While it is a widely accepted idea that the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ has a very low operating budget, few people realise just how low that budget is. Although a privately run school, it has never received any government funding – in fact, a considerable amount of government expenditure at both federal and state levels has been poured into (thus far fruitless) attempts to shut it down entirely. The most that this has achieved is to force the school to resume its earlier nomadic and vastly more nebulous operations.

But for a brief shining moment – albeit a moment several decades long, roughly aligning with the Marvelous Melbourne and Federal Capital Melbourne eras – the School of Hard Knocks did have a physical location (although even then, much teaching took place offsite, usually during student’s out-of-work experience). That location lacked almost all amenities, including shelter from the elements, ease of access to any form of transportation other than foot or horseback, and toilets. In fact, about the only substantial geographical advantage it offered was being a long, long way from the nearest police station.

That would change, of course, as the slow residential development of the city reached ever further east. Tax-paying citizens demanded protection, and their governments duly responded. The School of Hard Knocks slowly but surely receded back into rumour, back street and metaphor, leaving behind only a portion of its name to adorn the field where it had once dwelt.

Suburbs near Knoxfield:

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