Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 33, September 1989

By Gordon Mathieson

The inaugural meeting of the Paeroa High School Old Boys and Old Girls Association was held at Paeroa District High School on Thursday 2 March, 1933, with the purpose of forming closer ties between ex-pupils and teachers as the basis for future reunions and get-togethers. Initially this was restricted to Secondary Department pupils only (ie those who were enrolled after 1902, the year that the Secondary Department was established), as spelt out in the Association's Constitution.

Officers were elected as follows:-

PATRON: Mr F Murphy

VICE-PATRONS: Messrs DW Dunlop, R J Hamilton and GH Taylor (all former Headmasters)


VICE-PRESIDENTS: Messrs Edwin Edwards, Edgar G Preston, Frank Wilks, Charles Meredith, J Fawcett, H Bray, Professor Ronald M Algie, Miss Winnie Sutton, Miss Madeleine Leitch and Mrs Anna Thorp



EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Messrs C N O'Loughlin, J H Walmsley, Eric S Moore, C Hayward, E Manders, R Swann, CW Malcolm, Misses Connie Silcock, M Say, Muriel Thorp, M Mills and L Poland.

The Association's first Annual Reunion was held at the Soldier's Clubrooms in May 1934, with approximately 120 attending with links extending back over 50 years. Amongst those present were:-

Mrs Anna Thorp: The First Assistant Teacher 1882 – 1885

Mr Frank Wilks: High School Master 1915-1916, 1921 – 1924

Miss Winnie Sutton : High School Mistress 1921 – 1924

Mr Charles Meredith: High School Master 1906 – 1911

Miss Lucy Thorp: Assistant Teacher 1907 - 1911

Apologies were received from Miss Minnie Shaw and Messrs F Murphy, G H Taylor and Professor R Algie. Mr Edwin Edwards presided over the gathering.

The Officers for 1934 differed little from those of 1933 with the following exceptions (second Annual Meeting):-

PRESIDENT: Mr Edwin Edwards

VICE-PRESIDENT: (additional) Mrs Hazel E Stone

COMMITTEE: (additions) Misses A Hill, R Gamble, Messrs W Parry, H Blyth

SECRETARY: Mr Eric S Moore

AUDITORS: Messrs C N O'Loughlin, E Manders

On 18 April, 1935 the third Annual Meeting was held and it was disclosed that membership then stood at 126 (up 49 over 1934's figures). One minute's silence was observed at this meeting in memory of Mrs Anna Thorp (nee Horgan) who had passed away on 15 February 1935 aged 71 years. Mrs Thorp's connection with the School had gone back further than any other member of the Association. She had been appointed as the first assistant teacher to Mr J Ritchie in 1882.

1935's Officer additions were as follows:

VICE-PATRONS: add A E Day and F Wilks to original list


COMMITTEE: add Misses Ida and Belle Adlam, Mrs F Pitts, Messrs Ernest W Moore, William J Forrest

The following additional resolution was passed;

"That the rules be amended to permit membership of all pupils of the High School and those who had attended the primary department as pupils prior to the establishment of the Secondary Department."

The Association's Second Annual Reunion, held on 18 May, 1935 resulted in the attendance of over 170, with special welcomes extended to:-

Miss Minnie Shaw: Pupil-Teacher 1892 - 1895 and Infant Mistress 1896 - 1925

Mr G H Taylor (formerly Pocock): First Assistant 1907 – 1913, Headmaster 1920 – 1931

Mrs Annie Buchanan (nee Crawford): Paeroa School's first Infant Mistress 1889 - 1895

By the time of the fourth Annual Meeting (2 April, 1936) the membership totalled 153. A minute's silence was observed for the memories of Miss Maud Schroff (Assistant Teacher 1900 -1909) and Mr Frank Wilks (High School Master 1915 - 1916 and 1921 - 1924). Both of these members had passed away in 1935. Steady membership growth continued throughout the thirties and the most successful Annual Reunion was the fifth, held at the Civic Ballroom on Saturday 19 November 1938. Mr F Murphy, the earliest surviving Headmaster (1901 - 1912) was the special guest of honour at this function - he was 70 years of age at the time. Also present were Miss Minnie Shaw, Miss W Sutton and Mr Charles Meredith. President Edwin Edwards as usual, presided. The first toast, "The School", proposed by Courtenay Kenny, was responded to by the current Headmaster, Mr A E Day. Another toast to "Past Teachers" proposed by Ernest W Moore, brought a response from Mr C Meredith.

According to the records, the last Annual General Meeting was held on 26 July 1940 and the seventh Annual Reunion (and the last as it turned out) was held at the Civic Hall on 19 November 1940 when the guest of honour was the local M P, Mr James Thorn.

No official reason was given for the termination of the Paeroa High School Old Boys and Old Girls Association, but the effects of World War II were, no doubt, a major contributing factor, as there were no further activities held after 1941.