Last update on site 21 January 2015
A very warm welcome to our site!
The Ex-Students Association helps former students and staff of the Dandenong High School to get in touch with one another, assists with major school reunions, and keeps 'exies' up to date, through this website and Facebook, and in more detail, through a newsletter to members, with news and views of what former students are doing since leaving school. Details of membership are shown elsewhere on the site, as is a growing collection of class photos, school songs and details/conditions of information searches we make from School records in our care, in response to ex-student requests.
We also suggest and work for specific projects in the School, such as the recently installed commemorative stained-glass window, above the main entrance doors. In addition we are committed to the ongoing funding of a Music Scholarship and other student merit awards (see below). The site itself is also proving to be a useful tool for student classwork.
Hope you enjoy your visit here, and would be pleased to hear from you. (see "contact" page)
Percy C W Langford
The life and fortunes of the Dandenong High School Ex Students' Association have waxed and waned since it began in the 1920s. Then it was led by the principal, Mr PCW Langford and supported by enthusiastic staff and former pupils. Many social events were enjoyed in the township and money was raised for the school. This continued throughout the 1930s, although the Great Depression did put a damper on things. By the time World War II commenced, all but the very basics at the school fell by the wayside.
During the 1950s, an energetic revival occurred under the leadership of former Prefect and House Captain, Ted Hook. His group met weekly at the Manhattan Café in Langhorne St Dandenong. They organised dances, final term socials for the students of the school, fundraising events, and were responsible for the highly successful week of celebrations to mark the school’s 40th anniversary. When these group members gradually moved away during the 1960s, to raise families and pursue their careers, the Association once again went into recess. In an “official sense” at least, there appears to have been little or no Ex- Student activity in the socially and politically turbulent period of the late 1960s and 1970s.
Then in 1989, a committee of former staff and students was formed to organise DHS’s 70th anniversary. Former Prefect and House Captain Greta Jungwirth (de Vries) co-ordinated the hastily put together group, and in three months time all was prepared for what was a memorable “Back to” on the 19th August. Thousands of ex- students, together with many former teachers, gathered from all over the country for the weekend of activities, and many didn’t want to leave when the gates were closing. Encouraged by this show of interest and enthusiasm, Greta and members of the organising committee decided to try to capitalise on it, and eventually this led to the present incarnation of the Association.
After a first attempt in November 1990,. a second meeting on 20 February 1992, firmly re-established the Association. The encouragement and support of the principal, Bruce Rayment, was crucial at this time. The aims of the newly formed committee were ambitious, but over the next ten years most were achieved. A data base of former students and staff was established, a history unit was set up to catalogue and store archival materials at the school, items of replica memorabilia (eg, old uniforms) were designed and purchased, a choir of ex-students and staff recorded a CD of school songs in 1996, class decade reunions were held every year, and the committee members took responsibility for organising the 75th and 80th anniversaries of the school.
With over two decades now having passed since re-forming , it is pleasing to note that all of the initiatives embarked on in the 1990s are flourishing, ie, the history collection, a regular Newsletter, members database and major reunions, all form key elements of the Association's activities. Since then, in 2008 a website was established, with growing photo galleries, news items, membership facilities, guest book and song collection.
Significantly also during this time, a number of scholarships have been funded by the Association, with the aim of inspiring and encouraging the musical talents of students. One of these is in honour of the late former principal, Bruce Raymant; while the other acknowledges the unique contribution made to the school by former pupil and long serving teacher, Edna Dawson Vukmirovic.
In addition, the Assoociation funds two further presentations: the Dandenong Festival Art Award, and the Dandenong Festival Drama Award, at the School's annual Awards Night. More recently, the Association has committed to lending financial support to recently announced Academic Scholarships within the School. More details of this are included on the "News" page.
Fund-raising for special projects within the school is ongoing, chief among them being the stained-glass window, referred to earlier in this article, which was installed above the main entrance doors of the Langford Building in 2012. (see article on the "News" page) In addition, there have been other special efforts, such as new House banners, replica badges for House Captains and Prefects, as were used in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as a House Chorals Competition trophy and a new school flag. Among other official school events regularly attended by Committee members are assemblies such as ANZAC Day, the presentation of badges to student office-bearers, the annual Awards Night, House Chorals and an annual luncheon with student leaders.
The Ex-Students' Association today is strong and vibrant, with encouraging interest being shown by more recent students, leading to confidence that it will continue to be a relevant body attached to the school into the future. This will always depend of course upon former students continuing to come forward with a desire to put something back into DHS, enlarged as its student body now is, with the recent inclusion of pupils from the former Cleeland and Doveton Secondary Colleges, and so help to preserve its ever growing history and tradition.