Various memories – family and otherwise

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald carries the funeral notice for Jock Mackinnon. He was the Principal of The Illawarra Grammar School in 1971, my first of four years working there.


In the late 1960s I worked at Cronulla High School. Yesterday Facebook threw up one of those “your memories are precious to us” thingies, in this case a great photo that captures the Cronulla of those days,  1970 to be exact.


It was while we were living in Cronulla in the 1960s that my mother wrote the reminiscences that I later transcribed on Ninglun’s Specials. In 2008 Jim Belshaw kindly responded to those posts:

One trigger here were some very interesting posts from Neil reproducing material written by his mother. You will find the posts here:

By way of background, Neil’s grandfather, Roy Christison, began his career as a pupil teacher at Croydon Park Public School in 1902. Upon completion of his training , he was posted to Spencer on the Hawkesbury River and then in the early days of the war to Felled Timber Creek near Gunning.

From 1916 to 1923 he taught at Braefield, a locality just over six kilometres south of Quirindi on what is now the Kamilaroi Highway. From there he was posted to Dunolly, near Singleton in the Hunter Valley and then to Milton and then Shellharbour — where Neil’s mother and father met — and finally to Caringbah in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, whence he retired in the late 1940s.

Jean Whitfield’s reminiscences provide a fascinating insight into a now vanished country Australia. This was a world in which transport was still dominated by foot, horse and train. It was also a world in which education was limited but central.

I mention all this because on 20 July my mother would have been 105 years old! She passed away in 1996. The following telegram has been posted before. It was on the occasion of her 32nd birthday, when she was in hospital recovering from giving birth to me!