More “Neil’s Decades” –8: 1956 — 1

Back in 2007 I blogged:

Yes, fifty-three years ago next February this little boy from Sutherland started at age 11 to go to Sydney Boys High travelling through a Surry Hills Ruth Park would have recognised. The god-like Fifth Form students — High School only went to Year 11 then — included quite a few who became, well, god-like figures.

Did you know that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can trace its origins to the Department of External Affairs that was first established in 1901? Since that date, five old boys of Sydney High have headed the Department with responsibility for foreign or external affairs: Sir John McLaren (1887), 1929-1933 (as Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department); Sir Alan Watt (1918), 1950-1954; Sir James Plimsoll (1933), 1965-1970; Sir Alan Renouf (1936), 1974-1977; and Dr Peter Wilenski (1955), 1992-1993. James Plimsoll and Peter Wilenski have also acted as Australia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in 1959-1963 and 1989-1991 respectively…

In fact quite a crop have been through the old SBHS, as you can see. I belong to the much greater ranks of Undistinguished Old Boys…

One of THE most god-like to us in 1955 was Marcus Einfeld, son of Jewish Labor Party politician Sydney (Syd) Einfeld and his wife Billie. He did indeed go on to a distinguished career, and it is sad to read what is befalling him at this time. Just what he did remains to be tested, but if proven it really would make you wonder why on earth he did it, as Legal Eagle does in How the mighty may fall

And now here I am in Wollongong and it is sixty-one years since 1955! So in 1956 I was in Second Year, or as we now would say, Year 8. Today I offer some evocative pictures. The first two you have seen before.

Memorabilia 16 – 50 years on

Posted on April 7, 2009 by Neil


Me, 1955

See also Memorabilia 15: 1959 — or thereabouts, Fifty years on – guess what, nothing is for ever!, Now, what did I learn half a century ago?, Sydney Boys High School 1955, I wasn’t a prefect…, Time and friendships 2 — the class of ‘59, This may well be me….

I so remember the hats! Mine I successfully lost some time in 1956, after one failed attempt at Kirrawee Station when it blew off my head and onto the train tracks, only to be rescued, much to my chagrin, by a brave member of the public.


1950s junior students SBHS

Here is another from that set, dated 1956 according to City of Sydney Image Library. This eastern entrance pre-extensions is only just recognisable.



Now this brings back memories. These boys are from Melbourne’s Scotch College, but they as we are lining up for the Salk polio vaccine in 1956. I doubt there was any conscientious objection in those days.

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Finally, sheer nostalgia. Yes, I made this trip on a number of occasions, but especially on school swimming carnival day:


Trams crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge