Wollongong Mall

Wollongong is a sea-side city about 80km south of Sydney. I lived there in the 1970s, and my parents came from that area.

People hanging out

Friendly busker

Senior citizen

That last one is strange. I hadn’t realised when taking it, and I didn’t speak to the man as I just snapped him almost in reflex, but I swear he is an old colleague from the 1970s! I have emailed a copy to a friend who also knows him. If I am right, what a missed opportunity. (He’s not listed in the phone book.)


12 thoughts on “Wollongong Mall

  1. I’ve no doubt now: it definitely is John Traas, a language teacher with whom I worked in the early 1970s and last saw around 1982.

  2. How amazing that without realising it, you photographed a man you hadn’t seen since 1982. Maybe somehow who knows you both will see the blog.

    Terrific photo BTW. It’s as if John’s bending with the wind.

  3. Neil, just a thought, but what about editing your orginal post to include your comment about John Traas? Visitors to your blog will only see the comments if they click on that day’s post.

  4. Hi Neil, I pop in every now and then for a look at your website. John Traas. That’s a name that brought back a few memories. Although I didn’t have him as a teacher I remember him clearly. I played football with his younger son derek who later tragically died after an accident while playing rugby for uni. I would be interested to hear your recollections of him as a person because of course I only saw him as a teacher, one that I didn’t have much to do with. So what was he like? There were rumours amongst the lads in those days that he had been involved in the Dutch resistance during WWII. Fact or fiction?
    Cheers mate,

  5. Hi, Ralph! The first thing is that since this post I find that John died in 1994! This man’s resemblance is quite eerie.

    Second, I know he spent a lot of time as a teenager avoiding capture and being sent as a laborer to Germany, and that he was involved in smuggling bread into Holland at war’s end.

    He was an amazing character.

    Nice to hear from you.

    I am now living again in Wollongong.

  6. So what took you back to Wollongong? I haven’t lived there since 1982, having pursued a teaching career at Moree, then 22 years at Nelson Bay and finally as HT History at Leeton High. The last one is the surprise move – just ask my two teenage lads about that! While on the topic of old teachers let me fire a one at you for comment. Did you work with F K S Woods? Interesting character. In my first year at TIGS I remember he received an OBE. Later by chance I was reading a magazine (Time as I remember) that reported on child abuse amongst the various Empire schemes that brought children to Australia during the 20th century and to my surprise I found references to” Fred” as we called him at school. He was involved as assistant Principal and then Principal of the Fairleigh school near Molong. The article treated him fairly harshly and I believe the school itself was roundly condemned in David Hill’s book on the migrant children who were brought out here under this scheme.

  7. Fred was before my time.

    Had a chat with Rob Whitton recently; he’s an English teacher at TIGS now.

    As for The Gong: sea-change, quieter life for a sexagenarian, and Wollongong doesn;t smell bad any more. Also Sydney is not far away.

  8. Rob Whitton eh. I remember him – a year above me at school. I knew he had become a teacher but for some reason thought he was in the public system. Back at TIGs after all these years. That would be interesting.
    Speaking of things TIGs – Took my youngest up to Jindabyne from Leeton in the 3rd/4th term break last year. Kind of a father son bonding session. Had a great time, except for being belted in the head with a snow ball. Should have expected it from a 14 year old! We camped at Jindabyne, first time back there for me since the late 70s. Took the time to look up where Jock Mackinnon lived, but in the end didn’t bother to visit him – I suspect given my union background and views on private education that we might not have had a lot in common. Still I was tempted.
    Here’s another name that I’d be interested in your recollections of – Joe Pearson. Last I heard of him he had left Tigs and relocated to a school in Charters Towers(?).

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