In this the 50th year of the founding of Parade College’s Bundoora Campus, Old Paradian Garry Nervo, a Year 12 student in that landmark moment in time, recently saw fit to put pen to paper and share his reminiscences of school life in 1968.
This is his story;
My Parade experience started at Flowerdale, form one, 1962. Giant classrooms, large class populations (63), and instead of nuns there were men at the blackboard. Mostly Christian Brothers.
The playing fields were broader than any other I had seen.
In third form I moved to the PLC site in East Melbourne, fourth form in the red St Kevin’s building and then Leaving and Matriculation classes were taken in the Bluestone Pile. I opted to repeat year twelve in order to hopefully get into my preferred University course, and so started the trip to Bundoora, thereby having attended each campus of the school operating at that time.
To attend the new school, students seemed to come from every pole. I used to wonder why some students would make a daily return journey to Bundoora from as far away as, for example, South Melbourne or Footscray. Luckily my school travel was simple, just one crowded bus trip. My particular route usually had a crazy bus driver who seemed to enjoy tossing his predominantly small passengers about the coach. Every corner became a roller coaster.
The works in the constructions of the initial class room precinct at Bundoora had left space for further development; so the clay scars in the landscape were a constant source of yellow dust in summer. The exotic parquetry of the corridors at first looked plush but it soon turned to the same dusty yellow. Gone was the Gothic Bluestone Pile, we had now landed at a repetitive collection of brown brick structures, not unlike a futuristic moon colonization, and almost as remote. God help you if you missed the school bus home. Gradually the grass came back and turned the seemingly endless yellow expanse into countless playing fields, along with a dam and the Yarrangabee ranges.
As with the East Melbourne Campus, there was a mass morning assembly in the central courtyard. Often eminent old boys would be introduced as passing speakers. The wealth of what they may have had to offer was often lost on me. I do, however, remember the Principal Br Greening calling one extraordinary assembly of the students to announce that Communist Russian tanks had just rolled into Czechoslovakia. I wondered, “Gosh, does this mean I could be conscripted?”.
Physics and Chemistry laboratories doubled as class rooms. They seemed, like most other spaces, broad and open with distracting views to the outside. I often wondered if I would ever get to use some of the assorted gas cocks, sinks and power outlets generously cast about the room.
At that particular time there were no quiet study facilities, nor a library. I only discovered serious study when I went to the University of Melbourne. There the business of private study was essential and made easy.
I was always made aware of the mothers group who were tirelessly most visible in the Tuck Shop. They were always friendly, quickly knew my preferred order and always served with a smile. Yes, they were motherly. My preference for some of the nutritionally questionable cream and jam buns haunts me to this day.
Further to formal studies I was involved in Army Cadets, Rugby Union, the St Vincent de Paul Sodality, and marginally in the athletics team. I learned so much from my extracurricular school-based activities.
I will never forget taking a telephone call at home one evening from the Principal inviting me to become a school prefect. Me, a prefect? Surely Br Greening was not the sort of guy to make jokes? It brought the Brothers closer to me and I enjoyed their company beyond their role in teaching.
Despite the urgency of getting to the next class or the lack of preparation on some fronts, life as a pupil at Bundoora in 1968 was peaceful, directed, full of friends and certainly effective. Thanks again.
Like so many institutions that we belong to, the Bundoora campus in 1968 was up and running. It had some temporary short comings, most of them unrecognized by the community. As they say, "Like a duck on water - quiet up top and webbed feet paddling frantically underneath".
Thanks to the faithful, energetic and dedicated personnel driving Parade over the past half century.
Parade will be there for centuries to come.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY OF PARADE, PLEASE CONTACT Tony.DeBolfo@parade.vic.edu.au