Michael Stanford

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I too found myself overawed by the achievements of some of our brethren and thought my story would be a bit mundane by comparison. However, I'll tell it and let others decide.

My recollections of NSBHS are fairly hazy, although somewhat augmented by the detail in other bio's.

About all I remember of first year Latin is "paro, paras, parat" and "equus ager". As I wanted to be an engineer rather than a doctor or lawyer I wisely replaced Latin with Geography, Business Principles and Book-keeping on entry to second year. At least I still remember a bit about geography. As I was inclined to think in those days that a mark of 51% not only meant that I had passed an exam but that I actually knew the subject, I soon graduated to the E level classes where I pretty much stayed til the end of my tenure. This was not all bad as I still had some fun and we did have some good teachers, notably Mr Rolfe for Maths in about 2nd and/or 3rd year and a relatively young history teacher (I think for third year) whose name I can't recognise on the list but who actually helped us (well me anyway) learn something by assigning us "two questions - half a page on each" for homework each time. Can anyone fill in the name?

By the time I reached 5th year I had cemented my place in the lower echelons of the academic strata, which turned out to be quite a bonus as I often found myself in a group which included the honours students. I therefore encountered teachers of the calibre of Mrs Robson and Mr Moulton and as the honours students were fairly serious about learning I soon learnt to do much the same and managed to pass all subjects for the Leaving Certificate, which I think was the first time in the five years that I had actually achieved such a result. I'm sure I only passed Chemistry due to being paired with Tom Gibian for the practical sessions.

Others who tried to teach me something and of whom I have some memory are Buck, Cranston, Devir, Elston, Gent, Gluyas, Hensley, Lamerton, McAndrew and Rintoul. Others who did not teach classes I was in but nonetheless had a presence about them are Deans, Henry, Osborne and the lovely Jeannette.

I was quite content to leave high school to try to make my way in the world and was accepted by the University of NSW to study Electrical Engineering. This I undertook on a part-time basis and the first couple of years went passably well until I then discovered cars and girls (I think I would now be described as a late bloomer). I became somewhat distracted so my academic achievements diminished exponentially. At the end of my fourth year the examinations committee invited me (very politely) to take a couple of years off to reconsider my aspirations. As I had foreseen this eventuality I had started to look beyond Engineering for other careers.

Fortunately, one of the other options I had investigated was Air Traffic Control and I was notified at the end of 1966 (right on my birthday actually - nice present) that I could start training at the end of January 1967 if I wished. I jumped at the chance and headed of to the DCA Central Training College in Melbourne. I was dramatically acquainted with the real world when I discovered that 51% was not a real measure of knowledge as the stipulated pass mark was 70% and if you failed the supplementary you were out on your ear. I struggled initially as I had lost momentum with study techniques but once I got motivated found I was able to achieve 95% and come equal top of the class at times. Pity I didn't try a bit harder at NSBHS. The two years on the training course were the best couple of years of my life as I travelled all around the country and got paid for it. I saw most of Australia's coastline south of a line Port Hedland - Cairns from the air and trained in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville. Shortly after completing my course in January 1969 I transferred to Moorabbin (General Aviation airport in Melbourne) where I worked until I transferred to Sydney in June 1972. I worked in Sydney Tower until the end of 1977 when I tried my hand at Radar Approach/Departure control. I found this was not for me so transferred to Operations Control (Pilot Briefing, In-Flight Watch, Search and Rescue), where I worked until the service was abolished in 1991. I then transferred to the management structure working principally in the provision of facilities for all 7 stations in NSW until all except Sydney itself were transferred to other business units. Once our new system (TAAATS - The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System) was implemented and we had survived the 2000 Olympics my expertise was no longer required so my employer (Airservices Australia) made me an offer I couldn't refuse and I left the workforce in mid-March this year. I enjoyed my 34 years in the aviation industry but it became very stressful towards the end so I was glad to leave it all behind. I've hardly had time to scratch myself in the 6 months since I nominally retired, although things are starting to ease up a bit now. I hope to get back to golf and other leisure pursuits shortly.

On a more personal level, I married for a second time in 1990 and inherited two step-children who were fortunately both in their twenties at the time. Steven (married) lives in the Southern Highlands and runs his own landscape/gardening business whilst Marta (not married) lives at home with Annette and myself whilst she is studying for her honours in Psychology through University of New England. Fortunately she has a strong work ethic and is not a drain on our resources. In terms of contact with others since school days I can't really help. I socialised a fair bit with Bill Carter until the mid eighties but have no idea where he is now. I feel sad that some of our number have died but I guess when you're 40 years out of high school there is some inevitability to this situation.

This turned out to be less potted than I anticipated but I submit it for what it's worth. I'm looking forward to October 20th, particularly the walk around the old school grounds. Regards,