Home

Childhood memories

Upwey High School

Introduction, I meet the Head

VJ Day

Sent home, Father again

Bullying

Hamline

A plague of names

Latin

A bad idea has good results

Bang!

We learn about explosives

Sport

Cruel & inhuman treatment

A new sportsground

Learning heavy engineering

Social life

(Or lack of it!)

Main Street, Olinda

About 1939 (from old postcard)
 

In the 40s Box Hill was about the end of suburbia. East of that was mainly orchards, with a smattering of villages -- Ringwood, Croydon, Bayswater and Ferntree Gully. There were only three high schools in the entire area, Box Hill, Lilydale and Upwey, which had been opened in 1937.

The school was served by a series of buses, operated by US (supposedly short for Unserviceable) Motors in Belgrave. When I started school I had to walk up the hill to Olinda, and catch the bus there.

The roads were very quiet then, and while we were waiting for the bus we used to play cricket in the main road with a tennis ball. One morning someone found a lemon, and bowled it up to the batsman, who gave it a mighty whack and sprayed us all with lemon juice. The overhanging tree in the foreground in the photo was a chestnut, and in the autumn and we used to gather the chestnuts (and throw the prickly husks at each other for entertainment).

The bus followed the Ferntree Gully Road to Ferny Creek, but then turned down the narrow winding road through Sherbrooke and around the Devil's Elbow to Kallista, then down to Belgrave, and at last Upwey.

On the way home it went almost to Ferntree Gully before turning onto the Olinda Road, and grinding up the long hill around the other Devils Elbow to Tremont. The run took about three quarters of an hour each way. I preferred coming home, because the roads were a bit better, so I was less prone to travel sickness.

One evening we were halfway up the hill when the driver suddenly stopped, as smoke began to pour out from under the bonnet. The bus had been serviced that morning, and the mechanic had left a rag sitting on the exhaust, and it had caught fire with the extra heat from the long climb. Fortunately no harm was done to the bus - or us!

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017

Teenage years