On Saturday 30th January, Edinburgh schools alumni living in New South Wales were invited to attend an in-person event, the Watsonian annual Burns Supper which took place at the Occidental Hotel in Sydney. 1955 Mary Erskine leaver Rosemary Williams (Kerr) decided to travel to Sydney and attend the occasion and she has sent the following report about the event:

“I had to wait until just a couple of weeks before the date just to make sure it was okay to go because of the virus which had sprung up again in an area of Sydney, but luckily all was okay and I flew down to Sydney on the Saturday and was staying at the hotel where the function was so just had to go down 3 floors in the lift. Of course Pat (the organiser) was there and met up with her and everyone else was so welcoming.

I was definitely the oldest there, some of them being younger than my two daughters, but I think some of them were probably in their 60’s and maybe a little older. Quite a few of the fellows were in full Scottish regalia and as had been mentioned in the information about the event, one of the attendees was a poet and entertainer and some of his poems were really fun, and then we had a piper who of course piped in the haggis and our poet (Harry) said the ode.

The evening just flew past. We had a trivia game early in the evening and then another later after we had changed tables before dessert so were sitting with different people. They had been hoping that about 10 ex-Heriots would be there, but unfortunately they had another dinner of their own that night, so the only other person from another school in Edinburgh was a fellow from Fettes and it was also his first night there. I wasn’t the only one from outside Sydney, but the others were in a much closer vicinity that me.

It was lovely though going back for the 3 nights to Sydney and I was able to catch up with some neighbours from when I lived there. In Coffs Harbour where I live you would hardly know there was a virus, so I found it strange  in Sydney having to wear a mask all the time on public transport and also in the airports and planes. But even there it is nothing like you are having over there.”

If you live in Australia and don’t receive information about events such as this one, please contact Suzi or Tania on development@esms.org.uk to be added to our list. You can also join the Edinburgh Schools Sydney group on Facebook which you can find here.

The Edinburgh Schools Sydney group do have a casual meet up planned for Saturday 20th March from 2-5pm at the Glenmore Hotel on Cumberland Street. All are welcome and no prior booking or notice is necessary.

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