Know Your School – 30 years ago in 1985
Friday, 30 October 2015
This week we go back to 1985, the year the first mobile phone call was made and Route 66 was removed from the United States Highway. Barker was, of course, full of similar memorable events.

On the music scene, Dire Straits was the first band to sell over one million CDs, whilst Barker had a record 250 students learning instruments from teachers in the School.  The Brass Band travelled to Melbourne for the National Championships and came second in the B Grade competition. The String Orchestra also came second in the Canberra Eisteddfod. In the May school holiday, Barker opened up its doors to 40 young composers from all over Australia for the Young Composer Camp. The highlight of the camp was the concert on the final evening where 20 original compositions were performed by students attending the camp. As a result of Plume House being full of boy sopranos, the Boarders Choir was also revived in 1985.

As shows such as MacGyver and Growing Pains appeared on our television screens for the first time, Barker students took to the stage of Leslie Hall for five major productions – All My Sons, Oliver!, Half a Sixpence, Feet of Clay and Noye’s Fludde. The College Barker commends both the staff and students involved in these productions for their hard work and dedication.

In the world of sport, Michael Jordan was named Rookie of the Year. In Barker Cricket, the girls 1st Team were declared the joint premiers, whilst the Captain of the 1st XI broke the windscreen of a visiting parent’s car whilst scoring himself a century. The 3rd Netball Team made it into the semi-finals and the 1st Softball Team lost their grand-final to YMCA. For the first time in four years, the 1st Soccer Team was not the premiers, whilst the 1st XV lost half their matches by one or two points.  In Swimming, six records were broken at the School Championships, whilst Barker came fifth at the CAS carnival. Wade house won the Interhouse Cross Country Championship and Barker came second at the CAS Track and Field Championship, winning 27 events.

As Microsoft released Windows 1.0 and the first commercial domain name was registered, Barker students enjoyed their second year of access to computers on campus. Students in Year 6 and Forms I, III and V had regular lessons on these devices. The network filing system was, however, proving inadequate and was soon to be upgraded to the 30 megabyte hard disc drive system.

In 1985, as scientists discovered the hole in the ozone layer, Barker students participated in a number of outdoor education activities. Over 100 students were enrolled in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, making the Barker cohort one of the largest in New South Wales. Science teacher, Ian Campbell, organised an Adventure Country safari to Central Australia. For 23 days, 33 boys travelled by bus to the red centre, visiting the major landforms and remote parts of Australia. The Bushwalking Club was also very active, hiking in the Shoalhaven River valley and the Kanangra –Kowmung area and undertaking the third annual Snowy Mountains walk.

In other news, the Barker College Cadet Unit had a most interesting and challenging year as all government funding and support ceased. In Debating, the Barker teams won 19 out of 30 debates in the CAS competition and in Chess, there was marked improvement in the standard of play at the interhouse and interschool competitions. Eight staff and 200 students participated in the 40 hour famine, raising just short of $10,000 for World Vision. The Student Council sold $50 worth for watermelon for $40, and tried to make up the loss by establishing a kilometre of coins. This too however suffered a shortfall, reaching only 153m.

The Junior School was also a hive of activity. Renovations that had been underway since 1984 were finally completed, resulting in new classrooms, an attractive library and enlarged hall. Education was taken beyond the classroom as students went on excursions to the Zoo, Bouddi National Park, Canberra and Bathurst. Junior School Music ensembles entertained residents at a number of local nursing homes and 100% of Junior School boys gained a lifesaving qualification. Only one record was broken and the Junior School House Swimming Carnival and Scott won the House Athletics Carnival.

Barker was certainly a busy place in 1985. Like today, students made the most of the opportunities presented to them and fully involved themselves in the life of Barker.

Caption: A group of Barker students in 1985