Page updated 03/06//24






                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     May 2024
2024 AGM




 Greta began by thanking all of the Committee Members for their service during the past twelve months and pointing out that there had been a changing of the guard in some long-held positions.  After the retirement of Gary Matthews, Dawn Harris and Ruby Constable, Ros Sloane has taken over as Secretary, Margaret Haywood as Historian, and Laurel Cox and Ralph Halder as General Committee Members.  Gary, in his ex-officio role of Webmaster and Outreach Officer, continues to add on-line content supplied by the Committee and other former students.  Don Metcalfe, Penny Meallin, Russ and Gill Weber and Gail Saddler continue their valuable contributions to the business of the Association.

A pleasing milestone this year has been the completion of the Museum Room, A20, that houses the growing collection of the School’s archives.  Considerable work has been done to present this school room as it would have appeared mid last century: blackboards are back in place, walls have been painted, new carpet laid, wooden tables and chairs purchased for work sessions and Committee Meetings.  Purpose-built display cabinets line three walls that house uniforms, photographs, records, printed articles and many unique, irreplaceable, items donated by former students and their families. This is a far cry from the two drawers of historical material found in the Library in 1994 and the storage facilities offered during the five moves of the collection.  It now does justice to the age and legacy of the School and is a valuable asset.

An important project this year has been the updating of the Head Prefects/School Captains Honour Boards and the work done to find the student names to update the Dux Honour Board.

Greta spoke briefly of having attended the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Dandenong Primary School in the morning, prior to the meeting.  Hundreds of visitors of all ages toured the buildings and grounds.  A highlight was the whole-school involvement evident in the displays.  The Principal said students had spent much of the last six months preparing for the occasion.  The result was magnificent


     Margaret outlined the range of activities undertaken throughout the year including the repair and repainting of the store room and A20 in addition to the re-instatement of a blackboard and purchase of new timber furniture for the Museum Room. Margaret outlined the process for handling queries, requests and donations from ex-students or families of ex-students. She also listed specific tasks undertaken such as sorting many, many photos and other memorabilia into more archive-friendly materials and a first draft catalogue of items held in the Museum room. Various re-unions have been held during the year and assistance has been provided with display materials for these. The  four House banners have been put on display along with some examples of uniforms.

        NEWSLETTER (Don Metcalfe)

For about the 30th time, I have the usual pleasure of presenting my Annual Report. The approximation is because I shared the role in the early days with my great friend and peer, the late John Leah. In the early days I also enjoyed the formal support of daughter Wendy, who still remains my Facebook sleuth, of Val Slade, of retired Secretary Gary Matthews, and, of course, from my wife Lorraine (Vincent).

Students and staff of DHS still astound me in the variety of ways their lives have blossomed, making them prime subjects. For the task which I have to carry out, It is always interesting. Because the range can include: Scientific. Community, the Arts. Sports and Literature, we are thus able to present a fascinating pantheon. The reunions, of course, make a special contribution. We have benefited from the melding of the other Secondary Colleges, which has broadened our capacity

So, I face 2024 and 2025 with the joy that I already experience, and look for even more fascinating stories from you, and for you, the faithful membership. Let us all hope that new membership can be encouraged, particularly trying to bring in some people and their stories from the 21st century.    I thank you all for the opportunity.


            POSITION                                                               NOMINEE

               President                                                                             Greta Jungwirth

Secretary                                                                               Ros Sloane [Cleeland Chapter]

Treasurer                                                                               Russ Weber

Editor                                                                                     Don Metcalfe

Membership Officer                                                           Penny Meallin

Historian                                                                               Margaret Haywood

General Committee                                                             Laurel Cox [ DGHS Chapter]

General Committee                                                             Ralph Halder [Cleeland Chapter]

General Committee                                                             Gail Saddler

General Committee                                                             Gill Weber

       GUEST SPEAKER.Ms Chris Keys, President of Dandenong District Historical Society.  (BRIEF HIGHLIGHTS)

 The Keys family came to the area in 1845; members of the family becoming leaders within the community;  a number of monuments (streets, place-names etc) to the family throughout the area. Was a  student at DHS from 1961 – 1965, in 1C and in Clematis House [her mother had been in Clematis House in the 1930’s].Recounted the trials of making her apron, with chain stitch embroidered name ahead of Cookeryclasses the following year. She clearly recalled JFK becoming President and the construction of the Berlin Wall and the unease in the world at the time. Chris has strong memories of a cookery dish, seemingly prepared in all year 8 classes, blancmange. She found this most unpleasant and has never had it since. Chris fondly remembers sneaking raspberry lollies into class to consume during the lessons.  in 1963, developed an interest in a range of subjects, participated in the Choir and several different sports teams. In 1964,  she was the only student in her class going to the Beatles concert in Melbourne. In her final year her desire was to be a Physiotherapist, leading her to take Science and Maths subjects, being one of only two girls in the Chemistry class. After leaving school, and gaining experience in a number of large company offices, she began a Bachelor of Business [part time] whilst working at Nicholas Pty Ltd and had a most successful career in Superannuation.

Don continued his tradition by presenting Chris with a bunch of flowers and a DHS pen at the conclusion of her presentation.

                The meeting closed at 3.02 and all present were invited to enjoy a cuppa and light refreshments.

RICHARD DIGGINS  - CLASS OF 1953                                                                                                                              26/03/2024

As per the reference on page 2 of Edition 106 of the DHSESA Newsletter, of the above date,   click here for a  list of the many and various well-deserved community awards that Richard has received.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         May 2023
2023 AGM

Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2005

                                           DANDENONG HIGH SCHOOL EX-STUDENTS ASSOCIATION INC



 (Reviewing 2022)


The President, Greta Junjwirth, highlighted key events for 2022 as follows:

From the Association’s point of view matters substantially returned to normal, with seven committee meetings being held through the year, although with more time needed for DHS students to settle back to the rhythm of normal classwork, after so much time working from home,  some student awards, importantly the Edna Dawson Music Scholarship,  and the Cameron and Leah awards, were not able to proceed.  As  a departure however, as foreshadowed last year, a special instrumental concert with two professional musicians was held for senior students in August, which gave a fascinating insight, using a variety of stringed instruments, into the world of Irish Gaelic music.  The Badges Assembly just held was unique this year, being “gender blind”, and choosing two girls as joint school captains. Greta spoke at the recent ANZAC assembly as usual, this time choosing the historic wartime figure of Nancy Wake (the white mouse) as her subject. 

Other items of note include a lengthy article Greta prepared for edition 100 of the Newsletter, describing significant milestones in the nearly 100 year history of the DHSESA. As part of overall improvements being effected to the Langford Building, the Association’s room is about to receive a facelift, with re-painting and new carpet. It is hoped that our next annual report will include all the details, including restoration of the old blackboard and other fittings.  Allied to this, will be the restoration of much needed playing space, with the  (sad, from the point of view of former Girls School and Cleeland students) demolition of all remaining buildings on the Cleeland site. A “Last Hurrah” for over a hundred students was organised by Laurel and others in early December. Very fortunately, a few slate fragments of the 1965 sun-dial pedestal were salvaged for posterity.

Margaret Haywood has stepped into the Historian  role, and, together with strong support from Ros Sloane and Laurel Cox, much has been achieved.  In particular Marg has completed the folioing of the complete photo collection. Ros is well advanced, with the aid of internet material, in producing detailed profiles, with photos, of all Headmasters and Principals.

Together with Dawn’s departure from the Historian position, he committee will, after this AGM, be moving on without long-serving Secretary and Life Member, Gary Matthews, who is stepping down from the role..  Greta advised that Gary will still be involved as webmaster and in ad hoc liaison roles. In terms of meritorious service to the committee, special note is recorded of a Life Membership awarded to Gail Saddler at the committee’s February meeting. Gail has previously served as Membership Officer for a number of years, and in a variety of supportive roles.


                 In calling on Don to present his report, Greta congratulated him on the prodigious volume of material he has assembled, particularly in the last few years since his retirement.  In responding, Don acknowledged the principal contributors to the Newsletter, namely Greta, and her ever reliable “From the Chair” articles; Gary’s encouragement of exies to contribute items; Val Slade for her regular news items; Ros and Laurel for their Cleeland input, as well as Don and Margaret Turner, and to daughter Wendy for photos and Face Book “sleuthing”. . He instanced the opening of the STEM building as having the potential to have a lasting positive impact on future employment prospects for our graduating students.  It was pleasing to note so many stand-out contributions during the year. (there were 7 editions. ed.) He noted the sad loss of Ion Whykes AOM, Ted Hook, Dr Jean Allison, and Ruth Bishop AC. In concluding Don, as always, called on us all to either contribute articles ourselves, or reach out to DHS friends to consider telling their story.


Gary, in what was his last AGM as secretary, briefly sketched some highlights of the last 17 years, beginning with the first 4 years that he travelled 140 kms from Jeeralang (before he and his late wife Carole moved to Pakenham)for the monthly meetings. He saw the following as being memorable times for him: Retaining key DHS symbols (colours, crest, motto, name) after amalgamation; The stained glass window at the entrance to the Langford building; recovery of Mr Langford’s war service records from the War Memorial; revision of the constitution (additions to Statement of Purposes); launching our own website, rather than agreed small space on the school website; various “member projects”, notably our first university graduate & first woman pilot in Victoria, Kitty Bloomfield*; and especially the production of the Centenary History Booklet. He wished the incoming committee well for the future. *Gary presented a copy of Kitty’s book of poetry, “The Horse That Lauughed”.


Penny reported that there were currently 162 members, down from 217 last year following the brief upsurge during the period immediately after the centenary. There are 3296 entries on the database. (There are over 400 on the email listing)


Gary explained the content of the attached agenda item was simply providing a more specific time-frame by which an AGM must be held.


The Chair was briefly vacated to allow Gill Weber to announce that, in the absence of other nominations, the following positions are filled;

POSITION                                                                  NOMINEE

PRESIDENT                                                                 Greta Jungwirth

SECRETARY                                                               Ros Sloane (Cleeland Chapter)

TREASURER                                                               Russ Weber

EDITOR                                                                        Don Metcalfe

SCHOOL LIAISON OFFICER                                  

MEMBERSHIP OFFICER                                           Penny Meallin

HISTORIAN                                                                 Margaret Haywood

GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBER                         Laurel Cox (DGHS Chapter)

GENERAL COMMITTEE MEMBER                         Gail Saddler                   ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................

 GUEST SPEAKER, (Ms Jane Stekelenburg, (Bongers) Class 1962)

Jane sketched her early years, arriving from Holland in the mid fifties, and after a short time at primary school, as a shy migrant girl, with limited English, it was in 1957, that she enrolled at DHS.  She was in Wattle House, and loved sport of all kinds. Among the teachers, she especially recalls Barry Jones, (lengthy dictation sessions) Miss Dawson and Ion Whykes, to whom she was also grateful for early youth leadership guidance. While in Form 1, Jane heard there was a great teacher shortage, and on telling Headmaster, Mr Andrews that her father had qualifications, the school was soon introduced to Mr Bongers, who taught French.  Obtaining a studentship award in 1961, Jane gained her primary teaching qualifications. She has great sympathy with aspiring teachers of today who must also grapple with lengthy HECS debts, although they have access to vastly more state-of-the art teaching aids, compared to “John & Betty” a Jelly Pad and Golden Books. Growing up in the Dutch Reform Church, she has maintained these strong Christian allegiances, which were allied to her active youth leadership interests, and together with her later posting to Geelong, provided the background for her meeting her architect husband to be, Jack.  Marrying in 1966, Jane and Jack settled in Balwyn. Four children followed over the next 11 years, with church, youth work, house renovations, the eldest son’s Peter’s health scare, all playing strong roles. After moving to Mt Evelyn Jane went back to study, obtaining tertiary qualifications focussing on assisting those with disability, which she applied in developing training aides and individual learning programs. After tutoring for a further 5 years, retirement, a range of community voluntary work and later caravanning followed.  After a series of illnesses, husband Jack died in 2022. Jane has 4 children and 6 grandchildren, is thankful for what she has been able to contribute, and continues to work for the needs of others. 

Don made what has become a “trademark” presentation of flowers (and a DHS pen) at the conclusion of Jane’s remarks.

The meeting closed at 3:30pm, with all in attendance enjoying a sociable “cuppa” and light refreshments,

                RECITAL CONCERT
                        former student and acclaimed clarinetist -                                 
                                              Robert Schubert                                                          

See advert below

Bookings at


Remembering the late Ion Whykes  AOM, PSM

Many ex-students from the late '50s through to the mid '60s will fondly remember the energetic Maths and Science teacher, Ion Whykes. Ion went on to become Principal of Healesville High School, and later President of the Victorian High Schools Principals Association for a number of years, and still later after retiring from Education, he went on to help establish a very successful financial planning business. Ion, who was a very good and generous friend to the Ex-Students Association,  died in on 13 October 2022, aged 88. Very large numbers attended his funeral at Yering on 26 October 2022, with eulogies from family members, including a beautifully crafted poem from his son Alan. You can read this in full by clicking on, and then opening   ....   THIS LINK


The original buildings, dating from 1960,  which housed the Dandenong Girls School, and later Cleeland Secondary College, are to be demolished in early 2023, to make way for sporting fields for the enlarged Dandenong High School.

A "Last Hurrah"  by former students of these schools is to be held at the Ann Street site on
 Saturday 3 December 2022, commencing at 11:00 am.

Sadly the commemorative Sun Dial  stand will also fall victim to the redevelopment.
This was designed by former year 11 student, the late Carole Matthews,
 (nee Marsh)
who had won a school wide competition in 1964


                                2022 AGM                                             05/05/22 
                                        Our 30 th Anniversary !!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the present Ex-Students' Association, making it the longest continuous length of service of any of the various alumni groups at the School, since the first Old Pupils Association was formed by the founding Headmaster, Mr Percy Lanngford. To assist the celebrations, former staff member, and recent recruit to our ranks, Ros Sloane, baked and decorated the cake shown above.

The AGM was held in the School library, with 26 in attendance. Here are the main points emerging from President, Greta Jungwirth's address:

The continuing  effects of the Covid epidemic continued to restrict or suspend many activities.  The Auditions for the Edna Dawson Vukmirovic Music Awards were not able to proceed for a further year; however, it is hoped that easing conditions will permit a return to something like normalcy in the year ahead. A suggested option  to provide students with a rich music education experience, using professional musicians t is  being considered.

Ongoing contact with our membership, particularly during the lengthy lockdowns of the last 12 months, has been better than ever, all due to the increased output of our Newsletter Editor, Don Metcalfe, with no less than five editions during 2021. With only three committee meetings being possible (in the first half of the year) a system of “progress reports” was established to keep the committee abreast of any issues.

The archives group was unable to pursue its  activities throughout 2021, and has strong hopes of returning  in early 2022. (Ros Sloane, referred to above, also agreed to join the Committee at this meeting)


         The Treasurer, Russ Weber, was pleased to report a satisfactory set of books for the year.

Special thanks were accorded to Life Member, Ruby, on her retirement from the Committee,  for her outstanding service for over 20 years, much of which as Treasurer, and in so doing presented her with a large food hamper.


Greta then made a further “off agenda” announcement, by way of presenting Secretary, Gary Matthews, with a framed Life Membership, in recognition of his valued service in the role for the past 15 years, including the  establishment in 2008 of a website, now  containing nearly 1000 photos,, and more recently, his publication of the Centenary School history.


Susan Ogden, Principal, briefly addressed the meeting, offering congratulations to the Association for the work they do, noting the invaluable link they provide in walking a path between honouring of traditions of the past and innovations of the present.


GUEST SPEAKER, (Ms Margaret Rogers, Class of 1960  )

Margaret sketched her early years, growing up on a poultry farm in James St Dandenong, her father having migrated from Poland in the 1930s, initially beginning a tailoring business, later leading to the establishment of the Roger David firm.. After completing her matriculation in 1960, she obtained a BSc at the new Monash University, (later completing a Masters) before beginning a career with the CSIRO as a Research Scientist, concentrating on the many and various uses of leather, including pioneering work in its recycling potential.

After taking early retirement, Margaret became immersed in a number of community voluntary projects, including such diverse activities as Scouting, administrative and practical work in both the Flute Guild and and Tai Chi. Such has been her dedication to community work, she was only recently awarded “Citizen of the Year” by the Boroondara Council, in Camberwell.

In summing up, she commented that two of her aunts who came to Australia later than her father, were assisted in learning English at Dandenong, by none other than our own Edna Dawson.


Prior to closing the meeting Greta, assisted by Gary, cut the 30 year Anniversary cake referred to above.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY'S EVENTS FOLLOW: (Click on first photo of each row to enlarge , then click to open others)

The Future still emerging:  The new STEM building under construction on the site of the former (1968)  Hall and ajacent Edna Dawson Centre.

AGM 2021
CLICK HERE TO SEE REPORT                                                         >>>>>>>> 

Click on each  image to enlarge        Our thanks to Wendy Metcalfe for her expert photography

Click here to read a recently produced article for our Newsletter, about Kitty Bloomfield, who went on to achieve many other distinctions.  You can read the full Newsletter by becoming a member, which is available for the modest sum of $20 per year.  Details elsewhere on the website.


See "Reunions" Page  for details , of our new updated history booklet "Snippets and Snapshots", which gives a brief account of the major events in the life of DHS, from the early consideration  given to its eventual  establishment in 1919, right through to 2019.

.................................................................................................................................................................................... ....................................

AGM 2019

A very successful AGM was held at the School on Saturday 4 May 2019.  Please see a full report by clicking on this link.

Guest of Honour, Jackson Taylor's "selfie" , showing  most of the attendees at the AGM.

Russ and Gillian hosted our Committee end of year break-up at their home in the hills, in early December.

Pictured, beginning on the left are : Dawn, Ruby & Jack, Phil, Russ , Dawn, Greta, Don, Lloyd, Carole, Margaret,  Gary


If you commenced at DHS in Form 1 in 1963 and finished (or would have finished)Form 6 in 1968, we're planning a 50 year REUNION DINNER for 24th November, 2018, followed by a family BBQ on Sunday the 25th to which we hope as many as possible can attend. Contact Pauline via

Highlights from the 2018 AGM

Please click    here     to open the link.


A very fitting and  informative obituary for the late Basil Moss MBE, Principal from 1972 to 1981, was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on  4 January 2018.

Basil is pictured with his wife Eileen                             >>>>>>>> 

Click HERE to read the full article

1946 GROUP - RECENT GET-TOGETHER   posted 24 December 2017

Don Jackson has sent in a photo of their latest social gathering at the Matthews Flinders Hotel in Holmsglen.  The persons in the images are, from left to right, Max Gregory, Don Jackson, Len Lloyd, and Brian Logan.   Also present was Don's wife Kathleen, as well as Anne Stanhope who had supported her late father Bill for several meetings.  

Colin Barraclough had intended to be present, but a last minute was unable due to a medical appointment.  Frank O’Shea and Noel Courtney are unfortunately no longer able to attend.


The group of photos below show committee members gathered at the Old Berwick Primary School in late November 2017, for a very enjoyable lunch.  We were joined by some partners and special guests, Sally-Ann Dowman, recently retired senior staff member, and Association Liaison Officer for a number of years.  Also there, was another retired long-serving staff member, Annie Gardiner, from the school office, as well as Laurel Cox ( Girls School Chapter) who has been a regular helper in the archives through the year. . 



Recently the Secretary and his wife travelled  to the UK and Europe on holiday, and while there he was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few days each with three of our ex-pat members. You can read about his visit by clicking on the two pages opposite.  This is a small sample of the newsy items that you could read on a regular basis, simply by becoming a member of our Association.  See full details on the Membership/Contacts page.

                                                                                                                           23 March 2017


The first committee meeting to be held in our new committee "headquarters" in Room A20, was held on 14 March.  (next door to the former Men's Staff Room) We are very grateful indeed  to the School for making this space available, not only for our meetings, but also for our regular archiving sessions and servicing ex-student enquiries, which will now be able to be conducted as and when we are able, within school terms, rather than at scheduled shorter times. 

The move to a dedicated room will also help us to focus more meaningfully on the possibility of some refurbishment of the space with an aim of bringing its appearance back as close as practicable to the original. This will include painting,  blackboards etc and fitting out with period-syle furniture.   Although some funds have been put aside from a government grant, this will clearly not be sufficient; however, with determination we're confident we can create the beginnings of a small  working Museum, of which we should all be justly proud.


President, Greta Jungwirth, Sheridan Ford, (Music Co-ordinator) Ji Zhang, Lu Deng, Zerina Redzepagic, Dawn.Harris at the recent presentation of the 2016 EDNA DAWSON VUKMIROVIC awards

 photo from DHSESA Newsletter Aug 2016

AWARDS NIGHT 2015                                               7/2/16

 Click on the icon opposite to read a full report of the very successful Awards Night, including details of the inaugural Martini Scholarship, as presented by Mrs Isabel Martini, widow of Ex-Student Ekke Martini, and mother-in-law of former staff member, the late Ziggy Martini.                               >>>>>

 1946 Group Social Get Together                                                                      From Don Jackson   17/12/15

 Back in late October, members of the '1946 Group' had their annual social get together, this year being held at the Matthew Flinders.

Pictured from L to R are: Bill Stanhope, Max Gregory, Colin Barraclough, Noel Courtney, Don Jackson, Frank O'Shea, and Brian Logan



 Photos courtesy of DHS

 Pictured at left is the plaque that has been fixed to a pillar of the brick wall at the main street- entrance (see above)  to the School, following its inclusion as part of the City of Greater Dandenong's "Anzac Trail".  This forms part of the Council's response to the centenary of ANZAC, and recognises the sacrifices of the fallen from our community by creating a 'trail' of significant places and properties around the district which have strong historical and community links with the Great war. 

The Ex-Students Association played an active supporting role to the school in this process.  It was  through the un-earthing of a number of articles from early 'Dandenong Journal' newspapers that it was shown that community support for a secondary school reached its climax during the war years; with the Council purchasing the needed land in August 1918. This then provided the required conditions for the State government to begin building of the school early in the following year. 

 Inclusion in the "TRAIL" was also informed by references in the old newspapers to growing community demand (with space stretched to the limit at the existing primary school) for some form of interim post-primary education. This is illustrated by the fact that tuition for girls cookery classes and boys 'sloyd', (wood working)  were required to be  held throughout the war years in temporary facilities such as the Fire Station and the recently completed Dandenong House.

Last, but not least, is the fact that the school's founding Headmaster, Mr Percy Langford, was a Gallipoli veteran, with his regimental colours being chosen as the school colours, that are of course still used today,

Further information about each property on the trail, with photos,  can be downloaded to a mobile phone by scanning the 'QR' (quick response) icon shown on each of the nine stations on the trail.  The completed project was officially launched outside the Noble Park RSL on 23 October 2015, by the Member for Isaacs in the federal parliament, Mr Mark Dreyfus MHR.


The item shown below announcing an appeal to alleviate the plight of a number of refugee DHS students (27/12/14) received a boost in the last few days. This arose following a decision to allow suitable advertisements on the site and in our Newsletter.  The first of these is from YX Ball Financial, a financial planning and advice company, is shown opposite. The Committee has subsequently decided that the resulting improvement to the coffers from the income derived should be directed to the unaccompanied minors appeal.

 YX Ball is co-led by a former DHS member of staff. Ion Whykes, who many will remember for his prowess as a maths & science teacher as well as an energetic sports coach (particularly with baseball) in the late fifties through to the late sixties. A few years later he was appointed as the Principal of Healesville High School, a post he held for twenty years before founding the abovementioned business, which operates from premises in St Kilda Rd.

 If you are an Ex-Student, your company or enterprise could, for a relatively small cost, get its message out to a larger audience, and in so doing give the Association potentially wider options in providing improvements for its members and the School.  Get in touch at:



YX Ball



 NEWS FROM AGM 2015                                                                                                                                                               13/05/15

Gallipoli Anniversary - Successful Grant Application  We recently received the welcome news that our application under the Centenary of Gallipoli Grants program has been successful. This will assist wiith the planned refurbishment of our Archive Room (Old Physics Room) and options as to the best way to proceed are being considered. In this regard, if any ex-students who may have any old period timber office furniture (cabinets, chairs plan tables etc) taking up valuable room in the garage, that they would be willing to donate to this venture, we would be very pleased to hear from you. Alternatively, if there are others that may have cabinet making skills who would be willing give their time towards the preservation of this room's original features, in making any of these items, we would love to hear from you.  email me at  

ANZAC Trail Project:  Other good news is that DHS has been accepted by the City of Greater Dandenong to be included in its ANZAC Trail project, which especially recognises buildings and sites with  associations to WW1 and the Gallipoli campaign.  The DHSESA provided resource material and references to assist the Council's considerations.  The Trail will be marked with a suitable plaque at the front of the property, which will provide a brief explanation of the property's connection with the Great War, and together with the use of a Smart phone, will allow passers-by to see additional web-based pictorial and written accounts of the site's  historical significance in the life of early Dandenong..

U3A PRESENTATION: On 2 March the President and Secretary provided the Dandenong Branch of U3A with an overview of the history of DHS, beginning with  early moves towards a High School, in 1907, right through to the a recently completed Performing Arts complex and gymnasium.In the first part of the presentation Gary cited historic newspaper articles, together with 'Powerpoint' slides, while after the tea break, Greta used a "show and tell" approach for the sixties onwards, with the assistance of our large collection of enlarged photographs, together with various items of former students' school uniform.

REUNIONS:  it was noted that three successful reunions were held in 2014, namely Dandenong Girls School/Cleeland (September) Doveton Tech (October) and the Class of 1979 (November).  On the same subject, committee member Margaret Haywood is helping to arrange a Class of 1975 event in October while ex-student Russ Newton is working on  a 50th anniversary for his year 12. Looking further forward, we need to begin adjusting our focus toward the School’s Centenary in just four years time.

NEWSLETTER: Don indicated that it was a joy to be continuing in this role and that in the year ahead he will be particularly looking to encourage future contributions from ex-students who were at the school in the period either before or after the popular 50s/60s. He thanked all concerned for their input.

WEBSITE: Gary reported on the small but encouraging number of ‘ex-pat’ ex-students who had contacted him through the website in order to get in touch with old school friends on the other side of the globe. He gave two separate instances of Queensland exies he had reunited with classmates in the Middle-East and Holland respectively. This process had also enabled a further two, one living in Somerset, England and the other in Belfast Northern Ireland, to contact each other.


Click HERE to see details of  the Christiane Buttié and Henri Licht address

 FLUTE PRESENTATION: During our last Committee Meeting on 18 March 2015, the opportunity was taken to present year 12 student Lu Deng, with the Association's competition-standard flute, as a mark of the progress she is making in her DHS music class. Lu will retain the instrument on a loan basis for the remainder of the year.

Lu is pictured here together with, from left,our resident musiicologist, Dawn Harris, President, Greta Jungwirth, and Lu's Flute Teacher, Evonne Hampton.


On 29 December, 2014, we received a 'flying visit' from Ex-Student and long-time Belfast resident, Anjelika Chambers (nee Reibnegger 1957 - 1961) .  Angelika called in briefly while on short visit to Aus where she was catching up with family and friends in several states. While here she just had time to renew her membership with the Association!

 It has been pleasing to note that through the Christmas holiday period we have so far added the following exies to the Guest Book:                      

Brendan Murray (1973 - 1979) Has been living in Europe for 25 years.  Hope to hear more from him soon: * Paul Ferguson (1964-1969) I have arranged for him to make contact with former classmate Paul Ashford: * Frances Benson (Froukje Van de Vrugt 1960 - 1964) Lives in Cairns  I have arranged for her to make contact with former classmate Anneke Pereboom (Veldman) : *John Jewell (1966 -1973) *Cynthia Dawson (1964 - 1969) *Geoff Sundstrom (1965 - 1970)


REFUGEE STUDENTS IN NEED OF  FINANCIAL SUPPORT            27 December 2014                                      (As extracted from an article in the current edition of our Member Newsletter)

 It has come to our attention, through the School, that a group of fifteen "unaccompanied minors', is being educated at DHS. In other words, teenage refugees who have arrived in Australia without their parents, or other adult relatives. These boys are being housed together, with minimal support, little access to Social Services, and with restrictions on their activities..  They are studying to obtain their VET Certificates, with lessons being conducted at DHS and at the local Chisholm TAFE College.  A major stumbling block for them is that they do not have the means to pay the subject fees, which can be anything from between $100 and $600.

We make an appeal, as a matter of urgency,  to fellow 'exies' to offer one-off payments for these fees, so that these boys may  have a chance to become qualified and make a positive contribution to our society. You may direct a donation via cheque to The Treasurer, DHS EX Students Assoc, PO Box 383 Dandenong 3175 OR by EFT direct to the Association's A/C, nominating  BSB 633 108 , A/C NO.  133689158      If you you decide on the 2nd option please notate as 'refugee donation'.  Should you need further information please contact the Secretary at the email address shown under "Contacts".


It is encouraging to learn that a number of 'exies' have already taken up this challenge.

 Scholarship Winners

The Association recently announced the winners of various awards under the Edna Dawson Vukmirovic Scholarship Program.  Full details will be published shortly, however at this stage we advise that Year 9 Student Misi Tanuvasa has received the main award for his impressive performance with Classical Guitar.  Misi will have the full use of a competition standard guitar for the remainder of his schooling at DHS.

 Pictured above Misi receives his guitar from Dawn Harris (left) and President Greta Jungwirth


 A small but enthusiastic number of members attended the Association's AGM, which was held on Saturday 17 May, being convened as usual in our Archives Room, the former Physics Room, at the top of the stairs.

Looking back on the calendar of events at which the Association involves itself each year, President Greta Jungwirth instanced the Student Leaders'  Badge assembly, the ANZAC Day services, and the Student Leaders luncheon. The latter providing an opportunity for informal sharing of experiences of the senior cohort, while learning of the aspirations of the young.  Ex-Students either participate in and/or attend other key functions, viz, the auditioning of candidates for the Edna Dawson Vukmirovic Music Scholarship, the House Chorals, and finally the end of year Awards Night presentations.

The monthly committee meetings are well attended, and, together with weekly archiving workshops, this dedicated group oversees a diverse range of member issues and requests, as well as assisting with reunion preparations and displays of memorabilia. In relation to the committee, we will miss George Gill’s presence and sage advice around the table, following his decision to retire. He has held a number of positions over the years, and was responsible, in 2011, for the restoration of Mr Griffiths’ desk. George’s position has been filled by Penny Meallin, who rejoins us after serving in a number of roles previously. 

Our Historian, Dawn Harris, commented that work continues satisfactorily on the “headquarters” archives, including the photograph collection and organising of displays. Margaret Haywood reported on the archiving of records from the former Dandenong Girls Secondary School and its successor, Cleeland Secondary College, and a similar backlog of material left after the close of the Doveton Secondary College and Doveton Technical School. 

Don Metcalfe was pleased to report that edition 60 of the Newsletter has just been distributed, and the present interest being shown by those wishing to contribute articles augurs well for the future. He instanced an item just promised at the meeting from Dr Jean Allison. 

In terms of the website, Gary Matthews reported steady growth in those joining the Guest Book as well as contributions of photos and news items he regularly receives from home and abroad. As an example, a well attended reunion lunch in October resulted from him being contacted by an exie living in England. 

Our Membership Officer, Gail Saddler reported that the database comprises a total of 3060 names. The current 211 active members include former school captains, who receive complimentary membership, as do those over 80 years of age. There are 54 senior members, 5 life members, and of last year’s members, 45 are still to pay in the current year. 

Assistant Treasurer, Ruby Constable, standing in for our Treasurer Russ Weber, tabled the Audited Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2013, which indicated an overall sound financial position. 

Musical Item:The Music Domain Leader Sheridan Ford introducedYear 12 student Kasey Boavida, who gave a pleasant rendering of the folk song “When She Loved Me”, by Sarah McLaughlin.     

Film Screening: Among the Girls’ School archives a 16mm film was discovered which depicts scenes from the school’s beginnings in the old umbrella factory, as well as separate footage of the 1957 Dandenong Show. These have since been transferred into digital format and compiled into two 10 minute DVDs, which Philip then arranged to be screened. Copies of the DVDs have been made available for sale at a cost of $10 each.


Following the screening, Penny Meallin, who had recently returned from a three month assignment in Moscow, gave an ad-hoc account of some of her experiences, while working as part of a team of travel consultants in the lead-up to the Winter Olympics recently held in Sochi. 

This was a fascinating insight into what life is really like in the former Soviet Union. Penny said the trip had been a life-changing experience in so many ways, despite the acute language barrier that made carrying out the simplest tasks such as shopping a major event. She felt however, that Russia to her, at least the Muscovites, still seemed to be locked in the past of the Cold War, with few smiles on people’s faces and limited goods in the shops. Her description of the office work environment seemed closer to a military approach. There were some lighter moments fortunately, at various social occasions, where the ability of the locals to sing well-known songs in beautiful harmony will be a lasting memory for her. 

And so another AGM was almost over, the only other 'agenda' item being the usual sociable “cuppa” and tasty tit-bits!.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     5 December 2013


At the Association's committee meeting on 27 November 2013, the Principal, Susan Ogden, announced some exciting developments in the way in which academic scholarships are to be awarded at DHS.  Commencing shortly,  fourteen new Learning Scholarships will be awarded, one junior school and one senior school, from each of the school's  seven Houses. Each annual scholarship will be valued at $200, and is to be awarded to the best-performed student in each House, across the range of subjects he or she is studying. 

Further details are still to be finalised, however, the Ex-Students' Association has agreed in-principle, to support one senior school scholarship in its name.  It is understood that the Dandenong Rotary Club is prepared to fund a number of scholarships.

Anyone interested in funding one of the new awards, perhaps in their name, or in memory of a past-student, should contact me at  or contact the school direct on 9792 0561.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 5 December 2013


 In a separate announcement at the Association's committee meeting on 27 November, Principal Susan Ogden indicated that Stage 3 of the rebuilding program, namely the 350 seat Performing Arts theatre and Gymnasium, is progressing well, and is expected to be ready for its official opening in June of next year. 


 Foster Street Dandenong was the scene on Friday 15   November, for the official launch, in front of a large gathering, of the city’s newest Community House. Known as “Brand New Day”, the completely refurbished building, dating from 1928,  will  be remembered by some as the  address from which dentist Clive Sandy conducted his practice for fifteen years, until the late 1960s.

The property was recently acquired and  renovated by ex-student Margo Hartley (nee Corbin, 1956 -59).  Together with a group of dedicated volunteers, she is providing all of the facility’s training and counseling services to those of the town, such as newly arrived migrants and the disadvantaged, who are in need of the  skills required to take their place in the community, as well as being better placed to find  work.

Those participating will be given expert guidance in developing every-day skills, such as competency in English, running a household, including cooking, sewing and domestic budgeting.  They will also be introduced to other life-skills, including computer work, craftwork, gardening and handyman skills. Margo,who has long had a dream of doing something such as this, sees its main purpose as giving hope and meaning in people’s lives, and empowering them in a caring and nurturing environment. We wish her and her team every success in this exciting venture.



The CEO of the City of Greater Dandenong, John Bennie, cuts   the ribbon to open Margo Hartley’s new Community House, “Brand New Day”, in Foster St Dandenong. 







The lounge and kitchen areas of the new facility.






                                                The children's room







    The  short-skills courses room













                  Portion of the new veggie garden


Ex-Student visit from UK leads to

Lunch for 1958 Classmates

UK resident,  Monica Richmond's  (nee Phillips) short visit to Dandenong on 25 October 2013, was the catalyst for a lunch to be organised at the Pavilion restaurant. Twenty of Monica's  Form 5 classmates from 1958 used the opportunity to renew old friendships, in what can only be described as  a very relaxed, and at times,  highly animated atmosphere.   Many had travelled long distances, from as far afield as Queensland, alpine NSW, Gippsland and  South West Victoria.

Many felt that this event had been so successful, they want to do it again soon!

During the visit Monica also briefly visited the Peninsula Campus of Monash University (formerly Frankston Teachers College) where she, in company with a great many DHS students, had attended. 





       Monica in 4B, in 1957

   Monica at her home in                Somerset in 2013


 A brief moment of calm to permit a photo

 Monica Richmond (Phillips) and Heather Baillie (Barker)

 Sandra Hobson and Helen Chappell (McLachlan)

 Dorothy Reilly (Barber) and Association Secretary Gary Matthews

Julie Hobson and Truus Morgan (Van de Hoef) 

Barbara  Strong (Weeber) Gail Saddler (Jenkins)  and Marian  Chalker (Murray)

Helen Chappell (McLachlan) and Dorothy Reilly (Barber)

George Nikolajuk with Gail Saddler (Jenkins) 

Sandra Hobson and Heather Baillie (Barker) 

John Leah and Monica Richmond (Phillips) 

Mary Cunneen  (Abbott) and Beryl  Gorry (Gerdsen)

Vera  Bennett (Williamson)                            Beverley  Howard (Tyres)




Don Metcalfe and his wife Lorraine (nee Vincent)together with Gary and Carole  Matthews had a meal with Monica, the day before her flight back to the UK.


(Sandra Hobson took the photo )




As part of its monthly meeting cycle, approximately twenty members of the Dandenong Historical Society attended our Archives Room on Sunday 20 October, to gain an  understanding of the history of the Association and its work within the School , as well as the extent of its history collection. The President, introduced Secretary, Gary Matthews, who gave a short presentation, covering the main milestones in the school's history, from its founding in 1919, until the recent completion of the seven new 'Schools within Schools' that dominate the property at the rear of the main building.

Gary illustrated his address with a number of  references from old newspapers and other materials, including items such as, the events leading up to the founding of the school; the radio broadcast of the opening of  Federal Parliament in 1927; and the role of the "whistle blower" in signalling beginning and end of classes. Additionally, he instanced  the temporary housing of families due to the floods of 1934; the waxing and waning of the Ex Students Association, coinciding with world events such as the Great Depression and World War Two, as well as its strong resurgence in the late fifties, and again in the mid-nineties until the present day.

Committee member Philip Harris then screened a number of photos from the database of past 'Gate' magazines, including some items covered in Gary's remarks, as well as others in response to requests from individual audience members who were also past students. Margaret Haywood explained how the archive collection had been expanded, with the addition of recently collated records from the former Dandenong Girls' Secondary School and Cleeland Secondary College, since the latter school's amalgamation with DHS.

 Greta Jungwirth and Dawn Harris concluded with a practical demonstration of the way in which the photo collection is maintained, as well as other items such as former school uniforms. The Historical Society President, Chris Keys expressed her thanks for the very informative and interesting presentation, and following afternoon tea, Assistant Principal, Sally-Ann Dowman led the group in a tour over one of the new buildings.









11 October 2013

Graham and Gay Pettigrove Send Greetings

The secretary and his wife called in to see Graham and Gay (nee Keam) at their lovely seaside home at Pambula Beach today.  We had a good yarn with them both, in between other family members calling in, as Gay hasn't been well for some time.  They were both keen to say a big hello to all their DHS friends. 



On Wednesday 17 April 2013, a very good representation of the Matriculation class of 1946, ably supported by others from the Classes of 1945 and 1947, together with committee and family members, congregated in the school library for an auspicious event.  This was the culmination of many months preparation and work by the two key organisers, Ken Dickinson and Bill Stanhope, who formally presented the Principal, Susan Ogden, with a full-size framed photograph of their much-loved former Headmaster, J L Griffiths, who led DHS from 1937 until 1952.

The original painting, now belonging to Mr Griffiths' granddaughter, herself a school principal, was an entrant in the 1944 Archibald Prize. The artist John S Heath, who was trained in the Max Meldrum School, and later became a Collins St dentist, submitted eight entries for the covetted prize, between 1938 and 1948. The artist's son, John, a member of the 1946 group, followed his father into the dental profession.

 The Presentation

 Pictured above, are from left, Principal , Susan Ogden, John Heath, Ken Dickinson, Ex-Students' Assoc. President, Greta Jungwirth, and Bill Stanhope

The Gathering 

 Front Row from left: Jean Dickinson (nee Falloon) Bill Stanhope, John Dawson, June Goldsworthy, (nee Young) John Heath

2nd Row: Don Jackson, Frank O'Shea, Ken Dickinson, Brian Logan, Max Gregory



It is sad to report that much loved former teacher, and DHS ex-student Max Oldmeadow, passed away on 21 March 2013. Max had been a student at DHS from 1936 to 1939, and returned after the intervention of the WW2 and further study, as a history teacher, from 1951 to 1956 and again from 1962 to 1966.  Max entered federal parliament, as the Labor Member for the Dandenong based seat of Holt for the term of the Whitlam government, ie, 1972 to 1975.  Returning to teaching, Max was later promoted to Principal of Chandler High School, the position from which he retired in 1982.  It was during this period that he also found time to co-author a number of history textbooks.

Retirement was not about putting his feet up, as he immediately began a three year period as the government representative on the Victorian Teaching Service Conciliation & Arbitration Commission, and was already midway through a six year term as a member of Monash University Council.  Thoughout his life Max, together with his wife Pam (Saunders DHS 1940- '43)  had been tiireless members of the Methodist (Uniting)  church as well as holding an exhausting number of roles in the community.

Max was farewelled by a packed congregation at the memorial service, held on 27 March 2013.


Brenda Jones pictured in her 1960 Olympic blazer,with Gary Matthews at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University. Gary had  originally  been made aware of Brenda's feat by Florida USA  resident, Helen Loughman (Downes) a former DHS classmate of Brenda's, who had sent a copy of an old newspaper cutting she had kept, which detailed Brenda's great achievement at Rome in 1960.




Brenda  Jones Carr Presents Pierre de Coubertin Award

Tuesday 18 December 2012, was indeed a 'Red-Letter' day for DHS, when our only Olympian, Brenda Jones Carr, travelled from Queensland to attend the Robert Blackwood Hall, at Monash University, to present the Pierre de Coubertin award, to student Noa Amosa, for her  outstanding sporting performance during the year. Brenda won the silver medal in the women's 800 metres, at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, a truly amazing effort!

Brenda,  obtained her Leaving Certificate in 1953, and following encouragement from languages teacher, Miss Bessie Stainforth, who introduced her to champion athlete, Winsome Cripps, she quickly became involved with the Glenhuntley Athletics Club, where she blossomed as an athlete.  While she was selected to compete at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, the Womens 800 metres was not run, and it was not until four years later that Olympic officials finally relented to the ongoing requests of local organisers to allow the event to take place, taking the viiew previously that such a distance was too stressful for women.

As it transpired, Brenda was just edged into second place by the Russian contestant, by eight one hundredths of a second in the final few metres of the race.  The race itself can be viewed on "You-Tube" at:






In early 2007, the Association suggested, and the School agreed, that the enlargement of the School, resulting from the recent merging of the former Cleeland and Doveton Secondary Colleges with DHS, be marked with the installation of a stained glass leadlight window in the "fanlight" above the main entrance of the Langford Building.  The design depicts the School crest and motto, together with a stylised representation of the AIF, symbolising the origin and linkage of the School colours with the 1st Light-Horse regiment of our founding Headmaster, Mr Percy Langford.

  The window was installed during the 2012 Term 1 holidays, and was officially unveiled by the School Captains, at a short cermemony, on 27 April, 2012, fittingly enough, immediately following the annual ANZAC ceremony. 







Pictured in front of our newly installed window on 27/4/2012 are: Lorraine Metcalfe, Dawn Harris, Gary Matthews, Don Metcalfe, Greta Jungwirth, and Sally Dowman




At its regular monthly meeting on 7 December, 2011,Committee members of the DHS Ex Students’ Association presented promising Year 9 music student, Koko Wu, with a new orchestra-standard flute.  The flute has been given to Koko on a loan basis, for her exclusive use, while continuing to make good progress as a music student at DHS.  

The award is part of the  long running program, financed by the Ex-Students’ Association, through a scholarship fund in memory of long-serving teacher and senior mistress, Edna Dawson Vukmirovic, which recognizes talented music students. The scope of the fund has been extended recently, to also include outstanding abilities in Drama and Art.


Pictured in the Back row are:George Gill (DHS 1947-‘51) Mrs Sally-Ann Dowman, Ass’t Principal, Russ Weber (1955-‘60)  Phil Harris (Archives Officer)                                                                        Front Row: Greta Jungwirth DHSESA President (1957-‘62) Koko Wu, Dawn Harris (1954-’57) Yvonne Neal, Flute Teacher ______________________________________________________________________________________




The School's annual ANZAC assembly on 29 April, 2011, took on special significance this year, when Dr Ruth Bishop, AO, daughter of our founding Headmaster, Mr Percy Langford, presented the School with a copy of her father's World War 1 diary. Mr Langford had painstakingly taken pencilled notes of  his experiences in Egypt and on the battlefield at Gallipoli, until he had to be evacuated back to Australia, after contracting typhoid fever. 

The diary will be an invaluable asset to the school, both as an ongoing  learning tool for students, and, from the Ex Students Association point of view, as a means of gaining further insights into the man, whose vision and determination  in the school's formative years, established not just the buildings, but also through the warmth of his personality, had such a vital role in fostering that unique "school spirit", that all of us remember  today.


Mr Percy Langford, photographed at Melbourne in full uniform, before departing for service overseas, in September 1914 


NEW STUDENT AWARDS ANNOUNCED                                                                                           (posted 22 January 2011)

Towards the end of 2010, the Ex-Students' Association received a donation from the Dandenong Festival od Music and Art for Youth, as part of the sad demise of that long serving Dandenong institution.  Investment of the funds received  has enabled the establishment of two new annual awards to promising students in drama and the visual arts.  This tangible recognition will help with the funding of texts and general classroom needs.  The first of the new awards was presented at the 2010 Awards Night in Monash University's Robert Blackwood Hall.




The photo below shows a social get tpgether of "1946'ers" held in 2010.

Back Row: Colin Barraclough, John Heath, Bill Stanhope,  Frank O'Shea, Noel Courtney, Len Lloyd,  Ken Dickinson                                                                                                                                                       Front Row: Brian Logan, Dorothy Lloyd, (nee Griffiths) June Goldsworthy (nee Young) Max Gregory, Don Jackson



       A former student James Caulfield, was recently engaged to carry out the digitising of the entire collection ** of "Gate" magazines.  The resulting data base has provided the School with a very useful learning tool and the Association with a ready reference  for soucing display material and researching the wide range of enquiries we receive from ex-students.




In March/April of 2011, the Association received the good news we had been waiting for, for some time. The School advised that, now that all students have been housed in the newly completed "House" buildings, we could move our storage cabinets and other archives into the larger upstairs corner room, located next door to where we had been previously meeting .  As most will remember, this was the former physics room , and as a corner room, as well as being larger, is also much lighter, with windows on two walls. 

Furnishings appropriate to the age of the Langford Building will gradually be added.  The first of these has been the donation of former long serving Headmaster, Mr Griffiths' desk. The desk was made by members of a "sloyd" class, in  the late 1940's, and was acquired by the late Edna Dawson Vukmirovic, and later inherited by her daughter,  Stana Sargood.  The desk was beautifully restored recently, through the painstaking efforts of committee member, George Gill.   

It is hoped that when refurbishment works, planned for the Langford Building,are carried out, the original appearance of the room will be able to be retained. We are also grateful to the School for the provision of a very handsome meeting room  table and chairs.  The space provided by this room will now allow more ambitious displays of memorabilia  to be assembled.

The first formal meeting held in the room, apart from regular archiving sessions, was the 2011 AGM.



At the 2008 Annual Meeting, comment was made on the many changes currently taking place within the school, with building works designed to house an enlarged school population which were then about to begin. In this context the Association welcomed School Council decisions to retain the existing school name, emblem, motto and colours. It was noted that the Ex Students Association had made strong representations on all theses issues. The related decision to move to a new scheme of seven Houses, to replace the traditional four of Bluegum, Clematis, Orchid and Wattle, was however, noted with regret.

The new House names, which will coincide with each of the new "Schools Within Schools" (SWIS) buildings, will be Banksia, Callistemon, Darwinia, Eucalyptus, Fern, Grevillea and Hakea.


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