Former Bairnsdale High Students Get Together, and Give Together

Oncology Nurse Unit Manager Kay Stephenson with former Bairnsdale High School students Elaine Kendall and Cheryl Brooks. Photo: Jake Lynch/BRHS


It started as an idle conversation between two friends.

It has now grown into something wonderful.

In 2002, Elaine Kendall and her friend Rhonda Hillbrick were having a coffee down on the Lakes Entrance foreshore, when the chat turned to reminiscences of old school friends.

“We started wondering what had to happened to all the former Bairnsdale High School and Technical School students, and where they were now,” Elaine said.

And so they started a regular get-together for alumni.

From just a handful of local friends word quickly spread, and a regular lunch on the last Wednesday of the month now attracts a large and diverse group of former students of all ages and from all areas.

“We have ex-students who have just finished Year 12, to some in their 70s,” Elaine said. “We are often surprised by ex-students from overseas and interstate dropping by the lunches to say ‘hi.’”

The group also organised the recent Bairnsdale High School Centenary.

“Old school magazines and photos are often produced, with many reminiscing about the old days, and the wonderful (and not so wonderful) teachers we had,” Elaine said. “Although it is not used now, the older ex-students will remember the extremely vocal war cry we called out through open bus windows while going through town after interschool sports meetings. Also, we will never forget, with love and respect, our motto ‘Esse Quam Videri.’”

Esse Quam Videri means “to be, rather than seem to be,” highlighting the importance being genuine in one’s actions rather than being too concerned about the appearance of one’s actions.

By that measure, the former students continue to deliver on the promise of their motto.

Thanks to generous donations collected at their regular lunches, the group of former students last week donated $2,000 to BRHS, to fund the purchase of a blanket warmer for patients in the Oncology and Dialysis units.

The blanket warmer provides a great comfort to people as they sit through their treatments.

It is the latest in a series of donations the group has made to worthy local causes since they began collecting gold coin donations at their regular get-togethers.

“It is with deep gratitude I give thanks to the ex-students, known and anonymous, for their wonderful contributions,” Elaine said.

If you are a former student of Bairnsdale High School or Technical School (or you know someone who is) and you’d like to get in touch with the alumni group, email Elaine Kendall on or phone 0427 554 872.