Search for missing names on student photos for yearbook

WHEN the last promise to keep in touch rang out at the end of the Club51 Celebration Party in October, organisers Kathy Walker and Heather Schefe thought their work was done.

The reunion of former students who were born in 1951 and started their secondary education at Gympie State High in 1963 was held in conjunction with get-togethers of the students' primary school classes.

The event was such an enormous success, Kathy and Heather are now writing a book recording the lives of the class of '63 and, with the print deadline looming, are putting in all-nighters to get the project finished.

With Club51 Yearbook 1963-2013 hitting the press in the next few weeks, the two former classmates are urgently seeking names for many of the class photos included in the publication.

"A simple yearbook has now expanded as our celebration party led into a very accurate photographic history of these people in their school years," Kathy said. "We reverted to primary schools as well as they were where we came from.

"So our book is starting with that history. Not of buildings, but people - classes from country schools.

"There were up to 43 country schools around Gympie in the early 1960s. In those days, their class photos were of the whole school and we are highlighting those who were our year."

Kathy describes Club51 Yearbook 1963-2013 as a social history of children born from 1950, but mainly 1951.

And while she and Heather were able to get a complete list of the 324 students who were enrolled in Grade 8 at Gympie High School in 1963 from the state archives, they are unable to identify many of the faces in the unnamed class photos.

"This book will have history of those kids and families through photos and names and many of those names can't be found anywhere. We know because we spent a year looking," she said.

"Some anniversary magazines are in the library but very few. We were able to get only a couple of photos and not many of them were named.

"The lack of school class photos and history in the Gympie region is astounding. Try getting a photo of a class between 1957 and 1963 in any primary school - all had to come from private homes.

"The 1980s saw colour photos with names, but the black and white ones were never named and, at Gympie High, no photos of classes were taken after Grade 8 untill Grade 12.

"Any names we have we got through phoning and emailing so if anyone can help us, we'd love to hear from them."

Kathy and Heather have already received 200 orders for the year book and are expecting many more. To keep postage costs down, they are holding a book launch and collection day at Heather's home on Saturday, March 29.