miwahni (miwahni) wrote,

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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.
Tags: memories, school

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