Monday, 9 April 2012


They keep rolling in. 

Richard Jessop is sharing his with us:

Since I can no longer remember what I did five minutes ago, but 60 years can be quite vivid, I'll start very early, with Monaro Crescent Play Centre:

  • There was the brown dog (Bouncer?) who did laps for hours on end - he'd worn a track around the fence-line ;
  • the see-saw and swings, a type of articulated chair, with arms ;
  • finger-painting inside the building;
  • the fish-tank, the first I'd ever seen ;
  • and, of course, the sand-pit near the gate, where I heard my first swear word ( "bugger" as it happens).
Moving on,
  • who could forget Mrs. Woods, story teller supreme - my favourite was "The Tinder Box", and the dog, with eyes as big as saucers, which we listened to sitting in a circle marked by cracking lino.
  • Also sitting in a circle, we played "Drop the Hanky" - this was also in one of the same old rooms.
  • Then there were the road safety lectures - "Look right, look left, look right again". It certainly worked - I still do it! Although Miss Carter used to shepherd us across to the church hall - not that there much traffic in 1951.
In one of those "where were you when" moments, I distinctly remember walking up the ramp (Manuka side) and saying to a friend – “now we'll have to learn to sing "God Save the Queen"”.

Standing in rows, hands clasped in front, reciting (as a verse choir) "A chieftain to the highlands boond cried "boatman, do not tarry", and I'll give thee a silver poond to take me o'er the ferry".

And as a singing choir, the Skye Boat Song (speed bonny boat, like a bird on the wing, "onward" the sailors cry), not to mention "The Ash Grove" (Down yonder green valley, where streamlets meander) and "Nymphs and Shepherds".

All this culture must have been in 1st or 2nd class.

I, too , remember the old tuck-shop under the north wing - mainly for the disgusting spread that they used on the sandwiches - thin and white and tasteless. Give me my butter and malted milk any time.

With some regret I'll mention my least happy memory of school - being belted on the bum, repeatedly, by a teacher named McFadgen, using what felt, at the time, like a bit of 4 be 2 - it was certainly solid wood. Unlike the cuts in high school, when I'd at least know what I'd done, McFadgen's torture seemed random - I'd be sitting in class and suddenly realise that it was about to happen again. I'm not sure where he fitted in, but I think my love for Mr.McShane was in reaction to him.

Unlike Sue, I have no memory of being forbidden hop-step-and-jump before school. The boys did it in a sand-pit near the Manuka gate, and people came to school early just to compete. It happened at lunch-time too, of course.

Speaking of Mr. McShane, he once said that the correct answer to any question in the Health and Temperance exam would be "Don't give alcohol". I still have two (count 'em) merit certificates earned in these exams. Over the years they have caused much mirth, particularly towards the end of dinner parties. "I honour my God, I serve my Queen, I salute my flag" - we did too (salute, that is).

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Great to hear from everyone!

A week has nearly past and at last I have found time to extend my thanks and best wishes to all for a wonderful time. Laurie and I were in awe of the organisation of the whole event.  I will hold in my heart the friendliness of everyone! Life is for making special memories and the reunion will certainly be one of those. Laurie and I wish you all a happy and safe Easter and look forward to meeting again in the not too distant future. Please do not pass through Tweed Heads without making contact.
Kindest regards
Helen (Moebus) Ganter

Gini and I had a great time at the reunion, thanks go to all the team who worked hard to make it possible, and I would like to keep in touch with the folks that we met. Lynne sent us a list and I will reply to her.
Thanks again for your hard work, we really enjoyed it.
Talk to you again.
Tira Charuvastra

I would just like to add my thanks and congratulations to everyone who was involved in putting the reunion together and I think we can all appreciate the huge efforts which must have been made by many of you in Canberra, as well as by Ann and Lynne to make it such a wonderful and successful event. I have spent many an hour in front of the computer recently looking at photos etc which have been posted and even found a few of my own in an album previously well hidden amongst all the junk collected over the last 50 years. Although we have travelled around a bit and have been in Brisbane now for 18 years or so, I am always proud to say that I was born and bred in our National Capital and the recent visit only brought home to me how much your place of birth really does mean to you. Of course those early years of schooling likewise, have been very important probably for all of us and it was great to be able to share some of our memories with our former classmates and friends.
Hopefully we can touch base again sometime in the future,
Rod Gilhome

I trust that things are getting back to normal for you and Gerd at Guilfoyle St. after having your home taken over during the reunion weekend. It was in fact a marvellous venue to get together and to roll back the years and reminisce about being at Telopea.  My sincere appreciation to you and the organising committee for all you did to make everyone feel most welcome over the weekend and ensure that our 50th reunion was a great success. There was a lot to catch up on and each of the activities/events allowed us to become reacquainted and to bring back vivid memories. Well done!
Tony Ward

Monday, 26 March 2012


Thank you John Mc Gregor, for those beaut key rings

It really was a great afternoon and to be able to catch up with people I haven't seen for 50 odd years. I must admit though there were more than one or two faces I didn't recognise. The organising committee should take a bow for all their efforts.
Kind regards
John McGregor

John, it was our pleasure. Many thanks again to you and Mae for your generous gift of key rings for everyone who attended the reunion. Mine now carries the front door key so I will always be reminded of you, the reunion and TPHS every time I use it. Regards, Sue



Attended Telopea Park Primary School 1953-54 (Grades III & IV)

Attended Telopea Park High School 1958-1962

Memories: ….Memorising German grammar and German culture, thanks to Frau Watson

….the time Sue Falk pretended to faint in French to stir up Mrs Irzykewicz (I believe she ended up at a more appreciative school)

….being told in the bike sheds after school that Marilyn Monroe was dead

…the bus trip to the Snowy Mountains

…My unsuccessful effort at composing a school song: “Torment and terror, in dungeons dark and deep/In them do thy children sleep their last sleep/Over them bereaved mothers wait and weep/But still the children thou dost keep.” For some reason, Mr McPherson didn’t like it.

Post-school life:  Gained an ANU degree in Chinese in 1966; brief postgraduate studies in London; exchange student to China 1974-1975 in the last days of the Cultural Revolution. A fascinating time: imagine Shanghai with only 20 resident Westerners, Spartan living conditions (we rose at 5.30am for morning exercises) and cultural diet restricted to rigidly controlled propaganda. But I managed to make good friends with my Chinese room-mates and had some fine teachers; I still see them today.

In late ’75 returned to find the Dismissal unfolding. The expected revolution did not eventuate and I returned to the ANU where I met my husband. We were both doing history doctorates but ended up in the public service: he joined Foreign Affairs in 1979, and I joined the Education Department (aka DEET, DEST, DEETYA, DETYA) in 1985. There I worked mainly in a research job alongside a team of economists.

Our first posting was Singapore, to which we took 6-week old Lisa; Christopher was born there, and Owen in Canberra before our next posting, to Japan. (I married rather too late to follow my mother’s example of a child in every post and every space between postings, which resulted in nine children). We were also posted to Brazil (1992-1995) and most recently to China (2003-2006) and Brussels (2007-2010).

We’ve retired to a terrace in Sydney, where two of our children live (one is in London). A part-time online job polishing translations from Chinese for Social Sciences in China keeps my mind ticking over.  

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Your thoughts on the reunion .........

What a wonderful weekend, and some very special memories for every one of us. Looking forward to keeping in touch.

Best wishes,
Brian & Sue

I just want to say how much I enjoyed seeing you and renewing my friendship with so many people I knew and had lost touch with. All the events went remarkably smoothly due to an amazing level of organization. I know a number of people contributed to the organization, but I was particularly impressed at how you handled the possibility of rain by moving everything to your house for the barbecue. You seemed to have thought of everything and even managed to have a good time in the process, which I know is not easy when you have to anticipate the next thing to be done. The whole experience created an amazing feeling of camaraderie and shared connections. 
I hope we can keep in touch and I look forward to the possibility that there will eventually be a follow-up event.
The photos were great. 
Best regards,

What a weekend - a few confessions came out after so many years, including one of my own with respect to Helen Moebus. (now that should get someone's attention) - My big surprise was that Ida was only a few small farms away and within binocular distance except for the trees........
The reunion as it turned out was inclusive of quite a few "end" years, Transition, Intermediate certificate and Leaving and that to me was special and reflects our times.

Before I depart for Sydney at end of this week to look after 4 young grandchildren I just want to say how much I enjoyed catching up with you again after all these years. The girl with the thick blond plait was still there. The whole three days were truly enjoyable for me. Our photos looked like an Aged Conference and I loved looking at every single one of them.  Where have all our years gone. Now that is definitely an old lady speaking. I probably won't get to Canberra too often anymore now that my Mother is here in Melbourne but maybe if I do we could catch up. Thanks again for everything. You now deserve a rest but I am absolutely sure you won't be doing any of that.  
Warm wishes. 

Dear Friends,
Our 50th reunion was a wonderful occasion. many thanks to all of you who worked so hard to pull it off. The organisation, the activities, the food and the company were terrific.
I came home with a great sense of wellbeing, a somewhat different orientation, and a renewed fondness for Canberra.
If we could do that more frequently we could have some wonderful continued conversations.
I am going to write a blog when I figure out how to.
Thanks again for one of the all-time highlights

I would like to continue on Wendy's theme. I had the best time seeing you all again and learning of your life's adventures.
It was a real joy to see you all well and happy at our age and doing such interesting things.
Thank you Sue and the TPHS organising committee. I was amazed at how much work you all did to enable us to greet each other again. It was so much fun and a real delight to see you all after 50 years and I look forward to our next meeting in the not so distant future
My very best wishes to everybody
Helen Andrew

What a Reunion!!! It exceeded all my expectations and I have spent all morning trying to get my head around the right words to congratulate you and the other committee members on a truly wonderful weekend with the Class of '62. You took care of every detail to ensure that we experienced the best reunion possible. By Sunday morning 50 years had been erased and we were again those young people even though we may have looked different (just a little) on the outside!. You made this possible and I am sure I am not the only one who feels uplifted by the occasion. 
Rob did a wonderful job as MC and if it weren't for the Press Club eviction rules we would have been there a lot longer! 
You did Telopea proud and a truly memorable reunion it was from start to finish. Our memories of Telopea now have another chapter filled with much laughter and sentiment. 
Cheers to you all and take time out to celebrate those months of planning. 
Marg Knight (Davies) 

thanks for the wonderful photos 
love to you all 
Dear Committee members, 
Thanks for that, the photos are very impressive. Also thanks for all the take home pieces of memorabilia. 
All the best. 
Christina and Andy Rowe 
Can I add my thanks to you and the committee for all the work that you put into the weekend's activities. It was an outstanding success, largely due to your efforts. It was great to meet people again for the 1st time in 50 years. Thanks again for arranging it all. 
Jim McIntyre