Between 1977 and 1990 Mike Rimmer was the Head of History at Kepnock High School in Bundaberg – a sugar-producing town with a population of approximately 30,000, situated some 400km north of Brisbane. Besides teaching Ancient and Modern History and Citizenship Education, he coached most of Kepnock’s soccer teams, ran trips to a variety of exotic locations and was the school’s principal photographer. When Mike left Australia in 1990 he took with him the negatives of the prints he’d taken during his 20-year stint in Queensland, along with several boxes of slides. Then in 2006, while acting as a full-time carer for his blind mother in Sunbury-on-Thames, he decided to fish them out of storage and create a series of websites, including one that would help his former Kepnock students and teaching colleagues relive those far off, halcyon days.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the photos Mike took were colour prints and all the negatives that predate 1985 had deteriorated to such an extent that they were utterly useless. One of the most memorable aspects of Mike’s Kepnock years were the two-week trips, involving four dozen students and five other adults, he ran to various parts of Australia. On these he took plenty of black and white prints and colour slides, and these have weathered the ravages of time. So too have the negatives of the prints taken in the late 1980s.
Once Mike had scanned the negatives and slides and put them into galleries on the hard drive if his computer, he paid someone to create several websites. They functioned well for a couple of years and people all over the world were suddenly able to see images of themselves taken when they were at secondary school. In 2009, however, the galleries on several of the websites, this one included, could no longer be accessed, thus rendering them useless. This sorry state of affairs prompted Mike to go back to the photos and remove any blemishes they’d acquired over the years. He then handed them over to an IT specialist and, as a result, thousands of images from what is generally agreed to have been a wonderful era for all concerned are once more there for all to see.