Adventures with the Divisional Commissioner

Adventures with the Divisional Commissioner

Tim Hughes usually spent mid-term breaks, Easter and Rhodes & Founders long weekends with his Uncle John Millard, the Divisional Commissioner of Northern Bechuanaland. Tim travelled 60 miles south from Plumtree to Francistown by train to stay with him, his wife Corinne and daughter Philippa.

If John and Corinne were busy, their African chauffeur would collect him from the railway station. Riding in the very latest Chevrolet sedan with a chauffeur was a great thrill. John always made sure that Tim’s visits were exciting, usually camping and shooting.

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Cross Country or Down Stream?

Cross-Country-or-Down-Stream

Cross Country or Down Stream?

Plumtree School held assembly at Beit Hall six days a week. The school plays were held there too. It also doubled as the town’s bioscope (cinema). Most importantly once a year girls from Evelyn and Townsend Girls High Schools in Bulawayo, sixty miles away, were bussed to Plumtree for a school dance. Thanks to Mrs Hessom’s instruction on the Connemara Mine Tim Hughes was able to join in and practice his steps. Unfortunately he didn’t have an ear for music so his steps were not in time, much to the discomfort of the girls. Tim was much more adept at cross country running.

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A Sharp Eye and a Good Shot

Sharp-Eye-and-a-Good-Shot

A Sharp Eye and a Good Shot
At fifteen, home for the school holidays, Tim and his old CJR Junior School friend from Connemara Gold Mine, Malcolm Mackendrick, decided to go camping on Giraffe Farm.

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Bordering on Freedom

Bordering-on-Freedom

Bordering on Freedom

Tim revelled in being a fifteen year old at Plumtree High School. Past the two years of fagging he had not reached the serious position of having a fag of his own or the pressures of final year exams. Life was great.

School hours included one subject period before breakfast and four after from Monday to Friday. On Saturday there were two periods in the morning. A three quarter hour rest after lunch was compulsory Monday to Saturday, followed by sport. Tim made the school’s third rugby team as a senior, dropped out of cricket, did reasonably well in hockey, tennis and swimming. He excelled in long distance running and was a first class shot, securing a place in Bisley teams for two years. He had plenty of practice on weekends.

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‘To a Definite End’

‘To a Definite End’
One’s school motto does, I think, to a greater or lesser degree, influence one’s thinking even if sub-consciously. Que Que High School was founded to service the Globe and Phoenix Mine almost half a century before my parents arrival in 1946. They, each in their separate ways, much more so than us kids, fully embraced the school’s motto Non sibi sed omnibus, ‘Not for Ourselves but for All.’ Tim Hughes, at fourteen, applied himself to Plumtree School’s motto Ad Definitum Finem, ‘To a Definite End’ when the opportunity arose to revive his fathers abandoned 1939 Chevrolet pick-up so he could bring ‘a definite end’ to dependence on the bicycle.

One’s school motto does, I think, to a greater or lesser degree influence our thinking, even if sub-consciously. Que Que High School was founded to service the Globe and Phoenix Mine almost half a century before my parents arrival in 1946. They, each in their separate ways, fully embraced the school’s motto Non sibi sed omnibus, ‘Not for Ourselves but for All.’ Tim Hughes, at fourteen, applied himself to Plumtree School’s motto Ad Definitum Finem, ‘To a Definite End’ when the opportunity arose to revive his fathers abandoned 1939 Chevrolet pick-up so he could bring ‘a definite end’ to dependence on the bicycle.

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The Life of a Plumtree Fag

The Life of a Plumtree School Fag
The first classes at Plumtree School on the Rhodesian Border with Bechuanaland were held in a rondavel in the garden of of Mr. and Mrs S.J. Smith whose nine children were the first pupils in 1902. Later the school moved to the dining room of the Plumtree Hotel which doubled as the station refreshment room, then the customs house before finally moving to a five acre plot boarding the railway village. Over time it developed a very good name partly due to its isolation in the bush sixty miles from Bulawayo: none of the bad news ever reached civilization.

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