3rd Annual MHS Tea Duel

Time once again for our gentlemen to show their mettle. The tea brewed and, after the ‘Biscuitgate’ fiasco of 2015, we reverted to the tried and tested ‘Cows’. Tony Thompson – visiting author – gamely signed up to duel despite having no clue as to what he would be doing. Well played, good sir, well played.

The duellers,and many of the spectators, were conversant with the rules of Tea Duelling which ensured fair play and good spirit, as well as healthy competition. Tactics were discussed, debated and argued.

Thank you to the ‘Cosies’ who ably assisted the Tiffin Mistress (and to Ms Buckland who inadvertently became our chief Keg washer), and to Eric of 9K, Ms Morton and Ms Hainstock for being our photographers.

Congratulations to Jacob [11N] our 2016 Tea Duel Champion, and to Angus [10K] the runner-up.                                                                                                                                          Aside from a few splashes, splatters and splodges, it was a good, clean fight. gg everyone.


Setting up


Setting up


Let the games begin….


Our visiting author looks perplexed!


Tea Duelling is a serious sport


Tea Duelling is a serious sport


Tea Duelling is a serious sport

Some of us weren’t taking it that seriously…


Heats over, now it gets really serious


After the quarters it was down to the final four Jacob v. Nathan and Angus v. Firdavis:


And now the final…. Jacob v Angus.


It was a short, sharp final with Jacob the winner – splatter beating splash


Jacob the victor…


Angus – Tea and Biscuit


A gallant second place




… are grinners


Jacob and Angus with the Tiffin Mistress and Tony Thompson






Tony Thompson visits MHS

Reading Assembly


A celebration of reading and writing was a focus of last Junior Assembly. We were fortunate to have a visit from Melbourne author, Tony Thompson who shared his own journey to the dream job of being an author. No doubt many of our boys would have felt inspired by Tony’s evident love of literature and passion for writing. During Assembly Tony presented Reading Awards to the following students for sustained and balanced reading, across a range of genres and including some very interesting and challenging reads.

Patrick Phung, 9C                                                       Xavier Kelly 9F
Nikhil Chalisgaonkar, 9F                                             Sean Wong 9G
John Li, 9J                                                                   Noel Augustine 9K
Callum Wigg, 9L

Kevin Kim 10A                                                           Vaibhav Malhotra, 10A
Sam Loh, 10J                                                             Nick Wang 10K
Mahen Pathirana, 10L

Writing workshop

Many of our keen writers signed up for a double period workshop with Tony focussing on the challenging aspect of interacting characters with settings. In a series of carefully constructed writing activities students produced some very engaging and intricate story lines. Equally impressive was their delight and generosity in sharing unedited first drafts with the group and with us:

Activity 1: Creating a setting



The man sat in the corner of the room looking towards the opposite wall. The room itself was silent, save for the shallow breathing of the man and the occasional rasping of chairs as he adjusted positions. The sun never slanted through the narrow grill in the top left corner, never tried. A dark puddle had formed a few feet away from the man, flies lazily buzzing above it; not even the flies would pay any attention to him. And yet the man kept looking, transfixed, towards the opposite end of the room. The ‘End’, they called it, the name of the man’s predicament. He himself had no home; it was easier to forget that way. Leo Year 9



The room was of an explicit design, unlike anything I have ever seen before. A pristine chandelier hung low from the ceiling, while the walls were lined up with old furniture filled with cobwebs and a layer of fine dust on top of them. In the epi-centre of the room, an out-of-place object drew my attention. It was a workspace and a bed fused together. I touched the angular and odd shapes that made up most of this fusion, and a shock was instantly sent up my spine. This bed, no, this weird piece of furniture, looked like some high-tech death machine had been sent through time and space to this room. This room was an uncomprehendable blend of old and new. No, “out-of-worldly” would be a better, more accurate word to describe the room, and I was not sure if I liked it or not. I sat down quite cautiously on the bed. The blanket looked just like a regular one, except it felt like liquid in the form of a solid, giving a rather strange feeling. Fused to it beside the bed… Bryan, Year 10


The room is quiet, with air of silent watching. The vivid colours of the painting sharply contrast with the dull colours of the walls behind them. The couches in the middle of the room are littered with whiney travellers and children who seem like they’ve been looking at the same thing for hours. The paintings look so real, like if you turned around they would pull a face at you… Noah, Year 9

Activity 2: Introducing a character


The valley was bathed in darkness. It was too late to start a fire; the trees blocking out all the starlight. The travellers were becoming restless; they’d been warned by the occupants of the previous village of strange disappearances in nearby forests. First it was a small child, then a group of men. Now, with darkness playing tricks in their ears and eyes, slowly the travellers began to disintegrate. One ran off. Two collapsed. Only one remained standing, rooted to the spot. And that was just the beginning. It was too late to start a fire.   Leo, Yr 9

He was falling. The wind whistled as the clouds flew further and further away. The snow had faded into stone, melting into thunderous yet glorious falls. There was an air of freshness that eased his mind. The bright sun shone dimmer down here. His eyes closed as he fell into the soft hands of his giant father. Daniel, Year 9


From a distance the primary school, unlike any other, looked like a fortress dwarfing all other buildings within close proximity. I strolled casually towards it, and the school soon pulled me as …, into the circle of buildings it dominated. I stood before the rusty gate which towered exactly one metre over me, and stared at it. I was expecting something to happen based on my experience, but it only stared back at me plainly, as if it was not acknowledging my presence at all. Hesitantly I touched the lock to open it and… Bryan, Year 10


One had never been in this museum before, but had been in museums all around the world. He was used to the atmosphere that these places had. He quietly observed a painting by one of his favourite artists, Claude Monet. The use of colour and space and lighting that was always found in Monet’s artwork was astonishing. One looked around the room at some of the other paintings, then back at the painting in front of him. Something was different about it this time, not something he had not noticed, but as if the painting had moved by itself… Noah, Year 9

Activity 3: Streetscape description


My street is a rather quiet one, which is strange considering I live in the bustling suburb of Glen Waverley, a popular destination and hub to which many immigrants from all over the world introduce their cultures and ways. In the court four giant houses dominate the rest, occupied by billionaire tycoons who spend every day salivating over the flow of the money river. Bryan, Year 10

The Melbourne skyline looked the same as it always had; big cranes, bigger buildings. The sunrise was immense with the hot air balloons coming up in front of it. Flinders Street Station was packed with the endless stream of people wanting to touch off their mykis. The boats of the Yarra coming in with the rich people and their exclusive parties. And there was Felix, no one noticed Felix. Not until he fell out of the sky… Noah, Year 9


Thanks to Miss Morton for the photographs


Feast on writing – MWF16

You could hear the pens scratching in the air. It’s the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016. There is a mix of writers; professional, emerging and students.



Oliver, Year 12, shares his notes on Adam Curley, writer and musician:

The world of music magazines is filled with people interested in writing and music, but also gives you an opportunity to be published, and get feedback.

Song lyrics sit in a strange place – harder to study with less of a history – less a form of writing, differing styles between different writers. Began as storytelling, branches out.

For Adam, he is a vocalist, and lyricist, collaborating with his band Gold Class to write songs collectively.

Usually starts with a catalyst, a beat or rhythm in what his band members are writing – always has a notebook or his phone ready writing ideas, words, phrases, that could be used.

Melody can craft lyrics, and lyrics and melody. Inspiration – can be found anywhere! For his inspiration, Adam tends to look inside for his inspiration, taking from his feelings on issues, world or personal. However, other writers he knows write third person narratives, long abstract phrases, really it can be anything.

Style – impressionistic language surrounding a key idea or feeling.

Songs don’t have to follow on line by line, don’t have to be linear narratives.


Reagan, Year 11, reflects on Meg Rosoff:

“Creating Great Characters” conducted by Meg Rosoff was perhaps the highlight of the Writers Festival. When entering the presentation, most of us witnessed Meg lounging about comfortably on the couch with her interviewer, giving little hint of the brilliant personality that lurked beneath. Excited chatter gave way to enraptured silence, broken only by the open laughter which greeted every deprecating remark she made of herself.

Meg spent the entire workshop detailing her own troubles with writing and rowdy dogs, her anecdote of the years she spent bluffing a book to her editor reducing the audience to a laughing wreck. Throughout the workshop, there was never a dull moment, the presentation being refreshing in that she genuinely downplayed all of her own achievements and awards. Meeting her afterwards, I could not help but purchase one of her books simply for a chance to meet her. Throughout her question session, she never made a single attempt to promote her works, but her warm and sincere thanks when I brought the book to be signed revealed more than a witty and humorous speaker, it exposed her as a writer with a true connection to her readers.


Ayush, Year 9, shares his thoughts:

At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016 we had the chance to see and listen to many writers and authors. One in particular stood out. Meg Rosoff, the author of How I Live Now, was a particularly interesting and entertaining person to listen to. She was a very funny person and her thoughts and ideas always caused the audience to chuckle. She was very fun and open as well which always kept the audiences attention. She was also very willing to talk about herself with a group of relative strangers which helped us understand her and her books in greater depth. Out of all the authors we watched and listened to this was, in my opinion, the best as she had intriguing ideas and stories and wasn’t afraid to put herself out there.

Noah, Year 11, writes:

One of the highlights of our day at the Melbourne Writers Festival was hearing author Meg Rossof talk about her writing process and how she worked on characters. Hearing her reminisce about her friend helping her with crucial plot points, how the characters got away from her with minds of their own at times, and how her story about characterising animals went off onto a long tangent about her own dog were all delightful, and her dry sense of humour punctuated every piece of advice or story, making it all the more enjoyable. I am certainly looking forward to reading some of her work, and I’ll be taking her advice on characters to heart. I must say, her admission that she often didn’t know where the book was going to go when she sat down took a weight off, and contrasted with the over-planning toted by many other writers. I would recommend the Writers Festival to anyone, especially with panels like this one!


Frank, Year 11, writes:

At the Writers Festival is where I met Meg Rosoff, an accomplished author winning both the Guardian Prize as well as the Printz Award. She was one of the most inspiring writers, possessing great wit and was always charming. Yet despite winning prestigious awards, she was charming and incredibly down to earth.

She began the workshop of ‘Creating Great Characters’, by professing her love of dogs. She told us that “writers don’t have a sociable lives, that’s why I love dogs.” In her book Jonathan Unleashed (2016), all of the central character’s many problems, are all curiously resolved through two dogs. Although she laughingly admitted that dogs seldom solve the problems we experience in real life, “Dogs make good characters in books because you can make them into whatever you like.”

She then proceeded to give insight into the often-enigmatic writing process of an author. For one, there is no one definite way of writing, and that writing habits tend to differ from person to person. For Meg, she uses her ‘unconscious mind’, where a lot of the writing comes from the place in the brain responsible for dreaming. Where the conscious mind is compared to as a horse rider, the unconscious is mind is the horse itself, and sometimes, it may be better to let the horse lead for a change.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the day, her unique advice in combination with her wonderful sense of humour really inspired us, hopefully, to take step towards a future filled with a little bit of creativity, and a little bit of writing.



Daniel, Year 9, captures John Marsden’s creative writing session:

“In fourteen words we wrote our story. Without one vowel we described our view.”


 Our pens will certainly be writing furiously following these inspiring sessions.


Showcasing our students’ creativity – the MHS Student Art Exhibition

Showcasing the creative work of our students is always a joy, and this year the MHS Student Art Exhibition delighted those who came to see the variety of work by students of Art, Visual Communication Design, Photography, and Media and performances by Drama students.

We were honoured to have as Guest Speaker this year Richard Roberts, an internationally acclaimed and sought-after stage designer. He has designed for drama, dance, film, television and opera. Alongside his practice as a designer, he established the design programme at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (1991- 96), was Head of the School of Production at the Victorian College of the Arts (2000-07) and most recently, Head of Design at The Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts (2013-15). Most recently he has designed a new production of Fiddler on the Roof for TML, The Last Man Standing for The Melbourne Theatre Company, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale for Opera Australia and Glengarry Glen Ross for Black Swan Theatre Company. He is currently designing Much Ado About Nothing for Queensland Theatre Company and Caucasian Chalk Circle for Black Swan Theatre Company He is the recipient of four Greenroom Awards. He won best design for Drama in 1998 for Stolen (Playbox Theatre Company), and in 2000 for Life After George (Melbourne Theatre Company) and best design in Dance in 2001 for Requiem (The Australian Ballet) and in 2004 for Molto Vivace (The Australian Ballet).

The Visual and Performing Arts studies give students the opportunity to develop skills and mindsets beyond the created work itself.

As Art educator Clara Lieu points out in her excellent article, Should we protect Arts education, “…  it doesn’t matter whether a student in my class becomes a professional artist or not. In fact, it is perhaps the students who go into other fields for whom my art class could have the greatest impact. Innovation happens when someone is willing to take a risk and try something out of the norm. Art class is the ideal environment to take risks: there are literally no answers at the back of the textbook, and so much of the creative process can be simply trial and error.  In visual arts, you have to facilitate your own path, and be willing to give anything a shot.”

Guest speaker, Richard Roberts, reminded us that creativity is not about whether you were ‘born creative’ but it’s about making things, creating something that previously didn’t exist. In this sense, the work displayed in the Art Show is a visualisation of the ideas and processes taking place in students’ minds. Richard believes that everyone has the potential to be creative but sadly we are often limited by categorisations which rank us as creative or not creative.  It is important to give young people the opportunity to spend time working through creative processes, and also to exhibit the resulting work.

The following is just a snapshot of what was displayed in the Art Show this year. As I look at the work each year and take in the names of students, I discover aspects of the students, their thinking and expression, that I had previously not known. We should be grateful to the Arts for this opportunity, and support events such as the Art Show, music concerts, Drama performances, etc., which showcase what our students are capable of.


The old light box camera!




Welcome Day – welcoming new students and their families to MHS

On one of the windiest days we’ve seen in many years, Melbourne High School opened its gates on a Sunday to welcome the 2017 cohort of students and their families to their new home. As they entered through the main doors of the old building, perhaps overwhelmed by its history and tradition, they were greeting with the fresh, smiling faces of our assistant principals, Pelissa Tsilimidos and Marcus Sharp.

Earlier, in the dark corridors of the same building, assistant principal, Andrew Sloan, was already rounding up the troops – students who had given up their Sunday to act as guides or help out in different parts of the school in order to showcase some of the many things the school has to offer.

Parents of existing students set up stalls in the dining hall, including Friends of Music who transformed the place into a cheery market place. How inviting were their stalls and wares!

Memorial Hall was filled many times over by new students and their families who were addressed by principal, Jeremy Ludowyke, on the theme and motto of the school, ‘More than just marks’,  as well as by the school’s registrar, Rosemary Dickson, the current school captain and vice-captain who provided a student perspective, and by a representative from Parents & Friends who provided the invaluable parent perspective.


The library was open from 8.30 am until well after 3pm, and hosted about 15 large groups, as well as individual family groups, all keen to see MHS library spaces, and find out how the library supported the learning and wellbeing of their sons.

Head of library, Pam Saunders, made everyone feel welcome and drew on her experiences as a past parent, sharing ‘inside’ information and advice ranging from parking tips for whole school functions (such as parent-teacher interviews) to promotion of the very special whole school music event – The House Choral Competitions. She talked about House spirit and conveyed her love of the school as she transitioned from parent to teacher librarian and head of library.

I showed the rich range of online resources developed by the library, in particular, our website (Libguides) which provides both subject- and skill-related content, as well as how parents and students might keep up with what is happening in the library and school through our social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram, our library blog, our library Facebook page and art blog.

Parents and students were keen to find out more about the Interest Groups we run in the library: Library Assistants, Book Club and Writing Interest Group (WIG). The Writing Interest Group also has a blog (Unicorn Express) in which students publish their work to a local and global readership of over 100 people a day.

Study and life skills, such as time management, goal setting, mindfulness, note-taking and other important skills are also supported in our website, and parents were happy to hear that, should they ever need support, their sons would be recommended to work with teacher librarian, Catherine Morton, in academic mentoring sessions.

All in all, a great day, and we look forward to our new students settling in next year and becoming part of the MHS community.

  • Tania Sheko




9F students represent MHS in the OutLoud Teen Poetry Slam (Melbourne Writers Festival event)

Congratulations to Alex Shang and Jian Lam of 9F for their outstanding performance in this year’s MWF OutLoud Teen Poetry Slam at the Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria. Well done, boys!

Thanks for coming to Roald Dahl’s birthday party

Thanks to Denise for organising a successful birthday party for Roald Dahl, with chocolate decorating (and eating) activities. We had a crowd lining up for a seat in order to decorate and eat their chocolate. So many talented chocolate artists!



























Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl!


Take a trip down memory lane by revisiting Roald Dahl’s stories by decade.