This photo will give you a clue. This is my second class in my second year of being a teacher at Nott Street Port Melbourne. These kids represented the wonderful tapestry of the then cultural melting pot of multiculturalism of Port Melbourne in the 1970s. Many of the kids families came from migrants from Greece and turkey as well as kids whose families were true blue Port for many generations.
There were over 600 odd kids at the school in 1972, it was “wall to wall” in the classrooms and in the yard. The favourite and roughest games for boys in that small yard were British Bulldog and football.
We always knew if “hot stuff” from the wharf was happening when the kids who had fathers on the wharves would turn up in the same jumpers or shoes.
We had very little resources: chalkboard, maths books and readers, but the kids had a desire to learn and make the best of their world. It was ‘reading writing and arithmetic’ and lots of fun.
The best fun was when we would walk to Station Pier and stand at the base of the gangplank of a ship in port and ask could we come aboard. The kids experienced battleships from USA and Japan as a submarine from Great Britain.
Sometimes, by chance I have the privilege of reconnecting with my students from that era and it is always a delight. They would all be in their 50s now as I was 22 years old and they were 11 year olds. WOW!