The Formative Years
“And what of the human material, the boys and girls for whose benefit the machine was devised? Essentially like others of their race and country, yet they owed a certain character to the influence of environment. Bracing winters, summers made pleasant by cool night temperatures, a town of open spaces and shady gardens, accessibility of open country, and reasonably comfortable homes are in themselves an ideal setting for a healthy, happy, vigorous breed. Unspoiled by the dazzle, the restlessness and the endless artificial amusements of big towns, youth is not subject to the same psychological upsets, and so develops a very rational outlook upon life. The healthy and often cultured home life, the kind neigbourly feelings and the general fondness for outdoor sports that characterise the people are in themselves a fine moulding influence on young life. Thus growing up clean minder, courteous and mannerly, yet without trace of servility, full of health and high spirits yet with a high sense of duty and an eager earnestness, these youngsters are good material to work on and richly deserve to realise their potentialities for good and useful citizenship and for personal advancement. Those of us to whose happy lot it has fallen to work with and among them would be less than human if we did not treasure a glow of affection for them and a feeling of pride in their School’s achievements.”
(Inspector J McLeod writing in the 1943 Commemorative Brochure of Dundee Intermediate School)
Education did not begin in Dundee in 1884; in fact, the High School as we know it was constructed only in 1907. No, in fact our roots go much deeper, for evidence has it that – even if we discount the sterling tutelage given in this area by the remarkably educated Voortrekker “meesters” that accompanied their patron groups – individual school teachers of mettle, courage and dedication plied the Biggarsberg’s untrodden paths between homesteads as early as 1852. This is two years before Crimea, three before Livingstone discovered the Victoria Falls; and but fourteen years after the massacre of Piet Retief!
Twyman and Bodien from England and van der Craght, a Hollander, are best known and loved, but records show 22 ïtinerant schools” in this area. I believe these schools are effectually preparing the way for fixed schools of a higher class,” the “Government Superintendent of Natal Education reported in 1859. “I suggest that they be fixed as soon as possible.”
If he survived to witness the event, his school was only “fixed”in “Dundee Proper” in 1884 by one Mr Alex Graham, evidently an Australian import”, probably hailing from Adelaide, South Australia. Peter Smith had only established his township two years previously. Was Thomas Smith, Peter’s brother, the “failed Ballarat digger” instrumental in Graham’s advent? Local who farmed and mined the “black gold”had petitioned the Natal Government in 1878 for a permanent school – but the calamity of 1879 and Isandhlwana had put all that out of their minders – until Graham, a hopeful poet, arrived and set up school in a little wood and iron building somewhere on Market Square (now occupied by the Checkers supermarket complex).
“Lilies, lilies, mountain lilies!
Pure and sweet and fair,
Bright and purple-petalled lilies,
Scenting all the air.
Lilies, lilies, mountain lilies,
Brought to me today,
Hear, Christina, what the lilies
Seem to us to say …”
This he wrote on 12 October 1885 in crisp copperplate hand/writing to a ten year-old who had that morning picked him some lilies on her way to school over the veld. Had school-masters softer hears 99 years ago, or has “pressure of work” thrust the poetic muse harshly behind us?
The next year, 1886, saw the arrival of a spare disciplinarian, Mr Paglar – and also the transferral of the infant school to the old Masonic Hall (a building which, after the Anglo-Boer War, was dismantled and re-erected in Victoria Street, to do years of service as the National Bank). This was situated on a “waste strip of ground opposite the present Municipal Power Station, adjoining the residence of Mr F Ritson.”
In 1887 a Mr Robert A Wood succeeded Paglar, and with him were associated the three Misses Dill, ladies of spirit and “good connections” (Field-Marshal Sir John Dill was “of the family”), daughters of the Dewar Storekeeper, en route to Rorke’s Drift (his wagon was, too, used in the Defence of Rorke’s Drift). Ultimately the Misses Dill inherited the school, and gathered most of their young charges each day in a tent wagon drawn by oxen. The surrounding farmers sent their children in on horse-back or by cart. The school ground must have resembled a miniature laager! Two of the Dills retired eventually to Newcastle, but not before one of them had become Mayoress of Dundee.
On 1 July 1890 the Natal Government took over the “Aided School”, appointing as its first Headmaster a Mr White from Verulam. He “kept the pot boiling” for a mere 18 months before he succeeded by a Mr S H Baker – who died after only 8 months in office. Then it was that Dundee’s educational star began to rise: the remarkable Mr R A Gowthorpe, until then Senior Assistant at the Boys’ Model School in Durban, was appointed on 1 September 1892. Here was a man who later became Principal of the Natal Training College in Pietermaritzburg. “Not a few” old pupils “now arrived at middle age” informed later Headmaster J W Hudson in 1934 that “he was a stern disciplinarian but by all … he is held not only in respect, but affection. Such was the man who laid the foundations.” Mr Gowthorpe hewed and toiled in Dundee for 12 prodigious years: for about him was exploding the “Centre of Northern Natal”, the phenomenal growth of “Coalopolis”, especially after the Anglo-Boer War. And during this entire period – and here is a familiar theme! – “the P W D (the Public Works Department, today’s Building Services) was kept busy enlarging the school building.”
In September 1892 Gowthorpe had 85 pupils on his Register; by 1902 he had 356, some of them coming in form Zululand and the Glencoe district. In 1894 the Inspector Dukes (who, in 1904, confessed to the arduous pioneer work”) reported “the Organisation, Discipline, Tone and Progress are perfectly satisfactory.” The carpentry shop run by a Mr Serridge obviously impressed: having command in first in 1895, Mr Dukes waxed that it was “one of the best ordered in the Colony.”
The approach of war dictated the location of a 4 500-strong British garrison under Lt-Gen Sir William Penn-Symons in Dundee near the present Indian High School. Nevertheless R S M Higgings toiled out from Ladysmith “carrying on Military and Physical Drill to our entire satisfaction”; and later the Natal Police continued the boys’ exercise.
Classes in school were “abnormally large, and in some instances numbered as many as fifty.” Then came the Boers and Talana, on 20 October 1899. Chaos reigned as evacuation took place: “you know,” said one mite to another, “they’re going to kill all the English people: but we’re right – we’re Scotch!”
Recalling those days of fury and panic, Miss Honeywell said, “People were getting very nervous before we were ordered away, as things got worse… and one day we went to school as usual, and during the morning the Headmaster and someone in uniform… came round together and they said we must run home as fast as we could and tell our mothers to put a few things together and to be down at the station by one o’clock. Well, then we were all nervous and we were running as fast as we could in all directions to get home quickly. “So were their patents, and when the British troops surreptitiously retreated on a three day march to Ladysmith, Dundee was left to the ravages of the Boer troops who (according to Deneys Reitz “went whooping through the town… and plundering shops and dwelling houses.” Only on 1 August 1900, General Buller having retaken Dundee on May 16, did classes commence again, and then in the Masonic Hall that still stands on the corner of Gladstone and Beaconsfield Streets. Furniture “stacked floor to ceiling” was re-claimable from Boswells!
Gowthorpe took up the reins from where they had been laid down. The inspector’s report was soon declaring that “The children’s exercise books are a pleasure to look at,” and the senior school Physiography Class was taken down the Coalfields Mine pit by its manager, Mr Walter Rowan, who “stopped the cage to examine each successive stratum (and to) explain to us the origin and effect of the FAULT.”
Despite Indian jugglers and snake charmers that intrigued the children in town, and the fascination of watching “naked Zulus doing war dances on Market Square”, and Fillis’s Circus parade (replete with elephants) down Victoria Street, the war years had left their mark, and for a long time target shooting was a prime sport practised at the school. Mr Holding remembered the lead bullets “as big as a boy’s thumb and a kicked (sic) worse than any living mule!”
“We used to sit upright on the edge of the mound, and each shot just about knocked us flat, after five shots every boy was black and blue, some crying with pain, nevertheless next practice would see the team all there and willing to go through it over again!”
In 1902 Inspector Dukes confined himself to: “There is no need for a detailed report on the work of this School. It is excellent.” That year the Annual Distribution of Prizes took place on Friday, 20 June, and was preceded by “Physical Drill in the School Grounds” by the Cadets and senior boys and girls. Cadet drill, as they did then, by today’s scholars; but “want drill, dumb-bell drill and Indian club drill”?! The following year (1903) the school was more ambitious yet, with an evening programme (commencing at 7 o’clock) containing no fewer than 35 items, including Flag Drill, Recitations (“What Mother Calls Me by Six Boys”!). Kindergarten songs (“When Granny Comes Home by May Retallack and Two Girls”) and items from School Choir (concluding, mercifully, with an appropriately-named Action Song called the “Yawning Song”!). Stamina, that’s what you needed in those days, m’boy!
From 1 August 1903 until 15 May 1904 Mr Gowthorpe enjoyed a “busman’s holiday, of sorts, standing in as an Acting Inspector of schools for the South Coast District during his long leave! A Mr H Overton administered the school in his absence. Mr Gowthorpe was no sooner back than he was given promotion and replaced by Mr F M Sivil on July 1, 1904, himself no stranger to Dundee. Sivil had seen action with the Natal Naval Volunteers in Ladysmith during the Anglo-Boer War, and had “conducted Vacation Classes for Teachers in the art of singing from the Tonic Solfa and Staff Notations.”
Now, having been “appointed Headmaster of the old mixed school in the centre of the town”, he had “the boys, girls and infants of the town to the number of approximately three hundred, … all taught under the same roof. The building was an inadequate patch-work affair, consisting of only large room, capable of being divided into three classrooms by means of green baize curtains, and several smaller rooms, which had originally been the Headmaster’s house. . . It certainly had the advantage of being only a step from the Dining Room to the Class Room.” Parental protestations becoming more vociferous, “the Natal Government, with the advice of the Education Department, undertook the building of a new school or boys on the Berea” (our present school site).
There was some delay before the new buildings could be officially opened by Dundee’s then Mayor, Mr West Thorrold (assisted by Inspector H R Dukes “before a good attendance of townspeople”) on 1 March 1907; the original contractor deserted, and new tenders had to be called for. The Mayor opened the main door with “a rather massive, gold-painted key”, whereupon “the building was then inspected by the visitors, who duly admired the airy well-lit rooms, the solidly built walls, the wood-block floors, etc., etc. They could not, however, have admired the furniture, for the Government argued that, if there were sufficient desks for 300 odd boys and girls in the old school, there should be sufficient for two schools; so half the well-worn old-fashioned desks, with the names or initials of past generations of school boys carved all over them, were sent up to the new building, where they looked singularly out of place in the spick-and-span new rooms.”
But whilst all looked pleasant within, what a contrast the outside presented! The site of the building was on a piece of sloping ground, and the P W D or the Contracts had started at the lowest point and dug into the hillside, at one end, was several feet below the ground level. No proper drainage had been provided, and the first good rain turned the clayey soil around the building into a quagmire. Pupils and teachers had to cross pools of standing water by means of planks. In due course, after much correspondence and a visit from the Superintendent of Education, matters were, if not put right, at least much improved. But of course it took time to cover up, with grass and paths, the ugly scars made by the builders.
The piece of veld which was fenced in as the school playing fields, was another problem requiring much time and energy, but a good deal of it was fairly level.
Sivil’s attempts to ground the school firmly were not uniformly appreciated: on one occasion, having administered a “hiding” to a recreant schoolboy, the boy was removed from the school with “an impertinent letter” from his father! On another occasion, “I punished X for insolence and disobedience. He then ran out of the room. In the afternoon his father came to the office and assaulted me.” Having suspended the father’s children forthwith, Sivil saw him in court, where he was charged and fined £10! Nevertheless, Sivil was “held in affectionate remembrance” for his “great deal of charm”. He as active in the community, participating enthusiastically in local whist and bridge tournaments, Masonic activities and the Parliamentary Debating Society, amongst numerous other social activities.
Up to this time, Sivil’s school (and all other so-called boys’ schools in Natal except Martizburg College and Durban High School) provided only a primary education up to Standard VII. Girls wishing a secondary education had to go to State-aided or private institutions (such as the Holy Rosary Convent, or St John’s School, now based in Pietermaritzburg). Now, selected schools (Dundee, Ladysmith and Newcastle amongst them) were “crowned” – permitted to offer secondary courses. Yet local response (and Dundee was the educational centre for the entire district, train schedules from outlying areas being adjusted occasionally “to meet the school hours”) was fairly poor. Mr F D Hugo, later Natal’s Superintendent of Education, postulated “the absence of hostel accommodation, the unwillingness of parents to break away from schools they had previously supported, and the scarcity of teachers properly equipped for the wider field of secondary education. The main fact, however, was probably the absence of a general demand for secondary education.” By 1909, on Sivil’s departure, only 120 boys were enrolled at the “new school”, and the staff was not large: three men and two unmarried ladies (who stayed at the facetiously nicknamed “Harem” on the corner of Cuthbert and Beaconsfield Streets!); “Dutch was taught by a visiting teacher, Mr Cornfield.”
Talana and the Boer War sites were still on the outside world’s mind, however, and Monday 24 October 1903 saw the excitement of a visit to the school of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, Field-Marshal Lord F S Roberts, VC, who was given a reception in the (no doubt still “fiercely sloping”) school grounds. The Hero of Kabul and Kandahar was treated to a Guard of Honour by the school cadets. Two years later “the severest crisis self-governing Natal had faced” occurred, the Bambatha Rebellion, from February 1906 to December 1907. 7 000 troops were housed locally prior to the final assault against the rebels, including 25 strecther bearers led by Sgt Major Mohandas K Gandhi. On 1 June 1906 Sivil reported that he had given children leave “from 9 to 9.30 am . . . to see their relatives in the 1st Reserves start for the Front.” On the soldiers’ return, a gloriously horrified schoolboy was exhibited Bambatha’s severed head on Dundee Station, being taken back for identification purposes!
Weather, as ever, provided safe topics for conversation, too. On Tuesday, 1 June 1905, Sivil wrote, “Great blizzard during the night. Snow from two to three feet deep all over the grounds. Immense damage done to all the trees in the grounds. Only five children and eight teachers made their way to school. These were dismissed and a report sent to the Supt of Education.” And again on Monday, 11 March 1907, a mere 10 days after the new school’s opening: “Heavy storm of rain. Water came through and marked the walls. Discovered a skylight in the roof had been maliciously opened.”
On 2 August 1909 Mr Sivil made his farewell on long leave, and Mr Gray was appointed Acting Principal. “Just as everyone in Dundee called him ‘Archie’, so also did we in the privacy of our Common Room,” wrote one of his greatest teachers, J W Hudson, later “I never met a more human man. He worked as he expected his Staff to work and from them he expected much.” He also “taught arithmetic as I had never seen it taught before.”
The younger boys having been (“much to their disgust”) transferred to the Junior School, in their place were admitted boys and girls up to Standard X (or Form VI, as it was then known); thus the school became known as the Dundee Senior Government School. “The (Teachers) College Entrance Examination was abandoned in favour of the Matriculation, and we were in a position to concentrate all our efforts on Secondary Work. Eventually the Natal Education Department agreed to re-grade us and the height of our ambition was reached; we became Dundee Secondary School.” It could indeed be called the “top” school in town!
Two incidents how the motivating spirit of Mr Gray. On 24 September 1909 he reported that “the ground available for gardens has been portioned out among the standards and it is hoped that a spirit of emulation will be fostered among the boys and thereby the general appearance of the grounds improved.” A month later, “Inspected the gardens. Considering the lack of rain and many other handicaps the boys have done exceedingly well.” And again, on December 10, “An Attendance Flag is now open for competition in the school; the class having the highest percentage for the week holds the flag for the following week and leaves school early on Friday afternoon.”
In 1910 a school badge was introduced, designed by Mr (later Dr) N N Haysom; this badge was altered slightly in 1922. A school blazer naturally followed, originally worn only by scholars that had distinguished themselves in games (“a rule,” wrote Gray later, “which was subsequently very wisely cancelled.”)
The first Union elections in 1910 were celebrated by a mock election staged at the school “to give the pupils some idea of what took place at a polling station.” “All went well – even the inevitable election fight took place, I believe, while we were counting the votes . . . It was great fun, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”
Concerts were held regularly, culminating in most successful productions of Gilberts and Sullivan operettas which played to “packed houses in Dundee, Newcastle and Ladysmith. When the “Great War” broke out, proceeds went to War Funds. “and the fact that we were doing out ‘bit’ was no small consideration with all of us,” wrote Mr Gray. Indeed, militarism was again on the rise, and “our Cadet Corps was perhaps our chiefest pride, and Dundee had such faith in its youthful soldier lads that we were invariably called upon to take an active part in the town’s public functions; such as firing volleys at the Service in honour of the late King Edward VII, and the firing of the ‘feu de joie’ at the ceremonies in connection with the Coronation of King George V.” On this latter occasion Mrs G J McKenzie recalls the school being taken to the Oval afterwards for a sports day.
Before the end of that war Dundee had lost 20 of its old scholars and three of its staff members; one scholar, Capt Garnet Green, who had passed the Annual Collective Examination in 1903 at Dundee, was awarded the Victoria Cross for having (in the words of the Natal Mercury of 29 March 1918(, “held the whole wood (Gouche Wood( with 118 men (of his B Company of the Second Regiment), the whole day against three German Divisions”; this, sadly, at the cost of his own life.
Mr Arthur Whitfield, writing afterwards, recalled, “The three masters who lost their lives in the Great War, and after whom three of the four School Houses are named, were all on the Staff in 1914. While my impressions of Mr (W M) Reid are very vague, those left by Messrs (S M) Wright (death reported on 14 October 1917) and (F H) Jerred are indelibly etched on my mind – and possibly other portions of my anatomy as well – for both men were adepts in the noble art of caning. In those days masters, and mistresses, administered their own canings, and it was only for a very serious offence that a boy was sent to the Headmaster. Many a time I have seen a pencil box or heavy ruler hurtling through the air, destined for the head of some luckless individual in the back row. A boy would as soon think of ‘forgetting’ to do his homework as of committing suicide. Short of a letter from his parents, no excuse would prevent the inevitable ‘stick’,’’ Mr George Brickhill writes of Jerred “teaching with the cane. An unsatisfactory method at best. He could be seen walking about, in class & out, with his cane in his hand. Young Muir was in my class, & he was not a clever student. I often felt sorry for him when he ended his day with swollen puffy hands.”
If not all could go to the War, the War could come to Dundee: “During the afternoon session (of 22 April 1918) the scholars were taken to see the first aeroplane landing at Dundee: Major Miller R F C (Royal Flying Corps) delivered a lecture in the Masonic Hall. . .” The next day, the school again “marched down to see the aeroplane ascend (from its landing-site below Talana) and continue its journey to Maritzburg.” It would be the 1930’s before some of those eager pupils had the breathless thrill of a “flip”, and then with another R F C ace, Sir Alan Cobham, who brought his famous “flying circus” to town.
“Staffing (during those war years) was always difficult as the war took our best men away” said Gray; indeed, by the war’s end but three men remained on the staff. However, the P W D again “girded its loins” and school buildings were expanded, and facilities, too, were improved, especially with regard to a Woodwork shop (the old wood and iron workshop did duty until the early ‘30s; it was unsufferably hot in Summer and unspeakably cold in Winter”!) a Science impossible to left his class handle and set up apparatus for themselves, much less conduct their own experiments, the demonstrations were apt to be only a little more illuminating than a conjuror’s performance, which can be very effective, and yet leaves the spectators completely mystified.”
But a man of Gray’s stature could not be bowed by “little difficulties”: “So much for the buildings; but the soul of a school lies in the hearts of the children, and no bricks and mortar could confine the joyous spirit that prevailed. The pride they had in everything connected with their school; the enthusiasm with which they tackled work and play; the jealousy with which they upheld the reputation fo the school; these are memories.” Proud indeed would Mr Gray have been to have read a report on the 1984 Inter-Schools Relay Gala in 24 February’s “Northern Natal Courier”: “Dundee once again proved their superior spirit that is the envy of all Northern Natal and the admiration of officials and spectators alike!” The spectators report for 1922 concluded, “The germ of an excellent school is here”; indeed!
It surprises one to know that by 1920 a uniform was net yet in vogue. Miss Joan Evens, associated with our school for many, many years, writes of her introduction to “The Boys’ School”: We must have been a quaint little bunch of reluctant scholars (coming up from the Junior School). We had none of the confidence and sophistication of Std 5 children today: and as school uniforms were unknown, we had not even the courage which can be derived from uniformity. Later, some of the girls in the higher classes took matters into their own hands and persuaded their mothers to supply them with navy-blue or black gym-tunics and white blouses. The fashion caught on, red-and-black ties were bought, and an unofficial school uniform was born.”
1920 saw the first Annual Sports Meeting: “We were a little doubtful whether we could make a success of such a venture; but. . . we came through with flying colours. The ‘records’ of the day have, I expect, all been beaten, but the enthusiasm can never have been more than equalled.” This meeting “established the ideal of the annual sports Meeting.” The next athletics meeting was to have been held on 10 September 1921, but a phenomenal now-storm made postponement necessary until the following week, when 54 competitors took part.
Mrs G J McKenzie remembers that blizzard vividly – and it’s proof that human nature has not evolved that much over the years: “We played outside the school for some time, before the headmaster announced he would ring the bell and if there were not 50 children in the school, he would close the school for the day. There were 12 boys and 4 girls in my class. One boy was on the lookout and said, “Cavy, boys, he’s coming!” All we saw were legs climbing through the windows! Mr Gray came in and counted 4 in the classroom. There were not 50 children in school (in fact, Gray recorded that there were but 43 present!), but when the staff had their photo taken there were more than 50 children pelting them with snowballs!”
When the Athletic Sports eventually got under way, at young John Willie Hudson’s suggestion house colours were worn for the first time;, thus, in naming the houses, the names of Reid, Jerred and Wright, who “had made ‘The Supreme Sacrifice’,” were immortalised. “From the very beginning the system was an unqualified success; it did much to instil into the hearts of the scholars a team spirit, thus teaching them the value of combined effort, and added considerably to the spirit of ‘esprit de corps’ throughout the school.”
What of other sports in those years? Dundee was known as a premier soccer school; Joe Green an Old Boy, had played for Transvaal and South Africa, both on overseas tour to Britain and at home. Gray tells us that “at cricket we were not so brilliant, and the game fluctuated often for want of funds.” Hockey, tennis (on the court behind the present Boys’ Hostel) and basket ball were also played, and both boys and girls took part in shooting (Mrs Jessiman – Reid’s Girl House Captain in 1922, recalls a silver spoon being offered to the winner of the monthly competitions, and silver cups to inter-school winner!) In 1923, in order to correspond with other Natal high schools, a change-over to rugby took place; so whilst soccer remained the official winter game, rugby began to be played on Wednesdays. The following year soccer was abandoned and rugby became the official school game, but the first matches against high schools such as Glenwood and Maritzburg College took place only in 1931.
Then, as possibly now, it was in the sphere of athletics that the school won its greatest successes. “In the programme for 1923 one notices the name of a little nipper who manager to win the under 12 220 yards, who came second in the under 14 100 yards and the high jump, and who came third in the junior long jump. His name was Danie Joubert. . . That was the commencement of an athletic career that piled up record after record, until eventually Joubert faced the athletes of the world on the running track at Los Angeles in the Olympic Games of 1932”! (This year, 1984, the Olympic Games are once again to be staged in Los Angeles – Ed.)
It is good for us to retrospect, privileged that we are with such a magnificent sports stadium, for a moment, on the facilities during the Great War years: “There were no ready-made playing fields,” writes Mr Rex Floweday, “and very little organised sport, so before the annual ‘5 a Side’ football or ‘soccer’ competition and cricket matches, we scholars were told to get the grounds cleared. At break times we would collect spades and rakes from the storeroom and clear the ground of weeds etc. We younger fry used to enjoy the work, often fighting for possession of a spade.” Mr Arthur Whitfield recalled in the 30’s: “The subscription for the football season was 1s., and the season lasted until the ball bust! Only those fortunate enough to be selected for team play had the pleasure of soccer throughout the season. There was only one fixture with the other Northern District Schools, and that was for the Gregory Cup. The resulting excitement over the one and only match of the season was naturally very high.” A tradition we have continued, with rugby, especially, for each and every match of the season!
“Marbles was, of course, the premier game among the self-made amusements. Every boy in the School, whether large or small, played in season, and this game probably promoted the majority of the major fights. Another game that was very popular was Red Rover (so popular, in fact, that another Old Boy was convinced it had been ‘invented’ at Dundee!), which resulted in shirts being nearly torn off, and no doubt accounted for the fashion in jerseys. Donkey fighting, bok-bok, stick-stick, hat-hat, push-push (did they have such severe speech impediments in those days?!), fly, and even peg tops had their day, and came round in regularly recurrent ‘seasons’.”
If his predecessors had laid the foundations of a potentially fine school, Mr Gray had proved himself a master builder. He left solid structure behind him, and in every area of school life his mark of excellence and progress had been felt. His term of office, commence in August 1909, now was sadly concluded with his going on long leave on 3 March 1923. His final entry in the Headmaster’s Long Book is profound (considering the comprehensiveness of his other entries) in its starkness of emotion: “Handed over to Mr Pape. A Gray.” John Willie Hudson, a spiritual tower even in those days, and Editor of the four-editioned “Dundee Secondary School Magazine”, writes in the final issue (dated December, 1923): “We have lost Mr Gray whose unfailing kindness made him not only a master but a friend to every pupil at the school.” Recognising as we do that bricks and mortar á school do not make’, becoming as the structure may be; but the plumb-line of a school’s excellence is the quality of the characters of the citizens it helps form; then Mr Gray had over and again proved himself an architect and craftsmen for the Dundee High that was in its youth without peer.
Anyone less worthy than Septimus W Page (Honours Degree in Classics, Queen’s College, Oxford; and First Fifteen) might have trodden warily in so great a shadow, but in five short months as Acting Headmaster, “There is much to indicate that (his) personality is not only making itself felt in the various classrooms (he was deservedly renowned for being no disciple of “soft psychology; Many an inattentive dream was rudely interrupted by the onset of the hasty rod!) by infusing energy into the classes (from the bottom up?!), but its healthy influence on conduct is observed outside of school and school-hours as well” (J Macleod, Inspector of Schools, 7.vi.23), Pape was remarkable for his pioneering work amongst English-speaking Natalians in the learning of Nederlands: after a special trip to the Cape to learn it, he was to teach it successfully (although the Classics remained his first love) for some years. It is probable that this knowledge of the language was at least parly responsible for his promotion here. Ten months previously Inspector Fouché had noted that “Afrikaans instead of Dutch is taken in the lower forms; it was during Headmaster James Black’s term that Afrikaans Medium classes were introduced “and it is most pleasing (he wrote for the school’s Golden Jubilee) to learn how wonderfully successful they have been.” It was some years before sufficient Afrikaans-speaking pupils made their own matric class operable.
Pape was succeeded, on his further promotion to the Headship of Vryheid Secondary School, on 1 August 1923, by Mr James Black. Having been an “Assistant Master” at the Durban High School, a famous boys’ school, from 1911 until his promotion to Dundee, “it was with many misgiving” that he heard of his new posting: “I learned with some consternation that the Dundee School was ‘mixed’. My experience in the control of girly was exactly nil, and it is not surprising that I entered upon my task with much humility and considerable trepidation. May I say at the outset that my fears were groundless. The management of girls was really one of the easiest tasks I have ever undertaken. . . I can only conclude that it is after marriage that girly become difficult.” A colleague later wrote of Black that “no sounder man could have been chosen to develop secondary work in this District. A splendid teacher himself, he was a vigorous disciplinarian, and he saw to it that every boy and girl in the School worked, while he developed the innovations Mr Gray had inaugurated.”
Academically, Black was to set the school on a sounder footing, taking up cudgels with like-minded educationalists around the country for “a widened scheme of subjects and sylabuses in the Secondary Schools of South Africa.” The pupils were compelled to take five subjects – with usually no choice of courses. Did he have an artful tongue in his chauvinistic cheek when he wrote, “Those who are acquainted with a Matriculation Mathematics paper on the Higher Grade . . . will realise what a very severe strain was placed on girls, all of whom were compelled to take this subject. I shall never forget the manner in which the girls tackled the obstacle and surmounted it successfully. I am constantly told that girls are no good as mathematicians, but my experience leads me to think otherwise. Not only have they tenacity of purpose but quite frequently they have real ability in the subject”. Nevertheless he cheered when, in 1930, the “wider scheme” came into existence: “It meant life for some schools and greater happiness and usefulness for all other”; the girls in those schools especially, no doubt!
He had fixed views on excessive subject specialisation which (ultimately unfairly) dictated a child’s choice of careers: “Secondary education today has over-emphasised education for acquisitiveness, but the best schools are those which have a wholesome regard for cultural values. For this reason I place Dundee School in the first rand.”
But old customs in education die hard, even in Dundee, as Black was soon to discover. “Shortly after my arrival I received a letter from a parent requesting a certificate stating that his son had passed Standard Six. Unfortunately the boy had not qualified and the request was refused. Some days later I received a communication which read: ‘If you well send me a certificate, I will send you a bag of potatoes.’ This document met with a similar fate. Shortly afterwards I received the following: ‘A large box of magnificent fruit has been railed to you today. Please send certificate.’ I was informed later by a prominent Dundee resident, to whom the position had been explained, that the fruit was really excellent.”
The school was increasing, gradually, in numbers all the time, and chronic pressure was placed upon the boys’ and girls’ hostels to accommodate out-of-town pupils. The first hostel had been opened in August 1918, “the old Victoria building adjoining Ryley’s Mill”, adapted to give accommodation for 40 pupils. Gray recalled, “Conditions were by no means ideal – the premises were so situated that the housing and supervision of boys and girls was a very difficult problem – but applications for admission came pouring in, and the necessity for further accommodation soon became apparent.” When the Junior School was built the old school buildings (situated to one side of the present Municipal Offices) were converted into a girls’ hostel, while the boys remained at the original hostel. It was “really an old hotel (the Victoria) full of cubby holes, where adequate supervisions of the boys was difficult.” Black remembered many surprise visits he paid to the boys’ hostel at strange hours of the night. “On one occasion I watched a boxing contest on one of the verandahs at 1 o’clock in the morning. Fortunately no incidents worse than this occurred,” and he was filled with “welcome relief” at the building of the “magnificent new hostel.” “There is accommodation for 50 boys,” a school brochure advised; but presently (in 1984) 70 live in! They, too, will be relieved when the “magnificent” structure is made more magnificent yet on completion of a major refurbishing and internal structural alternation which is presently underway!
I look back upon my Dundee days with feelings of pleasure. We had our troubles, some of them quite big, but what school is without them? I remember cheerful boys and girls performing their tasks with earnestness and efficiency; a Staff second to none; a happy mixing of both races and a complete absence of those unpleasant relations which sometimes did exist among older people outside the School.” Black handed over the reins in the new year of 1929 to Mr Reginald A Banks; having given him the school keys on 28 January, Banks’ first log book entry is 29 January: “I assumed duty as Headmaster vice (i.e. in succession to) Mr Black transferred to the Technical High School Durban as its Headmaster.” Black later went on to the Headship of Durban High School – one of its “great” headmasters, in fact the boarding establishment there is named after him. Banks, who was to leave after only 2¼ years at Dundee, went on to the Inspectorate, and ultimately the pinnacle, the Superintendentship, of Natal. But what a 2¼ years! “He came with high ideals and carried them out!”
“Discipline was never a matter of great difficulty, but in order that the senior boys and girls might gain some experience in controlling others and seeing certain school problems form the administrative side, the prefect system was instituted” – this was, in fact, on 7 May 1929.
“During the time I had been head of various schools I became more and more convinced that the morning assembly of the whole school was a potent factor in stimulating the corporate life of the school, and I took steps to make this ceremony more elaborate” – which involved opening each day with a reading of a portion from the Bible, and with prayer; a fine custom which continues to this day, in our twice weekly assemblies and classroom devotions.
With the new Matriculation regulations that had recently come into force, an attempt was made to broaden the selectively range (how Black must have approved of that!), “and Geography was introduced . . . as an alternative to Latin, and Bookkeeping to History. The Geography option (hardly surprisingly) immediately jumped into favour.” Banks had, in one fell swoop, accomplished what a string of headmasters had striven to do for decades, against the better judgement of a longer string of inspectors: sounded the deathknell to Latin at Dundee School.
Under Banks’ direction, steps were taken to develop the boys hostel fields as a type of sport complex, for rugby and hockey fields and a cricket oval, and, of course, the tennis court. A most modest (gum pole and grass) “pavilion” was erected at one side, too. Swimming was given an impetus by the erection of the Municipal Baths in 1926, “and the majority availed themselves of his pleasurable , health-giving and useful activity”; words which are music to this writer’s heart! “In order to encourage proficiency, certificates were issued” on the lines of the Durban and Maritzburg Schools’ Swimming Associations.
Yet all was not mere ‘fun and games’ for Mr Banks, for on 23 October 1929 he lodged that “The Headmistress of the Junior School reported that it had come to her notice that certain boys residing at the Boys’ Hostel had done certain wanton damage in the town on the evening of Friday, October 18. The names of the boys were . . .” It transpired that the felons had been granted permission “to attend a Lantern Lecture at the Wesleyan Hall” when they had chosen rather to remove a signal lamp from the railway line, pull up flowers and cut a hose-pipe in the Bath’s grounds, and cut the tyre of a motor car standing in the street. The police and magistrate and headmaster all conferred and the boys were given a tongue-lashing-from the “law” and “six strokes each” from the suitably indignant Banks!
He handed the school on to one of Natal’s – indeed, one of South Africa’s – finest headmasters; a man who knew Dundee School intimately (He had been on the staff in the days of Mr A Gray) and was prepared to cut his stamp on its weal: Mr John William Hudson. “For the schoolmastering profession J W was clearly destined. He had a profound belief in the importance of the teacher and great responsibility resting on him. What the boy is, what the schoolmaster is, he believed, was much more vital than all the yard-sticks of intelligence quotients, statistical records, the investigations of psychologists and psychiatrists. . .” He brought a noble and high calling to Dundee and influenced hundreds of young lives – and teachers too – with his call to excellence. Dundee School was yet again in worthy hands.
What then were the attributes of this remarkable educationist? Inspector Mr J McLeod recollects in the Commemorative Brochure of 1934: “…poetic destiny ordained that the present Headmaster (J W Hudson), then is now full of enthusiasm, should be the first of a number of assistant teachers (who were products of Natal’s own High Schools and University) who were to infuse new life and vigour into classroom and playing field at the School He very soon succeeded not only in putting the teaching of his own subject on a new high plane, but in launching a games organization that, slowly at first but steadily, grew into the vitalizing power that it is today”.
According to Mr McLeod the four Headmasters of the School who were known to him (Gray, Black, Banks and Hudson) all possessed the qualities that go to the making of a great Headmaster. In addition they had “the power of visualizing a definite education objective and an invincible determination to achieve it; faith in the moral worth of honest, intelligent effort in work and play; and (one that is perhaps too often forgotten in life), to refuse to be discouraged when means are limited but rather to make the very utmost of the means at hand”.
“John Willie”, as Mr Hudson was commonly known, had a high regard for headmaster “Archie” Gray on whose staff he served in the early Twenties, but one cannot fail to note that he admired those qualities in Mr Gray which were very much his own forte. Mr Hudson recalls that he was a human man who “worked as he expected his Staff to work and from them he extracted much,….he produced Gilbert and Sullivan operas with School children (Mr Hudson dragooned his members of Staff into the productions of the local Drama Society!) he urged the importance of games, (he had inaugurated the House System at the school!) which had put athletics and swimming on a sound footing and he taught arithmetic as I have never seen it taught before! (J W H was himself a magnificent exponent of mathematics and chemistry). “His close involvement with the pupils of the school is evident from Dr Gerald Hosking’s recollections: “He taught mathematics, coached the 1st cricket team, ran the Debating Society and kept us on our toes, for he was something of a martinet”. What then of the definite educational objectives perceived by him? In the first edition of the Dundee Secondary School Magazine published in February 1922 he writes in his editorial about the threefold functions of Education: “It is the unfolding of the resources of the brain; it is the building up of the body; it is the development of moral character. Unless education is carried along on these lines it is not producing citizens who will pull their weight in the ship of state”. But how was the object to turn our citizens fully equipped mentally, morally and physically to be achieved? The school was divided into “Houses” and “the House Cup (was) awarded annually to the House gaining most points – not only for games, but for every piece of work done in, and for, the House”. “The winning House would in truth be the Cock House!”
And how was success at the end of the year to be assured? “It is the earnest endeavour prior to the final effort in December (the academic year ended very late in those days!) which is of most value. Honest, steady work in these coming months will earn its full reward” (STRENUIS ARDUA CEDUNT).
But there was a very real chastisement for those who languished in the aftermath of the strenuous J C Exams (Junior Certificate) of the Fourth Form Std 8):
“We sometimes wish the Fifth (Std 9) would realise this more fully, and not regard its residence in that form room as a period of recuperation and frivolity after the Herculean labours in the Fourth. They leave us, we fear, with Augean stables to clean when they arrive in the Sixth (Std 10)” – Dundee Secondary School Magazine No. 2, August 1922 (Cound they have understood this gem of erudition?).
And then the words of wisdom and sound advice contained in the editorial of the fourth and last edition of the Magazine (evidently none of his colleagues saw fit to take over from J W H!)!: “At such a school as ours there are opportunities, great opportunities for the building up of an institution which can take its place among the best schools of the province. This rests entirely with you, and it is your efforts both in school and on the sports’ field, which go towards building up the traditions of your school Never forget that the general tone of the school depends to a very large extent on your own actions and character. Try to play the game in every department of life and in everything you do. Remember that it is you yourself who are responsible for the honour and moral tone of your school”.
By no means physically a big man, John Willie nevertheless possessed an authority and an aura which commanded the respect and immediate attention of anyone in his presence. Mr W O W Schroeder recalls: “Whenever he came into the staffroom, all idle chatter ceased; there was a spontaneous, respectful silence and all, which means just everyone, smartly got to his feet until he heard: Be seated, gentlemen.”
Mr Baxter remembers that finding a master to accompany teams to fixtures over weekends (and by train it nearly almost meant the whole weekend) was very straight-forward in those days. Being the youngster on the Staff he would simply be instructed: “Mr Baxter, you will accompany the teams to Vryheid this weekend”. Plans for a private weekend – there were none!
But he was in all respects a true gentleman at all times. Mr John Jackson mentions in a letter to me that: “…our Headmaster in the Thirties, Mr J W Hudson, was most gentlemanly; he even took his pipe out of his mouth and raised his hat in return to a greeting form one of his pupils”. (I can personally vouch for these sentiments for such was the demeanour of the then retired gentleman I got to know quite well as a schoolboy and student on many a vist at his cottage in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg – Ed)
Besides his pipe (he referred to it as his Lady Nicotine) and hat, a walking stick was also a constant companion, and they were not forsaken when posing for a school group photograph! All in all a polished gentleman with a very striking appearance, resonant voice (which he used to good effect as “the very model of a modern Major-General” in the production of the “Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan which our class was fortunate to attend at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg in the late Fifties!) and a good deal of personal charm. His self-discipline and zest for hard work set an example to his children, his pupils and his subordinates alike, but the latter did cause the former to suffer whilst devising some new mathematical problems en route; his attention and awareness would stray from the actual (and very critical) business in hand . . . keeping the family car on the road!
In 1934 “John Willie” was appealing to everyone who can profit by it, to seize the opportunity of obtaining Secondary education”. His staff of 18 specialist teachers were qualified and able to provide a sound general Secondary Education (four year post Std 6) or a specialized Commercial Course – “designed primarily to provide a useful two-year course for those who do not wish to proceed to Matriculation” (up to Std 8) and extended by a further two years of study in Commercial subjects to enable students to qualify for Clerical posts. (the choice, as Miss Evans points out, was therefore quite simple and not so utterly confusing as the multiple choice of subject packages of today! It was Straight Six for Matric – nor nix!)
The cost of education in those days? A princely £10 (R20.00) per annum comprised as follows: Schools fees (Std 10 pupil): £2.10 (R5.00). Books: £5.00 (R10.00). Sports fees: £1.00 (R2.00).
The demand did not justify a complete Secondary course through the medium of Afrikaans fifty years ago, “but all pupils in the school study the second language and all are urged to sit for the Taalbond Certificates”. Mr Hudson reports that there is no doubt that the great majority of our scholars are becoming thoroughly bilingual”.
The superintendent of Education had as early as February 1929 reported that he was “very pleased indeed to see the obviously good condition in which Afrikaans finds itself in your school!”. (The study of Afrikaans had commenced in August 1921 at the Dundee Secondary School).
J W H’s concern for his pupils’ academic ambitions and the need for them to succeed is perhaps best illustrated by the statistics of the results of the matriculation examinations at the beginning and at the end of his principalship at Dundee High School.
In 1930 eight pupils entered for these vital examinations, three passed and five failed, but in 1936 there were only two failures out of the 23 entries and they subsequently passed the supplementary exam in February 1937 to score an unprecedented 100% pass rate.
Cultural activities thrived as Gilbert and Sullivan shows were produced, cultural evenings were held on Fridays during which debates took place or lectures were given, a radiogram purchase “so that we may listen not only to lectures, but also to good music when it is available”. He believed that work in the classroom and on the games field had to consist of “brisk, continuous action”. A child had to be taught that effort is required to learn, but these intensive sessions were to be relieved by periods of relaxation and cultural appreciation in “the library, the music lessons, and in the radio. I believe in cultural education along the lines I have indicated”. Putting on a concert was a cultural activity in its own right for it hopefully would teach pupils “something of chorus singing and (could serve) to give them an interest in music”.
What then about sport? “John Willie was mad about sport”, says old scholar Mr Frank Hardy. J Willie believed implicitly that “the soundness of a school is, in a large measure, to be found in the soundness of its team games”. Besides getting the House System of sport established when he was a master on Mr Gray’s staff in the early Twenties, he was instrumental in getting the “new sports complex” established on the grounds of the Senior Boys’ Hostel. It consisted of a rugby field, a hockey filed, a tennis court and a kiosk. A cricket pitch was later built on the rugby field and this allowed two cricket games to be played simultaneously on these grounds. This “complex” was named after Mr Hudson and remnants of it can still be seen to this day. How he would have loved the magnificent facilities we have right on our doorstep on the Hosking Fields (the old Dundee Showgrounds) today! Before these facilities were centralized on the Hudson Fields they had played on the cricket field at the show-grounds by kind courtesy of the Agricultural Society!
Sport was compulsory for pupils and a great many games and activities were catered for. The teams excelled in athletics, swimming (the first swimming sports were held on 25.02.33), shooting (girly also participated in this activity with marked success), hockey and tennis. The Old Boys Trophy, presented by the old scholars of the school, was competed for annually by the four School Houses. It is interesting to note that soccer was displaced by rugby as the official school game only in 1924 – sixty years ago this year! – and right from the start the school possessed “mighty men of valour!”.
These sports teams travelled as far as Pietermaritzburg and Durban to compete against the teams of high schools such as Durban High School and Maritzburg College. Journeys by train took most of the weekends and were very exhausting.
J W Hudson laid the foundations of our cricket in the years 1920-1925 and was himself a keen golfer, cricketer, and rugby player who played for local club teams in his days.
In 1934 the Jubilee of the Dundee School coincided with the opening of the School Hall (the present Staff Room) on 12 December by the Administrator of Natal, the Honourable H Gordon Watson. The hall had been a much needed, and long overdue, facility at the school and even the Minister of the Interior, Public Health and Education, Jan H Hofmeyr, was pleased that this disability which he had noticed when he addressed senior pupils a few years previously, had “been made good.”
What were the sentiments concerning this edifice in those days?
Jan H Hofmyer: “An Assembly Hall can do much to teach us that the school is more than the sum total of staff and scholars.”
F D Hugo: (Superintendent of Education): “Here will be held in the morning assembly that serves to make the whole school feel one, and that provides that valuable opportunity for speaking a word of warning, of encouragement, of inspiration – that word which may influence boys and girls for good throughout their lives.”
P J du Toit: (Inspector) “. . . a factor in the corporate life of any school which cannot be over-estimated.”
J W Hudson: “The Hall I mean to be the centre of our corporate life in the School. It will be the centre at which we shall hold our annual concerts and Speech Days.”
It must have been a great relief for J W H to have a venue where prize distributions could be conducted in dignity, far away from the “hooligan element” which had bothered him when this function was still held at the Dundee Theatre and “many people in town had regarded it as a free show.”
Another milestone was reached when on August 30, 1935, he was informed by the Acting Superintendent of Education, Mr Lawlor, that the school was henceforth to be known as Dundee High School, It had finally come of age!
Of its fine reputation Mr H S K Simpson, M P C, had written in his foreword to the Commemorative Brochure: “You have to your credit a record which in proportion to numbers cannot be beaten in this Province both in examination results and in sport.” (Fifty years later we still feel the same way!)
On 25 March 1937 Mr Hudson was promoted to Principal of Glenwood High School (Durban) and later became the Headmaster of his beloved Maritzburg College. Upon his retirement he was appointed to the principalship of Hilton College – the very first South African-born principal this fine institution was to get. Truly a legend in his own lifetime!
His successor at Dundee High School was Mr R B Niven who had come from Ixopo and was to guide the destinies of the school during the war years.
Mr Hudson’s transfer on promotion was however so sudden that it took almost two months before his successor was appointed and took up the post as the new headmaster of the young Dundee High School on 17 May 1937.
During this interim period Mr M P Marais who taught History, had stood at the helm as Acting Principal. How proud he must have been to serve his beloved school in this capacity and how keen and faithfully he logged every single newsworthy item at the school in that brief period, and how happily he reports on 19 April 1937 that the “Rugby XV defeated Vryheid by 24 to 11.” He concludes: “I am very pleased.” And well pleased he must have been for, Mr Hudson had revisited Dundee over that weekend (to see his family and attend the match?) and “he seems satisfied.”
Dr G A Hosking recalls that Mr M P Marais was a very enthusiastic sportsman and partisan coach who would endeavour to extract whatever advantage he could for his team or school. By an ironic twist of late Mr M P Marais later became the Principal of Vryheid High School and years later died during a swimming gala. The swimming bath at Vryheid High School is named after him.
Mr R B Niven then became the custodian of the well-oiled machine which was Dundee High School and he was to guide its destinies throughout the difficult World War II years which must have presented its own set of problems of hardship and staff shortages.
Not all that much is known about the man, R B Niven, or of the years of his principalship at Dundee High School. Only the barest facts with little historical value were recorded in the log book and no school magazine was published annually until 1948, three years after Mr H Jennings had taken over from Mr Niven. It has, however been possible to establish that he was a self-effacing man who did what was necessary to keep the school functioning smoothly and efficiently, and an ex-member of his staff recalls that he was an avid golfer and devoted Freemason.
But then the groundwork had been thoroughly done and the school continued to produce its crop of records and achievements both academically and on the sports fields for Dundee High School had been fortunate in the calibre of teachers it had serving on the staff in those years just as in the years of its infancy.
One cannot but notice the inherent stability of the staff in those years despite the disruptive influence the war and National Service had on the male component of the staff. Some would be transferred to other school but would soon be back at Dundee High again. Such a person was Mr F J Hugo who was first appointed to the school on 27 January 1931, acted as principal of Glencoe School in 1939 and 1941 and was promoted to Greytown as vice-principal in March 1948. In 1937 he had married a colleague of his own staff, Miss Wahl – “as delicate as a piece of china” Mr W O W Schroeder recalls. In 1961 Mr Hugo was back at Dundee High School as principal – a post from which he retired in 1971.
Other famous members of staff in those days included the following: Mr Jack Albers, a brilliant mathematician for whom “teaching must have been so easy” (Miss Joan Evans). A Niece, Mrs Sherlee Wade, says he is reputed to have been able to add the numbers on railway trucks on the move and at the end could provide his highly impressed (and stunned!) pupils with the answer. The Sterling monetary system presented no problem either as all three columns were added simultaneously to establish the sum. (How laboriously we used to do battle with this rather complex system, and how lucky our modern-day pupils ought to consider themselves in having the simple decimal system! Could computers have coped with sterling as readily as Mr Albers?). When in 1978 the original school building was being renovated to become the present Administration Block a blackboard was removed from a wall to reveal a maths problem beautifully set out in Mr Albers’ own immaculate handwriting on the original “blackboard” – a black panted section of the wall!
Another personality was Mr Attridge, a long-serving member of staff and an excellent Geography teacher who eventually became headmaster of Ixopo High School and subsequently of the now defunct Harward Boys’ School in Havelock Road, Pietermaritzburg.
Mr R C McFarquhar, a stern disciplinarian, taught English and was attached to the Dundee High School staff for many years before becoming principal of the Dundee Junior School in 1956 and eventually retiring as headmaster of the Northlands Boys’ High School in Durban. He taught at Maritzburg College for a while after his retirement and is now living in full retirement in Pietermaritzburg. He was the editor of the school magazine in 1948 – the first of an unbroken series since then.
On congratulating us with our 1982 magazine, he recalls, that he had been “dragooned into the job” by Mr Jennings! We salute our pioneers for they have recorded our history; Mr H M Baxter was an old boy who joined the staff in 1931 – the first to do so. In 1934 he played hockey for Natal and in 1936 spent the year as an Exchange Teacher in England. After his spell of National Service in 1940-41 he came back to the school and finally retired as principal of Richmond Primary School. He still lives in this pleasant little town to this day.
Miss Lucy Meakin had been a Roman Catholic nun and the principal of a Convent School in Harrismith. On the closure of the school she received papal permission to relinquish her vows and in the late 1910’s she joined the staff to teach mainly the junior classes and later was put in charge of Music, a subject for which she had not been trained.
Miss Joan Evans has fond memories of Miss Meakin, both as a teacher and later as a valued colleague and confidante. She was held in such high esteem by colleagues, pupils and parents that upon her retirement at the end of 1944 a fund was started on the £ for £ basis laid down by the NED to erect a hall in her memory which, when finally completed in 1952 after much delay and increased building costs, served as a library, a music room, a staff room and now a Centenary Museum. Miss Evans will officially unlock the doors immediately after the opening of the Centenary Celebrations on Friday, 18 May 1984.
Die amptelike opening van die feesvieringe sal waargeneem word deur Mnr J J S de Waal (Oom Stan) wat op 26 Januarie 1942 op die personeel aangestel is en op 6 Junie 1944 (maar met ingang 1 Mei 1944) die eerste vise-prinsipaal van die Hoërskool Dundee geword het. Toe hy in 1968 afgetree het met pensioen, het hy die hoë posisie van Adjunk Direkteur van Onderwys van Natal bereik.
In 1944 is ons huidige Direkteur van Onderwys, Mnr J W J van Rooyen ook op die personeel aangestel en sou hy jare lank om die beurt aan die skool en Newcastle Hoërskool verbonde wees voordat hy in 1958 as lector aan die Durbanse Onderwyserskollege in Durban aangestel is. Mej *Evans onthou dat ‘n sekere plankie mnr van Rooyen se leerlinge geïnspireer het om nie “die agterste os in die kraal te wees” as dit hul Wetenskapperiode was nie!
And what should one say about our stalwart Miss Joan Evans? She was educated at Dundee and was joint Dux pupil in 1923. After qualifying as a teacher she taught at Vryheid High School before being appointed on the Dundee High School staff where she remained until her retirement twenty-eight years alter. She taught English A (and often B too) as well as History, but when Art became a school subject it was “thrust upon her” as no one more suitable could be found. And what a success she made of it.
Who were the men who proceeded on Military Service then? On 6 August 1940 Mr H L Attride, H M Baxter, F B Oscroft, R McFarqhar. S B de T Meydell and A F Horning left to do their National Service but soon some of them were being discharged. The last to return were Mr McFarquhar in October 1945 and Mr Horning at the beginning of the following year.
In this was many of our old scholars lost their lives while other were decorated for valour and distinguished conduct. Our records proudly tell the story: Francis, P C A: Military Cross; Hosking C A: Military Cross; MacMillan, R: Military Medal; Portsmouth, C: Distinguished Conduct Medal.
The end of the World War II also saw the principalship of Dundee High School change hands, for on 20 December 1945 Mr H Jennings assumed duty in that capacity, and a new era was at hand – a story which we allow the school magazines of the respective years to relate.
“Reflections on Growth : 1948 – 1984”
Dundee High School, having become established in building and in name, in 1948 resurrected the School Magazine. Printed annually, it has become more than a tradition and an event anticipated by pupils, staff, parents and friends with pleasure and enjoyment, but also each magazine provides an historical review of the School’s progress and occurrences for the year gone by.
Thus we present “snippets” from 1948 to 1983, a mirror of our Dundee High School, as seen through the eyes of the contributors tour School Magazines.
Historical Events & Developments
This issue of a Dundee High School Magazine is, we hope, the precursor of many more efforts. However, its continued success is dependent upon so many factors that it seems invidious to mention or concentrate upon any one of them. A School Magazine is just another sign of a healthy school, for all pupils and old students should be deeply interested in and enthusiastic about each issue. A school such as the Dundee High School must, of necessity, fit it extremely difficult to finance any such undertaking as this, as thus it is that we, as an educational community serving the families of Dundee and District, would like to extend our thanks to all the firms which have go generously aided us in our birth pangs. Without their support, this magazine would have been impossible.
This year the Dundee Old Students’ Association has also come into being. Such an Association is an integral part of any progressive school, and we extend our sincerest congratulations to those enthusiastic few who, at personal inconvenience, revealed the willingness and zeal to overcome the difficulties inherent in commencing such an association of Old Students who, to-day, are scattered far and wide throughout South Africa. May their efforts be crowned with success!
LIBRARY REPORT – BIBLIOTEEK-VERSLAG
The English Library this year has undergone several rather drastic innovations, all of which have combined into giving the School much better balanced selection of books. Originally the Library was, to a large extent, based upon old copies of Matriculation Prescribed Works, whose general interest to the younger and more avid readers was completely nil. Once pupils enter the Upper Classes, very few of them have the time or opportunity for leisurely reading. Our School sporting activities and the demands of Examinations usually consume the greater part of the pupil’s time, and as a result learning to read for leisure is a factor which is difficult to encourage. However, our junior classes harbour many really greedy readers, and they take out their two volumes each week with the greatest of interest. It is interesting also to relate that many of these enthusiasts have Afrikaans as a home language.
The 1st Dundee Girl Guide Company which has been revived this year, has become virtually a Dundee High School company, recruiting its members from the High School only, and holding its meetings in the grounds or in wet weather, in the Hall.
There are three patrols, whose members are all progressing steadily towards the completion of their Second Class Tests.
A Camp Fire, and a fire-lighting and camp cookery test held recently, proved particularly popular: during Guide Week, a cake sale was held at school in aid of the Polio Research Fund. £1 15s was realised.
The Company also contributed towards the crate full of gifts and equipment which Natal Guides and Brownies recently sent to the Guides and Brownies of Tristan da Cunha. The special “Guide Sunday” service was well attended by Guides from all three Dundee companies, as well as by Brownies, Scouts and Cubs.
C J Evans (Captain)
By this time next year, we should be in proud possession of our new “Lucy Meakin” Memorial Library. The building plans have been accepted, and we hope to witness an early commencement of the structure. It will bring to fruition the hopes and the hard work of the Committee which ahs striven so long for its eventuation.
We have to report a most successful year. More than £30 has been spent on new books and, in consequence, over a hundred new books, catering for all tastes, have been taken on stock. The process of eradicating old and unsuitable volumes has been continued, with the result that our small but attractive library is steadily making progress.
This year has seen the introduction of a projector into the life of the school. The machine is an excellent one (Bell and Howell, 16mm) and we also have a very good screen in the hall. The hall itself is not acoustically treated but, with experimentation in the positioning of the loudspeaker, the sound has improved with each successive show. Mr L cope has donated a turn-table which will be put into operation as soon as a small cabinet has been constructed for it.
On the educational side, the projector is already beginning to play a part in our more earnest studies. A classroom has been fitted out for this purpose and, during the last term, a number of films, particularly geographical ones, have been used as revision lessons with Standards 8 and 10. The Film Library in Pretoria has about 18 000 educational films covering every subject, and next year it is hoped that more teachers will avail themselves of this audio-visual method in teaching their subjects.
UNVEILING OF THE MEMORIAL PLAQUE
A simple, and yet very moving ceremony, took place on Thursday, 8th November, in the High School Hall.
It was the unveiling of a plaque bearing the names of old boys of the school who lost their lives in the last war – a companion plaque to that which bears the names of masters and old boys who fell in the war of 1914-1918.
The occasion was a solemn one, and the solemnity was heightened by the presence of a Cadet Guard of Honour outside the hall, and by the four cadets who stood, motionless, with reversed arms, beside the plaque.
After a short, but inspiring, address by the Principal, and the reading of Psalm 121, in Afrikaans, by the Vice-Principal, prayers were offered by the Rev A E G Tomes. The “Retreat” was sounded by the buglers, and the unveiling followed. The plaque was given to the school by the Old Students Association, and it was fitting that it should be unveiled by the President of the Association, Mr Denis Smith, an old boy of the school, and himself an ex-service man.
As the rays of the setting sun streamed through the open windows of the hall, the buglers sounded the “Last Post”; and in the silence that followed, the relatives of the fallen – or their representatives – laid wreaths below the plaque. A prayer followed; and after the sounding of the “Reveille”, the blessing brought the ceremony to an end.
It was an occasion which we shall all remember. A large number of people – old students, members of the general public, staff, boys and girls – joined with the relatives and friends of these men to pay tribute to them. They died defending what they believed to be right; and their names are recorded as a perpetual reminder to us that they have their lives for their friends.
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
The names on the plaque are:- G Barclay; J Barklie; W Brokensha; W O Brokensha; A Dickeson; C H Haworth; H Jeudwine; E D Clarke; P B McNeill; D Miller; R B Miller; L Mitchell; T Parry; R T A Pugin; L Wood; J Lyon.
Programme of the
Unveiling of Memorial Plaque
to Old Students
1. Opening address: Mr H Jennings – Drum Beat
2. Opening prayer: Rev A E G Tomes – Drum Beat
3. Retreat – Drum Beat
4. Official Unveiling: Mr Denis R Smith – Drum Beat
5. Last Post – Drum Beat
6. Laying on of Wreaths – Drum Beat
7. Prayer: Rev A E G Tomes – Drum Beat
8. Reveille – Drum Beat
9. Benediction: Rev A E G Tomes
The opening of the Lucy Meakin Memorial Library is another gracious link with our past. Miss Lucy Meakin was a teacher whose simple goodness was admired by all. Through the generosity of the residents of this town and district, a large sum of money was raised to perpetuate her memory and to add at the same time a lasting amenity for the children of this school.
The standard of hockey during the 1953 season showed a remarkable improvement on last year.
It was decided to start the season by obtaining a new hockey uniform of attractive navy blue tunics for the first team. This might have been one of the reasons for the added enthusiasm!
The Hosking Field is now almost completed. The kikuyu grass has taken well (especially in that part where we tried to eradicate it!) and is new emerald green. The maginnis grass on the turf wicket is doing well and, when we have overcome a little problem of drainage, should flourish.
The lovely field, set off by its useful and decorative stone bastions, makes a fine setting for the school. It is a pity that it is separated from it by a little-used road. It is, however, a source of joy and gratification to all of us who love the school. Mrs Hosking, to whose late husband we owe so much in getting us the field, will open it at the end of the year, supported by Mr Hamish Smith, whose patient negotiations completed the deal. We hope by that time that the pavilion will also be completed.
These things remind us that the school seems to have a special place in the hearts of the people of this district, for without their aid we could not have a library, the best field in Northern Natal and a pavilion.
Die jaarlikse ouerdag en prysuitdelingseremonie het plaasgevind op 11 Desember in die skoolsaal. As gaste was teenwoordig Mev A Hosking en Mnr en Mev H Smith asook ‘n groot aantal belangstellendes.
In sy toespraak het mnr Jennings aangetoon hoedat die skool, as gevolg van die onvermoeide pogings van wyle senator Hosking en Mnr Smith, die nuwe sportgronde verkry het. Dit was altyd die verstandhouding dat senator Hosking the ampetelike opening van die sportgronde sou waarneem, maar tot ons innigste leedwese het hy gesterwe voordat dit kon plaasvind. Die goeie werk wat hy vir die skool en distrik verrig het, sal altyd vorotlewe in the naam “Hosking-terrein”.
In die loop van die jaar is die vereniging, op aandrang van ouers met die medewerking van die personeel en goedkeuring van die Hoof, in die lewe geroep.
Toe die saak ter sprake gekom het op ‘n landbou-vergadering het die Hoof daarop gewys dat so ‘n vereniging op konstitusionele wyse moet gestig word, en dat dit moet verteenwoordigend wees van alle ouers wat kinders op skool het.
‘n Algemene vergadering is belê, waarop besluit is om so ‘n vereniging te stig. By die geleentheid is ‘n konstitusie aan die vergadering voorgelê, wat met sekere wysiginge goedgekeur is.
Die eerste komitee wat gekies is, is soos volg saamgestel: Voorsitter: Mnr Jennings.
Lede wat ouers verteenwoordig: Mevroue E de Jager; A de Wet; L Hugo; Mnre F Pretorius; W Landman (Sekr).
Personeellede: Mnr F Hugo, R McFarquhar, S Levinsohn, E Klingenberg.
The new biology laboratory is a splendid addition to the school. It is the most light and spacious room in the school and very well equipped. Mr Knoesen’s keen interest in his subject has already crowded the tables with specimens of the queer objects in which the biologist delights. Biology is almost a new subject in the schools and has filled a long-felt want, and youngsters of this school are fortunate in having this room to broaden and enrich their knowledge of the wonders of the world we live in.
The laboratory is large and airy, having seven sash windows on either side. At the back of the room there are two electric fans set in the wall. Five benches on each side of a centre aisle have a basin and tap each. Underneath the windows on the right-hand side are benches with three gas taps. Experiments can be carried out here. The blackboard is divided into three parts, the two sides having other detachable boards with the. The colour scheme is cream and it has pale green walls with a while ceiling. The windows, door, and other pieces of woodwork are in a darker green. The cupboards are varnished; the window sills are black.
Most probably, our laboratory is the most up-to-date in the Northern Districts.
DIE AFRIKAANSE BIBLIOTEEK
In die loop van die jaar is ongeveer £50 bestee aan die aankoop van nuwe boeke van allerlei aard. Die skool beskik tans oor die volledige stel van die Afrikaanse Kinderensiklopedie – ‘n onuitputlike bron van kennis – asook die versamelde werke van Langenhoven.
Vanjaar kon ons eindelik ons eie veld en atletiekbaan in gebruik neem. Dit is ‘n groot gerief vir almal, daar dit die lang stap na die dorpsgronde uitgeskakel het. Dit gee ons meer kans vir harde oefening en afrigting.
Another year of progress is to be reported. We have been most fortunate in the number of books which have been donated to us during the year. The Principal, Mr H Jennings, has given us just over 200 books from his own well-stocked bookshelves. Most of them have aided in building up our reference section, and include a very catholic range of English Literature and History.
The School Badge
It has been a pleasant occupation to delve into the past and to refresh my memory of interesting events which took place in the early days of my school life.
The Boys’ Government School, as it was first called, came into being in 107, with Mr F M Sivil as Headmaster. Until then, the boys and girls of Dundee attended the old Government School which was later to become the Junior Hostel, in the grounds opposite the Royal Hotel.
I can well remember marching up Victoria Street to the new school for the opening, led by senior boys of Std 8. It seemed a long way and we must have presented something of a rabble as we tried to keep pace with the vanguard. The new school was a fine building.
Mr Sivil was shortly followed by Mr A Gray, who was responsible for numerous innovations, which included the introduction of a school badge and the school colours of red and black, as well as a school magazine. At a school “breaking up” function on the 22nd June, 1910, Mr Gray said in this connection: “In order to help in promoting all school work, we have adopted a new school badge, and published a newspaper of our town.” The original bade was circular in shape and its central design was similar to the then Borough Crest, which depicted a miner’s lamp and two crossed picks. The motto chosen was “Strenius Ardua Cedunt” (through hard work we succeed).
Our school colours have been an inspiration over the years and then, as now, been coveted honour to wear as a reward for distinction in various branches of sport and academics.
I remember well the pride I felt in the prowess of our school soccer team (soccer was then the game of the school) and shall always carry in my mind a picture of the forward line as they ran up the field in those first brand new black and red jerseys to score yet another goal. If I remember rightly we won the Gregory Cup on six successive occasions!
The School has a great tradition and an equally fine record which will assuredly be maintained in the years to come.
L A Norenius
At a finance meeting in the second half of 1973, when the School budget was under discussion, a random idea came to light: “Wouldn’t it be much cheaper to print our own annual magazine, than to meet the soaring costs of having it printed?”
Almost immediately this notice caught the imaginations of the magazine committee – a few fellows not lacking in initiative – and at a special magazine committee meeting early in 1974, it was decided to go ahead and print our own magazine.
Op Donderdag, 14 Februarie, is dié unieke swemgala by die Hoërskool Vryheid se swembad aangebied.
Die program van 32 nommers het uitsluitlik bestaan uit aflosse – al 4 die verskillende slae is afsonderlik deur die drie ouderdomsgroepe van die seuns- en dogterspanne afgeswem en daarna het elke groep ook deelgeneem aan ‘n wisselslagaflos sowel as ‘n trapaflos vir seuns en dogters. Afstande is beperk tot 50 m per swimmer end us was die nommers nooit te veeleisend nie.
Ons span het redelik goed gevaar teen baie sterk mededinging, en veral Newcastle het vriend en viand verras deur klaar te speel met die sterk Vryheid-span.
Ladysmith het ook goed van hulle taak gekwyt en deurentyd kort op die hake van die voorlopers gebly.
Our teams scored 9 fourth places, 6 third and 6 second places – thanks mainly to the efforts of our U/19 girls (Cheryl Crookes, Gennai Holtzhausen, Heather Watson, Barbara Dewar and Debbie McCosh) who regularly finished second behind the strong Vryheid team.
Republic Festival Celebrations
The weather was kind to all who participated and attended the Republic Festival celebrations held at the Dundee High School on Tuesday, 26 May 1981.
At 8.45 am all the school children assembled at the Civic Buildings and marched in procession to the High School fields; these children were led by local horse riders carrying a banner.
The proceedings were opened with a Scripture reading by Rev Clark and followed by a prayer by Ds Dekker and then the Mayor of Dundee, Councillor Joubero Cilliers, addressed the crowd.
The unfurling of the flag was carried out by the head boy and head girl of the Dundee High School, Graham Trusler and Hannah Joubert.
The Dundee High School Cadet Band, Cadets and the girls’ drill squad were first on the programme.
A rhythmical gymnastics display was next on the programme, and all the children dressed in their orange, white and blue outfits made a colourful scene.
The drum majorettes from the Junior Primary School then gave a lovely display of marching.
This was followed by a display of traditional dancing, a gymnastics display by pupils from the Dannhauser Primary School, and finally the releasing of orange, white and blue balloons and racing pigeons.
Kabinetgoedkeuring is vir die instelling van ‘n Nasionale Boomplantdag, jaarliks op die tweede Vrydag in Augustus, verkry.
Die rede vir hierdie stap is om die belangrikheid van bome, en veral die rol wat bome by omgewingsbewaring speel, onder die aandag van die publiek te bring.
As ‘n mens om jou kyk en prober peil wat die invloed van bome op ons omgewing is, of hoe afhanklik ons van hout en papier in ons daaglikse lewens is, dan begin jy maar net besef hoe belangrik bome wel is.
Die beskawing, soos ons dit vandag ken, sou nie bestaan het as dit nie vir bome was nie.
Bome is nie net belangrik vir suurstof nie, maar onderhou ook ons natuurlewe en verskaf skuiling, voedsel en skadu aan mens en dier.
Die produkte soos hout, rubber en papier wat ons van bome kry, is onontbeerlik vir die ontwikkeling van die samelewing.
Die Karee is 1983 se Boom van die Jaar. Dié boom behoor aan die Mangofamilie en speel ‘n betekenisvolle rol in ylbeboste gebiede, soos die Karoo byvoorbeeld, waar dit ‘n belangrike bron van vuurmaakhout en selfs heiningpak is, asook voer vir vee.
Heelwat soorte word in tuine, parke en strate aangepalnt vanweë hulle droogtebestandheid.
Die bekendste soorte is seker die gewone karee (Rhus Lancea), die bergkaree (Rhus Leptodictya) en die witkaree (Rhus viminalis).
Dundee Hoërskool het vanjaar gehoor gegee aan hierdie beroep van die Departement van Omgewingsake. Tydens die jaarlikse atletiekbyeenkoms het die skool se Landsdiensklub ‘n kareeboom geplant.
Nasionale Boomplantdag herinner ‘n mens aan wat Cecil John Rhodes gesê het in verband met boomaanplanting: “Wie ook al die versiendheid het om ‘n boom te plant, skep virhomself ‘n monument en verskaf ‘n bate vir sy opvolgers, terwyl die wins vir sy nageslag onberekenbaar is.”
“SO GROEI ONS. . .”
Verbeteringe aan ons Fasiliteite
Deur Die Jare
Our Girls’ Hostel, has been fortunate enough to acquire two acres or so to its previously very meagre grounds and work has already been started on the making of three tennis courts.
This is a step forward from the days when the girls had hardly space to play a game of “touch”.
With three courts now, at the time of writing, almost completed at the Girls’ Hostel, we can expect good results in tennis in the future. The work has been supervised by Mr A Horning, who has given great care and thought to it, and it will be a lasting reward to him, we hope, to look out from his windows and think of the great pleasure he has given to the boarders and day girls of the school.
The year is also notable for another great accession to our sporting facilities – the acquisition of the Show Ground. For years we have coveted the pleasant tree-shaded land adjoining our school as have other headmasters before us, and now, at last, by the right conjunction of the stars and much patient negotiation by friends of the school, the ground has been bought by the Administration. The cost of levelling it will be high, but when we call upon our other friends who have been waiting so long for this successful outcome, we have no doubt that there will be no lack of response to the appeal, and that the Dundee High School before many years will have the finest sports ground in the Northern Districts.
For many years the school has suffered from the handicap of having no playing fields adjacent to the school. Fortunately, the Show Grounds remained an open space when the rest of the neighbourhood had been built upon and, a year or two ago, we were able to persuade the Administration to buy them from the school. We thought then that the cost of levelling them would be a crippling burden upon the school. Fortunately again, the Administration decided to bear the full cost of levelling school grounds and bought heavy machinery for that purpose. We are the first school in Northern Natal to have the use of that machinery.
The Parents’ and Teachers’ Association proved its willingness to help the school by agreeing that money be used from their funds to put wire netting round the tennis courts and I hope that these improvements will be an inducement to more children to take a keen interest in the activities of the school. Under the same subject of improvements we are also able to state that this school now has two turf wickets and it is a most entertaining sight to see both wickets engaged on Saturdays when the boys play visiting teams.
An extra temporary classroom was built during the year and it may well be that another will be required next year.
On 9th March, 1960, the painters moved into the school and since that day we have either had painters or builders. The school looks very clean now that the builders have finished. We appreciate the three new classrooms, the sewing room and the vocational guidance room which have been built. The Science Laboratory, the Domestic Science Room and the Woodwork Room, have also been renovated, but to accumulate, horrors on horror’s head, the floor of the School Hall had to be replaced as a result of dry rot.
The Boys’ Hostel was occupied in 1927. I think that everyone who reads these remarks will understand with what satisfaction and pride I see the new structure across the road taking shape. It will indeed be a very important occasion when our girly first go into the new hostel. They have not had the privilege of occupying a pleasant new building like the one erected for that purpose. Although a period of 35 years has elapsed since a new building has last been constructed for our use. I wish to express my very sincere gratitude towards the administration for giving us this fine building. At the time of writing I am still optimistic in my belief that we may occupy this building when school re-opens in 1963.
The Boys’ Hostel must also be partially reconstructed to allow more space for boarders in future. The area from which we are allowed to draw boarders has been determined and we must now abide by that decision. In spite of that we have received far more applications than we can accept. We need a third hostel badly and urgently.
I, Mr Burger, want to appeal to parents to give us their full support when the two-stream policy is considered. I wish to appeal to parents to consider German as a third language as absolutely essential as it affords an opportunity of by-passing Maths, and still gaining Matriculation Exemption which would enable them to proceed to University and take any course within the limits of their ability.
Aanstaande jaar teen dié tyd, hoop ek, om in ekstase te kan aankondig dat die pragtige nuwe saal sal voltooi wees end at die sluitingsfunksie daarin kan plaasvind.
Ons nuwe dogterskoshuis word nou al ‘n jaar lank bewoon. Op 16 Augustus is die gebou amptelik ge-open deur die Direkteur van Onderwys, Mnr L J T Biebuyck. My innige wens is dat hierdie gebou ons dogters sal in staat stel om dit te aanvaar as hulle huis in Dundee. Dit was ‘n gewigtige geleentheid toe ons die gebou in Januarie betree het.
Die planne vir die nuwe skoolsaal op Beaconsfieldstraat is al beskikbaar en die tenders gevra vir die oprig van hierdie mooi saal, ‘n kunskamer, ‘n aardrykskundekamer en ‘n tikkamer. Daar bly nou nog die herbou van die seunskoshuis en die aanbou van die swembad oor. Ek vertrou van harte dat die koshuis ook aanstaande jaar sal kan voltooi word want die koshuis loop nog altyd oor en sal nog oorloop as hy herbou is.
Daar is nog ‘n nuwigheid wat oroweging geniet; die dogters se someruniform. Ek vertrou dat ons ‘n ooreenkoms sal kan bereik want ek wil baie graag ons dogters gekleed sien in iets wat meer paslik is as die huidige someruniform.
At the beginning of 1963 we occupied the Senior Girls’ Hostel. This year three new classrooms and a beautiful hall will be put at our disposal and they have started on the reconstruction of the Senior Boys’ Hostel.
I have asked the Department to purchase the old golf club house and adjoining land. I believe we may manage the land as far as the donga. It this property is acquired our High School will be safe in its requirements of land for the following 50 years – I hope.
IETS OM TE OORWEEG
Ons teenwoordige rol toon da tons 62 kinders kin die St VI EM-klas het teenoor 63 in St VI AM. Ons Matriekklas bestaan uit 48 Engelssprekendes en 26 Afrikaanssprekendes.
Dit is vanselfsprekend dat van die St VI-leerlinge wel moet uitsak namate die werk vermeerder en ingewikkelder word, maar die verhouding van min of meer 50 x 50 in St VI daal na naastenby 50 x 25 in St X volgens hierdie syfers wat die taalgroepe aanbetref.
Indien ons verder teruggaan, is die syfers nog insiggewender. In 1961 was die syfers as volg (dws leerlinge wat nou in St X is): 60 leerlinge in VI-Afrikaansmedium teenoor 45 in St XI-Engelsmedium. Leerlinge van elders het die 45 na 48 opgestoot. Daarteenoor het die 60, ondanks die feit dat daar ook leerlinge van elders bygekom het, gedaal na 26, dws na minder as die helfte van die oorspronklike aantal.
Hierdie neiging behoort ons aandag te geniet. Afrikaanssprekendes behoort hulle kinders aan te moedig om langer op skool te bly en sodoende hulle kwalifikasies te verbeter. Die Matrikulasie-sertifikaat is die sleutel tot toekomstige sukses en alle leerlinge wat die verstandelinkkkke vermoë besit, behoort die doel n ate streef om hierdie sertifikaat te verwerf en sodoende hulle toekoms te verseker.
Die Onderwysdepartement was baie gaaf en behulpsaam en het ‘n verskeidenheid algemene apparat tot ons beskikking gestel. Ons het dus soveel bestel as wat ons kon kry en as wat ons kon bekostig. Hierdie apparat het baie handig te pas gekom.
Die oorhoofse projektor word byvoorbeeld in die Wiskunder-, Rekenkunde-, Biologie- en Aardrykskundeklasse gebruik. Dit vereenvoudig baie dinge, want onnodige swartbordwerk word uitgeskakel en in plaas daarvan dat die gedane werk kort-kort afgevee moet word, word die vel nou net aangedraai.
Die epidiaskoop is van onskatbare waarde in feitlik enige vak, want waar ‘n spesifieke prentjie te klein was om n ate kyk of te bespreek, word dit nou teen die muur geprojekteer en kan almal tegelyk aan die bespreking deelneem. Wanneer die fotostatiese afdrukke in volle gebruik is, sal daar ook baie baat by gevind word.
ATHLETICS: 1971 will be remembered for having introduced athletics into the first term. The Northern Natal Trials at Willie Maree and the great success of the meeting at Standerton will convince the timid that athletics in the first term has come to stay. We have also made an effort to introduce cross-country running throughout the year. The climax of the season was the historic Eastern Transvaal – Northern Natal Meeting on the Hosking Field.
GROUNDS: 1971 has seen a real development and expansion take place.
1. THE HOSKING FIELD now boasts of; a splendid new Hockey field sporting brand new goal posts and nets; well-placed Netball field with new poles. The athletic track has been re-surfaced – but with what effect only time will tell.
2. THE HUDSON FJIELD has seen the development of; a spanking new Netball field with new poles; the re-marking of the rugby field to full size and the installation of a magnificent set of metal rugby poles donated by the Indumeni Colliery. Although the hockey field has been re-surfaced, wind erosion has reduced the field to its previous unsatisfactory condition.
The 5th of February saw the school swimming bath crowded to capacity for our annual gala. The school enjoyed the fullest support ever from parents, because for the first time the event was held in the evening. We were able to do this because of our new floodlights – which transformed the darkness virtually to daylight.
SWIMMING: This year, thanks to a generous contribution by the Advisory Committee, our Frans Hugo Swimming Bath has been fully equipped. We look forward, in the near future, to the erection of change rooms and a pavilion. In view of the imminent possibility of holding the Inter-School Gala the building of terraces has become a matter of vital importance. Through the initiative of the School, a Swimming Club has been constituted and, once the formal administrative spadework has been completed, we expect the Club to begin its efforts to foster swimming throughout the year for all pupils, and in particular the juniors.
Organiser, coach and ND Selector: J J de Villiers
Due to increased enthusiasm and an improvement in pool equipment and training facilities, Dundee’s swimmers were able to better themselves immensely this year. At the inter-house gala, we used our starting blocks and flags for the first time. Ten records were broken.
The Adcom has assisted the School to maintain the School Kombi by subsidising it by R40.00 per school per month. This has meant that Dannhauser, Glencoe and Northfield pupils can participate fully in the School’s academic, cultural and sport activities.
Dundee High School Grand Piano
Mrs O M Robertson, wife of the late Senator R B Robertson was the first woman to be on the Dundee Town Council in 1939. At the time, the Civic Centre boasted of a small hall in which regular music evenings were held, and so the need for a good piano arose.
Mrs Robertson approached her husband, and he took her to Newcastle to see his old friend Senator Greaves, whom he knew owned a Steinway Grand Piano. Senator Greaves consented to Mrs Robertson’s buying the piano for only ninety five pounds (£95)! On condition that firstly, this piano would never leave Dundee, and secondly, it would be used for cultural activities of the Community of Dundee, and especially the young folk.
And so the weekly musical evenings, now with the addition of the Steinway Grand, continued in the then Town Hall.
During the Second World War, Margaret Baird, a well known pianist and widow of the late James Logie Baird – inventor of the TV – toured Natal, for a piano recital, and gave a concert in Dundee. She used the Steinway Grand. Next day while Mrs Robertson was having morning tea with Mrs Baird, the pianist remarked on the piano she had used the previous evenings, and wanted to know more about it. Mrs Robertson indeed knew all about it and so enlightened Margaret Baird! It appeared that Margaret Baird also possessed a Steinway Grand, and she assured Mrs Robertson that they are definitely the finest in the world.
Some time later Senator and Mrs Robertson on returning from a Parliamentary session in Cape Town, arrived in Dundee and, as usual, rad the local ‘Courier’. To their horror they saw an advertisement for the sale of the Steinway Grand by the Town Council – any one could buy it! Mrs Robertson immediately contacted the Press, and the Town Council. At that time a new Civic building was in the process of being built and during operations there was nowhere to put the Grand piano – hence the advert.
It was then that Mrs Robertson contacted Mr F Hugo the Headmaster of Dundee High School – they badly needed a good piano. And so with financial aid from the Educational Department, Mr Hugo was able to buy the Steinway Grand for the Dundee High School, just at the time when their lovely new hall was built.
This then is the story of the Steinway Grand piano – which graces the hall of the Dundee High School – which accompanies our assemblies, music lessons, choirs, etc.
Did you know what a treasure we possess? And all because of Mrs Robertson. We are indeed most grateful, a very sincere ‘Thank you,’ Mrs Robertson.
Headmaster’s Report – 1978
It was with great relief and satisfaction that we took delivery of the new blocks during this school year. For the past three years we have worked under conditions of increasing awkwardness and discomfort. Our sojourn in the old convent was not a success; distances were excessive and the condition of the buildings was poor. Synchronization of bells was a problem we were quite unable to resolve, and as a result discipline suffered. Furthermore, teachers working in the prefabs had to make do without electricity and worked in miserably dusty conditions. As the new blocks took shape, noise and dust filled the air so badly that trying to teach became farcical for hours at a time. Rainy seasons added interest to the builder’s wasteland that had once been pathways and playground, but we became more and more heartened as the new blocks soared skywards and filled out into neat and well-finished classroom units.
Now we can function efficiently again: the school is congregated around a large quadrangle which is already being developed by a special committee formed for the purpose of beautifying the school grounds under the new circumstances. We have a fine resources centre, a spacious lecture theatre, fully equipped laboratories, workshop and housecraft centres, and substantial new changerooms with full toilet facilities, including hot water!
Vir die afgelope twee jaar het die Adviserende Skoolkomitee in samewerking met lede van die hoërskoolpersoneel gesorg vir die algehele herbeplanning en uitleg van die sportvelde. Hierdie reuseprojek het ‘n volledige velddreineringstelsel en ‘n pawiljoen met terrassitplekke vir oor ‘n duisend toeskouers ingesluit. Die dak vir die pawiljoen sal hopelik nog hierdie jaar opgesit word en ons vertrou dat die nuwe atletiekbaan en al die fasiliteite wat daarmee saamgaan, vroeg aanstaande jaar gereed sal wees wanneer Dundee die Inter-hoërskoolse Atletiekbyeenkoms hier sal aanbied.
Daar anderkant die swembad op die terrain waar die klooster se beroemde katôbawingerd vanmelewe so welig gegroei het, het die werk aan ons skool se nuwe krieketkompleks (wat ook twee grasvelde vir hokkie gaan insluit) reeds begin. Hierdie krieket-ovaal, geleë teen ‘n groen agtergrond van hoë bloekom- en dennebome, behoort aanstaande jaar sommer ‘n baie skilderagtige sportterrein te wees.
Ek wild an nou my erkentlikheid uitspreek teenoor my personeel, die ASK, ouers en al die vriende van die skool wat kans gesien het om so ‘n geweldige taak aan te pak. Baie dankie aan elkeen van u vir die bydraes wat u gelwer het. Aan die oud-leerlinge van die skool wat gedaanteverwisseling wat hul Alma Mater ondergaan het, wil ek darem net die gerusstellende en bly boodskap oordra dat die oorspronklike skoolgebou gespaar is; hierdie soliede ou roobaksteen-skooltjie met sy besonderse atmosfeer is van binne ten volle gemoderniseer en in ‘n administrasieblok omskep, maar die vooraansig het, net soos dit altyd was, behoue gebly.
Nou, na al die gerondtrekkery, die stof, modder en lawaai van die afgelope drie jaar, sien ons almal luit na die rustiger en vreedsamer werksomstandighede wat beslis baie meer bevorderlik vir die onderwys en opvoeding sal wees. In 1979 behoort daar glad ‘n ander atmosfeer in ons nuwe tuiste te heers waar geesdriftige personeellede reeds fluks vorder met die verfraaiing van die terrain en die binnerversierings van ons nuwe skool.
Dit is ons almal se strewe omv an DHS een vir die mooiste, en bestoegerusste skole in hierdie omgewing te maak.
A Memorable Occasion – 1980
Friday, 28 August, was a memorable day in the annals of Dundee High School for on that day the Director of Education, Dr G A Hosking, and his wife (both old scholars of the school) as well as a number of local and departmental dignatories were our guests of honour on the occasion of the official inauguration of the extensions to our buildings and facilities. After tea in the Headmaster’s office, the official party were taken on a conducted tour of the school which included an exhibition of pupil’s art, the Resources Centre and the new sports complex on the Hosking Field.
During the actual inauguration ceremony the new school flag was unfurled for the first time while the new school song was sung in both official languages by the senior mixed choir.
Dr Hosking addressing the audience.
In introducing the guest speaker to the audience, the principal, Mr Kriel, had remarked that it was quite obvious from his achievements that Dr Hosking had set imself very high standards – and that he had lived up to those standards throughout his illustrious career.
In his address the Director of Education expressed delight about that which had been established and achieved at the Dundee High School by the province, the local community and the staff. An amount of R1.4m had been invested in bringing about the extensions, and he sincerely hoped that they would be put to good use and “not be taken for granted by pupils. Very few schools in Natal could boast such magnificent facilities – not only with regards to teaching space but also in respect of sporting facilities.”
Dr Hosking added that throughout his career both in the army and in education, he had never felt himself at a disadvantage having been educated at a country school such as the Dundee High School – in fact, he had all along been of the opinion that it had been to his advantage.
South Africa faces a challenging and difficult future and the country is going to need as many people of quality, determination and courage as possible.
Mrs Joubert, chairlady of the Adcom, thanked all concerned for what had been provided for the youth of the local community and appealed to parents, staff and pupils alike to utilize these facilities to their maximum advantage.
Guests of honour, members of the Advisory Committee and members of staff enjoyed a magnificent luncheon in the Senior Girls’ Hostelafter the conclusion of the proceedings. The meal was prepared and served by the ladies of the local NCVV under the competent guidance of Mrs Cason, and all who attended were agreed that the quality of the offerings was unsurpassed.
Die Nuwe Hoërskool Dundee
Wanneer ‘n mens vandag deur ‘n paar van die ou skooltydskrifte van so vyf, ses jaar gelede blaai, kom jy daar etlike foto’s van geboue en sportvelde teë wat vandag heeltemal verdwyn het, of dan so ‘n gedaanteverwisseling ondergaan het dat hulle beswaarlik nog herkenbaar is.
Die ou wetenskaplaboratoriums, die houtwerklokaal en nie-blanke kwartiere aan Oxborrowstraat moes plek maak vir ‘n modern drieverdieping-klaskamerkompleks waar daar met gemak negehonderd tot ‘n duisend leerlinge gehuisves kan word. Benewens die 30 gewone klaskamers sluit die nuwe skoolgebou ‘n hoogs modern en goedtoegeruste bronnesentrum, kunssuite, twee huishoudkundelokale, vyf wetenskap- en biologielaboratoriums, metaalwerk- en kunsvlytsentrums en drie ruin en goed-toegeruste Tegniese Tekensale in.
Vir baie jare reeds word daar Liggaamlike Opvoeding by die Hoërskool aangebied, maar ongelooflikk was daar egter nie vir enige kleedkamers voorsiening gemaak nie; die toilette moes dus tot so onlangs as 1977 ook as verkleelokale dien! Vandag egter staan daar langs die skool se swembad twee modern kleedkamers met warm en koue stortbaddens – myns insiens een van die betekenisvolste verbeteringe by die nuwe skool. Vir die oud-leerling wat in al hierdie verandering belangstel, sal dit interessant wees om te verneem dat die ou hoofgebou, wat uiterlike voorkoms betref, feitlik netso behou is – en ons is baie dankbaar daarvoor. In hierdie skoolblok is daar egter vandag geen klaskamers oor nie; die hele reeks klaskamers is vandag in ‘n administrasieblok omskep.
The old Lucy Meakin Library is today our school’s music room and Mrs Osborn’s sanctuary, whilst the old school hall, erected in 1934, has been converted into a magnificent staff room; surely the most spacious of its kind at any school in the province!
The renovations at the school were not restricted to the buildings alone, for during the course of the last four years the premises in the entirety have undergone a complete metamorphosis in that the whole sports complex was revamped and rebuilt. The new rugby fields have been put to use for two seasons now, and the top notch athletics track and new pavilion which can provide seating for well-nigh 2 000 spectators under cover, were officially inaugurated in March this year by our illustrious old scholar, Mr Danie Joubert. The newly constructed and grassed cricket oval and twin hockey fields, on the site of the convent’s katôba vineyard of old, are due to be commissioned in the very near future. Indeed, very few schools could boast a sport complex and facilities equal to ours at the present time.
The official inauguration of the extensions to our facilities was indeed an occasion of great joy and pride to us all – staff, pupils and parent body alike. It was like music to our ears to hear the Director of Education, Dr G A Hosking (himself an old scholar of our school) say:
“Your grounds and sports facilities compare very well with the best at any other top school in the province. You have a school here of which you can feel justifiably proud.”
We trust our present pupils will realise just how fortunate and privileged they can consider themselves in relation to those Dundee High School pupils of a decade ro two ago.
May these facilities afford opportunities and benefits to the present and future generations for a long time to come and may they never be taken for granted.
Die nuwe atletiekbaan is in 1980 amptelik in gebruik geneem en geopen deur ‘n oud-leerling, mnr Danie Joubert, oud-Springbokatleet.
SCHOOL SONG SKOOLLIED
1. In the shadows of M’Pati 1. Aan die voet van berg M’Pati
Stands the school of which we’re proud in die hart van Noord-Natal
Dundee High where we prosper, staan die skool wat ons trots is;
thus we sing out loud. Hom het ons life bowe al.
2. As the spirit and intellect Luid besing osn jou glorie;
by learning are inspired streef jou leuse na.
‘tis STRENUIS ARDUA CEDUNT Met STRENUIS ARDUA CEDUNT
with which we are afired. Weet ons wat jy van ons vra.
3. It’s serving high ideals 3. Yw’rig span ons kragte saam;
of our earnest Christian Follk gaan die lewe moedig in
we best can serve our country met die blye wete –
with our promise and hope. Deugde en vlyt sal oorwin.
Lirieke deur S Herselman en B Phillips
Toonsetting deur Hein de Villiers – Inspekteur van Musiek
Die pawiljoene word onder dak gesit.
Ons nuwe krieketnette het vanjaar stadig maar seker finale voltooiing bereik en ons skool is bevoorreg om ook van die 1981-seisoen af ‘n pragtige nuwe krieketveld tot ons beskikking te hê. Dit alles kan daartoe bydra da tons krieket slegs van krag tot krag sal gaan. Baie dankie aan almal betrokke by hierdie nuwe uitbreidings se verwesenliking.
‘n Spesiale word van dank word gerig aan die Dundee se Munisipaliteit wat hulle veld tot ons beskikking gestel het. Ons sien met groot verwagting uit na die volgende seisoen!
We collected an amount of R1 000 which was subsequently presented to the school and used to purchase equipment for the recently established gymnasium.
Die nuwe krieketnette langs die gymnasium is ook onlangs in gebruik geneem
As you might have gathered by now the Old Scholars’ Reunion held in August was a huge success. A most pleasant evening was enjoyed by approximately a hundred ex-pupils of the Dundee High School.
Nuwighede by die skool vanjaar . . . 1983
Die idee van ‘n eie skoolkoerant is op die Prefektekamp in Februarie vanjaar te berde gebring en toe is daar ‘n “eersteling-uitgawe” beplan en voorberei onder the bekwame leiding van mnr Cornelius. Na afloop van die kamp het die prefekte dadelik begin met die implementering van dié vooropgestelde idees. In die aanvangstadium het dinge maar redelik steeks verloop met ons klomp groentjies en ons verskillende idees. Na die eerste uitgawe se hoë sirculasiesyfer het ‘n afplatting ongelukkig ingetree in die verkope. Dit lyk egter of ons nou al ‘n gevestigde leserspubliek het, want die afgelope paar uitgawes se verkope het redelik constant gebly.
Vooruitgang was ook onkeerbaar en die prys moes noodgedwonge na 30c verhoog word om die dicker uitgawes te reverdig. Vir die redaksielede bring ‘n dikker koerant meer werk mee en ek wens die 1984-redaksie voorspoed toe en hoop dat hulle vol inisiatief sal bly en nie die koerantjie sal verwaarloos nie; dit is ons skool se eie! Daarmee doen e kook ‘n beroep op leerlinge om hulle deel by te dra want dit is nodig vir ‘n koerant om sy sirkulasie hoog te hou indien hy enige mate van sukses wil behaal.
Aanstaande jaar veral sal “Dundee Student” ‘n belangrike spreekbuis van Dundee Hoërskool kan wees wanneer die skool sy eeurfees vier.
Redakteur: Dundee Student, 1983
The Changing Face of Our School…
With a view to the centenary celebrations of Dundee High School in 1884, an extensive programme aimed at giving the frontage of the school a face-lift, was initiated.
The Lucy Meakin Memorial Library was renovated and repainted to serve as a museum depicting the progress of education in our community over the years. Two huge trees which previously dominated, and also obstructed the view of, the school’s frontage were felled and the lower branches of the jacarandas cut off. The unsightly fence has been removed and is to be replaced by a metal railing fence. In addition it was complemented by the magnificent sand-stone gates originally erected on the Coniston property belonging to the Talbot family and donated to the School by Mr and Mrs Frans Coetzee to serve both as a memorial of our centenary and as an impressive entrance leading to the old main building, the present administration block.
Another monstrosity to fall to the demolisher’s hammer was the incongruous “sheep kraal” which has been attached to the 50 year old hall (presently the staff room) when renovations and additions to the school were undertaken from 1977-1980.
The whole area in front of the old red-brick school building was landscaped, grassed and paved, and a lovely garden established by expert gardeners. A magnificent rockery and fountain replaced the huge acacia elata which dominated the area between the “new” school hall and the Lucy Meakin building.
The whole façade facing Tatham Street underwent repainting and general renovations and created an impressive and unique apperance.
The back entrance to the school also experienced a rather drastic face-lift as the huge hum trees previously lining Oxborrow Street were felled to allow for the levelling and grassing of the area which previously lay barren and exposed due to the enormous absorption of all surface water by these towering giants. They were replaced by indigenous species, and a lane of trees was planted on either side of the Coronation Street extension which forms the back entrance of our school.
The actual centenary celebrations were scheduled for 17-20 May 1983 and included a wide range of activities such as a stage production, an extravaganza, a street procession and float parade, a braai for all old scholars, a sports programme and arena show, a formal dinner to form the climax, and a thanksgiving service at the school on the Sunday morning.
“…There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.”
The highlight of last season was, undoubtedly, the visit of the English professional coach, Mr E Smethurst. The keenness generated and the improvement shown in the play of many of the boys bore eloquent testimony to his skill in developing latent talent. In fact, there is probably more keenness at the moment than ahs been apparent for many years, and although our 1st XI is certainly not the best ever in this school, yet the general standard of play has risen appreciably since the war.
Mnr F J Hugo is as onderhoof van die Dundeese Hoërskool vanaf begin 1950 aangestel.
The late Senator Hosking and the late Mr Arthur Whitfield
We suffered a grievous loss in the deaths of Mr Arthur Whitfield earlier in the year and recently, Senator Hosking. Arthur was an old student and afterwards, up to the time of his death, a true and generous friend of the School.
Senator Hosking, during his residence in Dundee and throughout his public life, worked unfailingly in the interests of education, and our schools in this town has cause to be extremely grateful to him for all his good work.
This year we were pleased to welcome back Mr R C McFarquhar in his new capacity as Vice-Principal.
On the other hand, we were sorry to lose Mr F Hugo, who was appointed Principal of the Glencoe Junior School.
MR H JENNINGS: AN APPRECIATION
The appearance of this issue of the magazine will coincide with the retirement on pension of Mr H Jennings who, for the last eleven years, has been Headmaster of the Dundee High School. They have been years of happy co-operation between Headmaster, Staff and pupils: and Mr Jennings can look back upon a successful headmastership during which the school has more than maintained its high reputation for good results in the examination room and on the sports fields. With the help of good friends of the school, Mr Jennings has been able to induce the Administration to spend quite a few thousand pounds on the school: and, most happily, the work which has been put into the new Hosking Field, was sufficiently advanced for the Northern Natal Inter-High School Athletic Sports to be held there in this, the last year of Mr Jenning’s headship. The pavilion, the new biology lab, the tennis courts at the Girls’ Hostel, and the spacious grounds which the girls there now enjoy are, among other things, all concrete testimony to Mr Jennings’s persuasive tongue and to his appreciation of the best interests of the school. To his successors he leaves the completion of another ambition – the building of a school swimming bath, half the cost of which has already been raised during his term of office.
Mr Jennings was born in North London (Muswell Hill) on November 12, 1896, and he attended the Coopers’ Company School, which is one of the London Guilds’ Schools, founded in 1536, and which includes the poet, John Milton, among its distinguished scholars. On September 2, 1914, he joined a territorial regiment, and had difficulty in getting in as he was only seventeen, and looked younger. For foreign service one had to be nineteen, so in the next three months his age jumped to that and he went out with the first draft in February, 1915. His only training for active service was a few shots fired on a range – in a snowstorm! Perhaps Mr Jennings’s war experiences are best told in his own words: “On April 22, I received a gash in my thigh from a fragment of something. As the shell hit a bomb dump in die trench, my recollections are a bit vague. I simply found myself in a trench filled with smoke and corpses, rather idiotically shaking my leg to see if it would fall off. (It was, however, quite a nice wound and earned me a couple of months’ holiday in England.) I was the only one who crawled out of that part of the trench.”
In May, 1916, an accident to his knee, which took months of painful treatment to cure, had its fortunate side in that it prevented Mr Jennings from taking part in the Battle of the Somme, from which only 250 men of his battalion, and no officers, came out alive. In May, 1917, at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, he received the wound which was eventually to cost him an eye.
In the following May, he was out of the army and then began his university training at Aberystwyth, at the expense of a grateful country: “Though I would be at a loss to say in what way my efforts helped the war along,” says Mr Jennings, äs most of the time I just stood around in mud.” Aberystwyth must have been a green and pleasant place after the previous four years.
Mr Jennings’s first teaching appointment was at the Tideswell Grammar School in the Peak District of Derbyshire, where he endured a winter of such bitter cold that it is not surprising that he describes it as “a school founded in 1547 by some enemy of the human race. It had stone walls, stone floors, a resident ghost, and a deep penetrating chill everywhere.” Nor is it surprising that, as a result, he got into touch with South Africa House and emigrated to Natal in 1923. His first South African appointment was at the Durban High School, where for ten of his twelve years there he taught under “the redoubtable Langley, during the palmy days of a great school.” At DHS, he held the onerous position of sportsmaster: onerous – but probably a labour of love, for cricket and rugby are both very dear to Mr Jennings’s heart! In 1935 he received his first headship, at Stanger: and after six year there, he became Headmaster at Greytown, where he spent four happy years before coming to Dundee High School: and we trust that he will also be able to look back upon his eleven years here as happy ones.
During all this time Mr Jennings has been doing valuable work for his profession as an active member of the Natal Teachers’ Society. He had held the honoured position of president of this society, and has for many years been a member of its highest executive committee. He was also a member of the Joint Matriculation Board of South Africa.
And so the time has come for us all – staff and pupils – to bid Mr Jennings farewell: to thank him for all he ahs done for the school; and to wish him many years of happy retirement.
Ons is bly om mnr S Levinsohn hierdie jaar terug te verwelkom na sy jaar se studieverlof in Engeland.
At the end of last year we regretfully said good-bye to Mr Jennings who had been our headmaster for eleven very happy and successful years. We are glad to hear that he and Mrs Jennings are happy in Cape Town in which they have settled since his retirement.
Ons wil mnr Burger ook langs hierdie weg hartlik verwelkom as hoof van die skool, en die hoop uitspreek dat sy verblyf alhier gelukkig sal wees end at sy taak in belang van die opvoeding baie vrugte sal afwerp.
We were also sorry to say good-bye to our VP, Mr R McFarquhar, though we were pleased to congratulate him on his appointment as Principal of the Junior School.
Nuwe Vise-Prinsipaal: Mnr S Levinsohn, BA
It is Goodbye
As the years roll by – one after the other – they disappear into a past that grows dim as one’s memories reach all the way back to 1931 when my association with this School began.
If I were to truthfully answer the question: What career would I choose if such a choice were possible once more? I would say without the slightest hesitation – teaching. Except for the persistent financial stringencies, teaching, according to my own experiences, ahs been a happy mode of earning my living.
Soos orals die geval is of was, was daar die soms ingrypende veranderinge van die samestelling van die maatskappy en jou eie personeel. Die dikwels verbysterende benadering tot wat ek, die ou “square”, as grondliggend belangrik beskou het en wat die onrype jeug in sovell gevalle wou vernietig, was maar altyd aanwesig. Aanpassing? Ja, beslis, en uiters daadwerklik. Die aanpassign moet van my kant af kom – al moes e kook die leidign op my neem – maar ek kon geen goedkeuring daaraan verleen dat baie van die ouere beginsels verwerp word om vervang te word deur WAT?
Ek meen dat ierdie skool nog ‘n beginselvaste grondslag het wat met sorg gekweek is – bewaar word met jaloerse tronts en wal sal verdedig word met die uiterste standvastigheid; met and woorde, daar bestaan rotsvaste beginsels waarop dan gebou word, mits die boumeester begryp hoe uiters delikaat die ewewigs verhouding is tussen kind en volwassene, asook tuseen volwassenes.
Tot hierdie verhouding het ek ‘n deeltjie probeer bydra, want hoe kan ons skool bly bestaan as hy ronddryf soos die vroeë môremistigheid? Daarom is dit nou my besondere voorreg om my allerbeste wense aan hierdie skool in al sy toekomsfasette oor te dra.
My bede is dat daar altyd aan die hoof van hierdie skool iemand sal staan wie se fynere aanvoeling hom gedurig in staat sal stel om die vraagstukke, wat hier mag opduik, met suses die hoof te bied.
A Tribute to Mr F J Hugo
MR PRT NEL – DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Dit is vir baie min in die onderwys beskore om een skool en gemeenskap so lank te dien soos mnr Hugo bevoorreg was om Dundee en die Dundeese Hoërskool te dien. In die bykans veertig jaar wat hy, met enkele onderbrekings, aan die skool verbond was, was hy eers assistant, later Onderhoof en eindelik Hoof.
Sy aanstelling as Hoof van die Dundeese Hoërskool in 1961 was vir hom die verwesenliking van ‘n ideaal en ‘n ambisie wat hy sedert 1931 gekoester het. Nadat hy sy studies aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch voltooi het, het hy in die tweede helfte van 1930 tot die diens van die Natalse Onderwysdepartement toegetree. Na een kwartaal in die personeel van die Durban Hoërskool het hy aan die begin van 1931 diens aanvaar as asssitent by die Dundeese Hoërskool. Uit die staanspoor uit het hy hom vereenselwig met die skool en die plaaslike gemeenskap. Sy liefde vir en lojaliteit jeens Dundee het onmiddellik ontstaan en met verloop van tyd het dit steeds toegeneem. Hy het diens aan Dundee as sy lewenstaak gesien en hy het in dié lewenstaak opgegaan met ‘n onkrenkbare doelgerigtheid en toegewydheid.
Dat hy sy stempel onuitwisbaar op die skool afgedruk het, is vanselfsprekend. In al die jare het hy hom met offervaardigheid aan sy taak gewy en elke faset van die skool se veelvuldige bedrywighede het sy aandag geniet.
Thousands of Dundee boys and girls have passed through his hands and they owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his contribution to their general education during their formative years. His ex-pupils and colleagues will remember him for his dedicated service to the shool in many spheres, but particularly as a teacher of Afrikaans as seond language and as a rugby coach, in both of which capacities he found ample scope for his forthright manner and his great affection for young people.
The Dundee High School ahs a great histoy and a proud tradition. Troughout his long association with the school, Mr Hugo has been the jealous guardian of the high reputation which the school has earned throughout Natal and beyond its borders. He accordingly dealt summarily with those who in his opinion denigrated the school or tarnished its good name.
This tribute to Mr Hugo would be incomplete without reference to Mrs Hugo, and the part she has played in her husband’s career. Her natural charm, modesty and friendly manner have earned for her the affection and respect of all who have bene privileged to know her. Without her support, loyalty and devotion Mr Hugo’s task would have been immeasurably more difficult.
On behalf of the Natal Education Department and all Dundonians, past and present, I tender sincere thanks to Mr and Mrs Hugo for a lifetime of unselfish service in the cause of education and the interests of our youth. I trust that they will be granted many years of good health to enjoy a long and happy retirement.
Lucy Meaking Memorial Library
Who was Lucy Meakin? That question must, surely, be asked quite often.
Miss Meakin came to our School in, I think, 1921, and she became classs teacher of Standard 6 – Form 11 of in those days. For many years she taught English, and tried to instil her own love of literature – particularly of poetry – into successive batches of pupils. Side by side with this interest went her enthusiasm for amateur theatricals. At school, I remember, one of her most successful productions was “Toad of Toad Hall” – a dramatized version of A A Milne’s much loved story “The Wind in the Willows”. Miss Meakin herself was no mean actress – there are many people in Dundee who remember with pleasure her performance in play-readings produced by the Dundee Amateur Dramatic Society.
For many years Miss Meakin coached the Senior Girls for their appearance in the drill display which at that time was part of the annual school Athletic Sports Meeting; and in many other ways “Meakie” became very much a part of the school’s varied activities.
When she retired in 1944 we hoped that she would have the pleasant, leisured years which she so richly deserved. That, however, was not to be, and she died within a few months of her retirement. The feeling that some kind of memorial was desirable was shared by parents, staff and old pupils alike, and there was complete agreement as to its form: the school was badly in need of a library, and we all knw that no other memorial could have please Miss Meakin more.
The business of raining money began. Most generous donations were made by parents, old pupils, and by Miss Meakin’s many friends; and in addition the usual money-raising methods were used. I have been looking at an old programme of an entertainment presented by the Dundee High School in aid of the Lucy Meakin Memorial Library fund. It consisted of two one-act plays and an operetta. Mr Niven was Headmaster (it was in 1945) and it is interesting to see that the Afrikaanse play – “Die Genadelose Slagter” – was produced by our present Principal, Mr Hugo, who was at that time an Assistant Master on the Staff. I produced the English play – “Oliver’s Island”. Like “Toad of Toad Hall”, it was by A A Milne – Miss Meakin would have approved, and would have enjoyed it. The operetta – “The Ghosts of Hilo” was produced by Miss Wright. It brought in £65 (R120) which was a very useful sum of money at that time.
Finally sufficient money was raised but it was an impossible time for building. The war was only ust over; there were shortages of building materials; and the Provincial Authorities, who were to help us on pound for pound basis, clamped on all such enterprises. By the time building again became possible prices had risen, and further fund-raising became necessary. Eventually the target was reached, plans were submitted and, finally approved, and the library was built. It was officially opened in 1951 – just twenty years ago, at which time Mr Jennings was Headmaster. It was unnecessary to enlarge upon the value of the Lucy Meakin Memorial Library to the school; it is, in fact, invaluable.
C J Evans
Down Memory Lane…
G J McKenzie
In 1910 I started school in Dundee and I remember two dates that year. On 24 May was the Coronation and King George and 31 May was Union Day. On both occasions a united service was held in our school grounds and then we were taken to the Oval for a sports day.
The main transport in those days was by horse and trap or ox wagon – Victoria Street was wide enough for an ox wagon to turn around. We had to walk to school, but on wet days we went in a ricksha.
During my time at the Girls’ School, the Headmaster of the Boys’ School produced three of Gilbert and Sullivan’s plays – The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe and H M S Pinafore and we took part.
The Girls’ School went up to Std V and if we wanted to continue we went up to the Boys’ School – anyone who got 100% in any subject went to Std VI otherwise one had to repeat Std V as they started maths in that class.
Two outstanding events occurred while I was at the Boys’ School:
1. Major Miller borught the first aeroplane to Dundee. All the school children had to walk to the fields at the bottom of town to watch him arrive, and the next day we walked down again to see him off.
2. The snow storm in September early in the 1920’s. We plaed outside school for sometime, before the headmaster announced he would ring the bell and if there were not 50 children in school, he would close the school for the day.
There were 12 boys and 4 girls in my class. One wasw on the lookout and said, “Cavy boys, he is coming!” All we saw were legs climbing through the windows! Mr Gray came in and counted 4 in the classroom. There were not 50 children in school but when the staff had their photo taken there were more than 50 children pleting them with snowballs!
G J McKenzie
A “Train Child” Remembers
Whenever I think of the time when I was a pupil at the Dundee Boys’ Government School, as it was called in 1911, I think of myself as one of the “train children”. Some of us had to travel by train between Glencoe and Dundee, being alte for school in the mornings, and in the afternoons a bell rang at ten past three for the train children to leave twenty minutes before the rest of the school. Very often the teacher only began to give us our homework after the bell, and we had to run to catch the train. On one occasion the train was just beginning to move out, when I cane to the platform. I tried to jump in, but was hampered by an armful of books and would certainly have fallen if the ticket-collector had nto given me a hard push and told me in no uncertain terms that I should never try that again!
The Railway Time-table was changed in August 1912 and we could not be at school before 9.30 which was catastrophic, as schools started at eight, and my sister Elisabeth and I were both preparing for an examination at the end of the year. However, the Norenius family very kindly put us up while their children, Elsa and Dagmar, stayed with our parents and attended the Government-aided school of which my father was headmaster.
One morning in 1913 as I arrived at the station it was decorated and before long the train from Johannesburg arrived and out stepped Mahatma Gandhi who was taken to a dais wich had been put up for him. He gave a short address about loyalty to the British Empire, was greeted with cheers and continued his journey. Another time he was with us on the afternoon train and when we reached White Gates the fence was lined by thousands of Indians from the mine: men, women and children waving ecstatically and calling out “Baba”, while he waved back out of the window.
The highlight of those years was the coming of the warship “New Zealand”which, as far as I understand, was presented to the British Government by Australia.
She docked in Durban for several days and was open to the school children of Natal, accompanied by their teachers. Mr Gray, our headmaster, escorted us, and my aunt, Miss Kimmel, came in the same coach with her pupils. We travelled at a very reduced price, the return fare being only seven and sixpence and we were charged only three shillings for three meals. It was a wonderful experience to be shown over the ship with its big guns. Later Mr Gray took us on a sight-seeing tour of Durban and the lighthouse on the Bluff, from the top of which we had a wonderful view of the town and a large part of the coast. Such was the discipline and good behaviour of the pupils of those days that, to my knowledge, not one of them stepped out of line.
I can only wish that the school and its pupils continue to flourish and that everyone has a happy and fruitful a time at DBGS as did we “Train Children” of seventy years ago.
Mrs Maria Wittmann (nee Hellberg)
She is the daughter of the late Praeses W Hellberg, who immigrated to this country in 1895 and founded Uelzen Congregation and School. At 85 she is one of our oldest old scholars and the first pupil to gain a first class matriculation pass (in 1914). Ed.
I found myself at Dundee Senior School in January 1914. It was a school for boys; girls did not arrive until much later.
The Great War broke out in August and there was a rush for newspapers. I managed later in the day to get hold of one.
On a back page under small type was a notice – ENGLAND DECLARS WAR ON GERMANY.
From that day I read the news each morning. This was later to stand me in good stead as I got top marks for any questions on general knowledge.
The school cadets looked like soldiers of the French Foreign Legion. Suspended from the back of their kepis were the white linen spine protectors made famous by the Foreigh Legion. We later changed to the New Zealand type broad-brimmed had turned up at one side without the spine protector.
There was then only one Afrikaans boy at the school and hwen he arrived he knw no English. When we had finished with him some years later he would have been classed as an English lad from a good school in England.
In 1916 and 1917 the school decided to contribut to war funds and put on Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas H M S Pinafore, lolanthe and the Pirates of Penzance.
We played to packed houses in Dundee, Newcastle and Ladysmith. Extra shows were given beyond the advertised days. We had succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.
In 1918 Spanish flu swept the country and school closed down in October. Two pupils, however, were compelled to go to school.
They were Hermann Baasch, and I, as we were the Dundee candidates for the Harry Escombe Scholarship to be competed for by all Natal schools in December at Pietermaritzburg.
I was awarded the scholarship and for the first time Dundee boasted of the Excombe award. I believe that some years later Bob Durno also won it.
The war was upsetting – boys of sixteen and seventeen wanted to leave and join up. One or two succeeded.
Dundee schoolboys played a big part in the armed forces. Three of the Turton family were there. Ernest Turton, whose name figures on the Dundee War Memorial, did not return – he was killed by a German shell in France.
There was great excitement in 1921. The school’s senior cadets were put on standby doing the Rand Miners’ Strik, afterwards to be known as the Rand Revolution.
We were never sent to the Transvaal as the troubles came to an end fairly quickly. I think we would have given a good account of ourselves as we were all marksmen and good horsemen.
On the 9th September 1921 the school closed down for the first time since the flue epidemic.
A fall of snow stretching from Johannesburg almost to Pinetown closed among others all Dundee roads and we boys were jubilant.
The snow melted within a couple of weeks except for the top of NdumeniMountain where it remained until Christmas day.
We had a very fine group of teachers ably led by headmaster Archie Gray of London. They were mostly from England and Ireland.
Shortly after the war there arrived at the school a brilliant young South African, John William Hudson, who took over the amths and science classes. He later became famous as the principal of Maritzburg College and later as head of Hilton College.
He taught to such effect that when the 1922 matric results were announced it was discovered that I had come first in South Africa in maths and that my fellow student F W K (Fritz) Hellberg came second.
I followed the careers of only a few Dundee schoolboys.
Sandy Kennedy became a judge of the Natal Supreme Court and Fanyan Hartwell a senior bank manager.
Leslie Sears became a pharmacist, Fritz Hellberg a successful farmer and Harold Mortimer a successful business man.
Bob Durno, Cyril Gillbanks and Roy Craig became district magistrates.
Dennis Labistour was an air pilot but soon moved to Nottingham Road where he bred and trained racehorses. Until then I don’t think he ahd ever sat on a horse!
His fillies Gay Jane and C’est Si Bon won the Durban July Handicap.
I became a district magistrate and retired as chief commissioner for Natal and Zululand.
Kennedy, Labistour and Craig have since died.
A few weeks ago I bumped into Douglas Gray, a son of Archie Gray, I last saw him sixty years ago. He, like his father, took up teaching as a career.
The only sivivors of our 1922 matric boys class are Hartwell, Sears, Hellberg and myself.
In those days we had never heard of drugs and there was only one smoker in the school.
On Saturdays we frequently cycled to Talana to see glass bottles being made. The ‘factory’ was a wood and iron shack about fifteen feet by ten feet.
It was a one man show operated by a Frenchman who arrived soon after the war. He equipment was a long blow-pipe operated by his lungs. He made about fifty bottles a day.
He was destined not to be long there. The present glass works took him over.
In conclusion I must not forget to mention two Dundee boys who became Springboks – Joe Green and Danie Joubert. There may have been others particularly in Natal Currie cup soccer.
A J Turton
My Schooldays: 1920 – 1925
Miss C J E Evans
The beginning of the first term of 1920 saw a group of nervous children making their way up Victoria Street from the Junior School to take their places in Standard 5 at the Dundee Senior School – more generally known as “the Boys’ School,” although it had opened its doors to girls a few years earlier.
We must have been quaint little bunch of reluctant scholars. We had none of the confidence and sophistication of Standard 5 children today and as school uniforms were known we had not even the courage which can be derived from uniformity. Later, some of the girls in the higher classes took matters into their own hands and persuaded their mothers to supply them with navy-blue or black gym-tunics and white blouses. The fashion caught on, red-and-black ties were bought and an unofficial school-uniform was born.
The school was small. The original building, which now houses the Administrative Block was quite adequate, though as there was no hall, assembly took place in the open. The school kitchen, built later to accommodate cookery classes, (about the only concession made to meet the needs of the influx of girls) was the largest room in the school, and did duty for social occasions.
Before long, there were games for the girls – tennis (one court), hockey and basketball. The boys played football (soccer) and cricket. School concerts were organised and I and my contemporaries still remember with pleasure the fun we had when we took part in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance”. This opera was produced by the Headmaster, Mr “Archie” Gray, and it involved practically the whole school. Mr Gray had also produced “HMS Pinafore” and “Iolanthe,” but those were before my time.
Mr Gray was Headmaster until 1923. Besides being a Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiast he was an outstandingly good Head and I am sure that all who were fortunate enough to be at school in his time have never forgotten him. He laid the foundations on which later Headmasters have built. He introduced the House system., and had the excellent idea, when naming the Houses, of paying tribute to the Old Boys who had fallen I the 1914-1918 War and to the three members of the staff who had also been among the fallen: Mr J F Jerred, Mr S M Wright, and Mr W M Reid. There was no Prefect system at that time, but the eight House Captains (four boys, four girls) did more or less what is expected of prefects today.
Mr Gray was followed as Headmaster by Mr J Black, who later became Head of DHS and who was able to boast that he had never had a failure in Matriculation Maths. I and my Standard 9 – 10 contemporaries were very fortunate in our teachers. Among them were Mr J W Hudson (later Head of Maritzburg College, and then of Hilton) who taught us Chemistry and Mr R O Pearse (later Head of Estcourt High School and in his retirmenet, an eminent author) who taught us English. Miss C M Bradshaw taught us History and managed to spire some of us with her own enthusiasm for the subject. Mr Mostert taught us High Dutch (Nederlands). Only five subjects – we never had any difficulty in choosing our courses! As ther were only five subjects in our curriculum we had to write a five-subject matric, governed by what were known as the “New Regulations”. Extra papers and a higher standard were demanded in three of the five subjects. In our case, there were English, Maths and Chemistry – chosen without any regard for our personal preferences.
As well as excellent teachers, we also had the advantage of almost individual attention. The 1925 matric class numbered ten pupils, as far as I can remember. The school was, at that time, English Medium only.
My six years at what was the, the Dundee Intermediate School, were very happy ones. When I matriculated and left at the end of 1925 I did not realise that my connection with the school was not ended. After four years at Natal University College I came backt o Dundee to teach four four years at the Junior School under Miss Brickhill. Then, after six years at Vryheid High School I returned to Dundee and joined the High School Staff at the beginning of 1940.
Six happy years as a pupil, and thirty equally happy years on the staff add up to quite a period. Now, in 1984, it is with great pleasure that I offer heartfelt congratulations and good wishes to Dundee High School on its 100th Birthday.
Miss C J E Evans