Jack Russell Drive: The People
Jack Russell was the first staff member to be based at the School. During his time at Yarra, Jack came to know every teacher and student, and enjoyed the small knit of community at Yarra at the time. He was only the third member of staff, after Headmaster John Pascoe and Headmaster’s Secretary, Myrl Hoskin. Prior to this, he had been in charge of the Melbourne City Council’s Parks and Gardens works in Wandin, and moved with his wife Barbara and their four children close to the area. Always a helping hand, Jack was involved in many of the School’s early projects: the first Music Night, Speech Night, and Sports Day which coincided with a memorable tree planting. He was a regular at the Parent’s Association weekend activities, such as the annual cricket match, Parents V Staff.
In 1978 Jack became Maintenance Supervisor: additional grounds-staff were on board, and the grounds Jack had kept alone became the responsibility of a team. Jack’s responsibilities, meanwhile, grew and he was happy for the change from muddy ovals to maintenance and carpentry work on the buildings. He dug his hands into many sites we now see as familiar, such as the Chapel area which used to house a small theatre. Remarkably Jack worked until 1987 when he retired to a new home in Seville, to enjoy a quieter and happy life with his wife.