‘Spring chickens’ stole the show

ORIGINAL STUDENTS: Joyce Dale, Vic Gibbon and Gloria Foley sat at this desk 75 years ago.
ORIGINAL STUDENTS: Joyce Dale, Vic Gibbon and Gloria Foley sat at this desk 75 years ago. Anastassia Perets

VIC Gibbon, Joyce Dale and Gloria Foley were there the very first day St Therese's Catholic Primary School in Monto opened.

The three got to sit at the desk used in their student days at the school's 75th anniversary at the weekend.

From posing for photos to cutting the official cake, Mrs Dale said the royal treatment was something she wasn't prepared for.

"We are being treated like celebrities and I don't think I would like it all the time," she said.

"Before, we were sitting getting our photo taken at the desk we sat at 75 years ago.

"We're spring chickens."

Mrs Dale said the school life today was unrecognisable from when she was a little girl.

"We had to milk up to 100 head of cows on the farm every morning," Mrs Dale said.

"Then we would walk to school barefoot.

"We'd jump into wet cow manure on a frosty morning.

"With it that cold, you'd be happy to jump into anything to warm up."

Mr Gibbon said he was the first student to be put on the roll call.

"My name was just top of the list," he said.

"We didn't have the school building and would get taught in the church.

"The nuns had straps and would give you a slap."

A life of hard work is the secret behind the three's longevity.

"I worked on a dairy farm during the 1942 floods and the wage was 10 shillings a week," Mr Gibbon said.

Mrs Foley said an ability appreciating everything is the key.

"It was tough for girls growing up, but we weren't spoiled and it did us good," she said.

"Some would walk to school, some would come on horseback and some on bicycle.

"We had a lot of splinters.

"All children should know how to work up a sweat."

Mrs Dale and Mrs Foley are sisters, with Cavanagh their maiden name.

Topics:  anniversaries central and north burnett monto school

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