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News > Old Boy News > from Bushie to Brushie

from Bushie to Brushie

11 Jun 2021
Old Boy News
Our oldest Old Boy Charles Tompson (1941) at the 2021 Vintage Vikings Lunch.
Our oldest Old Boy Charles Tompson (1941) at the 2021 Vintage Vikings Lunch.

On Friday 28 May, it was exciting to be able to again host our annual Vintage Vikings Morning Tea & Lunch in Morris Hall. Our guest of honour was our oldest Old Boy Charles Tompson (1941), who was joined by his family for the occasion. Despite having broken his hip recently, at 99 years young, Charles was certainly a spritely attendee. His warm, engaging and jovial nature was adored by everyone. As was the visit by Churchie’s youngest student James Wang, who at the time was two days shy of turning 5 years of age.

Charles was born in Winton, Queensland on 25 January 1922. He was schooled through distance education, before boarding at All Souls School in Charters Towers and later at Churchie in 1937 and 1938. Charles became a first-year jackaroo at Toorak Station near Julia Creek and for his second year transferred to Albion Station near Richmond.

After discharge from the AIF Artillery in 1945, having fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea, Charles graduated from the National Art School in East Sydney where he completed a Commercial Art Course and Illustration Diploma. Encouraged to take an ‘artistic pathway’ by Canon Morris, Charles went on to forge a highly successful career as an illustrator, first working for Packer Press as Illustrator for the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’ and then as the foundation Illustrator for ‘A.M.’ magazine. Charles moved to Melbourne in 1955 to become the Illustrator for ‘Woman’s Day’ and returned to Sydney a year later as Chief Illustrator for this magazine.

Throughout his illustrious career Charles has been lauded for his work as a realist artist. In 1957 he was a finalist in the Wynne Prize for Landscape and in 1968 he won the Walkley Award for Best Illustration (Australian Historical Supplement, SMH). Charles has been commissioned to paint many portraits of prominent Australians including former Prime Minister Sir William McMahon, the Speaker of House of Representatives the Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC, as well as many business executives. In 1998 he was commissioned to paint the portrait of Mr Christopher Ellis, Churchie’s fifth Headmaster. In 2013 he painted, from memory, a portrait of Canon Morris, which he later donated to the school. Charles has also been nominated for Australian of the Year Awards on four occasions: 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Retired since 1987, Charles now lives on the Gold Coast with his wife Lois, whom he married in the Churchie chapel in 1979. ‘from Bushie to Brushie’ is Charles’ autobiography which he wrote in 2020 at the encouragement of Churchie’s School Archivist, Mr Peter Collin.


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