Grammar stalward retires

'Strict' but 'gentlemanly' teacher's last test

FOR 32 years teacher Geoff Dieckmann has walked the halls of Ipswich Grammar, telling farm stories and tales of playing against a young Wayne Bennett, now a rugby league legend.

Mr Dieckmann has watched thousands of fresh-faced boys cross onto the school grounds for the first time and seen an equal number leave for the last.

Now it's his turn to go.

This week was Mr Dieckmann's last as a teacher, bringing an end to a 47-year career that took him across regional south western Queensland and as far north as Gladstone.

He spent most of his working days, including his last, teaching accounting, bookkeeping and economics.

Up until the 90s the cane was still used in schools and for Mr Dieckmann running into 'Grammar Old Boys' has often come with a 'you used to cane me, you mongrel' comment.

"There was one night I was at a wedding at Woodlands and went out to the look," Mr Dieckmann said.

"I looked up and saw this monster of a man lumbering down the hill. He was quite drunk. He walked up to me and said, "you mongrel, you caned me at school".

"I thought - oh I'm in trouble here. I waved one finger in his face and in a funny voice said; "You must have been a naughty boy then".

END OF AN ERA: Teacher Geoff Dieckmann is retiring from Ipswich Grammar School after 47 years.
END OF AN ERA: Teacher Geoff Dieckmann is retiring from Ipswich Grammar School after 47 years. Rob Williams

"There was a moment of silence until he replied, "yeah, I was".

"We chatted for a while after that."

Mr Dieckmann also recalls a "good boy" coming to his office one day and asking for the cane.

"I said no. Why on earth do you want me to cane you?" Mr Dieckmann said.

"He told me his parents were moving down south (where the cane wasn't used in schools), he'd never been caned and wanted to know what it was like.

"That was a strange one."

Geoff Dieckmann is retiring from Ipswich Grammar School after 47 years. He was presented with a gold blazer pocket by the school.
Geoff Dieckmann is retiring from Ipswich Grammar School after 47 years. He was presented with a gold blazer pocket by the school. Rob Williams

Retirement means instead of teaching boys life skills, or entertaining them with farm stories, Mr Dieckmann will be spending more time with his hobbies; wood turning, golf, babysitting grandkids and riding around town in his restored car, a maroon 1958 Morris Minor.

While Mr Dieckmann's looking forward to spending more time of the golf course, the prospect of no longer attempting to "put older heads on younger shoulders" was odd.

"It's a weird feeling," he said.

"To be a useful part of the mechanics of society and then all of a sudden to be put out to pasture," he quipped.

"I am looking forward to spending more time with the family."

Mr Dieckmann and his wife Joan had four children and nine grandchildren, giving them plenty of opportunity to babysit.

Geoff Dieckmann.
Geoff Dieckmann. Rob Williams


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