Back together again

WHEN they first met at the school of nursing at Lister House on Rowan Street they were a group of giggling 17 year-olds living away from home for the first time.

Now a group of about 20 nurses who trained in Bendigo in the 1960s have travelled from across Australia to reunite after 50 years.

Half a century after they held their graduation dinner at the Hotel Shamrock the group met in the same spot to share dinner and a lifetime of stories.

"We didn’t recognise each other at first," Sue Allen said.

Val Messer, who helped organise Saturday's reunion, said it was exciting to be back together.

“When we started organising this we only had three emails but it became a chain of people and we ended up with 22,” she said.

Bev Morris said it was a very heartfelt reunion. 

“We were like sisters,” she said.

"We shared dorms and beds and baths.

“It is nice; some of us will be sharing rooms again in the hotel.

“We all lived together in Lansellstowe which is now being sold."

Pam Mathers said she had good memories of those days.

“I loved the comradeship and the friendship," she said.

"I just remember all the fun and mischief we got up to, climbing out of windows.”

I just remember all the fun and mischief we got up to, climbing out of windows - Pam Mathers

Jean McArthur said she could remember the uniforms.

“The collars and cuffs all had to be starched,” she said.

“There is a photo in the Post Office Gallery of our uniform. We’re not in it but you can see what we wore.”

Val Lee said: “Our first pay packet was three pounds four and six, for a fortnight."

Since then the women have gone on to have successful careers.

One of the group, Dorothy Hoare was awarded the Order of Australia in 2010 for her work with youth and the local community in Trafalgar.

“We are proud of Dot,” said the group in chorus.

Kate Grotto spent 23 years working as a full-time missionary in Ecuador and Peru.

“I stayed in touch with a couple of people while we were away. But it is lovely to see everyone again," she said.

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