Back together again

Colleen Fenn left St Aloysius Girls High in Hamilton in 1965 and Newcastle in 1970 but refused to say a final goodbye to her classmates. Despite living outside of NSW for most of her adult life, Ms Fenn has, for a decade, been one of the key organisers of St Aloysius reunions at various locations around Newcastle.

Her ‘Forms’ recent reunion was held on Saturday, 24 November at the Duke of Wellington Hotel, New Lambton and was attended by about 60 people. “I really didn’t like school when I was young but I made such great friends and although I now live in Melbourne it’s great to come back and catch up with everyone,” she said. 

St Aloysius in Parry Street, Newcastle, was opened as a co-educational, Year 7-10, school by the Sisters of Mercy in 1915. It later became a single sex girls’ school after the Marist Brothers’ High School for boys opened in 1928. “Our class had its first reunion 10 years ago, then another one five years ago and now we are attempting to hold them every three years,” Ms Fenn said.

Social media and the establishment of a St Aloysius Facebook page had been an enormous help in tracking people down and bringing them together, Ms Fenn said. Fellow classmate and close friend, Janice Seiver, co-organises the larger reunions with Ms Fenn and also arranges smaller St Aloysius gatherings every three months.

 “The girls from my class come together every few months for lunch. We sometimes discuss the nuns and how things have changed – they had the cane back then of course,” Ms Seiver said with a laugh.  Their 1965 class was the first year to sit for the school certificate and then go on to complete the higher school certificate. Ms Fenn said class sizes were much bigger back in the 1960’s with three classes of about 45 girls making up a year of roughly 150 students.

Asked to call recall some of their fondest memories from their St Aloysius days, Ms Fenn and Ms Seiver said it was all about the beach, the pool and the dances. “We absolutely lived on the beach in those days, up at Nobby’s and South Newcastle mostly, and we also loved Lambton Pool and attending YCW dances,” Ms Fenn said.

Ms Seiver and Ms Fenn also attended St John’s Primary School, Lambton, together and now organise regular reunions for that class as well. “The girls keep saying ‘I’m just so glad you got us all back together’ – we have such a great time,” Ms Seiver said. For more information about these reunions please contact Colleen Fenn 0412 321 740 or Janice Seiver 49540 276.

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