Thousands return for Old Boys Weekend

Welcome rain didn’t dampen the spirits of more than 1000 Old Boys and their partners who returned to Armidale for various activities from Friday to Sunday for Old Boys Weekend.

Festivities started with the annual Old Boys Golf Day, before the focus then moved to the Hoskins Centre for the second Old Boys v School debate, where three 20 Year leavers narrowly defeated the TAS Firsts team, arguing the topic that TAS Boys Aren’t What They Used to Be. Around 80 people then gathered for the Jock Perkins Memorial Art Show, jointly hosted by the 5 Year leavers and the Perkins family, in memory of their classmate who died last year from cancer.

Sporting competitions began early on Saturday, with two new additions to the program – Hockey out at the UNE hockey fields (which the Old Boys won in a penalty shootout) and Chess in the Archdall Room, which TAS won 2-1. TAS won the tennis, the Old Boys won the Shooting, the Football was a draw, and the Touch Football also went to the Old Boys, ensuring the OBU retained the Croft Cup for competition between the former and current students.

Former Royal Australian Navy Commander Rod Fayle addressed a near-capacity Annual Union Dinner in the Dining Hall, and reunion functions for 5, 10, 20 and 30 year leavers at various locations in Armidale on Saturday night. A well-attended Chapel Service and the OBU AGM rounded out the weekend, on Sunday morning.

TAS OBU President Mark Berry said thanked TAS Headmaster Murray Guest and the whole school community for their support of the event.

“Special thanks must also go to the TAS boys for helping make the weekend such a success – those who competed against the Old Boys and in many cases, had to front up for other sporting commitments later in the day, those who supported them on the sidelines, and those who volunteered their time as tour guides, car parking attendants and waiters at the dinner,” he said.

“The weekend says a lot about how much the school means to both past and current students, and the weekend was a great celebration of this.”



Ben Moffatt played against his father Tim in the TAS v Old Boys hockey match


TAS debaters John Dennis, Patrick Williamson and Sam Doyle made their case against 20 year leavers Jonathon Heath, Andrew Roberts and Liam Smyth


Charles Wyatt, Lachlan Tonkin and Harry Gwynn-Jones defeated Old Boys Jim Schwilk, Paul Barratt and Rob Busby (front right) at chess

OB Peter Cousens makes film directorial debut

He is perhaps best known for starring in international productions of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, but for Peter Cousens, the newest challenge has been directing an Academy Award winning actor in his first feature film.

Tamworth born and educated at The Armidale School, Peter Cousens latest venture is the big budget slavery film Freedom, which will have its Australian release on 21 August.

“It was really thrilling directing a feature film. Coming from another discipline in the performing arts, primarily from music, acting and producing, I was lucky because I was surrounded by some really wonderful people,” he said.

These “wonderful people” included Oscar-nominee cinematographer Dean Cundey (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and Oscar winner, Cuba Gooding Jnr.

“I was challenged by the notion, the experience of directing Cuba Gooding Junior,” Cousens said.

“Here I am on the set where I’ve actually got to say to him, ‘I’d like you to do something different’ – and it did run through my mind, ‘hell’s bells, here I am, a boy from Tamworth, directing an Academy Award winning actor.”

Born into a creative Tamworth family, Cousens’ passion for performing arts was nurtured during his six years boarding at TAS, where he performed in everything from Gilbert & Sullivan operettas to serious drama.

“I shall always be grateful to TAS, not only for the opportunities and encouragement it gave me in music and drama, but also for the values it inculcated in preparation for a rewarding life,” he said.

Cousens –who is also executive producer and has a cameo in Freedom, which also stars his daughter Daisy – said he was inspired by the subject matter, which tells the story of two men separated by 100 years who are united in their search for freedom.

In 1856 a slave, Samuel Woodward (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his family, escape from the Monroe Plantation near Richmond, Virginia. A secret network of ordinary people known as the Underground Railroad guide the family on their journey north to Canada. They are relentlessly pursued by the notorious slave hunter Plimpton (William Sadler). Hunted like a dog and haunted by the unthinkable suffering he and his forbears have endured, Samuel is forced to decide between revenge or freedom.

One hundred years earlier in 1748, John Newton the Captain of a slave trader sails from Africa with a cargo of slaves, bound for America. On board is Samuel’s great grandfather whose survival is tied to the fate of Captain Newton. The voyage changes Newton’s life forever and he creates a legacy that will inspire Samuel and the lives of millions for generations to come.

“I wanted to infiltrate American filmmaking and try and make films that change people’s lives, by reaching a whole lot of people in a very powerful way.”

Freedom opens in Australia on 21 August, with screenings in his hometown of Tamworth. Armidale audiences will be treated to the film screening at the Belgrave Cinema 22-23 August.

Please click on the image below to view the trailer.

Peter Cousens Freedom

Peter Cousens has a cameo appearance in his screen directorial debut, Freedom.