School friends last the test of time

TODAY Freya Bieniek and Eliza Brooking will be walking through the gates of Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School as best friends, just like their mothers did 30 years ago.

Despite a long distance relationship, Rachael Brooking and Gabriel Bieniek’s friendship has stood the test of time but they never imagined, more than three decades ago, they would have girls who love spending every minute together as well. 

Ms Bieniek said the secret to a long-lasting friendship was to never be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone, no matter how long it’s been since the last conversation. 

The pair met over 30 years ago, at Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School, which was then St Joseph’s. 

They continued together in the same classes and graduated from James Sheahan Catholic High School in 1992. 

“Never assume just because it has been so long that it will not be the same,” Ms Bieniek said.

“We’d go a long time without talking but then we’d call and we’d talk for over an hour.”

Mrs Brooking and Ms Bieniek went their separate ways after high school. Mrs Brooking stayed around Orange and Ms Bieniek moved around the place and recently moved back to Orange from Canberra.

She said even after long absences, the two, who have musical backgrounds, would get together and Mrs Brooking would play the piano and Ms Bieniek would sing along.

She said the two girls now also play piano.

“There’s no pressure on them, people grow up and have different tastes, but it would be nice if they stayed friends,” she said.

According to a survey conducted by The Australian Psychological Society, the most effective strategy for managing stress was spending time with friends.


IT'S an exciting time of year for all school-aged children: from kindergarten kiddies starting out on the educational adventure to boys and girls moving into primary and high school.

Not to mention the proud mums and dads dressing them in their uniforms and sending them on their way.

So we're putting together a 'School Rules' gallery - showcasing Orange's students as they prepare for the first days back in the classroom for the 2014 educational year.


If you would like your child or children included please email a photo of your child or children to, along with all relevant names, what year the kids are going in to and what school they are attending.

Please remember to send the photo as an attachment to the email, as opposed to copying it into the writing, so that it can be re-produced in high quality.

One lucky family who submits a photo will win a family pass to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

The winners will be announced on Saturday, February 8.

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