50 years of rich history and tradition celebrated by Bunbury alumni

30 November 2023

A year of celebrations marking 50 years since the opening of Bunbury Catholic College concluded with another significant event when over 400 alumni from Bunbury Catholic College along with the two schools that preceded the College – St Joseph’s Convent (run by the Mercy Sisters) and St Francis Xavier College (run by the Marist Brothers) gathered for a reunion.

Community members explored the displays of the school’s historical journey around the school’s gymnasium and mingled with new and familiar faces.

Current students Felix Wood, Matthew Gragasin and Pia Mangano played the role of roving reporters who conducted interviews with incoming guests.

Felix reported, “Mark Price was in Year 11 in 1973, and said that some students were part-time gardeners planting grass on Albert Oval. There were 55 people in each class and he felt the change to co-ed was interesting.”

“Jan Hynes attended the St Joseph’s Convent from 1947 to 1956. She remembers at 11:45am every day, all the girls would go into another class and sing. Her teachers were all religious sisters and she enjoyed learning embroidery.”

“Wynne Tucker was also a St Joseph’s Convent alumni from 1956 to 1957. She recalls going to the Cathedral with the sisters and wearing gloves and berets. Her peer Gerald, who was in his final year played the double bass in the school orchestra, and she remembers going to the Rose Hotel with another girl to get the double bass and they’d walk it back to the Convent.”

“Jillian Panizza was in Year 8 when the College became co-ed and she remembers the first classrooms were demountables and being able to paint the walls of the art classroom.”

“Julie Ranson was a student in the College from 1973 to 1977. She recalls when Brother Bernard built the first computer at the school in 1976 and used it to teach Mathematics and Science subjects for Years 11 and 12,” Matthew reported.

“Peter Stanicic was a Marist student from 1958 to 1963. He recalls riding with his friends on bikes all the way to Hungry Hollow for a swim and to the old St Patrick’s Cathedral to attend Friday mass.”

Reporter Pia shared, “Leah Mackay graduated from BCC and is now the Head of Mathematics at the College. She described her year group as close-knit and diverse. Her goal as a child was always to become a teacher and after setting her mind to it, she achieved her goal. Leah highlighted Outward Bound as one of her most memorable schooling experiences.”

Part of the celebrations included a panel comprising of former students and staff who shared some memories. Teacher David Mazza, former Head Boy Scott Tuia, ABC Journalist Rhiannon Shine, Clinical Psychologist Dr Pia Broderick, Businessman Joseph Caruso and former Principal of 10 years Ivan Banks.

Principal Deborah Garbutt said this had truly been a year to remember.

“It has been a year that has enabled all our community members to celebrate such a significant milestone together, through a wide range of celebratory events, each designed to honour the very fabric that constitutes our College,” she said.

“What a privilege it has been to share old memories, but also to make new ones, as we look forward to our 75th anniversary. May Bunbury Catholic College continue to go from strength to strength.”

The reunion was a wonderful celebration for the College which opened in 1973 as one of Western Australia’s first coeducational Catholic high schools.

A new time capsule will be filled with memorabilia from the 50th celebrations this year.

To read more about this event, go to https://stories.cewa.edu.au/bunbury-catholic-college-turns-fifty/

For more information on the college, go to https://www.bunburycatholic.wa.edu.au/

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