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Richard William Boden (fr 1948) 1930-2014

Ian Jack, Senior Fellow and Archivist, May 2014

Richard Boden entered St Andrew’s College in 1948 at the age of eighteen and stayed throughout the six years of his medical education. He had been born and brought up in Casino on the Richmond River where his father, John Boden, was a well-established draper. Richard, universally known as Dick, attended The Scots College in Bellevue Hill as a boarder: this was where he acquired his enthusiasm for rowing.1 During his years at College, Dick Boden worked hard at his medical courses, with consistently good results. He was rewarded every year in College with prestigious scholarships. In his first year, he held one of the Grainger scholarships which were reserved for old Scots boys, and he held a Grainger again in 1949, worth £45: for his remaining four years, he was the Fullerton medical scholar. His main sport was rowing: he coaxed the Andrew’s boat in his fresher years and again in 1951, but wielded an oar in 1949.2 He also played golf with gusto, ‘his particularly telling “ploy” being his habit of playing with 2 balls instead of one and counting only the better ball’. And in his final year he took to squash with some success. 3 Despite being close friends with John Solomon, the future Wallaby captain and his former fellow boarder at Scots, who was his fellow-freshman and room-


St Andrew’s College Archives [SACA], Application for residency file. Andrew’s, 1948, p.10; 1949, p.24; 1951, p.29; 1953, p.9. 3 Andrew’s, 1953, p.9. 2

Richard William Boden mate at College for three years,4 Boden did not play either rugby or cricket at College.5 Nor did he play any visible role in the Students’ Club during his earlier years at Andrew’s. But in 1951, he was elected to the significant position of Assistant Treasurer and in the following year became a successful Treasurer of the Club.6 In 1953, his final year, Dick Boden was elected to succeed Peter Elliott as Senior Student. His Secretary was Ian Harper, father of our present Chair of the College Council; while his Treasurer was Graeme Elliott, brother of his predecessor. Unlike Peter Elliott, Boden had not been a voluble member of the Students’ Club, but as Senior Student he was much involved in tempering the Council’s wish to clip the wings of the fresher system.7 The magazine that year gave a warm appreciation of Boden: [He] has always been a quiet, personable bloke, appreciated more by his close friends rather than by the world in general, for Dick’s friendship is a thing that becomes increasingly more valuable the better you know him. It went on to praise his ‘complete dependability’, his ‘quite astonishing competence in a dozen spheres’, his ‘acute sense of humour’ and, very tellingly, his ‘awareness of the problems of others’.8 When he left College at the end of 1953, his peers recalled how he had blossomed in sociability: ‘for the last couple of years there has been no more avid picnicker!’. They remembered his energetic support of the Dramatic Society’s first production, when he revelled in the ‘slashing backstage parties’ for the Pygmalion cast.9 The students’ magazine felt impelled to publish a photograph of a horizontal Dick enjoying one of those parties all too well.10 The final testimonial of his College friends to Dick Boden’s undergraduate years could well stand, with minimal alteration, as a memorial to his entire career:


SACA, Application for residency file, letter by Boden to Principal, 24 January 1950; Andrew’s, 1953, p.9. Andrew’s, 1948-1953. 6 SACA, Students’ Club Minute-Book, 1950-1961, pp.13, 20. 7 SACA, Students’ Club Minute-Book, 1950-1961, pp.30, 35-38. 8 Andrew’s, 1953, p.4. 9 Andrew’s, 1953, p.9. 10 Andrew’s, 1953, pp.16-17. 5

Ian Jack - Senior Fellow and Archivist, May 2014

Richard William Boden As Richard departs after six extraordinarily well-spent years, he takes with him the affection of his many good friends and the sincerest thanks of every collegeman for a job well done.11


Andrew’s, 1953, p.9.

Ian Jack - Senior Fellow and Archivist, May 2014

Richard William Boden (fr 1948)  
Richard William Boden (fr 1948)