I have just come across your WMGS site, as a result of searching on Google for D G Outlaw (Dog), who I loved like a favourite Aunt. I was a student at WMGS from 1945 - 1951, when I left to take a Special Physics course at Queen Mary College, London. I was preceded there by 1 year by John Rickwood, who took an Electrical Engineering course there.
I'm now 72 years of age, live at Gawler, about 45 km north of
Adelaide, no longer very mobile and spend my time sleeping,
watching television and writing. Having had an eventful
career spanning more than 50 years, I'm now providing unsolicited
advice to the South Australian and Australian Governments, to
save the world.
My elder brother, Warwick, my senior by 5 years, still lives in the Midlands with his wife. They are active in local affairs, grey power?, and would describe themselves in Goon show terms as "revolting" I have a continuing interest in my classified directory website, www.barossa-classifieds.com, am working on a couple of others to be displayed shortly, www.nvicon.org and www.midnight-owls.net, plus another in progress for a defunct former employers, www.gibbsbrightclub.org
Comments upon the teachers, most of whom you listed, and who I remember like yesterday (a result of my advancing years):- D G Outlaw (Dorothea Gray Outlaw) was in her mid-50s, exceedingly short-sighted with pebble spectacles, a very unattractive lady (hence the nickname of Dog) but with a heart of gold, a wonderful teacher. After knowing her for a while, she ceased to be unattractive, because she had such a warm personality.
She must have spent some time in Paris, postgraduate, with Maggie Mountain, I guess around 1920 - 1930. When I was a maths/science student in 6th Form, Miss Outlaw kindly ran an art appreciation class, 2 hours on a Thursday afternoon each week, using her extensive collection of "coffee table" books and an ancient epidiascope. It was exciting when she got to the modern period, because she'd obviously met most of the famous artists of the Picasso period, had coffee with them on the West Bank - living history at its best.
I was absolutely hopeless at Art, but DGO spent much of her time teaching crafts, and I enjoyed working at bookbinding - I still have a substantial half-leather bound notebook of cartridge paper, and I recall trying other off-beat techniques, such as dry-point etching on copper plates. The girls enjoyed her teaching at needlework and embroidery - she would move her spectacles up her brow, and get a magnified view of embroidery, almost touching her eyes.
The next classroom to DGO was occupied by Mr Parsons, a Welshman, an excellent teacher of French with very clear diction and a penetrating voice. I once referred to him as "speaking French with a Welsh accent" and was roundly ticked-off by DGO for my disrespect.
The senior teacher of French was Mr Dudley, who was my Form Master in my O Levels year, Form 4A. I was absolutely besotted by French, still am, and read every French book which I could find. I was bored by Mr Dudley's classes, as I was usually several chapters ahead of the rest of the class, which made him pretty cross when he called upon me to "translate the next paragraph". At the end of the year, he nominated me as the top student by exam results, but then criticised me in front of the class, saying that I didn't deserve the result because I'd been such an inattentive student! It broke my heart to have to relinquish French studies in the 6th Form, because I had to choose Maths & Science for career reasons. We had a visiting examiner from Birmingham University for the dictee and vocal French examinations, which were a delight. In the dictee, which was a funny story about a naughty lad who missed out on his roast Sunday dinner, one could detect the tense of every verb, and I spent most of my time chuckling to myself about the story. The vocal went very well, except that I ended up in a respectful discussion about the use of the verb "apprendre" as "to teach" as well as "to learn". As I didn't lapse back into English, I don't think I did any harm. At any rate, I was the only student to achieve 100% in French O Level that year - hence Mr Dudley's chagrin.
The lower school Maths teacher was a pickwickian gentleman, Mr Stacey, nicknamed "Jot" because his faviurite expression was "I don't care a jot about that!" He invariably wore a black academic gown. He had a single grey hair growing out from the centre of his bald pate, and this had a hypnotic effect upon the class, as he stood out in the sunlight in front of the blackboard. Mr Stacey would have retired, to Wales, circa 1953. Mr Foxon was the other lower school Maths teacher, a much disliked sarcastic individual, for whom the usual comment was that "Foxon is the lowest form of wit". Mr Graham was the Form Master for the 6th Form, and Maths teacher for Advanced Level Maths. He also wore an academic gown, and radiated social superiority. I recall that he regarded me as presumptious, because I applied to Kings College, London, his alma mater, making some comment like "you're hardly the sort of student who is accepted by Kings!" When I received an acceptance from QMC and from Kings, I turned down the Kings offer, and had the satisfaction of telling Graham that I'd decided that QMC was a superior establishment. He had the grace to apologise for his discouragement. (Wasn't I a swine!)
Margaret Mountain was the Deputy Principal, senior mistress, and senior English Teacher. She was a good teacher, popular and fair with the girls. I recall that when one of the girls, Dianne Allsop, decided at 15 that she wished to become a fashion model, she was actively encouraged and supported by Maggie Mountain, much to every student's surprise. We thought that Dianne, who was a gorgeously attractive willowy girl, was in danger of accusations of moral turpitude!
Gerry Steele also taught English, and Music. He had a good collection of 78 rpm classical music records. Unfortunately, to this day I can't play a note on any instrument, although I have in recent years acquired a collection of electronic organs, and have sworn that I will learn to play them before I die. I regard Gerry Steele as my mentor in my love of music. Sadly, he didn't seem to get on too well with his wife at that time, as we all noticed that they both walked to school each morning, but on opposite sides of the road, and didn't seem to talk during the day. There was an attrative, young blond English teacher, whose name I forget, of whom there was never a word of scandal. However, Marlow's Doctor Faustus was selected one year as the school play (we were never permitted to attempt Shakespeare) and she was cast in the part of one of the Seven Deadly Sins, Lust. She was a good sport, and threw herself into the part
The Physics teacher, who had a lab in the Canteen Block, was a small gentleman Mr Arthur, who had previously worked in industry. We teased him unmercifully, because he had no lady partner, even to the extent that we invented a girl friend for him, and sent him valentines. He was very good-humoured about it. He was an advocate of calligraphy, and wrote all of his notes in script, using black ink and a steel pen knib. Under his influence, I reformed my atrocious cursive to a legible italic script. He was an excellent Physics teacher.
Mr. Darby was an outstanding Chemistry teacher, with a double-honours degree in Chemistry and Physics. He had a dry sense of humour, but was well-liked and respected. There was an assistant Chemistry teacher, whose name I forget, who was clumsy and accident-prone. I recall that he was demonstrating the use of hydrogen to reduce copper oxide to metal in a combustion tube, lit the bunsen under the combustion tube before all oxygen had been purged, and caused a spectacular explosion with flying glass etc. We all wrote detailed notes of the experiment, much to the poor man's embarrassment.
I don't remember the name of the Principal in 1945, only that he retained the nickname of his predecessor who had badly fitting dentures and earned the name of "the Brodle", french for "Spit". When he retired, the new Principal was named Stevens (obviously "Stainless") He had returned from war service with the RAF, I believe ending up as a Squadron Leader or a Wing Commander. He was, I believe, a Arts graduate of Cambridge. He was kind enough to give 1-hour classes weekly in German for the 6th Form science students, who at that time faced compulsory examinations in two foreign languages as part of the B.Sc. qualifications. Before I left for University, he gave me a private briefing to prepare me for the immense cultural change required in going from high school student to university undergraduate. A very thoughtful, caring man.
After I left WMGS, I heard that Mr. Stevens had been appointed
as the Headmaster of Rugby School, but I've never been able to
check that out.
Clive Pearson, Chartered Engineer, B.Sc. Special Physics (London), retired Consultant. PO Box 207, Gawler, South Australia, 5118
2nd Email from Clive:-
Thanks for your very prompt reply, Bob.
Since writing, I've recalled that we had a Sports Teacher, "Killer" Cureton, who was reputed to have been an Army PT instructor. He was a sarcastic so-and-so, mad on Soccer, and used to supervise savage work-outs in the gym if not chasing us around the playing fields. There was a lady Sports Teacher, with a Greek name whch I forget, who was much kinder to the girls.
I don't recall anything about the teachers for biology, geography, latin or religious instruction. I don't remember much about my fellow pupils, except for Muriel Tomlinson, a pleasant motherly sort of girl with spectacles, who was in the Science 6th form and who we teased gently. William Thomas, a studious lad with specs, was good at maths. Poor lad, his mother died when he was 12 or so, and he was shortly thereafter joined at WMGS by his sister Lizzie, who he looked after, made sure she had her lunch money etc. I've often wondered how he fared in life.
By all means, make use of the information I've provided, edited as you say. If I recall my latin, "de mortuis nil nisis bonum" or something like that!
Comment from Bob:- it's such a long time
ago that I have forgotten most of my latin, (please forgive me
Miss Day), but typing the phrase in to a search engine I find it
in several places including a speech in the House of Lords.
I'm constantly amazed by what I can find on the internet.
"De mortuis nil nisis bonum" translates to "Don't speak ill of the dead"