From the Archives | Family Day

  • Posted September 6, 2023
  • By Caroline Taylor

This Saturday, the Scotch Community will come together to celebrate Family Day.  Highlights of the day include band performances, art and design exhibitions, tours of the Archives, museum and Boarding House facilities, and delicious treats and activities at the Club and Auxiliary stalls.


1922 House Athletics and Carnival to raise funds for the pavilion

In 2017, Scotch celebrated the 100th running of Family Day , first held on 12 October 1917 at the MCG following the creation of the House system that year, though its roots go back to the inaugural Scotch College Athletic Sports day, held at the MCG on 30 November 1868. For decades, the event was strictly a sports day. Some exceptions were harbingers of the modern concept of Family Day. They included the House Sports on 14 October 1922, on the third day of a carnival that raised funds for a pavilion (built 1923, demolished 1963), and those of 1941, held as part of Scotch’s War Effort Carnival on 11 October.

1941 House Athletics and War Effort Carnival on 11 October 1941

Parents began to become involved in the school with the formation of auxiliaries, beginning with those for the Junior School (1935), Scouts (1956), Scotch-at-Cowes (1959), and Cadets and Music (both 1965). Principal Colin Healey wanted to increase parental and Old Boys’ involvement with Scotch. On 17 June 1966 parents were invited to mix socially with teachers in Memorial Hall, and on 8 October 1966, the day after the Foundation Day Concert, parents and Old Boys were invited to the House Sports, on what Healey called a Scotch Community Weekend. Coordinated by the (then) Cadet Ladies’ Auxiliary with the assistance of parents and Old Boys, there was a significant increase in attendance, as boys were compelled to attend as either competitors or spectators. Most events were expanded down to D Grade, a BBQ was put on for 2,500 people, and boats were christened, all during which the annual art show was held.

In 1967 the event was repeated as ‘Scotch Community Day’. In 1968 Healey referred to it as ‘House Sports, Barbeque, Family and Old Boys’ day’, and in 1969 and 1970 as “Scotch Family Day”, although in 1970 auxiliaries variously referred to it as “Barbeque and House Sports Day” or “Barbeque Day” (perhaps indicating where the true interest really lay!). In 1972 the School Council approved the creation of the Scotch Association (renamed the Scotch Family Association in 1987), which first met on 13 November 1972, drawing together all auxiliaries, which had called that year’s sports Scotch College Family Day. From 1977 to 1987 under Principal Roff and later Donaldson the program read ‘Athletics Meeting and Family Day Barbeque.’ Thereafter reference to Family Day was consigned to the back cover until 1996, when it first appeared in its own right without its barbeque companion. Great Scot, which until 1988 was subtitled Newspaper of the Old Scotch Collegians’ Association, became a magazine in 1989, subtitled The Scotch Family Magazine – yet another example of the growing acceptance of the Scotch Family concept.

Family Day 1966

Scotch Bursar from 1953 until 1985, Kenneth Frederick Field (born 3 July 1922, died 14 December 1988), the eponym of Field House, became involved in every aspect of Scotch life with boundless enthusiasm, commitment and affection. He worked very closely with Healey, and although Healey engineered the increased community involvement with Scotch, the creation of the term Scotch Family was attributed to Ken Field by former Principal Gordon Donaldson on Field’s retirement.

Click here for the 2023 Family Day Program.

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