Early days at Maryborough High School

Maryborough High School had its beginnings in 1912, in rooms at the School of Mines, later to become the Technical School, until a new building was constructed in 1915 in Market Square.

The first magazine published by Maryborough High School was in August, 1914 and it was called The Kookaburra.

At the time the new school building was only planned.

Headmaster, W. J. Bateman wrote in The Kookaburra: “The future students of the MHS are to be more fortunate than those of the present day.

“We hear that the long talked of, much expected and desirable new High School is about to become a reality.

“Ere the publication of this journal, I had hoped to be able to say at what time.

“Market Square will be an ideal site as it provides a good playground — a factor in a modern school as absolutely necessary as the building itself.

“Let us hope that those who are to dwell therein may profit by the agreeable environment and continue to hand on to their successors the ideals which the pioneer students so faithfully strove to uphold.”

In 1949, after many years without a publication, a new high school magazine — Midian — came into being.

Headmaster at the time, C. S. Alexander wrote in Midian that students, over the ensuing 35 years, had worthily upheld those ideals spoken of by Mr Bateman.

“But world conditions of 1949 are vastly different from those of 1914.

“Things that were difficult or impossible then, are now comparatively easy.

“Machines and power have brought mass production and shorter working hours.

“They have, however, made it more imperative than ever that our boys and girls must be trained not only to earn their living, but to make the best use of their leisure.

“The school must succeed in educating for those hours of freedom when a man or woman may do just what he or she likes, that is, it must educate for leisure as well as for livelihood.

“We must give our young people such a diversity of healthy, useful interests, that they will find their hours of leisure all too short.

“The weekly club period is a step in the right direction.

“What a wide range of interests is covered in the debating, dramatic, craft, science, food for Britain, social service, gardening, folk dancing and sport and athletic clubs.

“And the important thing is that the boys and girls are free to follow their own ideas and individualities.”

Mr Alexander made mention of the senior students who would be leaving on December 15.

“The foundation of their education has been laid and I hope they will build fine superstructures.

“I hope they will continue, in the years that follow schooldays, the habits of work, mental alertness and team work that they have formed here.

“I hope they will make the best use of their leisure.

“I hope they will use some of it in the service of others.

“There are so many folk around us who can easily be made glad by a kindly smile or word or action.

“There really is plenty to do.

“I hope they will honour their work, whatever it may be, by putting into it the best of which they are capable.”

Forty students made up the Students’ Representative Council, and the publication of Midian was due to their efforts.

An explanation was given as to the choice of its title: “The appropriateness of the title of this magazine may not at first be apparent.

“It seemed desirable that it be connected with gold, since it was this precious element which first made our town of Maryborough.

“The Midians were an ancient tribe who traded in gold from Yemen to Egypt.

“As Maryborough is the chief centre of the Midlands district of Victoria, it was a happy coincidence that the syllable “mid” is common to both.

“Hence our title!

“This is the magazine of the High School of Maryborough, the chief Midlands town, and it contains literary gems — all pure gold.”

One of those gems from the 1949 Midian is this poem: Pen Portraits of Famous People

The Maryborough High School

Which is famous far and wide

Has many well known pupils

Some of whom I will describe.

In Form 11, there’s Mr Taylor,

A batsman of renown,

Who hits the ball like wildfire

And never lets us down.

There’s another famous cricketer

In Form 1V to be found;

Yes, it’s little Jimmy Rodda,

Who knocks wickets to the ground.

Our football team is super

And so’s the trainer, too;

Without an expert Master

I don’t know what we’d do.

Apart from expert sportsmen,

We have around this school

Some very witty people

Who like to play the fool.

Although they do annoy us

And drive us simply mad,

We cannot help but love them,

They’re never really bad.

There’s one called David Withell

In Form 11 does reside;

He makes us all so furious

We oft do tan his hide.

The juniors aren’t the only ones

Who like to be the clowns,

For way up in the Leaving Class

We have one “Bunny” Downes.

These members of my schoolmates

I here have placed before you,

So now I end my little ballad

And bid you all Adieu.

— Roger Doyle,

Form 1V

Here is another literary gem:

Form V Chemistry Class

The Chemistry Class is a brilliant class,

The dumbest for forty years,

Our teacher is Mr Tren DuBourg

And he’s in it up to his ears.

We never have our experiments done

And recorded in practical books,

And all because of this detail

We receive many black looks.

“Sara” and “Clara” sit up the back,

With “Rufus” and Marie in the middle;

While the dear little boys sit up the front

And all they do is fiddle.

“Sara” and “Clara” give far too much cheek

And often the class they hinder,

But as a result of this detail

Teacher’s tongue burns them to a cinder.

The other two girls don’t answer a question;

They sit there as quiet as mice.

Marie just gives a quaint little frown

And “Rufus” goes red quite nice.

Our dear little boys who sit down in the front

Talk of the cricket teams,

But our teacher is a football coach

And on them he frowns not beams.

Soon will come our Leaving exams

And then we will know the worst,

We very much fear the results will be bad

And then the storm will burst.

— Jennifer Nicholls

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