Centenary tests memory.

I’ve just been stuck in old photo albums for the past hour because I was sure I had a picture of the 1977 Eden Hill Primary School Netball team to share but it will have to wait. I’m determined to find it before the school’s Centenary Celebrations but for now I’m going to attempt to answer the questions at hand.

I attended Eden Hill Primary School in 1975, 1976 and 1977. It was always easy for our class to remember because we were “in grade one in ’71 and in grade two in ’72 …”
It reminds me of singing the times tables to commit them to memory as we did in our house. Maybe the singing and multiplication methods are not the same for everyone but I’m sure we share a lot of warm memories. Like the rare (and delicious) canteen treat of a matchstick pastry or barracking for your leader ball team during the Sports Carnival (Go Gold!)

I came from co-ed Catholic St Patrick’s Primary in West Perth to start Grade 5 at Eden Hill PS because an additional Gibson arrived in 1974 and we needed more room to live. I was thrilled. Not only to have a new little brother but to move in to a great suburb with trees and space and The Thompsons (Leslie, Debbie and little Johnny) on the corner and The Simpsons (Cathy, Ian, Glen and Fiona) down the road. Two doors down … it seemed so far back then.

School was barely two minutes away by bike and as close as it was, I’m pretty sure I would have passed the homes of our School Registrar, Ellen Hawkes, and my first EHPS teacher, Jean Kenny, if I hadn’t been racing to get to school.

I think I might have been racing quite a lot back then. I loved school and sport and sunshine and we had buckets of all three in the late 1970s. I raced to get to school, I raced to get the sports equipment out for softball games, I raced to ring the school siren at lunch time (this may have only happened once but in my memory it happened a lot!) before jumping on my bike to ride home for lunch. How cool was that? I don’t remember using the canteen much but Mum was on the volunteer roster (I loved those matchsticks) and the Parents & Citizens Committee and every other group that was part of the school community.

In the three years I was at EHPS, I was mates with a bunch of the students in the 1977 pic on this site. Like all of us, I remember folks first and last names. I also seem to remember that a remarkable number of the girls in my year have Lee as their middle name! I hope to verify this when I see them in May. And I’m guessing that a number of my class mates have different surnames due to marriage.

If memory serves correctly, it was only Kerry Gilchrist and Debbie Thompson who saw the Bay City Rollers in 1976… or was that Kerry Gilchrist and Eleanor Hunt? I know there were only two girls in the whole school who went to the concert and I can still see the Roller Strollers they wore to school to mark their victory. Our netball team was made up of Kerry, Eleanor, Danuta Dryzyl, Sandra Collins, Debbie Thompson, Robyn Towers and me. I was going to list the positions but I can’t remember if Robyn played in attack or defence and … well, y’know … it was 38 years ago. Apologies to anyone from the team I haven’t named. I must find that photo!

I remember a lot of sport in 1977, including our Head Master (as I think the title was back then), Keith Howell, wheeling a TV into our classroom so we could watch the Centenary Cricket Test while we studied. I was already obsessed with the sport and I reckon that might have made my year. Other girls were keen on cricket but I remember it was the talented Craig Kirkby who was almost as keen as me. My neighbours Robert Duff, Jamie Wallace, Michael Oliver and Glen Simpson were probably doing their best Dennis Lillee impressions that year but all I remember is how fast Debbie Thompson and Audie Abraham ran and how much fun we had staging the school performance of Toad of Toad Hall at the end of the year.

I learned a lot in grade 5 with Jean Kenny including Maths, Social Studies, Sewing and Sarcasm. I could wax lyrical about Mrs Kenny for days but suffice to say she made a lasting impression on me and my family.

My grade six teacher was Sheila Geileskey. I have two very clear class room memories of that year; waiting to hear news of another Gibson arrival (Mrs Hawks and Mrs G were very patient that day!) and solving a riddle to collect a 7 inch 45rpm vinyl single of the Masters Apprentices. Or as we called them; records.

We loved music whether it was Singing and Listening during class time or holding concerts in the class room at lunchtime. We would play the records of Abba or Sherbet or Smokie or Bay City Rollers and mime while we played out tennis racquets like guitars. For real. It cost 2 cents to enter and we donated the takings to the school to buy a new clock. I was the MC because even my miming was pretty bad … anyway, that’s how I remember it!

Our camps at Point Peron were fun; more Abba, Hush, Leo Sayer and our prize winning rendition of the truly awful Rack Off Normie or was that Ted Mulry Gang’s equally dreadful Jump in my Car? Who knows? We had Countdown and we were happy to sing along to everything.

I really don’t remember much of the classroom in 1977 other than Mr Powell’s fine tie collection. But somehow I think all three years of my time at EHPS have blended into an amorphous lump of memory. Which year did Jan Kamtz (from Nebraska) teach at EHPS? When did we plant the tree at the end of the 100 metre track? Did we too bury a Time Capsule? I’m looking forward to caching up with old friends from the Class of 1977 at the Centenary Fair on 2 May 2015. Who knows what we might remember?

About Danae Gibson

My first love is radio and I am the Talks Producer at RTRFM 92.1. From 2014 - 2017 I coordinated the Broadcast Journalism Diploma course at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. From 2012-2015 I loved my role as Diversity Programming Coordinator at SYN Media. I moved to Melbourne to take on the GM role at LGBTI community radio station JOY 94.9 in 2009 and for many years before that I enjoyed program making, training and more at Perth's Sound Alternative RTRFM 92.1.
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