Austen Deans 1915-2011
- Wednesday 30th November -0001
Alister Austen Deans 1915-2011
College House 1933-1938 (CH 363)
The staff at College House were very sad to learn of the recent passing of Austen Deans.
Austen was a very special person and a treasured alumnus. He was unique for his experience of the world, and for the way he lived it and painted it.
Austen lived for his family, the mountains, the landscapes, the painting of those landscapes and he taught us that living out your passion is possible.
Austen and his family have long been connected with College House, and it has been wonderful to have Daniel, Austen's grandson, in the College over the past two years.
I remember Austen and Margaret coming to CH to check Daniel had settled in ok, and I feel privileged to have seen a glimpse of Austen's family life.
It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome Austen and Margaret to our College House functions including our big 160th Anniversary Reunion in 2010....
... In fact, Austen attended our annual College House Day celebrations in September. I picked Austen up in my hatchback car, with two big CH blokes in the back seat in their gowns juggling guitars and music stands.
We were on our way to the Christ's College Chapel for College House Chapel service.
Austen told the boys he had been at CH for four years, and that he remembers a great shambles. He said it began when a group of guys arrived back at the college on a Saturday night 'a bit under the weather' and removed the seats from the Dining Table chairs.
Everyone arrived down for breakfast in the morning disgruntled not to be able to sit down to eat. The chaps, being rather hung-over, barely noticed when they were tied into their beds and their beds relocated outside the Christ's College entrance in time for the chapel service.
I entered the Christ's College Chapel for our service, imagining old wrought iron beds outside the chapel, containing indignant and humiliated housemen in their pyjamas unable to escape their bonds!
Afterwards , back at CH, the young chaps asked me about our passenger and were amazed to hear he had been a prisoner of war and a war artist.
I had the very great privilege, with Lisa van Vuuren our College House researcher, of interviewing Austen about his time at College house. We loved learning about CH in the 1930's. The very serious tales of the depression, of food rations at CH, of the politics leading up to WWII, the early university at the arts centre, the tall tales of student life, of cycling to the mountains fortified with cider, and of the shambles.
Austen was always very generous with his time; he was very supportive of College House, and always very interested in the students and College life.
We will miss Austen, and on behalf of the College House community, I wish to thank Margaret, Daniel and the Deans Family for sharing Austen with us.