reported in the 1960 Annual:
“In the early hours of one late-August morning, ‘Green Gables’ was totally destroyed by fire. The circumstantial evidence available indicates that the act of destruction which reduced the fine old building to a heap of twisted, charred woodwork, ashes and mangled steel was deliberate and malicious.” – p32
The financial cost was estimated to be some thousands of pounds, with College trophies and photographs destroyed. The inconvenience was immeasurable and the arsonists were never caught.
Queens Park Pavilion
Architect: Professor Neville Joseph Anderson (Class of 1936)
Builder: Mr Geoffrey McCabe (Class of 1947)
In 1960 Maxwell J Connery (Class of 1953) was approached by Old Boys, Justices Martin Hardie and John McEwen, to be involved in the building of a new Queens Park Pavilion as vandals had burnt the existing wooden Green Gables structure. The plan was to construct a concrete pavilion on the southern end of Queens Park which would deter vandals. The task was firstly to convince the Principal, Br Michael O’Connor, who had been reluctant to agree, to relocate and reconstruct in concrete. Preliminary discussions had been had with prominent architect, Mr Neville Anderson, an Old Boy, and he advised a concrete structure at the southern end. Secondly, the school had to pay for it. The estimate from Neville Anderson was £20,000 for this new concrete structure.
“As to the first point, I knew Brother O’Connor as he was the Principal when my two brothers Garry and Paul were at Waverley. Further, I had met him in Rome when we were both at an audience given by Pope John XXIII. I spoke with Brother O’Connor and pointed out to him the importance of a new fireproof structure which had to be away from trees, and the southern end was the place to put it. Ultimately, he agreed to the change of location but said he did not have the money to pay for the cost.
I suggested to him that we could have a fundraising program through the school and Old Boys. Further, I was prepared to take on the role of fundraiser. It was my idea that we have an art union. On this basis, Brother O’Connor approved the project.”
“I was a solicitor working at my father’s practice (Maxwell F Connery – Class of 1926) and one of the clients of the practice was Eric Anderson Pty Ltd, one of the leading electrical retailers in Sydney at the time. This company through its then manager, Bede Solomons, agreed to donate a state-of-the-art radiogram which would be the first prize in the art union. I arranged for each boy at the school to be given a book of tickets in this art union, the purpose of which was to rebuild Green Gables. It was a big project but the prize was very attractive and the parents and Old Boys responded well.
Neville Anderson was engaged and did the plans for the building to be in concrete and otherwise fireproof. The situation in 1960 was such that a solicitor was earning £25 a week, and to raise £20,000 was quite a challenge. The outcome was that we would produce a building that would outmanoeuvre the vandals, who made many malicious attempts to burn the wooden structure under the trees at the north end until they finally succeeded.” – Maxwell J Connery (Class of 1953).
With the art union funds assured and available, a concrete pavilion began to be built on the new site at the south end. It was completed in 1962 at a cost of £23,000. On 4 March 1962, Mr Justice Martin Hardie officially opened this concrete structure.
A commemorative game of cricket was played. Australian and NSW captain, Mr Richie Benaud, brought 12 Sheffield Shield players to play with 12 Waverley students. Benaud captained one side and the other was captained by legendary left-arm fast bowler, Alan Davidson.
Tom and Midge Hayes continued to assist at the new pavilion, Midge organising catering for visitors, which included her celebrated custard pies. In 1963, Waverley College officially began using Queens Park playing fields as their home ground, whose maintenance and renovation they had continued to fund since their 1937 occupation.
In 1985, the Queens Park Pavilion was renamed the T & M Hayes Pavilion in honour of Tom and Midge Hayes, humble and hardworking, who had gifted over 40 years of voluntary service to the College.
“They felt it was their lot in life to help others. They were married for 60 years and were never apart. Indeed one was never mentioned in isolation; it was always Tom and Midge Hayes. They spent thousands of hours cooking and preparing meals, the like of which is legendary.” – son, Terry Hayes (Class of 1955).
The couple continued to volunteer until 1985 when Tom died and in 1988 Midge moved to Gloucester.
In 2002, Headmaster Brother Wallace began plans to refurbish the pavilion – plastering the brick walls, updating the kitchen, laying fresh carpet and adding a new ceiling and lights. He also proposed plans to extend the top floor, add another segment to the building, increased seating extending from the top floor, a ‘Federation’ style roof with two small towers, and an internal lift and ramp access to the top floor. The Centennial Park Trust rejected these plans on the basis of heritage and excessive footprint; it was argued that the specific Federation elements did not preserve the 1960s heritage of the building.
Over the past 13 years, our beloved pavilion has been tastefully refurbished, with work undertaken on the exterior toilets (funded by the Waverley College Rugby Supporters’ Group), canteen, repainting of the changerooms, upstairs area and external walls, annual seating repairs, deep cleaning, removal of rubbish and irrigation of the pitches.
We have worked with Centennial Park Trust to provide stepped seating on the Western side of the Pavilion, and delivered digital communications via an electronic scoreboard and WiFi. We continue to showcase our extraordinary history by annually updating the photographs and records of our sporting heroes on the interior pavilion walls.
In 2024, the College will officially unveil a memorial plaque to commemorate the talents and dedication of our builder and architect Old Boys who together constructed the T&M Hayes Pavilion in Queens Park.
“My father certainly gave a lot back to the school – he loved the school. How cool in hindsight that a building designed by your Dad is opened by the Prime Minister of Australia (John Gorton). A very proud moment.” – Mr Peter Anderson (Class of 1973-74) about his father Professor Neville Anderson (Class of 1936).
Barney Fennell was born in 1906 in the Brewarrina district of New South Wales. He began at Waverley College in 1915 and left in second year, 1921.
In the late 1920s he trained in the Technical Education Department in Sydney, studying carpentry and joinery, and construction drawing. In the 1930s he undertook Public Health Engineering and Hygiene courses in Country Town Drainage, Sanitary Law and Practical Sanitation.
In 1941, Barney married Mary (Molly) Nashe in Yeronga, Queensland. Late of Coogee, Barney died in 1968 aged 62.
BArch Syd, MArch Liv, Dip TP Lond, FRAIA, MRTPI
Neville Anderson was born in Sydney on 5 June 1920. He graduated from Waverley in 1936 as one of the most brilliant scholars to ever pass through the College. Securing the best pass in the 1936 Leaving Certificate and graduating with First Class Honours in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, he was awarded a competitive state government Scholarship for an Exhibition to the University of Sydney, with a Freehill Scholarship to reside at St John’s College. He was also awarded first place in the state in the Commonwealth Public Service.
As an undergraduate, he served for three years with the University Regiment. Continuing to achieve excellence, he graduated from the University of Sydney in 1942 with a First Class Honours degree in Architecture, winning both the Sulman Prize for Advanced Design and the prestigious University Medal.
Immediately after graduation, Neville enlisted in the AIF, serving as captain at Morotai and Tarakan in Borneo with the 9th Division, discharged in 1946. Appointed lecturer in architecture at Sydney Technical College, his post WWII work included voluntary service as a member of the Old Boys’ Union executive as assistant secretary, committee member of the University Sub-Branch of the RSL, past president of the Sydney University Architectural Society and member of St John’s College House Committee.
In 1948 Neville was awarded the Gowrie Post-Graduate Research Travelling Scholarship, one of only two in Australia granted each year. “His selection for the Gowrie Scholarship award is the climax of a brilliant College, University and war record.” – The Waverlian, August 1948, p42
Before sailing for England on the Moreton Bay in 1948, Neville married Mary Agnes Power in St John’s College, Sydney. He went on to complete a Diploma of Town Planning and Civic Architecture at London University, concurrently acquiring experience in supervisory work and design on housing and community buildings. In 1959 he was awarded a Master of Architecture from the University of Liverpool, and built a successful career as an architect and academic, starting the Faculty of Architecture at the University of NSW.
Waverley College continues to hold Neville in high esteem, with generations of the Waverley community enjoying camaraderie and hospitality at the Queens Park Pavilion which he designed, completed in 1962. He also designed the Middle School of the College (now known as East Wing) which in 1970 was opened by Prime Minister John Gorton.
Neville is remembered for his architectural work on the John Power Wing of Marist Brothers Pagewood, the Menzies Wing of St John’s College at the University of Sydney, and Basser College at the University of NSW.
Neville and Mary had 10 children and their sons Chris (Class of 1968), Robert (Class of 1971), Peter (Class of 1974) and Anthony (Class of 1976) also attended Waverley College. Neville died on 4 July 1986, aged 67.
Geoff McCabe was born in 1930, brother of Terrence McCabe (Class of 1937-38), and left Waverley in 1944. He undertook a carpentry and joinery course, apprenticed to Mr Bryant with whom he then went into partnership. Together they worked with various architects to construct churches and schools in Sydney.
In 1955 Geoff married Mary Frances McGrane from Ungarie in the West Wyalong district, New South Wales, and by 1957 he was established in his own right as a builder.
Originally from Lochiel in South Australia, Geoff founded G C McCabe & Co in 1964 and after being headhunted, in 1968 relocated his building and contracting business to Parkes. His company chiefly constructed non-residential buildings.
Two of Geoff’s sons followed him into the building trade, Timothy Charles McCabe (Class of 1973) and Bernard John McCabe (Class of 1977). Tim and Bernard both undertook carpentry and joinery at Forbes TAFE and worked with Geoff in the family business.
Late of Parkes, Geoff died on 22 May 2007, aged 77.
Max was born in Sydney in 1936, the eldest of five children. His brothers Garry Connery (Class of 1960) and Paul Connery (Class of 1962) were both educated at Waverley.
Max was educated at Rose Bay and Waverley Christian Brothers Colleges and at the University of Sydney. He practiced law as a Solicitor for 54 years and had appointments as an Arbitrator in the Supreme and District Courts.
In 1989, with the support of his wife, fellow lawyers and colleagues, he set up a house for homeless youth called ‘Stepping Stone House.’ There are now three houses at Dulwich Hill which accommodate 16 young people with appropriate care, according to their age and experience.