Although it was difficult to hear the speeches at times, the 80s contingent ‘up the back’ at Saturday’s Hurlstone Centenary Dinner was in fine form. As I twittered from Table 41, it’s amazing how quickly a group of school friends can regress 20 years. Boy – now that I think about it – that’s half a lifetime.
Okay – big news first – there’s definitely a ‘Class of 88’ 20 year reunion planned for next year. Catering whizzkid David Allison and Construction magnate Lee Fahey have taken it upon themselves – so stay tuned. It’ll be twice the 10 year reunion.
On the night, everyone settled back into the old roles, the in-jokes remained, and the memories of the controversies and punishments were still wet to the touch. It seems that what lasts 20 years is not the grades or the awards, but the relationships and the extra-curricular.
It made me kind-of glad that I’d devoted a good chunk of my time to non-core topics in my final years there. Although it didn’t improve my bottom line (the HSC score) there were plenty of people who remembered the projects that I started and was involved with. They may not remember the books they studied, but the rock bands and the musicals and the concerts and the eisteddfods and the video productions and the valedictory speeches – they all lasted.
(Apparently, if you’re in the lighting box in Edmondson Hall (aka The MPC) and look toward the roof – there is a small graffito: “What the hell are you looking up here for?” That’s my message for the ages – and it’s still there, apparently.) Some folk still remember me beavering away on the computers in the school and Campbelltown libraries and offering impromptu training courses in basic: “10 PRINT ‘HELLO WORLD ‘; 20 GOTO 10”, anyone?
It seems that our year is an entrepreneurial year: if you’re not raising a family or back in education, you’re running a business. Kinda funny to see who ended up as a school principal. I’m one of the few ‘working for the man’.
Many folks have been keeping up with BONWAG and were hesitant to reveal too much, lest they be found blogworthy. I cannot escape my journalist days/ways. Nonetheless, there was gossip and much talk of boobs.
And what of Hurlstone? Truthfully, I’m none the wiser. We were stuck up the back and the volume of the speeches was too low for me to make out anything but the occasional phrase: “…old boys… boarders… daygos… rugby… wheelbarrow… farm… war… government… sheep… girls… principals… sport… principles… honour… glenfield… trains… pigs…” Still – it was fascinating to see several hundred folk from the 30s through to, well, the 90s (no noughties? shame on you all!) to celebrate a big innings.
To this day, there is scuttlebutt about the school farm being closed and the land being bought or resumed. This was going on 20 years ago, and probably further back than that. I think that’s a big part of the Hurlstone psyche – that it’s an exclusive, mountaintop establishment that has been holding out against ‘those out there’ for longer than anyone can remember. It might explain some of the arrogance, and a lot of the brilliance, of the staff and students. If you refuse to conform to what others would have you do, the sky is the limit.
It was great to hear the War Cry done right by some of the older rugby crowd – first time I’ve ever heard it performed with such passion! The school song is still the same: Hurrah! (fist in the air!)