- The 1969 graduating class of Bathurst Teachers College will celebrate their 50-year reunion this weekend
- More than 50 classmates and 20 partners will come together for a weekend full of special activities to mark the occasion
- Several classmates have stayed in the Bathurst area since graduating but many are travelling far and wide to celebrate
It’s been 50 years since the class of 1969 from Bathurst Teachers College, a precursor institution of Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt), were awarded their teaching diplomas, and the group plans to mark the 50-year milestone this weekend.
More than 50 graduates, along with 20 of their partners, will reunite in Bathurst between Friday 18 and Sunday 20 October for a weekend of celebratory reunion events and activities.
The reunion will kick off with a return to the class’s old watering hole, The Knickerbocker Hotel, on the Friday night to catch up and reminisce about their university days.
The group will go on a campus tour on Saturday to see how the university has changed since their campus heyday, followed by a walking tour of Bathurst’s central business district. The day will end with dinner at The Greens on William where the group plans to share memorabilia and stories into the night.
On Sunday, the group will say goodbye at a special farewell breakfast.
Since the group graduated from Bathurst Teachers College, who were the last cohort to do so before it became Mitchell College of Advanced Education and later Charles Sturt, many of the former students went on to be teachers and education executives.
Some stayed close and forged long-standing teaching careers in Bathurst, and others from the group left the teaching profession for careers in government and business.
Mrs Mary Smith, a retired teacher from Bathurst and member of the reunion’s organising committee, said the committee had received a positive response to the reunion from the graduating class, but it was difficult to track everyone down after so many years.
“We enlisted help from the University to track everyone down, and we are pleased to say that we received a wonderful response, with classmates travelling from all over New South Wales and also interstate to make the reunion,” Mrs Smith said.
“We are all looking forward to reliving our glory days and hope to be able to recognise people 50 years on.
“There is something life-affirming about being able to share memories with others and to see how their lives panned out after sharing time together in a formative time of our lives.”
Speaking of her time at Bathurst Teachers College in the late 1960s, Mrs Smith said she has many memories from the rapidly changing era and it has been a joy to read the memories her classmates recently submitted to the organising committee.
“The organising committee have received many amusing moments from our college days,” Mrs Smith said.
“Some of the highlights include hulking footballers dressing up in tutus, singing the song Three Little Fishes at a college review, having a curfew in the dormitories, and the initiation pranks for first-year students – how easy it was to play little tricks on these innocents.
“Many also recalled the deputations to the head of school for women to be able to wear slacks to lectures, a protest that seems so unfamiliar for today’s times.
“One of my fondest memories was playing for the college hockey team. I remember running down to Morse Park for training, and then running all the way back to College in time for dinner.
“But along the way we would call in to The Acropole restaurant for a snack of lemon meringue pie and ice cream with nuts on top just to keep us going. We did it week after week and I’m absolutely amazed looking back.”
The organising committee have put together a before and after memento featuring the group’s photos, stories and memories, which they plan on giving out to the 50 classmates at the reunion.
A further 25 classmates informed the reunion’s organising committee they were unable to attend the reunion, but will receive a ‘digital catch up’ memento of the reunion’s events.
The reunion was organised with help from the Charles Sturt Advancement Office which undertakes many initiatives to better connect, engage, celebrate and congratulate the University’s alumni.