How sad, yet apt, that I should write these comments as one of the Voices to celebrate Trinity's 125th Anniversary in the same week that we have buried Brother Geoff Seaman, certainly the most profound influence on me during my schooldays at Trinity.
Brother Seaman, or "George " as we boys knew him, taught me the life lesson that has stayed with me and sustained me more than once on the "dark night of the soul." That was of course "Resilience" and not one boy who played football with Br Seaman as coach would ever forget his low-voiced but stentorian call from the sidelines after being tackled hard, "Bounce up Robert Shields, bounce up!" Of course we all did!
That same voice stayed with me every time I was flattened in a 10 year football career, but more importantly, it allowed me to bounce back from life's setbacks - of which we all have many over the course of 70 years.
On his time at CBC and Trinity College
In 1958 I was one of that happy breed that attended the original CBC Terrace and loved the focus on sports, the handball courts, the Swan River lapping at the back fence, and after school watching the Brothers smash each other in football contests on that tiny oval.
In 1961, with my three closest friends I shared the humiliation of being turfed out of the School Choir – as our voices broke (how we enjoyed those choir excursions away from class).
In 1962, it was off to Trinity - to sandpit ovals and over-crowded classes, with the Perth municipal tip adjacent – but we loved our new College.
On September 23, 1963 – like everyone else I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated – on that sandpit oval, training for the Inters Athletics.
The final two years whizzed - then walking out of the gates of Trinity for one last time in 1964, but returning to marry my bride in the Chapel four years later.
Class reunions brought me back to TC over the years, then in 2004 I started a six year run on the College Board, taking part in the rebuilding as part of the WACA expansion. It was an amazing experience to see the upmarket premises, the confident and well-adjusted boys and the staff genuinely pleased to be part of the Trinity team.
Life after Trinity College
After graduation, I trained as a journalist on the West Australian from 1965-1968, then followed that with a stint of Channel Nine, also as a news journalist.
From 1965-1974 I also played football for the Perth Football Club, playing some 194 games (including seven state games), captaining both the Perth and WA teams.
In 1970 I started my own property company and have been self-employed for almost 50 years.
It was a major honour to be named the Captain of the Trinity Football Team of the Century – and also to the WA Football Hall-of-Fame.
All of these major projects of course required perseverance and resilience, as they always included hurdles and stumbling blocks – again, it was the resilience taught in my Trinity days that helped me to push through. Of my work, I feel most proud that I have been able to create Waterfront projects including Old Perth Port (including the Lucky Shag Waterfront Bar) at Barrack Square, the new Fremantle Maritime Museum and the Mandurah Waterfront, which includes the Performing Arts Centre, as these three projects are enjoyed by many West Australians.
It takes time and life experience to justly attribute full value to all of the many influences on your life – after 70 years, I thank the Trinity Family deeply and remain a very proud Trinity Boy.