Party like it’s 1974

The Class of Warwick East 1974 celebrated their 50 year reunion. Picture: NIKITA

By Terry Foster

The banner at Junabee Hall read ‘Party Like it’s 1974’ and they did.

The Warwick High School Class of 1974 came to town and went to town on the weekend. Over 40 of the cohort from grades 10 to 12 in 1972, ‘73 and ‘74 celebrated fifty years since they left the hallowed halls in Palmerin Street.

The weekend kicked off with an informal ‘meet-and-greet’ at the Criterion Hotel. Who was who was quickly established, and the room echoed with joyous laughter. Former students had come from far and wide; Cairns (Charlie Hansen), Townsville (Desleigh Sinardi nee Carter), Mackay (Lyn Gliori and Narelle Herbert nee Swan) through Quilpie, Emerald on to more local folk from Brisbane, Toowoomba, Allora, Stanthorpe and of course Warwick. Interstaters came from NSW, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Neale Kemp travelled from wintry Canada to host the Saturday night main event at Junabee Hall where his family were pioneer settlers.

Junabee Hall looked terrific with Errol Hilsdon (Toowoomba) ensuring decorations and ambience were just right. Hamish Wilson (Grafton) and Michael Batterham (Adelaide) provided outdoor entertainment while those who were not at the Cri’ repeated the ‘who are you’ process of the night before.

We were most grateful for Githabul Traditional Owners, Delvene and Nathan Charles’ welcome to their country reminding us that kids from long long ago lived and learned on these lands.

With this many old friends together, group photos in the beautiful Junabee sunset were mandatory, not just of the High School contingent, but primary schools too. Eleven little kids who started Grade One at Warwick East in 1963 showed up.

The highlight of the night was the One Night Only performance of Crisis. Fifty years on from the band’s formation at Warwick High when they played all the local venues, Crisis reformed for the night and had everyone up dancing to the songs remembered from when they were first released – Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, David Bowie. Age has not wearied lead singer Russ Anstey, his performance was electrifying. Everyone’s grumpy hips and knees forgotten on the dance floor.

Months of long-distance planning by the Reunion Team of Neale, Russ, Errol, Phil Forbes, Sue Pulley (nee Armitstead), Shirley Watters, Robyn Mills and Terry Foster paid off. With Sue being the only one living in Warwick, much of the local organisation fell to her. She was a champ!

Of great interest was a slideshow of photos running constantly through the evening. Later Crisis played ‘Tears in Heaven’ while recent images of known classmates who have passed away filled the screen in an emotional tribute to our friends.

Of course, the school song was sung however, having warcry’ed in the morning at the High School, we forgot to on Saturday night. It would have lifted the roof off the Hall!

Cakes were cut, more dancing to The Locals until the night drew to a stormy close after the sweltering heat of the day.

Overheard at the farewell breakfast at Gardens Galore on Sunday were comments like ‘my face hurts from laughing so much’, ‘this has been the best weekend of my life’, ‘I’d been feeling lousy lately and this has brought me right back up again’, ‘I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.’ And ‘when’s the next one?’

Answer, when the Reunion Team has recovered.