The former ABC journalist Geoffrey Luck (pictured below) now in his 80’s, is an old boy of the Church of England Grammar School at East Brisbane – better known as Churchie – and a passionate defender of his long-lost but much loved one-time cane-wielding Headmaster Henry Emmanuel ‘Harry’ Roberts, whose name was recently stripped from the new library building at the school after revelations about his protection of pedophiles during the decades he was in charge of the esteemed educational institution, much to the chagrin of Luck and his sidekick Tony ‘Cutie’ Morris QC.
The stripping, not the pedophile protection, that is, although the multitude of former students who have sprung forth over the tipline to tell their tales of sordid abuse suggest that the two were indivisible. Stripping and Harry Roberts that is.
As a young buck fresh out of
bondage Churchie, Geoffrey Luck ventured up to Longreach, the land of his former school house master and fellow photography lover Gavin ‘In a Trance’ Vance, where he worked as the local ABC reporter and by all reports had a jolly old time doing it too.
Convicted pederast and well-known host at his riverside St Lucia mansion to legions of teenage western suburbs Brisbane boys from the 1930’s to the late 1970’s Frederick William Whitehouse (the man front row right in the picture at top) – better known as Doc to the lads, or Freddie to his like-minded mates – was a world renowned geologist who spent a lot of time dipping his dainty toes in the water in and around Longreach in the early 1950’s.
Dr Freddie was an old friend of Luck’s revered Churchie headmaster Harry Roberts. In fact he was perhaps his closest friend.
Born in the same year of 1900, the pair had met while students at the University of Queensland and upon their mutual graduations in 1922 Whitehouse – using the connections he had forged through his much older lover, the major UQ benefactor Dr James Mayne – had arranged a teaching job for Roberts at the Grammar school in his home town of of Ipswich.
Whitehouse had organised the job for Roberts courtesy of the recently appointed Anglican Archbishop Gerald Sharp, who Dr Maybe had arranged to be appointed as a member of the University Senate and who Freddie himself had co-opted to become a fellow member of the executive of the Royal Geographical Society, which had built offices on land that had been gifted to it by the Mayne family.
In 1925 Freddie – who had been awarded a scholarship to study for a PhD at Cambridge University – prevailed upon the Archbishop again to assist his close chum Roberts, this time arranging for Sharp, who immediately prior to his appointment had been the Proctor of the Yorkshire deanery, to have his friend appointed to a short-term tenure at the church-run Drax Grammar school in the north of the county.
Historical records left by the pair suggest that they spent the year enjoying a gay old time, and when they returned toward Christmas their friendship continued apace, so much so that in 1927 Whitehouse played cupid by introducing Roberts to his future wife, who he was to marry a year later, Freddie’s fellow musical theater lover and Congregational Church parishioner (Whitehouse’s uncle was the Reverend) Hilda Vincent, a musical prodigy who had gained state-wide renown for her rare talents.
During the decades that followed Dr Freddie and Harry Roberts remained close friends, visiting each other regularly and indulging their mutual passion for grace and beauty at every opportunity, and when in 1946 the founder of Churchie William Perry Morris announced his intention to retire at year’s end Whitehouse moved mountains to ensure that his old pal secured the job as Morris’ replacement.
A number of senior members of the Diocesan Council that owned and controlled the school, concerned about Roberts religious affiliation to the Presbyterian Church rather than to the Church of England, objected to Whitehouse’s campaign for Roberts’ appointment, but fortunately for the pair then Archbishop Halse – who had been appointed 3 years before – was a fellow traveler, and with the added impetus of support from Morris the appointment was made, and in 1947 Harry Roberts assumed the coveted role as headmaster of the elite East Brisbane school.
Roberts, clearly not one to forget his friends, immediately appointed Whitehouse as the coach of the Churchie rowing team, a role the Doctor was to reprise when his commitments allowed for the next half decade until he graciously resigned after being charged in 1954 with indecency offences against young men.
Whitehouse was to be convicted of the offences a year later and – by virtue of amazing fortune, top shelf lawyers or perhaps even brown paper bags – received a three month suspended prison sentence predicated on the unlikely proposition that the Doctor behave himself for just 12 months.
His conviction was to be mysteriously struck from the record books 2 years later thanks to a sustained political campaign by Freddie’s highly influential friends, but the scandal caused by the charges was to leave Roberts no choice but to end forever his friend Whitehouse’s short reign as the caller of Churchie’s coxes.
Luck’s a fortune however and a sometimes a fortune can buy some, and during his tragically abridged yet nevertheless glorious time in the sun with Churchie’s sons Whitehouse had the good fortune to meet a young rower named Geoffrey Luck, and thanks to some more great luck in 1953 the now ABC reporter and his Hector of a Headmaster’s best friend were able to meet up again in Longreach a year before Freddie was outed as a kiddy fiddler and at a time when young men were still prepared to stand smiling beside him in happy snaps taken with box brownies.
And thus the happy reunion between Harry Robert’s happy friend and the hapless headmaster’s later staunch last-stand defender was recorded on chromatic and entered the history books in perpetuity, and provided us all with immutable evidence of three long held but oft forgotten truths.
You can’t stop the music.
You can never believe a word that Geoffrey Luck says.
And only a pedophile-defending fool would ever f*ck with Archie.
You can’t stop the music, nobody can stop the music.
Take the heat from flame, try not feeling pain,
Though you try in vain it’s much easier.
No, you can’t stop the music, nobody can stop the music.
Change the master plan, take the hope from man
’cause that’s easier to do.
Hey didn’t the Village People once tell us Bruce Jenner was a straight as an oar man’s man?