Friday, May 1, 2009

School houses

In Freyberg Square in Auckland's central city, there's a statue to honour the man after whom the square is named: Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg, VC.

Passing by his statue, I'm reminded of Avondale Intermediate. Yes, I know that's an odd association, but the school, which I attended back in the mid 1970s, had school houses, groups into which the pupils were placed, and each house had a different coloured flag and ribbon. The houses were named after former Governors-general. The yellow house was Freyberg (I'm not sure Sir Bernard would have been all too happy about that, had he known.)

The statue is quite good, I think. Reminiscent of a familiar pose, as seen below.

Next on the list was Newall, a blue house, named after Marshal of the Royal Air Force Cyril Louis Norton Newall, 1st Baron Newall.

The red house was Cobham, named after Charles John Lytton, 10th Viscount Cobham, who just happened to be on deck in the G-G post when the Auckland Harbour Bridge was opened, 50 years ago this month. A short film of the opening can be seen here.

As for the green house (which was where I was placed), that was Jellicoe, after John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, commander of the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland.

The business of houses struck me at the time of something very much like British public school stuff -- and the more recent Harry Potter craze, with the setting in a school of wizards divided up into competing houses, also reminds me of the days at Avondale Intermediate. No dragons or wizards, though -- just speeches reminding us just who the gentlemen were who were namesakes of school houses in a suburb of Auckland.


  1. LOL at least yours had connections to your country, none of our houses were even Aussies!
    Yellow = Alexander
    Blue = Gloucester
    Green = Montgomery
    Red = Churchill
    They've since been renamed (at that school at least) after native flowers...although someone forgot to tell the teachers that Jacarandas aren't actually Aussie natives LOL!

  2. I can gather which Churchill and Montgomery they used to name the houses after, Jayne -- but who were Alexander and Gloucester?

  3. Alexander was Field Marshall Sir Harold Alexander (Brit) who went on to become G-G of Canada post-WW2 and Gloucester was the Duke of Gloucester who became G-G of Oz post-WW2.

  4. None of ours were born Kiwis -- Freyberg had the closest association with us, I reckon. But yeah -- you're stuck with only one having an Aussie association (as G-G), and that's Gloucester. Including Alexander sounds pretty pointless. Must have been some Aussie commanders they could have picked.

  5. You'd have thought there were plenty of Aussies they could have picked but it was probably the old "British is best" and "look Home to England" attitude, dismissing Oz as too immature to have anyone worth noticing.
    The Dept of Education was a shocker for that sort of nonsense ;)

  6. Aussie and EnZed both, when it comes to that *sigh*.