Do you remember this education leader from Hamilton in the 1960s?

He is John Allan, although he was more usually referred to as Jack.

He was the founding principal of the Hamilton Teachers College and if you remember him you are probably one of the many trainee teachers who studied at the college between 1960 and 1964 when it was based at what is now Melville High School.

A reunion of teachers who spent all or part of their student years at the Melville campus will be held in Hamilton in February 2019 and the search is on to find as many as possible.


Two of the the reunion organisers are retired teachers and long-time Hamilton residents Bruce and Jan Rosemergy who have fond memories of the Melville campus. Bruce was part of the first student intake in 1960 and Jan was in the second.

"The friendships made at Melville endure and we try to have a reunion every two or three years, generally of just the foundation students," says Bruce. "But in 2020 it will be the 60th anniversary, so we have expanded it to try to make contact with more people before then."

After 1964 the college moved to Hillcrest and was integrated into the new University of Waikato, becoming the School of Education.

"There used to be teacher training only in Auckland," says Bruce, "but with the post war
baby boom there was an increased demand for teachers." There was pressure to reduce primary school class sizes from 40 or even 50 children, he says.

"Then, it was easier to recruit teachers, it was a good career and you could be sure of a paid job at the end of the training," says Bruce.

Jan recalls that it took two years of study to become a teacher.

"Classes were 8.30am to 4pm five days a week. Today, you have three lectures a week and it takes you three years to qualify," says Jan.

"But those college hours did prepare us well for the classroom routine," she says.
The Melville campus was originally built to be a high school, so it seemed a lot like being at school.


Bruce remembers there being many mature students in 1960.

"They were much older people to us. They were aged 21 and we were just 17 years old."

Sports were a big part of the routine with new rugby, soccer and hockey teams becoming the foundation of some Hamilton sports clubs still around today.

"I remember marking out the fields for the first hockey season," says Bruce. "With hindsight the college set us up well for a teaching career. Melville campus produced good teachers — we had good teachers teaching us, model teachers. It was a very positive experience — we wanted to be there and wanted to be teachers."

"I went back to my primary school for work experience and they called me sir. Teachers were key people, there were societal expectations of teachers and social mores to be upheld," says Bruce.

He says trainees went on to become teachers and leaders around New Zealand especially in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Thames Valley and Taranaki.

While many had high profile careers, Bruce says some are difficult to find, especially any who changed their names.

Pass on the message — Melville campus reunion, February 2019 in Hamilton.

What you need to know
Hamilton Teachers College, Melville Campus Reunion
February 21 and 22, 2019, in Hamilton.
Registration: $50 — covers Thursday night meal and Friday pizzas.
Thursday, February 21: Waikato Commerce Club (the old Commercial Travellers Club), 5.30pm mix and mingle (cash bar), followed by smorgasbord.
Friday, February 22: Morning: visit places around Hamilton and environs. From 2pm: gather at hockey pavilion at Innes Common. Pizzas will be served (cash bar); break up at about 4.15pm.
Registration: by February 6, 2019 to: Francis Charlton, email: