Half-Way-Tree Elementary School

I went to Half-Way-Tree Elementary School when it was located on Hope Road next door to Bethel Baptist Church. Nelson Mandela Park was the playfield of the school although it did not belong to the school. We played our cricket matches at Nashton, which is now Melbourne Cricket Club. I represented the school at cricket and was the wicket-keeper/batsman on the team.

Mr. Spencer James was the head-teacher. His wife was the fabulous and famous Mrs. Edit Dalton-James. Mr. James was a disciplinarian. He kept the school in strict order. He walked around with a leather strap, coiled. Behind his back, students called him ‘Jimmy’. One day he came into my class and the boy sitting on the bench in front of me called out: ‘Jimmy’. Mr. James threw the coiled strap in the direction of the sound. The boy in front of me, who had called out ‘Jimmy’, ducked. The strap fell in my lap. Mr. James said: “The boy with the strap, bring it to me”. I got six strokes of the strap. I could not tell my parents what happened because I would have gotten another beating at home if my father knew that the head-teacher had given me six of the best. Continue reading