It’s been 50 years since a small group of close-knit girls walked out of Elm Court Dominican Convent for the last time, but unlike most students, that didn’t end their friendship.
The ‘67 graduates from the Moss Vale college will finally meet again next month, with some women travelling from the other side of the world for the commemorative occasion.
Elm Court was built in 1878 and in 1891 was purchased by the Dominican Order of Nuns to operate as a boarding and day school.
1967 was an important part of Australian high school history, with students sitting the first ever HSC exams.
A small class of 20 girls from Elm Court offered each other company and support during the stressful time, which formed a life-long bond between the women.
Former student Christine Clark said the bond the girls still shared was one like no other.
"After 50 years contacts within the smaller friendship groups are still very strong but there is a sense of closeness among us all,” she said.
“So many people to whom I have spoken about our celebration of friendship have said that they never see anyone with whom they went to school. We are obviously not the norm.”
The cool weather was something Christine remembered vividly from her time at the school.
“[I remember] standing in the freezing cold on a Moss Vale morning in a line outside the chapel for daily mass,” she said.
“[And] the frost covering the ground and glistening in the pale early morning winter sun, breath white as it hit the cold air, chilblains throbbing in our attractive clodhopper brown school shoes.”
The food, good and bad, was another facet of school life that stuck with Christine.
“Meat pies for Sunday breakfast, the best moist lamingtons for afternoon tea on a Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday lunch dessert- nun’s toenails- tinned fruit with unidentifiable chewy bits,” she said.
School life was different in 60s and Christine was excited to look back on those memorable times with some of her closest friends.
“The enduring nature of relationships is sadly lacking in our modern world,” she said.
“We are the lucky ones.”
Elm Court has had a rich history and is now known as St Paul’s International College.
In 1978 it became a Junior Secondary School for Chevalier College, Bowral until 1985.
In 1986 it was sold to the Sisters of St Paul de Chatres and was run as Aurora College but in 1997 its name was changed to St Paul’s International College.
The women will come back together for a reunion dinner on October 15 at Peppers Craigieburn, for more information contact Christine Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.