It's been interesting reading all the emailed memories - sometimes a little sad too. I've wondered sometimes if the writers attended the same school I did!

Perhaps as a professor of education I'm conditioned into seeing schools in an unromantic way. I usually think of NSBHS as an exemplary case of class privilege, discrimination, and arbitrary punishment.

My best memories are linked to friendships, sometimes with classmates who reacted to the institution's oppression in much the same way as the palestinian youth are reacting to theirs.

Many of the staff at that time came across as barely rational martinets, embittered by a chronically malignant school system, and sometimes desperate to the point of frenzy. It wasn't until I began to reproduce vaguely similar practices as a young teacher that I realised how insidious it all was.

Looking at the teachers' names discussed in the emails so far, I would be just as dismayed meeting any of them again as the author of 'Death and the Maiden' would be meeting Augusto Pinochet at a banquet.

I liked a lot of the teachers, especially the ones prepared to stretch the silly rules, or ignore the relentless orthodoxy of narrowly defined academic excellence that permeated the place. And I wonder how many of us were stunted for a time, as young adults, by that colossal imbalance in school priorities?

Mind you, I always earned the teachers' disapproval on my own merits. But one of the best memories I have was when some of the pathetic bastards fell at my feet when I was undeservedly dux of latin in the trial leaving certificate. Only days before that, I'd been caned for having a smoke while studying Vergil in the park. It says a lot about that school.

It's unlikely I'll get down for the reunion, but my webpage below is probably a more entertaining substitute (with glamorously air-touched photo). The other web address is to a recent novel of mine. It's set in Imperial Rome, for any of those whose enthusiasm for Rome wasn't cooled by a school that imitated many of its worst features.

David Corson, Professor
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
252 Bloor Street West,
Toronto Ontario,
Canada M5S 1V6

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear David,

It's an interesting view point the NSBH experience. I have quite strong memories but remarkably few although that's probably due to the fact of not exercising the memories much. I certainly didn't have any social opinions about the place and never considered NSBHS in the larger socio-political context much although my parents did who being immigrants were fairly shocked and amazed by Australian educational practices at the time. For me it was a place or grimy corridors and beat up classrooms where nevertheless I enjoyed learning latin and English from some committed teachers whose names but not nicknames such as Luigi I have forgotten. Other teachers went from appalling to merely boring but I felt it was my job to learn as much as could. Certainly the learning didn't get in the way of having a good time and perpetrating my share of mischief on the place. The 'don't spare the rod' disciplinary approach only served to instill a resolve not get caught and a low cunning to avoid punishment. Probably useful life lessons but not high on the ethical or moral scale of values.

Schools are probably screwing up in other ways these days but in the functional sense they are still putting out the same useful if flawed product, just like parents.

By the way whatever happened to Hansen Yee. I lost track of him after I left Uni and went bush as I did with all my other classsmates whose path didn't happent to coincide with mine.

Demetrius Pohl
Hi Everyone,

Has anyone out there found a good way to search for email addresses? I have tried a number of the search engines, including Google, but (at least in my hands) they don't get me anywhere, e.g. they don't even find my own email address! I would like to help in finding some of our missing Class of 61 so would appreciate any suggestions, e.g. email search engines that YOU have found successful.


Ian Kaplin writes:

"Replying to Hansen, Toft not Tate taught chemistry. He also had a younger brother at the school. "Charlie" Brown was a great maths teacher. As well as "going to Parramatta via Manly", another of his favourites was "crushing peanuts with a steamroller". And while on the subject of maths, there was "basher" Barnett and his "plurry villag idiots"! Someone mentioned a Roger Soady. Could they have meant Ross Coady?"

Quention Munro writes:

"Another teacher was Mr Lammerton, affectionally known as "CAKE". Cake was the English teacher that I had the misfortune to have for five years. He was probably a wonderful bloke, but had no sense of humour at all. When I saw the movie "Dead Poet's Society, it was a shock to see how English - particulary Sharkespeare - could have taught. Mind you. Hollywood does have a way of glamorising things. Even English teachers!"

and Quentin also writes: "Anthony (Tony) Tribe has gone on to fame and fortune and runs a large and hugely successful arhitectural firm. He lives at Chinamans Beach. He is very fit. Has all his hair (bastard!) and still looks remarkably like he did."

(Dr) Ron Witton
Alan Wyburn writes:

"I think that there was an A P Wynter at the school. I recall that during the Leaving Certificate exams I was student no 169 ( the lucky thirteen squared), 'AP' was just behind me as no. 170 and Hansen Yee was no. 171. The only thing I remember about AP was his endearing habit of asking for another workbook in every exam after 40 minutes, while I was still checking to see if I had spelt my name correctly on the front page. Nancy Robson did marry John Kerr, after a rather quicky processed divorce as I recall. She died (1 to 2 years ago?) and in the obituary it said that only close acquaintances were allowed to call her 'Nancy'. We must have been honoured"

(Dr) Ron Witton

If you put your name (leo radom) and the word "e-mail"(without quotes) into Google Search it will pop your web page, complete with a photo of your balding pate as well as your e-mail address, up at the head of the list: The same method should work for others who are academics or working for institutions that have web pages. It won't work as well with those who have priate e-mail addresses.

A good starting point for finding people is


Richard Sweet
Education and Training Division
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
2, rue André Pascal
75775 Paris Cedex 16
Tel: 33-1-45 24 16 61
Fax: 33-1-45 24 90 98
Dear ALL,

If you are as obsessive-compulsive as I am you may have also printed out all the "Reunion" emails from your starting point (mine was 5 February ! ) until the present. I've chosen this one because it appeared to have all the email addresses clearly and completely listed out ! (maybe I'm not correct on this )

Any way it is a chance to say hello, and make some suggestions. As email seems to be an excellent communication tool, I hope that the organising committee distributes a preference list of some kind re possible venues and formats before final planning so that all have a chance to have their say, then we can happily accept the umpire (=committee)'s decision !!

Whatever place/format is chosen I agree with the suggestion that acoustics be carefully considered and I agree a carpetted floor can make a big difference toi a formal function.

I would like to see the possibility of a mix of formal and informal opportunities to meet over the day or w/e chosen. I think a number would like an opportunity to have a spouse or partner present at perhaps an informal section of the Reunion time, particularly those of us who will want to travel to Sydney for the weekend as a couple.

I think it is important to not only reminisce over old school days, but also to have opportunities to converse about what has gone on in our lives subsequently, and perhaps to find areas of contact and commonality that we never knew existed.

To that end I think it would be most helpful for those who wished , to contribute a brief summary to the organising committee by email of those things we have achieved or done during the last 40 years that are of interest and that might provoke email chats, conversations during the reunion time, other meetings or friendships around certain areas etc etc. I would find it very interesting and pleasurable to read all of that before the Reunion so that the Reunion itself does not have to be taken up with a whole lot of unnecessary questions.

Let me practise what I'm preaching !! :-

Peter Keith -UNSW medical graduate- GP in Wagga since 1981- previously CMS medical worker in Tanzania 1973-1979- married to community nurse for 30 years, with 3 sons (none medical!)- interests in the changing face of general practice, drug and alcohol services (Methadone prescriber) , diabetes and asthma - and non-medically - Rotary, classical music (community radio presenter), Anglican church and welfare work, and community affairs and ecumenical cooperation.

I think many little pen-pictures like this would be very worthwhile collating. Looking forward to a great time at the Reunion !

Peter Keith
I can see my introduction of the 'Moffat Factor' has stirred the possum. We still have to find the man!

If we do he may well be the best litmus test for the much more interesting question about us all namely whether a bunch of now aging men, who had the great good fortune to live and work through four extraordinary and varied decades, who really had the pick of jobs and roles in life, can say after 40 years that they made a difference or contributed to a better world. Too heavy????????????

Bruce Donald

Dear All

I was fascinated by David Corson's email. It is nice to think that perhaps his unpleasant experiences at NSBHS lead him into a successful career in education with an outcome in which he attempts to re write some of the injustices he experienced. I would regard this as a very positive outcome.

Little doubt we were all pretty privileged but personally I did not see a lot of discrimination and while the punishment was indeed arbitrary, it was within the bounds of normal for the frightful fifties. Sadly, contemporary society continues to arbitrarily punish even more so than then. Maybe those our earlier experiences have lead us to better cope with the arbitrary and unexpected.

I agree that we should perhaps avoid inviting any of the "martinets" but there were certainly enough very decent and very human teachers there for us to consider including Nancy Deans and others, indeed if they are able to be tracked down.

I was also intrigued by David's memory of being caned for having a smoke while reading the classics in the park. I hope David is now a non smoker; he will live a lot longer. It is sad to note that in a similar vein that in the contemporary environment, absolutely nothing is done about children having a bong or joint in the dunny during school hours. Tolerance is one thing, educational impairment another.

(these idle thoughts arise in the mind of a shrink struggling to find structure and meaning in later life).

Professor of Psychiatry
University of Sydney

Stephen Bolliger writes:

"I suppose I had better join in this memory madness as I happened to have had a close encounter with one of our old teachers. Who remembers John Bates, physics teacher extraordinaire? A pommie who held up his duds with a tie, held down his tie with a safety pin and tucked his shirt into his underpants. He was always covered in chalk dust and he was one of the few teachers with who we felt we could get away with a little nonsense (I was a very timid student!).

As a teacher at Gundagai High in the seventies I worked with Batsie, who came to the school as Deputy Principal. For those of you who can remember his modus operandi in Physics lessons you will have some idea of his performance as a Deputy. They were an interesting few years, especially as the Principal was partially incapacitated by a stroke and had retreated behind his office door, issuing the odd paranoid directive which everyone ignored. Batsie went on to be Deputy at Cheltenham Girls for a brief spell, and then retirement.

The other wonderful memory of teachers is of our Latin teacher, I think his name was Pearce, who used to send us from class to go across the road to that strange little store in Falcon Street to buy him cigarettes. He also used to indulge in mass or random canings. In today's politically correct climate it seems like something from the Arabian Nights!"

Dave (not James) Levine writes:

A recent communication contained the expression "re write...injustices". The implications, I am sure you will agree, are frightening!"

Harley Wright writes:

"Isn't it funny how at school everyone possible was a 'JohnIE', RonNIE etc. Then, post school, most revert to the more decourous 'John', 'Ron', etc."

By the way, lots more of us have been found. PLEASE review the latest list and see if you can find any of the last intractables (names in bold) whose e-mails we have not yet got...

In order to carry forward the amazing momentum, we will soon be moving on to convening the organising committee... anyone still want to volunteer who hasn't yet?
In any case, let's find the last of them, wherever they are hiding...


Found: Alan Buckley

Richard Sekel writes:

"Please change my address to" . Richard then goes on as follows:

"As a recipient of this incredible flow of shadow memories, I must say that I'm jealous of all of you who have retained such a rich texture of memories. Where was I when all these dramatic people and events exploded around me?

I was only caned once, and that was for smiling when I thought my (then) favourite latin teacher was making a joke. Otherwise I seem to have floated through school relatively untouched (emotionally) by teachers, subjects, and even students other than my few immediate friends. I now enjoy learning, but I'm confident that this only blossomed many years after I left school. I'm sure that NSBH was the best that the era had to offer...I was certainly proud to be there at the time. I also learnt a lot of (mostly forgotten) information; however learning how to learn (and how to enjoy learning) was the privelege of the next generation.Please keep the stories rolling in. Despite my own lack of memories and experiences, the melancholia is good for the soul"

Chris Tennant writes further on the adventures of Jack Moffett: "Jacks efforts to better understand Ms Spies "biology" by placing mirrors on the floor of the class room, failed dismally since Jack by this stage had not yet fully grasped the necessary physics involving parallaxes and illumination"


"The 1961 Fifth Year. Revue was the outcome of months of planning and much hard work by the cast and the stage-crew. The idea of the producers was to keep the sketches short and the show moving as fast as possible. With the co-operation of script-writers and the coordination of the compere, this aim was achieved and the show was thus livelier and more entertaining.

Compere of the Revue was David Levine, whose highly successful combination of humour and business kept the show under way and smoothed over some anxious moments backstage. His opening line will long be remembered by boys at the School.

The co-producers for 1961 were Martin Coles and Robert Connell. Martin Coles also looked after the highly technical affairs of lighting and sound effects, with Jim Walker, and the quality of his work will be appreciated by all who saw the show.

Stage-manager. was Ross Nicole, who had the frustrating task of arranging scenery, providing props and moving curtains, all at high speed. Dodging around actors with a small crew of stage-hands, he was probably the most cursed of people but did a remarkable job in these conditions.

The Revue Band was led by John Archer on trumpet and piano and included Paddy Dawson on clarinet, Martin Coles on tea-chest bass, and John Butterworth on drums. The band started practising months before anyone else, and was a great. comfort to the producers. We would like to thank Mrs. Archer for all she put up with during these rehearsals.

Finance was ably handled by lan Pettigrew and Richard Gordon (who still has all the money) and the refreshments were arranged by Tom Gibian and Peter Copleston.

Some of the highlights of the Revue were Richard Horsfield's Alphonse and his tame elephant Bartholomew; the gorgeous chorus of Can-Can girls, the travelogue "Return to North Sydney" with Steve Caines and Chris Tennant; and the one witty sketch "Peter Gunn", the eerie crime drama with motor-bike, lamp-post, and Richard Sekel.

We are above-all grateful to the staff of the school for their unstinted and valued assistance."

Special Prize: What was David Levine's "opening line that will long be remembered by boys at the School."???

Keep them e-mail's of the lost bretheren flowing in....

I shall be away from Sunday Feb 25 to Monday March 5, but will consolidate all e-mails sent in when I return...

I expect at least one e-mail address of a lost bretheren from each and everyone of you....