More “Neil’s Decades” — 3: 1976


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.

Piecing together memories of 40 years ago! On Lost Wollongong’s Facebook Group someone posted this:


That really took me back. You see, at Wollongong High in 1975-1976 I was teaching [Year 8] Photography as well as English. You will observe the two top right copies of “The Gleam”, WHS’s magazine/yearbook. Those covers are my work I do believe. The insides too represented quite a departure from what had gone before. If I recall correctly we were gifted offset printing by Illawarra County Council, the local electricity authority at that time who had a new printery with not enough for it to do. The scope it gave us was marvellous. I do seem to recall playing a bit of a trick on the student editorial committee – the 1976 one, I think – by submitting anonymously some meaningless but trendy-sounding poems, which they published. I no longer have copies of these mags. I’d love to check the insides again!

I recalled a colleague’s name the other day too – Wade Snyder, a very memorable American. He was in Science. Seems, if it is the same man, he later co-wrote an HSC Biology text of note. It appears he ended up in Darwin (pdf).

MR. WADE SNYDER R.I.P  06/06/1930 – 04/10/2013

Last week the [O’Loughlin Catholic] College heard of the sad news of Wade Snyder’s death. Wade had taught at the College from 1989 until 2010 and for most of this time had been the Head of Science. He set up our College Science department so that it could meet the challenges of the 21stCentury. He was both a scientist and academic and our Year 12 Biology students used the text book Wade actually wrote for N.S.W year 12 HSC students. Even this year he was busy revising the text and adding new units of work, so his love and passion for science never wavered…

He was an American by birth but properly spent half of his life in Australia. As a young lad he joined the UN [sic] Navy and served in the Korean War in the early 1950’s…

Assuming this is my former colleague, I had no idea about the Korea experience.

I was not teaching at WHS in 1972, but rather at TIGS. The name of the 1972 WHS Captain does ring a bell, however. He is now a judge in the Federal Court of Australia. At his swearing-in (2009):

It’s pleasing to see so many of your Honour’s family here today, your mother, Joyce, and mother-in-law, Jane, and brother-in-law, Andrew, your wife, Leonie and daughters Imogen and Sophie. Also present, I understand, are your brother, Ray, and niece, Jessica, who I’m told is completing her law degree. Although your Honour was born in Sydney I understand that your parents moved to Wollongong when you were very young and that you went on to complete the trifecta of having attended Wollongong Infants, Wollongong Primary and Wollongong High School, the latter in 1972 as school captain. I believe your Honour was keenly interested in hockey during this time, representing the Illawarra District in various age groups. In 1971 your Honour was selected to play in the New South Wales Combined High Schools Convener’s XI and the following year you were awarded a Hockey Blue by Wollongong High School.

There is an odd link with my SBHS Class of 1986 too, as one of them is also on the Federal Court bench.

The Illawarra Mercury published (October 2015) the following photo of the 1972 Wollongong High orchestra. It gives a taste of those now far-off days.


Can’t help feeling I taught some of these a few years later…

See also mais où sont les neiges d’antan?