1977 - 1981 Memories at Claremont


My favourite school years were the years that I attended Claremont College (45 years ago!). Everyone knew each other and it was such a fun, friendly place to grow up. Those were also the years of corporal punishment. We played rough. Misbehaving boys were pulled out of class by the ears. Naughty boys and girls were sent to the Headmistress Mrs Brown to receive the cane or a very strict warning.

There were two playgrounds separated by a sandstone brick wall and small trees. The upper playground was gravel and we used to play kiss ‘n catch. We also hurdled the green school benches. The lower playground would’ve been where today’s green slide starts, finishing all the way to the back fence opposite the flats. The old house has now gone and is now the modern kindergarten to  Year 2 block. The old kindergarten block was underneath the school hall, now where the uniform shop and team kids are located. At the back of the classroom was the bathroom with tiny toddler toilets, lockers and hangers for our painting coats. It was dark and lit with several fluorescent lights. We had a garden and used to invite the Red Cross kids down to visit.

The old tuckshop was at first in the top playground next to a massive tree – I’m pretty sure it was a Moreton Bay Fig as it was enormous and had small round fruit and sticky sap always on our hands and uniforms, and there were pigeons everywhere. The tuckshop later moved down to the lower block (about the position of the rock climbing wall now).

I got into so much mischief at after school care. There was a small laneway behind the old tuckshop and a few of the cheekiest kids would give the after school care teacher Mrs Woodhouse grief by running down the laneway to the lower playground and hiding. I also injured myself running in the hall a few times ending up with a frozen Orchy pack on my head courtesy of the teachers’ staff room which was right next to the hall.

The old school hall was mainly built from wood and seemed massive. It had a stage which was wonderful for the school plays. At school assemblies we sang beautiful hymns, and of course God Save the Queen. There was a picture of Queen Elizabeth and the School Captain and Dux name boards hanging on the walls, and the piano was up on the stage. We had gym classes in the hall.

Piano lessons were upstairs in the attic. Swimming lessons were up at the RSL pool (now Coogee Diggers on Byron St Coogee). We used to walk up to the library at Randwick Town Hall. We’d wear white skivvies or shirts under our green tunics, green blazers, ties and brown berets.

My teachers were Mrs Pengelly, Mrs Whitehead, Mrs Strawbridge, Mr Brown and Mrs Zouroudis.

The best memories I have were of the friends I made at Claremont and the fun and games in the playgrounds.

D Lattin