Just north of St. Clements C of E Church, was a wide bitumen path which in those days was the principle entrance to Mosman Church of England Preparatory School. There was a tennis court behind the church. Down a slope was the main building (dating from 1904) which contained the whole school.
There was an entrance to the old hall at the foot of the slope. Then going clockwise around the building – On the left a small classroom (Mr. MacDougall’s class), then the 30 seat 4th class room and then the 30 seat 3rd class room on the NE corner of the building.
Opposite these classrooms were firstly sand pits, with pipe climbing frames, then a covered play and lunch area. There was a hanging horizontal ladder for exercise, which was out of reach to the younger boys. The boys toilet was on the north side. The open area to the north of the building was all concrete and there was a double door to the main hall. It was on this step that crates of free half pint glass milk bottles were stacked, usually in the sun. And alas, by “play lunch” at 11am, the milk was often sour. They never did learn!
On the west side of the building there were two sided stairs leading to the 2nd class room, to the main hall and the kitchen. Further south was the small 1st class room, seating about 12 children. (I started here in 1946.) Then there was a door to the old hall.
Between the main building and Shadforth Street was a sandy – clay tennis court. It was here that we assembled each morning and where the mandatory physical culture class was held. At “play lunch” and lunchtime it was a hive of activity. The annual school photo was also shot here.
In the old hall there were two classes 5th and 6th separated by a cloth curtain – not really a satisfactory separation. The room also housed the library and the honour boards.
And finally on the SE corner of the building was the Headmasters Office. Mmmm, a place most boys hesitated to visit for it was here that “Tibby” Arnold, dished out the cane. Yes, I sampled “cuts” on my hand and on my behind – well deserving no doubt!
The school years were on the whole bearable and the school laid a very good foundation for later schooling. Today I am proud to be a member of the Mosman Prep Old Boys Union.
I travelled to school on the 236 Beauty Point to Musgrave Street Ferry route. Sometimes I would miss this bus in the afternoon and would have to catch the 232 to Balmoral Beach which meant an extra ten minute walk home from Stanton Road. They were green double decker buses in those days – Albion or Leyland. My preferred seat was up front on the upper deck.
Thank you Donal for these fascinating recollections.
Mosman Prep had not changed greatly when I attended the school between 1956 and 1959.
I lived at Iluka Road, Clifton Gardens and usually walked to and from school, something that most parents would not permit these days.
As teachers I had Mrs. MacDougall, Mrs. Kennedy, Mr Moriarty and Mr Duffet. The first two were, I think, the wife and sister of the Headmaster and the daughters of the first Headmaster, Mr Yarnold. We were required to call them ‘Sir’. They were kindly and popular. Mr Moriarty was much less popular. A strict disciplinarian, he regularly struck boys hard with a ruler that he described as his ‘slapper’. Mr Duffet was an excellent teacher and I enjoyed his classes. He had a great sense of humour.
My other recollections include the run down classrooms, assemblies and plays in the school hall, playing sport at Rawson Oval and Primrose Park, learning how to box, lusty singing of the school song, playing cowboys and Indians in the main playground, watching films organised by Mr Morgan and buying lunches prepared by volunteer mothers.
I only remember some of my friends: Jamie Rae, Ian Finlay and Peter Swire are names that come to mind. I still keep in touch with Peter.
I did not shine academically or in any other way at Mosman Prep. When I went on to Shore, though, I came close to the top of my class without working especially hard and played in a ‘A ‘ Rugby side. Mosman Prep had prepared me well. My second year at Shore was much less successful as I did not do the necessary work to sustain such performances.