The Old Paradians’ Association Luncheon has been held every second Wednesday of the month since 1936. It is, quite possibly, the oldest continuous Luncheon in the world.

For the many who attended the Old Bluestone Pile n Victoria Parade, the Luncheon – thesedays held at the RACV City Club in Bourke Street - served and continues to serve as a means of maintaining schoolyard friendships.

The unfortunate reality is that with the passing of time, East Melbourne’s Old Paradians are diminishing in number – thereby placing the Luncheon’s very existence under serious threat.

But as Alistair Wenn (1987) reveals, there is a glimmer of hope with the collective effort of Old Paradians schooled at Bundoora.

Alistair, pictured here at the recent '87 reunion with John Joss, attended the most recent Luncheon and was part of the captive audience for its Guest Speaker.

On the strength of that experience, he has issued the following plea to the next wave of Old Paradians schooled at Bundoora Campus to safeguard the 81 year-old institution which is the Association’s Luncheon from oblivion.

Earlier this month I had the fortune of attending my first Old Paradians Luncheon. I went along, prompted by our ’87 reunion of a few weeks earlier, to hear from former teacher and guest speaker John Joss.

It was a great experience, but I was surprised. At the age of 47 and despite having graduated from Parade 30 years earlier, I was the youngest in the room, (with a couple of others under 50!). This was most concerning. Though there were around 70 OPs in the room on the day, those who attended Parade from the 1970s through to the 2010s were virtually non-existent.

This need not be the case when you consider that over the past 40 years, roughly around 8000 students of Parade have become “Old Paradians”.

I estimate that on any given day, more than 400 Old Paradians would be working in the CBD, Docklands and Southbank – just minutes from the Luncheon venue – and could easily make it along.

I for one can guarantee a great value Luncheon in a terrific setting (and a good laugh on the day, thanks to ‘Jossy’).

The Old Paradians’ Association Monthly Luncheon offers a wonderful opportunity for Old Paradians to re-connect with the Parade community, keep in touch with former colleagues, hear from a Guest Speaker and establish business connections. The Luncheon also provides the forum to meet some Paradians who still talk about the days of the “Old Bluestone Pile”.

I would encourage Old Paradians of all years, particularly those who have graduated in the past 40 years, to spread the message, call up an old school mate and come along. I know that the Association President Lewis Derrico is keen to see his work of recent years continued with the establishment of a Luncheon sub-committee which can continue to activate this monthly event with bolstered numbers and renewed interest.

I hope this message prompts other Old Paradians of my era to attend the Luncheon in the months to come; that the word gradually spreads and that the number of OPs at this event increases, to ensure that this wonderful tradition continues for another 81 years.

You don’t need to be “old” to be an “Old Paradian”. Tenete Traditiones - Hold fast the Traditions - and spread the word.

If you are an Old Paradian based in the city, the Association would urgently like to hear from you as it strives to build a database of future monthly Luncheon attendees.

The Association would also welcome any offers of organisational assistance.

Interested parties are urged to make contact - or 9468 3301.