Earning a living is often less important than learning to live.
With the loss of Headmaster H V Jones at the end of , the School was looking for someone to lead the School in to the 1960s. Geoffrey (Geoff) Herbert Newman’s arrival coincided with that of television into the lounge rooms of many of his pupils, and his term of office was marked by the culmination of the greatest upheaval in the School’s history — the move from Macquarie Street to Sandy Bay.
Geoff Newman was born in Perth, Western Australia on and was educated at Scotch College. He went onto study science at the University of Western Australia and graduated BSc in . At the outbreak of World War II, Newman joined the RAAF, eventually becoming a Wing Commander and Principal Education Officer in . Later he would complete a BEd at the University of Melbourne. In , Newman married Betty who would go on to teach practical biology at Hutchins during Newman’s tenure as Headmaster.
When Newman arrived at Hutchins, he was immediately thrown into the Board’s discussions about the possibility of an exchange of the Christ College Oval for part of Queenborough Cemetery in Sandy Bay. Newman spent many hours attempting to convince the Board of the necessity to move. After public meetings held by the Hobart City Council, a clever marketing campaign was held with a referendum to allow Hutchins to purchase the public site. The public voted ‘yes’ in and by the Council had agreed to the exchange of land requested by the School.
Newman aimed to provide ‘a balanced diet of intellectual, spiritual and physical exercise’ for his students, along with proper grounding in mathematics and science subjects. In , he pushed back the starting time for students to 8.30am to enable them to complete their after-school sports training in daylight and their parents to avoid peak-hour traffic. Newman also attempted to broaden the curriculum by introducing a general mechanics workshop for non-academic students, while at the same time emphasizing the growing importance to employment prospects of matriculation.
Unfortunately for Newman, diminishing numbers in the early 1960s and the effect of the recession led to the closure of the Montrose preparatory school and he felt increasingly besieged by a lack of loyalty and undermined by gossip and rumours pertaining to the School’s academic standing. Failing enrolments did little instill confidence in the leadership of the School. When Newman fell ill in he returned to Western Australia to recuperate and by the time of his return in his heart was no longer in the job and he was asked to resign by Board Chair, G Hodgson in August.
A man of strong Christian faith, Newman is also remembered at Hutchins as loathing the use of the cane and became one of the first Australian Headmasters to publicly question its use in schools. By the end of , the foundation stone to the boarding house on the Queenborough Cemetery site was laid, and it is Newman’s enduring legacy at Hutchins that the new school in Sandy Bay was built according to his plans and with the money he had raised.
Newman returned to Western Australia and became Deputy Headmaster of Scotch College. He passed away on 4 July 1993.