Forty-three members of Parade’s final year class of 1959 have celebrated their diamond jubilee at Melbourne’s RACV City Club – testimony to the dedication to duty of one of their own, reunion organiser Peter Peyton.
The 43 Old Paradians, now well into their seventies, reacquainted over light lunch and refreshments on the invitation of Peter, who methodically tracked down old schoolmates. Joining them was Emeritus Professor Barry Blake (1954), the Old Paradian who taught class members in that ’59 year.
Vin Arthur, the 1958 College Captain who formally welcomed class members to the reunion, said that the sizeable turnout truly reflected the esprit de corps that prevailed after all these years.
“The fact that more than 40 boys from a class of around 70 have come back is recognition of their great camaraderie and their great love for the school. These fellows wanted to be here today and be part of the community,” Arthur said.
“We have had the blessing of a great organiser in Peter Peyton who arranged for the reunions of 1999, 2009 and now 2019 . . . and we may have to get Peter to arrange more frequent reunions at his stage than every ten years.”
One former student Kevin Condon, who jetted in from Canberra for the gathering, considered it a rare privilege to be in the house.
“If you look at this group of Old Paradians, they’re fit, they’ve got great memories and they’ve all done challenging things in their lives . . . I’m very honoured to be among them,” Kevin said.
“I was a latecomer, heading from Bacchus Marsh down to Parade to complete my matriculation in 1959 and ’60, and I fitted in. The boys accepted me even though I hadn’t earned a scholarship at St. Colman’s and I lived in awe of most of these guys – they were driven, talented and destined to achieve in their professional careers.”
Another former student Gary Corcoran who completed the flight from Sydney, also deemed it an honour to be in the room.
“Fortunately Peter had my email address, otherwise I wouldn’t have known,” Gary said.
“A couple of the other guys then made contact and said ‘Come down a day early, join us for lunch on the sidewalk in Carlton . . . and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s been a magic past couple of days.”
Thinking back to the ‘Old Bluestone Pile’ in East Melbourne, Gary fondly recalled first forging those lifelong bonds.
“Those old days were good days, not only because of the friendships made at Parade, but also later at University. We then all went our own ways and here we are back together again,” he said.
“The ties become stronger of course, because we all know time is running out and it’s important to get together to renew those friendships you’ve never really lost.
“Does it feel like 60 years since Parade? There are times where my body tells me it’s 60 years, but not today.”
The Old Paradians’ Association welcomes the support of reunion ‘champions’ like Peter Peyton to assist in locating former students for all final year get-togethers. Interested parties are urged to contact Tony.DeBolfo@parade.vic.edu.au
Images - the Class of '59; and Emeritus Professor Barry Blake with Kevin Condon, RACV City Club, Melbourne