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AND GOD CREATED THE TEACHING STAFF

Helene (Thomson) East recalls with fondness “dear, enthusiastic Norm Donnison, who we visited in hospital and who later died. Eccentric Mr Harry ‘Ever-Widening Circles’ Peake, who gave me undeservedly high marks in my exams. Shirley Buffet, the beautiful blonde, who used to get a hard time from the Patrol Officers. Mrs Newcombe - who cautioned me about the lecherous lecturer who wrote a poem for me and gave me a red rose from his garden.”

Marie Burns agrees that “some outstanding resources were thrown our way as we learned our trade – CD Rowley, Vic Parkinson, Edgar Ford, Ruth Fink”.

Mick Wilson wrote a learned assignment on sorcery that relied heavily for its content on the Junior World Book Encyclopaedia. He felt sure Ruthie Fink would not have read something so far below her academic dignity.

Contempt for authority was always Dave Argent’s Achilles heel. “That and my IQ meant I didn't reach the dizzy heights. I knew my IQ and, not wanting the notables to know, I ripped up The Great ASOPA IQ Test bringing froth to Brian Ross’s lips and nearly a trip to CD Rowley for a quick exit. It was put around that the average IQ was 137. Just as well mine was not included. Needless to say I failed the final Educational Psychology exam.”

Col Booth discourses on the Buena Vista pub at the intersection of the roads to the Zoo and ASOPA where some used to have a last beer after lunch at the Mosman Hotel prior to afternoon lectures. “This is where we’d obtain water containers (some call them schooner glasses) in preparation for Aileen Kershaw's Art lectures. She was a very kind lady as she gave me a pass even though I am still totally colour blind and can barely tell black from white”.

Jeff Chapman recalls how Keith ‘Handy Andy’ Foster suggested the 2nd years write to people they knew in PNG to get ideas on how to use local materials for craft. “Dave Keating corresponded with my brother, Terry, then in his first year in PNG. After taking only a cursory look at Terry's response, Dave showed it to Handy Andy (who really hated the nickname). Unfortunately, Terry had written things like, “Handy Andy likes phrases like 'derive emotional pleasure from creating things with your own hands' and 'sense of achievement and pride' etc.” Terry also gave examples of local materials to use as adhesives, paint etc, none of which, Terry admitted, were genuine, “but Handy Andy wouldn't know, so throw in a few and you'll get good marks”. The upshot of this, says Jeff, was that HA was very annoyed. Soon after Jeff had Handy Andy as his supervisor at second prac. “I didn't do too well,” says the remorseful Chappo.

Henry Bodman reminds me that Ruth Fink tried to explain my crinkly mop “as a recessed gene from when your mob was in Africa”. In 1978, visiting Manchester (near where I was born), I saw many crinkly mops wandering the city. The locals theorised that elements of the Spanish Armada missed by Francis Drake had fled north around the tip of Scotland and tried a return to Spain through the Irish Sea. The weather and coastline finished them off and the lucky ones struggled ashore in the north-west of England to be pounced on by comely wenches and forced to commit all kinds of bizarre Lancastrian sexual practices. I wonder what Ruthie would make of that?

Justine Finter tells of how Bob ‘Moose’ Davis, sitting beside her during a literature lecture, awoke from a snooze. “Referring to the attractive lecturer, Shirley Buffet, he muttered, “I’m mentally undressing her and, oh, I’m down to her knees”. I had just left a convent school and was thinking, “Such impure thoughts. Does he realise he’s on the verge of committing a mortal sin?”.

Dave Argent boosts my mail on ASOPA lecturers. “Dave Parsons took over from Leslie Peterkin. He’d been in Canada and played golf off scratch. I made sure I had a few rounds with him. This increased my percentages in PE, which had been ailing under dear Les. You forgot Ann Prendergast, who replaced Shirl ‘The Girl’ Buffet. Didn’t hurt the eyes either”.

Payday was each second Thursday which was Dem Day. Neutral Bay was a favourite and afterwards the Oaks Hotel and the Mosman Pub and straight after lunch the Ruth Fink lecture. Riotous assembly - as it was a combined body of students and kiaps. Ruth never lost a beat. Thank heavens for Molly Lishmund and Jean Lowe sitting up front taking it all down.