Nonagenarian Pauline visits

Nonagenarian Pauline visits

1 month ago

When World War 2 broke out David Warden (in College 1948-52) finished his Leaving Certificate at Shore and joined the RAN and served as a radar technician. After the war, he began studying medicine at Sydney University and realised that he needed to live on campus to concentrate on his studies and be with a community of like-minded souls but couldn’t get into College in his first year due to the post-war demand. It was in 1948 that Felix Arnott was able to offer him a place and David, being one of the more mature-in-age students, gave College his all. He was a rower, athlete and footballer. He became College’s no.1 sprinter and was captain of the College XV in 1951. Because of his university rugby contribution he received a University Blue in football in 1951.

His telephonic skills (from the Navy days) were put to good use creating a private line between Paul’s and Womens. This must have been a good distraction for his cohort because in 1948-9 there were shortages of daily foodstuffs and household staples, as well as rationing of power leading to long periods of daily blackouts.

In June 1948 he witnessed the official opening of the new North Wing, made possible by the legacies of Miss McIntosh in memory of her brother, Lieutenant Colonel Harold McIntosh (in College 1886-88)[1] and from the estate of Dame Eadith Walker [2] along with the bequest of Sir Hugh Denison [3], after whom the wing is named. David graduated MB BS in 1953 and became a GP.

David was interested in cars too and was one of only two who had cars at College in 1949, an Austin 7. He soon found the petrol rationing and high prices spoiled his enthusiasm and advertised the car for sale in Honi Soit. This led to a number of phone inquiries not to “Mr Warden” but to the Warden, Rev’d Felix Arnott, who didn’t drive or have a car.

During his career David has provided desperately needed services to remote Australia and people facing extreme hardship overseas. He spent 30 years working in Scone before heading off to Cambodia to provide much needed medial assistance in refugee camps following Pol Pot’s reign of terror.  David’s service was recognised with the award of an Order of Australia Medal in 2015. The Scone medical practice included doctors Archibald, Harrison and Paradice, and all of them had Paul’s connections including relations in residence.

It is always a delight to welcome Paulines back to their alma mater. David’s grand-daughter, Miss Grace Shipway, arranged the visit with me. Grace is a recent alumna of St Andrew’s and took the lead when we visited The Salisbury in particular! David’s daughter Mrs Jo Shipway also joined the tour, and recalled for us that she was also a visitor to Paul’s when she was a student. This story has many interconnecting lines and how fortunate are we to have a gentleman like Dr David Warden OAM in our midst.

Richard Morgan

Footnotes:

  1. LtCol Harold McIntosh (1868-1917) served in the South African War, Gallipoli and Sinai and died of wounds in Palestine after the second Battle of Gaza on 24 April 1917. He is commemorated in the College Chapel alongside the other Paulines who fell during conflicts.
  2. Dame Eadith Walker DBE (1861-1937) is famous for her benevolence to many charitable casues which included the St Paul’s College Building Fund and her bequest of the Yaralla Estate, originally designed by Edmund Blacket, which is now known as the Dame Eadith Walker Convalescent Hospital Estate at Concord. She died in 1937 a decade before the Denison Wing was completed.
  3. Sir Huge Denison (1865-1940) tobacco manufacturer, newspaper magnate (The Sun, Associated Newspapers Ltd, Daily Telegraph Pictorial), and philanthropist, had three sons at Paul’s (Reginald 1913-15, Cecil 1915, and Leslie 1915-24) and made an enormous gift in his will to the College which largely funded the building of the 1948 north wing.

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