Narrogin Agricultural Senior High School 1964-1967

I was on the staff of what was then NASHS 1964-1967. This is the staff in my first year there. I'm second from the right in front of the men. My wife-to-be, Penny, is front left.

I suppose I should try to name the handful of people I can remember forty-seven years later.
Front row: Penny Baker (later Gillard, now Robertson), Margaret Thackrah (she later married Lindsay Smith, who is in the photo), Elsie Solly (Principal Mistress), Gordon Appleton (Principal), Fred Marsh (Deputy Principal), forgotten members of the domestic science staff
Second row: Graeme Marsh (later Professor), 3 not yet recalled, Heather Beatty, Marlene? Sandra Salter?, 2 unknown, Garry Gillard, unknown man
Third row: unknown, Peter Crute, Monty Buttfield, unknown, Grant Patterson (later a Principal), Gemmel Sherwood, Maurice White, Len Pope, Lindsay Smith (who married Margaret Thackrah, in the front row), Lou (Lewis) Lambert (sculptor)
Back row: Stan ?, Ernie ?, 2 unknown, David Buck, Doug Turton, 2 unknown, Norman Hutchinson

Staff of NASHS, 1967. Penny (P. Gillard) spent 1965 teaching in Collie, but returned to Narrogin in 1966, when we married. At the end of this year we left not only Narrogin but also the country, going to live in England, where she was born.

People here have their last names, but I should perhaps give the first names I can remember (and thanks to Gillian Alcock for a few more).
Top row: Brian Betts, Garry Gillard, Ian Sydney-Smith, B. Walters, Ron Dorn, Doug Turton, Ian Allardyce (later a Principal), Maurice White, Gemmel Sherwood, Len Pope, John Smith, B. Clayton, T. Pryde, Steve Isopenko, Eric Alcock (when he retired was Principal of Perth Modern School)
Seated: Gail Dennis, D. Sullivan, Lorna Metzke, D. Williamson, Marald Wallace, Penny Gillard (nee Baker), Tim (?) Johnson, Gordon Appleton, Eleanor (?) Comini, Robyn Vick, Julie Wilhelm, Lea Agostino, Helen Colquhoun, D. Hayward, Kath McAuliffe.

Gillian Alcock was a prefect and Dux of the School in this year, and it was she who sent me this photograph, and the one of the 1967 staff. She went on to become an expert maker of hammered dulcimers and related instruments.

Some of the students and staff from the 1965 year got together in Perth in 1998.

And here are the names to go with the photo above.

This group has me next to Elsie Solly, who was Principal Mistress at Narrogin, I think perhaps for 1964-6: I just forget when she left. Next to her is Judy Glencross, who was Judy Howlett back then, and behind us are the School Captain for 1965, Barry Illingworth, with Tessa Merkel (nee Dyke), Jonica Foss (nee Currie), and Glenda Doherty (nee Clarke).

In 1964, when I started teaching at Narrogin, I was twenty years and three months old. I was barely out of high school myself. The girls with me here turned 16 in 1964, the year I met them, and they completed high school just as I was turning 22 at the end of 1965. Not a big gap in age. Just as well I was engaged to be married to one of the staff!

One of the things you do - or did - in a smallish community is amateur theatre production. This is not a School production, but was mounted by the Narrogin Repertory Club in 1964 - but there were a number of NASHS staff members in it, as you may be able to see by comparing this cast photo with those of the staff in the 1964 photo above.

Here is a page from the program. In the photo, you might be able to pick out Gemmel Sherwood on the extreme left, and I think that's Norman Hutchinson on the extreme right. Sandra Salter and Heather Beatty are next to each other a quarter of the way in from the left in the middle. Lewis (Lou) Lambert has his head raised, over to the right. Margaret (Thackrah) Smith is immediately behind the sorcerer on our right. Clive Kendrick, the music teacher at NASHS, the male lead, is front right. Oh, I'm the serious-looking vicar, Dr Daly. Again. I played the same part at Perth Modern School, in 1959.

This is Clive Kendrick in the middle as Alexis with Gemmel Sherwood as his father on our left, and I'm still in character as Dr Daly on our right.

The School also mounted its own dramatic productions, beginning with this one, in 1965, I believe - and it was all Elsie Solly's idea.
As Musical Director, I started work before anyone else, casting on the basis of whether anyone could sing. The lead girl was no problem, as Jonica Currie was a brilliant singer.

Pirates of Penzance is actually quite demanding - particularly for the soprano, but also for the tenor. I cast a boy from the Agricultural Annex of the High School as Frederick. (I had quite a few very willing young men to work with, as the Ag School was boys only - and it was out of town - and the production gave the boys an opportunity to come in - and meet girls!)
At that age of 16-17, it's quite a big ask for a boy to sing well in his baritone voice, let alone in the tenor range the role of Frederick required. You might notice that it says in the program that I'm the Musical Director - but not the Conductor, which of course is most unusual. As I had to be on stage, we needed someone to conduct the, um, orchestra: the pianist - and also to indicate the beat to the cast. So Marald Wallace, the PE teacher, was shanghaied into conducting, which she did athletically.

Yes, I had to sing the lead role myself, if we were going to get the show up at all. (No, honestly, I really did, tho unwillingly.) So I had to act being in love with Jonica - which wasn't difficult at all. At one point, during rehearsals, she scolded me: "Stop looking at me like that!" ... I have never been a good actor.


Garry Gillard | New: 23 April, 2011 | Now: 1 July, 2017