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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Blind Date with a Book #LibraryLoversDay

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February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, but also Library Lovers’ Day. Libraries and their users all around the world are celebrating loving their library. Here at the MHS library, we decided to celebrate by having a ‘Blind Date with a Book’. You never know what you might check out…

First of all, have a look at what’s available…

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Look at all these lovelies (with a chocolate as a sweetener)…!

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So many to choose from!

“I think you’d like this one”

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No Angus, you can’t see through the paper!

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By recess, quite a number of dates had been taken out…

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At the end of the day only the desperate and dateless were left….

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Happy reading!

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Happy Library Lovers’ Day!

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

 

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.

 

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!

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Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl!

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.