Welcome to Hermonites Reunited Website

 Pillars of MH Pictures Salad Days
Hermonites Join In Songs Reunion Community Center

Graeme & Patricia Murray
Mount Hermon School 1955-1978

We count it an honour to write this brief tribute to the Staff, Students, Parents, School Board members, and all those other people, especially those of Darjeeling, who welcomed us, worked with us, learnt from us, taught us so much of their own lives and cultures, helped us raise our own children, and so enriched our lives over the 24 years that we were part of Mount Hermon. We also want to set out the basic facts about ourselves and our experiences at MHS; this will, we trust, ensure that those interested in us, looking back with the nostalgia that Hermonites seem to have about most aspects of their years at MHS, will not allow the passing years to make us larger than life! Robin Sengupta as already begun thisin his memoir, we note, by adding 2 inches to Graeme's height - alas, he was only 6' 0" [1.83 m].

So first, the facts:

Patricia Noeline (North) Murray b. Christchurch, NZ, 25 December 1931. Attended primary schools in NSW (Australia), Christchurch and Wellington, then Wellington Girls' College 1945-49. LRSM (Performance in Piano) 1950, Wellington Teachers' College 1951-53. Taught at Wellington East Girls' College, 1954.

Graeme Armstrong Murray b. Otahuhu, NZ, 24 August 1931. Attended primary schools in Auckland, Wellington and Napier, then Napier Boys' High School 1945-46; Hutt Valley High School 1947-49. Victoria University College 1950-52 and 1954 [MA in History]; Auckland Teachers' College, 1953.

We were married on 22 January 1955, sailed for India on 1 February, and arrived in Darjeeling (by train from Bombay via Calcutta to Siliguri), on 10 March, the day before Mount Hermon's 60th birthday. We lived in Fernhill for our first three years, as Warden and Matron of about 60-70 boys in addition to our teaching roles; Patricia taught Class 4, and Graeme's subjects in the senior school were English Language and Literature, plus some PE. During our first three years, Adrienne was born in November 1955, and Bronwen in September 1957.

We spent 1958 in New Zealand, Patricia, with two little girls at home, did not teach; Graeme taught English and History at his old school, Hutt Valley High. We returned to India in January 1959, going to Agartala (Tripura) for Stephen's birth, before joining school. Graeme appointed Senior Master, and Patricia took up the leadership of the school's music, taking over from Merle Tegel, soon to become Merle Ingram and settle in the UK. Jonathan was born on 1 May 1961. In November 1963 Mr & Mrs Stewart began a year's leave, having completed ten years at MH; Graeme was appointed Acting Principal, and John Johnston Acting Senior Master. The Stewarts resigned at the end of 1964, and in 1965 Mr Stewart became Principal of the Bible College of New Zealand, where he continued until his retirement in 1988. Graeme and John Johnston were appointed officially as Principal and Senior Master in May 1965.

At the end of 1968 Mount Hermon Managing Committee granted us a year's study leave; we returned to New Zealand where Graeme completed a Diploma in Educational Administration at Victoria University, and Patricia taught music part-time at her old school, Wellington Girls' College. Our return to Darjeeling was by ship from Auckland to San Francisco, then across the USA to the UK, then Switzerland, and finally arriving in Darjeeling on 4 March 1970. The Johnston family left MH in December 1970, and settled in Hobart, Tasmania - but they were to return due course. Bill and Beulah Jones rejoined MHS in 1971, Bill as Vice-Principal, with Jeff Gardner being appointed Senior Master. The Jones had met as young teachers on the MH staff in the early 50's, so this was very much a 'homecoming' for them. Through 1971 Graeme was increasingly involved in planning and preparing the establishment of the Mount Hermon College of Education - an under-graduate teacher training programme for primary teachers in Anglo-Indian Schools; this officially commenced in April 1972, when the students arrived, having been transferred to Darjeeling from St Thomas's School, Kidderpore, [Calcutta] where they had previously been training. [The TTC is still going strong, now under the leadership of Neena West, whom older Hermonites will remember as Mandira Dam, a Hermonite with twinkling feet and usually winning her races far in advance of her competitors].

The British Council in Calcuta gave considerable material and personal help in the establishment of the TTC and also, early in 1973, organised a visit for us to the UK, organising a programme to see different schools and colleges of education in England and Scotland, from London as far north as Durham and Edinburgh. Before getting to London to start this visit, however, we had flown from India directly to the USA, and spent several weeks there visiting churches and talking about MHS and education in India, as well as visiting a number of schools and colleges.

Our last four years at MHS were rather difficult as we had to compromise between the conflicting needs of our children's post-school education and our commitment to Mount Hermon. In 1974 Adrienne began university in Wellington, and Bronwen had a year at school there, but then returned to MHS for a final HSC year in 1975. In 1976 Patricia stayed in NZ with the three older children, while Jonathan remained in Darjeeling with Graeme. After Adrienne was married in January 1977, Patricia returned for our final year together at Mount Hermon. It was rather a sad return for her as, in October 1986, our Darjeeling home, 'Elkanah', had been totally destroyed by fire [caused by en electrical fault]. This was the notable occasion when Graeme went to morning chapel wearing only his pyjamas and a borrowed dressing gown - all other clothing having been destroyed in the blaze! Patricia took Jonathan back to Wellington at the beginning of 1978, while Graeme remained to complete his final term, before also leaving, in early December 1978. Bill and Beulah Jones had moved on to Woodstock School at the end of 1977, for a six-year term as Principal there; John and Val Johnston returned to MHS in 1978, with John following Bill Jones as Vice-Principal, and then succeeding Graeme as Principal in December 1978.