1989 alumni Justin Stockham with 1984 graduates Joanne Spencer and Denise Ruysch pictured in the geography room at Ballina High School.
1989 alumni Justin Stockham with 1984 graduates Joanne Spencer and Denise Ruysch pictured in the geography room at Ballina High School. Alina Rylko

GALLERY: Did we take your photo at Ballina High School's last reunion?

PICTURE this: John Farnham playing on a loudspeaker in the hall, as Ballina High School class of 1977 celebrate graduation.

It was the night of nights for Jenny Warner (nee Blakey) who also learned to waltz for the occasion.

School was strict then too, with girls' uniforms measured to ensure their hems were no longer than an inch above the knee.

Despite all the rules, Mrs Warner said she had great memories of the school, visiting its grounds one final time today with sister Anne Lane (of class 1977) and their father Douglas Blakey on Saturday.

"The school had a great reputation under the headmaster Roy Hughes," Mr Blakey said.

The Blakey sisters made up over 1,000 alumni from as far back as the 40s to farewell Ballina High School at its official last school reunion.

The school will be soon be closed to make way for Ballina Coast High School, the construction of which is expected to begin in 2017.

Joanne Spencer (nee Hayden) and Denise Ruysch (nee Hayden) of class 1984 reminisced with Justin Stockham 1989 in the geography classroom.

 

"The room hasn't changed a bit," Mrs Ruysch said.

"We had such great fun here, even though there were dynamic groups, we had the nerds and the popular groups, we all got along."

Tina van Eyk (nee Dorey) and Cathie McInnes (nee Russell) of class 1991, said they were worried they wouldn't recognise their classmates.

"It's been a big reunion with some wonderful nostalgic moments as well as a few awkward moments," Mrs McInnes said.

More recent alumni, Matthew Collins of class 2012, said it was the school's history classroom which made the greatest impact on him as a pupil.

"We had some great philosophical conversations in here with Mrs Paula Horsley, it inspired me to contemplate more, and to look deeper," Mr Collins said.

"I'll miss this school - it has character."

Marion Whitney, librarian from 1968 to 1972, said she fondly recalled watching the telecast of the first moon landing in the area now in front of the toilets.

"We all crowded in, some sitting down, and everyone was quiet," Mrs Whitney said.

"We all realised we were watching something of historical importance."

Principal Daniel Henman said the day brought "mixed feelings".

"It's goodbye to the old and hello to the new," Mr Henman said.

"It's great to see all the ex-students, ex-teachers and ex-principals here today.

"At one point, there were four of us principals here at once."

In the next two weeks the Department of Education will finalise their decision on who will be the principal at Ballina Coast High School, expected to be open by 2019.



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