Bloody hot! And more on WHS centenary

Yes, hot hot hot! In Sydney:

Sydneysiders are in for another scorcher after enduring unusually mild overnight conditions not seen in December.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a top on Wednesday of 38 degrees, matching Tuesday’s maximum of 37.8 degrees…

Sydney has only had three previous back-to-back days of 37.8 degrees or warmer weather, the most recent in November 2002, said Agata Imielska, senior climatologist at the bureau. The other two occasions fell in January – in 1946 and 1960…

Through the night, the temperature in Sydney has remained above 27 degrees, with the coolest point so far coming at 6.34 am, with 27.1 degrees recorded at Observatory Hill, bureau data shows. At this stage it is the highest December minimum since Christmas Day in 1868. Penrith residents fared better, with the mercury dipping to 21.8 degrees at 5.18 am, although temperatures have jumped above 29 degrees since.

Only a handful of monthly records are older than the 1868 record, with the bureau’s data beginning in 1858…

A warming climate means “progressively, these older temperature records are being broken”, Ms Imielska said.

Not only are hot records falling at a much higher rate than cold-weather ones, the margins by which records are being eclipsed is also tending to widen, she said.

Tuesday’s heat was widespread. Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne all joined the Harbour City in topping 33 degrees, the first time that’s happened in December since 1965, Weatherzone said…

Here in West Wollongong the public electronic thermometer outside the Catholic Church hit 41 yesterday and was on 30 at 6.30 am.

Meanwhile Wollongong High School (of the Performing Arts) has been celebrating its centenary:

Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts marked a milestone in style on the weekend.

The school has been celebrating its 100th anniversary and this culminated in a centenary dinner at the WEC on Saturday.

Teacher/librarian Liane Pfister said more than 700 people attended, the oldest of which was 96…

I thought about going but quite frankly could not afford to. However I have been interested. See also Notable pupils from Wollongong High’s 100 year history where you may find some pictures, including these two.


Wollongong High School’s official open day in 1916 at its original site at Smith’s Hill.


Intermediate Class (Third Year) –1917

Those photos have a sad family connection: see my June 2016 post  Wollongong High’s centenary, my family history, WW1.

I taught there 1975-1980, with a hiatus for secondment to Sydney University 1977-1978. My Uncle Keith Christison and Aunt Beth Christison (Heard) went to WHS in the 1930s. I had an Uncle, Colin Whitfield, who was part of the founding intake. He was born in 1901, but I never met him…

For the sad story behind these see Neil’s personal decades: 20 – Shellharbour Whitfields 1905 and Neil’s personal decades 26: Whitfields, Christisons, and more — 1915.

In Shellharbour the home front for my family was a sad place in 1915, as posted in More Whitfield family history last year.

My uncle, Colin WhitfieldObviously I never knew him, nor he me, though when I was in high school I used an Algebra textbook that was in our house, inscribed with his name. This is such a sad story. I had never before seen this detailed version, though it confirms the oral accounts I have had of that dreadful tragedy back in Shellharbour in 1915. Illawarra Mercury 9 April 1915….

Not far away in Albion Park Cemetery you can find the grave of Bert Ernest Weston, an exact contemporary of Colin and no doubt one of the boys mentioned in that story. He passed away in 1996. Quite a man, it appears…

He wrote an account of Wollongong High School as he and Colin Whitfield would have known it.

The writer’s secondary schooling sat astride the four year segment before and after Wollongong High School was born, and also coincided with the 1914-1918 World War…

Two bursaries were allotted to the South Coast each year. I achieved one of them. This entailed automatic posting to the first year Latin class, which had no fixed home. For twelve months we averaged four shifts per day to a room from which the occupiers had gone to a science lesson, then to the weather shed, thence across the street to the old Technical College and finally to finish the day crowded on to a verandah. The following year we were housed in a portable wooden room where we remained until the start of third year saw the move to Smith’s Hill.

You will note that my Uncle Colin died in early April 1915…

Related: Wollongong High: more on the centenary.