Rochester canteen manageress Beulah Brann retiring after almost 35 years service

When you offer to work at the local secondary school canteen, the last thing you expect is to find yourself there almost 35 years later.

Beulah Brann initially started temporarily at the Rochester Secondary College canteen in May of 1983 while the school was trying to find someone to fill the position permanently.

She was initially hesitant to apply for the position. 

However, she was eventually persuaded by the then current principal to apply for the position – so she eventually sent in an application.

“And here I am 34 and a half years later.” she laughed.

“I have loved every minute of it since.”

At the age of 76 and after decades of dishing out salad rolls, iced doughnuts, coffee scrolls and chocolate bars to hungry students, she has decided it’s time to retire.

When starting her role as canteen manageress she thought she would be in “the rat-house” before she would be able to remember what she was supposed to do “but after time it all just clicks into gear”.

One of the major highlights of Beulah’s time at Rochester Secondary College has been getting to know all the staff and especially the students, an element of her life she will truly miss.

Maureen Oliver, Business Manager said during her time she has been an integral part of the school and that former students often still comment about her famous chicken burgers.

“She will be greatly missed, she’s a really dedicated person,” she said.

Principal, Bernie Altmann described Beulah as a “legend”  to all the students at the school and the local community.

“She’s just a great person to get along with, does a fantastic job in the canteen, her levels of safe food handling and that sort of thing are just unbelievable,” Mr Altmann said.

“The kids will miss her for sure,” he said.

Beulah's tour of the canteen.

Every year the outgoing year 12 students present Beulah with a gift and flowers, a true sign of how much she has been appreciated by the Rochester community.

When starting at the canteen, Beulah “lived on the tennis court” and despite being given permission by the headmaster of the time to leave work early and play, she always chose to stay at the canteen and serve the students.

Born in Echuca, before moving to a farm in Ballendella with her parents, and eventually to Rochester “where I’ve been ever since”.

Beulah is grateful for her good health that has helped her remain an active member of the school community.

“I was here for 12 years before I had a day away,” she laughed.

At the top of her to-do list is spending more time around the house and in her beloved garden which she keeps photos of, on close hand, tucked away in a draw within the canteen kitchen.