Between 1878 and 1913, Sussex Street Public School was one of the ‘most important’ schools in Sydney. Here’s a former student’s testimonial:
And it goes on like that. Some people are whingers, aren’t they?
A notable former pupil was the late NSW Labor politician Frank Hill, who was implicated in a Communist Party infiltration of the ALP in the early 1940s. The reds were pushing a ‘Hands off Russia campaign” following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which would have meant Australian neutrality in the Second World War. Former NSW Premier Jack Lang was so opposed to everything about that that he withdrew from the ALP and started a new party called the ‘Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist)’. These goings-on led to the disintegration of NSW Labor in the 40s, prompting the Federal ALP to intervene and sort things out, and of course during all this nonsense the Russians became our allies anyway. Hill died in 1945, widely regarded as a dupe during the scandal. Imagine if he’d gone to an unimportant school.
Also in 1945, Hill’s old school was acquired by the Sydney Technical College and used in that capacity until 1990, when it was sold to the Sydney Bethel Union. They turned it into the Flying Angel Seafarers House, run by the Mission to Seafarers. Incidentally, the Mission to Seafarers was unfortunately known as the Mission to Seamen until 2000, when they changed their name “in recognition of the changes that had occurred in merchant services and in the world of seafaring”. Sure.
The Flying Angels decided in 2011 that they could help more seafarers down by the sea, and later this year plan to move to Walsh Bay. The building was subsequently put back on the market, and recently sold. It’s said that the Chinese Government was very close to buying the property at one stage…maybe Hill was more red than we thought?
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