December 7, 2019

About Me

Phil

Born in 1944, I attended St Laurence's College (SLC) from 1953 to 1961, which was the full nine years offered by the school, from Year 4 to Year 12. Called in those days Grade 4 and Senior respectively.

Other years had special names as well. Year 7 was Sub-Scholarship and Year 8 was Scholarship. So called because if you passed, the State Government contributed towards your school fees for the next four years.

Several kids left school and entered the work force after Scholarship. This included my best friend at the time. He would have been thirteen. We didn't remain in contact. Without a telephone, it was too difficult.

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Year 9 was called Sub-Junior and Year 10 was Junior. Similarly, Year 11 was Sub-Senior and Year 12 was Senior. If you did well enough in Senior, you would be invited to study at Queensland University. If you did better than well enough, you might be awarded a Commonwealth scholarship, which paid for all your university fees plus a small allowance. Increased if you were living away from home. And if you were right there in the upper echelon, you could get a State scholarship, which basically meant more money to live on.

St Laurence's was an all boys' Catholic school, run by the Irish Christian Brothers. Our teachers were mostly decent young guys labouring under difficult conditions to impart academic excellence, sporting prowess, a strong moral code and the nonsensical theology that was prevalent in the Catholic church at the time. And to a certain extent, remains so.

This site is named slc61 from the school initials and our graduating year of 1961.

Many from that graduating class meet for lunch twice a year and more attend class reunions. We remain good friends. I've included photographs from some of these events.

The intention of this site is to be a repository of reminisces from that time. Much of it is reflective of the times we grew up in, the Australia of the 1950s and 60s. A lot of it is unique to the Catholic environment and our particular slice of it. Inevitably, much of it is simply us as individuals.

Despite (or perhaps because of?) my upbringing, I am a confirmed atheist.

Phil Lancaster

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cliff campbell - December 10, 2019 Reply

no right or wrong answer probably Phil , regarding upbringing on religion, but suffice to say,
mine was probably initiated by the good as in GOOD samaritans -sic belting the living christ out of u if u got the catechism wrong.
By wrong I mean of course not 100% rote correct.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph-HAVE PITY ON US!!!!!!!

    Phil Lancaster - December 10, 2019 Reply

    Thanks, Cliff. I don’t have the sort of experience you describe and in fact, with one exception, liked and respected our teachers. They were mostly earnest young men dedicated to a job they weren’t even paid for, beyond keep and board. They provided a good moral grounding, along with the sort of fundamentals in English, mathematics, history etc. that all educators are now bewailing the absence of.

    But as an adult, I realised that all the theology we’d been taught as fact, over and over again, was just superstitious nonsense.

    Over the ensuing years, the more research I did, the more that conclusion was shown to be true. It was all based on lies and deception.

Michael Morley - December 14, 2019 Reply

Hi Phil,

Congratulations on your website initiative. Looks like it’s prospering already.
I see a couple of positive remarks about the Brothers who taught at SLC.
You might be interested in their background. Most would have, in their late teens, had a year’s training in how to be a Christian Brother, a year’s rudimentary teacher training, and were sent off all over Australia to teach. One in my group landed in Townsville with a combined Year 3-4 of 120 little boys. Another had a similar fate in Mt Isa. Most would enrol in evening classes to improve their education.
I was one of the few chosen for full time Uni at the end of those two year’s training. Despite quite brilliant results in Mathematics at the State exams at the end of High School. I was told to enrol in English, Latin, History, and Greek.
On graduation I was told to go to SLC and teach Senior Chemistry.
When I arrived I protested and offered to teach Maths.
So, there I was, aged 21, first year teaching, with a class of 40 for Senior Maths, 50 Subseniors for English, Maths, and RE, I think, and two Junior classes for assorted Geography, French, Maths and whatever.
I went to Uni evening classes to catch up on the needed Maths.
My happiest year was your group, whom I got to know best by having you for two years, as I remember, for English, Maths, and RE.
I believe I was fairly relaxed about RE, even trying to counterbalance the hellfire anti-sex preachings of the visiting preachers.
I enjoyed some of the anniversary get togethers, meeting after all those years to a very friendly reception.
By the way, we didn’t get trained to use the strap or be equipped with one, tho I recall finding one during teacher training and having a competition with Ian Mahon, who could hit the hardest. Fortunately we were caught after I had my turn and didn’t suffer Ian’s strength.
Best wishes to all.
Michael Morley.

    Phil Lancaster - December 14, 2019 Reply

    Always good to hear about two strapping lads in friendly competition.

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