Murray Wigg – YHS 1951 – “My reason for writing is to balance the suggestion that the quality of the education at YHS was not all it could or should have been.
Firstly, let us remember we are talking about the 1950-60s when all things were vastly different. I believe the school turned out a great number of good people – academically, socially and morally. YHS produced medical specialists, engineers, scientists, teachers and, in my case, several pharmacist colleagues, who all served the communities they lived in well. With Headmasters like George Ellis, students were taught good citizenship and if they didn’t learn, it was not the teachers’ fault. We also had great sporting results – some going on to higher athletics and VFL football (visit www.virtualyallourn.com – type in Search (top RH tab) the word “football” to read the stories of many such people). Academically, while in any large group of teachers there will be some weak links, there were many excellent teachers, the late Don Lugg teaching Chemistry comes to mind. Finally, my experience was that I enjoyed a productive 6 years at YHS rounding off some of the square corners and fitting the round hole, so that the 6 years stood me in good stead for the rest of my life. While I do not dispute that many may have a different view, I thought I would like to balance the discussion a little.”
Dear Murray, My name is Pamela Helen Street (nee) Parker - I can not remember your face from school, but you were still attending there when I was. I remember your name with respect. I remember Mr Ellis. He was a very stern man and used to scare the heck out of me. I have to laugh when I think about my short time attending Yallourn High School. I was always a daydreamer in class and always in trouble. Most of the teachers who had the misfortune to have me in their classes told me I'd never amount to anything. I spent a lot of time hiding behind class doors after being caught chewing gum or talking in class, hoping Miss Burt would not catch me as she used to patrol the schoolyards it seemed non-stop in those days. In class, I'd be looking out the windows at the birds, trees and sky, wishing I was outside or in the local swimming pool and never applying myself, I had a very limited amount of education there. In my first year, I missed the first three months as Dad had long service leave, and we went to stay at Yarrack, a sheep property near Glen Thompson, for my mother to recuperate from a life-saving operation. Second year I got through that on a wing and a prayer. The third year, disaster struck, and I left partway through that third year. However, my parents sent me off to Melbourne to Burroughs Business College, and I graduated there in 1957. I had a very interesting career in offices and also several laboratories. At the age of 15, I worked for Ansett Airlines in their Swanston Street office as a Junior Ledger Machine Operator, My parents and family hated me being away from home as they missed me, so they came down to Melbourne to get me, and I reluctantly came home to the country. I also worked at the State Electricity Commission in Yallourn in their Timekeeping Section working on wages for approx. 4350 workers. I remember paying the tiny sum of 8 guineas deposit at the age of 16 or so - for a home in Newborough for my parents, to repay them for all the things they did for me, like trying to educate me, it was my way to try and repay my Mum too as she made me gorgeous clothing - dresses, shirts, short sets and school uniforms etc., by cutting up her own patterns in newspaper and sewing until the wee hours of the mornings for many, many years, making me the envy of all the children I knew. Also, for the 8-week camping holidays every Christmas at Inverloch, my Dad made 3 trips from home to the beach to set up our camp. There were 5 children and 2 adults in my home, and things must have been very hard for my parents on one wage. Later on, I worked in Quality Control, and then I was promoted to Shift Industrial Chemist (with no papers or credentials), but I could do the job required by Charles Hope then, a few years later, ACI and Nylex purchased the business in Eagle farm. I had many more adventures. I wrote 4 Books, all of which were published under my married name Pamela H Street - 2 books for adults and two children's Books. So I can also say the little education I did have, firstly at Yallourn State School and then onto Yallourn High School, stood me in good stead, Being there moulded my character and my life, I often thought, what if I had applied myself at school could I have done better in life? Just a little addition I had forgotten. At the age of 32 years - 2 years over the 30-year age limit I was given special permission from Canberra to become a Recruit in the ARES -Women's Royal Australian Army Corp, WRAAC - only because I recruited two other people from where I worked at the time into the Army Reserves before I signed up and after I did my training, I was promoted to Corporal - First of all with One Ordnance Services Unit then I was transferred to Headquarters 1 Supply Group I was the lowest rank in that office and the only female. Our Commanding officer then was Colonel Lovejoy. I am now 80, and even though I have lived the majority of my life in Queensland - Yallourn in Victoria is still and always - will be called - HOME to me.