Founded in 1906, De La Salle College Armidale was the first Australian De La Salle school. In 1974, the combination of demography with social trends led to De La Salle being merged with sister school St Ursula's to create O'Connor Catholic High School.
I did not go to De Lah as everybody called it, but they were our traditional rivals in rugby.
Now a De Lah reunion is being held at the Armidale Services Club on Saturday 3 March 2012: - dinner at 7:30 pm. In attendance will be several Old Boy Brothers of the De La Salle order; the current Provincial (Australian head of the Order), Brother Ambrose Payne; and the principal of O'Connor High, Charles (Charlie) Allen.
By happy coincidence (or not), the following day the Armidale Race Club is holding a race meeting. And before that, on the Sunday, those who wish can attend Mass celebrated by an Old Boy priest.
The diaspora who have not visited Armidale recently will discover that the O'Connor/ex-De La Salle Chapel has been returned to its original condition following damage by fire. And the grounds and buildings have been extensively refurnished, including the Grotto, which Michael O'Rourke (De La Salle 1964-1969) tells me used to be - we hope no longer! - a favoured haunt of schoolboy smokers.
Thanks to Carl Graham and others, most of the college's original archives stored at Oakhill College in Sydney have brought back to Armidale and can be inspected. In this connection, Old Boys able to attend the reunion should please bring any documents, photos, college magazines etc (or copies) that they can donate.
It is strongly suggested that accommodation bookings be made early because of the various functions held in Armidale, including the races.
Old Boys should contact the following: paint01 (at) bigpond (dot) com (CARL GRAHAM) or holloway (at) northnet (dot) com (dot) au (GARRY HOLLOWAY). For the reunion drinks and dinner, prepayment ($45) by cheque is requested, payable to "De La Salle Old Boys Union" - Carl or Garry will advise their mailing address in reply to your email. RSVP by 31 January 2012. Wives, partners, family members, friends welcome, but please advise names.
Old Boys not able to attend should nevertheless contact Carl or Garry and supply them with a current telephone number, email address and your years at College. This will allow the Old Boys mailing list (currently 800 names) to be updated for the purpose of other reunions that are to be held in Tamworth and Sydney.
Those interested in the history of Catholic education in what might be called the "mild west" of New England, the diocese of Armidale as it is officially called, can check here: http://www.arm.catholic.edu.au/about/history/armidale/religious_orders.htm