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4. Classmates who have passed on

posted Apr 9, 2012, 6:56 PM by Eddie Woo

Vale Vernon Moore

Vale Brian Varral

Vale Graeme Dibbs

Graeme died July 2006 from mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) at the age of 56. His family has no idea of where/when he was exposed to the substances causing this cancer.
Graeme's family hopes schoolmates will raise a glass in his memory at our reunion. He was particularly fond of dark beer and good red wine--not necessarily together! He also ate butter straight off the dish, coveted desserts rich with pure cream, and sorely missed pineapple pie.
Graeme and his wife Marcy, met when he was the Producer on a video that she had commissioned. They toured and bicycle-raced in Australia a few times during the 15 years they were married, and in March-April of 2006 they came back to Australia for a family wedding in Noosa and Graeme's final tour to visit family and other special destinations. Among them were Camp Yarramundi and James Ruse, where they were warmly welcomed and provided with a map to do a self-guided tour.
His wife Marcy welcomes early memories to share with Graeme's adult sons, if any of his classmates care to pass them along ("and can still recall of course!").
Marcy says “We have lovely summers here in western Canada, and have been known to fly your beautiful flag when Aussie visitors are in residence . . . so if any of Graeme's former classmates are ever in this part of the world, there is always a guest room ready for them.”
“I have already planned my next trip to Oz--to compete in the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney. It was Graeme who got me into bicycle racing--which he took up after he retired from racing motorbikes--and 2009 will be my fourth WMG. I will be riding with a special sticker on my bikes--a yellow kangaroo, produced for the memorial ride local cycling clubs did for Graeme shortly after he died. He was very highly regarded by all, locally, and forged strong connections with the Pine Rivers Wheelers over there. So between his family and the cycling community, I have a great big Australian family!”

3. 40 Year Reunion

posted Apr 9, 2012, 6:55 PM by Eddie Woo

A 40 reunion for the class of 1962 -1967 was held on Sat 20 Oct 2007
The Class of 1962 – 1967 reunion (AKA Wyndham guinea pigs)
A second major reunion was held on October 20 2007 to celebrate the 40th year since our group did the first HSC.
The planning was undertaken over a year with extensive use of email and a gradual build-up of the contact list.  Despite that, contact was still only made with 42 who either started at James Ruse at the beginning of 1962 or joined the group later (140 in total).
The reunion was in two parts and worked particularly well with a midday less formal gathering at James Ruse making the slightly more formal evening function that much easier.
James Ruse BBQ and walk through.
(photographs – some problems publishing to this JR Union site at the moment so temporarily the photos will be hosted on )
We were so lucky to have Graeme Elder working onsite at James Ruse.  Graeme organised a wonderful display of photographs/memorabilia from our school days in the new library.
A great BBQ lunch was also provided by Graeme and Heather Elder with cakes and coffee to follow.  It was a roaring success and Graeme's work and generosity were acknowledged by all.
It was great to meet Robin Legge who coordinates the Old Boys (JRUnion website and database).  Robin also assisted in making us welcome at the old school.  The buildings were open to us and we walked and relived many fond and some painful memories.
The new principal Larissa Treskin (the first woman principal of JRAHS) called in to the BBQ and spoke to assembled crowd.
Colin Anderson also attended and can be seen in at least on photo enjoying the proximity of snags.
The attendance list at James Ruse were:
(in the order L to R from the class photo taken on the day)
John Smale (&Lynda)
Graeme Elder (&Heather)
Richard Wakeling
Phil Black
Tony Bovill
Jim Creech
Chris Weale
Warwick Tweedie
Jeff Anderson
Ed Mulligan(&Ros)
Craig Bryant (&Vivienne)
Don Scott-Kemmis (&Jane)
Jim Jacobs
Robert Chapman (& ##)
Alan Rogers (&Phyllis)
Colin Mc Brown (&Karen)
Barry Evans (&Wendi)
Greg Richards
Paul Bentley
Colin G Brown
Garth Henniker
Robert Stuchbury (&Jan)
Ron Jamieson
Evening Restaurant function
(photographs – some problems publishing to this JR Union site at the moment so temporarily the photos are hosted on )
Greg Richards coordinated this event at the lovely Banjo Paterson Family Cottage Restaurant by the water at Gladesville.  Drinks and canopes were served on the lawn as the sunset.  A great choice and a classy night!  Thanks Greg.
Other than the lads in attendance at the earlier event, Don (and Diane) Byron, Gary Robertson, Elaine Peterson and some brave partners attended this function.
Alan Rogers proposed a toast the absent friends.
A great night followed with the night being enlivened by speeches by both Col Anderson and Elaine Peterson.
Apologies were noted from:
Bob Cadden, Robert Cheek, Max Eady, Hal Evans, Jeff Henningham, Peter Holley,  Ron Jamieson (for the evening),  Barry McLaws (Viney ),  Tony Ross, Garry Wilson.
Craig Bryant
2007 reunion convenor
Please update your contact details by emailing Craig  cybrgrey at iinet  com au
It is hoped that a more regular informal get together might be organised by some of the Sydney base oldboys.
And a few comments:

John Smale said:

To all my fellow students, thank you for a wonderful evening.
My wife, Lynda (an excellent judge) enjoyed herself immensely.
That speaks volumes for us........Well done everyone.
A special note to all of you for rekindling so many great memories.
Especially, we should thank Graeme Elder for his sensational contribution, organization, "library skills" & behind the scenes briefing of the current teaching administration body.
Elaine Peterson said:
A quick note to repeat my thanks for the invitation to last Saturday's reunion. It was charming to meet so many people I remember and who remember me. There is great sense of camaraderie and good citizenship about you all- such a happy situation in today's frenetic world. If you are speaking to Greg Richards, please pass on my special thanks to him
Les Moth said:
What a fantastic weekend.  Having not attended the 25 year reunion I was a little apprehensive at what these type of events are like.  However, on all counts both parts of the Saturday agenda exceeded my wildest expectations.  How good it was to catch up with the old group.  Once we moved past aligning names with the (now aged) faces (!), it was just like yesterday.
Thank you to Craig, Greg and Graeme for the immense work put into the organising.  It was terrific.
Count me in for any future such event.  I would be happy to assist in any work load associated.
I look forward to now keeping in more active touch with renewed frienships.
Garth Henniker said:
I certainly agree with Les' comments.  It was great to catch up with old friends again and see what everyone's been doing over the last 40 years.  Certainly, as Les mentioned, the faces of old gradually appeared as talk and wine/beer removed the lines of time. 
 Prowling around JR on Saturday was in many respects a time warp as it took me back to my days there (and enjoyable days they were too). 
 Thanks again to Craig, Greg and Graeme for the huge effort you guys put into organising the reunion. 
 Looking forward to the next one.

2. Col Anderson's Speech

posted Apr 9, 2012, 6:53 PM by Eddie Woo

A selection of Col A's words on the occassion of the reunion dinner 7 November 1992.

JAMES RUSE REUNION: Sydney, 7th November 1992

Why do people come to reunions? Why on EARTH do people come to reunions. I don't mean just this one.... even on television lately there has been a plethora of reunions: Murphy Brown went to one recently. I watched the programme avidly to see if I could pick up any hints as to what I might do for this one. At one stage Murphy's former teacher said to her "Call me Mack (or whatever his first name was)". Murphy was chuffed - delighted. I knew then we were in a different ball game. Not much use my telling you, you can now call me Col. You ALWAYS did.
Even GOLDEN GIRLS recently featured a reunion.... and the highlight of that event was that       had a heart attack! And she was one of the students! I hope none of you decide tonight to prove that life imitates art......
So why reunite? What it is in the human psyche that tells us, at a certain age, that we need to undergo such a ritual? Are we, like certain types of birds that fly north for the winter seeking warmth and pleasure? Or are we like lemmings... anxious to fling ourselves off the cliff? Are we masochists or optimists? I mean, let's be honest. When you walked (ran? wheelied?) out the gates of your old alma mater all those 25 years ago, and flung your much hated hats in the air, surely the last thing you could ever have imagined was wanting to see most of your old school buddies ever - and I mean ever – again
So why this? Well, I have a few ideas on the subject:
  • you are here to check out just how OLD everyone ELSE has gotten. Not you of course. You may be in your forties but you certainly don't look it... but God, look at....well, look around...... how many of you today honestly and truthfully knew exactly who every one was without looking at the name badge huh?
  • A chance to boast.... modestly of course. Just Look At Me NOW !! My job, my wife, my car, my kids, my house, my yacht, my hobby farm...... need I go on?
  • To seek confirmation: did so and so turn out to be the arsehole you always thought he would? And isn't it devastating when you find out that old so and so turned out to be totally charming and nice.... and the only reason he ever looked like turning in to aforementioned arsehole was because he had to put up with the arsehole that was YOU!! That's is always a sobering moment. Reunions are full of such surprises..... perhaps it is our willingness to open ourselves up to such surprises, both good and bad, that makes these things attractive. There's a bit of a masochist within us all.
  • I asked this question of a Rusian who was a year behind you guys - Geoffrey Lawrence, now Associate Professor at my university. I attended his year's reunion down the south coast a couple of years ago. Geoff suggested that one of the things reunions did was remove some of the mystification that goes with some professions. This sort of thinking works along the lines of:" Hell, so and so's a bloody doctor! I always thought you had to be REALLY SMART to be a doctor!" One can find out that, for example, accountants really are boring and that some of our former best friends have become bank managers, for God's sake, or even (mention a few real professions here....e g. Scotty as a research scientist and so forth)
  • I think too that reunions become attractive when you suddenly realise that life is flying by at much too fast a rate...... in other words, after many many years of kidding ourselves that youth is eternal and that we will remain forever young, we suddenly become aware of our own mortality. We seek some reassurance that sometime, somewhere, We Were Champions...... at football, in class, in shows, in the playground, behind the toilets.... .wherever. Dear God, please... .there was a time..... .wasn't there? There has to have been!"
  • the other side of that one of course, is a desire, and it is a healthy and true desire, to return to one's roots. There is nothing wrong with wanting to revisit the past – one doesn't have to want to live there. Or, as             would have it: "the past is another country...they do things differently there". Yes, we did do things differently there but what we all did - and I want to assure you that I include myself in this - what we did do there has helped shape what we are now.
Of course some of Ruse's influence (and when you say Ruse you inevitably think Hoskins) is obvious in many cases. But a lot of it is almost subliminal - where did I acquire that part of me? where did I start to think of that? why do I feel the way I do about .......something else?
  • Well I have asked the question as to why you want to reunite. And I have provided some supposed answers...... some of them flippant, some of them serious. What about me, why did I want to be here this weekend - and let me tell you that I wanted, with every fibre of my being, TO be here this weekend -I am even missing final rehearsals for a production - which opens on Wednesday night for God's sake, in which I play the main role to be here with you........Well, I guess it is because of all the above reasons. I wanted to see how you had all turned out. Quite a few of you I have regular contact with but with so many of you I don't. You were all SO important to me, so DEAR to me..... if Ruse helped to make you what you are, let me tell you that you made me what I am. .I treasure very deeply my time with you. You taught me to revalue myself, to find a self-respect I had never known before, to find an identity that I have clasped to my heart. And when I say you, I include my colleagues - Elaine (Miss P!) Leslie (Lil) (and name a few others) and, of course, this wonderful, grand, extraordinary man, Jim Hoskin. He - and James Ruse Agricultural High School - turned my life around and I will always be aware of and thankful for that.  
  • The interesting thing about all of this is that, I have never been back to my high school for a reunion. I went to Newcastle Boys High School - a selective school just like Ruse but UNLIKE Ruse a school, such super macho bullshit I have never had any desire whatever to return there. My nickname at that dive was THE PROF a term of total non-endearment. I was little, wore glasses, liked Shakespeare and ..well, let's not beat around the bush wasn't what one could call the ultimate in Orstralian bush tucker men. When earlier this year I became an Associate Professor of Drama at Charles Sturt University I longed, I absolutely longed, to meet up with some of those Novocastrians bastards......Just to be able to say: "Look –I really AM a Prof.....and what is more I get PAID to be a Prof you pricks!".
No, Newcastle Boys High School is not my old school, not my Alma Mater. James Ruse is that. John F. Kennedy proclaimed once ICH BEIN UN BERLINER - I am from Berlin;,. I am proud to proclaim that I AM A JAMES RUSIAN.

A reunion gives us the chance to become aware of what has made us what we are. We reunite to give thanks for that and, at the same time, to share a real sense of community, a sense of values, a sense of worth......and, most importantly, a sense of real and genuine love.

Well, there are the words. Now let's get on with the deeds, in the spirit of that motto that rules our lives, not to mention the pockets on your chest and the bands on those hats: GESTA NON VERBA.

1. 25 Year Reunion

posted Apr 9, 2012, 6:49 PM by Eddie Woo

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colts with no regrets had got away…
But on 7 November 1992 many of them assembled back at Ruse. It was an event to note the 25 years since their departure from the home of deeds not words.
The event was organised by Robert Fletcher and Craig Bryant from the A team, who yet again impressed the boss but for different reasons this time.
The lads who made it will be, to the best of a fading memory’s ability, listed at the end of this small report.
The event took the shape of an assembly and walk around the old school followed by an onsite BBQ overlooking the oval.  Ed Mulligan arrived in true form in his same old ford. 
Headmaster (the Late James Hoskin) and School Captain, (the ever youthful Don Scott Kemmis) gave their blessing and attended.  Bill Toft (DP) also was in attendance.
The 1992 class photo was hardly discernable from the 1967 version except for the colour format.
We planted a tree in the front garden (where boys and girls, I believe!!) still can’t walk.  No reports yet on how it is doing these 12 years later.
The day concluded with a dinner at Café Stivell (Hunters Hill).  We were honoured by the presence of Elaine Peterson and Colin Anderson.  Colin spoke as did “the boss”.
Col Anderson said, amongst other things:
“So why reunite? What is in the human psyche that tells us, at a certain age, that we need to undergo such a ritual? Are we, like certain types of birds that fly north for the winter seeking warmth and pleasure? Or are we like lemmings… anxious to fling ourselves off the cliff? Are we masochists or optimists?
I mean, lets be honest. When you walked (ran? wheelied?) out the gates of your old alma mater all those 25 years ago, and flung you much hated hats in the air, surely the last thing you could ever have imagined was wanting to see most of your old school buddies ever… and I mean ever – again.”  [A more complete extract from Col's speakers’ notes are published on this site]
So apart from a few pics of the event published on this site, that’s it till someone else re-ignites the school motto and does it again while we still have breath.
Participants as best can be recalled:
Col Anderson (Teacher)
Phil Black
Col Brown (now Principal at Yanco!!)
Craig Bryant
Bob Cadden
Robert Chapman
Max Eady
Graham Elder
Barry Evans
Robert Fletcher
Chris Hill
James Hoskin (the boss)
Jim Jacobs
Greg Richards
Ron Jamieson
Ed Mulligan
John O’Sullivan
Elaine Peterson (Teacher)
Gary Robertson
"Butch" Viney
Allan Rogers
Don Scott-Kemmis
John Smale
Bill Toft (Deputy Principal)
Warwick Tweedie
Chris Weale.
Apologies in advance if I missed you, corrections gratefully accepted.

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