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).

1 comment:

  1. 1959-1963 TPHS 50th REUNION, November 16th 2013

    We are having a TPHS 50th reunion (for the class of 1963) on November 16th 2013 in Canberra followed by an informal gathering on Sunday 17th.

    Are you happy to be included in a register of interested persons? If so please contact us @

    It will help compile a list to let people know about the reunion plans. We want as many people in the “Class of 63” as we can (including those who left TPHS before or after but shared classes with us.).

    Perhaps you know ex Telopeans who might like to be included. We would be pleased if you could contact them and, if they agree, forward, or have them forward, their school name, current name and email address to us.

    Barbara (Dawson) Dunstan has set up a blog so you can post recollections, memories etc. or you can email her on;

    Marilyn (Stoneham) Jost is the list keeper and can be contacted on;

    It will be a wonderful get together with some wonderful people!

    Phil Castle
    Joan Chapman
    Nancye Deans
    Barbara Dunstan
    Clive Scollay
    Brenda Bartley
    Marilyn Jost.