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Obit - John Hughes Broughton

Some weeks just take your breath away. This week has been dominated by the funeral for her father.



John Hughes Broughton

16 August 1923 - 7 December 2006 (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

John Broughton was a long-serving teacher and Master at Brisbane Grammar School, leading educational administrator and music teacher in Queensland, and well known Freemason.

Until about 4 months ago he was hearty and well, then began hospitalisation to treat a lymphoma. Operations at the age of 83 are not trivial, and he succumbed amidst the best care that the Mater Hospital in Brisbane was able to offer.

John Broughton was an only child of a family that moved from Ipswich, shortly after his birth in 1923, to live in Corinda, Brisbane. His father travelled to work with the family coach building business in Ipswich. John attended Sherwood State School then had secondary education at Brisbane Boys' College and was Vice Captain and House Captain, and Vice Captain of the cricket team. He was already a church organist. He entered the workforce in 1940, joining the Brisbane City Council, but was required for war service about 18 months later, serving as a clerk in what would be called 'logistics', organising for stores to be transported by rail from Brisbane to the gathering Australian and US forces in Townsville. Being based in his home town he was able to continue his studies and, at the end of the war, was qualified as a teacher. During this time he met, and soon married, Irene Viertel.

He taught firstly in music as a private teacher, then at the Montrose Home for Crippled Children State School. He also conducted the choir at the W.R. Black Home for Girls at Chelmer, remembered by the participants as a welcome and rewarding respite from more mundane activities, performing and winning at the Eisteddfod.

In 1955 he joined Brisbane Grammar School as a teacher of English and French, and to control the music activities of the school. During the following 20 years of involvement in education, he was also: member of the Education Department Committees on English and Music; Chairman of the Queensland Secondary Schools' Music Teachers' Association; Chairman of the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Society of Music Education, and the Queensland Youth Orchestra; foundation member of the Faculty Board of Music at the University of Queensland; member of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music Committee. In 1965 he was selected as one of two delegates from Queensland to an international UNESCO Education Seminar at the University of Sydney. He was then elected to the National Council of the Australian Society for Music Education (ASME) for what became a 7 year term, during which he chaired a session of an international conference in Adelaide. All the time he was conducting choirs, lecturing, adjudicating, examining, broadcasting, counselling, coaching sport, and being Master of Junior English and then Director of Music at Brisbane Grammar. One of his English teachers was Alan Jones, who is now a nationally known broadcaster on Radio 2GB (and one time coach of the Australian Rugby Union team.)

He coached students who went on to represent Australia in cricket, rugby union, and tennis. His academic students became leaders in society and industry. He also had a number of private pipe organ students, of whom one was Christoper Wrench, now known internationally for his performances. (Christopher Wrench asked to play the organ at the funeral, on 12 December.)

He became disillusioned with educational politics and, in 1975, retired to teach music privately. He said that "academic idealism" was "being up a dry gully without a paddle."

In 1988 he ceased teaching and, after living for 41 years at Sherwood, the Broughtons retired to Cleveland, just south of Brisbane, where Irene had spent some of her early life. Mercifully, the Cleveland Uniting Church was, at this time, installing a very good pipe organ, of which he became a regular player.

His academic achievements were practical: He was an Associate and Licentiate of Trinity College London (ATCL & LTCL), Associate of Music Australia (A Mus A), Licentiate of Music (L Mus), Diploma of Music (U.QLD).

He had joined Freemasonry at age 18 in Hopeful Lodge at Sherwood, and was a founding member of John Oxley Lodge, then joined Bayside Daylight lodge at Cleveland. He was also a member of various higher Masonic degrees. In 2000, the organ at the United Grand Lodge of Queensland in Ann Street, Brisbane, was dedicated as the John Broughton Organ, on his retirment after 25 years as Grand Organist, and around this time he was designated Past Deputy Grand Master. For many years he had also been Choir Master. He was proud that his son, John E. Broughton, rose to be an Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and later Grand Chaplain in the Grand Lodge before his clerical duties took him interstate.

John Broughton revelled in the extended family provided by his children and his wife's siblings. He was an active member of Probus and various other community clubs.

John Broughton is survived by Irene, and his two children, Rev Dr John E. Broughton of Melbourne and Mrs Christine Ellis of Canberra, and their families.

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