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Prince Alfred College Art Club

Archives Blog
5 February 2021

The discovery of some interesting badges prompted investigation into the little known Prince Alfred College Art Club.

The badges were found by chance this week by Nick Greb, PAC Events Team, who astutely forwarded the find to Archives. Neither of us had seen them before so I decided to launch an investigation. Initially I was not aware of an Art Club at PAC. I emailed a photograph of the badges around to our Visual Art related staff to see if they knew or remembered anything about the club. It seemed the Art Club was currently not active but there was a suggestions that Clubs at PAC were quite the thing for a period of time. I searched though our Chronicles and Archives for clues and came up with a few leads.

The Chronicles do mention an ‘Art Club’. The first mention of an Art Club was in 1911 but it was too brief to decipher. Then there are various references from 1949-1980s, some referring to a students’ Art Club, mainly in the Preparatory School and other references mention PAOCA Art and Photography clubs, separate to the current students at the time. Phil McLaughlin was right! Clubs at PAC were quite the thing in the 1950s-1980s. In 1950, we had the following active Clubs for students; Junior Debating, Lino-Printing Club, Leather Work, Music Club and Art Club.

In the following article from the Chronicle 1949 we read about a newly formed club and its activities;

The newly formed Art Club reports a very successful first term's work. Under Mr. Peard's supervision they have sketched various parts of the College buildings and, on the whole, have shown promising talent. Several excursions have been made to the Botanic Gardens and the boys have enjoyed drawing various scenes from this pleasant park; even the ducks seemed to enjoy these visits.

Next term the club is planning to visit the Art Gallery and the Museum, and it is hoped that examples of ancient and modern art will inspire the members to great achievements.

The Chronicle, June 1949, p511

By the 1983 the Art Club had a very healthy membership! 1983 was a major year for Art and Craft in the life of Prince Alfred College with the opening of the new Art and Craft Complex on a new mezzanine level built into the original 80’ x 40’ Gymnasium.

It may well be an appropriate time to put down a few of the Art highlights over the last twenty-five or so years. The PAC Art Club which reached a membership of 150 boys at its peak.

The Chronicle 1983, p.16-17

Of course, James Ashton was Art Master at PAC for 40 years and would have run drawing and painting workshops as part of his pedagogy. Perhaps run after the school lessons, but not as part of a club per se.

All fascinating and begging the question – why don’t we have a PAC Art Club now?

What do you think? Do you remember being part of Art Club? What did you create?

Kate Pulford 
College Archivist

Art Club 1
Art Club 2