Dear Year 5 Boys,
Thank you very much for interesting letter telling me of the many and wonderful changes to the Tintern School that you attend today, compared to my years at Tintern from 1957 – 1965. To you this will sound a very long time ago, but looking back now the years do go by very quickly now, once you look back 55 years on from leaving Tintern you will realise that the years actually do speed by.
I commenced at Tintern Junior School in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, in Grade 5, which is the year you are just about to complete. Our school building was next to the two-storied Victorian House where Emma B. Cook first started the school, teaching her own children and taking in others and where my mother attended the Senior School for three years in the 1920’s.
When I started in 1957 the Senior School had already been relocated to Ringwood East and a new Junior School built so our Junior School was very small. I remember it as being a very friendly school and enjoying it so much after my previous much larger primary school. We worked hard in the mornings on schoolwork and in the afternoon focused more on sports and art. A favourite pastime was digging and tending the small garden beds we were allowed to create around a border in front of the Junior School. We were divided into small groups and managed our own gardens being able to choose our own plants from the plant nursery in Glenferrie Road opposite the school.
The move in Year 7, which we called Form 1, to the Senior School, was a big step with a long train trip to Ringwood East and some of us a bus trip as well. Trains were not very frequent and if we had stayed back for an after-school activity we had to make a mad dash to the train station so as not to miss the train. We always made our own way to and from school and it would be very rare for a parent to drop off or pick us up at the school on weekdays, as parents really only came to the school for important weekend events.
We loved the space, fresh air, the native plants, bird and insect life. The pine forest was our favourite place to eat our lunch sitting in the pine needles with the fresh smell of the pine trees.
The Junior School Hall was used by the senior school as well, for our gym, for exams, assemblies concerts and drama and being a newly built school the facilities were very good for the time.
In my final year at Tintern (1965) the then Federal Government Minister for Science, opened our new Science block, which was a real innovation at the time, but you would be amazed comparing that to your wonderful Spiegel Science Centre opened 54 years later. The music school and concert hall were all built after I left school in 1965 and also the wonderful centre for creative arts and opportunities for drama and musical theatre. Educational and students’ needs and opportunities have changed far and away beyond anything we could have imagined in our time, or indeed in the years my mother attended Tintern. However the vision for Tintern set by Emma B. Cook when she established the school to educate her own children and others, has been carried on and expanded by successive principals, until when we visit for our reunions, we appreciate seeing the school set in such beautiful surroundings with extraordinary facilities for all years and now coeducational for many years.
I sang in the choir and the madrigal group throughout my senior school years and at the last reunion I attended, I loved listening to your Junior School Choir and seeing your enjoyment singing the variety of songs.
This has been extremely difficult and challenging year for you, your families, your friends and teachers, as it has been for all of us, but I know you will have been well supported by your teachers at Tintern throughout.
Thank you for acknowledging our part in the continuum of the life of the school.
I wish every one of you a very happy summer holiday and come back ready and looking forward to your Year 6 and the very best for your school days and your future.
Libby La Nauze (née Black)
7 December 2020