Class of 56 return to old stomping ground

Class of 56 return to old stomping ground

Members of Tumut Intermediate High School’s leaving certificate class of 1956 gather mark the 60th anniversary of their graduation. From left: Floyd White, Ralda McAlister (nee French), Diana Mason (nee Scott), Elaine Kell (nee Webb) Grame Evans, Helen Eccleston (nee Peachey) and Mike Bonner.
Members of Tumut Intermediate High School’s leaving certificate class of 1956 gather mark the 60th anniversary of their graduation. From left: Floyd White, Ralda McAlister (nee French), Diana Mason (nee Scott), Elaine Kell (nee Webb) Grame Evans, Helen Eccleston (nee Peachey) and Mike Bonner.

SIX decades haven’t erased the fond memories students have of Tumut Intermediate High School.

Seven of the school’s leaving certificate class of 1956 gathered in Tumut this week to mark 60 years since they attended the school, which was situated at what is now Tumut Public School.

Sadly, much-loved Tumut Intermediate head teacher Ned Lynch passed away three weeks ago. The students speak of him in glowing terms, even after 60 years.

“He was an absolute legend; just a fabulous man,” Helen Eccleston (nee Peachey) said.

“He was a born teacher who was fun, but got you to get down to work. Everyone totally respected him and I don’t think anyone ever said a bad word about him.”

The group reminisced about the different staff at the school.

“There was Bill Wright, a history teacher who we called Bill of Rights,” Mike Bonner recalled.

“There was Jack Collins, a most enthusiastic maths teacher, and my Dad, who taught biology, science and agriculture.”

He also taught them to make flash powder (like gunpowder) which they took advantage of.

“We would put it on the floor in the hall, and people would tread on it and it would go bang! underneath them,” Graeme Evans said.

Diana Mason (nee Scott) recalled her fear of corporal punishment.

“There was a peppercorn tree, and they said if you got caned, you could rub its leaves on you and that would help ease the pain,” she said.

She also remembered how her father played a crucial role in getting Batlow students such as herself to the school.

“The Batlow high school only went for three years and Dad asked the headmaster when it would go for five years, and he replied ‘oh it’s okay, the girls get married and the boys work at the cannery’,” she said.

This was enough for her Dad to organize getting Batlow students to the Tumut school.

“First it was in the back of a truck, then when there were enough students, a bus,” she said.

Graeme recalled the school’s version of schoolies week.

“We had lunch in the park,” he said. “We had a school dance every Wednesday.”

The group of former students had lunch and went to Tumut Museum on Wednesday, and on Thursday visited Tumut High School, where hospitality students under teacher Rachael Job made them morning tea.

They then addressed the student representative council and toured the school.