Who were Frederick W Russack and Osmond Leonard Wilson?

In the Adelaide Advertise and Register on Wednesday 18 March 1931 the following obituary appeared:

Mr. Frederick W. Russack, senior commerce master at the Adelaide High School, died suddenly at his home, Hughes Street, North Unley, yesterday.

He was 64. The Director of Education (Mr. W. J. Adey), who was a boyhood friend of Mr. Russack in the Mount Pleasant district, where he was born, said that Mr. Russack’s studies covered a wide range of subjects. He was particularly gifted in English, and the classics were an open book to him. Many young men would grieve the loss of a true friend and a wise counsellor. His earnestness, enthusiasm, and love of children had gained for him the respect and esteem of many old pupils. After having passed through the Teachers’ College, Mr. Russack was assistant in various schools. From 1887 to 1893 he was on the staff of Way College. He returned to the Education Department in 1900, and in 1901 was appointed housemaster, lecturer, and accountant of the Roseworthy Agricultural College. On the opening of the Adelaide High School in 1908 he was given control of the commerce classes. A widow, three sons (Messrs. Roderick Russack, Lance Russack, and Allen Russack of North Unley) survive.

Maybe your eyes glazed over when you read it. ‘Yeah, so?’ It’s just the sort of thing people write in obituaries isn’t it?’ But it doesn’t mean it isn’t true….

and so over eighty years later, I’m sitting here listing this:

Wilson, Osmond Leonard, J.P., F.A.S.A., F.A.I.M., A.C.I.S. (Compiled by) You’ll Get Your Reward: The Story of the Russackvillains Club and some Commercial Classes at Adelaide High School 1908 – 1931 ([Adelaide]: Russackvillains’ Club: 1981) Pictorial wrappers (that is, paper covers) (292 x 210 x 10 mm thick). Illustrated. A remarkable story of the inspirational teacher, Frederick W. Russack and the students who kept his memory alive at luncheons and annual reunions for fifty years after his death in 1931. This book is written by one of the surviving Russackvillains, ‘with deep respect for a good man who achieved part of ‘his reward’ in the lasting love and remembrance of the ‘Russackvillains’.’ Loosely included is a ‘List of Russackvillains as at 2.11.1981’.

I find this quite moving and it made me see what I could find out about the author. It turns out that Osmond Leonard Wilson was a pioneer of the Blackwood area of Adelaide. He was a keen amateur photographer and the City of Mtcham has an OL Wilson Photographic Collection and there is also a .pdf you can download about Wilson’s life and photographs here.

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