Born in Geelong, Victoria in Vernon Sherren Murphy became Headmaster of Hutchins in , in the middle of the difficult World War II years. Murphy came to Hutchins after a four-year period as Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School in New South Wales.
Murphy is described as be having an ‘easy manner and agreeable disposition’ which made him popular with both staff and boys. During his tenure at Hutchins student numbers increased and he is remembered with affection by boarders for his keen participation in friendly cricket matches.
By the end of , Murphy became the first Headmaster of Hutchins to be admitted to membership of the Headmasters’ Conference of Australia.
Land described as ‘a fine property of nearly seven acres between the Rifle Range and Mt. Nelson Road’ was acquired at Sandy Bay for the new Junior School with building beginning in . This new area of the School was intended to incorporate Sub-Primary, Primary, a full-sized oval and a boarding house. It was Murphy’s vision that the Macquarie Street site would remain for senior students.
Murphy was not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it came to communal activities which he felt were imperative to ensure boys would become a ‘whole man’. It was Murphy’s hope that all students would be able to find their own talent by undertaking a wide range of activities, however, above all else Murphy sought for boys to leave Hutchins with good character.
More than all the skill, more than all the knowledge that can be acquired, I value a good character. I would have our boys develop… a spirit of unselfishness, a spirit of willingness, a spirit of service to others. Indeed, all that goes to make up the qualities summarised in the word ‘VIRTUS’ in our fine School motto.
Murphy resigned in 1945 in order to return to Western Australia as Headmaster of Hale College in Perth. Board Chairman, V I Chambers, described Murphy as having ‘wholeheartedly devoted himself to the general welfare and advancement of Hutchins’ and felt that:
It was principally due to his influence that the difficulties of the war years were overcome without any sign of friction.
Murphy died in at age 75 in Perth, Western Australia.