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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Once upon a time...

Today I'm going to tell you a story...and it's a true story and it's about love.
Once upon a time, the state of Queensland had a big 'shake up' in the  education system. No longer would students need to pass the Scholarship exam at the end of Grade 8 in order to be accepted into a high school.   Grade 8s would no longer be at primary school but would start high school as a natural progression of their (first Grade 8s in high school was in 1964) . 
This factor, plus the  raising of the school leaving age to 15, suddenly meant that the government had to embark on a massive building program to provide enough high school facilities for these (baby boomer) students. And so it was that a high school was built at Newmarket ready for the new school year in 1963...well, sort of was still going on.

‘The building was nowhere near finished with workmen and their tools and building materials very much in evidence. The workmen had their warning sign displayed ‘Safety Helmet Area’. Over the period of the next few months, the school was painted and was concreted underneath and the science rooms, along with the Tuckshop, were now ready for use.'  (from a history of the school)

 Now on that day, January 29, 211 Sub-Junior students and  13 teaching staff started the school year. Two teachers, I'll call them Mr McC and Miss S, met for the first time that day. He taught Science and she taught Commercial subjects. But let's move on to 1964.

Miss S first on the left, front row. Mr McC, second from the right, back row.

The next year was a big year for all Qld high schools...both Grade 8s and 9s entered high school at the same time, swelling enrolments by over 400 students. The staff of the school grew too. Mr McC was my science teacher. His aunt (Flo) lived across the road from my parents' home and she too, was a teacher. Miss S and I didn't really cross paths as in those days, typing, shorthand and bookkeeping etc were rarely subjects studied by those doing the so called academic stream.

1964: Lots of new teachers to cater for the 400+ extra students; Miss S, second from the right in the front row. Mr McC first on the left, second row.
Now something exciting was to happen...well the 'girls' thought it was exciting any way! Mr McC and Miss S got engaged!  Mr McC then left the school because he had joined the navy! And I wasn't to think much more about all that until years later when my mother was in a nursing home and introduced me to a friend she had made was Mr McC's mother!

The happy couple

Aunty Flo in the checked skirt, with Mr McC at his engagement party

Now the lovely couple always remembered January 29th as a special day as it was the day they met. But this year was extra marked the school's 50th! Mr and Mrs McC wondered whether there would be any celebrations marking this anniversary. They no longer live in Brisbane but they started looking on the internet ... and a search turned up with a blog post of mine in which I wrote about a year level reunion and had written the name of the school in the 'labels'. Because I'm not a 'No reply Blogger', Mrs McC used my email 'button' to send me a message.

What a surprise!! What a flurry of emails/photos etc going between here and Townsville! I was able to give them details of the reunion for those in the Foundation year and pass on details of some of those who were organisers. Now with all that organised, Mr and Mrs McC went out for dinner on January 29 to celebrate that 'first meeting' anniversary...and they kindly sent me this photo.

Aren't they beautiful!
Now I've often mentioned the benefits of blogging...being inspired by others, receiving support and encouragement from fellow bloggers, learning so many new things etc...well now I can add...being found by someone via my blog! Even though I am not a 'foundation' student of my old high school, myself and my former classmates hope we can meet up with the McCs in July this year when they come to Brisbane for celebrations with the first students of the school.


Vireya said...

Wow, how amazing! Congratulations on being "found"!

Justjen said...

I have goosebumps! The internet, while it has it's faults, has become a valuable asset in our lives, because of stories like these. You must be quite sad Maria that Newmarket High is no longer there - I know I would be if Everton Park High was to go - Jen.