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With the recent return to Parade of 2016 College Dux Joel Perera, how timely it is that a descendant of Parade’s first Dux of 1871 should make contact.

Margaret McKenzie (nee Watson) recently called the Old Paradians’ Association with a requesting to see the name of her great grandfather Andrew Larkin on the College’s Honour Board of Duces.

The Association and the College was able to provide a photograph of the board with Larkin’s name featured atop. In turn, Margaret was able to share a few precious details about Andrew’s life through the horrors of wartime and beyond.

Andrew Richard Larkin was born in Numurkah 163 years ago tomorrow - February 21, 1854. His father Rody and mother Mary Ann Cantwell were both natives of Tipperary in Ireland.

In 1880, Andrew married Amelia Pontin. Together they raised 12 children – Irene, Maurice, John, Margaret, Martin (who in 1917 died of a gunshot wound in Rouen in World War I), Patrick (who survived the Gallipoli landing only to die in Flanders in 1916), Rody (who also served in the Great War and was later granted permission by the King to escort Patrick’s widow Alice back to Australia), Dora and Andrew.

On completing his studies at the old Bluestone Pile, Andrew pursed his career calling as a teacher, and in 1886 was appointed Principal of the newly-established St. Mary’s Echuca. He remained in that capacity until 1889.

For the next 17 years until the school’s closure in 1906, Andrew furthered his teaching at nearby Yalca East/Bearii. Other teaching stints followed at Moolap and Hopetoun – Moolap from 1911-’16 and Hopetoun in 1917, the latter as Headmaster.

In his later years, Andrew pursued a business interest by way of a newsagency in Richmond. He then retired to Middle Park, and died at his home there (44 Harold Street) on April 12, 1927 aged 73. He was buried at Box Hill Cemetery.

Margaret revealed that two of Andrew’s great grandsons, Terry Edwards (1962) and Brian Watson (1974) were students at Parade’s East Melbourne and Bundoora campuses respectively, with the great great grandsons Damien, Anthony, Peter and Paul all schooled at Bundoora.

Paul and Anthony have also pursued their own teaching careers at the College.

“We are a large extended family who love and hold strong ties and connections to our relatives and ancestors,” Margaret said.

“We are proud of Andrew Richard Larkin who fathered twelve children and had three sons who joined the war effort in World War I - a huge sacrifice as sadly only one son returned. 

“We have always been proud that his name was on the wall plaque as the first Dux of Parade and due to his fine education there he was able to pursue a teaching career in various country towns within Victoria which kept his large family fed and clothed.”


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