Clive Gimson ( 1919-1982)

Clive Gimson, front row, Melbourne Grammar School expedition, Northern Territory, Australia in 1956 group portrait of teachers and boys at the Olgas, Kata Tjuta

A major highlight earlier in 2022 was the opportunity to digitise and publish an archive of Kodachrome slides by Clive Gimson. I am extremely grateful to Clive’s three sons, (Andrew, Simon, and David) for giving me permission, for their support, and help with some ‘mystery’ uncaptioned images. One slide turned out to be taken in Hawaii!

The major part of the collection comes from 1956 when Clive spent a year on a teaching exchange at Melbourne Grammar School in Australia. I don’t know if he had a camera before making this visit but his interest and excitement in documenting what he was seeing really shines through. It does seem to me to be close to time travel to be viewing the frames of film that somebody thought worth composing and ‘capturing’ all those years ago. Actually, 1956 is the year of my birth which gives added poignancy for me.

Clive has pictures of his journey out to Australia, of school sports activities, his exploration of Melbourne city and environs, of sporting events such as rowing, horse-racing and equestrian events, of a woodchop competition, school cadet activities, and also of the prepartion for and events during the 1956 Olympics which were held in the city.

During his year in Australia Clive took part in two major school expeditions. One to the Gold Coast and the other to Alice Springs and the Outback. The journey to Ayers Rock/Uluru area is particulary fascinating because this was a time before any tourist development and a true adventure.

Melbourne Grammar School expedition, Northern Territory, Australia in 1956 campsite at Ayers Rock, Uluru

I emailed a few images to Curtain Springs station to verify some captions – this was the overnight stop before reaching Ayers Rock. It was pleasing to hear back that they recognised one of the corrugated iron buildings – one of the first that their family had constructed after they had taken on this remote cattle station just a few months earlier.

Melbourne Grammar School expedition, Northern Territory, Australia in 1956 Len Tuit tour overnight stop at Curtin Springs cattle station

Some shots show how the party travelled in a small bus owned by Len Tuit of Alice Springs: “Leonard Roy Tuit or Len Tuit (1911–1976) was a pioneer in Central Australian road transport and tourism and is credited as being the first person to recognise the tourism potential of Uluru” ( Wikipedia)

Melbourne Grammar School expedition, Northern Territory, Australia in 1956 tour bus operated by Len Tuit on sandy unmade road track

On return to UK Clive married and honeymooned in Italy – there is a small collection of pictures from this visit some of which I have failed to locate. Also, well worth seeing are his images of School Cadet activities in the late 1950s.

Schoolboys engaged in military training exercises as army cadets, southern England, UK, late 1950s group photo of cadets in uniform

In total I have published 361 of Clive’s images – viewable here on Geography Photos.

There are many images of the boys who Clive taught in Australia and England. They must all be in their eighties now – it would be wonderful if some of them could be made aware of these old photos from the past.

Brief biography by Andrew Gimson

The Australia slides were taken by our father, Clive Gimson, when he taught for a year, 1956, at Melbourne Grammar School, on an exchange from Bradfield College in Berkshire. He was born in 1919, went up to Clare College, Cambridge in 1938, served in the Royal Artillery 1939-46  (service in North Africa and Italy; awarded the MBE in 1944 and MC in 1945); returned to Cambridge after the war to complete his history degree; taught at Bradfield from 1948-63; was headmaster of Sebright School 1963-70; headmaster of Blundell’s School 1971-80. He married our mother, Fiona Walton, in 1957. They retired in 1980 to Aldringham, in Suffolk. He died in 1982 and she in 2020. They are buried at Aldringham Church.

The slides were taken, I think, on a long school trip during one of the holidays from Melbourne Grammar School, which included visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Ayer’s Rock (as it was then called). So the boys in the pictures are probably from MGS. He enormously enjoyed his time there and the friends he made in Australia quite often visited us.

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