A few days ago, we made a quick trip back to my hometown, Shepparton, to visit my mother and do a few jobs around the house for her. I don’t go back there often, at the best of times, but this visit was the first since December 2019, due to the pandemic.
I was born in Shepparton, and lived there until I was 52, when I moved to Bendigo, about two hours away. I love Bendigo, where I still live, and feel no homesickness at all for Shepparton. However, it was interesting to take the time to look around, and realise how much the city has changed.
Shepparton was always most well known for being the home of stone fruit, being surrounded by orchards growing peaches, pears, apricots, nectarines, plums and more. In recent years, it’s also become increasingly well known for its Moooving Art, which is a display of hand painted fibreglass cows, scattered at various places around the city.
“Greater Shepparton’s Moooving Art Cows are an iconic part of the Greater Shepparton landscape. Scattered throughout the municipality Moooving Art is an ever-changing public art exhibition using a unique canvas – 3D life sized cows!”
At one entry point, a herd of these cows are spread around a lake with a fountain. It’s a lovely welcome to visitors. The cows are displayed around the CBD, in front of businesses, in parks, on poles and at the Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre. They are also on display in various small towns in the Greater Shepparton area.
Lake Victoria is a huge man-made lake, situated almost in the centre of town. We were always taught at school that it was the largest man made lake in the Southern Hemisphere, but I’m sure that’s no longer the case. As a teenager, I spent many hours with friends at the lake, just hanging out and watching the speed boats and skiers. Behind the lake was the swimming pool, which was huge, with a sandy floor. Today, it is much different, being divided into smaller concreted pools. I can’t help thinking how lucky we were to have been able to have fun in the more natural pool. But I suppose every generation thinks the same about their younger years.
The photo, below, is the swimming pool, exactly as I remember it. I was never brave enough to jump from the top of the tower, or even from the bottom level. I do remember spending hours watching kids braver than me, throw themselves off. I was always terrified for them, and relieved when they popped up from under the water.
Shepparton High School
I was keen to drive past my old school, as I had heard that it was being rebuilt, and would be unrecognisable to me. I was told that when completed, it will cater to about 3000 students, which shocks me. There were about 800 students, when I was there, and at the time, I thought it was huge. As we drove past, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Most of the school, except for the front building, had been demolished and huge, modern buildings were in their place .
Don’t get me wrong, this visit wasn’t nostalgic for me. It wasn’t a case of me wanting to revisit my school years, to relive happy memories. I didn’t like school very much at all. Hate is a word that I don’t like to use, otherwise I would say that I “hated” school. The best part of school for me was the bike ride, there and back, every day. I did that for all of my school life including primary school.
As far as favourite subjects are concerned, I enjoyed English, shorthand and typing. I was very good at these subjects and always received good marks, which is why I probably enjoyed them. Everything else, I was hopeless at and didn’t care. As a teenager, I couldn’t see any point in the other subjects and really didn’t try. I always received average marks in these subjects, and can’t help wondering what marks I would have received, had I tried a bit harder.
I was never naughty or disruptive. I just sat quietly and day dreamed of getting out on my bike, at the end of the day. One of my boys was exactly like me, so when he had a few issues about his attitude at school, I understood exactly how he felt. Looking back now, I do wish that I had put in more effort at school. Who knows how that could have altered the projectory of my life. That’s not at all meant as a complaint about my life.
The top photo (below) was taken in the early days of the school’s life. The second photo shows the school, exactly as I remember it.
Below are the front gates at Shepparton High School, that were installed in 1948, to commemorate former pupils of the school, who served in World Wars One and Two and lists the names of those who lost their lives in both conflicts.
I remember these gates well, as they stand at the entrance to the school, and I walked through them every day. Just inside the gates is a lawn area with large trees. We would sit under those trees at lunch break in the summer most days. I am very ashamed to say that I did not know the story behind the gates until the day I wrote this post. I had no idea that these gates were a war memorial.
I couldn’t take a photo of the gates or front of the school, due to it being a building site.
We had a nice time driving around Shepparton, but I couldn’t help thinking how much it has changed since I left. I love where I live now and have no yearning at all to ever go back.
Does anything in my post trigger any memories of your younger life or your hometown? Id love to hear your thought and promise to reply to all comments left.
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