By Julian Faigan | Posted: Thursday March 28, 2019
A visit to their old Roslyn home by two OBHS old boys was a happy event for all concerned.
Two years ago, when Aucklander Julian Faigan returned to live in New Zealand after many decades overseas he decided to buy an old villa in Dunedin in order to have space for his collections of books, art and classical music. His father, David, had links to Dunedin having been born here in 1899. David attended Otago Boys' High School (1913-1917) and Otago University; Julian's grandparents established the store (now a cafe) in Millers Flat which still bears the family name.
Since mid-2017 Julian has been volunteering his time as an assistant in the OBHS Museum.
In February this year a letter arrived at his Strathmore Crescent, Roslyn, home from a Blenheim man who explained that he had lived in the house many years ago and would love to look through it once again.
So, in early March, noted musician Farquhar Wilkinson, accompanied by four daughters, made a sentimental journey to Roslyn from their homes in various parts of NZ. What made the visit even more memorable was that in Julian's extensive music collection were several compact discs on which Farquhar was playing as Principal Cellist in the NZ National Orchestra (now the NZ Symphony Orchestra) and the Alex Lindsay String Orchestra. When Farquhar retired in 1992 he had completed 40 years with the Orchestra.
Over coffee, Farquhar, who attended OBHS from 1945-48, talked about the house and the suburb as it was when he lived here from the age of five to seventeen. He recalled the cable car on Stuart Street, which stopped where the present bus stop is located; and explained how the house, which was built around 1910, was set up, with some children sleeping in an upstairs balcony area, and a piano in an upstairs room, as all family members were very musical.
Two weeks after meeting Farquhar, Julian had a visit from the elder Wilkinson brother, Bernard (OBHS 1943-47), a retired Minister in the Anglican church. Bernard began his career at St Peter’s, Caversham, and served in Cromwell and Oamaru where he led St Luke’s Anglican parish for 16 years before retiring in 1992.
A career highlight was when in 1988 he went on a six-month parish exchange to Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, England and was invited to participate in the Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey.