Martyn Smith, writing about Wesley College

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A STORY WORTH TELLING ABOUT JAMES FLETT
(1978, for 'The Lion' magazine)

Martyn Smith, Lay Chaplain at Glen Waverley, has provided the following chain of co-incidental events:

1967:  David Kings, currently Chairman of the Alumniís Central Committee, finds a "one copy only" etching of  L.A. Adamson, by J. Flett, whilst rummaging through a cast-off folio in the back of a small, old shop in Little Collins Street.  He purchases it, frames it, and, in 1975, hangs it in his Assistant Housemasterís office in the Boarding House at Wesley.

December, 1976:  Before leaving the Wesley staff to take up general practice in Shepparton, Kings presents the etching as a gift to retiring Housemaster, Martyn Smith, who is about to take up the position of Lay Chaplain at Wesley, Glen Waverley.

January, 1977:  Smith is glad to hand the etching as a focal point in his Junior School office.

9th June, 1978:  Mrs Brown of Glen Waverley, who has no  connection at all with Wesley, rings the Lay Chaplain because she has heard that the school has some kind of service organisation; sheís heard "that the boys do jobs for people."  She tells of a seventy-four year old neighbour who has a large property and needs some work done.  He is an author and an artist.  His name is Flett, Jim Flett!

Martyn Smith continues:  "Incredulous, I heard the name repeated and looked up at the unique and valued etching not three feet from my face.  I assured Mrs Brown that we would help her neighbour and made arrangements to visit him. 

"I had the etching with me on Wednesday, 14th June, when I knocked on Jimís door at 4.30 in the afternoon.  Sure enough, it was he who had etched it!  He still has the plate, he thinks.  Furthermore, he has other drawings of Adamsonís school  ...  and of Stewartís.

"He also etched a better known portrait:-  a stern Adamsonian profile, copied from the painting in Adamson Hall.  Geoff Andrews, current Boarding Housemaster and Paul Greenaway, Development Director, have copies hanging in their rooms.

"Jim reckons it will take a while to find all his Wesley works but, in the meantime, twenty-four Wesley boys from Grade Five to Form Two, have been helping to cart the wood, cut the grass and mend the fences."

Jim Flett with his two L A Adamson etchings.

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