Twilight School attendee Kay Mattiske describes the setting, connection and community of the conversation evening experience.

Twilight School: An Outsider’s Reflection

It begins quietly. The weighty, oversized Rupertswood Manor front door is opened to an entry table casually set up in the foyer, the grand staircase in the distance.

People trickle in, stepping tentatively into the grandeur and elegance of times past. A warm and enthusiastic greeting rings out with an invitation to head to the communal supper table, grab a seat and maybe a glass of wine, have a chat. The trickle of people and subdued chatter becomes a garrulous crowd.

Amanda cruises the crowd and snaps shots of long-time friends embracing and new-found friends getting to know each other.


Photo credit: Amanda Piper

Nestled into the large bay window, the stage is set with low, comfortable armchairs. If not for the microphones, this could be a gathering of friends in someone’s living room. The crescendo of chit-chat suddenly dissipates as Bruno takes to the stage in his trademark garb of colourful batik shirt and spectacles perched on his head.

Now who is Bruno’s guest tonight? Remind me what I came to listen to. Truth be told, the topic is mostly irrelevant … whatever and whoever it is will be interesting and, at times, fun, entertaining, thought-provoking or erudite. Frivolous topics or weighty social issues. Notables, pillars of society, fabulous and diverse authors, everyday people with important stories to tell.

Sometimes when the weather’s not right, I’m feeling tired, I’ve got a busy day tomorrow or I just can’t be bothered driving forty kilometres, it’s tempting to pass up a Twilight School do. Hey, I’m not a Sunbury local, I have no connection with Salesian College and I’ve never heard of tonight’s guest.

But then the smarter me kicks in. I’ve loved every Twilight School event I’ve been to, and I’m oh-so-privileged to have this opportunity.

A long time ago I was an outsider at these events. But every time I now walk through that imposing door, I come home.

Kaye Mattiske

Kaye Mattiske is a regular Twilight School, breakfast and writing course attendee. We’re thrilled to be able to post her words here on