Katherine Brabon, winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for her first novel, The Memory Artist, launches Laureate 2016

On Wednesday, 24 November members of the school community celebrated the launch of the 2015–16 edition of the English Faculty’s literary magazine, Laureate.

In what was a very special occasion, staff, students and parents gathered in the school library to recognise the outstanding creative writing and artworks of Melbourne High School students. Australian author and winner of the 2016 Vogel’s Award for her novel The Memory Artist, Katherine Brabon, presented copies of the 2015–16 Laureate to those students whose work appeared in the magazine. In her speech, Katherine noted how impressed she was by the imagination and flair displayed by MHS writers and she commended them for their dedication to the craft of writing.

The English Faculty extends its congratulations to the students whose work appeared in the 2015–16 edition of Laureate.

Appreciation should also go to the English teachers for their tireless work in nurturing the students in their creative endeavours, providing them with advice and feedback, and also for proofreading the work submitted for this publication.

Special mention and a big thank you must go to Sam Bryant who has continued in his role as editor for the 2015–16 edition. Sam has spent many months co-ordinating, collecting, collating, reading, and editing the student work, as well as designing the layout and assembly of the magazine.

The Melbourne High School community extends its appreciation and recognition to Sam and all English staff for their dedication and commitment in showcasing and immortalising our students’ talents. In Horace’s words the English Faculty has created a ‘monumentum aere perennius’ (‘a monument more enduring than bronze’).

Copies of the Laureate 2015–16 and our past editions are available for borrowing from the school library. Access to electronic copies are available on the ‘news’ page of the English website.

– George Marotous, Head of English

It was wonderful to see so many parents attending!

A great opportunity to catch up with former students (2015)

Contributing student authors were presented with a copy of Laureate.

We are so fortunate to be supported by our assistant principals at such events!

Thank you to Katherine Brabon for inspiring our student writers!

Great job, Mr Sam Bryant! Keeping our literary publication alive and enabling our student writers to be published.

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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.

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Setting up

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Setting up

 

Let the games begin….

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Our visiting author looks perplexed!

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Tea Duelling is a serious sport

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Tea Duelling is a serious sport

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Tea Duelling is a serious sport

Some of us weren’t taking it that seriously…

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Heats over, now it gets really serious

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

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And now the final…. Jacob v Angus.

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

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Jacob the victor…

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Angus – Tea and Biscuit

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A gallant second place

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Winners…

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… are grinners

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Jacob and Angus with the Tiffin Mistress and Tony Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Thompson visits MHS

Reading Assembly

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Thanks to Miss Morton for the photographs

 

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.

 

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

Our year 9s workshop with Mark Wilson – endangered species, Vietnam war, comics and looking for the shapes in things

Mark Wilson visited our year 9s today. His most recent book, Beth: the story of a child convict, has almost sold out even though it isn’t officially released until May 30.

Mark kept 2 classes of year 9 transfixed talking about his 2 main interests – our natural environment and endangered species, and his experiences of the Vietnam war. The combination of his passion and talent for storytelling was followed by a hands-on workshop where he focused on identifying shapes in things as a drawing tool. Mark fired drawing prompts at the boys while he demonstrated how it was done on the whiteboard.

“It’s all about movement”. – Mark Wilson (who grew up on comics and learned by studying how comics were drawn.

Thank you, Mark, for a very entertaining, informative and inspiring session which I’m sure our boys will remember for a long time. Whether in terms of awareness of our environment or endangered species, issues associated with war, or drawing techniques, our students’ understanding and appreciation for these things has been broadened. Thank you to Marie for organising the workshop, and to Suelyn and Mihaela for their support. It was also great to have the opportunity to collaborate with Stonnington Libraries.