Auburn Street Sutherland 2015

Posted on Facebook by my niece Christine: “Uncle Neil I thought you would like this photo I took in 2015 and sent to Dad which he loved. I imagine this brings back memories.

Does it ever!

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See also this blog and an earlier one.

Auburn Street Sutherland again–worth double posting

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61 Auburn Street, Sutherland – 28 November 2011

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61 Auburn Street, Sutherland 1946 or early 1947

Left to right: Me, my sister Jeanette (1940-1952),  my cousin Helen, my mother.

À la recherche du temps perdu — 3 on the Photo Blog.

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Last night I dreamed of a Latin poem

Really! It was this one:

Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque,
et quantum est hominum venustiorum:
passer mortuus est meae puellae
passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quem plus illa oculis suis amabat.
nam mellitus erat suamque norat
ipsam tam bene quam puella matrem,
nec sese a gremio illius movebat,
sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc
ad solam dominam usque pipiabat.
qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
illuc, unde negant redire quemquam.
at vobis male sit, malae tenebrae
Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis:
tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis.
o factum male! o miselle passer!
tua nunc opera meae puellae
flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.

You will find a full translation at the link above, but here is the opening:

Mourn, ye Graces and Loves, and all you whom the Graces love. My lady’s sparrow is dead, the sparrow my lady’s pet, whom she loved more than her very eyes; for honey-sweet he was, and knew his mistress as well as a girl knows her own mother. Nor would he stir from her lap, but hopping now here, now there, would still chirp to his mistress alone. Now he goes along the dark road, thither whence they say no one returns. …

Shakespeare made use of some of that, you may recall. 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:

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Heaven knows why I should have had such things in my dreams last night!

That number 75 again!

Hmmm. Best just repost Ninety years on – family thoughts.

The following telegram arrived from my father on 20th July 1943, my mother’s 32nd birthday. She was still in hospital in Hurstville recovering from my birth. The nurses called me “The Air Raid Siren”. I wonder why. They also called me “Dopey” after one of the Seven Dwarves. I still have the ears.

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I had a real name of course: Neil James. Later in Sutherland and among my Christison relatives I would routinely get the double version to distinguish me from my uncle, Neil Christison. You see my mother had promised her mother, Ada Christison (nee Hunter) that if I were to be born close to 6th July, Uncle Neil’s birthday, she would name me after him. He was then in the RAAF and it was a tense time. Neil was only 19 that birthday in 1943. And so I got his name.

Or the version everyone used.

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Roy and Ada Christison in Shellharbour 1929 or early 30s. He seems to be smoking—something I never saw him do!

My uncle’s actual given name was Nelson. You will see where that came from on this post – an inheritance from Grandma Ada’s side of the family. Her mother (1845-1925) was born Isabella Ann NELSON in Westmorland, England. My mother’s middle name was Isabella – a fact she often hid! The story goes Isabella Hunter died thinking she was back in the Lakes District. Homesick. “Nelson” however preferred Neil.

You will recall that Uncle Neil didn’t quite make it to 90, but had he done so I would have marked the occasion – as I would since I carry his name. See also Christison on my previous blog, and my 22 May 2014 post Another gathering of the clan – and Sutherland draws me back… 2.

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In Canberra 1955. I am looking across the path at my Uncle Neil and Aunt Fay. The other woman is a friend of theirs whose name may have been Judy, if memory serves.

A Shire nostalgia page

I recently joined Sutherland Shire Heritage, History & Memories on Facebook, posting a couple including this: Auburn Street Sutherland c.1941. That’s my brother Ian (1935-2017) on his first day at school.

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Member Helen Grant posted a rather sad shot of Como Hotel:

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I remember it as a magnificent — even unlikely — building. Helen Grant writes: “Como Hotel was destroyed on 3 Nov 1996, after an electrical fault in the restaurant kitchen started a massive blaze. My photo.” The hotel’s website says:

History records that the Como Hotel began its life as a German club in 1878 but wasn’t officially licensed until 1890—hence the date on the top parapet.

It was originally built for the Germans working on the construction of the railway. This hotel has had a mixture of owners & Publicans from the Catholic Church in the late 1880’s to that legend of Australian rugby league Arthur Beetson.

One of our greatest poets, Henry Lawson, lived at Como West in the years before his death in 1922 and it is believed he was a frequent visitor to the hotel, often reciting poetry in the bar. Unfortunately the hotel that saw two world wars come and go could not withstand the fire on Sunday 3 November 1996.

Affectionately known as the Como Hilton, the Hotel was re-built 5 years later keeping the original brickwork and retained the burnt door which was salvaged from the fire in the hotel’s restaurant.

In its heyday:

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Why does the number 75 freak me out right now?

All will be revealed in due course.

Or maybe not!

Meanwhile I recall that 1958 was the 75th anniversary of Sydney Boys High School, and even more I recall that I was there for it — indeed was on the editorial committee of The Record, the school magazine, for its annoversary issue. Can that really be 60 years ago?

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Here are some of my contemporaries in our final year, 1959. And no, I wasn’t a prefect.

But I was a librarian…

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Back Row: R J Wills, D K Sweeting, A Zaneff, E H Oliver, R G Byres, R J Evers, R S Dye
Middle row: T F Naughton, R J Smith, P W Shenstone, R D V King, J A Levi, I A Scott, G F Cohen, I J Stewart
Front row: J W Fuller, R W Strong, S R McGill (vice captain), E R Jeffrey Esq (deputy headmaster) W L Young (captain), K J Andrews Esq (headmaster), E R Sowey, I D Toll, R Scouller