GOING TO SCHOOL IN MOSMAN (3)

Posted by
Paul Morrison (formerly Paul Hastie)
Streets
Cowles Road
Time
1966—1970

MOSMAN HIGH SCHOOL, (1966 – 1970) was on the other side of the white line from the Primary School, that is, on the Belmont Road side of the block. It consisted of two or three old buildings as well as a brand new Science building facing Mosman Junction. High School was far different from Primary School and one of these differences was one had to work a lot harder. My greatest difficulty in Primary School had been learning the difference between the Australian explorers, Sturt and Stuart. In High School I was faced with Roman history, algebra, physics and Shakespeare! Primary school had been for boys only, but shortly before I began high school, Mosman High School changed to co-ed. The only school teachers I can remember were: Mr. Riley, the Maths teacher, Mrs. Wendie McCarthie, our English teacher, Scratch (I can’t remember her name, but she was an elderly woman who was forever scratching her neck), who taught Ancient History. We also had another teacher who taught Modern History. He would read great slabs from a book, which we had to then copy down by hand. No matter how hard we tried, he always managed to keep the name of the book he was reading hidden from us so that we could not search it out elsewhere. Modern History lessons became a lesson in how fast we could write and nothing more.

Science lessons in the new science block were always eagerly anticipated. The bunsen burners fascinated us and needless to say, the science building was never burned down. Dissecting rats though, was always a turn-off, particularly before the lunch break. Our science teacher was Mrs. Worrell. The language teacher was, (I think) Mr. Cashman? Another teacher, whose name escapes me, was always missing from classes. He was an activist who was always attending Anti-Vietnam War rallies. He got into trouble on several occasions for handing out anti-war flyers in school. To most of the kids at school, the Vietnam War was never a really big deal. I think this was because we saw it every night on the news on television in all its gory detail. Soon it became nothing more than a bad war movie…

I was never very good at sport, held on Friday afternoons. I remember playing school cricket at an oval down near Balmoral Beach. We would walk down to the oval, following the old abandoned tram line running from Mosman Junction to the beach. In my last year in High School, Allan Border started at the school in a junior grade. I remember at the end of year assembly when awards were being handed out to outstanding students, the Principle who was Mr. Monighon (a small bald man) giving an award to the young Allan Border for ‘best school sportsman of the year’, with the prophetic words, ‘If he continues playing like he does, then one day he will possibly play cricket for Australia.’ Some years later, Mosman Oval was renamed the Allan Border Oval, and Allan Border not only went on to play cricket for Australia but also captained the Australian Cricket side!

Paul Morrison (formerly Paul Hastie) · 12 April 2018

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