A large number of former students and staff and special guests returned to Mudgee High School last Saturday to celebrate its centenary.
The school library – the original MHS building – was packed with people checking out the swathe of photos and school magazines exhibited, alongside displays of historic uniforms, documents on its construction, trophies, and Errol Grieve’s detailed cadets exhibition.
Many saw changes when taking a tour.
The official ceremony heard the first rendition of the school song in around three decades, performed by current student Lauren Abend. It was written in the 1930s and its use became limited over the years before it ceased entirely in the 1980s.
Principal Wayne Eade spoke of the history of MHS, including how its planning was interrupted by World War I, and said “it’s humbling to be at the helm during the centenary year”.
Special guest at the ceremony was Mrs Bessie Talbot, who is not only the oldest known former student but this year also celebrated her own centenary.
She said “it’s unbelievable to see such a huge crowd” and noted “the school is so different and so big now” compared to her days there in the 1930s.
Deputy premier and state member, Troy Grant, reflected on the role of MHS has played.
“It’s here where the future of the community is sown and that’s been done for 100 years here in Mudgee and you can just look at the results,” he said.
“This is one of the finest communities in NSW and particularly in the Central West region and it’s been built by the education delivered here and connectivity with the community over a century.”
Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott, said a century ago MHS would’ve been – and still is – a “symbol of hope”.
“I was thinking back to what it must’ve been to be here in 1916, the Gallipoli Campaign just a year old, the Western Front and so many young men from this community battling on shores so far away, and a high school opens,” he said.
“And with the opening there is hope…that children will learn and prosper here and that there would be great days ahead for the community and nation.”