It is to my own embarrassment that despite becoming Chair of the Foundation, my knowledge of the College’s early years was poor. Fortunately, due to the hard work of Anne Hunt and Maria Hurrell over many years, we have a wealth of archived resources and photos. Even so, it required a nudge from Maria to point me in the right direction.
The Rock Archives, which I discovered in the Foundation Page of the School website, os a gem, and to those of you who have already discovered this and are now smugly smiling, you can scroll down to ‘donations’ and put your time and resources to better use, while I continue on extolling the virtues of these early edition reads.
In the Editor’s own words, “the first edition of any school magazine is an occasion of pride and even joy” and the humour from the young authors attests to this.
From Volume 1. 1969, I have a few favourite articles, the first being P.G. O’Brien’s ‘My First Impressions’ which, except for his disappointment in finding that girls were in his class, well exceeded his expectations.
Followed by ‘Heard in Passing’ comments from the 1st term:
“I like school, but I like the uniforms better – they’re snazzy.”
“The chains are awfully noisy.”
“I like the way we have our lessons – you don’t see too much of anyone.”
“So far I like St. Peter’s – the teachers are good – of course it is only the first week anything could happen yet.”
“The boys’ socks look like balloons, but I suppose the boys think they look smart.”
Then “Boarding without Tears – (for the most part)” - author not stated, describing the exploits of the first 34 boarders in that first term.
For a short history lesson “The Parish Priest Reminisces” is an interesting insight to Gore’s Catholic schooling past and the dream of one day having a school for boys, considered “fine talk, but what a task lay ahead!” “We had no land, no buildings, no money.”
It is extraordinary to look back now at these early volumes and think 50 years have passed and here we are reviewing them again. I hope P.G O’Brien is amused rather than mortified that he has been named, I thought it was quite wonderful from the eyes of a 13-year-old.
By Bernie Weller