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Childhood memories

I was telling a friend recently that I was writing my memoirs. He was also ahead of his age group when he was at school, and he asked me if I thought I would have done better if I had had another year along the way. After a moments thought I replied that it certainly wouldn't have done any good at Mount Dandenong, and I doubt if it would have helped at Upwey. The trouble was that although I was way behind socially, I was far ahead of my age group intellectually. Towards the end of my time at Upwey I did have more friends in my own class, but most of my friends were several years older than me, and, as we have seen, sometimes much older.

It has been interesting looking back on my time at school. I was very surprised to see that, according to my school report, I was school captain in 1950. I have no recollection of this whatever. Clearly the things I remember are the things that interested me at the time, and not many of these relate to my school work.

In 2012 the school celebrated its 75th anniversary, and I attended a reunion of former students, at which I was the oldest student present. Over the years the school has had several major fires, so many of the old records have been lost, and I never saw my name on the Honour Board.

Collier Avenue - the peaceful little backwater in front of the school - is now the dual carriageway Burwood Highway, which has been diverted out of the narrow and winding road through the village. The original brick main building still stands, but the school grounds have flowed out over the old Convention site down to the Upwey Recreation Ground, and the sad collection of tired timber buildings around the quadrangle has been replaced by a maze of modern buildings, in attractive surrounds.

Computers were everywhere, and the old rigid system of Forms and gradings has disappeared, replaced by a flexible system where students can be placed in groups for different ability levels for particular subjects and times. No doubt they were carefully selected, but the students we met all seemed bright and enthusiastic, and the whole school had a much more positive feeling.

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

Looking back

What did I learn?