How the Royal Australian Air Force transformed Butterworth through music

An article from Malaymail online. I am not sure what the “FB” means in the first line, but they probably mean “Radio R double A F Butterworth”. (Or Radio RAAF Butterworth!)


“This is Radio R double A FB!” Now, that brings back memories… to Penangites who grew up in the 1970s.

In particular, they would look forward to Saturday nights when their song dedications were played throughout the night on Radio RAAF Butterworth.

The Australians took over the air base from the British in 1958 but the 1970s were really its golden years as its personnel and dependants grew to almost 5,000 people, all living around the state in Butterworth and also on the island.

Read more…

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Penang Monthly Magazine

For those who may not be aware, as I wasn’t, there is a magazine which may be of interest to you, called the Penang Monthly.  I’ve just found this article directly relevant to us, dated March 2017.

Here’s the link – click on the image.


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New Photo Gallery

Ray Lange has passed on to me a link to some of his family photos of his time in Penang from 1966 to 1968. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them, so click this link for the gallery.

I’ve also included the link on the school site’s GALLERY page.


(Posted 13 November 2016)


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Mr Gilligan – Sad News

For those who were at the school when Mr (Alan) Gilligan was there (1966-68) may not realise that he passed away in 2013.

He is survived by Elaine Gilligan who taught in 1967-68.

I am saddened of course because I remember him well. He was high-spirited and a very effective teacher.

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Staff Reunion

To all the teachers who were at the RAAF School in 1982-83, a get-together lunch is being held at the Elsternwick Hotel, corner of Glenhuntly Rd. and Brighton Rd in Melbourne on Friday 22nd January 2016 at 12:00 noon.

Ring Alyson 03 95716131 or if you are attending.

See you there.



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Hi everyone,

Kayes has sent me a link to his Penang Talk Forum which has some wonderful photos of the international UPLANDS SCHOOL on Penang. For those who are interested, take a look! Even if you don’t have an interest because you never went there – STILL take a look. The buildings are beautiful and there is history.  I will post this information on the website in due course.


The founding of Uplands School dates from the period of the Malayan Emergency when a communist insurrection threatened the country’s peace and stability. Attacks by insurgents against rubber estates led the Incorporated Society of Planters – I.S.P to seek a safe location where expatriate planters could send their young children to school while keeping them in Malaya.

Attacks by Insurgents

Attacks by insurgents against rubber estates led the Incorporated Society of Planters – I.S.P to seek a safe location where expatriate planters could send their young children to school while keeping them in Malaya.

The School had two parts – most of the buildings being at the Crag Hotel site, whilst the kindergarten was in Grace Dieu. Another bungalow – Hillview -was also converted to be part of the School in 1965 to house the growing number of students. One highlight of that period on Penang Hill was the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1972.

Students at Uplands were either full boarders, or, if their parents lived in Penang, weekly boarders. To take them back to the School, the Hill Railway had to be used. In 1976, day students were accepted at the School. A year later in 1977, the Secondary Department was started.

Penang Hill was identified as a suitable location and the I.S.P leased the premises of the former Crag Hotel on Penang Hill to open a new Primary Boarding School for approximately 60 children in mid-January 1955. Among its first pupils were children from a small private school called Uplands which had been run from a bungalow on Penang Hill before 1955. This small school was subsequently absorbed into the I.S.Ps new school. It is very likely that because the new School stood for high standards in education and was also at some altitude, it was seen as fitting that the name Uplands also be adopted and its students referred to as Uplanders.

There is some talk of an Indonesian conglomerate with plans to develop the land into a high class resort. But there is a contract currently in force with a British TV company to let them shoot the TV series “Indian Summers”.

Uplands is not very far from the Holiday Inn – at Jalan Sungai Satu
Batu Feringgi.


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Over from Facebook – Open Day

See Tracey Stevens’ post on the RAAF School Penang Facebook page. Text copied below (with minor edits).


“OK Lock it in Eddie” Sunday the 17th of April 2016 is the “Open Day” for “Back to RAAF School Penang”, Time to GET A TEAM TOGETHER.

Upon speaking with Suzanne from the Aviation Museum at Amberley,  I am advised it would be wise for a site visit on the 18th October and 15th of November to get a better feel for the displays and deliver what artifacts we have managed to get together.  Who’s coming for a meet and greet?

What the Museum is after is :
1. A series of photographs with a bit of a story to go with them about the school and life on Penang and Butterworth.
2. Display material, any artifacts, posters, books, report cards, memorabilia, uniforms etc to be provided.
Basically if it happened in Malaysia can you write a story about it and send it. I have set up a Hotmail address for all correspondence to go to so it’s in one place.

Address is:

I am currently getting together one address [hopefully with a grant] for everyone to send their precious items to so they all stay together and are catalogued to be sent back by to the owner…stay tuned.

So now is the time for a TEAM to be put together, doesn’t matter where you are in the world your help will be greatly appreciated, What say YOU?


Posted in Events, History, Notices, Personal | Comments Off

New Photos

Matthey Family

1965 The Matthey Family leaving for Malaysia

The site has been updated with this photograph of a typical family (the Mattheys) leaving for Malaysia in 1965. This type of image is of great importance to the theme of the website and I am hoping to obtain more in order to continue to improve the repository of information on the RAAF School website.


Thank you to the Facebook members who have responded to my plea for more input. And thank you to Veronica Belcher for contributing this photograph taken on 15th March 1965. I am delighted to have it and I hope you will also be happy to see it and perhaps remember the day you boarded your flight to your new home overseas. It was a big step and for me and at 11 years of age, I remember being thrilled and excited at the prospect of it all. Being my first flight too, it was a very special event. I don’t imagine there would have been many folk who thought to photograph the candid moment, which is what makes this so important.

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No Comments

Dear Readers,

This is to advise that there will be no comments posted on this blog. Reason being that currently there are over 5,222 comments in the moderation pile. The spam comes in at a ridiculous pace and it is impossible for me, and I will not, dedicate hours of my time sifting through them for the less than .5% of legitimate posts and in so doing, be faced with offensive language. :-(

Sorry – but there’s not much I can do about it other than remove the blog and I don’t want to do that because it is a good way to post current newsworthy items.


Regarding the reunion, you can chat via the Guestbook on the RAAF School site, here. Look for the little Guestbook icon.  There is facility to post your email address there too. In future I will not be involved in organising, involvement or liaising of any reunions. This is only because my energies are now completely engaged elsewhere and my time otherwise fully occupied. But must say that I have LOVED my time meeting up with all my wonderful friends at previous reunions. Some of the best days of my life and I know there are many who would like that to continue. All the best with your plans and gatherings. The days of RAAF School will forever live in my memory and have a special corner of my heart.

In light of the above, can I respectfully ask that you don’t contact me to ask me what is going on. With the advent of the likes of Facebook etc. you will never be short of information.

Best wishes.

Posted in Notices, Personal | Comments Off

Home Video

This is a video of family slides and photographs put together by the Davies’. Eric Davies has sent me the YouTube link so I thought I’d share it with you here. It is wonderful to view this and it will take you back to your own time in Penang/Malaysia.

Images are taken in Penang between 1962 and 1966.

Eric went to the  Slim School on the Cameron Highlands, and when that closed down, went to Bourne School in Kuala Lumpur. His younger brother and sister went to BACS.




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