For some of our students, Waverley runs in the family. The blue and gold tradition can strengthen the family bond and create an extra special connection to the College. Archivist Ms Venettia Miller spoke to students from four Old Boy families to find out what it’s really like to come from a long line of Waverlians - and here’s what they had to say.
Jack (Year 11) and William Hickey (Year 9) have a lineage that dates back to 1912.
“There’s a lot of laughter when stories are told at family gatherings,” Jack says. “Dad speaks of his experiences. He had great times and cherishes those memories, which we can relate to when we chat to Brother Murph out at the front of the school. Because of Dad, we have a close connection with him.”
Patrick and James Hoggett are the third generation to attend the College. The Year 11 twins are following in the footsteps of their dad, uncle and grandfather.
“Dad and Pop tell stories about rugby – how it’s changed over time from the heavy brown ball like a watermelon,” remarks James. “Also about the straw hats – my grandad had to walk around wearing one of those!”
Waverley also runs in the family for the Baker brothers. Will (Year 12) and Charlie (Year 5) have a laugh with their grandfather, Old Boy Greg McKeon, who attended the College in the 1960s.
“Occasionally he does the old Waverley chants. He always sings the Conlon and Green songs, old ones that we don’t know.” Says Will, who is College Vice Captain this year.
“He dances to them and stuff. It’s pretty funny,” Charlie adds. “Now I’m here we can talk about things we all relate to. With my brother in Year 12 here, it’s good. I get to see him a lot.”
“If we’re playing at Queens Park, seeing my uncles come down there, and for them to tell me stories about the 1st XV back in their day… I think it’s definitely made us a lot closer. I don’t know if I’d get that anywhere else.”
Parts of College life take on a deep sense of meaning for these boys – campus buildings that they’ve heard stories about and honour boards inscribed with family names. House spirit is another part of the picture.
“I’m pretty sure when you enrol and you’ve got an Old Boy in your family, they ask what house he was in.” Says Will. “We got it wrong. My uncle said he was in Quinn but I don’t think he was, so I ended up in Quinn, which is funny but it doesn’t really matter.”
“He’s said he’s been in Conlon, Aungier, Green, Quinn – he’s been in like 5 different colours!”
Year 12 student Josh Conacher-Smith is connected to the College on both the Conacher and Smith sides. His great-grandfather, Charles, was 1909 and 1910 College Dux; his uncle, Andrew, was College Captain in the 80s; and his brother Zach graduated in 2017.
“It is nice to think that my great-grandfather walked around some of the same corridors I do,” says Josh. “Same with my dad and uncles. It definitely strengthens us as a family. It’s the shared values of ‘Virtue is its own reward’, which is how we were all brought up.”
But what do all seven like best about being students of Waverley College?
“There’s a lot of opportunities to participate in different sports and academic things that allow boys to understand what they can do to fully reach their potential.” Says William Hickey. “In our family, Dad says, ‘Make sure you participate in everything.’”
Sport is a clear front runner, as are strong friendships and supportive teachers. According to Will Baker, “There’s no other school with a bigger sense of camaraderie.”
“Our year group is really close,” James finishes. “Our cousin is in our year as well, and it’s really good to have him here. His little brother will probably come here too, just keeping the legacy going!”
These young men are demonstrably proud of their Waverley heritage. But, as Patrick reminds us:
“Family history here gives us pride about being at the school, but day-to-day it doesn’t change anything. You’re just another Waverley student – everyone’s the same and it’s good.”