I started at MHS in 1965. The Principal was Mr Ivan Theodore Maddern. I believe his headstone may read thus: Hus of Elsie (nee JONES); father of Marian, Dorothy & Philippa; 2nd son of Esther (105) & David (106). "Educator, Esperantist, Historian - A man ahead of his time" I would agree. He was a controversial man with many ideas ahead of his time. For instance, he introduced a Study Day - can't remember at what year level it came into force, but it meant we only had lessons on four days a week, with the fifth day for private study, homework etc. He also thought examinations were abominable and an unfair way of assessing students' abilities. So I had no exams until I got to Form 5 and 6 when we had to sit the State exams for Leaving and Matriculation. Our assessments were cumulative throughout the year. But he was a very authoritative man with some decided ideas about what was acceptable and what wasn't. I remember one male student a couple of years ahead of me who had long hair. After refusing to have his hair cut he was expelled. It was two years later that Laurie returned to complete his schooling. He was then in our Form 5 class. Ivan T also had firm ideas about boy / girl relationships. The school captains lost their positions when he saw them talking to each other (they were an 'item' I believe) outside her house one weekend. I still have a copy of a letter sent to all parents 'explaining' how important the matriculation year was, and how parents were NOT to expect students to do chores around the house, nor allow them to socialise as these activities would detract from their studies. He also decreed that girls were only allowed to walk to and from school with their brothers - no other males.
Some of the other teachers I remember (most fondly, some less so) were Elsie McMaster, Ian Fry, Madmoiselle Harney, Peter Caplan, Sue Smith (? Art Teacher), Glenys Hartnell and her husband, Sally Milner, Max Alvin, John Murfett, Peter Pickburn, Mr Creagh, Mr Withoos, Mr Winkler, Mr Day, Mr Clemens, Mr Traill, Mr Edmonson, Miss Benjafield, Mrs Lawrence, Mrs Dennis, Mrs Cafiso and Mrs McLaren. I still keep in touch with Glenys Hartnell, now Glenys Warner. We met up at a Principal Accreditation Program - she was being accredited as a Vice Principal in a large secondary school, I was being accredited as a Principal of a small rural school, but we undertook the same program.
I remember being allowed to go home on the day Man first walked on the moon, so we could watch it on TV as there was only one TV in the school library and we wouldn't have all fitted.
In Form 4 I went on an excursion to Broken Hill. More of that in another post methinks.
Esperanto! As stated on Ivan T's headstone, he was an Esperantist, with grand ideas about the value of the so-called International language. I still remember the first line of Waltzing Matilda - Kai lee kantis kum lee kushas apud billabong - not sure of the spelling though. Just found this on the net - my line doesn't appear exactly as I remember it (should be the line "And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled" - although on reflection billy boiled and billabong are two different animals!)
Gaja vagabondo kampis apud bilabong
kie la Coolabah ombris por li
kaj li kantis atende gxis bolos en la billipot
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi
Venis sxafido por trinki en la bilabong
kaptis vagulo kun gxoj` plena kri`
kaj li kantis sxovante la sxafon al la mangxosak`
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi
Aperis farmisto sur pursanga al cxeval
Venis gxendarmo unu, du, tri
"Kies bela sxafo, tiu en la mangxosak"
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi
Tuj la vagoulo saltis al la bilabong
"Vi vane kaptas vi min," diris li.
Kaj fantomon vi auxdos pasante cxe la bilabong.
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi.
Trad. En Esperanto: Ralph Harry
Here's an audio version.
Trouble was, Ivan had to cajole other teachers into taking the classes - he taught them the lesson one day,and they taught it to us the next! We had one text book, and we began at page 1 in Form 1, and began at the same page 1 in Form 2. It is the only subject in which I ever 'cheated' - as did most of the class. Sorry Ivan, but we thought it was a bit of a joke. It was a compulsory subject in Form 1 and 2, in Form 3 if we took French we also had to take Esperanto. In Form 4 I opted out of French because although I enjoyed the subject I didn't particularly like the teacher - but guess what, that year if you didn't take French you had to take Esperanto. I was finally free of it in Form 5. But in four years we only ever used the one text book, and always started from page 1! It was a small tan coloured soft covered book.
Learn more about Esperanto here.
Another innovation of Ivan's - for which I bless him - was his belief that everyone should know how to type. In those days once you got to Form 3 you began to specialise depending on which direction you were heading. For those (usually girls) wanting to go into commerce such as the bank or as secretaries they took the commercial subjects like typing and shorthand. Those wanting to go into the professions took the professional subjects like English Literature, Geography, History etc. But we all got to do Personal Typing. We weren't expected to become proficient touch typists, and only had one lesson per week instead of many like the Commercial classes but we were taught the correct fingering and could attempt speed tests if we wished. I remember I achieved 25 words per minute. I don't use all the proper fingering, but I am not a hunt and peck typist, and do use both hands.
In those days we had Prefects who had certain responsibilities, but also privileges, such as the Prefects Room where we could store our books and go for quiet study when we had a free period. I was a Prefect, and still have my badge in a box in the spare bedroom. Also have my prefect ribbon that was sewn onto our blazer, and my school badge.