BAKER, DENEHY SHARE HALL WALL SPACE
Panels detailing the achievements of the Old Paradians’ Association’s two new Inductees to the Hall of Fame have been fixed to the wall of the Hickey Foyer at the Bundoora Campus, appropriately enough in the lead-up to Anzac Day.
The two prominent military men, General John Stuart Baker AC, DSM and Lt Col Charles Denehy DSO, VD, CdG, Order of the Crown, were posthumously inducted at the association’s dinner at the Hyatt on the Park last October.
On completing his studies at Parade College East Melbourne in 1953, John Baker entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon. On graduation in 1957, he was allotted to the Royal Australian Engineers and he later completed a degree in civil engineering at the University of Melbourne.
John’s first regimental posting was a one-year appointment in Papua New Guinea, followed by 12 months in Hawaii as an exchange officer. In 1970–1971 he was attached to the 1st Australian Civil Affairs Unit during the Vietnam War, where he was Mentioned in Despatches. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1971, Colonel in 1979, Brigadier in 1982, Major General in 1987, Lieutenant General in 1992 and General in 1995.
In 1987, the then Chief of the Defence Force General Peter Gration tasked the then Brigadier Baker to conduct a study of the existing ADF command arrangements in order to recommend further development to meet likely requirements into the 21st century for both low and high levels of operations.
The final report, commonly referred to as “The Baker Report”, was published in March 1988 and remains the seminal work on command and control in the ADF.
General Baker’s career culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force from 1995 to 1998, the most senior position in the Australian Defence Force.
Charles Aloysius Denehy was a soldier and schoolteacher, born in inner city Carlton in 1879, Charles matriculated from Parade College East Melbourne and later joined the Victorian Education Department.
Charles enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on August 15, 1914 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 7th Battalion. After training in Egypt the battalion took part in the landing at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915. Charles, now a lieutenant, was wounded during the landing and evacuated via Egypt to England.
Charles rejoined his unit in September, was promoted captain in October, and took charge of the last elements from the 7th during the successful evacuation from Gallipoli.
He arrived in France with the recently formed 57th Battalion in June 1916 but was transferred to temporary command of the 58th, just in time to take part in the battle of Fromelles in which the unit suffered heavy casualties. On August 27, he was confirmed as commanding officer of the 58th Battalion and promoted Lieutenant-Colonel.
Charles commanded this battalion throughout 1917 and, following the heavy fighting at Bullecourt in May, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for ‘conspicuous gallantry and ability’. He was gassed near Ypres in October and was invalided for one month.
Charles returned to the 57th unit during the offensives of August-October and particularly distinguished himself in the fighting around Bellicourt during the breaching of the Hindenburg line.
After the Armistice, he studied at the Sorbonne and developed a lifelong interest in the French language. He returned to Australia in January 1920.
Charles resumed school teaching duties at Rutherglen in 1926-34 and Westgarth Central in 1935-45. Although he had reached retirement age in 1944 he continued at Middle Park Central until 1956 and at his old school, Parade, until 1959.
At the age of 82, he had the honour of leading the 1962 Anzac Day march in Melbourne.
In 2010, the Old Paradians’ Association committee, in its wisdom, saw fit to found an Old Paradians Hall of Fame. The committee’s rationale was that a Hall of Fame would help perpetuate the memory of the people who brought honour to Parade College and who by their contributions to society serve as authentic role models for present and future generations of the Parade community.
Gen John Baker and Lt Col Charles Denehy now join Louis Arthur, Sir Bernard Callinan, Michael Cocks, Vice Admiral Sir John Collins, Mr Leo Doyle, Bill Dunne, the Most Reverend Arthur Fox, Ivan Hutchinson, “Jock” McHale, Mr Justice Sir Norman O’Bryan, Michael Pratt GC and Capt. Prof. Kevin Rickard AM in the Hall of Fame.