In 1990 the Class of 75 held their 15-year reunion at the Moore Park Bowling Club (The High Club) with between 35 to 50 in attendance.
By 1995 due to life, (nurturing Family and Career) we struggled to fill a few tables at a High Ball held at the AJC that year.
For a GPS Gold Challenge in 2009 we tried valiantly to round up the troops. That led to the Covent Garden group who kept the flame a glow.
Naturally, there were many long standing private friendships – a base to build upon, combine irregular discrete dinners, and through all that the drifting apart of classmates continued – until October 24th, 2015 when a 40 year reunion was organised. Approximately 75% of the form were located and over half now re united.
In summary 58 alumni converged on the Waverley Bowling Club from all parts of Australasia, including two from WA, one from Darwin, another from Auckland, two from Geelong and a welter from Gold Coast and Far North Coast of NSW. The sprinkling included the South Coast, Central Coast and Roxby Downs.
The positive chi was amazing even infectious.
One quote (among many) – they say youth is wasted upon the young, but the re- living of our youth echoed long into the night.
An example included the following exchange:
Alumni to Lawrie Booth (form master): Would you recall the time when you said “200 lines” and I duly ripped the requisite pages out of an exercise book and gave them to you. Here you are Sir.”
This is put into context by Mr Booth who would ask class members to write out 50 or 100 times: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” for minor indiscretions. It was abbreviated to lines. Fifty lines sold privately for 5c, then the price of a Streets Paddle Pop.
The surprise, the mystery, the unknown expectation was truly appreciated and enjoyed. The buzz will stay with many for a long time, and connections renewed will only accrete. Superlatives like “a great night was had by all’ does not capture emotions sufficiently.
Middle Row; Nick Tsataros, Greg Ganz, Tom Parker, Stephen Nordon, Brenton Wylie, Peter Davidian, Richard Cowan, Robert Sward, Greg Perry, Simon Della Marta, Rob Hegedus, Cyrus Yuen, Graham Alley, Steve Coventry (front), Derek Farrell (behind), Luke Theodore, Andrew Hooper, Mark Bateman, Ross Bolden, Philip Tumber, Rob Prior, Neil Green, Bruce McKeough, Donald MacPhee, Phil McRitchie, Stuart Tabrett, David Maiden, Ambrose Schonberger (crouching 4th from right)
Front Row; John Giardina, Gary Grimm, Jeff Silberbach, Kym Mangos, Warwick McCarthy, Greg Burrows, Graham Ball, Nick Roth, Ray Brown, Terry FitzPatrick, Stuart Bell, John Sutton.
Therefore missing at time of photo: Mike Woods, John Gabor, Michael Henley, John Della Marta, Rob Vines, Jeff Thomson, Matt Reid.
Any reunion is a process of reflection/discovery/re-acquaintence. There were 58 individual stories present and many more stories contained in apologies. Through Guided Interviews we present a tiny but different snapshot.
Andy Nehl – Media Producer and Director
As a pupil at High an English teacher [3rd Form Master Bill Andrews] challenged the year/class to script and produce short stories in film, shot on Super 8 camera. You undertook several functions including writing, editing and producing and so on. The era did not teach media as we now understand information age. Was that teacher or that activity a major part in your career and formation?
Bill Andrews was an inspirational English and History teacher. When he introduced a Super 8 camera to our English class and tasked us with making a film it really sparked my interest in filmmaking.
I went on to make 16mm films while study Arts Law at UNSW and ended up with a career in television, journalism and radio. Other English and History teachers like Brian Hodge and Alan Whitehurst also instilled a passion for storytelling in me, which contributed to the path I have been on in the media. The understanding I gained from great Maths and Science teachers was also very useful in keeping at the forefront of evolving information and digital technologies, which are an integral part of the media landscape today.
We were exceptionally fortunate to have so many great teachers at Sydney High and it is a pity that many of the public schools don’t have access to the same great teachers and resources that we had, and the students at High still have today.
As General Manager of Triple J in the early 90s you were at the helm of nationalising the radio station. In hindsight were you ready for what transpired and was the mandate challenging or transforming?
Restructuring Triple J, building its audience and establishing it as a national network on the budget of a Sydney station in the late ‘80s and early 90s was certainly a challenging and demanding task. I think the education I received at Sydney High, particularly learning how to think critically and logically, stood me in good stead for that and other challenges in my career in the media since finishing school in 1975.
As our world 4 decades later adapts to education for the time would you like to include your thoughts on progressive education? (Particularly in the light of the Governors Centre at your alma mater).
The new Governor’s Centre at Sydney High has great potential to foster the performing arts. The promotional material for the centre doesn’t specifically mention screen production and media technology but I would hope it is fitted out with the latest technology to enable future Sydney High students to be to benefit from such access – the same way I benefited from the access to the latest model Super 8 camera, which was then the leading affordable screen production technology of the time.
Greg Perry Associate Professor
Greg, your work involves you in “Closing the Gap” for life expectancy for Indigenous Australians. You were the Northern Territory’s Director of Renal Services and have now moved to Perth to work at the Royal Perth Hospital and UWA. It is a massive task and what can be done to help?
We are involved in rolling out hi-tech medical care in a low–tech environment. In particular we seek to care for Indigenous Australians who have kidney disease and require dialysis. Providing such care in remote Australia has its own unique challenges.
State and Federal Governments have gone a long way to address this issue and I have found it professionally as well personally rewarding to be involved with it. With regards to Sydney Boys High, it has been one of life’s unexpected pleasures to meet up with some former Old Boys on my travels through life! In Darwin I caught up with Phil Gerber, my old Sergeant Major from my cadet days, and now that I am in Perth I have found myself at the same hospital as Prof Leon Flicker from my own year as well as working in the same department as Prof Mark Thomas who was two years ahead of me. Such encounters have only served to bring back memories of the halcyon days at High.
Leon Flicker – Professor of Geriatric Medicine University of Western Australia
At the University of Western Australia you have been involved in pioneering work on older people’s health, but more crossing the boundaries between mental and physical health. Can you enlighten us?
Over the last 30 years I have been fortunate to work with a large number of colleagues from a diverse range of disciplines. I have learnt that many of the problems of ageing are the result of a multitude of risk and protective factors. It is impossible to segregate physical and mental health from each other. It also means that many of the interventions we use will have wide-ranging benefits.
You were Woollahra Demonstration School before High School, generally dux of your form and amongst other things Senior Prefect in 1975 and now an illustrious career in medicine, at the reunion you commented you were blessed. Most would perceive perspiration and inspiration. Could you contextualise?
My parents were both World War II refugees and were lucky enough to make the passage to Australia. I was provided with an excellent free education at both Woollahra and Sydney High School and given access to fantastic sporting amenities.
All I did was take up some of the opportunities that were provided to me. Throughout my career I have had to work hard, but have also been given a lot of support by family, colleagues and friends.
Len Tesoriero – Department of Primary Industry.
Your work has led you to work in foreign aid. What starts as assisting in primary production continues on to education of emerging and 3rd world Nations. Can you tell us about how you entered this area, some of the places you visit and type of work you are doing?
My experience in foreign aid began 16 years ago when one of my university professors invited me to join him in Vietnam where he had been working with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), an Australian Government agency that manages aid projects.
Since that time I’ve worked on similar projects in Laos, Tonga and the Philippines, and more recently returned to the NW region of Vietnam. These projects basically help local scientists (plant pathologists like me) and farmers identify and manage crop diseases.
I specialise in vegetable crops which are important as small-holder farmers grow them both to feed their families and to sell at local markets. Agriculture is still a major sector of local economic development and poverty alleviation in developing countries. These projects can have a big impact as they assist communities move from being very poor to a level where they can more easily afford to send their kids to school and improve their diets.
Another aspect of this foreign aid is to build capacity and train local scientists. We mentor younger professionals and assist them to apply for scholarships that may include undertaking post-graduate studies in Australia. This has been a great success as we now see some of these people leading university departments or other government institutions in their home countries. These connections help us to continue our work and cement friendly international diplomatic relations. It’s not altruism but I feel like I’m helping.
John Sutton –Formerly CFMEU
At school your political passion was obvious. Where often we would tease some teachers of the English/History Dept for pinko logics, you generally were 1st to come to their defence. In your illustrious career of industrial advocacy you have at times attacked media concentration. Can this type of social media and other blogsphere media change mass media?
I doubt whether social media will be immune from the control of big corporate power.
The Murdochs, Googles, Microsofts, etc will create/buy out new media platforms and dominate in the normal way. (Admittedly this is from someone who doesn’t bother with Facebook, Twitter etc). Community initiatives like Wikipedia may provide an exception for a time – we can only hope.
My main political thought in Australia today is that Turnbull (a decent small ‘l’ liberal) may be able to gradually steer the LNP back to the political centre, from where Howard/Costello dragged it to the ‘hard right’.
If this happens the ALP will have to shift ever-so-slightly to the left to have some product differentiation. And if Labor can find a half decent leader Australian politics in general will be in a more healthy state. Probably wishful thinking.