Old Boys'Association

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Andrew Black

the decade in which I attended Waitaki

One of the masters of those years was quite a character - the first assistant, Dollop McCullough - Dollop, of course, being a nickname, all the masters having at least one such. George Falloon, one time pupil at Waitaki and subsequently a well-known Presbyterian minister, once explained the appellation: 'He was a great dollop of good nature'. As first assistant, he was frequently interrupted when teaching. Different from other masters, he would sit at the back of the room at a pupil‘s desk when a test was in progress. Imagine, a class hard at work and apparently no first assistant. A boy entering the room, looks around the classroom and when totally ignored asked 'Where is Dollop?'. Came a voice from

the back of the room 'Here I am'. Collapse of pupil!

Dollop taught French and Commercial, his usual method being to sit at the teacher‘s table, close his eyes and bellow at named boys. With no, or the wrong answer forthcoming, further bellowing, ”Tell him Collins - Tell him Neale - Tell him Corson - Tell him Fyfe: and Fyfe always knew the answer.

By their carefully choosing the moment, the boys could cleverly lead Dollop off at a tangent, the lesson at least temporarily forgotten. 'Yes I heard about the fellow and his Physics crib. Apparently had his French dictionary on the desk beside him. Only it wasn‘t his French dictionary, merely the cover - Physics book with all the answers inside. I had a boy once who wrote out a French vocabulary crib and put it in his desk under the ink well. He had already broken out the bottom of the ink well so that he could peer down at the crib. But I spotted him. Gave him a good caning too.'

"Nothing like the cane. Builds character. At the end of one 6B year, I discovered a boarder who had been right through the School uncaned. As I told the boys in the class, 'keep your nose clean and that‘s quite possible.' Asked the boy to see me at the end of the period. Gave him six. I told him that I couldn‘t let him leave Waitaki uncaned. Important character-building experience.

In 1933, Milner was in the United States; McCullough was acting Rector. Came a Parents‘ Day - a Saturday - but the Hall of Memories was not available as the new organ was being installed. Dollop addressed the parents assembled in front of the School, making special emphasis on what could be seen around the School. 'And if you go into the Hall of Memories, you will see the erection of the organ. I did not attend that Parents‘ Day - Les South, a master who came from Napier following the 1931 earthquake, vouched for the truth of the story. He retired in Cambridge in the North Island after some years as Principal of Cambridge High School.'

George Hood

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