(By some of the Pioneer Teachers)
James Ruse Agricultural High School Pioneers Inc.
Gesta Non Verba {Deeds Not Words}
This page was last updated: August 1, 2018
From Mr. R Anderson
My first impression, when I made a pre­liminary visit to James Ruse in 1959 to learn what I could expect to be doing after the Christmas vacation, was one of pleasure at the beauty of both the central building and its setting. Then I was made to feel so welcome by the Headmaster and Charles Mullavey, the Deputy (though the latter was leaving to become an Inspector), that I felt thoroughly at home before I was actually installed.

One of the first requests I received from Mrs. Hoskin was for a School Song, to a tune of my choosing. This was provided, along with its own tune, instead of one bor­rowed from another song. The boys sang it well, and gave every sign of enjoying it. Soon my presence in an agricultural high school became more appropriate, when the Agricultural Gazette listed my Glenalton peach, which I had accidentally bred from Elberta out of Aunt Becky. (Actually I planted the seed of a particularly large fruit from the latter tree, which had been planted much too close to the former by the previous owner of my home.) There are two Glenaltons in the school orchard, and. as a matter of interest, it grows quite readily from cuttings made from normal prunings.

I have also the pleasure of having intro­duced the first livestock into the school's farm. In addition to my agricultural hob­bies, I kept bees, which, however, collected honey only from the mangroves on the Parramatta River. This is not nearly as pleasant as that from the eucalypts, and the sight of all those gum trees on the King's School property suggested a richer source. So I handed all my hives over to the School - and enjoyed some much better honey.

Another pleasant memory is the term during which my elder son, David, was on my staff for a couple of classes of English. Having been an Olympic and Empire Games rowing medallist, he had specialised in Physical Education (but he had majored in English and History for his B.A.). He did leave his mark at James Ruse, how­ever, during that one term, before being whisked off to be Special Master at Broken Hill. He it was who suggested the annual working bee which brings fathers and teach­ers together for various jobs beyond the interest of the Education Department, such as pruning fruit trees, special painting jobs, and so on.

In my whole teaching career, I never said goodbye to a school without sadness, but I never continued to remain a part of any of the others in the way that I still feel a part of James Ruse after eleven years' retirement. Perhaps having had a son teach­ing there and then, since my retirement, two grandsons educated there — which certainly gave me great satisfaction — contributes to this.

Robert A. Anderson.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
From Mr. B. Berry
Mr. Hoskin in his first eight years as Principal dedicated himself to the task of developing agricultural and general educa­tion at the school to a level whereby stu­dents may continue in the field of agricul­ture at the completion of their secondary education. The success of this philosophy may be gleaned by the enthusiastic selection by parents of James Ruse for the secondary education of their sons and daughters.

My appointment to the school as Deputy Principal in 1967 followed the tragic passing of Mr. Ron Rassack, the Deputy Prin­cipal appointed in 1966. Mr. Hoskin's in­exorable pursuit for staff stability through continuity of service at the school had re­ceived a severe setback. Determined to mould the new Deputy Principal with as little time loss as possible, I vividly recall my first telephone call to Mr. Hoskin. The instruction was to report to his home early in January, and assist in the preparation of the timetable and complete all organisation­al requirements ready for the school to open on the first day of term, with a firm and final timetable and I quote, "the students and staff are most enthusiastic at the start of term I make the best use of it."

When the school opened and the students assembled in full school uniform, complete with felt hats, and were provided with their timetable and text books for the year, I realised that James Ruse, despite its youth, was now firmly established in the same mould as the older, traditional high schools.

As the students attending the school were selected from primary schools throughout the Metropolitan Area, a close personal in­volvement in activities and programmes was essential. The area of school involve­ment which the Principal viewed with in- interest and pleasure was the inter-school sporting fixtures and country school visits. The success of James Ruse sporting teams, the representation of students at higher levels and the association of students with those from country schools, particularly the Agricultural High Schools and the armed services' establishments at H.M.A.S. Creswell, Jervis Bay, and Royal Military Col­lege, Duntroon, at a competitive level assisted in consolidating the school motto "Gesta non Verba" (deeds not words).

Congratulations James Ruse Agricultural High School on your first twenty years. You are certainly the "Jimmy Ruse" school and to quote the Rugby cry, "Go Ruse" for the years to come.

Twenty years is not long in the history of a school. Much has happened at James Ruse in this time, yet much has remained unchanged. On one hand we have not lost sight of the tried and true educational prin­ciples of the past, but at the same time we are not old-fashioned. This is the way it should be.

It is reflected in our surroundings. At the heart of the school is the administration block, a fine old vintage building that helps us remember not only those who figure in the history of the country, but also the pioneers of the school. It is so easy to for­get that not long ago James Ruse was little more than this one building. Set up as an annexe to Carlingford District Rural School, it had so many problems to overcome. Shortage of buildings and equipment, ab­sence of sporting facilities and paved areas, were bad enough, but the specialist nature of the school created many more prob­lems. However, the problems were over­come by persistent effort on the part of the headmaster, staff and students.

The effort has been a continuing one. James Ruse has gone from strength to strength. We have always insisted that though this is an Agricultural High School, it leads to all areas of endeavour. We have among our ex-students graduates in all pro­fessions. We have become a force to be reckoned with in the sporting field.

Tradition has been established at James Ruse. It is a tradition based on attainment in so many fields. These days schools do not ruthlessly advertise the fact that they have some motto that they pursue, and this is the case at James Ruse. While we do have a motto, "Deeds, not Words", much has been achieved without formal recog­nition of this fact. But much still remains to be done. During these times of economic and social difficulties it is imperative that standards be not only maintained but im­proved upon. It is so easy to take for granted the achievements of those in the past, or to become disenchanted with the tasks of the present. The challenge that lies ahead of us at James Ruse is to consolidate the work of the pioneers of the first twenty years, to make the most of the abilities we have, to appreciate the rights and feelings of others, to be modest in what we do. If we can do this, the era just opening up will be as great as the first.

(Mr.) B. Berry.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
From Mrs. L. Lino
When I was sent in 1958 as a teacher to this school, it was an annexe to the Car­lingford Central School and in the control of Mr. Frater, the Principal of that school. Its name at that time was Carlingford Dist­rict Rural School and its classes went only to Form III.

The present administration block was in the process of being renovated and all 13 of the teachers used the Annexe to Room 5 as a staff room. We shared desks in a kind of Bon & Cox fashion - using whichever was available at the time. I was the only woman teacher, and as the only toilet avail­able was for men, I had to make do with a pan arrangement in a tiny room at the far end of the Manual Arts Block - primitive indeed!

The school buildings consisted of the present rooms 1 to 7, the Manual Arts Block, the canteen building, the Adminis­tration Block and the Music Room which was the Library at that time. I well remem­ber Mr. Allan Shearman, the Librarian, and the pride he took in his polished wooden library floor. So zealous was he that boys had to leave their shoes at the door before they entered the holy of holies - great for the floor, but hard on the atmosphere.

Early drama efforts were confined to "play days" when each teacher of English produced a play which saw the light of day in the canteen. One year I remember pro­ducing a musical "Pirates in Pinury" with Sir Arthur Sullivan's music but not with W. S. Gilbert's words as these were not out of copyright at that time. My interest in G. & S. increased with the arrival at the school, in 1963, of Mr. Colin Anderson, whose real love lay not so much in teach­ing, as in the stage. His enthusiasm con­vinced the Principal that it was time we emphasised the culture in agriculture and Mr. Hoskin agreed that we might produce "H.M.S. Pinafore". Our greatest difficulty in doing this lay in convincing the tough young gentlemen at James Ruse that they become demure young sisters, cousins, and aunts for the duration. This reluctance con­tinued for several years, but gradually dis­appeared. One facet of this situation which we found most amusing was the young gentleman who exclaimed in a voice of horror, "do we have to wear make-up?" and who, at performances, would pester those doing the make-up with such remarks as "Geoff's got more of that blue stuff on his eyes, miss. Don't I need some more?"

All those concerned with putting on "The Show", and these have been many over the 16 years of its existence, have always found the greatest satisfaction in seeing students return year after year to what is, after all, hard work, and in seeing those who main­tain their interest in the stage after they have left school — it makes it all very much worthwhile.

(Mrs.) L. Lino.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
Vale Leslie Lino 1921-2005

Leslie Helen Lino was a gifted, amazing and inspirational person.  When she passed away on Sunday 28 August, James Ruse Agricultural High School lost one of its greatest influences.  It is impossible to adequately express just how much we owe to Leslie, not only for her work in the classroom but as one who was influential in helping develop the school’s traditions and ethos.

A foundation member of the staff, Leslie arrived at the school before its founding Principal, James C Hoskin and before it gained its present name.  She was employed as a teacher of her beloved French, but also taught Latin, English, Music and briefly, Mathematics.  She was responsible for the earliest overseas language trips at the school, taking two groups of French students to New Caledonia.

Leslie is best remembered for her involvement in the James Ruse musical productions, having been there with Colin Anderson when they began in 1963.  In the early years, she was the Musical Director and pianist, but in time, she became Director and Producer.  The annual production was a vital part of Leslie’s teaching year from 1963 until her retirement in 1987.  But that was not to be the end of the story, for she returned every year to take her place in the production team until finally bowing out with “Crazy For You” in 2003, after an amazing 41 shows!  The final years of productions were difficult following a major heart attack and bypass surgery in 2000.

We all need to understand the commitment that Leslie made to the musicals at James Ruse.  Based on a 40-hour working week, it can be confidently estimated that she spent the equivalent of more than three-and-a-half years (without holidays) in rehearsals outside school hours.

Leslie taught so many students a love of the stage.  She passed on the lessons she had learned from others, especially Colin Anderson.  Many have taken the skills and confidence they received from being on the stage at James Ruse and have carried them into their careers.

Leslie had a great gift when it came to casting students in their roles.  She always demanded a professional attitude – while the production team would joke that it would be “right on the night,” she never had the attitude that “close enough is good enough.”  She knew the value of a good chorus and demanded that they work as hard as the principals.  She always gave 100% to the students and expected 100% from them in return.  She was meticulous and would spend hours getting the little things right. 

Leslie’s contribution to James Ruse can be summarised in two words:  commitment and devotion, and these qualities rubbed-off on those around her and were an example to everybody.  She loved teaching and was very proud of her students, especially when a musical came together.  There is no doubt that countless individual lives and the life of James Ruse has been deeply enriched by knowing and sharing so much with Leslie Lino.
Alan Best