Saturday, 23 August 2014

'Along the road to Gundagai' - new boys

"My brother and I came to be enrolled in Scotch College ('Oldest in Victoria; biggest in Australia; best in the world!!!') entirely by accident…. . Mother went along to interview the headmaster to see if he would accept us (and she him).  Though the creeper-clad surroundings appealed to her she was so shattered by the Head's devastating Australian accent that she did not honestly feel she could let us be corrupted to that extent. …..
So she went to visit the preparatory school of Scotch College, and there interviewed the Head,…. [His] command of English, his expression and accent were sufficient for Mother to be convinced that Good Old Scotch was where we were to go.

As new boys we received notebooks in which to do our homework. On the cover was a label with name, school, number and form.  We wrote in our borrowed* names, and our numbers, mine was 1064,  Colin's 1065. Opposite the word 'form' I wrote 2B, but Colin who had misread 'form' as 'from' thought he was supposed to write his address.  Spelling not being his strong point, he wrote: The 4 Gas Set, Melborn, Australia, Sea, World, Sola Systim, Univers.  The School's motto was Deo Patriae Litteris.  This was generally construed by the Latin scholars as follows: (To the glory of) God: (For the good of one's) country: and (for the advancement of) learning.  During my period at Scotch the student at the lamp of learning, hunched somewhat after the manner of Rodin's Le Penseur was replaced by the flag of St. Andrew, the voyaging lymphad, the Southern Cross and the Burning Bush common to both Moses and the Presbyterian Church."
[*surnames 'borrowed' from their stepfather, George Thirkell]

The Road to Gundagai  Graham McInnes

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