Unapologetically wallowing in SBHS nostalgia

26 May 2021 evening: Thanks all for your interest in this post and the previous one! However, rather than try topping either now — or more likely posting a filler, I am taking another short break — maybe two days. Feel free to explore more of the blog in the meanwhile.

Over recent weeks I have posted several items about my classmates of 1959 and lately on Facebook I have been the poor old bastard looking back from 60+ years! And why not? Who knows how many of us, myself included, will be around to see 70 years on!

There was a time I thought this outrageously scary:

Nice song though… But 40 years on is 20 years ago now! Amazing.

Oh yes — and Latin. I have a soft spot for Latin, which I studied at SBHS and later at Sydney University.

Gaudeamus igitur,
Iuvenes dum sumus;
Post iucundam iuventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus,
Nos habebit humus.

Ubi sunt, qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos,
Transite ad inferos,
Ubi iam fuere,
Ubi iam fuere.

Vita nostra brevis est,
Brevi finietur;
Venit mors velociter,
Rapit nos atrociter;
Nemini parcetur,
Nemini parcetur.

Google and you will find a translation. “Ubi sunt, qui ante nos/ In mundo fuere?” indeed. As I remarked on Facebook: SIXTY years on for yours truly! 🥰 Ubi sunt quī ante nōs fuērunt? And thank you, Edgar Bembrick (passed away 1960?) — I am glad I studied Latin!” And yes, that is a more classical version of the Latin tag.

And on Edgar Bembrick? I referred to this post:

I studied Catullus in 1959 under the tuition of Edgar Bembrick in his last year teaching. I have posted about Latin and Bembrick before:

I had studied Latin at school, mainly under the legendary Edgar Bembrick – his last class in fact. He died in 1960. See also my post 1957 or MCMLVII. So Latin as my fourth subject, just for one year, looked an easy choice. Except it turned out there was so much of it! Not just Cicero, but Livy and Horace – the Epistles, with Mr Duhigg, whose Cambridge accent charmed me.

Out of curiosity I have just done a quick search, finding that Edgar Bembrick was born in 1890, appointed to Canterbury Intermediate High in 1922, retired in July 1960. He was at Sydney Boys High long before I started as a student in 1955 — he’s in a 1943 staff photo. He was ill for some of late 1959 — cancer, I think.

Here he is, second from the left, in 1951 at SBHS:


And here am I when I first encountered him — though a Mr Maddox actually taught first year Latin, while second year was W E T Porter, a SBHS ex-pupil from 1904! Bembrick arrived in my world in third year, 1957 and we had him until his final illness in 1959.

So those 60 years on — here you are. I noted again: Even makes this ex-staff and ex-Class of 1959 pensioner a touch teary.

And way back 60+ years — though this is a publicity shot and we rather hated those hats!

Many years later:

In Surry Hills, around 2007


Responding to comments made by Marcellous, here is another video from that Class of 2019. I had posted it on Facebook. Do note the white ribbons, signifying the White Ribbon Campaign, a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.

And in reply to Tikno, in 2017 this got a lot of publicity:

And something else to show another side of the school, from Mothers Day 2021:

10 thoughts on “Unapologetically wallowing in SBHS nostalgia

      • Yes it is, but I see plenty of less sporty and also “multicultural” SHS/SBHS boys on the way to and from school (mostly out here on the Bankstown line) who I can’t imagine featuring in that sporty stuff.

      • In my old age I have lost my antipathy to sport, have come indeed to value it. To be fair to the class of 2019 see the other 2019 video I have just added to this post.

      • It is Sydney BOYS High School. The girls are next door and the two schools co-operate at many levels. I have added another video.

      • Yes, feminism also important to me. What is the reason to make separation between men and women in the school? Just curious.

      • It is a tradition in Australia. We have both single-sex and co-educational high schools. The girls schools are just as highly regarded as the boys schools. The curricula are much the same. I have taught in boys, girls (Sydney Girls High in fact) and co-ed. I probably really prefer co-ed, but some like the single-sex schools.

    • Age, yes, and environment. Sport and such things as footy tipping have often been the way to open communication here in The Gong. It is amazing how powerful my being the (second) cousin of a Shellharbour Olympic Gold Medalist, Beverly Whitfield, still can be. When I joined Steelers in 2010 the woman enrolling me said “You have a famous name.” Also, it isn’t actually hard to enjoy sport. I grew up among people who did, though I myself was, as I explained to the Sports Teacher years ago at Wollongong High, “universally incompetent.” (He liked that!) Finally, dare I say, I now believe much of my past attitude was simply snobbery?

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