Just a bit of the bird life this morning



We’re still enjoying spring in winter!




An old soldier remembers The Somme…

Well not quite, but my reflective mood prompted by all that Cronulla High material is making me not dissimilar. 

Back when Sydney looked like this I had been around Cronulla High for two years already. The school was only four years old when I arrived as a student teacher in 1965, being appointed the year after and staying until 1969.


Go back from 1965 the same span as I have covered since then and you will arrive at 1919! Near enough to World War I… And how old did that generation seem to me in 1965, when I turned 22?

Today the NSW English Teachers are having their annual conference.

Making Connections Count, the annual conference for the English Teachers Association, will be held at Australian Technology Park on Friday, 5 August and Saturday, 6 August in Bay 4.

The conference will showcase and explore the myriad ways in which English educators and those with a professional concern with English in NSW are making the sorts of connections that truly count for students and which will effectively support teachers in the transition to the Australian Curriculum and other national initiatives.

Making the connections that count for students is integral to their educational success and personal growth. It is therefore an essential goal as an English teacher work as English teachers to seek to fire students’ imaginations and enhance their critical capacities, help them to express their ideas and feelings in interesting and contextually appropriate ways, and assist each individual to achieve their very best.

Cost: Members two days $430; one day $290; Non members $495 (two), $350 (one).

For more information please visit here

Just check the program:


Little-200x0Yes, Thomas and Mr R! But I still see names I know – Wayne Sawyer, Paul Grover, and (not on the extract above) Ernie Tucker, who is actually even older than I am but still as committed a progressive as ever. Then I see there is a Ken Watson Lecture, and of course Ken was my boss and colleague at Sydney Uni in 1977-8 and a friend as well.  And I can’t think of the English Teachers Association without thinking of Graham Little (left), who died last year. In the late 70s and very early 80s I was on the ETA State Council and a reasonably well-known figure in those circles.

But that was still in the future when I was at Cronulla.

Looking at this list, what do I recall?



Jack Morrison was a good old guy to have had as my first head of department. Phyllis Wheeler was totally amazing as a person and as a teacher. Soon after she moved on to the famous Frensham School in Mittagong.

One more image from Cronulla 1966-69:


That’s actually quite remarkable, when you think about when and where we are talking about. I know personally that it was at Cronulla I began the shift towards the pluralism and multiculturalism I now value.


Today this seems quite unremarkable!

But 1965 seems a very long time ago. Not anywhere as bad as The Somme of course. Though there were moments…