Class of 1986 Reunion

The year 1986 is now so far in the past that it seems like a different world. Bob Hawke was prime minister in 1986, John Farnham scored a number one hit with You’re the voice, Crocodile Dundee was released and Hawthorn won the premiership, which just goes to show that even over the course of three decades, some things don’t change.

Another less widely recorded, but nonetheless very important, event occurred in 1986, when a group of young men completed their secondary education at De La Salle. The significance of this event was acknowledged at the Racecourse Hotel, Caulfield, on the evening of Friday 29 April. Thanks to the efforts of Trish Woodman, Kerry Martin, Jonathan Hewett and John McIlroy, a group of about 40 Old Collegians gathered to take stock, compare stories and put names to faces after a gap of, in some cases, the full 30 years.

It is a measure of the strength of the bonds that developed in school that guests quickly fell into animated conversation with former classmates as soon as they entered the venue. Career paths were discussed, numbers of children tabulated, some particularly memorable classes and teachers recalled. The night was characterised by sincere greetings, entertaining storytelling and bursts of laughter. Nametags helped with identification, although perhaps nicknames might be used in future? The sheer genius of nicknames such as ‘Stork’, ‘Camel’ and ‘Mildew’ must be recognised at future reunions!

The consensus of the gathering was that we had all weathered the trials of life surprisingly well. The most damaging effect of the years appeared to be the thinning, or in some cases, complete eradication, of hair. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night; a reminder that perhaps one of the most important roles of any educational institution is to allow young people to form friendships that can lay dormant for years but quickly, if all too briefly, be rekindled when the opportunity is provided.

Simon Conlan

Back to Old Collegians' Issue 2016 01 - 04 May 2016