Posts Tagged ‘Nepean High School’

English classes become interesting

Teachers wanting to share

What they see, feel & love

They transport us.

Metaphorically, by their care & passion.

And, literally, by bus, train or car

Anywhere, anytime

To venues, events, theatres,

Anything …

Enlivening texts, engaging us.

Ms Purcell & Mr Young 

Dedicate many private hours

Opening our eyes.

NHS Staff 1970: Ms Purcell is front row, extreme right. Mr Young back row, 7th from left.

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School fights are common at NHS

Generally they

– involve juniors
– are stopped without damage
– happen on perimeters.

Quadrangle, heavily populated

Tensions escalate between

Senior boys.

It’s on!

Quadrangle becomes giant boxing ring,

Entire student body watching, stunned.

Mountains v The Dam??*

Serious battle rages,

Blood spilt, bones broken.

Finally, bell rings.


* Are the names of the combatants important? Maybe but really only to … well, two of the adversaries are in the team photo in Short Memory #154. On the same team in 1968, some years later these two duked it out on opposite teams in the quadrangle that day. If you can pick the two … I am sure the names of the other pugilists will come to you. If you can’t it’s probably not that important to know.

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Bus rumbles along

Through hours of red dusty landscape.

One diversion, cards,

More engaging when

Playing for money.

Mr Ellem joins in.*

Pontoon, for cash.

Coins on a makeshift table

In the aisle of a bumpy bus

We play for hours.

Mr Ellem loses heavily

Schoolkids win,

My winnings … big – about $9.


* I am pretty sure this game took place along the Stuart Highway as we headed towards Alice Springs. The map below gives you a rough idea of our itinerary.

A, N=Penrith; B=Mt Isa; C= Camooweal; D=Three Ways; E=Katherine; F=Darwin; G=Alice Springs; H=Uluru (then known as Ayers Rock); I=Coober Pedy; J=Port Augusta; K=Adelaide; L=Mildura; M=Canberra




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A long school excursion,

Travelling for a few weeks


Transport: buses
Accommodation: camping
Travellers: interesting mix – oil & water.

Male teenagers & retirees.*

Teenagers guard(ian): Geography teacher.**

Steve & I are in.


Outback NSW & Queensland,

Darwin, Red Centre,

Simpson Desert,

Salt Lakes,

Simpson Gulf,


Barossa Valley,

NW Victoria




* Below is a (poor quality) picture of the traveling troupe. I am in the front row fourth from the left. Stephen is immediately to the right of me. Some others I think I can identify are:

John “Trapper” Trevena  – front row on the left of me.
Craig Bale – front row, immediately to the right of the lady with pink cardigan
Michael Bale (Craig’s cousin) – on the right of Craig.
John Welch – the tall guy right at the back, in a direct line back from Michael Bale.
The bloke waving his hand is (I think) Arpad Rapsak

** I am pretty sure the teacher was Mr Ellem.

*** In Short Memory #18 I recalled an event happening at aged 16. Only a few days later some of my alumni (Garry, Ruth, & Jenny) suggested that the event happened at least a year earlier. Recalling this excursion and it’s timing (3rd form – or year 9) pretty much confirms their opinion.

The Touring Party for a NHS Geography Excursion circa 1970

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Nepean High School looking south west.*

Morning arrival.

A hive of activity, almost frantic,

Not the usual student hubbub.

Students quietly watching, chattering

Something’s wrong!

Cleaners scrubbing.

Painters painting.

Shared goal:

Remove white painted lettering

Applied overnight, everywhere –

Walls, windows, asphalt.

Huge letters,

Visible … even to passing rail commuters.

Single phrase repeated:



* The white graffiti was painted onto every side of the building and quadrangle. In the photo, the railway line is visible in the distance … beyond the football fields.

** Mr Dillon was the headmaster. While this sort of language was often heard at school … it was rarely seen. Even the most profane of students seemed shocked by its sight and dimension. The shock perhaps subdued the laughter – but didn’t diminish the mirth. I don’t think the graffitists were ever identified.

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Nepean High, No School Hall

We have a multi-purpose canteen.

Seating shifted to the perimeter,

We know real fun – with relevance – awaits:

The Pride of Erin
Progressive Barn Dance
Canadian Three Step

We dance (hehehe) the circle, stepping

Forward, back, heel, toe.

Partner progresses.


I’d rather be in Skelly’s English class!



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Senior  industrial arts teacher,

And coach of the 7 st 7lb football team,

Mr Hush

Wants to see me.

What have I done?

“Junior sport is Tuesday.
I want you in the 7-7’s.
You’ll have Wednesday sport too.”

Too! Two sports days.

“Get your parents’ permission.”

“Yes, sir!”

Parents, Headmaster, Sportsmaster, & me.

All OK!!

1968 – 7 st 7 lb Nepean High School RL Team

Here are some names. If you can fill in any of the question marks, please do:

Back row (l to r): John Cavanagh, Greg Carrol, Steve Hollick, Geoff Hush, Lindsay Cole, Tony Boyden, Mr Hush
Middle (l to r): Peter Cahill, Russell Jolley, Trevor Hardy, Bruce Waugh(?), Graeme Curzon, Max Cowan
Front row ( to r): Paul Walker, ?, Jim Lord, Clarke Scott, Jon Trevena.

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School quadrangle – very old teacher strolling the diagonal.

Willy (in Year 1 Art class):

Mr McInnes – “Gabby”

I bet I can hit Gabby (teacher – Mr McInnes) with this.

Holds up an apple.

Guffaws, go-on’s, nahs!!

Leans back, arm extends catapulting fruit through window.

It was a great throw.


Direct hit. Top of spine.

Art students duck, hide. Trouble ahead.*


* Willy was very honourable. The class was threatened with a group punishment if no-one shed light on the event – and it looked like the class was solid – Willy raised his hand, declared his role and faced the music!!

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She scares me,

The 1st Form* English teacher.

Thin, bird-like features, beehive hair.

Palpable fear,

Like walking through Magpie territory

In spring.

I know an attack is imminent.
I hope I’m prepared.

Mrs Skelly’s methodology,

Students reading aloud.

Class starts with harsh high-pitched command.



Dutifully I read.


* 1st Form in Secondary School. It s now Year 7. Students are generally turning 13 at this stage.








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School canteen, full of students.

Queuing, sitting, eating,

Chatting, laughing.

I’m seated near the entrance when …

Hell breaks loose!!

Commotion, screams, panic,

I dash, look back.

A cocktail of effluence,

Is spraying across induced chaos.

Garden hose connected to sewerage.

Releases Brownian motion in student body.

Illustrative science?

Innovative boys!

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