I came across an old ‘Benalta’, the Benalla High School magazine from the fifties. I gazed at the photos of the prefects, house captains and sports teams, recognising many of them. We looked so young—and we were!
Where did all those young people go? Did they have happy lives and fulfil their dreams?
I looked at a photo of myself, a shy teenager. Did I think then that one day I would be over eighty, still farming, feeding chooks, gardening, carting in wood, or that I would have four children and seven grandchildren? No, our thoughts didn’t stretch that far ahead. In fact, the year 2000 seemed too far away to even think about.
I looked at the others standing there in their uniforms. Some I’d kept up contact with, others drifted away to work. Sadly, some died young. Many probably had achieved their dreams, in careers, sport and family life. We caught up at reunions, but over the years the numbers dwindled with each successive meet.
Now our old Benalla High is in disrepair, probably beyond fixing, but in our minds, we can still see those rooms where we did science, maths or cookery, remember school sports, the House sports (and war cry), and the mischief we got up to. There were socials in the old Memorial Hall, speech nights in the Town Hall. The annual fete was held in the school grounds, especially the mannequin parade down the outside stairs to the quadrangle which always provided lots of laughs.
Thinking back, despite the times we found modern history boring, or the maths exams difficult, these were happy, care-free days.