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News > Alumni Stories > Remembering Herbert Francis Benning

Remembering Herbert Francis Benning

Resident 1926-1930, College Council 1939-1989

Herbert Francis Benning OBE – ‘Frank’ or ‘Benno’ to those familiar to him – had been bestowed with the qualities of leadership and solicitude usually the eldest born of a large family carries with ease.  And like most people blessed with a fine mind and an abundance of talent, Gunnedah-born Benning was always destined to do many great things. 

The quintessential allrounder, he excelled in his studies at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn and later at the University of Sydney where he completed both BA and MA (with a focus on Psychology) with first class honours, engaged in several sports including swimming, cricket, and his beloved football (he played for the University 1926-1930), and led a highly successful debating team at St John’s College.  A knack for smoothly navigating through the ins and outs of student affairs made him an obvious choice as House President (1929-1930).  He later put his skills in diplomacy and administration to good use by serving in the College Council for fifty years (1939-1989) apart from St Vincent’s Hospital, the Royal Blind Society, the Australian Psychology Association and the University Settlement being among those that benefitted from his association. 

His name remains familiar to current students as the prize namesake established in 1980 and awarded to individuals who have shown consistent progress and made a significant contribution to College life.  Quite fitting for one who devoted his entire life to being his utmost best at everything he put his hand to, be it school captain, House President, tutor, Council member, and the many other hats he wore throughout his life.

Frank Benning’s exemplary life continues to be an inspiration to us now as when he was alive because he possessed the qualities to which we all quietly aspire.  Today on what would have been his 115th birthday we take the time to remember a man who cast a large shadow throughout his 82 years.

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