Noel Clarke writes:
My recollections of North Sydney contain very little of riots etc nor for that matter of terrible
experiences of abominable education practices. Me thinks they've been somewhat exaggerated
I came from a low income family and North Sydney Boys gave me a good educational
background. I recall being in a classroom when some decided to flick black ink on the back of
Nancy Deane's white skirt which earned us all
the dry cleaning bill. I remember going to see Little Henry to get an application for the cadet unit,
being asked how tall I was and given a look of unbelief when I stretched up tall and said 4'10'',
the minimum height to get in. I enjoyed my time in the unit, although I probably started as the
smallest in it and recall a number of you lot betting that I'd pass out at the first passing out parade
I attended. You lost when I didn't.
I recall taking some lines to the staff commonroom as a first year for Lamington and when Little
Henry answered my tentative knock I couldn't remember my teacher's name and Henry asked
for his nickname, mortified I
whispered,"Cake, sir!" Years later I remember being horrified having taken something to the
Principal's office a signature and having the same Little Henry scrawl T R Mason on my form
without even pretending to take it for the appropriate person to sign. I recall enjoyment in the
band and orchestra, my major embarrassment being one speech day where the orchestra was
seated below the stage and in the middle of the Minister for Education's speech I bumped my
french horn causing the mouthpiece to fall on the bell of the instrument with a loud clatter. The
Speaker stopped his speech to say "Have you finished?" I recall being concerned about a
group who kept putting
ether into their trombones or inhaling it from plastic bags at sport.
On one cadet camp the band
had to take part in a field exercise although we didn't have .303's with blanks to fire, so we
equipped ourselves with cow dung and
lobbed that at the incoming enemy.
Since school I've been a primary school teacher for 10 years, then moved into Teachers' College
lecturing, then I went to Indonesia with the Church Missionary Society lecturing educational
psychology and a heap of other
things at a Christian University. I returned to Australia at the end of the 80's attended Moore
College and became an Anglican minister and am now at St John's North Ryde as well as being
part time chaplain at Macquarie
University. I've been happily married for almost 33 years, have three terrific children aged 19, 22
and 30 years. I've found in my relationship with Jesus (which took a major step forward during
my high school years) an incredibly wonderful foundation to face the difficulties of life, and I'd
challenge any of you atheists and cynics to show me a better way to handle the death of a
daughter, severe and life threatening illness, or to help someone else who is dying of cancer or
whose career or marriage suddenly
disappears. I suppose that is counted as a bit naughty and long winded, but then I'm a parson so
what do you expect".
Blake Britton's missus writes:
"Ian Kaplin seems to have a problem with his computer/program/server or something. As the
opener of emails in our house, I have had no difficulty receiving the many messages you lot have
sent. The hieroglyphics that
appeared in Ian's email surely point to a problem at his end. We have received text in both
Word and Microsoft without difficulty - what's he doing???
I have been enjoying your reminiscences as a NSGHS old girl who went to primary school with
a few of you guys.
Keep up the good work!"
How many other NSGHS spouses (spice?) are out there? I for one married one (though we
are now divorced...)
From by H.M. Storey’s History of North Sydney High School (1912-1962):
And as the Jubilee celebrations begin the last year in this record of half a century, 1961, will
stand comparison with any of its predecessors. It has to be remembered that North Sydney is
the only school which has ever scored a century of Leaving Certificate Honours. In 1961 it did
this for the fourth year running, and broke all records with the amazing total of one hundred and
twenty-one Honours. The school with the next best result had some seventy Honours and the
schools in the third and fourth places were in the sixties, so that it is very nearly true to say that
N.S.H.S. obtained twice as man), Honours as any other school. Another record was the
fourteen Honours in Chemistry, traditionally a great North Sydney subject. The ear 1961 also
saw the greatest number of Commonwealth Scholarships ever obtained by one school,
eighty-six. The previous record was North Sydney's own seventy-seven in 1958. These are
indeed wonderful achievements, and on its record over the last fifteen years North Sydney is
certainly the premier academic school in New South Wales and it may well be that if
comparative facts were available it would prove to be the best in Australia.
At the 1961 Leaving the boy with the best pass in the State was a Falconian, Hanson Yee, who
also took first place in Mathematics 1, and added one more James Aitken Scholarship for
General Proficiency to the school's list. (p.39)
The school does have an official war-cry, which has been shouted and chanted on many a field
of sport. One can say that it sounds a great deal better than it reads. The following version was
printed in The Falcon in December, 1921.
"Oompah, oompah, yaki yaki oompah,
Ego yah, anthro popigi, uonana annagi,
Wogga-wogga, wogga-wogga, yaki yaki yah.
North Sydney, wogga-wogga, whiskers
on his gobba-gobba,
Nagasaki, Yokohama, yah, yah, yah.
Who are, who are, who are we?
We are, we are, North Sydney
Where do we come from? Yah! yah! yahl
North Sydney, North Sydney, hah! hah! . halil
Ginger-beer, ginger-beer, pop, pop, pop, North Sydney, North Sydney, always on top.
Mmmmmmmmmmm - boooooo
Since this was printed not very long after the communal authors, whoever they were, had
perfected their work it may be taken as the Authorised Version. Its spelling is perhaps
unnecessarily phonetic in places. Presumably in the third line the village bards were thinking of
the Anthropophagi, with tales of whom Othello was wont to beguile Desdemona ("And of the
Cannibals that each other eat, /The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads/Do grow beneath
their shoulders"), in graceful allusion to classical and literary studies, while "Nagasaki,
Yokohama" gave expression to the commercial side in days when its distinguishing characteristic
was the teaching of the Japanese language. And it must surely have been the famous Australian
town of Wagga Wagga that inspired the fourth line, though the connection with the school that
brought it in has long been forgotten. The part of this cry most likely to arouse memories in Old
Boys is the booming "Who are, who are, who are we" that came out so powerfully after the
preliminary crisp and staccato introduction. (p.53)