Surry Hills 40: Parkham Street 2

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Towards Bourke Street

Much of the south side of Parkham Street is taken up by what is now Bourke Street Public School. In 1955 the site was also occupied by Bourke Street Junior Tech, with a number of “portables” that no longer exist. The building in the photo below was part of it, however. The fence then, if I recall correctly, was six to ten foot high rusty corrugated iron, where it was not stone and brick with barbed wire on top.

We used to have our Woodwork and Technical Drawing classes here, as these subjects were not then offered at SBHS. Only between the ages of 11 and 12, I should add. We were told never to go there alone, but always in pairs at least, such was the reputation of the place… It was, after all, seen as a “slum school” in those days.

Caning was comparatively rare at SBHS in the 50s, but at Bourke Street some of the teachers seemed to make a point of trying to cane the whole class in a double period. Perhaps it was revenge…

I never did finish my teapot stand.

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Today it is a very different school.

Photos by Neil Whitfield 2008