Monday, 5 August 2013

Dawn McArthur (nee Taylor) Bio as written 2007 added August 2013

Dawn Taylor (now McArthur) Bio as at August 2013
from D Group ASOPA 1966/67
In Lae, I had my final prac at Busu High School along with Sharon McDonald and Penny Winser. I was totally amazed at the sheer volume of rain that could fall in one night and flood the path through to school up to our knees, a wet journey getting to work.
In the holidays, a group of us travelled up to a mission at Kaiapit, where Penny, Sharon and I stayed. But the guys, Denis, Hans, Brian, Keith, Tony and Kevin had to sleep in the village. Kevin managed to fit in a game of squash with the RI, Jeff Hodgeson. It was a learning experience doing a study of the life in a village. We all had Christmas together in Lae. In January, a group of us did a crash course in Home Economics (2 weeks) and stayed at the Boroko Guest House. All the 66/67 students were invited to a party at the Johnson residence. And, a really great time was had by all.

I was then posted to Lae High School, but on the first day of teaching was posted back to Busu (a fortunate thing as by my reckoning was written up for well over 40 periods at Lae HS.  In Lae, I was heavily involved in sport and as well as Subjects for which I was trained taught Art, Music, Commerce and PE and took the after school Sport. Also played in the School teams in the Town Comps - Basketball, Softball (badly, but always managed a walk) and was the only non-ethnic in the Netball (which meant umpiring Finals and Grand-finals, with John Budby enjoying himself on the sideline) Penny and I also danced with the band Johnny Deewy and the Splinters.... a bit of fun, but frowned on by the upper echelon. Was also involved in the Mainland Carnivals and got to see Moresby and Madang and ran the female events in the one held in Lae.
We were a small boarding School and only had the Headmistress Dorothy Davies and 3 on-ground teachers; Bruce McArthur, Penny and myself. Plus there were two married daytime-only teachers, so boarding school duties were fairly intensive, lasting until 9 at night and weekends. We had specially selected female boarders from all over the Territory. In 1968 the school became co-ed as some boys from the local villages also attended. Some of the males were much older as their English skills had to have reached a certain level and they were accepted, and, indeed were well spoken and articulate when questioned. I also brought a girl home with me for the 1968 Christmas holidays.

John Budby, Peter Beck and I decided to visit Wally and company in Goroka (and thanks for the loan of your jumper Wally) for Easter ‘68. The trip up there was one to remember. We started with 3 spare tyres, but managed to suffer our 4th flat on the Lae side of Kassam Pass. I guess the roads were a bit rough. 

I recall another trip to Moresby on Air Papua with students travelling to the Mainland Carnival. The plane was an unlined shell and most of the students were violently air sick as the flight was rough.with much turbulence...a disastrous journey. The students were a delight to teach and so respectful, they were so well behaved and always gave all they could. They had very inquisitive minds and loved to hear as much as they could about Australia and the World in General.
I returned to Australia and taught Maths at Hurstville Boys High. Bruce McArthur and I married while he was studying medicine and we were involved in a serious head-on collision (critically injured) when a driver fell asleep. It was the first day of our honeymoon. That year I was attempting to study at New England Uni (but was in no fit state) and came across Warwick Irvine at a vacation School. I taught for 7 years at Hurstville Boys High and in my last year there set up a GA class, so managed to teach Maths, English, Science and PE to the boys. We moved to Newcastle for Bruce to do his residency, and did an extra year there. We had our son Michael and the same year moved to the same street as Phil & Lyn Turner (Phil was 65/66).  Not long after, Bruce I separated and eventually divorced. We still maintain contact.
I started doing casual teaching and after many years of virtually full-time casual, especially in Maths, was appointed to Broadmeadow High (which later became Hunter School of Performing Arts) to teach in Special Education (students with a mild intellectual disability).  Taught that for 15 years and we were a pilot unit (with 2 IM classes and a visual group) for the introduction of Transition Education. Finally, after doing Dem lessons and helping with the training of numerous SE Teachers, the Dept paid for my training at Newcastle University in the final year of my Special Education course in 1991. The Dept moved the 2 IM classes to other schools in 1998 (political and contentious), so I taught English till I retired late 2000.  I have always been involved in sport, especially coaching - coached Basketball at the Boy’s High, Athletics at Toronto High (officiated at Zone) and Netball at Broadmeadow. Also did Karate for a few years, but decided to stop at Brown belt (for my ribs) and coached the young students. Currently I go to the gym to stave off rheumatics and it stopped osteoporosis. 
I then started playing Demo poker on the net (Omaha High/Low) and made friends with some lovely people in the USA. After going to a wedding of a friend from San Francisco in Las Vegas in 2004, I went back to the States each year to stay with them. Have stayed in Orlando (at a resort and Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Have always maintained contact with Ros, Julie, Mal, Penny, John & Vera Budby- till his death in 2007 and then Denis, and more recently Don and Barry. Have also caught up with Les & Helen Pearson.
I went to the reunion in 1995 at ASOPA. It was amazing to catch up with so many familiar faces from the 1966/67 group at the 2007 reunion in Brisbane and we were fortunate to be welcomed by lovely weather so made our get-togethers so much more enjoyable. The only sad notes was that John Budby was desperately trying to go to this reunion, but sadly passed away before it. And Maurice Rousell has since passed away since, but what a treat it was to see him and his lovely wife Glenys. 
After the reunion in 2007, Julie Davies and I decided to travel to see some of our friends. So on Oct 1, 2008 we headed off to Dakha to stay at Barry Ison’s boutique Guest House and what an amazing city it was with such diverse and beautiful sights to see. Next we saw Denis Murrell in Macau and were treated to delicious food and views, a great place to stay. We caught the ferry across to Hong Kong where we caught up with a friend’s family and enjoyed Disneyland and an ancient culture and buildings mixed with the new. Finally we went to Bangkok, but unfortunately failed to catch up with Don Daniels as he had flown back to Brisbane after a close friend passed away. But we were fortunate that Julie’s brother Steve lived there and managed to see a range of sculptures and art - Indian, Burmese & Thai along with many temples, Siam Miramit - a show and a ride on the Death Train from the River Kwai. This fantastic trip would not have eventuated had we not gone to the 2007 reunion
Have led a quiet existence since ceasing the trips to the States apart from becoming an ardent supporter of Damien Leith (Idol winner 2006). I still maintain my 4 days of gym and have recently been involved with giving almost daily assistance to Michael’s partner with her 2 children as Michael is an Exploration Driller and works away 14 days at a time. My grandson, Aiden, is only 17 months old.                                                                                     
Other memories that just flashed up:
The hilarious interview, with Fred Kaad and a senior Education Officer, which they spent arguing as to who would make the better marriage material.

The first day at College which became a blurred haze after it was revealed that I was not enrolled in a Primary Teacher's Course for PNG
The time a student excused himself in a History lecture and then wrote in the College News how he'd missed 500 years of History during that visit to relieve himself - I believe full-on is the term.

The defiance of youth, when a group of non-smokers decided to light up after a lecture on the ills of smoking.

In Winter, the long, cold walks in the chilly winds from Mosman down Middle Head Rd to Georges Heights - a form of penance for those of us who enjoyed the heat of PNG. As opposed to the glorious Summer days spent in lectures wondering why we weren't outside to enjoy it all.

Driving around Mosman in a small sports car with no front windscreen, in the cold, with the wind creating crazy variations in the windswept look.
The College Athletics Carnival when it was suddenly realised that half the women's relay team was down on the beach at Obelisk Bay, so unprepared non-runners suddenly had to free their inner sprinters.

The Women's Basketball game against the cute little blondes who did spectacular shoulder throws so players slid down welts and along floors.
The day we were driving from College to Manly when a woman literally jumped in front of the car for our assistance with her asthmatic husband after a heart attack, unfortunately, too late. But we gave CPR until the ambulance, which we rang, arrived - the smell and taste remained with us for quite some time.

The scintillating review in Mosman Town Hall where the biggest prude in college dropped her clothes to change costumes in the wing, in front of an open-mouthed colleague, as time allowed no other option.

The dinner party where the non-drinking guests became inebriated by the heavily laced crepe suzettes. And then the long walk along the Esplanade at Manly to sober them up.

The Second Year Finals all-night study session in the unit where people studied till they fell asleep in a cosy place and then woke up and continued studying. How we stayed awake in the exams is unknown

August 2013
Dawn McArthur (Taylor)

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