Explore Melbourne Polytechnic

Did you know? – 1960s


During the 1960’s many clubs were active at Collingwood Technical School. All boys were expected to participate in these clubs from 2:00 pm to 3:45 pm Monday afternoons. A wide range of interests and skills was catered for: Art, Athletics, Boats, Chess, Cycling, Fishing, First Aid, Lino Cut, Maths, Model Aeroplanes, Records, Radio, Science, Swimming, Scouts and Stamps.

The 1963 Athletics Club report recorded, “In the days of cavemen there was only one sport, axe throwing. This sport had developed down through the ages and is now called hammer-throwing. Today there are many sports, including running and jumping, and in the Athletics Club, headed by Mr Schiller, we learn more about them. When explaining calisthenics, Mr. Schiller usually ‘goes in’ heart and soul – unfortunately for one member, foot as well, for on one occasion he nearly succeeded in decapitating this boy. However this was just an accident.”

CTS, On the Ball 

In the 1966 issue of Turawan, the Collingwood Technical School Magazine, a P. Demiris from class 2B recounts how the local boys developed a new game.

“It’s called ‘Down Ball’. This game involves hitting a ball with the hand so it comes back off the wall and is hit by another player. The rules for playing down ball are as follows: After you hit the ball it has to hit the ground and after hitting the ground it has to hit the wall and so on. After this time the ball must keep inside a special court. If the ball hits you on the way back it is known as a ‘self hinder’, because you’re not allowed to hit the ball twice or let it hit you after hitting it. The next rule is – if you hit the ball and it hits the wall before hitting the ground, it’s also out, because it’s known as ‘on the full’. I myself like this game because it’s full of interest and fast movement.”

Ringo takes a dive

The Beatles come to Australia, provoking frenzy in teenage girls and a nightmare for police. On 14 June 1964, Ringo rejoins the Beatles after 10 days in hospital with acute tonsillitis. Three thousand fans are waiting outside the Southern Cross Hotel to see the group. Dick Lean, the Managing Director of Stadiums Limited, recounts how “the police inspector decided to put Ringo on his shoulders and make a dash for the entrance. It seemed like a good idea until our PR lady began waving to the crowd then tripped and fell right in front of this piggy back. The inspector stepped on her and down came Ringo, right into the grasping claws of hundreds of kids. When we finally pulled him out and got him inside … his first words were, ‘Give us a drink. That was the roughest ride I’ve ever had’.” 

Australian music and arts 

In Australia there is a vibrant arts and music scene. Johnny O’Keefe stops rocking for a while after being injured in a car accident. June Bronhill returns from London to star in the ‘Merry Widow’. The first Moomba Festival attracts 100,000 people, and Barry Jones becomes champion of the television quiz show, ‘Pick-a-box’, winning more than 14,000 pounds. In 1970 Graham Kennedy ends his show ‘In Melbourne Tonight’ after dominating our TV screens for 22 years.


The Australian Labor Party continues to endure a long, dark night of opposition, but the election of Gough Whitlam as Labor leader in 1967 led to a renaissance of the party’s fortunes and eventual government.

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Last Modified: June 14, 2013

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