By Emilie Ng
SECOND World War veteran Robert Scott celebrated the first of two 100th birthdays at a special event for students and staff at St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane.
The college, which is in the middle of centenary celebrations, invited Mr Scott, the oldest living past student and turning 100 in October, to help cut the birthday cake at his former Catholic high school.
He joined school captain Zane Playle and the college’s youngest student Euen Lynch.
Mr Scott spoke to students and staff about his days at the college, which he entered in 1927.
His academic record included an “A” in both Latin and algebra, “B” in geography, arithmetic, geometry, chemistry and physics, and “C” in English and French.
Mr Scott worked for Shell Australia between 1936 and 1973, with almost five years’ interruption when he served in the Second World War as a gunner in the 15th Battalion.
He was discharged in 1944 and joined the Royal Australia Air Force, but severe hearing loss from his years in artillery meant he was banned from aircrew training.
Mr Scott was later posted to Morotai, now part of Indonesia, until the war ended in August 1945.
In 1973, he retired as the first electronic data processing manager for Shell Queensland.
His dabbling in technology in the ’70s extends until today, as Mr Scott can be found using email, Google and Skype to speak with his granddaughters.
Principal Ian McDonald said it was “great symbolism” to have Bob Scott standing with the school’s youngest student for their centenary, and that he could share words with today’s students.
“It was extraordinary,” Mr McDonald said.
As the second non-religious principal of St Laurence’s College following a line of numerous Christian Brothers, who founded the school, Mr McDonald said it was “terribly important” to follow in the Edmund Rice tradition.
“The charism of Edmund Rice (founder of the Christian Brothers) defines what St Laurence’s College is,” he said.
“It’s terribly important in terms of the next 100 years other people take up the mantle the Christian Brothers had in following Edmund Rice, with all the lay people running schools like ours … following in the same tradition.”
Mr McDonald is the school’s longest-serving principal having held the role for 15 years.