Reunion Group Photo

Birdwood Park group photo on the afternoon of the reunion. It was a very warm Newcastle so not so many braved the heat to fling their ashes of diplomas to the ground and stay for a group photo. Photo Chris Patterson intervision@bigpond.com

2019 Report – Garry Jones

Though only a few braved the hot and humid conditions in Birdwood Park late on Saturday afternoon, and as can be seen in Chris Patterson’s photograph, by any measure our reunion was still hailed a great success by all I spoke with. Sure, we could have refined the organising principles a little more, etc.; but the heart of its overall success derived simply from the people who were present. And that was always going to be the case.

We should also bear in mind that a number of people had to travel a great distance to join us on the weekend. We thank you for coming and adding so much to the occasion; and we fully appreciate the time and expense involved. 

As one of the three principal organisers, I want to firstly thank Barbara Aroney and Christine Brotherson, the two who complete the trio and who contributed so much on the day and in the weeks leading up to the event. Brilliant!

Others who added importantly to the weekend include: Susanne Harrison, Tony Bright, Varelle Hardy, John Kun, Jo Chisholm, Pat Davidson, Allison Reid, Aldona Zakarouskas, Chris Sanders, Brian Ladd, Barbara Pengilly, Peter Lewis… and others who chipped in when needed. Thank you all. And thank you to Matthew who solved our accursed microphone issues and then played DJ with aplomb well into the night! Thanks must also go to Suzie and the staff at Newcastle Leagues Club for hosting our Saturday gathering. It truly was smooth sailing and, I’m sure you’ll agree, an entirely suitable retro-70s venue!!

Those who got along to the courtyard of the Cricketer’s Arms on Saturday night all seemed to enjoy the balmy night under the stars and a crescent moon; and with our Reunion Endorsed Smoking Club suitably catered for. Oh, and food got served too. Well, eventually.

The small number of late-night dance-goers back at the club had a great time! And, lo and behold, the gorgeous Pat Harrison actually showed up just in time, with travelling suitcase in tow, to rhythmically strut her stuff with the rest of us. Now, there’s dedication to a cause the rest of you slackers could take heed of!

Sunday morning was pretty laid back for all and sundry… with some of us bumping into each other in Darby Street before all assembling in dribs and drabs at the now much-upgraded Commonwealth Hotel, its own elegant courtyard having ample seating and a welcome retractable cover to keep the heat at bay. And it was there and then that people began to float the idea that we should make such gatherings an annual event. True…

Not so much a big REUNION as such…        but, rather, setting aside the SECOND WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY EVERY YEARfor those who’d like to catch up and have a laugh to GATHER AT THE COMMONWEALTH HOTEL AT NOONON THE SATURDAY.

Quite an easy thing to remember too: with Valentine’s Day paraphernalia already in the shop windows around the appointed time… i.e., see Heartsand think of…                HeArt School!                        [some hidden truth in there too!]

Garry Jones               12/2/19


Dianne Longley,Bruce Goold, Doug Voorby, David Roach, Merilyn Hamilton, Bruce Rowland, Lindy Carruthers, Kirsten Uhrig, Peter Crousen, Jenny Mein, Marianne McKinnon-Kidd (Sunday only)


Blackbutt Drawing with Meg Ward


Blackbutt: Meg Ward, Carol Anne Gamsby, Jeannie Cooper with Cheryl Cooke and Suzanne Forrest behind.
Blackbutt BBQ: Meg Ward, Chris Cleaves, Suzanne Forrest, Cheryl Cooke,Jeannie Cooper, Sue Campbell
Blackbutt 1: Cheryl Cooke, Carol Anne Gamsby, Meg Ward with Chris Cleaves, Sue Campbell (head turned), Suzanne Forrest behind and Maree Chandler.
Blackbutt 3: Meg Ward, Chris Cleaves, Cheryl Cooke, Suzanne Forrest
Blackbutt 4: Carol Anne Gamsby and Sue Campbell

Photos from 1969-1 Newcastle Art School

Photos from Maree Kirkland / Chandler

Aldona and Phillip O’Brien at Von Bertouch Gallery
Meg Ward at Blackbutt Reserve. Drawings to come.
Art Ball 1971 (I came back for it) Maree with Norm Hall (he was in the year above us)

Reunion Photographs

Marilyn Eade and Garry
Garry Jones
Photos by Lyndall D of dinner at Wests 9/2/19
Suzanne Harrison (Campbell), Maree Kirkland (Chandler), Barbara Aroney (Sturgiss)
Back again at Newcastle Art School and ready to party!
Jeannie Henry, (Cooper) Sue Kinneally, (Thurgate) Cheryl Van Oyen, (Greenhill) Carol Anne Xuereb, (Gamsby) Maree Kirkland, (Chandler) Barbara Aroney (Sturgiss)

Merrie Hamilton

I was a teacher trainee at N’Castle West from 1971- 4 inclusive, having grown up on farms around Griffith. The first in my family to gain any tertiary education,, forget an ART SCHOOL!!

N’Castle was like Nirvana to a country kid from the inland – beaches, historic ‘top of town’ & freedom to paint, draw & party.

I lived at the Country Women’s Hostel on Merewether Beach (where I couldn’t sleep for the sound of the surf) for a term & thereafter in many group houses in Cooks Hill. The beach, Art School, CBD & work aitress at the Workers’ Club dining room) were all within walking distance.

I taught in High Schools at Wagga, Bulli & back in N’Castle from ’75 until ’78 & then, finally, became a professional potter from 1981 until retirement in 2017, living in Braidwood, NSW for 30 years. My husband (Greg Sugden – ex N’Castle Uni) & I have now retired to Surf Beach, near Batemans Bay.


I can’t be at the Big Bash this weekend, (February 9, 10 2019) but hope you all have a most fabulous get-together with all the old buddies & lots of stories. I’m sure you will!! (What about those coffee breaks in the cafe across from Hunter Valley Art Supplies? He made a fortune out of us, that guy.)

Regards & many memories,

Merrie Hamilton.