Hi everyone, it has been a long time since our carefree days at CHHS. I always think fondly of the friends and great teachers that I had in those days.
After graduating from CHHS, I studied at Armidale Teacher's College on a scholarship in 1965-66. I was appointed to Melrose Park Public School, on the Parramatta River, in January 1967. During my time there (three years), I met and married my first husband, John, and lived in Sydney until 1984. I taught school at several other schools, Stanmore Public School and Ashfield. During those years three of my children were born and we travelled to Lebanon to see my husband’s family.
After 10 years of teaching I resigned, and went into business with my husband. We had two restaurants in Neutral Bay and worked very hard. In 1981 my mother died in Coff's and my fourth child was born.
My children, two girls (Natalie and Pascale) and two boys (Daniel and Jean-Paul), are great people and I now have four beautiful grandchildren.
In 1984 we separated and I moved back to Coff's with my children for almost five years.
My daughters attended the Jetty High (CHHS) until we moved back to Sydney in1988 when I was appointed to Berala Public School.
In 1989 I married Earl Connor, and this year we celebrated 25 years of happy marriage, 15 of those years we lived in the Hills District, Castle Hill, Glenhaven and Kellyville. In 1993 I moved to Oakhill Drive Public School, as the AP and spent almost ten wonderful years there.
However, my husband needed a tree change and the last 12 years we have spent in Bethungra, near Cootamundra / Junee, where we owned and ran a large B & B as a 'weekend hobby' as I was appointed AP of Cootamundra P S.
We now live back in Sydney, close to the Georges River, our children (six in all including Earl's two) and our eight grandchildren (six under five).
Since retiring we are enjoying 'cruising', holidaying and travelling as well as our wonderful family.
I am looking forward to catching up with the Class of '64.
Lorraine Send Lorraine a Message
Most of 1965, I spent at home with Mum. We did a lot of fishing and reading, and I spent a lot of time poring over newspaper “jobs vacant” ads. I wrote to a lot of different places, as different as banks, television studios and retail shoes. I did go to Sydney to try out for the army, but they did not take me. Dad jokingly said that they thought I was a Communist, but Mum was probably more accurate when she said that I would not take orders without questioning.
I finally received a letter from the Commonwealth Bank, and was accepted at the Canberra Branch. I remember when I arrived in Canberra in September 1965, that Jan Ross was there to meet me at 5 am in the frost, and took me to my accommodation. It was good to have Jan there, and she helped me find my way a lot in the early stages.
I stayed in the bank long enough to become proficient on the Ledger Machine – around 6 months. I then went to work at an insurance company, using the Ledger Machine for the client accounts.
Jan had introduced me to some sporting clubs. We played table tennis, and that led to the formation of a squash club. I met George Calear at the club, and we were married at St Augustine’s in Coffs on Easter Saturday 1967.
I went back to the insurance company for a time, and then went to work at the Mobil Depot in Queanbeyan. I was there until the birth of our first son, Adrian in 1970. Our next son, Jason was born in 1971. Up until the birth of our first son, George and I were busy playing squash. We played up to five times each week, and became fairly proficient.
Prior to our children being born, we bred and showed Staffordshire Bull Terriers. This was enjoyable, and we met a lot of people who have stayed friends over the years.
George was a founding member of the Landrover Club of ACT. We were very busy most weekends with trips near and far, but always enjoyable.
George was an apprentice plumber when I met him, and in 1975, he studied to gain his Master Plumbers Licence. We then started a plumbing business, specialising in new work – cottages, units and the like. I would go to site and help when I could. I obtained my backhoe licence, so I was then able to dig drains for the new work. I was also the bookkeeper for the business, and still am today.
I did various jobs outside the home and off site, mainly in bookkeeping.
Our third son, Ross, was born in 1981, and I became more involved in the working side of the business, taking my small son with me to work in the backhoe. It was a great time, and I enjoyed George’s company both at work and at home. We did a lot of work around Canberra at the time.
I was doing some part time work. Our accountant had me write up books for several of his clients. This took me all over Canberra, and I enjoyed the variety.
I was Canteen Manager at my sons’ school, which entailed the operation of three canteens to cater for 1500 students. The bursar often said that a school would be a lovely place to work if there were no teachers or students. I did not hold with that view.
I worked in a furniture retailer, the Finnish Club and a market garden. Later on, I was to work for three different plumbing companies, and the Master Plumbers Association.
In 2010, George was asked by a local Rotary Club if he would be interested in going to Central Australia to install some Kidney Dialysis machines. The first place that we went to was Kintore, which is approximately 530 km west of Alice Springs. We were there for 2 weeks in April, and re-built the plumbing in a building that had been given by the Government. I was there to operate the backhoe, and for help with the plumbing. It was a real experience. I had a birthday while I was there, and the women in the Community made a cake and decorated it with an aboriginal design. The ladies sang Happy Birthday in their native language. George and I returned to Kintore in August to finish off the plumbing – installing toilets and taps, etc. The latest report that we have had of this place is that the nurses are putting 80 people through dialysis each week.
George has since been to Warburton in South Australia to install 2 dialysis chairs, and in October 2013, I went with George to Kiwikurra in Western Australia to install another 2 chairs. The people in the community are very appreciative of the work that we do, and it is a way that we can give back to the communities.
We have three grandsons, aged 16, 15 and 2, and we should be sitting back relaxing. George has officially retired from plumbing, but occasionally goes to Sydney to help our son, Jason, who is also a plumber.
I have not fully retired; I am doing 12 hours each week at a company that sells roller doors. I am the debt collector. It seems that I never can get away from money.
We do not get to Coffs much; seems to be only for funerals, these days. I have kept in touch with Dawn Eckford (Bullock), and we correspond quite regularly. I am also in contact with my lifelong friend, June Homan (Flavel).
I have had an exciting life, and I have been very happy. It will be good to catch up with people at the reunion.
Update for 2019 Not a lot has changed in the last five years. We have one more grandson, Samuel, born in 2016.
I have retired now. It was a forced retirement, as I had a fall and broke my shoulder, which required a shoulder replacement.
George has stopped going to Sydney to work, but now works at driving a school bus morning ad afternoon.
We no longer have the plumbing business, either.
I am enjoying being at home again, as there seems to be always something to do.
* * * *
Brush with Greatness
I played squash in Heather McKay’s team. (Heather was 9 times World Squash Champion.)
Mal Meninga visited our home to do some work on our kitchen sink. (He was working for Clark Sinks at the time).
* * **
Honorary Positions Held
Committee Member – Canberra Terrier Club
Treasurer – Rutherford Cres Pre-School P&F
Secretary – Canberra North Soccer Club
Committee Member – Kippax Swimming Club
Secretary – Diamantina Scout Group
Committee Member – Daramalan College P&F
Board Member – Daramalan College
Committee Member – Daramalan Foundation
Committee Member – St Joseph’s Primary P&F
Committee Member – Telopea Swimming ClubSend Lynette a Message
COFFS HARBOUR HIGH SCHOOL
Merita Pailthorpe nee Quin
I lived at Upper Orara and attended Coffs High from 1960 to 1964. We were the last year of the Leaving Certificate system with 5 years of secondary schooling. I have fond memories of school and the teachers- I guess since I did quite well, being dux of my final year.
Coincidentally with my last year at school, my parents moved to Sydney, making it easy for me to attend Sydney University for a science degree. That completed, I worked briefly in biochemical research before marrying and moving to Singapore for my husband’s work. That was a very exciting place to be at a young age-with lots of opportunities for travel to nearby Asian spots and to meet an eclectic mix of people at a politically interesting time (late in the Vietnam war).
We returned after 2 years and I worked as an industrial chemist whilst completing a Master of Business Administration degree.
Then began a more exciting career in marketing. I worked for major packaged goods companies for 12 years, then moved to the electricity industry. Being somewhat of a feminist, I was very happy to have been the first woman to achieve senior management roles in 2 of the large companies I worked in.
After a marital separation and remarriage I moved to Brisbane in 1992 where I joined Suncorp, still in marketing. After 8 years I eased out of work over a period of 4 years, spending some of that time in a small business my husband had created – a commercial laundry, retiring in 2008.
Both of us are now retired. I have 2 stepchildren who are settled with partners, but no grandchildren. We travel frequently and my key interest is golf which I discovered 18 years ago, with many holidays and trips built around it. We often visit the Coffs area to play at Bonville, and I love seeing the wonderful local scenery again.
Bridge and Tai chi are other interests, Tai chi being a slower version of martial arts that I practiced when younger. I assist local community organisations in administration and book keeping.
Send Merita a Message
I married Robert (Robey) Franklin, unfortunately no children.
After leaving school, started work for Australia Post in Sawtell till 1992, then transferred to Coffs until retiring at end of 2006.
Still live in “Sunny Sawtell” – have not moved at all.
Sporting interest were squash and golf for 30 years then changed to kayaking and bike riding. Also enjoy fishing and catching beach worms!
We love camping and travelling. Have done the usual trips around Australia plus Cape York, Kimberley, Tassie, Birdsville and Tanami Tracks. Have been overseas to NZ, South Africa and Europe.
My usual day would be a walk or bike ride then definitely to the coffee shop! Send Pam a Message
Hi my name was Patti Pearce, first cousin to James Holmes who was in our class and my brother in law is Gilbert Stokes who also graduated in our class of '64.
I went to Lake Macquarie University and studied to be a Primay School teacher. I retired at the end of 2014 after teaching for 36 years in a number roles including being in Administration for 15 years..
I married David Blanch in December 1969. He is a minister of religion which took us to many places including Queensland, Papua New Guinea (10 Years) New Zealand and he has just completed 10 years as president of the church in Sydney. We had 3 children, 2 girls and 1 boy. Our three children are married and we have 8 beautiful grandchildren. I have been blessed to have an amazing life full of variety. Send Patti a Message
My parents, brother and I moved from Sydney to Bellingen in 1952. I attended Bellingen PS before enrolling at CHHS in 1960.
Big things were expected of me as my brother Bruce had been elected school captain of CHHS in the previous year. Needless to say, my immaturity saw me react accordingly and my early high school days were not ones to be remembered fondly.
Travelling to school, I would leave home before 7am, walk or ride my bike to the bus stop and catch the 7.10 am bus to Raleigh station. The NC mail train would arrive at 8.07 am and after stops at Repton, Archville, Bonville and Sawtell, we would alight at Coffs Harbour. If I missed the bus, I would hitch-hike, usually arriving at school between recess and lunchtime. The return journey often saw me arrive home around 7pm as the bus to Bellingen waited at Raleigh for the daylight express which was invariably late. As a 12 year old, 12 hour school days were exhausting!
A prolonged illness resulted in me repeating third year.
This triggered a turning point in my life as I began to accept some responsibility for my actions and as a consequence visits to the DP's office ceased. Some might say I simply became more cunning, but I would like to think that I was slowly beginning to live the old cliché that 'one only gets out of life what one is prepared to put into it'.
Whilst I didn't star academically at High School and I couldn't swim as fast as Doug Turner nor run as fast as John Rose, I did enjoy my senior years at CHHS.
For me, the highlights of my secondary schooling were being elected 2A vice captain, 4A class captain, a senior prefect and vice captain of blue house in each of my final two years. Sporting memories include crossing for three tries from the position of fullback in an open division rugby league game against Macksville and taking the lead in the final leg to win for CHHS the 4 x 100 yds open relay, again against Macksville in an inter school visit.
What is important about these feats is not that they are so great in themselves, but rather they provided the opportunities for me to experience leadership, responsibility and mateship, and realise that achievement involves perseverance and sacrifice. Learning this proved invaluable in later life.
From school I attended University and Teacher's College in Armidale, graduating with a Diploma of Teaching. Twelve months later, I enrolled as an external student at Macquarie Uni and completed a degree in Science [my worst subject at school].
My first teaching appointment was to Bonalbo CS. From there, I transferred to Port Macquarie HS where I pursued promotion in minimum time. However, such was the length of the List 2 'Science promotion list' that I waited until 1984 before being appointed to Bingara CS as Head Teacher [Secondary Studies]. I then transferred in that position to Bowraville CS before leaving teaching to involve myself in primary production [having purchased a small farm west of Bowraville].
In 1988 I moved back to Bellingen and in 1989 I enrolled in a four year Valuer's course through Sydney Tech. At the same time, I also enrolled in the three year Real Estate Agent's course at Coffs Harbour Tech and the six month Stock and Station Agent's course again through Sydney Tech.
In mid 1989 I was approached by a local Bellingen real estate agent who offered me employment as a salesman. I accepted the position on a commission basis but after 8 months left to work at another Bellingen agency for a set wage. At this agency, I was soon promoted to the position of office manager and after 3 years there, I qualified as a real estate agent and stock and station agent - licences I have kept current. Nowadays, however, I work for myself - managing and developing my own properties and arguing endlessly with Councils!
Since joining the Bellinger Valley - North Beach SLSC in 1960 I have experienced 55 years of enjoyable surf life saving. I continue to compete at master's level and in 2013 won an Australian title in the 65 - 69 yrs beach flags. I have won 7 medals at world championship titles I have attended in the USA, Italy, Germany, Egypt and France as well as at Manly and Glenelg in Australia. These medals have been for beach relays , surf teams, a pool relay, beach flags, board rescue and a pool rescue event. At Rescue 2014 [France] I was entered by my club [South Maroubra] in ten pool, surf and beach activities. By the end of the week's competition I had achieved a top 8 world ranking in all ten events in my five year age division.
Touch football has also provided much satisfaction for me. I played open division A grade district touch until I turned 60 when my body felt it was time for me to retire. My final game was in a grand final at Canowindra where I played in a team comprising mainly high school lads from the local school where my wife was employed as a Head Teacher. This situation worked well for both of us and we thoroughly enjoyed our three years stay in the town.
I tried my hand at golf [too frustrating] and am too young to take up bowls! I do, however, either swim, jog or walk 6 or 7 times a week [or at least it is my intention to do so].
I support West Tigers [league], Sydney Uni [rugby], Collingwood [rules] and sometimes the Australian men's cricket team.
In early 1970, whilst at UNE, I met my wife Judith. We were married in Jan. 1973 at Wallabadah and commenced our teaching careers together a fortnight later.
We have three children Buffy 37 [nurse], Miller 35 [banker] and Morgan 31 [research scientist]. We have no grand children.
Judith has retired after 35 years high school teaching and we now reside on an 8 Ac rural residential block at Fernmount [east of Bellingen] high on a hill overlooking the beautiful Bellinger River with the spectacular Dorrigo Mountains in the background.
Send Peter a Message
It's been a good life and it's good to know that so many of us are still here to celebrate both this reunion and outliving the errors and indiscretions of our youth.
It was not that I didn't enjoy my schooldays, but it was certainly great to leave school and commence work in an industry I had wanted to be part of since age 7. It was of course radio then but with the opening in Coffs of NRN Television in 1964, I set my sail on a course for the next forty odd years. Starting with them early the following year I stayed until 1968 when I move on to Channel Ten in Sydney.
Late in 1970 like so many others at the time I departed for the UK, I knocked on a few television doors at the BBC and ITV, had several interviews, however with the tight union controls there at the time., they all came to naught when it actually came to offering a foreigner a job. I then turned my hand to bar work and also becoming the best little Tyre Fitter in all of London town before graduating to Depot Manager. Toured a fair bit although with hindsight not enough, returning to Australia in 1973.
Back in Sydney I was quickly re-employed by Channel Ten before moving to Channel Nine at the end of 1980. It's to be appreciated that this was, at Nine, the era of Sam Chisholm and his management team and Nine was top dog in the industry. You did not apply for a job at Nine, you were discretely phoned then wined and dined and invited to join the firm. A great honour for a young bloke to be sure, however it was well known if you were to turn down the job offer it was purgatory forever for anyone who might anticipated looking for a job with them in the future.....I took the job.....and a great place it was to work at.
1984 went freelance Directing, then in 1986 decided to add a retail string to my bow and purchased the liquor store at Northmead. With good management in place I stayed with television eventually selling the store in 2001.
Stepping back in time to September 1989 I was recruited to the new start up television network TV3 in Auckland New Zealand as Senior director News and Current Affairs. TV3 was NZ's first Commercial television network. To this point the country had only a State Broadcaster running just 2 Channels.
At the end of my initial 2 year contract in NZ, I looked back across the Tasman only to see Alan Bond, Christopher Skase and Frank Lowey all independently crashing and burning all 3 commercial networks here in Oz.......Hmmm no jobs there ehh.
Staying put in NZ, 5 years passed, soon 10, then it was 15 years. By now with all the young turks snapping at my heels for my job, it was time for me to pass the baton and move on.
So here I am happily back in Sawtell, enjoying like a lot of others, kayaking, cycling, swimming and bushwalking.
.....aahh the serenity. Send Peter a Message
Send Peter a Message
I'm not that big on nostalgia, particularly about my schooldays, so wouldn't have known about this had Rob Sinclair not made contact with me a few years ago. But I've enjoyed reading peoples' life stories and anecdotes and was surprised to find that once I could match names to faces I remembered people.
Not that I expect many would remember me much, I was just another awkward kid with ginger hair and freckles trying to fit in with the gang - although from the photos it looks like most of us were a bit awkward in those days. We'd moved to Newcastle by my final year but I failed my leaving cert anyway. I failed school but I've always felt that the school system failed me, and reading some of the posts I don't think I'm alone in that. (I eventually did a degree at night, partly to prove my point). Perhaps it's significant that the only teachers I remember are Mr March, because he read us Damon Runyon stories, and Bugs Burrell the French teacher because he was a bit of a caricature.
I'll save you the career details: I didn't have one. After school I worked in the BHP for a couple of years, realised I was at odds with the prevailing social climate of the time (not to mention the physical climate), and caught the first boat I could to England. Arrived just in time to see Jimi Hendrix play what turned out to be his last London concert. That's where it was at for me in those days and still is in some ways. Music and other cultural, philosophical and political interests have always defined my life more than notions of success and materialism. I lived in London for the next couple of years. Just hung out really: exploring Britain and trying to work out what life was all about, who I was and where I fitted in (or didn't). Moved to Scotland for a bit and then spent some time in America before going to New Zealand for a couple of years where I met my wife, Ali.
I have good memories of NZ and still have many friends there, but came back to the UK in the mid-70s. Didn't really intend to settle in London - anywhere but probably - but with there being few jobs on remote Scottish islands I decided to work in the music biz, which meant London. Just worked behind the scenes really, based around my own specialised interests. No big deal. Interesting and good fun (mainly) but lucky to survive until near retirement.
We travelled quite a bit. Around the Med, Middle East and North Africa mostly, with a few big trips in the late 1980s to places like Mali and Yemen. The year after they opened the Friendship Highway we went from Pakistan to Xinjiang/China over the Karakoram Pass. We were hoping to get into Tibet as well, but the 1987 Lhasa riots broke out 10 days before we left London and the Chinese sealed the borders. The Silk Road, deserts and the culture and architecture of those and other remote places were a familiar theme. And when we eventually travelled back to see family we enjoyed stopping off in the Pacific.
We didn't have any kids and might have retired to somewhere like Cornwall, but unfortunately my wife died ten years ago so I've stayed in London. I don't hold with Samuel Johnson's old dictum ('when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life'), but I have a garden and good neighbours and there are enough cultural distractions here to keep me busy when I need. Nowhere's perfect, but after 40+ years there are still plenty of positives and I don't have to worry about the sunblock.
Good luck with the reunion ! Send Phil a Message
Robert McPherson (aka Percy)
Married, Retired, 3 Children.
At CHHS I was the self-conscious, quiet, pimply, freckled one who liked to sit by the window and watch the fishing boats.
My favorite subjects were Economics and Combined Science.
There were strong bonds between the guys travelling by train from Sawtell, but it was to be 50 years before I made contact again. I did catch up with Philip Ireland for a brief period when I was living in Wollongong in 1977. I am still hoping to see some of my old Sawtell friends this year.
Nothing would have dragged me back to school, no matter how poorly my Leaving results may have turned out.
When the exams finished, I left home to work in the CBA at Bellingen. I had also applied for a commercial traineeship at Newcastle Steelworks and started there in February '65.
I was a wide-eyed kid working among red-hot steel, furnaces, trains and molten metal. When I moved to more routine accounting work, the excitement levels fell but I was hooked on dirty, noisy, heavy industry.
In those first years I shared accommodation with other trainees who were in a big city for the first time. So the learning experience was intense, at work, university and in the boarding house.
With a mix of part-time and full-time uni, I completed a Commerce Degree in 1970.
Still with BHP, I moved to Wollongong in 1972 but for most of the 70's I travelled constantly, around operations in all states. I enjoyed seeing new places and many different commercial systems.
I met Meg in Melbourne in 1974. We married in 1975 and moved to Wollongong, driving Meg's old Morris Oxford. Meg then did a Dip Ed and started primary teaching with migrant kids.
Living in an industrial city was a culture shock for Meg, however, she soon came to terms with a dynamic community and a vibrant mix of ethnic groups. We enjoyed the Illawarra escarpment environment.
After Wollongong we returned to Melbourne for a few years before spending ten years in Whyalla where our three children were born in 1983, 1985, 1987. The natural environment at Whyalla is also right in your face. The sense of community is strong. I still keep in touch with friends there as the town carves itself a new future.
We returned to Melbourne in 1992 but I left BHP in 1994. It was a hard wrench to start a new career after 30 years with one employer. I re-invented myself as a financial adviser and built a small business from scratch. Hard work, but more time for the kids. Satisfying in the end.
I retired in 2009. Meg continues to teach Latin, but has now almost retired though she still studies Latin with a passion.
I try to keep fit with Fun Runs and bike rides, sometimes with blind riders on a tandem. In 2012 my daughter and I cycled St Petersburg to Venice. In 2016 we rode from Alice Springs to Melbourne.
I have to acknowlege the ravages of age and admit that I am moving more slowly year by year, however I am determined to keep moving as long as I can.
These days, Meg and I delight in seeing our four little granddaughters on skype. And we are fortunate to visit them several times a year. They range from 1y.o. to 6 years old and they live in Singapore and Esperance W.A.
Class of 64 connects me with some of my formative years. I have absolutely no wish to relive my youth (nor any period of my life), but looking back shows you how far you have come and makes the road ahead seem smoother. "When you are sore in the backside and tired in the knees, around the next bend is a favourable breeze".
Our three children have flown the coop but we are always in touch.
Emily, Mining Engineer, Singapore – three infants.
Genevieve, Rural G.P., living on a wheat farm in W.A. one child.
Gus, Teacher, Central Victoria.
50 Year Reunion
The 2014 reunion was wonderful. We parted, with promises to meet again.
Looking back and reminiscing has nurtured our philosophical leanings and enhanced our appreciation of the people who played a part in our development.
It has been a joy to find again some of the lovable characters that I had lost for 50 years. Interesting too, to realise that memories differ, much is forgotten and perspective alters your view. 55 year Reunion
I hope that more of our old school friends will be encouraged to make contact. Please try again, if there is someone you would like to find.
And if you are exploring this site please sign in, even if you have no interest in the reunion. It will be a privilege to hear from you again.
I am sure that our October gathering will be a fascinating event.