The place was buzzing as many renewed friendships with those they hadn’t seen for more than 40 years. Many staff returned to share in the reminiscing and the oldest living former resident 86-year-old … came from Brisbane with some of his family.
Not deterred by the steady rain on Saturday 28 April, some 250 crowded into the marquee which stretched between the buildings.
The day began with a M%u0101ori welcome and participants were given a picnic bag and there was a sausage sizzle.
Sr Margaret Anne Mills and Marie Thomson put on their clown and fairy costumes and entertained the children so that parents could look at the photos around the walls and swap memories.
People who were in the Home of Compassion orphanage had formed close bonds, the older ones looking after the younger trying to fill the gap left by their parents.
Sr Annette Green said they talked of the wonderful Christmases and the parties they had in the home.
‘The ones there as children found it easier because they didn’t know anything else. Those who came and went from homes had a harder time. They cared for one another so well and the hardest part was when the older ones left.’
Some family members came with them to share memories of a part of their lives many said they had not been able to talk about previously.
On Sunday morning almost 600 people packed the marquee for Mass after which the sun came out in time for lunch outside.
Sr Annette said the buzz continued with participants sharing their enthusiasm with the Sisters in the weeks after the celebrations.