Spectral resonance: Eternal Return

‘Workmen paint the Caltex sign on Caltex House, Kent St, Sydney, 1959, drawing to an end one of the worse recessions Australia experienced since the 1930’s

faber est suae quisque fortunae

Eternal return to the place of my youth, Fort Street Girls High School on Observatory Hill. The mythological locale we lusted after over at the co-ed old boys school campus in Petersham. My aunt Russ Aroney was an Old Girl, one of the first voices I heard as a babe in London. She was an old world nurse, tough love, a socialist, suffragette, with starched whites. A second mother to my mamma Stamatia, who would follow in her footsteps.

The lead light in the stairwell of old Fort Street Girls high school the motto faber est suae quisque fortunae…endelibly etched on my psyche
Fort Street Girls High School, Observatory Hill, Sydney

Climbing the stairs of the old girls school each day, I read the lead light phase we all sang as teenagers, in our anthem: faber est suae quisque fortunae… In these uncertain times it brings a notalgic comfort.

Everyone is the artisan of his own fortune
Building of the Cahill Expressway. Fort Street Girls High School from Iain Wallace, Lost Sydney, (unknown source)

“On this day in 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened to the public. Fort Street Girls High School was the first in the procession across the Sydney Harbour Bridge at its official opening 16th March 1932 (NSW State Archives and Records).

@LostFortStreet FB – Iain Wallace
Fort Street Girls High School , Sydney Harbour Bridge official opening 16th March 1932
1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge opened to the public. The captains of both Fort Street Boys’ & Girls’ High Schools, Reginald Sharpe and Beryl Lamble, ran the scroll’s last leg of its long journey. (NSW State Library).

The pendulum on the grandfather clock outside the Principals office chimes each hour, an incessant reminder that time is passing.

Today it could have been another beautiful day on Sydney harbour, but the unfolding dramatic changes have not been seen since the war. My heart goes out to my colleagues doing it tough.

Looking out the window of my office it could be a perfect Sydney day

The spectral ghosts of our past haunt these corridoors but it feels comforting.

Thanks Iaian Wallace: Fort Street Girls High School 1949 – 4th year girls dressed as Grecian maidens. They did a dance balancing blue balloons as part of the Centenary Pageant at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The building behind may be the Colonial Secretary’s Office block. The tree in the background is no longer there.(Del Swain Collection)
%d bloggers like this: