Old friends share tales

Narre Warren Primary School No.2924 prep class of 1957.

By Brendan Rees

There were many stories shared among former students of Narre Warren Primary School No.2924 during a recent school reunion.

About 40 past students who attended the school from the 1940s through to the 1990s came together at the Narre Warren Senior Citizens rooms on Centre Road, Narre Warren on Sunday 10 November.

The former weatherboard school, constructed in 1929 at 53-57 Webb Street, is now heritage listed and played an important role in the development of the community for over a century from its opening in 1889.

With the adjoining Mechanics’ Institute they are the only two surviving pre-World War II buildings in Webb Street.

The school is also typical of interwar schools such as the multi-paned double-hung sash windows with two brick chimneys.

Former student Moyneen Chester, who started prep at the old school in 1957, said a “few tears of happiness were shed” as well as many “hugs and laughs” at the reunion.

“Most people recognised each other or introduced themselves and the place was abuzz from the minute it started,” she said.

There were about 60 people at the reunion including former residents of the area.

Among the attendees was Bill Sweeney, whose father supplied the grounds for the Narre Warren football ground as well as Tony Weaven, an outstanding community man who coached the junior football teams for many years.

“We had people come from Byron Bay, Tocumwal (a town in New South Wales), Warragul and many people bought old school photos from as early as 1953 although some were damaged,” Ms Chester said.

The idea for the reunion idea came about after Ms Chester caught up with some former school friends at a funeral.

The former students, she said, were aged in their 40s through to their 80s and wanted to “catch up over a cuppa and talk about how lucky we were to have grown up in Narre Warren back in the day.”

“I felt it was well worth all the phone calls and even the dead ends I chased up. I spoke to my prep grade teacher Mrs Crowley, who is in her mid-nineties now and would have loved to come along as well as people from as far away as Darwin who hope to come to the next one,” she said.

Ms Chester thanked Casey councillor Amanda Stapledon and members of the Narre Warren Senior Citizens committee for making the reunion possible.