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BORN IN 1948? WHAT ELSE HAPPENED? 69th BIRTHDAY

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1948scarlett.jpg

                            
SCHOOLBOY BULLYING
 
 

I have been trying to remember just how much bullying went on in my primary school years. I was prompted to do this by the glut of media reports that are today covering the subject. So, going back sixty years, I have been searching my memory for recollections of those supposedly carefree years. My question to myself has been “were those days in fact carefree, or were they blighted by the bullies and by fears that a small boy is prey to?”

Let me say first up that I attended a Catholic convent school, in a small coalmining town in the Cessnock coalfields. There were 103 other children attending, and we were put into composite classes, so that for example, third and fourth class were stuck in together. I was a skinny little kid, who was always considered bright, so that generally I was put up into the classroom above where I should have been. This meant that I was very much underweight, and also I was not at all aggressive, so that – all other things being equal – I was a likely target for bullying. On top of that, my Mum made me wear shoes to school, and that made me conspicuous and more fun to bully. 

The most obvious group of bullies who were always on hand were the so-called retards. This far from flattering name was used for anyone who was too old for primary school, but stayed on from the age of about thirteen until he was old enough to leave school. Most of these kids were pretty thick, and were a year or more behind others of the same age. That meant for about eighteen months they formed a little clique, completely unteachable, who gave the good nuns a hard time. They always sat in the back corner, away from the rest of the class, and on a daily basis had to be told to “put it away, Mickey Malone.”

Were they bullies? As far as I was concerned, not at all. Outside the classroom, they went off behind the lavatories, and bothered no one. A few dubious characters went to visit them, and generally got punched up a bit, but if you stayed on the straight and narrow path to the dunnies, you were safe. Mind you, the trip there was always a bit worrying, and the visits were always brief, just in case there was a policy change. But, for me, there was nothing of any consequence.......

 

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION TO 1948

RATIONING AND SHORTAGES

BIG BROTHER

PRICE CONTROLS END

LABOR’S  RETREAT

FREE MEDICINE

STRIKES

HOUSING

BANKING

REDS AGAIN

SOCIAL ISSUES

WHITE AUSTRALIA POLICY

BULLYING AND DREAD

YOUR LOYAL SUBJECTS

LOVE ME SAILOR

ENTERTAINMENT

PALESTINE AND INDIA

CRICKET AND SPORT

BIRTH OF PRINCE CHARLES

CATHOLIC DOGS

SUMMING UP 1948

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EXTRA READING --  COMPLETELY OPTIONAL

 

YOU WILL NOT BE EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS

 ABOUT THIS SERIES   …  But after that, I realized that I really knew very little about these parents  of mine They had been born about the start of the Twentieth Century, and they died in 1970 and 1980. For their last 50 years, I was old enough to speak with a bit of sense.  I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could have found out about the times they lived in.  But I did not.  I know almost nothing about them really. Their courtship? Working in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression? Losing their second child? Being dusted as a miner? The shootings at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love on the dole? There were hundreds, thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them.  But, alas, I can’t. It’s too late.

 

Thus, prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that affected people, real people.  The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder at things  forgotten. The books might just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that oldies and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a heritage otherwise forgotten. 

Hopefully, they will spark discussions between generations, and foster the asking and answering of questions that should not remain unanswered.