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Wartime students reunited

There was much chatter about wartime memories, fancying old school teachers and rekindling old friendships at the Shepparton High School reunion yesterday.

November 12, 2012 4:30am

Some of the former students.


 

There was much chatter about wartime memories, fancying old school teachers and rekindling old friendships at the Shepparton High School reunion yesterday.

About 60 past students from the 1940s era gathered at Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Hotel to reminisce about the old days and catch up on news.

Reunion committee member Betty Louise Hull (1942-1947) said the reunion evolved from a group of 22 students who had kept in contact since graduation. This expanded to an annual reunion for those attending the school during the ‘‘war years’’, and now any students were invited.

‘‘I think we’ve kept in touch because our group have always been fond of each other. I think it’s our affection for each other and our interest in each other,’’ Mrs Hull said.

‘‘Now age is catching up a little, and our group is thinning out.’’

Some former students travelled from across Victoria for yesterday’s event, while others came from towns in the Goulburn Valley.

Tatura’s Bill Craven, 89, attended Shepparton High School from 1940 and recalled the war relief efforts to raise funds for troops and their families.

‘‘It would have been 1942 and they’d get a pig from down the piggery at the bacon factory and grease it up with Vaseline,’’ Mr Craven said.

‘‘It would cost so much to join, a thruppence or whatever, and you had to try to catch it. But we got into trouble ’cause our mothers went crook about the mess we were in with the grease.

‘‘Then it went to a rooster — this rooster was a Bantam. If you get close to a Bantam rooster you’re doing pretty well ’cause they used to fly.’’

Shepparton resident and past student Arnold Gough said, like many others, the war impacted on his home and school life.

‘‘My father was in the air force and we never saw him for three-and-a-half years. I was sort of man of the house,’’ he said.

‘‘I used to ride to high school and we used to do air raid practice in the high school. We’d climb under the desks and sometimes evacuate the whole school onto the quadrangle. SPC used to blow a special horn and we’d know it was time.’’

Mr Gough said it was wonderful that past students reunited once a year after so long.

After lunch, guests looked at black and white photographs from high school and had a singalong.

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