Garroorigang was filled with laughter and song on Saturday as former Presbyterian Ladies College students gathered for a 60-year reunion.
Some 12 ex-students from all over Australia and even the UK gathered at the historic Braidwood Road homestead last Saturday to rekindle fond memories. The reunion was organised by Jenny MacDougall (nee Hume), whose family own Garroorigang.
“It was a lovely weekend,” Mrs MacDougall said.
Former students sang along to a 1955 recording of the school song by its choir, conducted by the late Gus Oberg. Many of the girls attending were in the choir and could hear themselves from the past. This was on an early record found in Tony Lamarra’s shop. The Tazewell Studios recording is now in the National Film and Sound Archives.
Mrs MacDougall described PLC, now a part of Goulburn’s Illawarra TAFE campus, as a wonderful school with excellent teachers.
One of those was Latin and Ancient History teacher, Patricia Crawford, who was a special guest at the reunion. She now lives in an aged care facility in Goulburn. Mrs Crawford taught for 60 years in Goulburn and was doing relief teaching up until the age of 82 when she fully retired.
“She was the best teacher we ever had. She was a born teacher,” Mrs MacDougall said.
Another guest was ex-student Winifred Eyles (nee Haslam), who came from the UK. She played the violin accompaniment to the school song on Saturday.
On Sunday, ex-students attended a service at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and toured the old school grounds.
Mrs MacDougall described the gathering as the “last hurrah,” given that some school mates had passed away and others were too unwell to attend. She also arranged the 30th reunion in 1987, the 50th in 2007 for the girls at Garroorigang.
She said PLC was just one of the many private schools in Goulburn in the 1950s . It began in 1921 and closed in about 1974.
“Its first head teacher was Major General Sir Walter Ramsay McNicholl, followed by Christina Bryant, principal for 30 years to 1955, then Miss Jeanette Buckham who taught us geography.
“It was a wonderful school which gave us a very sound education and created lasting friendships between girls and staff. Robin Scott, our biology teacher, sent us a message and I assured her I still knew the difference between a corm, a bulb, a rhizome and a tuber.
“Our chemistry teacher would be proud to know that 60 years on I can still name all the symbols for the elements, such as Tin, Sn and lead Pb.
“As for Miss Waddell, how grateful we all are for her corrections of our grammar and spelling and our love of English Literature, and Miss Graham who taught maths, strict but fair. We do not need calculators to do basic arithmetic! It was indeed a great school with great teachers.”