Joan Martin formerly Weatherson nee Wardrop.
Earlier this week, the world observed International Women’s Day so this this HoOT interview is the first with one of our WoOTs. Joan’s relatives who attended Trinity include old boys from the Weatherson, Smith, Wardrop, Emmett, Martin, Young and Bright families. We’re not aware of anyone with more relatives educated at our school! When you add to this that her Uncle Fred was one of our headmasters, we suggest it allows her to claim the title of the “Grande Dame of Trinity”, not that her humility would ever let her. On winter weekends, Joan can be found pitching in and helping our OTGA football club in any way possible. Nothing would please her more than to see those efforts contribute in some small way to the clubs first A grade flag.
When/how did you become involved with Trinity?
It began during my childhood. My uncle, Fred Bright, was a teacher at Trinity and then became headmaster. As a young girl, I went to Ruyton Girls’ School, so many of my friends were Trinity boys. When my parents went away, I invariably stayed in the boarding house, Roberts House, with my Aunt Gladys and Uncle Fred. I’ve only every been associated with Trinity.
What do you remember about the boarding house?
I remember the Roberts boarding house well! It was small, and had fire grates in main rooms - and a beautiful, big bath! Beds with the potties underneath, but I’m not sure if boys ever used them. There were maybe 20 boarders who would be present in the dining room (which is now Henty House) for breakfast. The boys would arrive before Aunty Gladys, Uncle Fred and I arrived, and they would stand when we walked in. We’d have a beautiful porridge for breakfast, probably hot meal of meat and 3 vegetables at lunch and a lighter meal in the evening.
There was an annual Boarders’ Dance, too, and Aunty Gladys would arrange huge bowls of flowers in the room just inside Roberts House where the dance took place. If anyone messed up, the prefects would discipline them, I think with school belt, which was condoned by the school. Things were different in those days!
What do you remember about the Trinity boys?
I just loved Trinity and used to watch the boys play sport, particularly cricket, on the Charles Street oval. John Weatherson, who I later married, had an older brother Neil who was a great, great sportsman.
What did the uniform look like back then?
My involvement was pretty much around the war years, so the uniform was pretty boring, not exciting! Caps were to be worn by all year levels, I don’t recall the green blazer at that point.
Who were some men of Trinity whom you remember?
David Warner (not the cricketer!), who was at school with my husband, John Weatherson – he later became an Anglican minister. I met John through the Trinity/Ruyton dancing classes (the teacher I think was Irene or Eileen Brennan) and Neil, his older brother, through watching Trinity football. Ruyton’s headmistress was Miss Daniel who used to sit up on the stage in the hall where we had dance classes and knit while we were dancing around. Dance classes were, I think, a Friday evening and afterwards we would walk up to the corner of Cotham and Glenferrie Roads (I think where Centonove is currently) and have a milkshake at one of the milkbars.
What impact do you remember the war having on Trinity & Ruyton?
Ruyton had air-raid trenches, dug in a zig-zag pattern, I’m not sure if Trinity had them, and air-raid warning sirens we had to adhere to. Things were pretty sad and suppressed, we weren’t terribly unhappy and we did make joy but not like there is in the lives of children now. I recall at the end of the war, some Ruyton and Trinity students returned with me to my house and had a sherry with my mother and she sent us off on a tram into Melbourne to join end of war celebrations there.
What sports did you get involved with the boys, going to watch and support?
Football and cricket mainly, although I sometimes watched the lacrosse played on the prep school oval, where the swimming pool is now. They also played hockey on the same oval. I’m a sporty person, so whenever any sport is played I like to watch it. My life was so involved with Trinity, I suppose because of Aunty Gladys and Uncle Fred.
The OTGAFC commenced in 1954. What was your involvement there?
John Weatherson and George Dwyer, then aged about 27, were instrumental in getting the club started, both having been at school together. Other schools had clubs so they thought, why not Trinity? The creation of the club was supported by Headmaster, John Leppitt. There were many home grounds until the school purchased the Bulleen property. I recall one of them was somewhere near the old Fairfield Hospital, but many local ovals were used. The purchase of Bulleen made the footy club feel very connected with the school, whereas before it was not.
What had John’s involvement been with the club?
He had been a player, then involved in the committee. I recall one game where they were short a player and he went onto play almost wearing his civilian clothes! I was a regular spectator and took our 4 children around to all the matches. There’s a 4-generation link with Trinity, but a 3-generation connection with the football club.
How has the football club changed since your early involvement with it?
There’s more connection between the spectators and players, because in the early days I took the 4 children along and didn’t have much time to watch the football. The relationship and connection between the school and footy club has developed as well. I’ve always the felt the school is interested as there’s always someone from the school there.
What qualities do you think sets Trinity boys apart from other schools, given your involvement with generations of boys and those from surrounding schools? What’s appealing about Trinity qualities?
Humility, compassion for other people, particularly through my involvement with the footy club – confidence without arrogance. Trinity prepares boys for all parts of life, particularly thinking about other people, and not just about themselves.
The Trinity man – a good partner, a good father and a good mate.
Who else were important figures in the footy club apart from John that you could remember?
Linda and Lisa Weatherson would always provide the Thursday night dinner of the footy club, and that was very helpful. It’s always lovely when the families lend a hand! Brendan Iezzi was a great player to be remembered. Rambo [Andrew Ramsden] prior to that, he’s also a legend and a gentleman.
I did live in the country for some time during which time I didn’t come to games, but now back in Melbourne, it’s part of my life I wouldn’t miss. Although I won’t be able to come to round 1 against St Bernard’s, unfortunately!