The story behind this!
The time is 9am, January 1960 and into the hallowed grounds of St Joseph’s College, Darley Road, troop in a bevy of tender and innocent 3 year olds bound for the “Baby Class”. Little did they know, that more than half a century later, now successful, mature men and certainly not innocent (!) they would still be together!
The first proof of this gathering is in a Grade 2 photograph of the puppet play supplied by Cornel Van Dort with himself, Jeremy De Lima, Felix Einstein Mohan Pragasam, Aubrey Einstein Joachim and Christopher Chapman together with both the now sadly departed Pierre Ferdinands and Krishna Tampoe. We progress to Grade 3 where the imposing figures of Trevor Foenander and Gavin Perera join us. Benjy Schuilling astride “Dinky” comes up in Grade 4 where there is a recollection of Leary Flamer-Caldera, the first wearer of pointed shoes, staunchly defending Nanda Corea in a schoolboy fracas. Leary also displays his aquatic prowess, diving like a fish to retrieve the most spoons, thrown in for the challenge! Jeremy White, Johan Soerstz, Marlon Vanderwall and William Mustachi excelled here in swimming.
Suddenly we are in Grade 5 where Robin Juriansz achieved notoriety by fracturing his hand during lunch break. Joining the injury list is Dhammita Soza, escorted by Fr Noel to the eye hospital after our legendary “Rubber band” fight. Ranjith Bhagwandas mathematical genius in completing equations before they were written and Patrick Dirckze’ ribald repartee of telling the teacher not to show his teeth when speaking is now etched in our memories. Turning from the ridiculous to the sublime is an indelible memory in our famous chapel which is oh, so rewarding, of Ian Joseph rushing into his father’s arms after they were separated for so long.
Grade 6 suddenly dawned with the entrance of Derek Bolling and the departure of Tyronne Mitchell & Glen Nugera to Australia. Owen Overlunde, our historian with a prodigious memory, to whom most of these recollections are owed, describes where Aloysius McManus, Ajith Rajanayakam, Eldred Symons, Valerian Hakel, Brian Christoffelsz Nihal Fernandez & Rohan Fonseka sat in every class! Next is Grade 7 where Grignion Smith, Callistus Ryan & Elmo Perera joined us. Grade 8 is sadly where our class starts to split up, losing the notable cricketers, Keith Jansen, Lester Daniels and Malcolm Mackelvie whose 8 wickets for 2 runs against Carey College is still a record in Under 16 cricket. Here Brian Von Bergheim joins the throng! In Grade 9 we meet the famous and sadly deceased Gary Melder together with Trevine Fernandopulle and Warren Bocks who is immediately challenged for a fight by Micheal Jayaweera!
Grade 9 and 10 appear to coalesce with our Class producing one of the highest academic results with a record 10 achieving promotion to the Advanced Level, regrettably away from Darley Road to the arch rivals St Peters. This naturally caused the big class break-up aided by more than 75% of the original class migrating, mainly to Australia and Canada.
There were a few prior attempts at mini-reunions with Robin, Owen, Pierre Ranjith Eldred and Jeremy De Lima catching up in Australia as well as Captain Mohan flying in to Sydney and even surprising the De Lima’s aboard their plane in Dubai! Suddenly in 2005, two of the old faithfuls who had kept in touch over the years, Aubrey Joachim and Jeremy De Lima, traded names over a phone call and suddenly began the biggest reunion since the parting of the oceans!
The first gathering of 17 classmates in Melbourne in 2006 after more than 40 years was such a roaring success, it promised much more to come! This was organised by the Melbourne crowd and hosted at a leading city hotel culminating in the famous Old Joes Club Dance. Three years later in 2009 we were fortunate to meet again in the country of our birth and spent a wonderful time with the families travelling around in luxury, enjoying each other’s company to the fullest.
The avalanche continued in 2012 with more than 70% of the original class attending what has been the best reunion so far. All the wives and a few children too met where this all started in Darley Road and had the wonderful choir bringing tears of nostalgia to every single classmate. We even did a tour of the College, noting where we all sat and generally becoming the schoolboys we once were (and still are at heart!) Our travel organiser(who of course comes from the best school in Sri Lanka) arranged for our group to be welcomed at our first destination by caparisoned Elephants and Kandyan dancers complete with the Tom-Tom beating – Didn’t we feel special!
All that is wished for now is to continue to work on what started with just a simple phone call and has had such an influence on the lives of whom we think (with prejudice of course!) is one of the greatest classes our school has produced -
This great Josephian class of 1970.
Fiat lux “In Scientia et Virtute
(Let there be light, through knowledge and virtue)