“I suppose what I have tried to do,
if I could put it in a nutshell,
is to try to teach my students,
if I could,
that real courtesy is based on consideration of another person’s feelings.
The real thing is to try to help them to understand and be patient,
to try to get the other persons point of view grasped.
Because it is not what a person sees happening that counts,
it is what he BELIEVES he sees happening,
and it is the way he Interprets what is happening.”
– Griffith Duncan (c.1973)
The foundation Principal of the Newcastle Teachers’ College, later incorporated as the Newcastle College of Advanced Education, the late Mr Griffith Duncan was one of 10 new inductees to the Cessnock Hall of the Fame on the 19 September 2007. Congratulations!
Griffith Hammond Duncan, O.B.E., M.A., B.Ed., F.A.C.E. was born in Kurri Kurri in 1914 – half Welsh, half Scottish.
His early education was at Kurri, his secondary was at East Maitland Boys’ High School and tertiary at the University of Sydney where he pursued his love of English and his bent for Mathematics and Science.
Griff completed his professional training year at Sydney Teachers’ College and was eventually appointed in 1935 to the N.S.W. Teaching Service at Newcastle Junior High School.
In 1940 he was triumphantly awarded his Master of Arts degree in mathematics, with First Class Honours, and the University Medal.
Griff had just been “run in” into teaching when, also in 1940, he joined the R.A.A.F. and remained there for five and a half years.
After discharge, he returned to teaching at Sydney Technical High School. Thence he was appointed to Balmain Teachers’ College as a Lecturer in Mathematics, and part-time at the University of Sydney, before going to Wagga Teachers’ College as Vice-Principal for two years.
Then a State decision was made to open a Teachers’ College in Newcastle. Griff says he “was fortunate to get the job”. In 1949, he opened Newcastle Teachers’ College in the Manual Arts Room of what was to be part of Newcastle Technical High School, with 13 staff and 182 students. He retired in 1975 after watching its development from Teachers’ College to Newcastle College of Advanced Education to Hunter Institute of Higher Education.
Mr Griffith Duncan at the Conferring of Honorary Award and Official Farewell 26th March 1975
(Exerpts from “Griffith Hammond Duncan Memorial Service 19th April, 1988 Eulogy delivered by Mr Phil Marquet”.)
For more on Mr Griffith Duncan:
Click for the Full “Interview with Griff” by Dale Brown Editor, Altjiringa Magazine (c.1973)