PAUL SCHOFIELD’S SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
“Although I spent twice as long as a student at Parade than my father did, his ongoing connection to the Old Paradians’ has meant that my involvement still feels like it is through my connection with Dad, rather than purely as an Old Paradian in my own right.”
These are the words of Paul Schofield, a final year student of Parade in 1991 and the son of the late Bill Schofield who completed his final year some 33 years before.
Paul, like his Dad, has been a great supporter of the Old Paradians’ Association’s cause, particularly in recent times through his participation in the annual Alphington-Bundoora Bike Ride.
This year, Paul took the ride a few kilometres further for old time’s sake – and penned the following story of his sentimental journey.
Although I spent twice as long as a student at Parade than my father did, his ongoing connection to the Old Paradians’ has meant that my involvement still feels like it is through my connection with Dad, rather than purely as an Old Paradian in my own right.
Now in its third year Old Paradians Association bike ride, links the old Alphington campus and the main school at Bundoora by riding up the Darebin Creek path. In the back of my mind I have always thought that Dad would say that to do the ride properly, we should start in East Melbourne.
So this year I did - beginning at the Old Blue Stone Pile, still an impressive building, enshrined secure, it was here that Dad formed lifelong friendships and his affinity with Parade.
After checking out the building from the street I headed off along Victoria Parade and up Wellington st, Parallel to the Smith St tram that was Dad’s school transport and which now runs all the way to Bundoora, an opportunity for an OPA Tram ride perhaps? I headed out Heidelberg Rd towards the official start of the ride.
The Alphington campus, or Flowerdale , as Dad always referred to it, was a major part expansion for Parade when it was established, and held special significance for the Old Paradians’ Association, who purchased the property for the College originally. My godfather was one of the first students here, where he spent one day before settling in East Melbourne.This is where my journey at Parade began.
But I hadn’t taken note of the bluestones at the gate before.
The OPA Alphington to Bundoora bike ride started on the other side of the creek, still in view of the school buildings on the opposite bank of the creek. A mix of long standing and recent Old Paradians and future Paradians, between us we’d attended all the campuses and all had stories to share. All good Alphington stories involve snakes, and I was fittingly spooked by a brown snake crossing the path not far into the ride.
Eventually emerging from the path, we cross Plenty Road and into the expansive grounds of Parade Bundoora. When classes first started here they were surrounded by paddocks of cows and the drive was a dirt track. Waves of development has occurred since then, there are multiple campus buildings and the grounds are surrounded by homes.
But there is an impressive pile of bluestones at the front gate.