ACT News

First leavers share Narrabundah High reunion

It's been decades since they shared a classroom but the first school leavers of Narrabundah High School are together to celebrate their 50-year reunion.

Former student and geochemist  Dr Laurie Curtis travelled from Canada, where he has lived for the past 43 years, for the occasion.

Bob Fagan of Wentworth Falls, Andrea Hookway of Canberra, Roland Scollay of Melbourne, Mick March of Canberra, Laurie ...
Bob Fagan of Wentworth Falls, Andrea Hookway of Canberra, Roland Scollay of Melbourne, Mick March of Canberra, Laurie Curtis of Toronto and Richard Rigby of Canberra at a Narrabundah College 50th anniversary reunion. Photo: Matt Bedford

"I remember we were the test case for a whole new school," he said. "I think people thought we might fail but we have done an amazing number of things when we look through all of our bios."

Bob Fagan, the school's first male school captain, said the 50 year milestone was hard to fathom.

"It's surreal" he said. "It's great to have this calling together of everybody. People like Laurie I haven't seen in 50 years and to me he looks exactly the same."

Mr Fagan said his 40-odd classmates always had  a strong bond, but never considered the special legacy they were all creating.

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"It didn't have traditions and was just a new local school," he said. "We did it all accidentally getting involved everything, in art and music. The college has since evolved and is known in the ACT for culture, music and art."

Andrea Hookway said had worked tirelessly to reconnect the class and said she had a fantastic response.

"We have more than half the class coming along to The Brassey in Barton as well as four of the original surviving teachers," she said.

Dr Mick March taught math and science to the Class of 64.

With his old mark book in hand, the 85-year-old said the familiar faces took him back to the feelings of excitement he felt when the school first opened.

 "I had them all," he said. "They were fairly good students, not too many ratbags among them."

Mr March said schools were different then and the school began in an era where corporal punishment was the norm.

"Schools were more regimented than they are now," he said. "There was still cane on the open hand. The principal had very firm control but there was enthusiasm about a new school so we had everyone on board."

Mr March later became deputy and then principal and remained at the high school when it changed to a college.

Professor Richard Rigby went on from school to forge an impressive career as an Australian diplomat.

He has fond memories of the talented teachers selected to establish the school and the strict leadership of the school principal Mr Smyth.

 "The teachers were very keen and shared something of a vision of starting something new with the school," he said. "We subsequently found out the teachers were as scared of Mr Smyth as we were but he was a very good Latin teacher which I was fortunate enough to discover."