Goulburn High School's past staff reunite

HATCHING THE PLAN: Linda and Steve Polosak with Steve Chapman got their heads together during last year's 40th year GHS student's reunion, to with Ruth Cook organise a 20th Century staff reunion. Photo: Darryl Fernance
HATCHING THE PLAN: Linda and Steve Polosak with Steve Chapman got their heads together during last year's 40th year GHS student's reunion, to with Ruth Cook organise a 20th Century staff reunion. Photo: Darryl Fernance

School reunions are quite popular for former students, but staff reunions are not so common. The idea of having a Goulburn High School staff reunion came out of a 40-year student reunion last year. Stephen Chapman, Ruth Cook, Steve Polosak and Linda Polosak first discussed the idea at the Goulburn High students reunion at the Fireside Inn.  From there the planning began for an all staff, all 20th century reunion, to be held on March 30, at the Goulburn Soldiers Club.

Goulburn High School has a distinguished record and over the years has fulfilled a significant role in Goulburn's history. The school building in Goldsmith Street is a local landmark of architectural significance.

After the introduction of the Public Instruction  Act of 1880, the State Government set out to establish the first non-metropolitan high schools; the sites chosen were Goulburn and Maitland.

Early in 1883 the 'Sydney Morning Herald' and the 'Goulburn Herald' carried advertisements calling for applications for the positions of Headmaster and Headmistress of Goulburn High School. Interesting to note that the proposed salaries were listed as 400 pounds ($800) for the Headmaster and 300 pounds ($600) for the Headmistress.

Goulburn High School commenced on October 1, 1883 in 'St Alban's Flat'. The building still stands at the intersection of Cowper, Hurst and Citizen Streets.

Unfortunately due to falling enrolments - only 12 boys and 11 girls -  the school closed in 1886.

It was not until 1913 that another, and successful, attempt was made to establish Goulburn High School. Originally housed in what is now the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium of Music the school eventually found its permanent home in 1926 when the present building facing Goldsmith Street was opened.

The enrolment at the school at this time was 140 boys and 109 girls with 13 staff members.

From these humble beginning grew a proud, strong and vibrant place of learning. At the core of this respected institution is of course the people: its staff and students. They provide the school with its soul, heart and character. Collectively, they became the 'living history' of Goulburn High.

It was at a recent 40-year reunion of students who completed Year 12 in 1978 that former staff members of Goulburn High School - Linda and Steve Polosak, Ruth Cook and Stephen Chapman - decided to organise a reunion dinner for teaching and administration staff who worked at Goulburn High during the Twentieth Century.

They had a desire to provide an opportunity for the many past employees to gather to recount memories, meet past work colleagues and renew friendships. Former employees and their partners from many parts of Australia are expected to attend.

Guests of honour for the evening will be Ron Butterworth and Ross Banwell, two of the oldest surviving teachers and Necia Green, the school's accounts manager.

Now in their nineties these three remarkable people are considered 'living treasures' and carry with them a significant part of the school's history.

A number of staff members have a very long association with Goulburn High. A few even attended the school as students, moving away from Goulburn at the end of their secondary education returning years later.

Former principals Frank Chattaway and Jack Plews between them developed a sense of community within the school and would liken the people within it to a 'family'.

The reunion will be a time when past 'family' members can meet once again as part of Goulburn High School's living history.

The reunion is being held on Saturday March 30, in the Chisholm Room of the Goulburn Soldiers Club. A tour of the school is planned for Sunday March 31, commencing at 11am.

For more information email ghsstaffreunion2019@gmail.com or phone Stephen Chapman 4829 0111.

This story Staff come back to school first appeared on Goulburn Post.