For years the College song has been belted out by countless thousands of students both past and present – and yet few if any would know of its origins.
Thankfully, the story behind the story of the song’s genesis has been well-documented – from as far back as 1961 when The Paradian’s unnamed correspondent recorded the passing of one of the tune’s lyricists – to more recently in 1994 when the ode’s roots were examined in greater detail by the current Principal Andy Kuppe, then The Paradian editor.
Broadly speaking, the College song can be sourced to the pre-World War II year of 1937, when three men committed their collective talents to the formation of the song - Br Bernard Murphy, Br Harry Parker and Old Paradian George Beeden.
More of Brothers Murphy and Parker shortly, but first, George Beeden.
Born in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Clifton Hill in 1904, George William Beeden completed his schooling at the CBC East Melbourne in 1920 – four years before a John Beeden followed suit and a further year before James did likewise. It is presumed that George, John and James were related, but no records exist to confirm any kindred connections.
On George’s passing, a tribute was paid in the ’61 edition of The Paradian as follows:
Mr. George William Beeden, of Wadham Parade, Mount Waverley, a former general president of the Australian Journalists’ Association, died recently after a long illness. He was fifty-four.
Mr. Beeden had been a member of the literary staff of the “News”, Adelaide, sine 1923, and its Melbourne representative for thirty years.
He was general president of the A.J.A. from 1946 to 1951, and was awarded the association’s gold honour badge in 1950.
He was known to thousands of Old Paradians as the writer of the Parade School song, and for ten years was on the committee of the Old Paradians’ Association.
Mr. Beeden was also an active member of the St. Kilda Bowling Club.
His wife survives him.
Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. John the Baptist Church, Clifton Hill, at 10 a.m. After Mass the funeral proceeded to the Heidelberg Cemetery. Arrangements were in the hands of Tobin Bros. Pty Ltd.
The general secretary of the Australian Journalists’ Association, Mr. S. Crosland, said recently that Mr. Beeden had given distinguished and unselfish service to the Australian Journalists’ Association, particularly his record period of five years as general president, in the difficult post-war years.
George’s contributions to the song become obvious in reviewing Andy’s interview with Br Parker (pictured) at “Amberley” for The Paradian more than 25 years ago. The following was the tale related to Andy by Br. Parker:
I came to Parade – the ‘Old Bluestone Pile’ – in 1937 when I was 22. I never taught at Parade, but at Young Street, Fitzroy. Br. Bernard Murphy, who taught Business Studies at Parade, asked me to write a school song. He knew I used to write ‘verse’ for Brothers’ birthdays or for whatever hilarious episode had occurred in recent times. I told him I had never heard a school song and had only vague ideas about what comprised a school song. Br. Murphy was a pianist, branching out into the modern style of music. Bernard Hynes, who knew him, said that had he concentrated on music he would have made a name for himself.
Well, I just wrote some verse about what I thought the Parade spirit should be, with just enough ‘zing’ in it to induce boys to use their lungs when an occasion arose.
I imagine that over the years various inserts have sneaked in to push out a word or two that obviously did not measure up to the dignity of a song for an illustrious school. Other parts have been ‘re-arranged’ to bring it up to date. The only parts I know for certain are mine are the first two lines.
However, I suspect that what has made it a great song is its music.”
. . . and presumably a few choice jottings from the former President of the Australian Journalists’ Association no less.
Old Bluestone Pile enshrined secure
Through all our days in mem’ry’s core
They peerless past shall e’er endure
Our pledge hold fast tradition’s store.
Parade, thy sons in ev’ry year
May loyal service bring to thee
And victories hard-won and dear,
But not more loyal hearts than we.
We’ll defend the purple, green and blue
We’ll guard thy fame and unafraid
With hearts and courage high be true
Along the years, Parade.