May 10, 2021
Former Wondai State School students gathered together for a special reunion and dinner recently to mark 37 years since they left the school.
Organisers Brad Elliott and Susie McIlwain (nee Holznagel) admitted “37” was an odd number to celebrate but the fact was most of the ex-students had turned 50 in 2019 and the pandemic interrupted any plans for 2020.
“We thought this would be something to look forward to in 2021 after we got through the pandemic. Well, we are not quite through (that), but fortunately we were able to go ahead with the current restrictions,” Brad said.
The pair tried to round up as many of their old classmates as possible who were part of the class from Year 1-10, or 1975-1984.
(Wondai P-9 was a P-10 school until 2009).
“Our class photos from each year identified that there were 79 of us in total. Of these 79, we have been able to find 68 past classmates,” Brad said.
There were 46 people at the main dinner on May 1 at the Wondai Diggers Club.
“Across the weekend, 37 past classmates attended something that we had organised,” Brad said.
“There were celebration events that began on Friday night, and finished on Monday morning with a small farewell for those that were still there.
“Four students made a massive effort in getting to the reunion.
“These were Trish Parker (Trunks) from 200km out of Katherine in the Northern Territory; Carolyn Douglas and her husband came from Bowen, Neil Barnes and his wife from Sydney; and Stuart Newcombe and his daughter came up from Newcastle.
“Many stayed in town, too, which was great.”
Brad said he wanted to particularly thank current Wondai principal Peter Sansby for allowing the group to have access to the schoolgrounds, which was a highlight of the weekend,