Wednesday 27 November 2019

Gunnie Waddell Turns 100!

In mid-November, the Principal Gerard Foley and Executive Officer OIGA, Geoff Brown flew to Canberra for the day to celebrate the 100th birthday of Gunnie Waddell, Class of 1936.

Gunnie was born on 13 November 1919 on a farm in Yea and spent his primary years there before boarding at Ivanhoe.  During his short time here Gunnie was involved in tennis and cricket but his real claim to fame was being a member of the School’s first Premiership Football Team in 1934. Gunnie returned home in 1935 after his father was taken ill.  In 1939 he answered his country’s call and enlisted in the Army becoming attached to the 2/2 Anti-Aircraft Regiment.  He saw service in Palestine, Syria and New Guinea.  At the end of the war, Gunnie undertook a university degree and began working for the Immigration Department. He became the School’s first diplomat and represented Australia in New York, Washington, London, Paris and Rome with short stints in the Channel Islands and Spain.

As a tribute from the youngest to the oldest, Buckley House students gathered on the oval to do the War Cry and our Foundation students sang Happy Birthday to him.  These were recorded and shown to Gunnie on the day.  He was delighted!

Gunnie still lives independently.  Asked if he does his own cooking, his reply with a wry smile was, “I more heat things than cook”.  Gunnie has full intentions of coming to Melbourne in April next year to march in the Melbourne ANZAC Parade and it is hoped he will be part of our The Ridgeway Campus Service on 24 April, 2020.

Gunnie considers the people he has met over his lifetime to be the most important aspect of what has been a long life, well-lived.