Another view of life at Duntroon

Thanks to Rowan Tracey for letting me know of another book that discusses life at Duntroon – this time in the period 1926 to 1929. It is one chapter in Robinson, Godfrey, The Decades of a Duntroon Bastard, Neptune Press, Belmont (Victoria), 1980, which, despite the title, is really his life story.

He notes that ‘I believe that my class endured the peak of the bullying: certainly the three classes that followed mine were less severely dealt with, although they might not agree.’ (p44) We might relate to that! There are a couple of poignant bits of self-examination that we might in some ways share, although I don’t think, as a class, we would have contemplated taking part in the sort of bastardisation we received (not that we had the option):

‘Being the youngest of my class – I had just turned seventeen – and of no great maturity anyway, this “training” had at least one unfortunate effect on me. I finished the fourth class course determined to take it out on the next fourth class, and that obsession possessed me in some measure until after I had left Duntroon. I think many of us suffered traumatic psychological injury as a result of that dreadful year.’ (p 45)

‘In fact after four years of training I was in a practical sense no more fitted for the world than I had been the day I arrived in Duntroon; but one thing I had learned. I could stand alone against all things, against all people if need be. There was in me an ineradicable unbending conviction of fitness to accept and handle responsibility at any level. I felt deeply that responsibility would be better exercised and more fully savoured, if it should thrust me into loneliness.’ (p 48)

Citation has been added to the Bibliography page ( I managed to get a copy through Abe Books, but that website indicated that it was the only copy it had available.

One thought on “Another view of life at Duntroon

  1. Interesting. I read the Fox Committee Report after Berry kindly placed it upon the website. What a disappointing document – dare I say a classic example of ‘situating the appreciation’ rather than the reverse. And then I started to think about what effect publications like Maxwell Newton’s article in the Canberra Times ‘Duntroon, a Tradition of Torture’ and all the associated press coverage at the time would have had on our parents.


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