Members of the Shingler family have joined more than 70 Old Paradians at the annual Christmas Luncheon, in honouring the association’s former Secretary and President the late Robert Shingler with a presentation of the Tenete Award.

Robert’s daughter Maryanne and son Peter, Peter’s wife Veronica and their children James and Monique, were at the RACV Melbourne Club when Ray Hangan (1950) paid glorious tribute to Robert, and OPA President Lewis Derrico presented the family with a glass memento of the coveted award. The Tenete Award, instituted in 1974 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Old Paradians’ Association’s founding, acknowledges outstanding service in the interests of the College.

“Not everybody here knew Robert Shingler. Who was he and what was he like?” Ray said.

“Well either Ron Barnett or Max Hallam, I’m not sure which one it was, who acted as secretary to Rob when he was President of the Association, said to me ‘Rob was decisive’.

“I looked up the Oxford dictionary, and it describes ‘decisive’ as “act of deciding settlement of an issue”. Well that was Rob. Decisiveness was certainly a feature of his personality.”

“Other comments that were actually attributed to Rob were ‘Once we commit, there’s no going back’, ‘if it’s good for the College and the Brothers it’s worth doing’ and ‘everybody’s time is valuable’. It’s also true that Rob always felt that the Old Paradians could have done better in this or that.”

Ray acknowledged Rob’s efforts in convening the Old Paradians’ Association annual balls, and he remembered the wonderful times when Robert and his wife Patricia opened their home in Park Street Brunswick, once the abode of Sir Redmond Barry, as an association social centre.

“We had some great parties there, particularly after the Old Paradians’ achieved sporting success,” Ray said.

“Rob had an engaging personality, he was great company and being the man in his position he was always willing to help Old Boys that he knew who might have been struggling. He was very generous . . . ”

Ray then referred to a tribute paid to Shingler in Br. Naughtin’s tome The Parade Story, headed “A lifetime of service”, which originally appeared in the 1968 edition of The Paradian.

The tribute reads as follows;

Old Paradians and friends of Parade were shocked to hear the news on February 24th that Rob Shingler had drowned.

Rob Shingler came to Parade from south Melbourne in 1940 and remained until 1945. Brother Crennan warned Keith Barker (OPA President) to be sure to obtain his services in 1946, as “he was a born organiser”. Right from the start of his OPA career, Rob was in positions of responsibility. Little more than 16, he assumed his duties of the Assistant Secretary when he was unable to attend all meetings. Still comparatively young, he became Secretary in 1948 and continued in that post until 1952. He relinquished office in that year to get married.

Came 1957 and rob became President of the Association and remained in the number one position until 1959. Well aware of his capabilities, the football Club executive enticed him onto their committee in 1962, and he was appointed Treasurer in 1964, ’65 and ’66. Rob came back as OPA President in 1967 and was Chairman at the Blessing and Laying of the foundation-stone at Bundoora by His Lordship Bishop Fox.

Robert Shingler was intimately connected with every major undertaking of the Old Paradians’ Association since the last war. He possessed tremendous drive and, as Brother Crennan had predicted, he was an outstanding organiser. RIP.

In responding to Ray’s address, Peter Shingler thanked the Old Paradians’ Association on behalf of his sister Maryanne, brother John and sister Helen (both of whom were overseas and sent their apologies) and their families “we’re very proud to receive this award, the Tenete Award, for Dad”. “Dad would have been very honoured to be named in such esteemed company, as many of those gents he knew. He and Mum mixed with them a lot and as Ray said they had a great time.

“He was a very young when he first served with those great Paradian leaders, but he continued the relationship over a 22-year period and a lot was achieved.”

Peter said that the Tenete award served to offer Robert’s grandchildren “an insight into their grandfather”.

“They never had the opportunity to meet him, so the award gives them that opportunity to understand a little bit about some of his traits, such as his big personality, his people skills and his organisational capabilities that you had to have to be so involved with the Old Paradians,” Peter said. “The vision of the Christian Brothers and the OPA delivered Bundoora. Dad’s role as OPA President and Chairman of the Building Committee not only required his drive and organisational capabilities, but also his skills to maintain unity through that journey, because it was a big transition from East Melbourne . . . and not everyone was in favour of the move to Bundoora. But there was a bigger picture, it was right, and Bundoora was delivered.” Robert Shingler becomes the 15th Tenete Award recipient, after such men as Brother Garvey MBE, the Association’s inaugural President James Kennedy and the current College Principal Dr Denis Moore.