News

School days remembered at Wilby

by
October 05, 2017

Max Harper, Ron Smith, Bob Jeffcott and Pat Wright enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce.

Organiser Helen White and Master of Ceremonies Trevor Hargreaves.

Past student, teachers, families and friends got together to remember the Wilby State School.

A large gathering of around 120 past students, teachers, families and friends attended the Wilby State School reunion on Sunday, October 1.

People came from as far away as Sydney, Melbourne, Warrnambool, Albury, Wodonga and Shepparton, plus many nearer towns.

The idea for a Back-To Wilby School began to take shape once it was realised that 2017 marks 50 years since the school closed on October 2, 1967.

An organising committee was formed and it was decided to start the event at the Wilby Hall which is near the site of the old school.

The fun started at 11am and the display of memorabilia created a great deal of interest.

As the photos were examined there were exclamations of ‘You haven’t changed a bit’ and ‘Do you remember when the dog got in and ate our lunches?’

The small one-teacher school had a long and important 137 year history in the town having opened in 1880 in a makeshift building, a shepherds hut.

By 1883 when enrolments reached 40, a new and substantial building had been constructed with a large school room, entrance/cloak room and an adjoining teacher’s residence.

Over the years more improvements were made with a shelter shed being added and the residence becoming separate and being modernised.

After a barbecue lunch provided by Yarrawonga Lions Club there was a re-enactment of the Monday morning assembly with the Loyal Oath being repeated in unison and the National Anthem being sung.

Then there was chance for individuals to stand up and talk about their school memories, often in great detail.

The first speaker had even gone to the trouble of wearing school shorts, braces, shirt and cap to look the part.

There were many stories and recollections, most of which were a cause of great mirth.

The years may have greyed the hair but not the wit of those who gathered.

Then everyone enjoyed a visit to the old school site nearby. The building is no longer there having been removed shortly after closure to form part of the Chesney School just north of Benalla.

However it was possible to enjoy the grounds, see the now privately owned teacher’s residence and visit the well-established plantation of sugar gums opposite, which were planted by the students over the years.

A typical Wilby afternoon tea was then served back at the hall and the buzz of happy chatter continued for many hours.

Conversations flowed so easily that is seemed as if very little time had passed since everyone last met and it was obvious that past students still remembered in great detail the days they spent at Wilby State School No 2288.

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