Fitting ceremony for Mt Clear stalwart's retirement

IAN Simpkin has retired from Mt Clear College, and his last day at the school yesterday coincided with its Anzac Day ceremony.

He finished officially at the school and with the education department on Tuesday, after having spent the first term of this year on long service leave. 

“It was nice to come in and see the Anzac Day service happen without me, and not having to do a thing.”

Mr Simpkin, a maths and physics teacher, was known for his work on the school’s relationship with a Gallipoli school. 

Mr Simpkin first travelled to Gallipoli in 1998 and the next year decided to share the story of his trip with the students for Anzac Day.

“You could hear a pin drop,” he said.

From there, the ceremony grew. 

“It’s absolutely amazing to see 1200 people stand there in absolute silence, paying their respects after the Last Post is played.” 

Students travelled to Gallipoli, and Mr Simpkin helped form a sister-school relationship between Mt Clear College and Gallipoli High School in 2001. 

In 2007 he was awarded an Anzac Peace Prize for his work establishing the sister school. 

“I marvel and admire those that have gone before and done things that I could only imagine doing,” he said. 

There have also been two trips by Turkish students to Mt Clear.

On the first trip, they planted a pine tree at the front of the school, a descendant of the Lone Pine that stands at Gallipoli. 

Mr Simpkin first started at Mt Clear College in 1988, but spent a total of 42 years with the educationdepartment.

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching at the school,” he said.

“I’ll miss that relationship that I was able to have with students and teaching them.” 

Mr Simpkin said all he ever wanted to be was a good teacher.

“That was my primary purpose: to be a good teacher.”

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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