The final-year classes of 1980 and ’81 have reunited at Heidelberg’s Old England Hotel – the place where many of them congregated some 40 years before on the night their Higher School Certificate results came through.

More than 70 former students and teachers gathered at the old watering hole last Friday evening – from the respective captains of 1980 and ’81 Gary Dundon and Tim Donohue, through to former teachers including Malcolm Hughes, John and Patricia Joss and Ezio Paciocco (1967).

Pictured at left is the Class of 1980's Garnet Rodrigues, Kevin Wilson and Enzo Bufano.

In a Q and A on the night the two captains, picture here with long-serving teacher John Nicholls, reflected on their years at the Bundoora Campus.

“The great thing about Parade in my time was that it was a very welcoming place,” Gary said.

“I have often talked to people I work with who went to other schools, and a lot of them don’t know any of their schoolmates and don’t have any contact with them. That is not true of Parade. Relationships were built during school, we’ve all kept in touch and that’s really important.”

Commanding the microphone, Tim opened with a general commendation.

“Well done to everyone for being here. Forty years is a long time ago,” Tim said.

“When I think of Parade I think of the camaraderie. What was always interesting about Parade was that from a socio-economic point of view everybody was pretty much at the same level and nobody was competing.

“On top of that, Parade was very welcoming and very inclusive.”

Teachers present and past John Nicholls and John Ramsdale – both current members of the Old Paradians’ Association committee – were also there, as was current teacher Paul Sapiano, himself a final year student of 1981.

Gary and Stephen Zito (1980) jetted in from Perth for the occasion, as did Kieran Bibby (1981) and Tony Corcoran (1980) from Queensland, and Graham Libreri and Anthony Lynn (1981) from New South Wales.

“The reunion was absolutely brilliant. I loved it. I just wish we could get together more often,” said Michael Black of the Class of 1980.

“It was great to see my old mates and reminisce about the old days. It was the best. The setting was great, back at the old stomping ground and I liked the informality of it all.”

Amongst the former students with whom Michael crossed paths at the reunion was Gary Dundon’s younger brother Stephen, a final year student of the ’81 year, and Matt Powell of the Class of ’80.

“I used to see Steve and Matt play in a band called ‘Screamin’ Eagles down at Anglesea on New Year’s Eve, but never knew they were Old Paradians. I couldn’t believe it when we got talking the other night. I finally put two and two together.”

A minute’s silence was observed in memory of the final year students of 1980 and ’81 who have since passed away - George Bakos, Anthony Beers, Thomas Gannan, Paul O’Shea, Mark Peters, Michael Thomas and Brendan Wilson from the class of 1980; and Anthony Clarkson, Alan Ferrazza, Martin Frenette, Trevor Given, Pat Ireland, Michael Roche, James Shanahan and Warren Synon from the class of ’81.

Tim Donohue and fellow members of the class of ’81 graciously allowed Gary and fellow members of the class of ’80 to join them in the reunion; the latter’s 40-year reunion having been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns.