Today: the 50th NSW Higher School Certificate!

And I taught the first one! See If the jacarandas are out, the HSC must be coming… and HSC 50 years on.

Sheep Husbandry was not on offer at Cronulla High School where I as a newly minted English teacher fronted what would be the first 3rd Level (i.e. bottom) English Year 11 class in 1966. So strictly speaking this year it is 49 years since that first HSC, which was sat in 1967.

I did return to Cronulla back in 2011. See these posts: How young we were! (and do read the comment thread!) and Here I am at the Cronulla High 50th!

299179_193539647386465_143176525756111_517938_525285367_n

Revisiting Cronulla High in 2011

See also 2017 HSC written exam timetable and HSC begins for 70,000 NSW students. There were 18,000 in 1967.

Advertisements

On mental illness in Wollongong

I was shocked by this on last night’s local WIN News.

Hundreds took part in Wollongong’s Walk for Pride this morning breaking down the stigma and starting conversations about mental health.

Currently, one in two people in the Illawarra is struggling with a mental health condition.

That Walk of Pride looks as if it was a good event. I didn’t see it as I was at home doing overdue laundry.

It took years for Woonona’s Madelaine Dunning-Baker to speak out about her mental health issues, but now she’s leading the charge.

The 21-year-old was the ambassador for Wollongong’s fifth Walk of Pride on Thursday – an annual event which promotes acceptance and understanding.

She led hundreds of Illawarra residents with a mental illness, their carers and supporters, and local service providers in the walk which culminated in an expo in Wollongong mall.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Share the Journey’; something Ms Dunning-Baker said has helped her to finally fight her demons….

South Coast Private Hospital CEO Kim Capp said such events not only helped stop the stigma of mental illness – which will affect one in four people at some point in their lives – they helped raise awareness about the supports available.

‘’For me this is a very important event for the community, for people who live with a mental health condition, their families and service providers,’’ she said.

‘’We know how very difficult it is for people to navigate the mental health system – so the expo provides them with a one-stop-shop to find out about all the services available in the community.

‘’Of course as well as educating our community about what’s out there, it’s also a celebration of well-being.’’

As part of the awareness month, Wollongong City Gallery is hosting an exhibition of artworks by patients from the Wollongong mental health hospital.

wollongongclinic

South Coast Private Hospital, Wollongong

It is a fact that when you walk or bus from Wollongong Station one of the biggest complexes between the station and Wollongong Central is that private hospital and clinic. Makes me wonder about Wollongong! But the “one in two” quoted in the WIN story does seem a bit much! Compare Health Stats NSW.

Reserved.ReportViewerWebControl

On munching onions and climate science

Our former Prime Minister is or has been over in London addressing an unscientific think tank called the Global Warming Policy Foundation . You may read everything he had to say here. This bit hasn’t been highlighted in the media:

Just a few years ago, history was supposed to have ended in the triumph of the Western liberal order. Yet far from becoming universal, Western values are less and less accepted even in the West itself. We still more or less accept that every human being is born with innate dignity; with rights, certainly, but we’re less sure about the corresponding duties.

We still accept the golden rule of human conduct: to treat others as we would have them treat us – or to use the Gospel formula to “love your neighbour as you love yourself” – but we’re running on empty.

In Britain and Australia, scarcely 50 per cent describe themselves as Christian, down from 90 per cent a generation back. For decades, we’ve been losing our religious faith but we’re fast losing our religious knowledge too. We’re less a post-Christian society than a non-Christian, or even an anti- Christian one. It hasn’t left us less susceptible to dogma, though, because we still need things to believe in and causes to fight for; it’s just that believers can now be found for almost anything and everything.

Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia – that have forgotten the scriptures about man created “in the image and likeness of God” and charged with “subduing the earth and all its creatures” – could have made such a religion out of it.

Um, there is of course Pope Francis, whose views rather contrast with the onion-muncher:

Pope Francis’s encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, says that climate change is real and mainly “a result of human activity.”

The problem is urgent. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.”  We must all change our day-to-day actions to live more sustainably.  “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility.”  On a larger scale, our leaders must be held to account. “Those who will have to suffer the consequences . . . will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility.”

Solving climate change means protecting the planet and vulnerable people, and we must hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”  Faith can guide us. “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains – everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”  

The problems are big and urgent. But hope remains if we act in honesty and love.  “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home . . . Truly, much can be done!”

I fear that the good word on Mr Abbott lately is pretty much as Eleanor Robertson put it last year:

Not a jot of cosmic humility, religious or otherwise, is detectable in anything I have read or heard Abbott write or say. He doesn’t speak in these terms, even obliquely; I wonder if he fears death. It’s this, I think, that people find weirdest about him: how can you trust the judgement of a man so utterly immune to the animating psychic horrors of the human condition? As the woman from the focus group pointed out, everything he says is tainted, even his experience of something as quotidian as the weather. Abbott contains an absence, a conspicuous and upsetting lack, and as long as he hangs around Australian politics, he’s going to make us all stare straight into the void.

So far as his pronouncements on climate change in London go — and they are crashingly unoriginal — see in rebuttal the Eureka Prize winning site Skeptical Science and on the Sydney Morning Herald site Five charts that show Tony Abbott is the one who has lost sight of the science. This is one of them:

image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620x0

Food, glorious food…

Saturday with Chris T: returned to Taste of Xi’an: see Taste of Xi’an Wollongong and A week of multicultural yums. New item that pleased Chris was a spicy beef dish — very hot!

Then we checked out Wollongong’s latest offering, opened just last Thursday: Bon Appetit: David Jones turns to food halls to spice up sales. Well, it was certainly working last Saturday! The place was packed.

Upmarket department store chain David Jones has thrown open the doors to its next generation site at GPT Group’s Wollongong Central, featuring a new David Jones Food concept, which will be rolled out across the country.

Customers started queuing at 2am to be first in the store, which has a mix of local and international brands across fashion, beauty, accessories, home and kids. It includes 25 new brands, many of which are exclusive to David Jones in the Illawarra.

david-jones-food-hall-cafeAAsVr2X