Catch-up en­joyed

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Simon Rup­pert

De­spite most items in the time-cap­sule being de­stroyed over time, Bro­ken Creek Pri­mary School made the most of the of­fi­cial open­ing with a wellat­tended re­u­nion last Sun­day.

The an­tic­i­pa­tion was high as for­mer staff, par­ents and stu­dents joined their cur­rent coun­ter­parts on a sunny win­ter morn­ing, how­ever, as the cap­sule was opened it be­came ap­par­ent that wa­ter had leaked in.

One for­mer par­ent re­marked it was very telling that af­ter 30 years un­der­ground the only thing that sur­vived was the plas­tic tube.

While that may well be a teach­able mo­ment for cur­rent pupils, with the spot­light shin­ing on how we deal with plas­tics, it is worth not­ing that a few coins also sur­vived.

How­ever, a host of pho­to­graphs and a 1988 Be­nalla En­sign were among the ma­jor­ity of the items that had de­te­ri­o­rated over time.

Be­fore ex­hum­ing the time­cap­sule Bro­ken Creek Pri­mary School Prin­ci­pal Re­becca Ne­wham said re­gard­less of what might be in­side she was ‘‘Over­whelmed to see so many for­mer pupils, staff and par­ents at­tend the open­ing’’.

‘‘The class from 1988 was 21 kids and the ma­jor­ity are here,’’ Ms Ne­wham said.

‘‘Some are apolo­gies to­day, one is bro­ken down in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and one’s had to go to Mel­bourne un­ex­pect­edly, but it’s a great turnout.

‘‘Our kids have been re­ally ex­cited. We spent most of the week get­ting things or­gan­ised, mak­ing posters and get­ting a raf­fle set-up, and they’ve been busy in the gar­den clean­ing it up as well, so they’re all very ex­cited.’’

For­mer prin­ci­pal Bren­dan Watty, who over­saw the time­cap­sule idea in 1988, said he could not re­mem­ber what was in­side and it was go­ing to be ‘‘very ex­cit­ing to see it opened’’.

‘‘In 1988 it was the 150th cel­e­bra­tion of the found­ing of the colony of Vic­to­ria and every school was sent a plaque and were en­cour­aged to put down a time cap­sule,’’ Mr Watty said.

‘‘So we just took it from there. The com­mu­nity got be­hind it, and the school kids en­joyed the idea of putting stuff away.

‘‘It was a bit of a mys­tery and some­thing to look for­ward to down the track. I guess the big­gest de­ci­sion we had to make was how long to put it down for.

‘‘I can re­mem­ber talk­ing to our school council at the time and we de­cided 30 years would be good as we’d still be around then.’’

Mr Watty also said he was pleased the school was still open given the amount of ru­ral schools that had been shut down in the past 30 years.

‘‘This is a very spe­cial com­mu­nity, I spent six years here as the head teacher, it was a great time in my ca­reer. I think the peo­ple in this com­mu­nity re­ally em­brace you, it’s a strong and vi­brant com­mu­nity,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing, this school is just a school in a pad­dock, I’ve seen so many schools closed over the years, much big­ger schools than this.

‘‘There’s just some­thing about the Bro­ken Creek com­mu­nity. They are de­ter­mined to keep their school open at all costs.

‘‘So in some ways it is sur­pris­ing that it’s still here, in other ways, know­ing the strength of the com­mu­nity, it’s not and I ap­plaud them for their ef­forts to keep the school go­ing.’’

Mr Watty gave a speech to the gath­ered crowd be­fore taking the cap­sule to a ta­ble to open it up.

As each item was pulled from in­side the cap­sule the crowd were en­thralled, de­spite the con­di­tion of most of it.

And re­gard­less of the dis­ap­point­ment the peo­ple who at­tended kept huge smiles on their faces and made the most of an op­por­tu­nity to catch up with peo­ple they might not have seen for 30 years.

For­mer stu­dent Mark Os­bourne said he did not re­mem­ber too much about fill­ing the cap­sule and bury­ing it, how­ever, he en­joyed read­ing through the book the school made for the day.

‘‘It started to bring back mem­o­ries of what we did here back then,’’ he said.

‘‘And it’s been quite bizarre see­ing some of the faces that are 30 years older now. There’s a few that I see around town, I’m not too far away as I live in Ta­tong.

‘‘But some of them I wouldn’t have picked if I’d ran into them.

‘‘I re­mem­ber think­ing about what we would all be like in 30 years which back then seemed like an eter­nity.

‘‘Now its here you think, that went quick, which is a bit of a worry.

‘‘But its great to see some of the faces you used to hang around with and now they’re here with their kids, and our kids are hang­ing out with them kick­ing the footy over there, so that’s great.’’

Af­ter the of­fi­cial open­ing Ms Ne­wham said it was a bit dis­ap­point­ing wa­ter had got in, how­ever, by that stage the sausage siz­zle was well un­der way and the re­u­nion was in full swing.

‘‘It’s been a great day and all the happy faces make it worth­while,’’ she said.

An­tic­i­pa­tion: For­mer Prin­ci­pal Bren­dan Watty pre­pares to crack-open the time cap­sule.

Dis­ap­point­ing: Un­for­tu­nately most items had de­te­ri­o­rated over time.

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