Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Saturday, August 12, 2017

MEMORIES: Mervyn Hall with former prime minister Julia Gillard and John Beach at the 200th anniversary of Newcastle East Public School in 2016. Picture: Marina Neil

MEMORIES: Mervyn Hall with former prime minister Julia Gillard and John Beach at the 200th anniversary of Newcastle East Public School in 2016. Picture: Marina Neil

MY father was Mervyn Raymond Hall and he was the oldest living principal of Newcastle East Public School. He rejoiced in the celebrations last year and was delighted to be included in a photo with the then principal, John Beach and the esteemed Julia Gillard.

When he was introduced he received a loud cheers from the ’60s students who had turned up and were eager to see my "dad", their old principal, whom they all loved.

My father was a fine man, my best friend for 64.5 years and my mother’s "Camelot Knight" for 66 years. Under his leadership children participated in many extra-curricula activities, performed in concerts and took part in eisteddfods all organised by my dad and his enthusiastic staff. Along with learning the KLAs, he encouraged all students to think for themselves, believe in themselves and to value life other then just learning the 3Rs.

My brothers and sisters call him a "Maverick". I loved my dad more than I can say. I phoned him every night to tell him I loved him. The last thing he said to me was "I have loved you every day of your life". I will never forget his kindness, caring and love and I am grateful that he was my father.

I am broken-hearted at my loss. Thank you all the Newcastle students who attended Newcastle East and loved him and thank you to all the Wallsend South students who gave him such a lovely retirement 32 years ago. He lived to the ripe old age of 90 years, four months and one day. He loved cricket, so one would have to say he had a "bloody good innings". My darling father, I will think of you every single day for the rest of my life.

Suellen Hall, Wallsend

Road a time bomb

I TOTALLY agree with Ray Davidson (Letters, 10/8) in regards to the heavy traffic on Sandgate Road. I too live on this increasingly busy road and I too thought the bypass would alleviate some of it, how wrong we were. I am also disheartened by the number of vehicles that speed well over the 50km/h speed limit. I have had a few near misses reversing out of my driveway which is just around a bend in the road. Weekends are even worse for speeding drivers.

We also should mention  the number of uni students who have to park along this road due to lack of parking at the uni for them, this too adds to near misses. It won't be long before there is a bad accident.

Janet Sandstrom, Birmingham Gardens

A heritage what not to do

WE don't know whether claims that The Store is structurally unsound are valid, Peter Newey (Letters, 10/8). Urban Growth’s engineering reports are not for publication and predictably, Urban Growth hides behind unsubstantiated claims. I believe it can be repaired. However, the building is in the way of their plans for high rise commercial/residential development. The bus interchange is just a sideshow.

I recall speaking to the architect who advised the then owners of Donald’s Building, Beaumont Street. He told me that it need not have been demolished on structural grounds and he opposed it. I think it was one of many examples of post-earthquake opportunistic demolitions for redevelopment. I don’t believe the Steggles building was demolished on structural grounds either. I recall the owner was not prepared to spend extra money to retain it. Council voted for the replica option. I know the architect involved did not support that option. The replica contains none of the original fabric (a first principle of heritage conservation is retention of as much as possible) and was not built using the construction methodology of the original. It had an art deco facade inter-wars makeover of a much earlier industrial building.

The replica has no heritage significance and is often cited as an example of what not to do in the name of heritage conservation.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

Consequences of abuse

I READ Adrian Price’s letter (Letters, 9/8) with a deep sadness, that there are still people in society who through ignorance, naivety or 'as long as I am okay attitude', don't understand the consequences of sexual abuse. I have to inquire, Adrian did you attend the royal commission hearings anywhere in the country? I don't believe anybody who did came away with the impression that it was just a few perpetrators in the ’50s and ’60s. The royal commission was not about chasing a few clergy/others.

Peter McClellan made a point of asking all leaders of institutions, "How and why did this happen?”. As far as the nuns and priests not being paid, they were looked up to because of this sacrifice; they had a warm bed, education, health cover, food and clothing, and adventures that most people have never had. This was possible because of the generosity of parishioners.

I have never considered myself a good person, and to quote Thomas Aquinas: "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust."

You mention that victims should receive compassion and support. Maybe you aren't aware that these people are being abused for a third, fourth and some a fifth time because of the cruel redress system they are subjected to. The final report of the royal commission will expose how deluded, duped and hoodwinked we have been.  I am very angry.  

Pat Garnet, Newcastle East

Top class care

THIS is a letter of gratitude to the John Hunter Hospital, all the staff, administration, domestic, doctors and nurses.

I was referred to John Hunter for a colonoscopy. From the date of that procedure on July 19, where a cancer was detected in my bowel, I have been processed, operated on and out of hospital by August 4.

The surgical team were professional, compassionate and caring. The whole procedure has me feeling confident that I could not have had better care anywhere else in the world. 

The nursing staff, I could go on and fill the paper with accolades for these wonderful men and women. All staff at H3 and J3, the people at outpatients, the people at the interventional suite, and other staff, take a bow each and every one of you. So it is congratulations and applause for the John Hunter and long live public hospitals.

James McInerney (Fred), Karuah

Letter of the Week

The Herald pen goes to Suellen Hall for her letter about her father.