Behind the mike – Mr Mahoney interviews Lucy Treloar and Tony Birch #BookWeek

As part of Book Week this year, we had novelists Lucy Treloar and Tony Birch visit to talk to the Year 11s. Tony made the long list for this year’s Miles Franklin Award for his new novel Ghost River and Lucy is the on the shortlist for her debut novel, Salt Creek, with the winner announced on Friday. Tony made the shortlist with his previous novel, Blood.
When asked about the importance of prizes Lucy said she was a bit conflicted and tried not to attach too much importance to them, saying the winner was often a bit of a lottery. Tony, who pointed out he had been on shortlists for eight different prizes, agreed, saying he thought novels that were far superior sometimes weren’t even nominated for prizes.

Both writers talked about their paths to becoming writers, which took some time, with both raising families and working in other jobs before publishing their first works. The students were interested in Tony’s account of being expelled from two different schools and finishing his education at night school years later before going on to complete a PhD and becoming an academic.

They discussed the importance of telling the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian fiction and Lucy talked about her concern to get that right in Salt Creek in particular. Tony is of Koori heritage himself and says he often thinks of characters as Aboriginal but doesn’t necessarily identify them as such in his novels.

Both writers were engaging and generous with their replies, giving the students plenty to think about.

– Mr Blair Mahoney

Gold comes to MHS

Motivation, talent, facilities, drive and a training companion are critical to achieving success in all areas of endeavour. These qualities were highlighted when gold came to MHS.

We’ve been watching the world’s greatest athletes win gold in Rio. What is the journey of these exceptional athletes? Each has their own story.

MHS Old Boy Ralph Doubell – middle distance running – and current staff member Lisa Carruthers (nee Powell ) – hockey – unveiled the MHS Olympic Hall of Fame.

Ralph & Lisa

The Olympic Hall of Fame includes such legends as:

to those who are participating in Rio:

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame 2









Students and staff had great delight in holding Lisa’s gold medals for hockey in Barcelona 1996 and Sydney 2000.




Ralph provided an insight into winning the 800 metres in 1:44.3, a world record at Mexico City Olympics in 1968. It was and remains the Australian record.

In Mexico the overwhelming favourite in the Olympic 800 final was Wilson Kiprugut of Kenya who led the field through 400 m in 51.0. The Australian media paid almost no attention to Doubell leading up to the race. Doubell mentioned that this lack of expectations, along with his own personal conviction, propelled him pass Kiprugut, who had been leading for the majority of the race, to win Australia’s first gold medal in this event and equal the world record of 1:44.3.


He participated in the triple jump in the MHS inter-house sports and ran well in the cross-country races. However, he didn’t ever win a school championship. How did Ralph go on to win gold in a world record time at the age of 23? He was motivated. He wanted to travel the world and he realised he could do that if he won races. He was driven to win. He realised that with running being a solo sport, having a training companion was crucial.



Ralph provided us with valuable advice. Step back, decide on the critical issues and write them down. Clarify what you’re good at and start with that.

Thank you to the Heritage Society for organising the event, to Lisa for giving us the opportunity to hold Olympic gold and to Ralph for sharing his inspirational story.



Tony Xie – Year 12 Heritage Society President

Ms Catherine Morton – Teacher Librarian

The Quiz Club Honour Board

Whilst rejuvenating (ie weeding/deselecting) our non-fiction collection we found this book, Ship’s Log: Voyage from Britain to Australia May 1987 to January 1988 . The book has been beautifully bound and is a record of the re-enactment voyage of a ship in the first fleet, H.M.A.V Bounty.

On opening we discovered, the book had been used as a log, not a ships log, rather a log of boys success in …

The Quiz.


Old Boys 2006

Inside the book pages had been stuck in and listed names and dates of the Quiz Club Honour Board.

Ten year reunion

Intrigued we wondered what the Quiz Club was. On further study of the boys names and the dates we realised these were year 12 students from 10 years ago. Fortuitously there was a ten year reunion of this group this year so we kept the book and sent it along to see if any boys (now men) remembered the book, the quiz and could enlighten us.

A few of those listed were at the reunion and told how it was an activity they did during private study periods.  A group of students had a competition to complete the daily quiz published in The Age and The Herald Sun. They chose a book they thought no one would borrow (um, they were right, the loan history is zero) but which they could easily find each day. They made up pages and stuck them inside the book as a central recording place.

We were impressed with their devotion, from 15 May 2006 until 18 October 2006 there is a list of winners and losers. 

And here are a couple of them now, including David Janick, holding The Quiz Book.

I wonder if they are still doing the daily puzzles in the papers?

The quiz boys

Quiz boys 2






Year 9s create fantastic art using SCAMPER technique

Higher order thinking in Art? Not a problem. Working through process? Always.

Take a look at Year 9s art as they work through the SCAMPER technique with Mihaela Brysha.



Year 9s  have been producing beautiful work. More in a future post.






MHS Robotics Club – follow them on Twitter!


There is so much more going on at Melbourne High School aside from what happens in the classrooms. If you want to keep up with what the MHS Robotics Club is doing, you can follow them on Twitter @MHSRoboticsClub.

The members are not likely to shy from a challenge. In a recent conversation with Peter Drew, I mentioned this quirky article about hacking an old typewriter to tweet what you type, and he jumped at the idea. If the club manages to create this little beauty, you’ll definitely be hearing about it here!

Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship? #philosophyponderings

Reposted from the MHS Philosophy blog which is the home of Mx Barham, Mr Mahoney and their ponderings.

Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship? (shared by Mx Ross Barham)

‘If human beings are ever to colonise other planets – which might become necessary for the survival of the species, given how far we have degraded this one – they will almost certainly have to use generation ships: spaceships that will support not just those who set out on them, but also their descendants. The vast distances between Earth and the nearest habitable planets, combined with the fact that we are unlikely ever to invent a way of travelling that exceeds the speed of light, ensures that many generations will be born, raised and die on board such a ship before it arrives at its destination.


‘As well as the technological and social challenges confronting the designers of such ships, there are fascinating philosophical and ethical issues that arise. The issue I want to focus on concerns the ethics of a project that locks the next generation into a form of living, the inauguration of which they had no say over, and that ensures their options are extremely limited.’

Read the rest of Neil Levy’s article at Aeon.