NOW AND THEN: Mary Austen and Molly Dungey who were both Dux of their years.
NOW AND THEN: Mary Austen and Molly Dungey who were both Dux of their years. Tyrone Dungey

School DUX winners 80 years apart meet

IMAGINE an education system before the introduction of technology, where google didn't exist and Wi-Fi wasn't yet invented.

A couple of months ago Residential Manager Tyrone Dungey from St Francis Aged Care was spending time with resident Mary Austen, when he happened to mention that one of his daughters, Molly, had just been awarded Dux of South Grafton Public School.

Dungey said Mary immediately "lit up" and a huge smile spread across her face, and she replied saying how wonderful that was.

"She then told me she was Dux of South Grafton Primary in 1938," Mr Dungey said.

A few weeks later Molly came into the facility for the St Francis Christmas Party, where she was introduced to Mary.

"They had a lovely conversation, and once again Mary was very animated and didn't stop smiling."

Ms Austen spoke to the Daily Examiner about how she felt when she received the award 80 years ago.

"There's a little bit of glory, but my parents were happy about it, " Ms Austen said.

Mary's older sister was also Dux but at least four years before her.

Mary talked about how much she enjoyed school and not just in one subject, in it's entirety.

"I was one of those strange students that liked school."

"You got up in the morning, dad went off to work, it was a routine, " Ms Austen said.

Because she only lived a block away, she got to walk to school everyday.

"It was a bit of an advantage living so close to school."

There were only 30 students in her year in that time, and Mr Dungey said there would be about a hundred now.

After she graduated primary, she went onwards to Grafton highschool because there wasn't a South Grafton High yet.

Her son was in the original first class of South Grafton High, with all her children going there as well.

Mary stayed in school until her intermediate year, which was Year 3 of high school but then left.

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