School celebrates 100th birthday

Massive crowds turned out to attend the Bundaberg High Centenary celebrations.
Massive crowds turned out to attend the Bundaberg High Centenary celebrations. Scottie Simmonds

ON HER first day of school at Bundaberg High in 1947, Dell Colley was forced to wear her sister's hand-me-down Glennie School jumper.

She kept her eyes low to the ground with the embarrassment but then she noticed something - another girl was wearing the same jumper.

That was the start of a 65-year-long friendship between Dell, now Dell Craig and Coral Cavanagh, now Wilson, two 12-year-old girls brought together by a simple piece of clothing.

Mrs Craig and Mrs Wilson were two of the many former Bundy High students to return to their old stomping ground at the weekend for the school's centenary celebrations.

The pair have been friends ever since their encounter more than six decades ago and said the visit to their old school brought back plenty of wonderful memories.

"We were two of only 10 seniors in all of Bundaberg and district," Mrs Craig said.

"We did Grade 11 and 12 and there were seven girls and three boys in our class."

Mrs Craig said that, when she was a school girl, many people left in Year 8 to do apprenticeships and others left in Year 10 to take on jobs in places like banks.

"When you went to Year 12, you usually went on to become a teacher and that's what I did," she said.

Among her favourite memories of school were ones of the Cooper Cup sports competition, where the students would compete against Maryborough and Gympie in tennis, football, basketball and athletics.

"We would travel by rail motor," Mrs Craig said.

"They were such riotous trips."

Mrs Craig was sports captain and a prefect in her time at the school.

"I was there in 1950 when they formed the sports houses, and I was the captain of Kroney House," she said.

"In Year 11 and 12, I was elected head prefect and Coral was deputy prefect."

During their time at the school Dell and Coral were responsible for having the sports uniform changed.

"When we went to the 75th anniversary, they still had the uniform," Mrs Craig said.

"We were pretty chuffed."

Event organiser Nina Higgins said she was thrilled with the entire event.

"It was just incredible," she said.

"It was a great support for the old school."

Mrs Higgins said people came from all over the world including Dubai and Hong Kong. Mark Mulgrew, who now works for Dreamworks Animation in California, also made the trip.

"All involved have truly found the great inspiration of our school motto, 'per ardua ad astra' - through hard work to the stars," Mrs Higgins said.

The former student and teacher said there were plenty of familiar faces.

"I had one girl come up to me and asked if I remembered her," Mrs Higgins said.

"It turned out she tried to shoot me with a water pistol when I was senior mistress and she missed, but I saw her so I brought her into the office and told her she had a choice to try again and see if she could hit me or have a week's detention.

"She took the detention."

Mrs Higgins said there were plenty of reminiscing with many of the men still keen to relive their Cooper Cup victories.

"It was all just wonderful. The impression of our wonderful city is friendly, vibrant and so progressive."


Topics:  bundaberg high school century reunion students

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