Blogging the 2010s — 32 — March 2019 — plus WHS ’80

But first, as my Facebook friends know the Wollongong High Class of 1975-1980 are planning their reunion later this year. I taught many of them, and have been invited. On a private Facebook group there have been many pictures posted, and while I would not post anything without permission I think this one is pretty much in the public space.

It shows the school specials picking up at WHS after school, sometime in that 1970-1980 decade, my guess being 1976. So long ago! I feel positively ancient now…


Now for last year:

Christchurch: Wollongong

I wasn’t in town yesterday, but quite a crowd was — and I am proud of my city! Here is Wollongong yesterday:


And proud of my Friday lunch companion Chris T, who posted this on Facebook:

O.K. I’m not Robinson Crusoe here. I have spent the weekend watching the horror that is the A.B.C news and trying to come to terms with this atrocity. I have, like all of us been trying to come up with the answer to the obvious question, what can I do about it. The answer is always the same. Little or nothing. Not acceptable to me. I must do something. So I make this promise. I have Fridays off and usually do very little with them. From today I will spend my Fridays outside my local Mosque during Friday prayers. I’m not a hero and I assume that this action is entirely symbolic but my message is simple. If you want to go in there and kill Muslims you will have to kill at least one White Christian first. I invite you all to join me. I doubt that anybody will turn up with a gun but if they should perhaps they will think twice before killing people who look like them.

Stormy weather

Last night was a corker! Such thunder and lightning, and so close overhead in West Wollongong.  Some pics by way of illustration: the first I took from my place five years ago, but it could have been yesterday. The second is from Illawarra Storm Chasers, and is in fact February — but it is so good!



So the important things are in train…

Here is an old bastard who seems to have appropriated my identity. He is sitting as I write in City Diggers, Wollongong. His fingers are on my laptop keys! How does he do it? Note 1) the Irishness in the background and 2) that card, to be accurately completed over the next few months.


And in this celebration of an old friend from the 70s onwards, I note an episode that is almost certainly true, though I don’t recall it from my Wollongong High days. The writer was there at the time though.

. I remember one parent-teacher night when she came to speak to a few of my teachers at Wollongong High School, whose classes I was having trouble with. My maths teacher at the time was pretty useless and Mum explained to him how bad his teaching method was and what he could do to improve it. At the end of the night, this teacher bumped into one of Mum’s friends, Neil Whitfield, who was also teaching at Wollongong High. Looking exasperated he told Neil he had just met “the most awful woman”. “Oh”, Neil replied, “you must mean Nina Southall. She’s a good friend of mine.” I’m not sure what my maths teacher learned from this experience. He certainly didn’t take up mum’s offer to attend her lectures on the philosophy of education.

NZ calls, plus change in The Gong

Just a couple of more personal items today.

Yesterday while my phone was recharging I got a call from a very long unknown number. The 64 prefix should have alerted me! A couple of hours later, the phone now being back on, a call from the mystery caller. No mystery: the source was New Zealand, and the caller — not Jacinta Ardern (I wish!) but Sirdan, now pretty much established back in NZ. Photos will follow, he has promised.

Just to remind you: NZ reclaims Sirdan. And a bonus:

Surry Hills yesterday. And let me say the Wollongong train both to and from Sydney was absolutely on timetable and not too crowded! So take that, Sydney Trains: a compliment.


Shakespeare Hotel front bar

…Yesterday after many a year I was there with Sirdan, who now lives in Queensland. He was passing through Sydney en route to a cruise commencing in Japan. B and later P joined us.

Sirdan and Mr R in the Shakespeare 2009: see I remember you well at The Shakespeare Hotel…

Here in The Gong change is afoot. Rumours have been circulating for some time.

The 67-year history of the Illawarra Leagues Club is set to come to an end – as a standalone entity at least – as it stands to amalgamate with Collegians.

Illawarra Leagues has advised members it intends to pursue the amalgamation, under which it will be dissolved, as has Collegians, which will continue.

Members of both clubs will soon be asked to approve the amalgamation.

Since February Illawarra Leagues has sought and received interest from clubs including Wests Illawarra, Steelers, the Fraternity Club, Wollongong Golf Club and Miranda RSL.

Amalgamation documents say Illawarra Leagues will be liquidated as its facilities become premises of Collegians, while the board of Collegians would become the board of the amalgamated club.

Collies would maintain the “traditions, amenities, culture, facilities and memorabilia” of Illawarra Leagues, the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two clubs states.

The new club would also improve and upgrade the poker machines, clubhouse and surrounds, social activities, and food and drink available at the Leagues club. It would also continue its $3000 annual payments to St Vincent de Paul and Illawarra Leagues Social Golf Club….

On August 10 upstairs at the Leagues Club a glass wall was blown in by the wild winds we had that day.


A sign from the Club gods?

Sirdan gets a new Prime Minister…

This looks ok, doesn’t it?


Apparently New Zealand’s most beautiful city.

You may recall Sirdan has been living in Gympie, Queensland since January 2012. Now he tells me he (and Missie) are off to NZ, following a couple of weeks he has just spent there. He has bought a house and all!

When you think about it, who can blame him?

Here is Sirdan in animated conversation with M, back in April 2010 at the wonderful (but no longer there) Chinese Whisper in Surry Hills. Well, M is animated…


See also Sirdan snippets.