There would have been so many kids lost if it hadn’t been school holidays.
I was in the shower when the pipes started rattling, then there was a bang and everything shook.
Outside, I thought the hot water system had blown up.
I went outside saw BHP firing off and a huge cloud of dust over Beaumont Street.
Newcastle High School wasn’t as badly affected as The Junction Public School but the brick parapet that came down would have hit a spot where a lot of students would be sitting during recess.
We had around 1200 students at the time but due to the timing only the librarian and caretaker were on site.
When the bookshelves collapsed, the librarian came racing out as white as a sheet and just took off burning rubber in his car.
1990 was a pretty chaotic school year with all the building works. We had a close miss two weeks into the school year when a double story window, declared safe, was hit by a strong wind and shattered all over the Science Block stairs.
Ten minutes later, the stairs would have been full of students.
I started teaching about the earthquake soon afterwards but the young people bounced back quickly.
When I look at photos of the Workers Club, I always see my neighbour Albert Bender’s green car and think about what a great bloke he was.
It was a tragedy to lose him.
Mark Smith, Then 38 year old Teacher, Merewether