Photos lost in bushfires being replaced

They were the photos they feared had been lost forever.

But thanks to the industrious efforts of teachers and school administrative staff, they are slowly being re-printed and returned to parents and students who lost everything in the October bushfires.

Mum, Susan Templeman, says she’s so grateful to Winmalee Public School’s teacher/librarian Jo Wilkinson who, she understands, spent her Christmas holidays tracking down the pictures.

“I suspect the kids don’t appreciate it as much as the parents, but it’s all there — the debating groups for Harry, the dance groups of Phoebe, the Kindi photos,” Ms Templeman, a media consultant and the unsuccessful ALP candidate for Macquarie at the last election, said.

Ms Templeman’s son Harry just had time to grab ­her computer, some early family photos and the cat before fleeing to the safety of the Winmalee town centre.

But “all their school photos, the ones that had not been put into albums” didn’t make it, she said.

Mrs Wilkinson, with a volunteer mum, Heather Conte, said she tracked down the records of more than 15 families, current and former students.

“I’ve got the archives, we decided to start the search and replace as many as we could - some people still can’t talk yet, but they have thanked us, Pam Gosbee did the same at Ellison.”

Earlier this month Winmalee High School put out a final call on Facebook to ex-students who lost school portraits to contact the school’s computer co-ordinator so that free replacement photos can be ordered from the school photographers.

Ellison Public School principal Rob Hutchinson says his school is still in the process of getting back photos to families while also doling out regular care packages (with money) to the families affected.

“We’ve re-done awards cards, merit certificates and reports and are in negotiations ... about trophies.”

St Thomas’s Aquinas in Springwood is also going through their photo archives of current and former students and is  in touch with pre-schools.

St Columba’s College has already put current families in touch with the school photographer. Past students were encouraged to contact the school and ask for Karen Delany.

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