Queanbeyan East Public School celebrates 50th year with fete

Councillor Kenrick Winchester joined by his dad Wayne and son Harry. The Winchesters have been a fixture at Queanbeyan East. Photo: Elliot Williams
Councillor Kenrick Winchester joined by his dad Wayne and son Harry. The Winchesters have been a fixture at Queanbeyan East. Photo: Elliot Williams

Queanbeyan East Public School has changed a lot since it opened in 1967.

But as it celebrates its 50th year with a special school fete on Saturday, there’s one thing that has remained the same.

The Winchester family have essentially been a permanent fixture at the school.

Wayne Winchester was at the school in its inaugural year, in year two while his sister Gail was among the first group of kindergartners.

Twenty years later and Wayne’s son, councillor Kenrick Winchester, enrolled for his East experience.

Wayne, Kenrick and Harry Winchester. Photo: Elliot Williams

Wayne, Kenrick and Harry Winchester. Photo: Elliot Williams

This year has seen a third generation of the Winchesters at the school with Kenrick’s son Harry starting Kindergarten.

All four of Wayne’s children attended East, Harry currently has six cousins at the school and in two years that will jump to 11.

The family has produced its fair share of school captains and is due to have pupils there until at least 2029.

Harry’s experience at school is likely to be rather different from his grandad’s.

Wayne recalls fondly his favourite memory of teacher Peter Jarvis, who was fullback for the Queanbeyan Blues at the time, practising his goal-kicking through what is now a building and to the many waiting arms of students at lunchtime.

“You think kids just turn up to school each day and go into the classroom and learn how to read and write,” Wayne said.

“But there’s so many things happening, all these programs, academic, sports,  cultural activities.

“I don’t think any of that existed in my day or even in Kenrick’s day.”

As for Kenrick, who is the president of the P&C, it has been a real thrill to return to the place where he spent so much of his childhood.

“East holds a very special place in my heart, and it is really a part of the family,” Kenrick said.

“Coming back to the school every day has been great, there was never any doubt my kids would go here. 

“Harry’s classroom is actually my old year 1 and 2 room – the school hallway still smells the same.”

The Queanbeyan East fete will be an opportunity for any students past or present and family to reminisce and support their school community. The fete is on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.