An “awesome day” awaits the school chosen to play host to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they visit Dubbo on Wednesday, forecasts a teacher who welcomed the Queen in 1992.
Jenny Ballhausen can still recall the atmosphere at Dubbo School of Distance Education as the monarch and Prince Philip stepped into the classroom.
With the city counting down the days until the arrival of a new royal couple, the primary school teacher suggests it is an opportunity for the next generation.
The itinerary for Dubbo released by Kensington Palace on October 4 announced Prince Harry and wife Meghan would visit a school that was working to improve the education outcomes of young indigenous people.
Students will present their work to the duke and duchess and take part in a session of netball and touch football drills on the school oval.
Ms Ballhausen, who lives at Narromine, was pleased to see a visit to a school was planned.
“I really love how they [the duke and duchess] are focusing on young people, it seems to be, and issues that affect younger people,” she said.
“I think the school they’re going to visit, whichever school it is, and obviously that’s probably going to be kept quiet a little bit, are just going to have a buzz of a day.
“They’re going to have an awesome day with them visiting.
“It’s lovely that they’re young and energetic and up with it, and although there is a lot of protocol and rules and stuff about it, they seem to be really relaxed.”
The whirlwind of activity ahead of the Queen’s visit to her school remains in Ms Ballhausen’s memory.
Dubbo School of Distance Education had only opened in 1991, and operated out of demountable buildings.
Ms Ballhausen said colleagues used some ingenuity to make over the gardens, which were “pretty basic”.
“I remember the night before, a group of staff planting colour around, petunias, or pansies or something, but they were planting the entire pot,” she said.
“So a local nursery had lent literally some pot plants to us that we then planted and then dug up the next day to return to them.
“It was quite funny - but it looked great - but that was really quite funny.”
Ms Ballhausen recalled the monarch taking part in a question and answer session via radio with students located across a vast section of western NSW.
“They asked questions about their corgis, what they like to do in their spare time… and of course she answered them over the airwaves, which was quite interesting, and certainly would have been different for her at the time,” she said.