Know Your School – John Dewes
Friday, 22 May 2015
This week we remember Barker’s fifth Head of School, John Gordon Dewes, who passed away on May 12 at the age of 88 in the United Kingdom.

John Dewes, born in 1926, was educated at Aldenham School. During his final year, he was appointed Head Prefect and Captain of Games. Dewes went on to study at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he played Cricket for the University and graduated as the best all-round student in his class. Dewes continued to play first class Cricket, and in 1948, he played against Australia in his test debt. Between 1948 and 1950, Dewes was recalled to the English test side on four other occasions. After this time, he moved away from Cricket to focus on teaching. He was employed as Senior Master at Tonbridge School (1951-1952) and Rugby School (1953-1957) before arriving in Australia to take up the position of Head of School at Barker in September 1958.
In 1959, Dewes introduced the house system for all day boy students in both the Junior and Secondary Schools. Named after Australian explores and prominent members of the Barker community, the house system is Dewes’ greatest legacy.
Dewes was an enthusiastic supporter of the W S Leslie Memorial Appeal, a fund raising appeal for the building of new facilities. Thus in 1962, he presided over the opening of Barker’s first purpose built Science block, constructed where the Secondary School Library now stands.
Dewes introduced Form Masters or Year Advisors and also a program of remedial reading in First Form. Furthermore, he insisted the newly completed War Memorial Chapel be the focal point of school life, as this would ensure his students were educated in the Christian ideals.
In 1963, after 6 years as Head of School, Dewes returned to England. He became Assistant Master at Dulwich College, London, where he remained until his retirement in 1987.
Caption: John Gordon Dewes, Barker's fifth Head of School 1958-1963