Fifty years since high school start

Bankstown Girls High School’s Year 7 contingent for 1969 celebrated the 50th anniversary of starting high school last weekend.

LOTS of gossip and reminiscing was the flavour of the day when about 30 women – Bankstown Girls High School’s Year 7 contingent for 1969 – reunited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of when they started high school.

One of the organisers, Robyn Banach (nee Farrell, a published author, retired psychologist practice manager and now board member and partner of the firm), said: “We were told that our year had the largest intake of First Formers (now Year 7) at the school and the teachers had threatened industrial action.
“We all had tremendous respect for the Principal, Miss Lorraine Olsen. She was a wonderful role model, mentor, disciplinarian, friend and mother and could switch between these roles.
“One of my closest friends gave birth to her first child just six weeks before the HSC. Miss Olsen was instrumental in allowing her to continue at school and she went on to complete the HSC and finished within the top 10 per cent of the state.”
Those who attended the reunion came from near and far; the furthest travelled from Western Australia, another from Queensland, and several from the South and Central Coasts.
“One still lives in the house she grew up in at Mt Lewis,” Robyn said.
“There were stories of previously unfulfilled dreams, which have now come to fruition.
“I left in Year 10 as girls in my family were taught (mainly at home but this was reinforced by some teachers), to leave school as early as possible, get a ‘safe’ job in an office, meet a ‘nice’ boy, get married and have a family. Most of us did exactly that. Many of us have divorced the ‘nice’ boy and either remained single or remarried.”
Robyn said several of the women had obtained university degrees as mature aged students.
“I think it is also interesting to look at the generation we have produced,” she added. “Our girls are much more likely to make their own decisions at a much earlier age. Marriage and children are now a choice rather than an expectation.”
For contact details of attendees, call Robyn on 0407 782 845.