Friday, November 13, 2009

A walk down Nostalgia Lane

Talk about a walk down nostalgia lane. I swear I wasn't searching on myself. I was in fact trying to write a piece on Greek cafes, starting with the foundation of the Niagara at Newcastle in 1898. This cafe was the starting point for a chain of cafes established by the Karanges family. Anyway, I was searching to see if there were any links to the Masselos family. John was in my class at school and my memory was his family had a milkbar at Hurstville. This search took me to the TAS magazine, the Armidalian, and by accident to glimpses of my own past.

From the Armidalian, December 1963

Brian Harrison attends Arts I lectures if he has time after piano
practice. Besides keeping up with athletics, Brian is believed to be
a secret agent for Jim Belshaw in the New State Movement. He also
proved his versatility by playing a viola in the orchestra for the
"Pirates" this year.

So that he may join our musicians, Jim Belshaw blows the New
State trumpet for the Uni. branch society. At the first meeting of the
society Jim was thrilled at the roll-up until everyone discovered that
the aim was to fight for the New State and not against it. Undaunted,
Jim elected himself dictator, Brian Harrison played battle
hymns on the piano and Ross Lane ran all the way to Canberra with
a petition. Jim played for Wright 2nd XV this year and pursues intellectual
interests in Arts I.

Actually, we had a very big roll-up of pro people, making the New State Society the biggest on campus after the Overseas Student Association.

From the Armidalian December 1964

J. Belshaw, Arts III has gone into virtual obscurity with the New
State Movement, but appeared for brief comedy performance in the
weekly feature T.W.T.W.T.W. Can occasionally be found with fan
club at the second table on the left in the Union.

R. Blomfield, Arts I-very arty with crew cut, has been ordered
on to a diet after smashing three lecture seats this year. Has qualified
to the James Belshaw fan club by being secretary of New State. His
school day wanderings have at last borne fruit as he is now a permanent
inmate of P.L.C.

Dear this made me laugh. In fact, and this was not the first time this happened in my career, I lost the election for the New State Society President position at the end of the previous year.

That was the week that was happened every Friday in the union. Having discovered that the union offered a very good meal with wine before TWTWTW, I was an eager volunteer. I cannot tell a joke to save my life, but I taught myself to tell yarns and to be sometimes funny in a dry way.

The second table on the left. It wasn't occasionally, it was much of the time. We gathered after lectures, I can remember writing essays there, sometimes we just argued.

From the Armidalian January 1966

1965 3RD XV
Masters-in-Charge: R. W. L. Crossle, Esq., W. A. Jennings, Esq. and
J. D. Belshaw, Esq.
Captain: J. D. Page.
Vice-Captain: P. J. Housden.
Committeeman: G. B. Wilson.

This year a new method of division was introduced as numbers
were large; the boys were put into three sets, each of equal strength,
and each set entered a team in the local R.U. Saturday competition.
The aim of this was to give more boys a game. Our opponents,
chiefly from the University and Teachers' College, were older and
stronger and so defeat was common, but one set managed to get into
the semi-finals. If only one team had been entered their results
would probably have been more favourable, but the most important
factor would have been overlooked, i.e. games for more boys.

I coached one of the sets. I learned more basic stuff in coaching about Rugby than I had in my entire career. I am not a natural player. I could play well, but I had to learn what to do. I regretted that I hadn't learned the things I now discovered.

Breaking the thirds up into three sets really did weaken. We were absolutely walloped to begin with. One game the Teacher's College was really short of players and I played against my own team. They (my team) decided to start by kicking the ball in my direction. Usually this might have been quite a good move. In this case, I managed to catch the ball and they gave me room to move. The result was a straight run through for a try.

Our most exciting match was against a University under 21 side. This had some seriously good ex GPS (Greater Public School) players from NSW and Queensland. For some reason -a previous party perhaps? -some of the uni players were late. We got in front and then held the lead.

A 3rd XV was entered against Armidale High School and De La
Salle College on Wednesdays and results proved very successful in
that we won four of the five games played, with two wins against
D.L.S.C. and two wins and one loss against A.H.S. We also had a
trip north to Toowoomba early in the season and lost narrowly 11-13
after hard play in perfect surroundings. The trip was thoroughly
enjoyed by all, and Downlands hospitality was deeply appreciated.

Throughout the season we played many games internally, usually
against the Seconds and Under 15A's. The standard of football rose,
resulting in losing many players to the 2nd XV, but we developed
many promising young players, which augurs well for the future.
And even though the grassless fields were hard, injuries were few.

Hard fields is right. The fields weren't watered, so they could be very hard indeed!

The last game of the season was against the Old Boys, and
after hard play we managed to post a victory, Palmer scrambled over
the line as a result of consistent effort, and Jones followed with a
good penalty kick. In the closing stages Page was able to score to
give us a 9-5 win, the School's only victory over the Old Boys. Our
4th XV, also from the third group, failed to equal the Third's

From memory, I played in this match for the Old Boys.

On the whole it was quite a successful season, and the group
would like to take this opportunity of thanking the three coaches
for their time spent throughout the season.

The 3rd XV team was chosen from the following: J. D. Page,
P. J. Housden, G. B. Wilson, S. R. Dawson, R. D. Farrell, M. M. W.
Fletcher, G. R. T. Giblin, P. C. Gosper, H. J. K. Hall, W. R. Hannaford,
S. J. Jack, W. E. Jackson, J. Jones, J. M. McDonald, E. N. A.
Palmer, W. B. Richards, K. E. Roberts, P. J. Schofield, D. B. C.
Smith, S. E. Swain, C. D. R. Tully, D. W. Willis, P. M. Williams.

These names bring memories back. However, there must have been more. That's not enough for three teams.

Still from the same Armidalian:

Jim Belshaw-student master at school this year-how ironic
to imagine Jim telling someone to stop talking! Arts III, hopes to
go on to Honours in History or Economics next year. Valiant forward
for Wright.

Ouch. The football is incorrect by this point. I am still talkative, but it really depends on context.

More from that Armidalian:

Mr. Belshaw also leaves us at the end of this year. We would
like to thank him for his continued valuable help during the year.
We also wish him luck for the exams which he has just completed
and hope that he enjoys his trip to Thailand during the vacation.

How polite! That was the year the boss (Alan Cash) threatened to sack me for inciting industrial disturbance among the student (duty) masters. I would certainly have been sacked if he had found out about the party we had one mid term in the dorm off my room with the remaining boys as drink waiters!

Bob Graham, a fellow duty master who later became a Labor cabinet minister in Tasmania, was one of the attendees.

The year before Bob had displaced Winton Bates and I in an SRC coup as editors of the student newspaper, my second electoral defeat but not my last! Despite this, we became good friends.


Having reviewed the Armidalians, I must run some of the stories about Paul Barratt, now another fellow blogger.

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