Noel was the youngest of four brothers to attend Melbourne High School, their father, Ernest John McDonald was a member of the School’s Advisory Council from 1926-1956 and Chairman 1945-1955, for which he was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire. They all played Lacrosse and became Engineers (their father and uncle ran A.H. McDonald & Co. of Bridge Road Richmond, engineers, who manufactured the first tractor in Australia).
Noel was selected for the School Lacrosse team in 1938, and was part of a Melbourne schools team that played in South Australia in 1940. He also rowed for both Forrest and the School, with Colours in Lacrosse and Rowing and the 1941 Speech Night Prize for Lacrosse. He continued to play Lacrosse with the MHS Old Boys after leaving School and later was a coach. He was active in the Masonic Lodge. He completed a Certificate of Management at Swinburne and became an engineer.
Luke Savage, Honorary School Archivist