It was a unanimous decision of the Old Virgilians Association Committee that Honorary Life Membership of the Association be granted...

Damian Messer

Damian is the longest serving Principal of the College.  He joined the staff in 2003, was appointed Deputy Principal in 2007 and became Principal in 2010.

The award citation reads as follows:

The Old Virgilians Association has determined that Damian Messer be granted

Honorary Life Membership of the Association in recognition of his

extraordinary commitment and leadership of St Virgil’s College

and for his outstanding and ongoing support of the Association

during his period as Principal of the College (2010-2021)

The Association wishes Damian every success in his news position as Principal of St Mary’s College.

Furthermore, its best wishes also goes to Damian’s wife, Jo, who has just been appointed Head of the St Virgil’s College Junior Campus.

Bruce Woods (SVC 1955-60)

Like his father, Bruce started his education at Sacred Heart School in New Town before moving to SVC.  Rather than be coerced into the Army Cadets, Bruce opted for the Air  Cadets and went on to gain an Air Force Flying Scholarship which enabled him to gain a light aircraft pilot’s licence at the age of 16.

After completing Year 10 at SVC Bruce entered the workforce with Small’s Camera Store in Hobart. In 1968 he began working at TVT6 in New Town as a telecine and videotape operator. He left the television station in 1972 after being approached by Wrest Point Casino to set up the lighting and audio system in its new Cabaret Room. A year later he returned to his old position at TVT6 and progressed to the position of Senior Technician.

Whilst working at TVT6 Bruce was also involved in designing one of the company’s Outside Broadcast Vans. He developed a mount for cameras to be attached to helicopters for aerial photography, and after the devastating fire to the transmitter building on Mount Wellington, Bruce did preliminary plans for the construction of the replacement building.       Not all of his work was behind the camera as on a number of occasions in the 1980s he joined the on-air commentary team for the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

His artistic side has also seen Bruce design and build two award-winning floats for the Blue Gum Festival parade and design a set for the Miss Tasmania Quest broadcast.

Away from work, Bruce designed and built floats for the school attended by his children, Abbotsfield Primary School, that won the best community float award at the Hobart Christmas Pageant for five years in a row. He has also designed and built two floats for  Village Cinemas, one of which, Harry Potter, won best Commercial Float in the Christmas Parade.

TVT6 was bought out by the WIN Corporation in the 1990s and in 2002 Bruce was made redundant and entered semi-retirement. This has not stopped his involvement in television production as his services are still sought by both the Nine and FOX Networks when international and interstate cricket matches are held at Bellerive. His role at the matches is to sit with the commentators as their technical supervisor.  This was an extraordinary situation in that Bruce is not the least bit interested in cricket, and whilst the likes of Chapelli, Greiggy and Bill ’rattled on’ about the glorious game from the best seats in the house, Bruce would immerse himself in a novel.

Bruce is married with three adult children and has six grandchildren.

In 2009 noted local historian, Allison Alexander who had been commissioned by the College to prepare material for centenary festivities, requested the support of a person with sound and video expertise. She approached Bruce about the position, totally unaware that Bruce was a former student and thus an association with the College was rekindled and is still very much in evidence to this day.

He became an invaluable member of the History Committee that assisted with the setting up of the History Centre and the production of the DVD / CD package to mark the 100 years.

Following the Centenary celebrations in 2011, Bruce, along with Graeme Rainbow, was invited by the then Principal, Damian Messer, to continue to work as an archivist at the College and to maintain and further develop the History Centre.

Furthermore, he has served on OVA committee since 2011.

Christine, his wife of 40+ years, whose background is in ‘research’ volunteered to produce the book celebrating the centenary of the Old Virgilians Association.  A mammoth task  and one greatly appreciated.

Bruce’s many skills have benefitted both the Old Virgilians Association and the College.  He is very much a ‘go to’,  ‘can do’ man - anything to do with film, sound, lighting or construction. Amongst Bruce’s  many contributions are: filming College and Association events, assisting with the maintenance (and more) at the Marine Studies Centre ( formerly the Austins Ferry Yacht Club), assisting with the building sets for drama productions, the construction and operation of the  TV studio necessary for maintenance of staff /student contact during the 2020 lockdown due to COVID19, and due to grandsons’ involvement in rowing at the College, Bruce has been an integral part of the associated operations for the past five years.

His generosity knows no bounds.  Congratulations on the award Bruce – well deserved.

Life Membership for Two Great Supporters of the OVA

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