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December 19, 2019



Canberra Bomber RAAF Base Amberley Cadet Camp.

When you got to Sub-Junior (Year 9) in 1958, the year when most of us turned 14, you became eligible to join St Laurence's ATC (Air Training Corps).

I say "became eligible" but you had to have a pretty good reason not to join, like parents vehemently opposed to it.

Lauries was very proud of having the largest ATC in Brisbane and maybe in Queensland. This was achieved by having only Air Force cadets (no Army or Navy) and pretty much compulsory service.

We were organised as a Wing, which comprised two Squadrons, each of which had three Flights. A flight consisted of around 20 to 30 students.


Lauries in the War

The Unlabelled Generation

We seem to be the only unlabelled generation.

The closest is "Baby Boomers" but we're not that. The baby boomers were born after 1945, when the surviving soldiers came back from the war and made up for lost time.

Most of us were born in 1944, some in 1943 and at least one (looking at you, Terry) earlier.

Perhaps we are simply the Old Farts.

Anyway, that was just a segue into the war.

Brisbane Fortress Command

This information is taken from the Oz at War website

SLC Old School Building

St Laurence's Original School Building


Jailhouse Rock

When: 1958, school holidays from Sub Junior
Scene: Brisbane CBD (Although that initialisation was not then in vogue.) More specifically, Albert Street.

Peter Finch Robbery Under Arms

Our parents have granted the Campbell boys the treat of a day at the pictures, unsupervised. It has been decided that we should view Peter Finch in “Robbery Under Arms”, an Australian film dealing with bushranger Captain Lightfoot.

The film was screening at the St James theatre, and we arrived by tram for the morning session. However, we noted that screening opposite at the Metro theatre was “Jailhouse Rock” starring one Elvis Presley. Needless to say, we would never have been allowed to see such depravity and lasciviousness.


Sub-Senior Incident

Scene: The sub-senior (year 11) classroom, winter 1960.

The Lineup

The Lineup

The class awaits the arrival of Brother Mick Lloyd for a Maths A session.

We are situated on the upper level of the old edifice, and directly opposite the stairs, whence he will come. As usual, the classroom window facing the stairs is placed in an appropriate position by us, thus affording by reflection, a warning of his imminent arrival.

(Digression: whilst we think the delicate angle placement of this window is a clever and esoteric endeavour, one day Principal Brother Bernie Crawford, who also teaches us, comments by way of aside, “Just appreciate that such a window can be used two ways!”. This is not part of a physics lesson, but has a desired effect.)


Memories from SLC Days 1954 – 1961 Part 1

Boy Getting the Strap

I went to ‘Lauries’ in my Grade 5 year as I was turning 10 years old. It was a very different scenario to what I had come from at St Peter and Paul’s convent school in Bulimba where we Grade 4 boys had run somewhat amok for the year.

I think our teacher was Br. Mahon and the poor man had a class of about 100 boys of all shapes, sizes and conditions to manage and attempt to teach.

It was a Herculean task. He would set work for us to do and when each boy had finished their work it had to be taken up to Brother for his perusal. If it did not meet the standard back one went to try again with a little help from Brother, sometimes in the form of the dreaded Strap.


Initial Confusion

Scene: The SLC Junior Black (year 10) room and environs, 1959, season not determined.

The Issue: Students were given essay tasks in various subjects, particularly English and History, with the topic being something recently covered in each syllabus. The product was presented in the appointed time (well, by a certain percentage anyway).

Student Essay

There then occurred a hiatus period when students waited with apprehension for the return of the efforts to each. It is particularly relevant that mention be made at this point of specific annotations which may appear on a product. Most relevant were those of Reverend Brother Bernie Crawford and Reverend Brother Dan Mooney.


Grade 5 and the True Meaning of Decimation

Roman Decimation

From Wikipedia: Decimation (Latin: decimatio; decem = "ten") was a form of Roman military discipline in which every tenth man in a group was executed by his cohorts. The discipline was used by senior commanders in the Roman Army to punish units or large groups guilty of capital offences, such as cowardice, mutiny, desertion, and insubordination, and for pacification of rebellious legions. The word decimation is derived from Latin meaning "removal of a tenth". The procedure was a pragmatic attempt to balance the need to punish serious offences with the realities of managing a large group of offenders.

December 11, 2019

The 12 Days of Christmas


In celebration of rapidly approaching Christmas. I believe this was originally presented by Frank Kelly, who played Father Jack in the Irish television series Father Ted.

Day One

Dear Nuala,
Thank you very much for your lovely present of a partridge in a pear-tree. We're getting the hang of feeding the partridge now, although it was difficult at first to win its confidence. It bit the mother rather badly on the hand but they're good friends now and we're keeping the pear-tree indoors in a bucket. Thank you again. Yours affectionately,
Gobnait O'Lúnasa

Day Two


Santa Claus Vs God

Santa Claus 400

I sometimes reflect on the fact that to a child there is much more evidence for the existence of Santa Claus (photo to the left) than for the existence of God (no photo available).

Consider the similarities.

The child is told by the main authority figures in his or her life, parents, grandparents and extended family that both exist.

Furthermore, that both perform miracles. God created the Earth and everything on it in 7 days (even before there was a Sun to provide a measure for days) and Santa Claus delivers gifts all over the planet in 24 hours once a year, dispensing them from a sleigh drawn by flying reindeer.

There the similarities end.