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Old 29-04-2003, 11:00 PM
Jim Dudgeon Jim Dudgeon is offline
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Lae Primary A School

I first attended the primary school on coronation drive about 1955, students I can still remember were Phillip Sutton, Collon Worrall (who was great at cricket), and Tommy Leadbeater.

Head Master was a Mr Breakspear, who at the time had two broken legs in plaster. It's true, he did.
Other teachers were Mrs Grey, Mrs Meyhew and Mrs Jean Stephens who had the 1st blue rince in her hair. What a shock it was to us kids who had never seen this before!!!!

Subjects were English, Maths, Poetry, (who remembers the tortice shell cat), sport days Social Science, and if you were good you got an early mark to leave five minutes go go home before anyone else.

I remember when the school consisted only of the Office block, the verrandah which connected the two single school rooms either side of the office. At the back of the office was the Boys and Girls toilets, seperated in the middle by the childrens lunch area.
A couple of years later, more school rooms were added to each previous school rooms, and in my last year there a small shed was built way up the back of the school playing field.

Between the Grade one room and the Head Masters house there was a central pole, this had chains and steel rings which one could grab hold on and swing around. Later on more playing equipment in the form of munkey bars appeared but these were placed further away from the school.

The grass had to be kept cut low, this was achieved by a massey ferguson tractor, which pulled an assortment of cylinder roller cutter lawnmowers behind it. As this contraption was pulled along, the blades cut the grass, throwing the cuttings upwards at a great rate.

Did anyone know that a film was made in Lae about 1955-6 using some of the students? I was the "Bat". I remember the bright sun reflecters, cameras and lots of retakes, I didn't have to say anything, just sit in a tree. This film section was shot just around the bottom of the old Lae airstrip. Sorry, I don't even know the title of it but I still have most of the costume that my mother made for it.

So how did we begin the week at school? Everyone lined up on the gravell area in front of the main office, sang the anthem "God Save The Queen" recited the code and listened to the speaches, the oldest students filing out first then followed by us younger ones to our classes.

Punishments, oh oh, it ranged from "don't do this or that to having the "cuts". Only ever got the cuts once, I was pushed into a wall, the government clock fell down and broke, opps. Got sent to the headmasters office, the verdict was six of the best.
The cain was flexed in front of me, my heart beat faster, fear gripped my throat, I almost stopped breathing.
The cain was raised over the big mans right shoulder and the hand pulled forward with great force. The cain whooshed through the air at tremendous speed in a huge arc. I chickened out and pulled my hand back, the cain continued forward, missing my fingers just by a whisker and it landed with a great crash onto the plaster cast on his own leg. The Head Master fell over. I couldn't laugh as I was rooted to the spot (but it was funny). Yes, I did get one cut, eventually, and it sure hurt, I thought he had broken my hand. I was very good after that.

The fear of the cain kept us all in line thats for sure, we never spoke back to our peers or anyone else, watched our P&Qs.

Now, has anyone else got a story to tell about their time at Coronation Drive Primary School?
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Old 30-05-2003, 10:43 AM
Scott Martin Scott Martin is offline
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Lae Primary 'A' School 1964 to 1970.

When I first went to Lae Primary for Prep in 1964 the School consisted of a wooden "U" shaped building comprising classrooms for Prep through to Grade 6. If you stood in the front assemby area, facing the office, the classrooms were Prep in the top left hand corner, and then grades 1, 2, etc through to Grade 6 in the top right corner. The tuckshop was at the back right, alongside the road the entered the school from Coronation Drive and exited onto, I think, 9th Street. The toilet block was as described by Jim. The playing field at the rear of the classrooms had metal swings and monkey bars on the left, and up the back were the gardener's two sheds. The back of this area then merged into the park that stretched from 12th Street down to at least 4th Street.

For most of my time at Lae Primary my family lived on 11th Street so going to school involved a short walk to the end of the street, through the above mentioned park, and then to school via the playing field. We later shifted to Cassia Crescent, next to the Roundwater (street behind the Fire Station) and walking to school became longer, and a lot more fun.

In 1968, when I started Grade 4, a new highset building comprising two classrooms was opened behind the main school complex. Grades 4 and 6 were shifted to the new classrooms and I was fortunate enough to spend my Grade 4 and Grade 6 years in the new, and much larger, premises.

The area under this building became a shaded lunch and meeting area.

Main assembly continued to be held out the front of the main classroom block, on what was then the basketball/netball court.

Jim, you mentioned the teacher Jean Stephens, well I was fortunate to be taught by her in 1966 when I was in Grade 2. I even have my Report Card from that year. I recall that she retired sometime between 1968 and 1970, with the entire school attending a farewell function held under the new classroom building.

After completing Grade 6 in 1970 I went off to Boarding School and when home on holidays never paid much attention to my old primary school. My family shifted to Moresby in 1974 and whilst I made a few trips back to Lae in 1976 and 1977, I continued to ignore Lae Primary.

I now realise, some thirty-three years after finishing primary school, that I owe it to myself to one day go back to Lae and walk through what are left of the classrooms and play areas, to stand in the centre of the assembly area and close my eyes, and remember great days, great years, great friends.

Last edited by Scott Martin; 30-05-2003 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 30-05-2003, 11:15 AM
Scott Martin Scott Martin is offline
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My 1966 Grade 2 Report Card, signed by Jean Stephens.
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Old 30-05-2003, 11:31 AM
Scott Martin Scott Martin is offline
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1966: Students on one side of the assembly area. I believe the teacher on the right is Jean Stephens.
I am standing in the centre of the photo, wearing the long sleeved white shirt.
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Last edited by Scott Martin; 08-07-2003 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 04-07-2003, 03:12 PM
Ross McDougall Ross McDougall is offline
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Lae Primary (Coronation) 1965-1969 Grade 2-6

I have many fond memories of attending this school. Some of the teachers that come to mind were Miss O'Brien, Mrs Swift and Geof Bohringer who I had in my final year before heading south. The teaching standard was excellent, allowing an easy transition to secondary schooling in Melbourne.

Like Scott I remember well the school layout and the construction of the new building.

School hours were from 8:30 am till 2:30 pm. That didn't stop many of us arriving at 7:30 am to partake in some early morning cricket or soccer parctice.

Living at the cul-de-sac end of 10th Street meant school was only a minute away.

The shool rugby league days will remain with me forever. Teams were determined by weight, as age was unknown by many of our opposition. We had 5 and 6 stone teams and most matches we played at Bugandi High resulting in us losing somewhere in the vicinity of 30-nil....not good considering matches consisted of only 5 or 10 minute halves!! I seem to remember the only team we could beat was Bulae. Thankfully our cricket team enjoyed more success.

Thanks to Scott and the others who have been kind enough take the time to share their photos and memories with us.
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Old 04-07-2003, 04:54 PM
wendyemc wendyemc is offline
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Re: Lae Primary A School

Originally posted by Jim Dudgeon
Did anyone know that a film was made in Lae about 1955-6 using some of the students? I was the "Bat". I remember the bright sun reflecters, cameras and lots of retakes, I didn't have to say anything, just sit in a tree. This film section was shot just around the bottom of the old Lae airstrip. Sorry, I don't even know the title of it but I still have most of the costume that my mother made for it.
Hi Jim,

Yes, I do remember the film, as I had a scene in it where I pretended to chase a butterfly down a path. I started at Lae Primary in 1954, and the film was made in 1955. Two, actually, according to an old friend from Lae, Malcolm Zimmerman, whom I got in contact with again through the Schoolfriends site. One was called Pedro the Fisherman and the other Richard the Lionheart. Pedro stole Nina away from outside the Catholic church on the back of his motor bike. Malcolm (who is a few years older than me and remembers more) tells me that Jo Keating was the principal of Coronation primary at the time, and that the camerman and inspiration behind the movies was a teacher called Otto Brabant. Malcolm played Richard, and remembers dubbing the sound track at Lae theatre.
Wendy Clarke (formerly Wendy Phillips)
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Old 04-07-2003, 10:47 PM
Jim Dudgeon Jim Dudgeon is offline
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Old Lae School Film

Hello Wendy,
What an amazing surprise to find out so much about this silent film I acted in almost 50 years ago, in the last 10 minutes I learnt 95% more than I knew about it originally. As a young boy at that time, people only told each person what they wanted them to know.

If anyone else happens to read this note, please don't hesitate to post more information about this topic along with any other info about the Lae Primary A Coronation Drive School.

Ross I read your note about the LPAS, great work mate, much appreciated.
Keep in touch.
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:22 PM
Larian Larian is offline
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Jim Dudgeon i remember you. You were in my class and if i remember my teacher was Jean Stephens with the blue hair . I use to take baby rats home in my sewing box and my mother use to have a fit. My good friend in primary school was Barbara Box and gwen ahnon. In 1963 i was in grade 5B. I had a photo but seem to have misplaced it
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Old 15-11-2004, 09:10 AM
cherylprc cherylprc is offline
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Lae Primary A Coronation 1950s

Jim, I attended Lae Primary 1954, 1955, had time out in Australia 1956/57 then returned during 1957, 1958, then transferred to Madang 1958/59. You mention teachers I remember. My name was Cheryl Davey (now Pearce). Dad was a Qantas engineer, Peter Davey (dec.).
I was referred here by Wendy (Phillips) Clarke who was in my grade I think, we certainly remember the same classmates.
My memory used to be fantastic for names & events but has slipped. We lived variously in old house on beachside, end of Lae Airstrip, in married quarters beside Lae Airstrip, in US Army Nurses' house at Greenwich Village on Malahang Rd, then in two different houses in Sixth St.
I can't remember the films at all. I remember a Miss Harrison visiting the Lae school & showing films of Groote Eylandt, &, "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" filmed at Madang Primary. It was fun to meet up with the cast when I transferred to Madang.
I can put you in touch with Colin Worrall. Colin's twin sisters, Robyn & Peta, were killed in a freak accident on the Gold Coast in 1966. I am guessing that you were a year or so behind me as Colin is younger.
I had the "cuts" from Mr Breakspear too, at least twice, once for talking while filing into class, & the other for leaving the school grounds with Penny Jones who lived next door & Madeline Kirk "told" on us. I think I had the cuts also for jumping over the drain between the school grounds & headmaster's house! I wasn't a particularly naughty child, I think the fear of caning stayed with me & I forbad schools that my boys attended to cane or punish without first referring to me. Another former student says the experience of caning led her into a career in the legal profession! The headmaster's son was Bobbie Breakspear, in my grade.
Do you remember teacher, Peggy Byron? She was a darling, lived beside school, there must have been houses for teachers. She sent me over to get something once. You have reminded me about Jo Keating. I think a Mr Wootten was HM in the 57/58 period. I can't remember for certain.
It is fantastic to finally catch up with former students of that, to me, magic time at Lae Primary. Beautifully maintained. I too remember when it was only the front verandah & one classroom on each end, then the shock of returning in 57/58 to find extra classrooms & more teachers, some sourced I think from the Seventh Day Adventist group. I remember too the first "Asian" students in the school in both Lae & Madang.
I remember a teacher who kept soap on the piano for "talkers". I remember the soap had teeth marks!!! (My Mum used the technique on my brother once, used Nekko soap without thinking, medicated, & was appalled at the effect!)
I remember lining up for endless vaccinations at the old Lae Hospital. I think I am pickled!
School also took us to see Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
Do you remember Empire Days in the Botanic Gardens? And the songs?
"I honour my God, I serve my Queen, I salute my Flag" at morning assemblies?
The pebbled parade ground & flag mast.
News of a fellow student killed in a road accident while holidaying "down South". I used to remember his name, maybe it will come back.
One morning while we were on parade, Jan Halliday's Mum slipped the car into a ditch, I remember a soft-top vehicle with one side down in the ditch.
I used to come to school from the Malahang direction in a long-wheel base Land Rover, driver, Nombi. Later, an old navy blue bus delivered us when we moved "up top" to 6th St.
I remember a potato famine & a fish & chip shop beside the school selling sweet potato chips (which were yumm).
I remember a parent selling lunches at school. She used to drive a little old black sedan.
Remember the school milk - sometimes awful from being exposed to light.

It would be wonderful to compile a booklet about the school. Unfortunately I don't have any school photos from that time. I have a pic taken at one of the fancy dress balls (weren't they fun!). I have my old school reports.
Best wishes. Cheryl
Cheryl Pearce

Kiama, NSW
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Old 24-11-2004, 11:45 AM
Jim Dudgeon Jim Dudgeon is offline
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The Blue Bus

Hi Cheryl,
Thank you for placeing you memories of your time in the school in Lae.
You mantioned the blue bus, it was not only used as a people mover, but mums used to know what time it was when it pulled up to discharge the kids at their residences. For those who don't know, the driver of it was Siliwin, he was a very careful driver, for this buss to stop or turn right, there was a mechanical hand, it was operated with a vertical leaver with a push button affair. The hand was stowed in the vertical position, to stop, the handle was slid outwards, to make a trun, the leaver was lifted slightly and the hand flipped over to the right.
The sun visor was a black curtan which slid up and down on two steel vertical rods. To catch this bus, we just waited on the side of the road, usually purched on our battered lunch ports, (I still have mine) then climbed aboard.
I will look for a photo of it and see about placing it on this site.
Jim D
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