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Elderslie High School

Elderslie High School

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John Van de Poll

John Van de Poll, Class of 1986

Achievements at Elderslie High School

  • I can’t say that I achieved much until I left high school.  I managed a pretty average result 363/500 in my HSC.  I guess that result may have been affected by my unusual domestic arrangements at the time.  For most of Year 11 and 12 I lived away from my parents in Menangle.  My mother and I had a fairly volatile relationship, so I ended up living with one of my mates Bruce Tomkins and his family for a few months, then with a girlfriend for a few months before living with my Aunt and Uncle in Gymea and commuting to Elderslie High every day.  
  • Whilst sitting the HSC and for a few months beforehand, I was staying with the Burge’s in Cobbitty, along with a former Elderslie student Thomas Feerick (who also later became a Lawyer).  Their son Ray Burge was a history teacher at Elderslie High for many years and a very positive influence in my life at that time.  There were three subjects that I was passionate about at Elderslie High, thanks largely to the teachers who taught me, English (2 unit), Modern History (2 Unit) and Economics (2 & 3 Unit).  Elderslie High also had a broad range of sports on offer, and the only one which really suited me was AFL, a passion that has also endured for me since, together with my mate Bruce Tomkins.  Our friendship has endured from our days at Elderslie High together.

Post Elderslie High School

  • Whilst I had from a young age wanted to study law, my marks weren't sufficient, so I took up Economics and Finance at was then the Macarthur Institute of Advanced Education, now Western Sydney University.  During a semester break from Economics, I started working for Switzerland General Insurance, ostensibly as a summer job, but during my time there, I discovered the Solicitors Admission Board Course.  That course had very low entrance requirements (250/500) but had a very high attrition rate.  Ultimately I completed the course while working for a number of insurers and eventually with Marsden's in Campbelltown before joining the Insurance Practice at Henry Davis York.  
  • Fifteen years ago, I joined Holman Webb, another City based Insurance Practice and grew a very substantial insurance practice acting for the biggest insurance group in Australia.  I ultimately became the youngest equity partner in the firm and now run a group of 25 people in Sydney and lead the firms national insurance group.   I travel widely, mainly to London twice a year where I have a number of clients in the Lloyd’s market.  I also meet up with another former Elderslie High student, Ian Rabbidge who lives nearby to London.
  • I recently completed accreditation as an Insurance Specialist, was peer nominated for inclusion in Best Lawyers in the Insurance category and have been nominated for the Lawyers Weekly Insurance Partner of the Year.  I have sat as a Mock Trial judge at a variety of high schools and also sat on the Professional Conduct Committee of the NSW Law Society for a number of years. All of that pales into insignificance in comparison to the achievement I am most proud of, my 3 children, Zane (19), Charlotte (13) and Jonty (9).

John Van de Poll at school

John Van de Poll today