Hero photograph
3GB - 1957. First day entrants

First-day pupil returns

Ron Tunnicliffe —

On a recent visit to Christchurch I had on my list to make a visit to SBHS, as it would probably be my last chance to see the school on the present site.

I am very thankful for the time Mr John Laurenson made available to me to show me around the school. 

What was very obvious was the damage from the earthquake, with some buildings completely disappeared. The school is to be commended with the effort that has been put in to keep the school going and work within all the disruptions. The new site looks really great and I look forward to having a look around at some stage on my next visit to Christchurch.

It was very interesting to see that 3GB was featured in a SBHS 'Parade' for Old Boys some time ago.

I was a member of that class, Ron Tunnicliffe 1957– 1961, and remember the first day very well, as I do the other five years I spent at SBHS. They are vivid memories for me and will stay with me forever. The first assembly, February 1957 with 150 pupils, was held in the old block that has been demolished, B6. This was used as the main assembly room until the assembly hall was finished later that year. B6 later became the Art Room. At some stage some boys had dancing lessons in there, in preparation for the dances we had with Avonside Girl’s High.

My years at SBHS are years that I really cherish. I lived for the winter and the hockey season. The hockey teams that were put together from the start, soon moulded into great units during my time under the coaching of Ranald McDonald and Gary Bowler. The Under 14.1 team was the first sports team to beat a sports team from Christchurch Boy’s High School. We had some great trips away to Mosgiel on school exchanges and a tournament in Nelson during my years.

A photo of the band was taken outside D1 which was a science lab, and the practice room for the band was in D3 and later moved to E Block. I was a cornet player, and remember that, on school Cadet Days, the band would stand in the middle of the field and play while the rest of the school would march around and around the field. We also spent some of the time during Cadet Week practising. I understand now that most of the instruments have gone back to Crichton Cobbers as they were only on loan to SBHS.

Out the front of the School by the Gymnasiums was a very large heap of soil. This was from the development of the grounds prior to building of the school, with the soil being scraped off dumped there and was never put back.  Hence it is noted that the surrounding houses are higher than the field and led to the playing fields being very wet. I can remember very well the school land covered in all sorts of vegetation and was a swamp in many places as is recorded  'The Parade'.  This heap of soil was used as a ‘play area’ during school Cadet Barracks Week, until it was carted away. So liquefaction during the earthquake was probably no surprise with the history of that block of land.

The passing of Mr Norm Beard reminded me that he was my Science teacher in his first year at SBHS and I had him at some other time as well. I remember well him stopping me in the grounds after I wasn’t granted UE and he believed I could go on and do well in my chosen field, despite not having UE. The classes I was in, indicated that, with 3GB, 4GB, 5C, 5B, 6B3 I was not a top scholar.  However I applied for Teacher’s College and was accepted, spent my first year teaching at Banks Avenue School and then I moved to the North Island. 

I taught most of my years in the Porirua Basin in senior classes and was a Deputy Principal of two larger schools in that area. During the years I did do some study, passed papers, gained a Higher Dip. Tchg and was granted a scholarship in 1992 to attend Christchurch Teacher’s College to train as a Technology teacher, teaching wood technology in Intermediate schools in Porirua and Levin. 

I had a real passion for wood and with Tomorrows Schools coming in, I decided to make a sideways move and get out of the general classroom. I spent the last 15 years of my career in that field and finished up being two papers short of a degree so when I retired I had two diplomas, an Adv Dip Tchg, Dip Wkshop Tech, added to my Trained Teachers Certificate. 

The five years at SBHS were great for me and taught me that if you applied yourself and did your best and with the help that the great teachers gave us, you could succeed. I have used my academic experiences to inspire students that if you fail and don’t succeed the first time, get back up and try again and you can achieve your goals.

It is great that SBHS is going to continue, all be it on new site as the culture that was started by those 150 boys 50 + years ago in 1957, is something to be cherished.

I have donated all the school memorabilia I had back to the school, original cap, school tie, homework book, school hymn/song book, cadet stripes.  However I haven’t got any of the socks that shrunk so much that they became ankle socks. Many of us kept them for as long as we could so we didn’t have to have our socks pulled up.

My time now is spent with family, grandchildren and great grandchildren, voluntary work, as Secretary of a Feilding Lions Club and as Chairman of the Palmerston North Community Patrol. Voluntary work with different organisations is something that I have done throughout my life and thoroughly enjoyed putting something back into the communities that I have lived in.

Ron Tunnicliffe’s reference to Hockey leads The Parade to mention that Shirley BHS teacher and Hockey afficionado Adrienne ‘Stacky’ Stackhouse now has found an old cup engraved with the words ‘CHS Secondary School Indoor Competition Division 2.’

She writes that ‘it appears we were quite good at Indoor Hockey and won the trophy in 1984, 1985 and 1988.’

The story doesn’t end there and Sue Nesbit recalls that:

‘The floor was concrete. There were boards and nets around the ‘field’ and this meant the balls could fly off in any direction. The Hockey balls were hit hard. You had two sticks. One for indoor and one for games. It wasn’t a sport for the faint-hearted.’

This drew a response from Shirley Old Boy and Hockey Captain Tim Harvey:

Hi Stacky,

What a great piece of history to find!

Yes - Indoor Hockey was what we played as a precursor to our ‘outdoor’ season back in the 1980s.

‘Indoor’ is an awesome game - lighter sticks and a lighter ball, pushing and flicking (at goal) only, and sideboards to keep the ball in play.

Five ‘court’ players and a goalie in each team.

Competitions were held on the glass-smooth concrete floor at Canterbury Court in Addington (building still there today opposite the Rugby Stadium).

Indoor Hockey remains a big sport, particularly in Europe where players specialise in this form of the game and the European and World Cup competitions draw big crowds.

I’m aware of us (the First XI) winning the 1984 top grade Secondary Schools Competition -

Obviously the ‘Div 2’ branding on the cup doesn’t match up, but we would generally have 2-3 teams entered across the school grades, so this might have been won by the Second XI boys - or, it may have been the cup awarded to us by CHA?

Awesome to see Shirley featuring on the silverware Stacky. Here’s to much more of this to come!

-Tim Harvey