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News > INTERNATIONAL ALUMNI > Bringing alumni together in Brisbane!

Bringing alumni together in Brisbane!

Arthur Hay and Robert Pickering (OW 1972-1977) met up for the first time since school - 40 years ago!
Arthur with Rob and his family
Arthur with Rob and his family

Recently, Arthur Hay contacted our alumni office to ask for a message to be passed onto his school friend, Rob Pickering. Emails were exchanged and in Brisbane, Australia the two friends met up, for the first time in 40 years!


The Walhamptonians, 1972-1977, have been living in Australia for many years and when Arthur had the chance to go to Brisbane whilst on a trip to the Gold Coast, he made the connection. They met up in September and Arthur was delighted to meet Rob’s family.


Here’s how both men made their way to Australia and their memories of Walhampton:


Arthur Hay


I came to live in Australia in 1989.  My mother was a New Zealander and at the age of 20 I walked out of a bad job that I had put great hopes in, feeling very disillusioned, sold my car and bought a plane ticket to NZ.  I was able to claim a NZ passport which enabled me to work there legally and also gave me full access to Australia.  I spent the best part of 1985 in NZ but also 6 weeks in Australia.


I went back to the UK and after working for a few years still had itchy feet to be down under.  It would be a pity to waste the opportunity to live in Australia when I could just walk in and others had to apply for a lengthy process, as so many people wanted to move to Australia. I decided on Adelaide, as that was my favourite place I visited as a back packer, and 6 working days after arriving I was offered a good job and best of all I got a week’s notice to start which enabled me to find somewhere to live and buy a car.


I have worked in the same job now for almost 20 years as a sales rep for a packaging and industrial supply company which I enjoy; I do my own thing and I spend a lot of the day outside in the fresh air all be it on industrial estates. I am married and have two daughters who are both at university. I was in Brisbane after visiting the Gold Coast where I am in the process of selling a rental apartment I own. I am active in a couple of community groups and a church and have been doing some training in the ministry by correspondence.


Some of my best memories of the school were the week long expeditions late in the summer term; I went to Mull, Wales and France, and also other outdoor activities like sailing. I was not too keen on the rugby!  Also Sunday afternoons when we could go exploring in the woods.

Robert Pickering


How I ended up in Australia…after uni in Newcastle (UK) I went back the Kenya (parents lived there) for 9 months and decided I didn’t want to be cold for the rest of my life. Figured Australia was warm so went to Melbourne to do an MA at Melbourne Uni. Sadly my geography skills were somewhat lacking as Melbourne was about as miserable as the UK (weather wise). I now live in Brisbane and work in Agriculture (Ag) for John Deere (green and yellow tractors). I have been with the company for 27 years!! Love my job, people and Ag. After all we all have to eat so Ag is a great business to be in.


I am married with a son and now have my family (mum and dad) living 30 minutes away which is lovely and my sister in Melbourne.


Memories of Walhampton…the cellars (rather foreboding on my first day)…the fabulous grounds and the flying fox (sadly occupational health and safety seems to have caught up with a 30’ drop, a rather iffy rope and a wooden seat)…great summer trips and over boiled cabbage! 


I went back to Walhampton last year and met up with Charlie Nicholson who kindly took me and my family around the school. It seems a lot smaller than I remember (…or perhaps I’ve grown up), but still has a lovely feel to the place. The beer at the local didn’t taste too bad either! 

Wonderful memories of a special school that made me the independent person I am today.

If you are living abroad and would like help meeting up with an old friend, please do get in touch with Sam Allen,

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