Our First Principal

Alex McPhail 1960 v2.2 2

Mr. A. L. Mc Phail MA

(Principal 1960 – 1977)

Spotswood College’s first Principal was a man of wide experience and many interests.

Educated at Wanganui Technical College, he attended Wellington Teacher’s Training College (1938-39) and Victoria University, and then began his teaching career in primary schools in Wanganui.

During World War II, Mr. McPhail, served in the Middle East and Italy with the Medical Corps, 2nd N.Z.E.F.

He returned to teaching in 1948 and, after a period of sole charge primary work, took up his first post-primary (secondary) appointment at Taumarunui District High School (1948). After graduating M.A. in History from Victoria University College, Mr. McPhail became Careers Adviser at Hawera Technical College (1950). In 1956, he became first assistant at Heretaunga College (Upper Hutt), a position he held until his appointment to Spotswood College.

Always an enthusiast for sport, Mr. McPhail built up a fine record as a player, administrator and coach.

In Rugby he represented Wanganui, King Country, North Island Army, and various 2nd N.Z.E.F. sides in the Middle East. He served on the Rugby union in Wanganui and was chairman of the Junior Management Committee in South Taranaki.

At Cricket he represented Wanganui, Central King Country and Taranaki, and served on Cricket Associations in Wanganui, Taumarunui and Hawera. 

He had considerable coaching experience in Rugby, Cricket and Boxing, culminating him in coaching the 1st XV and 1st XI at Hawera Technical College.

In addition, Mr. McPhail was on the organizing committee of the Mens’ Fellowship Movement in Hawera and Upper Hutt, and was active in church affairs as a manager of the Presbyterian Church in Upper Hutt.

From Mr. McPhail:

Intellectual, physical, social and spiritual achievements are those which will in the long run mould character and nourish the traditions which we seek to establish. Traditions provide the vitality and inspiration which each generation of students must absorb and in turn add to and pass on.

Our motto of “High Endeavour” demands of our students that they shall set themselves high standards in all things, and the red Lion of Devon, which is the basis of our crest, indicates the past upon which we must build.

We hope to inculcate the sense of responsibility in our students which will enable them to enter the adult world aware of their duties as well as of their privileges. 

(Reproduced from the Spotswood College magazine No.1 1960)