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08 December 2011 @ 10:14 pm
Where I learned to say "Noblesse Oblige".  
Longer ago than I care to think about I spent some time at a boarding school in the NSW Southern Highlands. I couldn't wait to go to this school, but once there I couldn't wait to leave. I was expecting it to be all jolly hockey sticks and midnight feasts; instead it was washing your socks by hand in cold water at 7am, tyrannical housemistresses checking to make sure you were wearing your regulation two pairs of Bonds Cottontails, and loneliness.

The memories have blurred around the edges, and the school itself has been long closed now. There's still an active facebook page for Old Girls, though, and I nicked these photos from there.

Front cover of the school's advertising brochure. It looks really familiar to me, and is probably the same brochure I received at the time.

Aerial view, showing the layout of the school.

The chapel, where a pupil was shot to death by a murderer/rapist who was on the run from the law. This happened a decade before my time, but it was still talked about in whispers.

Hammond House, the main building which contained the office, the dining room, and the upstairs dormitory for Tait-Annesley house. My dorm windows were behind the tree on the right hand side. I have some good memories of climbing that tree, finding a comfy branch, and losing myself for hours in Lord of the Rings.

A different view of Hammond House, with the school hall at the end.

I wanted to take ballet and horse-riding; my parents enrolled me in drama and elocution lessons. Eisteddfods were the high point of the school year where class after dreary class from all the local schools recited "The Highwayman" with varying degrees of enthusiasm. And if you didn't play hockey there really wasn't much else to do on the weekends, unless your parents were coming for a visit and could sign you out for the day.

I couldn't wait to go back home. First night back at school after holidays and term breaks were the saddest, saddest time. Not just for me, but all my dorm-mates were pretty subdued. I shared with girls from Papua New Guinea, from China, from Nauru, as well as from wealthy pastoral families across the state, and politician's daughters. The school itself was excellent and provided a well-rounded education (Latin! Pottery! Both subjects I couldn't take at the local high) but it ended up closing two years after I left.
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Strike while the irony is hot: EMO -- CUPPA?draycevixen on December 8th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)

I never went away to boarding school but elements of this are eerily familiar. It all seems like another lifetime now, something I think many people feel as they look back at different stages of their life, but a feeling I think is intensified for me because of living in America. Even the most mundane elements of my school seem exotic somehow to my American friends -- school uniform, house points, field hockey -- let alone the pieces of it that were even out of step with my cousins' education.

I was also grinning about a "well-rounded education" as I also learned later that other people thought it had been "weird" but I'm still glad for it.
miwahnimiwahni on December 8th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
It IS like another world, moreso for you as everything in your life has changed.
School points! Do you know, the first time I heard Severus Snape intone "Ten points from Gryffindor!" I shivered a little inside, knowing exactly what that meant. *g*
"Weird"? What was weird about your schooling?
Strike while the irony is hot: EMO -- CUPPA?draycevixen on December 8th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)

I remember having the same reaction. *g*

I don't think it was weird, I mean it seems so to others who didn't have to do things like take three years of music -- learning to read music, appreciation, studying major movements -- as part of our standard curriculum.
miwahni: random violinmiwahni on December 9th, 2011 10:23 am (UTC)
Gotcha. Musical theory was an elective at SCEGGS, rather than a compulsory course, although we did touch on it in first form. I had a bit of a clue already thanks to my grandmother plus early piano lessons. I still don't think it's weird though *g*
sunray45: B&D NoStone B&W Jaycatsunray45 on December 9th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC)
OMG! School tunics! Navy blue with three box pleats back and front, worn with a white blouse, plus the old school tie? Aaah memories. You must have some good memories from that time.

And from the cover picture, girls allowed to paddle canoes with no safety gear on at all. Brung 'em up tough back then. *g*

It looks like a beautiful building; rather posh compared to the Primary and High Schools I attended.
miwahni: Pros Christmasmiwahni on December 9th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
School tunics! Navy blue with three box pleats back and front, worn with a white blouse, plus the old school tie?
Yep, that was the winter uniform, along with a beret and navy gloves for formal occasions, (eg walking in our two-by-two crocodile to church on Sundays) and including a cape for the colder weather. Only cape I ever owned, and I loved it to bits.
Summer uniform was called a tea dress, a cotton gingham frock which came in a range of colours, with a panama hat and white gloves. I have photos somewhere of me in the summer uniform; I'll try to hunt them up soon and post them. Memories all right.

Hammond House was beautiful; sadly now it's been bulldozed. The hall is still standing, as are the other two dormitories. I could just about cry to think they demolished that grand old building.