In the 1950s students at Dubbo’s only high school rode their bikes home at lunchtime where a “cooked dinner” awaited them.
Only kids who travelled to school by train from Geurie and Wongarbon were stuck at school.
Female students perspired profusely in serge tunics during summer with open widows the only available respite from the heat.
This week Lynette Harrison’s memories of Dubbo High School came flooding back in one of its classrooms, now part of Western Plains Cultural Centre.
Mrs Harrison is a member of the organising committee for the late-April celebrations of the Centenary of Public High School Education in Dubbo.
The committee called the media to the classroom on Thursday where co-chair Jim Carey was beaming.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“I’m sure it will be a huge success. We’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of people in a lot of different places.”
They include a Western Australian woman who will travel to NSW to collect a former student of Dubbo High School, her 94-year-old mother, and bring her back to the city for the celebrations.
Mr Carey said past and present students and staff of “all high schools” in the city since Dubbo High School opened in 1917 were pulling out all stops to be part of the festivities that feature a lunch for 550 people including NSW Governor David Hurley.
He said the committee included “representatives of all the high schools”, with its work underwritten by the Bindyi Club made up of former students of Dubbo High School and Dubbo College.
Mr Carey and Ann-marie Furney co-chair the committee that has another 26 members, including 90-year-old Ruby Riach who attended Dubbo High School from 1939 to 1943.
“My vivid memory of Dubbo High School surrounds the changes that had to be made because we were in the middle of World War II,” she said in the classroom on Thursday.
“For example one year we could not have an Astley Cup competition or produce our school magazine because of the need to save.”
Fellow committee member, Di Baker, remembers Dubbo High School winning the Astley Cup in 1984 when she was in Year 12.
“I have really fond memories of travelling to Bathurst and Orange and being billeted by families,” she said. “It was a great feature of the Astley Cup in those days.”
The celebrations run from April 21 to 24. A program is available at www.bindyi.com. Tickets to events such as the lunch on April 22 and a musical presentation on April 23 can be purchased at www.123tix.com.au.