Any Old Boy will tell you the Blue and Gold is part of their blood. They love the history, the traditions, the memories, and the lifelong friends they made during their time at Toowoomba Grammar School. Well, it seems the same can be said for many TGS mums.

The Past Mothers’ Group was formed in 1979 by Mrs Mary Campbell who contacted as many past mothers as she could and invited them to meet at her home where the Past Mothers’ Group was officially formed with the intention of retaining links with the School. Fast forward to 2023 and there are now 63 official members and many other past mothers who come along to enjoy the functions.

Barb MacDiarmid is one of those enthusiastic ladies and she has played an integral role in the positive growth of the group. In fact, Barb was so keen, she actually nominated to be PMG Chair at her very first meeting in 2016!

“We were having a lovely morning tea at the Railway Café and I couldn’t help myself, they were desperate and I couldn’t sit on my hands, so together with my friend Jo Brealey we were voted in,” laughed Barb.

Barb was no stranger to the workings of TGS committees; she was on the Board of Trustees from October 2001 until May 2013, a role that she looks on with fondness.

“I loved this time and my involvement with a very interesting group of responsible people,” stated Barb.

“There was an amazing connection between the members of the Board; it was a like a little family. We had an education focus, but also a business focus. It was a time of growth and very enjoyable.”

Barb said one of the highlights during her time on the Board was the “very interesting and stringent” process involved with the appointment of former Headmaster (2002-2020), Peter Hauser. After 12 years on the Board, Barb decided it was time to resign and allow someone new to bring in fresh ideas.

But the pull of the Blue and Gold was still there. Barb’s husband, Manuel is an Old Boy (1966-70) as are their two sons, Jack (1997-01) and Angus (2002-06), and the family had fabulous memories of their involvement with the School, so it wasn’t difficult for her friend Jo to persuade her to “come along to the Past Mothers’ Group” on that “fateful” day in 2016. Barb took to the role of Chair with enthusiasm and passion and with the help of Jo and the other committee members, and the support of the enthusiastic TGS ladies, and TGS staff, they’ve grown the group to what we know today.

The ladies gather for one function each term – a Welcome morning tea, a Mother’s Day lunch, a Term 3 bus trip luncheon, and a Christmas lunch. There is also an “after work drinks” evening held each October to cater to the mums who are unable to make the day events due to work commitments but are still interested in having the TGS connections.

The group also conducts fundraising activities which go towards sponsorship of the annual TGS Junior School Citizenship Speech Day prizes, with any surplus used in various other ways of assisting the School or students.

Barb believes the biggest challenge for the group is encouraging younger past mums to attend the events.

“We write a letter to all the Year 12 graduating mums inviting them to join the group, but there’s so many distractions when their son’ first leave School that most ladies wait until a few years later,” said Barb.

“When they are ready, they like to come back and find out what’s happening at the School, the changes since their boys were here and to reconnect with old friends.”

Barb laughed as she recounted how the women enjoy the functions so much that many arrive at least half an hour before the scheduled start time and will happily stand around waiting for the doors to open. The aim of the group is to let the ladies catch up, have a chat, enjoy the School grounds, listen to Headmaster’s address or other guest speakers and be entertained briefly by the Grammarphones or other TGS performers.

“Everyone loves the boys and loves seeing them, it brings back so many wonderful memories,” Barb stated.

“It’s a good group of ladies and there’s always room for more to come along.”

Barb stepped down from her role as PMG Chair at the end of last year, handing the baton to Dorette Baker.

“It was time to step away and let someone bring in some fresh ideas and a new style,” said Barb.

“I’d like to see it continue to grow and ideally some younger mums take an interest.”

Barb said it was a privilege to steer the Past Mothers’ Group and to be on the Board of Trustees.

“I love the School. I love driving past and seeing how beautiful it looks. There’s great leadership; it’s a wonderful community to be part of. I’m everything but an Old Boy!”

If you would like to join the Past Mothers' Group please email Jenny Bazley - communications@twgs.qld.edu.au We would love to hear from you.

Barb MacDiarmid with Headmaster, Dr John Kinniburgh

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