High Notes, Vol 9 No 12, May 02 2008
From the Principal
Welcome back to Term 2
Anzac Day Ceremony
My address is reprinted below.
Distinguished guests, Old Boys, members of staff, students, welcome to our Anzac Day ceremony for 2008. I want to acknowledge and thank our special guests today. Col. Ian Cumming (Victoria Barracks) representing Major-General Mark Kelly; Capt. Donoghue (UNSW Regiment) representing Lt Col. Fomiatti; RSL Sub-Branch Presidents Bill Harrigan (Bondi-Waverley), Barry Collins (Coogee-Randwick), Merv Woods (Kensington War Memorial), RSL representatives Chris Salakis (Malabar) and Old Boy Vic Thatcher (Clovelly). A special welcome to serving and retired Old Boys - Air Vice Marshall Russ Law, Brigadier Bob Slater, Lt. Col. Anthony Tripley, Commander Viv Littlewood and Major Ross Cable. Our commemoration takes place rather early this year but the educational opportunity to raise the concept of Anzac Day in our school community consciousness is an annual commitment of the Department of Education and more importantly for us, a traditional ritual of this school. Anzac Day recognises service and sacrifice, mateship and memorials. I want to acknowledge the efforts of our school cadets this year. For several years seven cadets from our Unit have served as a banner party for the 2/1st Field Regiment Association at the Anzac Day March. This year 20 cadets are to form a Flag Party to carry national flags at the opening ceremony before the Anzac Day Test. Also, our High Marching Band has become a feature of the March. I am hoping for a big turnout again this year. Thank you to all boys who care enough to be involved.
This morning I want to offer a snapshot of Australians at war after Gallipoli when our forces were deployed to France. By the end of 1915, the war in Europe was at a stalemate. After the 1914 war of movement when Germany’s Schlieffen Plan encircling thrusts on Paris were stopped at the Marne and the ‘race to the sea’ ended in a draw, German defensive lines were established from the French alps to the English Channel, keeping the Allies at bay. Counter attacks by French and British forces in 1915 were disastrous. The ‘cavalry and bayonet’ Generals squandered the ‘offensive spirit’ of a generation of young men, sustaining 2.4 million Allied casualties. Machine guns, trenches, concrete bunkers and barbed wire were effective against anything less than highly concentrated and sustained artillery fire, adequate offensive weaponry and a No-Man’s Land to traverse of no more than 200 metres. Haig and the generals ran battles they could not see, using plans and tactics they could not control, wasting troops they did not know, on open, muddy battlefields they had not reconnoitred.
Fromelles in Flanders was the scene for the Australian troops first battle in Europe. On July 17, 1916, the three brigades of the Australian 5th Division (17,800 men) were sent in to the attack, with orders to capture the German front line trenches and break into and hold their support lines. The operation was planned as a feint to stop the Germans sending reinforcements to Haig’s real objective – at the Somme. The Australian Commanders thought the attack would fail and said so. It went ahead anyway. The Germans were not deceived. The Somme was reinforced. Fromelles was a hastily planned assault, on too wide a front with too little artillery support, in open country, across twice the feasible distance of No Man’s Land, commencing immediately after rain. Despite these overwhelming disadvantages, two of the three attacks succeeded but the enemy support trenches were not where they were supposed to be and the Australian troops were forced to defend against counter attacks using the German frontline trenches they had recently occupied. They were cut off in defensive islands and surrounded when the Germans counterattacked. After a confused 14 hour battle, the Australians staged a desperate fighting retreat, pointlessly suffering 5,533 casualties, many disappearing into the mud. Les Carlyon, the vivid military historian writes in The Great War: “VC Corner Cemetery outside Fromelles is the only solely Australian war cemetery in France…There are no headstones. Underfoot are the remains of 410 Australians. The bodies were picked up after the war. None could be identified”(98). Fromelles was a tragic and futile catastrophe. There were to be many more before the 1917 Generals learned how to wage modern war effectively. The final cost of their on the job training by 1918 was 46000 Australian lives in France. As a consequence of the impact of our total war casualties, Australian society was changed forever. The scale of the slaughter and mass anonymity of the dead are hard for 21st century minds to comprehend. We owe it to them to remember and retell their stories.
Deficiencies in reading maps, planning campaigns, communicating and interpreting intelligence, still plague people conceiving and directing wars. Ordinary people, increasingly civilian, pay the price for these errors. Facilities designed for the production of weapons of mass destruction can be clearly seen on aerial photographs if you want to find them. In its power struggle with the CIA the Pentagon could find evidence of a rogue state harbouring terrorists, even where nothing credible existed. The Taliban and Bin Laden were always the reason for the ‘coalition of the willing’ agreeing to invade Afghanistan after 9/11. How naïve we were to be hoodwinked and hijacked into an additional invasion to remove a tyrant. Perhaps for us the end game in Iraq is coming and Australia can extricate itself from the conflict with some dignity – leaving a humanitarian legacy. Maybe we will learn something this time from our decision to support neo conservative adventurism.
The geopolitics of warfare do not concern us at this ceremony. Here in Australia on Anzac Day we choose to fix our focus firmly on the human condition in war – the suffering, the heroism, the mateship, the grief at home. We have to try to put ourselves in the position of the soldier and empathise with his feelings as he stoically manages living in trenches, leaves letters home in his kit or with mates, chokes in his gas mask, faces death, takes another’s life, lies wounded or exhilarates in his lucky survival. Each man had to play his part, to do his duty, to suppress self for the group, to serve the bigger picture.
I trust that on April 25, whether as participants or witnesses, High boys will play their part in honouring the citizens in our history who heard their country’s call, volunteered to be put in harm’s way, and who died, were wounded or suffered, in their nation’s name.
125th Anniversary Rowing Dinner
It was very exciting to open up the Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday and find the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2008 guide. The Sydney Writers’ Festival is an annual event attracting writers from all over the world to talk about words, ideas and vision. ‘Future imaginings; utopian dreamings; dystopian visions; fear of annihilation and the drive towards conservation; reconciliation and indigenous politics; an altered sense of personal and civic responsibility; mobilising and political activism; hope and optimism all feature strongly in the sessions.’ We highly recommend that senior students who aspire to the Extension courses get involved. We’ve cherry picked some of the events that might appeal to our students, and that marry well with modules they are studying, but students should go to www.swf.org.au to check out all the courses and events available, and to book where possible.
For Year 11s studying the Utopias module in Extension 1 and Identity in Advanced
For Extension 2 students, both current and aspiring (but Extension 1 would also
For HSC Advanced students studying the speeches for module B
For HSC Advanced students Area of Study - The Journey
Remember that if an event is free boys will need to be at the venue around an hour before it
begins to ensure they get a seat. We hope that some of our boys will take advantage of this
opportunity for enrichment at such a high level right on our doorstep.
When I read Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria I felt that I was reading the best recent Australian novel I was likely to read. I had pushed myself into reading yet another “outback” tome expecting it to be as excruciating and demanding as the outback itself. Instead I was taken into a poetic, spiritual, modern Aboriginal mindset which blew my mind with absolute delight.
The novel had won the 2007 Miles Franklin Award and I thought I would let myself see why. Alexis Wright is an indigenous Australian and her interpretation of modern Aboriginal thought, which I found hilarious and searingly honest, is a real national literary treasure, more than worthy of the Miles Franklin.
Set in the Gulf country much of the action takes place right next to the town rubbish dump where the local Pricklebush people have set up a humpy town for themselves. The action of the novel soars into an unbelievable and deadly conflict between white interests - a mining company and the townspeople of Desperance - and the local black community headed by the seemingly sensible elder, Norm Phantom. It becomes a Tolkienesque battle between Aboriginal spirituality, morality and connection with the land, sea and weather and no holds barred and morally compromised materialism.
I will give no more of the story away as it is essentially a fabulous story which you cannot put
down. Suffice to say that this book has everything - humour, despair, adventure, and is a
challenge to white judgements.
SBHS: Foundation Years
There were also few, if any, external organisations controlling inter-school sport in the School’s early years. (It must be remembered that the AAGPS was not formed until 1892 and the Combined High Schools Amateur Athletic Association was not established until 1913.) It was, therefore, left to the boys to find teams to play against. Not all of them were schools either. For example, in the 1880s, the School fielded Rugby teams against suburban sides and the staff of various government departments and mental asylums.
It is generally said that sport was poorly organised and that the School fairly struggled at sport in its early years. This state of affairs was attributed chiefly to the poor quality of the playground at Castlereagh Street, the lack of any playing fields, the concentration on studies and, initially, to the ages of the boys who were mostly aged 13-14 years upon enrolment.
The old building’s physical limitations also impacted upon the organisation of sports in that all of the clubs suffered from a lack of space to hold committee meetings.
In 1888, it was suggested that all of the other sporting clubs come under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletics Club, so that one fee per quarter covered Cricket, Rugby and Athletics. It appears that nothing ultimately came of this proposal.
Consistent sports throughout the early years were rifle shooting, Rugby, cricket and athletics. There were, however, occasional calls to broaden the sporting base of the School. For example, an early edition of the school magazine, in 1888, made the following suggestions:
We even venture to state if a small sum were set aside for trophies for rowing, a very fair afternoon’s amusement might be got at one of the boat sheds, where equal boats could be hired; also a few trophies for swimming.
Early failed attempts at sporting clubs include a swimming club that did not survive the summer of 1889 and a tennis club which apparently did not survive the poor state of the playground at Castlereagh Street. In 1888, it was reported that “sailing parties” had been organised and had proved “very enjoyable” but nothing is heard of sailing again. Late in 1888, severe misgivings were expressed about the possibility of baseball, the School magazine reporting:
The picture of the real thing looks quite appalling, a hickory club and hard ball would soon clear a track for the said ball in our busy play hours.
A handball club also made a brief appearance in 1888/1889.
Sporting prowess was recognised each year by the presentation of honour caps, which were awarded in much the same way as blues are today. In 1884, honour caps were awarded to A H MacTaggart and A M Eedy for Rugby and to A H Eden and A H MacTaggart for cricket. The caps were of blue velvet with silver braid and a silver tassel at the end of a long cord. The caps changed to panels of chocolate and blue from 1885 – a pattern that is still followed today.
A brief history of some of the sports played while the School was at Castlereagh Street will
follow in the weeks to come.
SBHS: Cadet Unit
The holidays have been a busy time for Sydney High Cadets. Six of our cadets gave up a week of their holidays to attend the NSW AAC Brigade Courses Camp at Singleton Army Camp. These courses are designed to prepare cadets for promotion within the Australian Army Cadets course. Attending and qualifying were:
Junior Leaders (for first promotion)
Senior Leaders - Module One (for promotion to sergeant)
Senior Leaders – Module Two (for promotion to WO & CUO)
Once again the unit supported the Sydney Anzac Day March. A banner party of seven cadets under SGT Denis Stojanovic carried the banner for the 2/1st Field Regiment Association
Other cadets, in School uniform played with the School Marching Band under the control of the Drum Major WO2 Anthony Ho, while cadets in uniform carried the Band’s banner
Straight after the march a quick trip to ANZ Stadium at Homebush for the unit’s role in the Anzac Day NRL match between the Dragons and the Roosters. Defence and the RSL supported the match with an ANZAC commemoration before kick-off. Apart from our involvement, Defence provided a Navy helicopter for a trophy fly-in, the RAN Sydney Band and a very noisy low level run across the Stadium by a FA18 fighter from the RAAF.
Our role was the marching on of ten Australian National Flags and ten New Zealand Flags and the lowering/raising of the two national flags on the dais flag poles in front of 21,000 league fans.
All in all a very long, busy day
The first day of racing started intensely enough with heats, to establish who would row the next day in the finals, and who would not. Strong wins in the junior racing saw every entrant from our school bar an unlucky few, (who had conditions and boat malfunctions go against them), proceed to the next day of racing, some highlights being a convincing top two finish in the under 15s single scull, to Timothy Gollan, and Koren Fang, and an extremely contested win in the under 16s single sculls heat, to Dale Chen, edging his opposition by a mere tenth of a second. In the only senior event of the day, Daniel O’Keefe and Harrison Reid stunned the opposing single scullers, blasting out a comfortable top two finish in their heat. In the other heat Matt Ling rowed a comfortable race for an easy qualification into the final. Overall Sydney High had qualifiers in every possible event, setting up for a nail-biting second day of finals.
The Sydney High rowers approached the second day of racing with enthusiasm and panache. The first event of the day was the men’s championship eight. The Sydney High eights raced in unfamiliar grounds, using different boats and changed seating positions, but this would not falter the crews, as they rowed out a top two finish, to the delight of the crowd. The rowing contingent did not dwell on this win however, immediately they focused on the next task, in this case the under 16s quad where Sydney High once again crossed the line first, unfortunately however could not keep the other schools off the podium with the other two quads entered. In the following under 15s single sculls, High rowers Timothy Gollan and Koren Fang once again rowed next to each other, this time coming second and third to a talented Merewether High sculler. The next event however was won with aggression and style, the championship pair, with Mitch Kelly and Nelson Ridges crossing first, only to be followed by David Vien and Brynley Pfull, another riveting top two finish for High.
Undoubtedly the biggest spectacle of the day was the championship single scull race. Sydney High had three competitors, Matt Ling, Harrison Reid and the school’s top sculler and member of the GPS eight, Daniel O’Keefe. The race was very well contested; however Daniel O’Keefe was unlucky with a technical problem at the start line, holding him back behind the other crews for a few moments. However, in his usual aggressive, just row hard style, he rowed his way back into contention, just a short distance away from the race leader from Maclean High school. In a thrilling finish, the malfunction on the start line proved to take its toll and Daniel was edged out on the finish line, still rowing an impressive time, and coming a very respectable second in the most prestigious event of the championships. Harrison Reid rowed a strong race, to beat several competitors, whilst an unlucky Matt Ling didn’t have his best day, still hanging on to the field however.
In the next event High came back to winning form, taking out the gold and silver in the under 15s quad scull. Next up the under 17s got their first taste of racing in the championships, entering three double sculls. However, one of the doubles collided with a pontoon on the row to the start line, taking the boat out for the rest of the day unfortunately. The other two crews rowed fiercely to claim second and third places; perhaps gold could have been won with the other crew, but we will never know this. This incident was quickly put behind us, as later in the day the under 17s quad rowers came first and second in their event for yet another top two finish for Sydney High. In the championship quad event, High rowed for one spot on the podium, the first spot, holding off the other determined crews. By the championship doubles race, the open rowers were quite fatigued, and were pushing the limits of physical exertions in one day. However Mitch Kelly and Daniel O’Keefe did the school proud, pushing for a bronze medal, against highly rated opposition. The day was fast coming to a close with few events still left. In the under 15s double scull High raced out to the now familiar feeling of a top two finish.
Unfortunately, High scullers James Whiting and Andrew Blomberg could not place in the under 17s singles, with James managing to bag fourth place just ahead of Andrew in a very quick final, leaving only two events in the day. High completed a clean sweep of sweep oar events in an entertaining fashion, with the two crews taking out the top places in the championship fours event, the winners, first four, stroked by the ever aggressive Koeun Na. Thus High took out every possible sweep oar medal available for us.
The last event of the day was the under 16s scull, the last chance to add points to any school’s tally; obviously this would add to the adrenalin of the competitors. Our only qualifier Dale Chen rowed a spirited race, and saw himself in the middle of a tough field, coming fifth out of nine in what was a good contest.
And so with the racing finished, all that was left was to await the tally. Sydney High managed to
win the men’s point score yet again in spectacular fashion, however were edged out of the
overall score, due to the disadvantage of having no women to enter in half the events. It was a
successful campaign, with High maintaining its position of ‘champion of champions’ in
the world of CHS male rowing.
Baroque Consorts and Banquet
Please make payment to the front office by Monday 5th of May, week 2
ANZAC Day March
As bass drummer in the Sydney Thistle Highland Pipe Band which led this year's ANZAC Day March, I observed the Sydney Boys High School Marching Band and was most impressed by the standard of musicianship. It is rare to find a non-military brass band with such a high standard. Regards, Allan Hughes
Annual Music Camp
Combined Selective School Music Festival
Music Calender for Term 2, 2008
Baroque Music Consort and Banquet Saturday 10th May 2008, 5pm Great Hall Please make payment to the front office by Monday 5th of May, week 2 Student’s Name _________________________________ Roll Class _________ No. of tickets required: Single __________ @ $25.00 per head Total: $___________ Student _________ @ $20.00 per head Total: $___________
Return to Index
Congratulations to the following boys who have been selected to represent High in this years inter-school competition.
Senior: Joseph Nguyen, Jason Cohn, Anthony Hopkins, Garry Lau, Richard Hua.
Intermediate A: Ben Encel, Dominic Nguyen, Dawen Shi, Ilya Boch-Osmolovskiy, Leon Sheldon.
Junior A: Edward Naoumov, Ennes Mehmedbasic, Dominic Mah, Arjun Punekar, Nevin Lazarus.
High Store- Mother's Day
The High Store has Chocolate brown woolly scarves with SHS crest. These would be an ideal gift for mum or grandma on this special day. They are priced at only $22Return to Index
Year 10 Parent Meeting
An Invitation to Year 10 Parents
Wednesday, 7th of May at 7:30 pm
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Mr Steve Codey, the new Year 10 Advisor, will be speaking and answering questions at the start of the meeting. Some of the topics to be mentioned are the upcoming half yearly exams, the School Certificate exams toward the end of Term 4 and how to make the best use of the parent – teacher night.
Parent Group meetings are an ideal opportunity to meet other parents in your son’s year, raise questions, make suggestions and air any concerns you may have.
Cross Country 2008
CHS Cross Country Zone Team
These holidays, Athletics at High was still in full swing, preparing for the upcoming AAGPS Athletics carnival. There were training sessions three times a week, all of which were enthusiastically taken part in by the participants. Each training session attracted between 40 to 60 athletes, who were all ready to go, no matter how bad the weather was. In the damp conditions, athletes still pushed themselves to run up and down Mt Steel, tow weighted sleds as quickly as possible and practise their starts in the some of the worst possible conditions. When it was raining too hard, we took to the gym, and did more technical work such as, developing the core muscles, and developing explosiveness.
On the 26th of April, The King’s School hosted an invitational carnival at Homebush. High
had one of the largest turnouts of all the schools that participated, and also competed
exceptionally well, capturing many top three finishes. Some notable performances include; Josh
Tassel running 10.94 and Kent Nguyen running 11.12 in the 100 metre sprint; Josh Tassel running
23.1, Lachlan Street running 23.56, and Kent Nguyen running 23.78, all in the 200 metre sprint;
Robert Chen finishing the 400 metres in 57.4 seconds, and Prashan Prabaharan finishing in 58.66
seconds; David Nguyen put the shot 11.12m in the 14s, Michael Wang put 10.82 in the 15s, and
George Denny-Smith put 10.24 in the 16s; Finally, James Chotiyanota ran 14.96 seconds in the 90
metre hurdles. It was a very successful carnival and holidays for High Athletics as we continue
to grow and develop into becoming a threat against more of the other GPS schools.
The training for longer distance runners has really taken off this season, determined not to be shown up by the sprinters. Training during the holidays was on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 – 11 o’clock. Our aim was to run as hard as we could and we succeeded with this goal. Edward Ovadia is a great coach to the team; making us perform and strive for the best. He has something new and even more tormenting for us each session. I think we would all agree that the hills session that he got us to do on Friday was the hardest training we have had this year. With only two one minute breaks, we had to run up and back 30 times – that was 6 kms of hills. Even though it hurt us, we were not holding back with great times at the King’s invitational last weekend. The day started off with the 3000m at 1.00pm. At the hottest part of the day, Harrison Lane (9.41) and Edwin Montoya (9.52) came out strongly, with good times to show for their hard training. The next longer event was the 800, with Tim Siu (2.20) and Christian Katsikaros (2.25) also bringing home good times. But High’s strongest event of the day would have to have been the 1500m. It started off with the 15s and 16s event, with Samuel Lane (4.33) who came first in 15s. The next event, opens, proved to be the most outrageous race. Two of our 16 years, Harrison Lane (4.43) and Jeremy Ireland who came third (4.32) ran in this race yet Ronan Casey in the 17s came with an outstanding time of 4.08.91, one of the best times we’ve seen in ages, to snatch a first place. Edwin Montoya (4.34, 17s) and Pat Desmond (5.33, 16s) also finished the race strongly.
All in all we still have work to do, even though we are producing very good times and places.
We’re looking forward to the next two weeks before the final as we know we can all get
The Great Hall
Athletes, Parents, Guardians, Teachers and Coaches,
Athletics invites you to attend the Athletics dinner for the athletes who competed in the 2008 GPS season. The evening is an opportunity for the boys to revisit the triumphs and shared experiences of their season.
The GPS Team will be announced on the night. It is also a great opportunity for parents to socialise and show support. I would appreciate your support on this occasion – so please come along.
The cost of the dinner is $30 for adults and $25 for students. The athletic captain and junior captain will collect a $5 contribution for the coaches’ gifts.
Your payment must be made to the front office by Wednesday 7th May.
Year 9 Parent Meeting
Our next Year 9 parent group meeting will take place in the Common Room on
Ms Trompetter, Head Teacher English, will address the meeting to talk about the English program and answer your questions.
Come and join us for this informative evening!
High Store Price List
Autumn/Winter Price List - 2008
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 10:30am to 1:30pm Telephone 9331 7075
GOODS & SERVICES TAX ( G.S.T. )
G.S.T. is included on all prices listed.Return to Index
Letters Re Absence/Lateness/ Early Leave
When your son returns to school from being absent he is required to provide a letter of explanation signed by a parent or guardian. If your son is going to be late for school a note is also required.
If your son has an early leave note he is required to have his note signed by either Mr Beringer, Mr Dowdell or Mr Prorellis before 8:55 am and handed in to the Main Office immediately after. Each letter should be signed by a parent or guardian with the name, date and roll class of your son printed clearly. Your son needs to pick up a leave pass from the Main Office before he leaves the school.
School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS)
School Student Code of Conduct Ð Students travelling on buses must:-
Students are reminded to:-
During 2008, authorised officers will be deployed to inspect Code of Conduct compliance on school bus services in the Eastern Region. Students who are found to have breached their obligations may lose their travel entitlement and possibly incur an infringement.