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.

Jon Faine 1

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.

Jon Faine 2

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.


We are inspired by people who are inspiring – #LiteratureWeek #BookWeek

Yesterday we had Abe Nouk, spoken word poet, speaking to the Year 10 students. Abe kept the students captivated with stories about his life as a Sudanese refugee who found asylum in Australia. He talked about the importance of finding a way to tell your own stories and how his belated efforts to achieve literacy and the discovery of spoken word poetry were an avenue for him to serve the society that has become his home.
On Wednesday, MHS old boy and comedian Nazeem Hussain will be speaking to the Year 11 students. Nazeem has written for his own comedy shows, such as Fear of a Brown Planet (with Aamer Rahman) and the television series Legally Brown.
On Tuesday next week, Indian writer Samhita Arni, author of The Mahabharata – A Child’s View (which she started writing and illustrating when she was just eight), Sita’s Ramayana (with artist Moyna Chitrakar) and The Missing Queen, will be speaking to the Year 9 students.
(Mr Blair Mahoney – organiser of English program for Literature Week)

Abe tells stories from the heart and encourages young people to believe in the value of their stories.

After fleeing South Sudan with his single mother and seven brothers and sisters as refugees, Abe described coming to Australia in 2004 as nothing short of magical. He said only a few years ago he couldn’t read or write a word of English and now he was creating art and connecting with people in ways he never would have imagined. (Source: The Creative Issue)

You can keep in touch with Abe on Twitter – @AbeNouk   His tweets are uplifting, simple messages advocating happiness through humility, gratitude and service to others.

Abe has given his permission to post photos and videos of his talk to our year 10 students. I missed the beginning of his first spoken word poem because he launched into it seamlessly in the middle of his talk.

Parade of literary characters

Today is the final day of Book/Literature Week. We had the best time. Thanks to all teachers and students who dressed up creatively. Enjoy the photos.

Choosing prizes – books and print credit. The print credit was a hit!

Miss Havisham

Captain Hook

The winner of the teacher costume




Saucepan Man from The Magic Faraway Tree


We came, we played, we ate popcorn – BookWiz 2014

Our second ever MHS BookWiz was so much fun.

Full house, popcorn supplied, and 3 rounds of challenging book trivia – what more could you want? Thanks to Old Boy, Marcus Saunders, for being an awesome M.C., and to Ms Denise Beanland for organising the event and even purchasing the popcorn machine especially. This year the winning table of students thrashed the 2 teacher tables – that’s life. Thank you to all who came, including all teachers and assistant principals who took time out of their very busy schedules,to Mangala for scoring, to our volunteers, to the students who set up the microphone, and the library team for making sure everything ran smoothly.

Some photos of the event –

The winning team – fearless readers!

The crowd

 Teacher tables

Quite optimistic here

Not quite as optimistic later in the competition

Marcus and Pam Saunders

The Scores

Signing up for tables

The teams

The concentration

The best answer to Number 10  ‘Why doesn’t Hogwarts have a gym’

The disappointment

Thanks to all who made this a fantastic event. See you next year!







Costumes and cakes – Book Week shenanigans at Melbourne HS

Amongst the favourite of all Book Week activities at Melbourne High School is the Friday “Dress up as your favourite book character”. The whole day is very disruptive and fabulously enjoyable. The library hosts an impressive and very popular (from all accounts) morning tea, and students in costume are permitted to partake of the gourmet fare. Costumes immediately change the way people feel, even those just observing in civilian dress, and this day created its own vibe. We are grateful that a number of students and staff take the trouble to dress up, and the competition and parade at lunchtime are enjoyed by many. Here are a few highlights from the competition – Padraig was the witty MC, as well as being ‘the man in the black suit’. I’m including details students were required to provide about their choice of character.

Padraig is obviously the one in the black suit. I decided to make the boys grungey – trying out different photo editing apps.


Padraig dressed as the man in the black suit from book of the same name by Stephen King.
Padraig: “I chose this character because he is not only stylishly dressed but possesses insane laughter and evil. Much like myself.”


Daniel came dressed as the tabloid reporter Freddie Lowndes from Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
“This is one of my favourite books, where this character is a journalist who defames a person who turns out to be a serial killer. My character is tortured and set on fire.”
Special features: glasses, vest, hat and tie.


Carlo came dressed as Sadako from Sadako and the thousand paper cranes by Eleanor Coerr
“because I am fascinated with origami and I enjoyed making the many cranes.”
Special features: “the cranes themselves and I also made a special golden crane.”


Maxim came dressed as Tom Sawyer from The adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
“because this was a book I enjoyed and loved as a child, with Tom being the witty main character.
His special feature: straw hat.


Chi Rui came dressed as the hungry caterpillar from the book of the same name by Eric Carle
because it was “the most prominant book character from my childhood.”
Special features: mask and sleeping bag.


Christopher came dressed as the Zombie from The Dead by Charlie Higson.
“I chose this character because he’s awesome.”
Special feature: blood everywhere.


Mangala came dressed as B2 from Bananas in pyjamas “because
Bananas in Pyjamas was my favourite show/book when I was a child.”
His special features: the homemade hat and pyjamas.


Harry dressed as Scarface from Scarface, the 1932 American gangster film based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Armitage Trail.
He chose his character because “I like history  and 1920s gangsters have class.”
Special feature: cashmere jacket $1000, silver gold studded watch, gold studded belt like Scarface and life-like scar on left cheek.


Austin was Wally from Where’s Wally? by Martin Handford.
“I chose this character because I loved the books as a little kid.
My special feature: I am hiding somewhere in the room. Can you find me?” Well done, Austin, for being completely in character during the day and surprising us with your entrance.


Vivek dressed as Spongebob Squarepants from Spongebob: I ripped my pants.
“I chose the character because I had the hat.
Special feature: me!”


Jeremy came dressed as Dracula from Bram Stoker’s Dracula because “Dracula has a very recognisable image and a striking personality”.  Special features: “my cloak and ability to drink blood.”

The library staff didn’t disappoint – many of us came as characters from Alice in Wonderland. Here’s Di as Alice –


Maggie as The Cheshire Cat.


Marie as the March Hare


Denise dressed as Phryne Fisher, the main character in Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s series of Phryne Fisher detective novels.


Our lovely library student, Ally, came dressed as Madeleine from Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic Madeline children’s books.


Here are some of our well dressed teachers – can you guess who they are?




Our esteemed judges –



A portion of our audience –


I love the caterpillar’s moves on the catwalk –



Did I say how happy we were to see so many teachers get into the spirit of the day?



And finally, some pictures of our magnificent morning tea


And some of the cakes in our baking competition for The Big Cake Bake – talented students created this green eggs and ham


Maggie created an Animal Farm cake – love it!


Denise’s amazing picnic basket from Wind in the willows.


And so, another Book Week bites the dust. Y’all come back now!