Old friends reunite after 70 years

friends reunite

A former teacher and student have been reunited after 70 years in a serendipitous moment during a Volunteer Thank You Lunch at our Kallangur Home.

Beth Williams and Audrey Wigney first met 74 years ago at the school in Ocean View – a rural suburb not too far from our Home in Kallangur – when Beth was a new teacher aged 17 years old and Audrey, a precocious but engaging, young student of 10.

Beth now lives in Maranatha Aged Care, and Audrey in the Village, but both remember clearly the bond they shared between teacher and student.

Beth remembers arriving at the Williams’ house where she was staying and asking where the school was and being pointed to “up there”. She looked up to see a very steep hill with a school building on top which she was to climb to reach her school accompanied by students, but most particularly, Audrey.

From their school on the hill, they could see the whole of Moreton Bay from Caloundra to Brisbane.

The students came from the surrounding ranges, some even arriving on horseback. Audrey used to meet Beth on the way to school and teacher would look after student walking up that steep hill together, over wire fences, creeks and other obstacles which even included snakes.

The tall long-legged teacher and short pretty girl (pictured below) enjoyed their time together going to and from school and had adventures which included being rescued from the flooding Terrors Creek one day by one of the local farmers, Bill Williams, who Beth would later marry.

On their way up that steep hill, there was a big fallen log where they would sit to recover before resuming their long and difficult climb up the hill and survey the view while they regained their energy to complete their climb.

The upside of this climb was the return home when they would take their shoes off and run – the young teacher Beth loved to remove her “sensible shoes” that her parents had bought for her to begin her professional life.

Beth was a loving, caring teacher who mothered her children, as the school was one where she had total responsibility for these students as they came to and from school and while they were there. This was a big responsibility for a young girl of 17, which she enjoyed having as she watched them grown, learn, and reach their potential.

Audrey remembers thinking how very grown up “Miss Hill” was and found it surprising that Miss Hill was only seven years her senior, because as a student, Audrey had loved and respected, even revered, her. Their relationship was particularly poignant as Audrey felt very important as she walked to and from school with this lovely teacher. Audrey feels that Beth had a very big and positive impression on her life which remains to this day.

Beth’s teaching position at Ocean View was her first and while there she and Bill Williams met and decided to marry.

Audrey remembers the engagement party held for Beth and Bill in the community. Beth’s church-based upbringing (as her father was a pastor) came to the fore when she asked “aren’t we going to give thanks for the food?” which made a big impression on Audrey and showed that acknowledging God was an important part of Beth’s life.