The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

A cave diver on dry land is safe…

but that is not what cave divers are built for.

I apologise for bastardising a quote often repeated about ships and harbours, but I wanted to draw your attention to the message delivered by the 2019 Australians of the Year, Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen. These men are the cave divers who played integral parts in the recuse of the 'Wild Boars' in Thailand in 2018. In the countless media appearances the two men made around Australia Day, a common theme became apparent in their messaging and it is one that should be considered when educating young people.

Harris said that, "kids today who live in a risk-averse society will not learn to challenge themselves and to earn grazed knees and the stubbed toes that really are necessary to build resilience and confidence".

"Outdoor endeavours will build confidence, both physical and mental resilience which is what kids are maybe starting to lose a little bit." Harris went on. He acknowledged that an increased focus on reporting mental health concerns is a significant factor in the increased numbers diagnosed, but he also stated that he sees a link between being physically robust, confident and resilient, and being mentally fit.

"I am absolutely sure there is a link because I know from my own experience that when I have done some physical things in my caving and diving that have both frightened and challenged me, and when I find myself in a difficult position at work, which is usually more a mental challenge than a physical one, I often think back to myself: 'Well Harris, you got yourself out of that cave, or you did that 12-hour long dive in six-degree water, this is pretty straight forward compared to that.' "

Dr Challen, tagged in with Dr Harris (it is obvious they work well as a duo) and focused on parents and the need for them to allow their kids to live with some discomfort and recognise that, "everything won't be sweet in their lives".

In an interview on ABC's 730, Dr Challen made a pertinent point when considering whether the experience had changed his outlook on life. Dr Challen said, "I tend to not get to metaphysical about it, Leigh (Sales). I think, it is what it is." Great advice for us all!

These points about building physical fitness, taking risks, not over thinking things are all messages that the College seeks to uphold. provides a wonderful overview of the opportunities available to your son and these include those offered as a part of our membership of Round Square and delivery of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award.

Please contact me if you would like further information and on anything you find in these pages.

Finally, while hoping not to sound too sage, I will include a quote that I think summarises the message of these two humble and heroic Australians.

'The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.'

I encourage all boys to reach out and grab some of the opportunities on offer at the College and I encourage all their parents to let them do so!

Best wishes for a successful 2019 full of adventure.

Scotch and CNCC get Scorched

A group of Scotch cricketers took the CNCC All-Abilities team to the Scorchers final home game last night. The boys were excellent hosts and this continues their efforts in supporting the team on Friday afternoons at Creswell Park. They were particularly excited to see OSCs Matt Kelly (OSC 2012) and Nick Hobson (OSC 2011) playing so well and the half time show was spectacular too. A big thanks to Riley Waters (Year 11, Anderson), Alex Chew (Year 11, Brisbane), Harrison Gilchrist (Year 12, Keys), Benjamin Parker (Year 12, Keys), Benjamin Gale (Year 12, Ross), Fraser Goode (Year 12, Keys), Lincoln Allan (Year 12, Ross) and Conor Lenny (Year 12, Anderson) for their efforts.


Another big thanks to Shay Nasta (OSC 1997), General manager – Commercial, Marketing, & Communication at the WACA for helping out with tickets for the match.

Rotary Youth Exchange

I strongly encourage Scotch boys to apply for a Rotary Youth Exchange. A year away, getting outside one's comfort zone, is the ultimate compliment to your time at Scotch College and will provide memories and opportunities for life. Information sessions are outlined here.

Mr David Kyle
Director of Service and Citizenship