The Brisbane Grammar School community has remembered Old Boys Tom and Noah Strachan as exemplary Grammar men who personified BGS values.
The popular BGS father and son, who tragically died in a plane crash in August, were recently laid to rest.
Tom graduated in 1990 and was the founder of labour hire giant AWX and sustainable agribusiness company Packhorse. Noah graduated in 2019 and was making his first steps into the business world while studying at Queensland University of Technology.
The Strachan family were generous donors to the School. In 2021, Tom and his wife Anna (BGGS ’91) gave $500,000 to the Bursary Fund to ensure more boys from the bush have the opportunity to attend BGS.
BGS Old Boy Simon McGuire fondly recalled Tom as a larger-than-life classmate, skilled horseman, fearless spearfisherman, swashbuckling businessman, and diehard rugby fan who loved the light dark blue of BGS as much as the green and gold of the Wallabies.
“Tom was a loveable larrikin and a very generous, selfless person. He will be greatly missed by many people,” McGuire said.
“There are a lot of people who were close with Tom, whether they’re acquaintances, colleagues, or friends. I was in his class at Grammar, and we caught up a lot after school and became closer.
“It was fascinating to see this spirited young bloke develop into a mature, generous man. In later years, he was extremely supportive of others and provided business mentoring and advice to BGS Old Boys.
“A lot of that was due to the Brisbane Grammar culture. It’s a credit to the School for helping to create men like Tom.”
Perhaps the contribution of both men to BGS is best summed up by their involvement in school sport. Tom played rugby for the BGS Second XV; Noah played volleyball for the BGS First VI.
“As a student, Tom was one of the hardest tacklers at BGS,” McGuire recalled. “As a parent and Old Boy, he was the kind of guy who would come to watch other people’s sons play as well as his own. We just knew that ‘Straco’ would be there on the hill at Northgate in his big cowboy hat.”
Although Tom’s first love was rugby, BGS Volleyball Director and Old Boy Rhys Cox ‘05 said Tom was a passionate supporter of his sons Noah and Lewis as well as the wider Volleyball program.
“Tom wasn’t a ‘volleyball person’, but he wanted us to always pursue greatness and strive to be better,” Mr Cox said.
“I’m not sure that volleyball was Noah’s passion either, but he also understood that school sport is bigger than volleyball, or rugby, or rowing – it’s a vehicle to build character and forge lasting connections with peers.
“Noah was proficient in every area – spiking, blocking, serving – but for me, it went beyond his technical abilities. He was a bit of a spiritual leader of the team.
“I couldn’t imagine having that First VI group without Noah. Some boys just want to get on the court; Noah’s approach was that he would do whatever was needed for the team.
“He was similar to his father in that he was competitive, he wanted the best for his mates, and he understood the bigger picture.”
Mr Cox said that Tom volunteered to travel with BGS Volleyball teams on interstate trips and acted as a leadership mentor for the Old Boy coaches.
“Tom would tell us, ‘Leadership doesn’t always deliver a perfect score card, but what it always does is deliver consistency and culture’,” Mr Cox said.
“Straight away, I was drawn to Tom’s big personality and his character. He was comfortable asking tough questions of us coaches and the program.
“Because volleyball is relatively new to BGS – we’ve only been playing since 1998 – Tom challenged us to raise the profile of the sport within the School.
“He challenged us to build traditions and leave a legacy for future generations.”
Tom and Noah are survived by Anna, Isabella, Lewis and Rosie.
Click here to read a fantastic tribute from Tom’s friend and fellow BGS Old Boy Michael Blucher ’77 published in INQUEENSLAND.