Late last week we took a call from the son of an alumnus with an unexpected surprise.
His father had passed away some decades ago, but with the recent passing of his mother and the cleaning out the family's garage, he had come across a series of trophies that carried the College's name. Would we be interested, he asked?
The caller's father, Geoffrey Sutherland, had followed his brother into residence, commencing in 1934 to study medicine at the University. He was a keen sportsman, winning both handicaps in the golf and representing the College in the inter varsity hockey in 1938, for which Trinity won the Syme Cup.
But his true passion lay in that dimly-lit upstairs room at the eastern end of Clarke’s, the Billiards Room.
So much so, that – accordingly to the family story – his stay at College was a little extended due to having to repeat a few subjects on account of spending too much time at the billiard table!
The collection of seven trophies, commencing in his fresher year, all speak to Geoff's success with a cue: Runner Up Handicap in 1934, Billiards Handicap, Morning Handicap, Afternoon Handicap, all in 1937; and Billiard Championship in 1935, 1936 and 1938.
Geoff left College in 1939 just as war broke out, and would subsequently serve as a Flight Lieutenant in the medical branch of the Royal Australian Air Force.
In the post-war years he continued in the medical field, becoming a senior surgeon at Melbourne's Eye & Ear Hospital.
The trophies will now be assessed for conservation and possible cleaning.
They will form a most welcome addition to the archival collections that document the student experience at Trinity over the last 142 years, and help reclaim the hitherto 'lost' story of Geoff Sutherland and his prowess in the Billiard Room.