SEVEN DECADES: St Mary's students who started in 1947 get together to celebrate their 70-year reunion.
SEVEN DECADES: St Mary's students who started in 1947 get together to celebrate their 70-year reunion. Emma Clarke

Are these ladies the oldest friends in Ipswich?

MORE than 70 years ago, these ladies met for the first time.

They were five-year-olds when they started school at St Marys, Booval Convent and other schools around Ipswich and seven decades later, the girl gang, aptly called Club 47 after the year they started school, is still together.

Jill Carlyle and Marion Mahoney were among those who started junior in 1957 and senior in 1959.

Queens Park Cafe was alive with chatter on the weekend as Ms Carlyle and Ms Mahoney together with the rest of the club shared memories of all those years ago.

They were together to celebrate their 70th anniversary of starting school.

"It is a lovely thing to do, we all know each other so well and share lots of history together," Ms Carlyle said.

"The few of us who live around Ipswich, we get together every six weeks for a coffee, lunch, chat, giggle, all that sort of stuff.

"The first time we caught up was in 1977 when we organised a big reunion and that's where it all started."

Ms Carlyle has fond memories of schooling at St Marys but said the life-long friendships were the fondest.

"The nuns were a vitriol point, some of them were very strict but we had a great education in those days. It's lasted up until today," she said.

"We all loved school back then I'm sure."

Ms Mahoney said there were some special moments that stuck in her memory the most vividly.

"I really enjoyed my time at St Mary's. I made so many friends. I remember the friends the most, the friendships I made. I remember school concerts and school balls and going to Cairns on bus trips. I few of us went there," she said.

"I don't remember what I wore but we were paired up with some of the boys from St Edmunds and we thought that was great. We weren't allowed to talk to them too much but we had to walk past them to go to school. We found a way."


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