Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, April 21, 2011


New school uniform
Ever since I arrived in Australia, I had attended school at Sutherland. Firstly, Sutherland Infants then Sutherland Girls Primary, then Sutherland Intermediate Co-Ed High School. However, the Sutherland Shire was undergoing a population explosion due to the baby boom after the war. Sutherland Intermediate High School was overcrowded and a new school had to be built. Port Hacking High School was completed in 1959 at Miranda. The Sutherland school was to become part of a much bigger primary school so we were all transferred over to the new school. It was very exciting. my friends and I were going to be the first seniors at this brand new school. At the time it was reported in the news as being the best Comprehensive High School in the country. (Many more were soon to follow)
New emblem

We had a new uniform and new school colours. We wore navy tunics with a white shirt and a bright royal blue beret and blazer, with a great new school emblem on the pocket.   Our school colours were red, blue and silver.

I thought I looked smart in my new uniform and I was very proud of it. Now I think it looks so old fashioned.

Port Hacking High School

The back of the school

1959 prefects- the first prefects, (last on the right, front row)
I was blown away when I was voted in as a prefect, I never thought I was that popular at school. I always felt a bit on the outer.

Giving a talk in class.
 During a Geography lesson I gave a talk on Papua/New Guinea using slides my brother had sent us while he was working there.
Another day, in class, we heard a bang and an aircraft screaming. We jumped out of our seats and looked out of the windows to see a small navy aircraft explode into flames and crash to the ground not far away. The pilot had stayed on board to steer the plane away from the school and a nearby caravan park to save lives but he himself was killed.

Nth Sydney Olympic Pool
 Soon it was State Swimming Championships again. This time I only made the team as a reserve. ( I never had squad training lessons like some of the others.)

Supporters of Port Hacking High swim team. (far right)
 However, I enjoyed being allowed to attend the carnival with a few selected supporters and reserves. Some of us had the summer uniform on. It was a light blue thinner tunic dress.

Port hacking High Swimming Team 1959 (front row, second left)

Just look at those awful Speedo racing swim suits!


  1. Now I am not sure those swim suits are dorkey ... at that time I was wearing a cotton shirred elastic swimsuit which was much dorkier.

  2. The competition swimsuits athletes wear now are JUST as dorky!! Maybe it just means if the swimsuit is practical, it's not going to look that good ...

    Have a great Easter!

  3. Great memories of those school years. It seems funny that even though yours were in Australia and mine were in California, they were not all that different.

    By the way - I love the name of your blog. I think I am having adventures during dementia! :)

    It is good that you are getting yours in before it. :) Have a wonderful day. ...Marsha

  4. This is a great post; the pics are terrific. Funny how we look back and what we thought was just perfect looks not so much anymore! I'm enjoying your story, each time mentally comparing to my similar yet so different! You gotta love the internet!

  5. OMGosh...I live 10 minutes from Port Hacking High. I even think I recognise the lady in the front row on the left of the the second last photo. I am sure she is the mother of someone I know. Fancy were once a "Shire" girl.

  6. What fun! Do you still have your prefect's badge? Or your uniform shirt? (we all sugned each other's on the last day of school)

    What an amazing story of bravery - was the pilot awarded after his death?

  7. Amazing! You did well.
    The school uniform, oh my brings back memories.
    Great you have photos scanned from your school days, I don't think I have many photos at all from mine.

  8. Thanks for sharing these pictures and stories of your last year of school. I'm not sure I would consider your uniform dorky. I was in high school myself in 1959 and your uniform would have been considered stylish back them.

  9. A nice story, we never had school uniforms here, that is typical British I think.I am also from the baby-boom, in my primary school we had 50 children in one classroom!
    I can hardly believe it. The swim suits doesn't look so dorky to me, it is just funny.

  10. Hi Diane, I just love the memories you share with us. Super that you kept records too. You looked as super then as now! I linked one of your older posts to mine today (Thursday) Have a blessed Easter weekend. Jo

  11. What great pictures and memories! Yes, swimsuits through the years have been a bit dorky looking... do you remember the ones that looked like a girdle?

  12. Diane

    Those swimmers look great! Better than the strange space like things of today! The males today look ridiculous!
    Is that the North Sydney swimming pool under the Harbour Bridge? Sure looks like it.
    Very interesting 1959 report on schools and carnivals.
    Colin (HB)

  13. Hi again, and thanx for visiting my blog! Have you got an 'Adventure before Dementia' spare tyre cover? We've seen them EVERYWHERE in our travels in OZ!

  14. Red Nomad: no we don't have a spare tyre cover. I have seen it on the back of caravans too.

  15. Diane, wonderful memories of your senior year. Great pictures. I wore dorky uniforms from Grade 1-12. Have a great weekend!

  16. Your class picture could be mine except there were only girls in my picture. The boys school was a couple of miles away. We had the same tunics, ties and black stockings in the winter, tunics, no ties and white bobby socks in the summer. Thanks for jogging my memory!

  17. Oh the school looks great! Your uniform might have looked really cool during that time. Of course schools still use the concept but with a more modernized look.

    I enjoyed the trip down memory lane!

    Is it just me or shorts hairs were the thing back then? Required in the swimming lessons, perhaps?

  18. Those swimsuits and school uniforms look normal for the times! This was a wonderful look back in time to your high school years. You were quite active in high shool. In 1959, I turned 11 years old, so I'm only a few years younger than you. Those were certainly simpler, more innocent years, weren't they?!

  19. Another great post Diane, always fun to see these photos. I went through my whole school-life wearing uniforms, never liking them very much and hating stripes (my summer school dress) for years afterwards.

  20. Halfcrazy: I hadn't noticed the short hair before. There were a few with long hair but short hair was much easier to manage in summer and for swimming.

  21. It is hard to go back and look at school photos. Mine are all totally dorky, too. We felt so hip and cool and stylin' inside, and looked so darn dorky out.

    I was swim team, too. We do have a lot of parallels, don't we? I was, however, not athletic as you were (except I swam like a fish). I was more of a book worm.

    I love your story!

  22. Hi Diane, We have something in common ---sorta!!!! During my Senior Year in high school (1960)---we were the first class in a NEW school.

    They consolidated two older schools into a new one... For us though, it was a horrible Senior year. They did NOTHING to help us bond with students from a competitive school...

    Even though it was a new school and very modern, it was a hard year for us --since we lost all of our traditions (which Seniors had always had in our old school). I don't have many good memories of my Sr. year... Kinda sad!!!!!!

    Love reading 'your story'... Thanks..

  23. Uniformed or not, doesn't everyone look dorky in school photos? The biggest surprise I feel about them is how ordinary I looked. Homely, yes, but no homelier than nearly all teenage boys look in 50 year old photos.

  24. Ohh, thanks! Yeah, it's Summer in my country and all I wanna do is cut my hair short. Maybe one of these days..

  25. I always enjoy your posts about your youth in Australia. You all look so serious in your uniforms ! I never wore and uniform, it wasn't allowed in Germany at that time, because they had had enough of uniforms during the Hitler time !
    I came back from France yesterday afternoon and am still a little "homesick" not because of the French Riviera (I thought I was in Italy) but because of the stay with Claudie and her family, such warmhearted and cheerful people !

  26. I'm amazed at all the early photos you have Diane. Everyone in your family must be keen photographers.

    What an incredible story of that brave pilot.

    No, you didn't look dorky in your speedos :D)

  27. I could not recognise anyone in those photos, but I do remember quite vividly the airplane crash, it was a De Havilland Sea Venom jet. I also remember swimming in a carnival at the North Sydney pool, competing against the Conrad kids, guess who won. School cadets was fun, especially when we had a pipe band formed, 2 pipers me and one other.