By John Mattingly
In 1965, on the last day of my matriculation year of high school in Australia, our history teacher, a bravely bearded Mr. Chambers, suggested to our class that one of the more interesting – perhaps even more important – things we could do in the next couple of decades was try to figure out our place in the “wide river of history.”
The suggestion didn’t strike me, or most of my mates, as something we had to worry about just then, as most of us were more concerned about the “wide river” of matriculation exams we had to take in a few days. In those days, Australia had only three universities, which meant only a small percentage of high school students qualified for higher learning. There was tremendous pressure to do well on the exam – the dreaded “matric” – a three day, eighteen hour, strictly proctored exam that covered the entire year’s study of English, Calculus, Pure Maths, Chemistry, and History.