Alec McPherson

This letter was written by Mr McPherson to the Class of '67, prior to their 30 year reunion in 1997. They were the first of the Wyndham scheme and we (the Class of '68) were the second. Mr McPherson passed away in 2003, aged 90.

Telopea Park High School 1962-1967

Alec McPherson

In 1962 we introduced the first year of the Wyndham Scheme which provided for six years of secondary schooling instead of five. The scheme was phased in progressively with the first School Certificate Examination in 1965 and the first Higher School Certificate Examination in 1967.

We had problems in the middle 60’s in retaining suitably qualified teachers who were being attracted to better prospects in other occupations. The problems were Australia wide and a vigorous recruiting campaign was undertaken overseas with varying success.

Unfortunately about this time changes in the attitudes of students became apparent. The questioning of established practice, an unwillingness to conform and the challenging of authority became more widespread. Some students anxious to identify themselves with popular culture at the time sought to demonstrate their independence in various ways. The confrontations occurred at home as well as at school and mirrored changes in behaviour in the wider society. The effects of television and radio programmes which publicised the more general student protest elsewhere were being felt. Those not involved were the students in lower middle years but they carried their protests through to the senior school in succeeding years. Teachers, some very reluctantly, were forced to adapt their procedures to actively seek more co-operation and less confrontation in the classroom. Together we weathered the storm. Maybe, a better reason for a ‘Gold Pass’.

Since 1967
I left Telopea Park High School at the end of 1971 and opened the new Weston Creek High School (now Stromlo High) in 1972. I resigned from the NSW Teaching Service in October 1973. I commenced duty with the Commonwealth Department of Education in November, 1973 in the Planning and Building Branch. My work included preparing briefs for new secondary schools in the ACT and NT. I retired in June 1978. For the next ten or so years I acted as consultant to the Schools Commission on planning and funding of Government and non-Government schools in the States and Territories. Ill-health brought an end to that. In February 1991 I had quadruple by-pass surgery. I have gone quietly since then.

1. To be able to celebrate 60 years of marriage on January 3, 1998.
2. To be around at the turn of the century.

My best wishes to you all.

Alec J McPherson

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