Wollongong pioneers, Sydney High Rugby, HSC results, Jimi Hendrix’s underpants

Two stories manage to unite all these elements – and more.

First a not-online item from The Illawarra Mercury.



OK. If you go back to Sydney High when I started there – 1955 – and look at the Rugby team or the Prefects you will find:


Back row: Bryan Beaumont, Graham Caisley, Dick Fear, Ian Letts, Tony Re, Alex Mladek, Allan Farquhar
Middle row: John Hazell, Ron Woodlands, Dickl Webb, Neil Smith, Marcus Einfield, Peter Crittle, Les Brown, George Beverley
Front row: John Reid, Grant Stone(VC), Ken Andrews(HM), Bill Summers(C), Jim Hamnett(Master), Greg Coulson, Geoff Burge


Marcus Einfeld was a handsome devil, eh! But that is another story.

So Peter Crittle of law and Rugby fame is descended from pioneers of Thirroul. His mother, Sylvia Rose who died recently at the age of 93, was a direct descendant of Thomas Rose, a free settler of 1793 whose grandson Thomas was given a grant at Thirroul in 1818.  Mark Crittle, brother of Peter, runs Thirroul Antiques.

It is brother John that fascinates me: John Crittle: The Dandy Larrikin in London.

Under Crittle’s stewardship with input from the team of Winterbotham, Freddie Hornik and Alan Holston, Dandie’s clientele included Jimi Hendrix, who bought a red silk jacket printed with roses which is still in the possession of his Seattle friends Ron Hammond and Luther Rabb (to whom he gave it in the late 60s), and David Bowie, who acquired the silver suit he wears in the Space Oddity clip for the short film Love You Till Tuesday…

According to The Mercury today, Sylvia Crittle was holidaying in London and slept on the sofa in John’s store. A very polite young man with a rather amazing resemblance to Jesus crashed there too. “Hello, my name’s Jimi. John told me I could sleep here tonight.”  According to Mark Crittle, “ultimately she had to move out because Jimi had a habit of lying around in his underpants.”

OK, there’s Wollongong pioneers, Sydney High Rugby, and  Jimi Hendrix’s underpants, Now for the 2011 HSC results.


Tim Gollan, Dennis Kim and Austin Ly, of Sydney Boys High School, achieved top results in this year’s HSC.

Pic from SMH and linked to source story.

This story appeared on 16 December.

THE principal of Sydney Boys High School, Kim Jaggar, says ”the lone wolf is dead” and that collaborative learning – students working together, teachers sharing their knowledge with each other – is key to the school’s success.

Forty-seven students at the selective school, which ranked fourth in the state, yesterday learned they had achieved Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks of 99 or above.

”In a highly competitive environment, I think collaboration amongst boys … has [delivered] a more consistent set of results,” Dr Jaggar said.

”The idea I’ve been trying to push at this school for a decade or more is that the lone wolf is dead. We actually have to [work] together if we want to improve results and to break down the totally competitive kind of environment that you see in selective schools, so we can share with each other as well as compete against each other.”

His teachers collaborate on projects, observe each other’s classes and share their experience.

Dr Jaggar acknowledged that changing the competitive culture took time, but said co-curricular activities, such as the community service program, encouraged students to help others.

”People come from a coaching college culture where they’re all striving to get themselves into selective education and beat the next guy,” he said. ”They’re all very interested in marks. But when it comes to the learning process they’re prepared to share with each other.”

The tension between a student’s desire for individual achievement and for engagement in collaborative learning ”is more easily resolved when the whole school starts to improve. They’re starting to see that what’s good for me and my buddies is good for the whole school”.

With his ATAR of 99.2, the school captain, Tim Gollan, 17, plans to study law and engineering. He said after the trial HSC exams, when students’ internal ranks were settled, they shared notes, marked each other’s essays and exchanged feedback. ”It’s really in the school’s interests and every boy’s interests to help each other out and achieve the best mark possible,” he said.

Dennis Kim, 18, and Austin Ly, 17, both scored the highest possible ATAR of 99.95. Dennis set up a maths class demonstrating solutions for his peers.

I found that fascinating and so did some of my former SBHS students on Facebook, one of whom asked this question – which of course I won’t really answer.

Has there really been any statistically significant improvement in academic results since Jaggar’s appointment that, moreover, can be attributed to anything he’s done (I seem to remember that we’ve always hovered around “4th in the state” mark)? They seem to have installed picture rails….

I can refer you to some stats that do suggest significant improvements in the number of Band 6 results and – very dear to my heart – solid gains in English results. I can also suggest you read about the major changes that have happened in the way the school organises itself and delivers its teaching. I find these developments very exciting.

I can also say that there were occasions when I greatly admired the way Dr Jaggar negotiated some fairly tricky minefields. See For the record: the great SBHS race debate of 2002, which I was very much involved in. Here are a few more posts of mine: