Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

Search the Guide

To find information in this Guide please select one of the green coloured options.

To Select a Page Group when displayed, right click and select 'Open'.

Copyright Conditions Apply.

ARMSTRONG, Garry O’Dell OBE (1914-2001)

Gary Armstrong (Prefects 1932).

Gary Armstrong (Prefects 1932).

ARMSTRONG, Garry O’Dell OBE (1914-2001)

Garry Armstrong, military administrator, began his association with the armed services as a thirteen year old cadet at the Geelong College where he was a student from 1923 to 1932. At the School he became a Cadet Lieutenant in the College Cadet Corps and continued this service with the Citizen’s Military Forces (CMF) and AIF and work with the Defence Department after leaving the School. Garry Armstrong was a member of an illustrious family which was allegedly able to trace its roots to John Armstrong of Gilnockie, executed by James V of Scotland. His uncles included Edmund La Touche Armstrong (1864-1946), one of the earliest of Victoria’s State Librarians who was instrumental in the construction of the domed reading room, and Bishop Thomas Armstrong (1857-1930) of Wangaratta. Both of these men were also former students of the College as was his brother Lieut Col John Henry Armstrong (1906-1980).

Gary Armstrong was the son of Henry Edward Beamish Armstrong (1858-1922) and Louisa Flora Lewis and is first known to have attended school at Glamorgan, Toorak. At Geelong College he became a School Prefect in 1932, Captain of Warrinn House in 1932 and assisted on the editorial committee of the school magazine Pegasus in 1931. In 1932 he was the notable winner of the 440 yards steeplechase at the School’s athletic sports defeating all rounder and later test cricketer Lindsay Hassett. After leaving school he studied law at Melbourne University and joined the Commonwealth Public Service in 1937 and by 1939 was assistant private secretary to the defence minister. He enlisted in mid 1940 and was posted as captain 2/21 Battalion, Gull Force but was discharged on 21 November 1941 to return to administration as personal assistant to the secretary of the Department of the Army. During this period he was employed in the UK, US and Canada. After the war he continued in a number of defence related positions before accepting appointment as command secretary, Southern Command supervising ‘budget expenditure on personnel, new projects and maintenance of buildings’. He continued in this role until his retirement in 1975.

His community work was also immense and he worked with the Lord Somers Camp, AIF Malaysian Nursing Scholarship Scheme and St George’s Anglican Church, Malvern. As president of the Australian Shooting Association he was involved in the organisation of shooting events for the Melbourne Olympic Games of 1956. In later years he became an avid fly fisherman on the Jamieson River and around a property he bought on the Howqua River.

Sources: Ad Astra April 1967 p 2; Obituary by David Armstrong, The Age(Melb), 26 April 2001.
© The Geelong College. Unless otherwise attributed, The Geelong College asserts its creative and commercial rights over all images and text used in this publication. No images or text material may be copied, reproduced or published without the written authorisation of The College.