It’s our Spiritual Home
Trinity has become much more than a school for three generations of one family
THREE WEDDINGS AND TWO FUNERALS. THAT’S NOT AN UPDATED VERSION OF AN OLD MOVIE; IT’S THE TALLY OF SERVICES HELD IN TRINITY’S WAR MEMORIAL CHAPEL FOR ONE OF THE SCHOOL’S OLDEST FAMILIES.
It tells a story in itself – of how Trinity has become the “spiritual home” of the Seeto family, whose association stretches back three generations and almost 70 years.
It all started in 1952 with future Papua New Guinea businessman Sir Ling James Seeto, who was succeeded at Trinity by his sons Godfrey and Roderick, as they have been, or soon will be, by their sons Scott and Liam.
Sir Ling, who like his wife was both married and mourned in the school Chapel, started life in a dirt-floored hut in Rabaul. His father died when he was an infant, and during World War Two his family, like many Chinese, were held as prisoners of war.
His newly single mother, Mack Kam Foung, raised four kids and worked as a seamstress “day and night” to send him to school in Sydney.
“He couldn’t buy a sandwich in those days,” said his son Godfrey. His Trinity boarding house mate Mahmud Iskandar, a future Sultan of Johor and King of Malaysia, would treat him to meals at Chinese restaurants in Surry Hills.
Godfrey said his father “thought the world of this school”.
“His time at Trinity was among the best years of his life. I remember him telling me that, and I tell you, he’s not wrong.
“We are very staunch Trinity believers.”
Sir Ling built a business empire in PNG that embraced supermarkets, life insurance, frozen meats, furniture and real estate, and has since been taken over by his sons, now concentrating on property.
Godfrey, who arrived at Summer Hill two decades after his father, said: “This is our spiritual home, where it all began.”
Sir Ling and both of his sons were married at the School by former chaplain and Master of Prep, the Rev Keith Sandars. All came away with lessons that prepared them for life.
“Manners, discipline, being on time – all those things were drummed into you from the moment I walked through those school gates, and I still carry them with me,” said Godfrey.
“I came as a boy and left as a man.”
“I attribute a lot of our success in business, and in life, to Trinity.”
The same lessons have been passed on to his son Scott, a class of 2017 graduate who went on to study commerce at Macquarie University.
The former prefect, School House Captain and boarding house captain still hasn’t really left the school – he coaches rugby in winter and touch footy in summer four afternoons a week.
“I learned about work ethic, having a schedule, always being on time, getting assignments done a couple of days before they were due,” he said.
“That comes from Trinity. “It’s about the one per centers.”
Godfrey’s younger brother Roderick, whose son Liam starts Year 5 at Trinity in 2022, said: “It feels like home when I come back here. I had a good time.
“It taught me to maintain certain standards in life.
“It’s about the way you treat people; everyone gets treated equally and fairly.
“Don’t take short cuts; Trinity never let you take short cuts. You have discipline and stick to a routine.
“In business there is an honourable way to act. Trinity teaches about mind, body and spirit, and that’s where the spirit comes in.”