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Royal Oak celebrates 75th Jubilee

Former-pupils-and-teachers-of-Royal-Oak

Royal Oak Intermediate celebrated its 75th Jubilee on the 6th of April, with an open day for former pupils and teachers.

Originally named Manukau Intermediate, the school had an unusual start. World War II delayed the school opening by a year, as it was temporarily pressed into service as a hospital for wounded US soldiers. 

 The school opened on the 1st of April 1943, with a roll of 470 pupils. Today the founders of the school are commemorated in the names of the school’s four houses. They were the first principal Mr H Binstead, retired local MP Sir William Jordan, Mr and Mrs Buchanan and a Mr Grainger.

Guest speaker at the jubilee was Professor Graeme Aitken, who is not only a former pupil, but his father Alex was principal from 1959 to 1969 and his mother was office manager. The family even lived on the school grounds during those years.

As a sign of how much teaching has changed since his father’s day, Professor Aitken recalled the story of a girl who always seemed to be ill when it was time for maths. His father’s solution was to give her some milk of magnesia, which has a very nasty taste, and miraculously “…she never missed maths again!”

Among the many visitors to the jubilee was foundation pupil Jim Christian, who says he still remembers 1943’s regular ‘Emu Parades.’ The playing fields were covered in stones, so to make them safe to use, the whole school would be lined up to walk the length of the fields, to pick up the stones. The sight of everyone bending over to pick up the stones made them look like a flock of Emus. 

All the visitors agreed on one thing, and that was how good it was to see the original school buildings and playing fields preserved so well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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