Elizabeth High 1977 – Class 12.2: Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?

 

Geez, where did those forty years go? This photo was taken early in 1977, may be April-ish. The combination of Golden Breed, Wrangler and industrial strength collars probably gives it away.

These kids were the academic cream of Elizabeth High’s Matriculation cohort that year, the “double Maths” class, Class 12.2

The asbestos riddled pinboard walls were adorned with posters from my personal collection, straight from the centrefolds of Australian Cricket. Rick McCosker’s, pre-Centenary Test pull shot and FOT Lillee’s menacing leap gave us all the confidence to take on the world, or at least match wits with those toffs from Salisbury East High come November.

Norman Gunston was the reining Gold Logie winner on the back of his “fabulously well-paid” endorsement of Dukes smokes. His gurning visage was sometimes embellished with slag-sodden pelleted projectiles, launched from an emptied Bic barrel with a hearty “pffftt”. What a time to be alive.

I’m not sure where the (obscured) THOMMO banner came from, but it was a beauty.

Anyhow*, who were these kids? What became of them? And what hope did they have, coming from Elizabeth? Read on.

Back Row (from left)

Jim Rock was one of the Vale’s finest exponents of the round ball game, forming a deadly combination with Darren Scaife. After a long stint as an ETSA sparky, he became a lawyer, specialising in employment law and workers’ comp.

Wayne Greenwood shared our love of Centrals, I think his dad had some official involvement at the club across the road and he was often seen doing official looking stuff at the Ponderosa on Saturdays. He still plays A Grade golf at Penfield.

Michael Buckley (Bucko) lobbed next to me in Mickey Moore’s class of ’74. The mandatory ice-breakers (“Sturt”, “Northfield High”) allowed me to establish his bona fides. Bucko was the most fearless footballer I ever played with, using with his pointy knees and elbows as sly weapons in his time as a medium-sized ruckman with a very unreliable left foot. I was there when he unwrapped his copy of “Low” and chucked it on the flimsy Sanyo turntable (yep, the white plastic one) for the first time. His furrowed brow at the end of Side 2 told the story of someone who thought he’d done his dough, but wasn’t game to admit it. That Footscray long sleeve and definitely woollen jumper that he wore to my and Mrs Swish’s engagement six years later was a ripper. We shared workplaces for a while when I was at ETSA from 85-89. I left, he stayed, going on to a JCL-laden career as a systems programmer. He had to get his CICS somewhere I suppose.

Peter Hamilton – I’ve known Hammo since my first day at Elizabeth South Infants School in mid 1966. Truth be told, I probably see his parents Norma and Lyall more often than I do Pete and his wife Bronny, as I’ve only made it to Loxton twice since he moved there permanently in the early 90s. Last time I saw them was here. Dr Peter Hamilton is possibly the longest serving GP in the Riverland by now, he certainly has the best mo. The Hammo’s palace on Philip Highway was a safe Saturday night haven for many of our combined frolics during Year 11 and 12. If only that back lawn could talk, it would probably say “Stop spewing, Schwerdty”.

Middle Row (from left)

Joy Spencer – Another girl that I hardly knew, despite sharing the same four walls in 1977.

Richard Cooke – Cookie left school not long after this photo. When he bobbed up at the AUFC Blacks a few years later as an A1 premiership ruckman here, he had completed Matric as mature age student and also completed a B Ec. He trod the well worn 80s/90s path overseas as a management consultant, but now is CEO of NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect). I’m not worthy.

Chris Chataway is now known as The Very Reverend Chris Chataway, Dean of Ballarat at Diocese of Ballarat. Wow. I’m not sure I saw that coming from my only rival as the kid most likely to have had sand kicked in his face, Charles Atlas style. He of course knew to turn the other cheek, unlike me.

Ian King was dubbed “Muso” by Bob Noll, as fitting an epithet now as then. He has amassed an extensive musical cv and is still infusing the kids of Bundy soaked Catholics with their daily dose of culture. Not sure where he stood on the Queen v Supertramp wars of 1976.

Alan Modra – in our blinkered youthfulness, we never saw beyond Alan’s maths and science braniac persona. Who knows, he may also have had his thoughts on Bowie’s “plastic soul” years or Garry Window’s “go harder” strategy, had we thought to ask him. But when he arrived two minutes before our final Maths I exam, covered in congealed blood and Philip Highway asphalt after a spill from his five-speed (Sturmey Archer gears probably), en route from the Vale, before proceeding to knock out an A+++, he’d earnt our permanent but belated respect. There is an Alan Modra who appears to be a world renowned “white knight” in the shadowy world of open source software. I hope that it is him.

Dave Dunn – Dunny/Schmo/Schmunn, was the youngest of a large but welcoming tribe of Dunns, who possessed the jauntiest pianola north of the Old Spot Hotel. His legspinners were lethal, especially the ones that bounced. The brains behind the soapy sport of Squarsh, we’ve only spent about 15 minutes living in the same city since we left school. Dave left mid-year to take up his role as the first junior folk historian at the Motor Vehicles Department, eventually joining the Defence Forces in various capacities and localities. He even married a Melbourne sheila, who is not bad considering (hi Sue). They kindly put me up (and put up with me) in their spare room a few years back while I was back working in the ‘hood. Thanks again.

Neil Gordon– I first saw Neil when he was captain of Westfield U/11s, lining up on the half back flank. I once faced off against him in a summer school holidays cricket ball throwing showdown at Dauntsey Road. He pantsed me, although I still maintain that I would have beaten him if it was baseballs we were throwing rather than Dunny’s old two-piecer. I once sat in the back seat of Jim Loveday’s Morris 1100 (with Jim) as Neil and an unnamed Elizabeth Vale girl partook in a rather chaste dalliance at the Starline Drive-In in the front. (They should have given those bucket seats a bit more thought beforehand). Who would have thought that Neil would go on to be a partner of great repute at one of Adelaide’s establishment legal firms? All of us probably.

Roy Watson – That would be respected Adelaide gynaecologist Dr Roy Watson. Port supporter.

Clive Muchamore was bestowed with the nickname “Olive” the day that a near-sighted relief teacher called his name out during the morning roll call. He overcame that enormous social setback before high-tailing it to Queensland. Not sure whether he kicked on as a saxophonist, but he was another of the kids that combined the sciences with Music.

Ed Bzowy  – A suburban man of mystery, I’d hear tales of random Ed sightings while I was still in Adelaide; I think that Coober Pedy may have been mentioned. He turns up on the list of Roseworthy Agricultural College grads in 1993, but that might just be a witness protection ploy.

Jim Loveday or “Jim Loveday, Greenwith” as he is known throughout his extensive contributions to the Advertiser on-line comments. Jim went down in EHS folklore as the driver of the green Morris 1100 that transported Boris Henschke and an un-named third occupant (with close ties to the author of this piece) to Craigmore High during a Health Education elective, wreaking untold havoc by throwing a couple of bricks (correction: it was a 6oz Coke bottle), that saw the lot of them suspended for a week in Year 11. The same vehicle used to transport about a dozen of us to the Norwood Oval night series games. Jim’s had a long career as an IT professional.

Bob Noll – Playing the dual role of class teacher and our Maths I and II teacher, “Battling Bob’s” career apex was 1977. His specialty was probability, which didn’t help him when he took five of us to Oakbank on Easter Monday in his battered Holden Premier. One of his acquaintances was Jim Loveday’s professional punter brother and he was a permanent fixture in the bar on the half back flank for the Elizabeth Eagles a few years prior. He knew when to crack the whip at the right time, and he never “lost” us, to use some coaching vernacular. I don’t remember running into him after school finished, but I think he may have ended up as a local footy stalwart in Mannum. Should be very proud. Thanks Bob.

Front Row (from left)

Angela Davies came to EHS in the latter years, after arriving from the UK. Sorry Angela, I hardly knew you, you were so quiet. She was at least sensible enough give me a wide berth.

Mark Schwerdt. I’m caught here in the transition between a curly post-Aladdin Sane barnet and my Uni-era big afro. I should have studied harder, but by this time we were living a forty minute bus ride away in Para Hills, so I lost the valuable post-school, pre-dinner study hours (as if that would have made a difference). To see where my head was at back then, have a squiz here. I’m currently ekeing out a living as an internet abacus technician, having forsaken the possibility of becoming an expert in Welfare Economics the day that Highways Department Assistant Commissioner, Admin and Finance, JD Fergusson told me that I’d have to stick to the conditions of my Public Service Cadetship bond and forget about Honours. Pr*ck. Elizabeth’s gift to the not-so-sleepy-anymore southeast suburbs of Melbourne, I’ve been an economic refugee since the mid-90s.

Liz O’Driscoll, ahem, Dr Elizabeth O’Driscoll, another St Mary Magdalene’s-on-Sunday-morning goer (see also Muchamore, Schwerdt) certainly kicked on. We never got along at school, (although we put aside our differences when she captained the It’s Academic team here) but she was still kind enough to arrange a lift home for me with her pal Andrea Walker (now Crase) from an Elvis Costello gig at Apollo Stadium (1979 methinks). Sorry I was such a shit to you (and many others, come to think of it).

Elaine Lee. Flea was a cracking soccer player and softballer from the Vale. I had a crush on her during the First Year camp at Aldinga, but she thrashed me at arm wrestling, so we decided to keep our distance thereafter. Used to see her a lot on the weekend where the Lee family were stalwarts of the Roadrunners softball club.

Laura Brownbill, ahem, ahem, Dr Laura Brownbill was a gun swimmer like all her siblings, and lived on nob-Hillbank. Her green Thai curry was the highlight of my three months of commuting to Adelaide a few years ago. My favourite Laura story relates to her first weeks at Adelaide Uni’s Medical School. Upon being introduced to another fresherperson who mentioned that they had “gone to Saints”, Laura responded with “Saints what?”

Quentin Parker – My “research” leads me to conclude that Quentin now resides in the Top End, having made his name in the world of aviation infrastructure.

John Edwards – I somehow associate John with Physics and the bearded Mr Maddison, but, sorry John, I’m scratching my greying bonce as I try to add some more colour to this.


I’m somewhat embarrassed my lack of detail about some of these classmates. Then again, I could embarrass some of the others with details that I’d best keep to myself. A few of these kids entered my closer orbit for the first time in 1977 (it was a big school then, around 2000 students across five year levels), others had been almost constant companions during and outside of school hours.

Still, whenever anyone bags Elizabeth (I’m looking at you J Barnes), this piece should be Exhibit A, B and C for the defence (jointly run by J Rock and N Gordon). We turned out OK.

You are welcome to add your own stories to this in the comments below, and please share it around.

First time readers might be rewarded by fossicking through my previous meanderings here, or not.

 

(Google and LinkedIn were my friends here. Facebook probably would have helped if I had an account, but that’s a bridge I’m not willing to cross.)

 

 

 

 

 

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right

Comments

  1. charlie brown says:

    Great read Swish. Loved it. And that’s from someone who went to “Saints what?. I look forward to the EHS bios of a weatherman by the name of Dutschke and a doctor by the name of Douglas. The Richard Cooke story is remarkable. Is Dave Dunn the brother of the late Brian?

  2. charlie brown says:

    …….and a bio on an accountant by the name of Culley.

  3. Punxsu.... Pete says:

    Colourful and entertaining, Swish. We had a kid in my grade 6 class who mused that he wanted to become a gynaecologist, but in my estimation was more suited to running a strip club. Thankfully his lowly grades sorted that out for society.

  4. Lyndon Andrews says:

    Another great read. I attended Elizabeth High to complete my secondary education (Leaving Honours 1964) . I have been telling people for years that it was school of high academic achievement . I recall that most of the 90 in my year went onto tertiary education. Whilst I cannot detail their current whereabouts I am confident that most would have had successful careers and are now most likely enjoying retirement (Most turning 70 this year )
    We had a great footy team as well. Gary Smith and Bob Edmonds were already playing league football and in the few games we played had names like Saywell , Smitham, R.Cochrane and Swinstead and a host of others wore the hoops at seconds and thirds level

  5. Peter_B says:

    Impressive list of high achievers there Swish. I reckon I’m about 5 years older (balder) than you. As a genteel country/Anglican boy my mum told me when I moved to Adelaide to never to associate with those ruffians just north of Grand Junction Road. In my mind it was Adelaide’s Mason Dixon line. I only broke it for my first girlfriend. She lived in Pooraka so it was only just beyond the Berlin Wall. She was a charming bubbly blond but lived just a few streets north of the Gepps Cross Abbatoirs. Made pickups a challenge. She probably knew there was something ‘off’ about me too. She was saved by the smell.
    My first job at the Dept of Social Security (giving not receiving) we had a couple of Rick Wakemanesque prog rockers in our work team. Remember going north to Pooraka or Ingle Farm taverns to see their band a few times. Dunno if it was the King Crimson Lite or the clientele that put me off returning.
    Oh and there was Globe Derby and Gawler trots – but I didn’t have a choice there.
    Have no idea where my classmates from Yorketown and Kadina High Schools are these days. I’m sure they are grateful. But have I told you about my Colts premiership photo next to Tony Giles…………………?
    Love these Croweater reminiscences. Keep ’em coming.

  6. King karutz says:

    Good read Swish. Admiration from someone who got a G in Maths 1S ( which I mistakenly interpreted as standing for Good) .

    I join with Charlie Brown in requesting a bio on Brett Dutchke … You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

  7. rabid dog says:

    Thanks Swish. Surprising how many I know (even some not in the photo!) from your year, despite (a) different school; and (b) 2 years before my matric year. Thanks to Charlie for the suggestion, but only the posh Lizbeff kids went to Lizbeff High- I went to the West.

  8. That’s a fun, affectionate read Swish.

    Love the photo complete with Thommo, NG and your classmate with what appears to be a white skivvy. As one who spends some time in recycled clothing shops, or Op Shops, to use their proper nomenclature, I don’t see too many skivvies! Has there been a cooler clothing brand than Golden Breed?

  9. Dave Brown says:

    Much of recent education research is suggesting that a child’s peer group is more important to their achievement (in that view of the world where we classify someone’s success in life by how educated they are and how much they earn) than necessarily the school they attend. Looks like you had and were quite the peer group, Swish

  10. Fascinating read, Swish. Quite the group of achievers right there. Your research skills are also top notch. I always appreciate a piece of nostalgia and that was a good hit.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Thanks for all of your responses so far.

    Charlie – Culls was probably on the receiving end of a brick when we visited Craigmore

    PP – You had to go there. I was trying to play with a straight bat.

    Beefy – Footy playing teachers, a whole new topic.

    PB – Tony Giles? Tell me more. On second thoughts…

    King – The Dutschke family shared a church community with the Hammos. I’m thinking that the BD story would make a good musical.

    Rabs – You done OK too

    Mickey – Alan Modra’s skivvy may actually have been yellow. And many of the western shirts were green. I was wearing red adidas Gazelles. Monochrome doesn’t do us justice.

    DB – There’s always outriders like me though

    MN – “Research”

  12. Earl O'Neill says:

    Crystal Cylinders had the edge on Golden Breed when it came to cool.

  13. Luke Reynolds says:

    Despite not knowing anyone apart from M.Schwerdt, really enjoyed this Swish. Have you had a reunion(s)? My High school class (1992-97) never has, despite talk about such an event being quite regular over the past few years.

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Earl, in your parts, maybe

    Luke, I went back over to a reunion of our year in 2000, but I remember it being a bit of a competition rather than a reminiscence.

    Rabs, regarding your late night comment that seems to have vapourised, no Ciaks back then, but ripples and lumber jackets were favoured by many of the Maths 1S/Biology types.

    We generally had to make do with the specials tables from Y-Jeans where they sold the seconds from the nearby Levi’s factory.

  15. Let’s try again…..
    Thanks for this Swish !!!

  16. No way, get f**d, f** off? Enjoyed this Swish – a couple of years before me but Golden Breed and ripples prevailed. Only the really tough kids wore ripples at Norwood. The uniform demanded black school shoes. And a tie. I settled for desert boots in year 12 – and later dropped into criminal law – as a mark of my issues with authority. You know the ones with a mix of ‘suede’ and ‘leather’? Reckon we probably ran into each other (possibly literally) at Norwood oval during that Escort cup night series. I hung out with some local ne’er do wells in the southern stand. I was the one drowning in an over-sized duffle coat. I had no idea Cookie was from north of GJ Rd. Not only was he a Blacks’ premiership player in 86, but very nearly BOG that day. I wonder what the sociologists would say about the stunning success of your cohort. Perhaps my father was right after all – double maths, physics and chem “to keep your options open”. Pfft. Likewise just the one reunion for me, many years ago. Not doing that again.

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Onya Smokie

    Ta Daddsy, the title was a nod to former EHS student, Bernard Neeson. We were definitely in the Southern Stand at Norwood

  18. Jim Loveday says:

    Hi Mark. Long time no see. Apparently, a Coke bottle morphs into bricks after a few years…

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