Delving into the history of MHS

The Library Assistants were recently invited to visit the Melbourne High School archives. The students who journeyed to the top of the school share their reflections.

Last week, I took part in the school Archive Tour, where we learned about the history of the school. We visited the Archive Room to look at historic items and climbed to the very top of the ‘castle’ to gaze at the spectacular views below. Among the many interesting things I learned was that there is an underground river tunnel under the school (rumoured to be used as a bunker during WW2) and that there was a fire at the back of memorial hall, which luckily didn’t cause much damage. Overall, I would recommend going on the Archive Tour to give yourself an insight into the history of the school.

Ilyas Year 11

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It was fascinating to explore a part of the school that isn’t accessible to us most of the time. The rooms and staircases were steeped in history; the musty smell was quite pleasing and to be on the very top of the school was quite an experience. Thanks to all who made this possible.

Jian Year 10

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It was like taking a stroll up memory lane, with all the nooks and crannies teeming with secret stairways, underground hideouts, and the workings of the now antiquated Melbourne High School campus. I can’t imagine myself being one of the students to ring a mechanical bell every period of the day, or opening up the floorboards in T30 to find a wondrous cavern, but these memories are the foundations of what we live and breathe today. In history it has gone down, as will we one day, and I can say that it was an honour to witness the substance and character that makes MHS what it truly is – a school of wonders.

Jainam Year 10

Luke, the volunteer school archivist, came in and gave us a tour of the archives. It was a very insightful experience, especially in regards to the history of the school. The most interesting part of the tour for me, were the architectural plans and models. The original architectural plans of the T Building showed many secrets of the school, including some of the passageways hidden below the school. The scale model of the N building was also of interest, with Luke telling us all about the missing room on the top floor. Overall it was a great experience, and I am grateful for him taking the time to give us a tour.

Bernard Year 10

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The archive tour was simply fantastic; it really felt like we were getting a bite of the history of Melbourne High. During the tour we got the chance to look at the architectural plans of the school. The things we learnt were fascinating! For example, did you know that during World War 2 trenches were dug on the school oval, because of fears that the school would be accidentally bombed by the Japanese? Did you know that the Q-store and the armoury were used to store sensitive and important documents when the school was occupied by the Navy from 1942 to 1944? I had never known that the history of the school was so rich! If you are interested in learning about the school come along on the next archive tour!

Sachila Year 9

A great experience uncovering the astonishing heritage of the Melbourne High School. Weather it may be the dark abandoned passages underneath the traditional building, or the mechanical old school bell, MHS has kept fascinating us and will keep fascinating us.

Het Year 10

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A very insightful and interesting tour about the history of the school. Also, the view from the top of the tower was astounding.

Taha Year 10

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The history was very enjoyable and enlightening, especially the access to the otherwise restricted areas of the school. We were able to learn about the fascinating history of the school and other interesting stories from its past.

Thanks to all who made the tour a possibility.

Aahidh Year 10

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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

 

From There to Here

MHS old boy Jon Faine returned to the school on Tuesday to talk to the Year 10 students. He doesn’t generally give school talks anymore but made an exception for us.

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He focused mainly on his travel memoir From Here to There, co-written with his son Jack, which relates the story of their drive from Melbourne to London.

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Jon kept the students transfixed with tales of his adventure and they had plenty of questions about it at the end. He also talked about his time at the school and his subsequent career as a lawyer and in radio broadcasting. A key message he had for the students was not to be too narrowly focused in their studies and to recognise the importance of telling a story no matter what profession they are planning to go into.

– Mr Blair Mahoney

The story continues….. On 774 ABC Melbourne the morning following his visit, Jon recounted his visit to MHS. We’d presented him with a book on English industrial history as he’d been the last borrower of this volume in 1974. He also recounted visiting his Vietnamese mechanic on the way home. The mechanic told him his son had attended Jon’s talk. The next generation of diverse students continue to attend MHS.

Thank you Jon for returning to MHS and sharing your story, and to Blair for organising our Literature Festival guest speakers. They provided us with wonderful insight into the literary world.

 

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.

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The Olympic Hall of Fame includes such legends as:

to those who are participating in Rio:

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

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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.

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Students

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.

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Tony Xie – Year 12 Heritage Society President

Ms Catherine Morton – Teacher Librarian

The library’s in the bag!

After thinking about how we could promote the library to staff on the first day of our 2015 school year, we decided to greet them with a show bag of library goodies. We wanted to remind staff about existing services and also highlight new features of our contemporary library.

Inspired by The Unquiet Librarian’s goody bags, we set about compiling a MHS version. We contacted suppliers, designed informational postcards, created coffee vouchers, bought lollies and began compiling 130 lunchbags! Bags Bag contents We were very appreciative of our freebies, ClickView pens,Trove bookmarks and AustLit fliers. I created a postcard that promoted what the library can do as well as advertising our libguides, facebook and twitter accounts. Postcard A second postcard promoted the responsibilities of each library staff member. Added to the bags was a coffee voucher redeemable in the Library, nougat and raffle ticket. Two bottles of wine up for grabs meant everyone delved into their bags for their raffle ticket. Wine 1 To top it off, Tom Gauld, a cartoonist and illustrator from London, granted us permission to use his incredible illustration ‘Library’ on the front of our bags. We were thrilled! Bag front We had great fun creating the bags, making them something that reflected us. It seems that staff appreciated the personal touch, as we’ve had positive feedback, with one staff member commenting that she felt it came from the heart’. There has also been a noticeable shift in the way staff connect with us.

Words, poetry, action!

The Immigration Museum was the venue for our select group of students attending the  Melbourne Writers Festival writing workshop. The Museum has wonderful stories from people all over the world who have migrated to Australia. With it’s outdoor memorial area and fascinating exhibitions, it’s certainly worth a visit.

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15057356342_3b7f20234a_zWe explored the exhibition Identity: yours, mine, ours – who we are and who others think we are…….

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…… and added a wish for our future life to the Japanese wishing tree.

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Then the workshop with author Arnold Zable began! Our task was to interview him and compile an interesting report. Questions from the group included ‘What is your heritage? What inspires you to write? Was it hard for you when you came to Australia?’

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Some of our really interesting notes from the interview ……

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…. and Andre’s writing, which Arnold termed Painting with words.

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Thanks to Arnold for his inspiration and the Immigration Museum for hosting the workshop.

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Our next stop was Federation Square where we joined other students at the Poetry Slam finals. Congratulations to Melbourne Girls College for being The greatest poets in all the land!!

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