DIRECTOR Ross Hosking had just 10 weeks to produce Batemans Bay High School’s first blockbuster – and the show goes on.
A theatrical tradition established on the fly in the school’s first year has prevailed and Mr Hosking is in the mood to party for the school’s 25th anniversary on April 12.
The school’s founding English and History head teacher wants anyone with memories of that first year, back in 1988, to write them down. And he wants as many as possible to celebrate at Club Catalina on the big day.
Mr Hosking transferred from Queanbeyan to teach at the new high school, but spent the first term in “a ghetto” of demountables within the grounds of Moruya High School.
The school parents had worked so hard for was finally finished in time for term two and everyone from Year Seven to 11 headed north, with teachers ferrying tables and chairs in their cars for the staff room.
“We split the textbooks with Moruya, because they had too many,” he said.
“It was all very exciting and clean and good. A lot of things happened that year, in the spirit of the whole new thing. We had balls and fashion parades, people like Barbara Gellatly put on shows. It was a honeymoon.”
Mr Hosking decided to celebrate with a melodrama, Egad, the Woman in White, based on the Wilkie Collins novel.
“I desperately got that on,” he said.
“It was a tough year, I am not going to whinge about it, but there were so many things to do. But if you don’t get a tradition of something happening, you have a tradition of nothing happening.
“From then on something happened every year. A lot of things started that year and that was one of them.”
However, industrial bans intervened and the show could not get moving until last term.
“It was a scramble,” he said.
The show was a hit, with a young Nina White playing the Woman in White, and pictures can still be seen in the school hall.
“I would love the kids from that time to come along on April 12,” Mr Hosking said.
Two other original head teachers still live in the area: Bob Soper and Keith Armstrong.
Mr Hosking hopes the parents “who worked so long and hard” to have a high school will attend.
There was “a heck of a lot of enthusiasm, from staff, parents and kids”.
“I remember the kids wearing their new sweaters, even though it was as hot as hell, just because they could.”
Anyone who wants to get involved in the anniversary can contact Mr Hosking on 4471 5103.