Otago Daily Times

Graf­fiti rings a bell for for­mer pupils

- Urbanism · Invercargill · Gore · Chris Lilley

HE can­not re­mem­ber en­grav­ing his name on a build­ing, but there it is: W. Gee.

Names of other for­mer pupils, in­clud­ing T. Farry and C. P. Robert­son, are also etched on the inside of weath­er­boards on one of the for­mer Gore High School build­ings due to be de­mol­ished.

The names be­came ob­vi­ous af­ter van­dals dam­aged the inside lin­ing of the build­ing.

The Gore District Council last week ap­proved demolition of the build­ings, amid fears about on­go­ing van­dal­ism and de­cay.

The boards will be given to the council’s her­itage de­part­ment.

Mr Gee said the names were on the inside of the build­ing which was the sixth form lounge in his day.

‘‘It is pos­si­ble I may have done that but I can’t re­mem­ber,’’ Mr Gee said.

He was not in the habit of writ­ing his name on build­ings, al­though he did sign the wall of Ar­gyle Sta­tion’s wool­shed in 1940.

Whether the inside of the build­ing was lined or not he could not re­mem­ber, but if it was he was not sure how the boys gained ac­cess to the boards.

Be­fore that, the build­ing had been the met­al­work room.

There were bars on the rafters, and the boys would pull them­selves up and ‘‘try and chin the bar’’.

He re­called the time he and a friend, Brian Sco­bie, were pun­ished with a length of lab­o­ra­tory tub­ing for mak­ing noises in class.

‘‘We went out to the dun­nies to com­pare our marks — it def­i­nitely left a red mark.’’

It was not the only time Mr

Gee re­ceived pu­n­ish­ment.

❛ You had to wear your gloves and your hat and your tie. The girls had to kneel while Mag­gie Dur­ward saw that their gym frocks were the cor­rect

dis­tance off the ground

‘‘I got caned five times by the rec­tor for smok­ing.’’

Mr Gee started at Gore High School in 1940 and af­ter com­plet­ing sixth form went to Dunedin Teach­ers’ Col­lege to train as a pri­mary teacher.

Ron Hargest, Dorothy Dodds and Bar­bara McRae started at the school in 1946.

Mr Hargest said the pupils had a good re­la­tion­ship with their teach­ers.

‘‘We even­tu­ally all be­came good friends with our teach­ers. ‘‘We loved our teach­ers.’’ At in­ter­val and lunchtime, the boys and girls had sep­a­rate outside ar­eas to gather in.

One Mon­day in as­sem­bly, one of the teach­ers, Mag­gie Dur­ward, caught sight of Mrs McRae’s sis­ter Shirley, who had put a rinse through her hair at the week­end.

‘‘In front of the whole school Mag­gie Dur­ward called my sis­ter out and said ‘who’s that glo­ri­fied gorse bush?’,’’ Mrs McRae said.

In ad­di­tion, there were strict uni­form rules.

‘‘You had to wear your gloves and your hat and your tie,’’ Mrs McRae said.

‘‘The girls had to kneel while Mag­gie Dur­ward saw that their gym frocks were the cor­rect dis­tance off the ground,’’ Mr Gee said.

The same gym frocks, along with long black stockings, had to be worn to the school so­cial.

‘‘It was amaz­ing how glam­orous some of them could look in a gym frock,’’ Mr Gee said.

‘‘No meet­ing boys at the gates af­ter the so­cials ei­ther,’’ Mrs Dodds added.

Boys were not al­lowed to have long hair, and girls could not wear ear­rings.

One teacher came from In­ver­cargill to take the pupils for singing lessons in the other pre­fab which is now due for demolition.

‘‘He used to ar­rive every week drunk as a skunk,’’ Mrs Dodds said.

‘‘He used to froth at the mouth, too,’’ Mr Gee said.

‘‘He was a good singing teacher — he used to get wild if you didn’t get it right,’’ Mrs Dodds said.

Mr Hargest caught the train to school.

‘‘When I got in there, there was a line of boys with gym shoes, so I had to walk the length of the car­riage and they would give you a wal­lop as you walked along,’’ he said.

 ?? PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON ?? Good old days . . . For­mer Gore High School pupils Dorothy Dodds, Ron Hargest, Wat­tie Gee and Bar­bara McRae took the chance for a fi­nal look at the build­ings in Rich­mond St where they spent their school days.
PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON Good old days . . . For­mer Gore High School pupils Dorothy Dodds, Ron Hargest, Wat­tie Gee and Bar­bara McRae took the chance for a fi­nal look at the build­ings in Rich­mond St where they spent their school days.

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