More “Neil’s Decades” — 1

Thinking about all the “six” years in the decades of my life.

2006 is not hard to recover as I was blogging way back then! Had been for just about all that decade. For instance:

Good news Redfern story

07 Jan

This isn’t on the news anywhere.

The pizza man here in Elizabeth Street Strawberry Hills (I feel obliged now to revive the name) tells me that last week an Aboriginal man walked into Redfern Police Station and handed in something he had found.

A thousand dollars!

Apparently it was later claimed by someone.

1996 is framed by Mardi Gras/John Howard’s election and Pauline Hanson’s Maiden Speech. That reminds me that at that particular point I was working at Sydney Girls High, but I had spent considerable time also at Sydney Boys, particularly with one memorable Year 10 class that become the Class of 1998.


At Sydney Boys High back in the day

I was living in Surry Hills with M. This was also the year my mother died, and later that year my second cousin, the swimmer Beverley Whitfield.

1986 – thirty years on since the Class of 1986! See I return to teaching — 1985.

I have mentioned the class of 1986 several times – for example Philip Larkin 1922-1985.

Indirectly, as often happens, I found myself passing from a rather good blog post by J R Benjamin — What Kipling’s “Recessional” Means for Today – to the poems of Philip Larkin. I had not looked at Larkin’s work all that often since memorably teaching it to the Class of 1986 at Sydney Boys High – memorably for me as well as for them. Hence the cryptic remarks on the card accompanying the bottle of Veuve Clicquot that wonderful class gave me at the end of 1986.


SBHS 1986

1976: living at Gilmore Street, West Wollongong. Working at Wollongong High. Passed my “List 2” inspection.


I lived here in 1974-6, top balcony at the back. There were no flats behind us then. The top front flat had Tilly und Willy from Germany via Dapto. Willy was on the Russian Front in WWII. Nine of the thousand he was with got back alive.

1966: Began my appointment to Cronulla High School.

From the Facebook Album:



Centre – Alan, who was Head Teacher Maths when I was teaching English.

Update from Facebook: “Well there you go couple of the best league players to come out of the school John Watkins and Bruce Howell with their old coach Alan Andrews.”

And for the record here is the Class of 1968 in 1968!


See How young we were! and More Cronulla High memories.

1956: Living in Avery Avenue, Kirrawee and in Second Year at Sydney Boys High. The year TV came to Australia.

Shire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood 2: 1958

Posted on May 11, 2008 by Neil

From 1956 to 1958, give or take some months, Kirrawee was my home. Now fifty years is a very long time, but the station and main street are still very recognisable.


Go down the street, turn left at President Avenue and walk toward Gymea. When you reach Bath Road turn left again. When the railway line hinders further progress, turn right and you are in Avery Avenue. When I lived there Averys still occupied the corner house. Past the Roaches, two doors up, what was left of a farm began, complete with goats and the odd cow. Beyond that the road to Grays Point was still mainly bush. There was a “village idiot” living in a hut on the farm: Old Jack was harmless, given to carrying around an alarm clock in a brown paper shopping bag, and always checking the time. He used to ring the talking clock from public phones and actually speak to it. (Now I think he must have wandered in from a Patrick White novel…)

1946: Yes, I do have memories that far back!


2 thoughts on “More “Neil’s Decades” — 1

  1. Pingback: More “Neil’s Decades” – 5: 50 years ago this week | Neil's Commonplace Book

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