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ACKLOM, Hector Neville (1906-1993)

Neville Acklom (Cadet Officer 1936)

Neville Acklom (Cadet Officer 1936)

ACKLOM, Hector Neville (1906-1993)

Neville Acklom, staff member, taught Physical Education at Geelong College from 1935 to 1936. He was formally appointed as gymnastics and physical culture instructor and was part of a group of staff including former Olympian, ‘Alex’ Hillhouse later recruited to develop the then innovative introduction of physical training in Schools. Neville Acklom was also appointed a Captain and second in command of the College Cadet Corps and took responsibility for the swimming program including organising the swimming sports.

Born in New Zealand he had graduated in Science at the University of Melbourne and then joined the physical training staff of the Department of Education.

At his appointment the May issue of Pegasus recorded: ‘Another welcome addition to the staff was made when the Principal secured the services of Mr Acklom, who is an experienced teacher, and has in addition a specialised knowledge of physical culture. In view of the number of boys not interested in sport, Mr Rolland considered that compulsory attendance at sport for those boys should be replaced by physical culture, expertly designed to the needs of the individual. These boys attend several special classes each week, and physical training for the school generally has a place in the time-table.’

Pegasus further noted that ‘An idea of Mr. Acklom's took practical shape when a hand tennis court was laid out on the asphalt in the quadrangle. The game has proved very popular, and the court is seldom empty.’

The Principal wrote in Pegasus after Neville Acklom's departure that: ’Mr. H Neville Acklom has spent only two years on the College staff, but has proved himself conscientious and efficient, not only in his own department of physical culture, but also in the classroom and as a house master. It was therefore with regret that we learned of his appointment as secretary of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, but we congratulate the authorities on their choice and Mr Acklom on his success, more especially in view of the great changes to take place at the hospital in the near future.' He later commented: ‘Since the departure of Mr Acklom, the pioneer of scientific physical culture in Public Schools, it has been difficult to carry out as systematic a course of physical education as was desirable. It was impossible to procure in Victoria another thoroughly trained expert until the new school of Physical Education at the University had completed its first Diploma course.’ The outstanding student of that course, Mr B F G Apps BA, Dip Ed, Phys Ed. was subsequently employed by the College.

In 1947, Pegasus noted that Neville Acklom had joined the AAMC during World War II and that he was superintendent and secretary of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. Neville Acklom died on 5 March 1993. He was appointed secretary of the board of management of the Royal Melbourne Hospital in December, 1936 later moving to the newly formed Hospital and Charities Commission in early 1949. Neville Acklom enlisted (V504619) at Surrey Hills during World War II stating that his place of birth was Taranaki, New Zealand on 18 August, 1906 and that his next of kin was Violet Acklom. He married on the 21 March, 1938.

Sources: Pegasus May, 1935 p5, p6; Pegasus Dec 1935 p22; Pegasus Dec 1936 p8; Pegasus June 1939 p6; The Argus (Melb)26 Nov, 1936 p4; The Argus (Melb)5 Jan, 1949 p3; Pegasus June 1957 p49; National Archives B884, V504619.
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