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150 years of Wesley rowing securing Wesley’s future

Image: Very much at home with the concept of Double Purple on Phillip Island in December 2020 are (Back left to right) Maya Fredman, Joel Fredman (OW1990), Lorice Fredman (Cohen) (Elsternwick MLC 1962), Gregory Kolt (OW1980), (Front left to right) Leni Fredman, Jeanette Oberklaid (OW1992), Clive Fredman (OW1956) and Emma Fredman (OW1987).

When coeducation began at Wesley in 1978, no one was focused on outcomes other than a richer and more balanced learning and social environment to prepare students for the real world.

Few could have imagined a world where OWs would be marrying OWs such as we see regularly today, where a love for the school is only matched by the love of another OW! A phenomenon we like to call Double Purple. But where did it all begin?

We love welcoming architect Clive Fredman (OW1956) to events, always filled with enthusiasm for his school, his family and all things tennis, and sporting his blazer and school cap.

The Fredman family’s four-generation history at Wesley began with his father Stanley Fredman, the only child of Joel and Miriam Fredman, who attended Wesley College from 1915–1918 before entering Melbourne University to study Medicine. He established a practice in Reservoir and later bought the practice of Dr Manny Rosanove in Northcote, whose wife, Joan, became Victoria’s first female barrister and QC and a close friend of Sir Robert Menzies (OW1912). Brothers Lionel, Malcolm and Clive all attended Westgarth Central School, before progressing to Wesley Senior School. Lionel (OW1948) (dec.) graduated with distinctions and obtained Law and Arts degrees at Melbourne University. He furthered his academic career in the US and returned to Australia for a lifetime academic career in History at the University of Newcastle. Malcolm (OW1951) (dec.) although not a ball sportsman, coxed the 2nd crew in the Head of the River 1951. Malcolm studied Medicine at Melbourne University, obtaining further degrees in London. Returning to Melbourne he worked in various medical practices, establishing the East Bentleigh Medical Group in the early 1970s where he remained for nearly 30 years.

In 1950 at Westgarth Central School, Clive met a new young teacher, Bruce Gregory (OW1944), and so began decades of friendship. Clive entered Wesley in 1952 in The Twenty and early experiences included two weeks at Chum Creek in 1953, the first full year of its operation. He really enjoyed tennis and was a member of the school team in 1954–56, representing Wesley in the 1956 Combined APS Tennis team. A treat was to have a lunchtime hit on the front oval with the ‘Boof’, Headmaster W.H. Frederick, still a skilled tennis player, tennis Captain Fraser McEwing (OW1956) and future international player Wayne Reid (OW1955). Clive went on to study Architecture at Melbourne University, and commenced his own architecture practice in 1965, when he married Lorice Cohen (Elsternwick MLC 1962). He continued his practice until retiring at the end of 2019, after 55 years.

Daughter Emma (OW1987) started Wesley in Year 5 in 1980 and loved performing in school musicals and enjoyed the visual arts. She has strong memories of playing basketball and tennis against ‘boys-only’ schools, who were very wary of the Wesley girls. After developing her love of theatre at Wesley, she studied at Melbourne University and became the first drama teacher at Bialik College. She now lives in Bondi, NSW with her husband and adult children where she is Head Drama Teacher at Kensington Primary School. Significantly for the history books, her marriage to Dr Gregory Kolt (OW1980) on 23 February 1992, was the first between two OWs!

As if that brush with history is not enough, Clive’s son Joel (OW1990) began at Wesley Glen Waverley in the first year of Prep in the very first class of coeducation beginners, graduating in 1990. He played in the Firsts tennis team from Year 9, and was captain of the Premiership Firsts tennis team in 1990. He is now a consulting town planner with his own practice. To continue a remarkable story, in 2004 Joel married Jeannette Oberklaid (OW1992), who had also played tennis for Wesley! As the concept of Double Purple was born, so was the fourth generation of Fredmans at Wesley, with Maya commencing in 2018 and Leni in 2020. Not surprisingly, they both love tennis!

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