Sport early days memories

Sport at Marcellin in the 1950’s As I Remember It – Michael Derum 1951-1959

The Marcellin of 2016 is a vast contrast to the place I remember at 21 Canterbury from 1951-1959.  The introduction to my “new” school was at the 1950 Speech Afternoon conducted from the steps at the front of the Brothers house, “Ardmara”. The front steps were the stage and rostrum for the afternoon. Whatever John Bartley sang or whatever Br Nilus said, completely passed me by because I thought only of this place as my next step in the whole school business.
At the start of 1951, I started in Grade 5 and my classroom was at the end of the western side drive, formerly a garage.  That classroom formed the border of one side of the quadrangle (the lunch area) and the other sides were taken up with the Grade 3-4 class – Br Bede – Des Hornsby; the tap room including drinking fountains , a “drum” room, a laundry and a tuckshop.  There was a big tree in the south west corner outside our classroom from which was suspended the periodic / angelus / prayer of the hour bell.  The north western side completed the quadrangle and was known as the annexe.  As a nine year old I had no idea what an annexe was. At Marcellin in those days it was an L-shaped ground floor access area for all classrooms. It became a study area for “big kids” and it was also the location of the first Marcellin library under the guidance of Br Roger.  During the Br Sylvester era it also became the venue for after school ballroom dancing lessons.
Our 1951 Grade 5 class teacher was Br Jordan (Redden) – I did not see him again after 1951 until we met again at the funeral of Leo Oswald.  Br Evangelist many years later when he remembered our family and asked after my two “little” brothers I assured him that they were well surviving and thriving in their mid to late sixties!!!
Br Jordan was a nephew of Br Placidus, the Provincial of the Marist Brothers for the Southern Province.  Br Placidus had taught at the 1950 Marcellin – the year before I arrived. Both Br Placidus and Br Arnold taught Grade 4 in 1950 and when Br Arnold returned briefly to Marcellin in the mid to late fifties, my classmates who remembered him thought he was a “good bloke”. I recall how he livened our geography lessons via a Q&A quiz.  He’d give us two initials, country and capital city and we had to identify both,  eg, F.P – France, Paris or S.E – Scotland Edinburgh.  Br Placidus was a familiar sight around Marcellin and always acknowledged his former 1950 Grade 4 charges who also remembered him as, but never addressed him as, Br Platypus!
And so to sport!  There were six or seven concrete cricket pitches along the north western fence adjoining the Presbyterian Babies’ Home. Each class had its own cyclone and net enclosed pitch and boys lined up to bowl. Batsmen were limited to eight hits before retiring.  This was the only activity in the summer months – before at recess and at lunchtime.
Come winter, come football – same daily timetable for this activity with a few other aspects such as waxing  (sharing kicks), “picking out “ (kicking to mates) and attempting to kick through the open “dunny” window. Towering marks were “in” and the thought of anything like occupational health and safety was half a century away.
Well of course footy went beyond Marcellin’s backyard!  Victories in most interschool sports were a bit thin on the ground – enthusiasm was up there but success was rare.  Remember, however, that Marcellin was competing against the “big boys” but had a far lower student population.
I played in the Under 15 and open inter-school competition over the three years of 1957, 1958 and 1959 and the opposition was rather daunting – e.g, Parade 57 – first ruck Patrick Guinane, Sergio