Rampant Sydney Boys High Nostalgia

It’s all because they just digitised the archive of “The Record going back to the first one in 1909.

I attended as a kid from 1955 to 1959, returning as a teacher in several capacities as a casual/part time/semi-permanent late 1985-1987, late 1989, 1991-2005 with other stints as ESL teacher at SCEGS Redlands helping a friend with Korean students, various at Sydney Girls High, and half of 1993 on a research project on Reading for the Disadvantaged Schools Program in the Botany area. Not exactly a normal career but not unsatisfying. But Sydney High very much was at the core for 20 years until I retired in 2005. I maintain an interest in my old age.

I begin with a presentation showing how the school defines itself in 2022. There have been many developments since 2005 when I ended my main stint there, but I witnessed those changes beginning. See my October 2020 post Yesterday was World Teachers Day

On Facebook I said:

International Teachers Day conversation 1 at Diggers — with Leo Tobin, who was around the teaching traps down here in the Illawarra even before I was. Many a story we swapped about Wollongong High and Brian Downes, the legendary “Basher” Downes! 50 years of memories.

Conversation 2 — by phone — with Kim Jaggar, Principal of Sydney Boys High on his 21 years in the job there. On ticklish issues like what to do about students running away to join ISIS! (Kim was absolutely brilliant and those kids are now OK and no longer kids!)

So much that man has accomplished in the old place.

On that “ticklish problem” (in 2015) see Bringing it home.

Sydney Boys High 2022

There are plenty of previous blog posts here on various aspects of my story and the school.

Looking back

What fun I have been having with “The Record” archive! Naturally I sought first one of the few pictures of me in it.

See the kid whose face almost merges with the conductor’s?

That’s me at 13! The kid on my right in the front row is Peter Hely (RIP) who later became a rather famous lawyer in Sydney. A Federal Court judge in fact!

This is one of the songs we sang, though not as well I suspect as this Taiwanese group.

And then there was my 1959 Prize for Service to the School — as a librarian….

Mind you there is plenty of more generally interesting social history in that archive. Take 1943, my birth year:

That list goes on for nine pages! All from just one Sydney school!


A morning assembly in 1990 — though that year I was teaching adult Asians (plus one French tennis coach from Club Med) at Wessex College of English, especially Chinese, Koreans, Indonesians and Japanese, thus beginning my ESL trajectory. We visited SBHS though.

I know a genuine human voice when I hear one — 2: Ukrainians

What is Ukraine?

A vlog by a Ukrainian American and frankly soft propaganda, but interesting nonetheless.


Anna is an academic in Ukraine and of course also argues for her country and its cause, but certainly qualifies as an authentic human voice. Lately some of her experiences have been difficult.

See her interviewed by Vlad Vexler, the marvellous Russian-born Oxford-educated political philosopher in London.

One more from two weeks ago:

BTW in case you still think Anna is unfair to label Putin’s Russia as a terrorist state, consider the latest news!


Even in his normally rather peaceful countryside village, Pavlo and his family are feeling the effects of that policy.

Pavlo has appeared on my blog before:


I know a genuine human voice when I hear one — 1: Russians

Search my blog for more!


Here he talks with a fellow-exile.


Now in exile in Georgia, an experience he talks about in his latest vlog post.


Yes, he is still around and now after a time in various places including The Netherlands he appears to be back in Russia. What he does is dangerous. Hence one of my most visited posts recently: Has anything happened to Daniil?

Daniil’s vlogging assistant being questioned by police in Moscow earlier this year.

More to come — including from Ukraine.

My phone camera was busy yesterday — and FotoSketcher as well

I have a backlog of amazing Russian and Ukrainian vlog posts over the past several days, and no doubt more before I share any here. But I will. Today, however, my yesterday in pics. And I was just around home as befits an old pensioner like me.


Later a FotoSketch colour pencil go at that:

I was out there awaiting my Woolies order, having received an SMS telling me I was next in line. And sure enough:


Last of the Woolies burger patties from last week. Cheese melt, solanato tomatoes, egg, Beerenberg tomato chutney. Solanato tomatoes are great cooked — full of that flavour we all recall!

FotoSketcher play after lunch

That laptop cam selfie from the Club on Monday. Decided to try it as a watercolour.


Could not pass this up! From my window looking towards Mount Kembla. I have to anglle the phone awkwardly when I seek a shot so far south-west, so it is hard to get the escarpment level!

Redfern on our minds

Thirty years ago one of the great speeches in Australian political history happened in Redfern.

As that thirtieth anniversary comes around , all the more reason to embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart, constitutional recognition, and the Voice to Parliament.

The gist is all in this great speech of 30 yeara ago!

Posted on  by Neil

The next several posts will be photoposts about the weekend 6-7 December 2014. And a good one it was. Sunday I took the 7.45am express to Sydney, getting off at Redfern.


I hadn’t been to Redfern in quite a while. The immediate purpose of the trip was lunch with M at The Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills, but I decided, it being Sunday, to go early enough to attend South Sydney Uniting Church. I hadn’t been there for quite a while; I suspect this was the last time: South Sydney Uniting Church last Sunday. It proved a bit of a bonus because along with some old friends there were quite a few Indigenous Australian young people from Arnhem Land and Darwin down for some conference or other.

But on the way I paid another pilgrimage.


Redfern Park