Kirrawee Senior High School

Yes.

It's in the Sutherland Shire, NSW Australia.

Home to the Cronulla riots much later in 2005. Strange thing is that I'd been punching and kicking my way up and down that railway line way long before TV crews turned things askew.

Alley Boys. Bra boys. Commanchero's. Bandido's. We were just that bunch of 6 foot teen kids that you didn't want to meet after midnight on Kirrawee Railway Station.

Cronulla was smack heaven. Drunken brawls in Gunnamatta Bay. Stolen cars. Bikes. Planes. Trains. 

Ok...the planes bit you might think was an exaggeration but it isn't. Nor the mention of trains.

The Angels, Radiators, Rose Tattoo, ACDC (once) were our locals at Caringbah Inn. Sutherland disco with 1.25 litre bottles of Scotch'n'coke. Miranda Fair on Thursday nights.

Later as a skinhead...off to dems at Penshurst Pub. Tartan and Doc Martins. Woo hoo!

Riots? We had too much in common with their blonde hash to be fighting with them. Back in the 80's it was high hair and discos. Orange and brown was making way for chrome and lime green.

Back up a bit. From grade 7 I was bullied. I had a Stanley Stamford fibreglass suitcase for Christ's sake!

Skinny, too fucking clever (not my words but others) and hiding away with Mrs. xxxxxxx in the art room. What a saint she was.

I was hanging out with the in-betweeners. I was taking Chess as an elective with bumbly funny chicks who giggled too much and dorky boys who played D&D. Mr. xxxxx with his lack of self student discipline. Ripping pages out of Geography texts. Falling asleep in Economics.

Oh my goodness Ms. xxxxxx English lit. My goodness me.

Studying '1984' by George Orwell in 1984.

Studying dutifully and getting high grades. Getting caught up in mathematical formulas. Geography made real. Hand prints on pretty young girls butts. The cane.

Oh that god damn cane. I must have been caned 50 times in that place.

One time it was ten of the best for dropping (purposely) a 2 kg bag of tiny ball bearings down the stairs at the change of classroom periods. Another time for a fruit fight that involved everyone in the entire school just about...pitching fruit at each other in the main quadrangle. Yes...it did happen.

Yes - someone was killed in a car accident out the front of the school during a year 12 muckup.

Red head stunners, blonde surfie chicks, dudes, funny-happy-too-much-smoke kids, gamers, surfers, metal-heads, goodie-two-shoes....we had the lot. I have memories of year 12 muckups going horribly right. Lost my virginity to inter-school liaisons but thats the next chapter.

So, Kirrawee Senior High School was for me heaven - a home away from the house. I must admit I wagged more often than I attended in the second half. Cant recall the year 12 English exam.

High School represented that which saved my life ultimately - education. Life's education. People who took the time to teach me things. Good and bad - they are all important.

High school was a series of predictable timetables. Blocks of concrete with people in them. Sports carnivals where we discovered each others bodies. Played hookie and smoked down at the corner shops. Had pre arranged fights on the school oval. Oh boys are so needing a masculinity re-write.

What I remember most about Kirrawee Senior High School is the 6 years of growing from a child into a man. I started high school broken (next chapter) and left a man, self aware and very very fucking angry. I also left high school with an enormous respect for those teachers who tolerated me, who knew what was going on for me...who took the time to offer me a listening ear and in some cases an arm to cry on.

High school for many of the people I met and who continue to keep contact with me is that chapter in your life that you go back to with a conscious memory. Cloudy at times. Experientially altered.

Friendships, first-loves and above all for many the beginning of broken dreams.