Lucis Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2022

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The Magazine of the MLC School Family

Autumn/Winter Edition 2022

incorporating Collegiate

MLC School’s goal for each girl when she graduates is to be: –C ompassionate to herself, interacting with others with kindness and celebrating diversity –C ourageous in her pursuits, expressing herself honestly and with integrity to live a life with purpose



–C apable of navigating change, showing leadership in adapting to the multiple paths that her future will take –C onnected to the legacy of MLC School, using it to inspire her to be an agent of change in her world

EDITORIAL Michele Dunn Lucile Jaillais Barbara Hoffman

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nicole Anderson Wendy Chung Barbara Hoffman MLC School community

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Contact Us Ph 02 9747 1266 General enquiries enquiries@

Office Hours MLC School hours are 8am to 4pm week days MLC School acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the School is located, the Wangal people of the Eora Nation, and pays respect to Elders past and present.



Cover photo: In the new fitness studio.





















from the


I have often wondered what it would be like to live on the campus as the Principal. The article by Kathy McKenzie (Bennett, 1972) about her time living in The Tower Wing, gave such a wonderful insight into the rhythms of the School and those of her parents; where they ate, slept and their extra duties in the days when her family lived here in the late 1960s. I now look upon all those rooms, which have taken on a whole new function and purpose, through a completely different lens.

We continue to enhance the facilities at the School. The new Fitness Studio sends a message that girls’ fitness is our priority and the habits formed at school provide a platform for health and wellness for the rest of our students’ lives. It is incumbent upon us all to support our girls to be strong and fit, the evidence linking physical and mental wellbeing is undeniable.

The interview with Tim Lennon, the Director of Indigenous Education, shows his experience and wisdom. Most importantly, he has great passion for his role and for making our School more equal and diverse. Our community has signalled its very genuine support for our Indigenous program and Tim will play a pivotal role in ensuring our approach is authentically embedded and effectively delivered.

In terms of other improvements, this year will see an upgrade of the School’s teaching kitchens as well as a reconfiguration in the Junior School. In the longer term, planning for the Performing Arts Centre is well advanced. The generosity of our community in supporting the Building Fund is critical for us to continue to develop our campus to meet the needs of all students, and I am grateful to all those who give to that fund.

In this issue of Lucis, we also unveil the final piece in our strategy to develop the ‘whole girl’. Blake Fatorous’ discussion about the role of experiential pedagogy and how it marries with our learning and wellbeing approaches, emphasises the importance of co-curricular, outdoor education experiences and immersions as fundamental to the overall delivery of outcomes for every student at the School. The Spirit of MLC School award is a means to support girls reach further into this realm and extend their development of skills and dispositions beyond the mainstream classroom setting.

After two years of restrictions, parents and Old Girls have returned to events at the School. There is so much more on offer to reconnect people throughout the year. I am especially looking forward to seeing our girls’ talent on display and to enjoying the spirit of the great MLC School community once again at Shine.






Introducing Tim Lennon, Director of Indigenous Education Providing access to MLC School for Indigenous students is a key priority for Principal, Lisa Moloney. Over the past few years, the community has signalled its overwhelming support for this initiative and the scholarship program has gained significant momentum. Fundamental to delivering a program to cater for Indigenous students has also been cultural awareness training for all teaching staff and the appointment of a Director of Indigenous Education. Tim Lennon started in that role at the beginning of 2022, and here we learn a little more about his journey to MLC School and his love for his students and his job.

What has been your career journey to this point? After school, I studied a Bachelor of Economics but by the end of my degree I realised I really didn’t want to go into banking or finance. I spent a year and a half backpacking through Europe. It became clear that I wanted to work with young people so I got a job with Father Riley’s Youth Off the Streets looking after kids who were homeless. After three years as a youth worker, I concluded that education was basic to improving the lives of the young people I had been supporting, as most of them had left school early. I decided that I needed to become a teacher and work with these kids to get them back into school. So, I went back to university and studied a Master of Teaching. I went to work at the North Harbour Unit, a behaviour school. Whilst I was there, I realised that if I wanted to support these students and get them back into a mainstream high school, I really needed to know what a mainstream high school was like. So, the next year I started at St Patrick’s College Strathfield as a Religion and HSIE teacher. In my first year there I accompanied a group of boys on an immersion to the Aboriginal communities of Goodooga and Brewarrina. It was my first experience of being on Country with elders and I was fascinated with their depth of knowledge of every plant, animal, and feature of their Country; the ingenuity of the Brewarrina fish traps really intrigued me. I became the Social Justice coordinator in my second year a St Pat’s. This involved looking after community service programs, immersions, taking students out on St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol and working

with the Social Justice group. After nine years at St Pat’s, I moved to Loreto Normanhurst as the Dean of Mission. In that role, I organised the far North Queensland (FNQ) experience where every student in Year 9 spent two weeks in FNQ. Whilst they were away, students spent time with Elders and visited Aboriginal communities. In that role, I started community service immersions to the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah in Year 10 and 11. I proposed and taught the first Stage 6 Aboriginal Studies in 2011 and then nine years latter the first Stage 5 Aboriginal Studies class.

What are your goals at MLC School? I see myself having two main goals here at MLC School. The first one being the successful education of the Indigenous students, making sure that they have every opportunity here to succeed in all aspects of their schooling. The second goal is to educate the non-Indigenous students about Indigenous culture and the true history of Australia, so that when they go on to be leaders of our country they have a good understanding of the First Nations people of Australia.

What do you think will be your main challenges? The biggest challenges of the job will be gaining the trust of the local Aboriginal community, so they feel comfortable coming into MLC School and sharing their knowledge. The building of relationships with our local community is integral to the success of educating non-Indigenous students by providing them with authentic learning experiences.

Who are the Indigenous people you admire? Adam Goodes is one of the Indigenous people I admire. When I worked at Loreto his Go Foundation supported a number of my students; they always felt that they could call him anytime and he would be there for them. When you watch the Final Quarter and the Australian Dream, you see how racism affected him. The way he rises above it, truly exemplifies why he is a role model for all people.

Professor Megan Davis is another Aboriginal person I admire. She has used her great intellect in her work at the United Nations Indigenous forum, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the Families is Culture Review to help make the world a better place for Aboriginal and other Indigenous people. Whenever I read her writing, I become a little bit wiser.

What are the most critical issues facing Indigenous students today? I think the biggest issues facing Indigenous students today is to ensure they feel valued in the classroom. They need to see their culture and knowledge being respected; they need to see themselves reflected in the curriculum; and that teachers expect the best from them.

What are your favourite teaching moments? One of the greatest joys of teaching Aboriginal Studies is having the Aboriginal girls share their culture and experiences in the classroom. It makes Aboriginal Studies more real and come alive. In my 10 years of teaching Aboriginal Studies, two students have discovered their Aboriginal heritage for their Major Project. To be able to support them on their journey as they discovered the truth of their family’s history and met their Aboriginal relatives has been a highlight of my teaching career.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would your be dream job? I really can’t imagine being anything else but a teacher. I love being in the classroom with students and helping them to understand their place in the world.







Blake Fatouros started at MLC School in Term 1, 2006, with a short one term contract to cover for long service leave in the Drama department. Fast forward 16 years and Blake has a pivotal leadership position, as the Director of Experiential Pedagogy. Let’s take a closer look at the milestones of his career and leadership development at MLC School.

4, 2021 his role evolved and expanded further, and Blake became the Director of Experiential Pedagogy.

Blake’s first leadership role was coordinating the co-curricular dance program in the Senior School, which at the time was focused on the annual Rock Eisteddfod Challenge. Over a period of five years, MLC School won the NSW Open Division Grand Final 2008; NSW Regional and NSW Premier Division Grand Final in 2011; and took second place in NSW RAW Division and third place in the RAW National final in 2012.

What, you ask, is the work of the Director of Experiential Pedagogy? The current strategic plan, which places the ‘MLC School girl at the heart of everything we do’, saw the elevation of co-curricular programs to sit beside academics and pastoral care, as a core component of a girl’s education at MLC School.

According to Blake, ‘Working on Rock Eisteddfod allowed me to work with an amazing team of parents and Old Girls. They supported us by sewing costumes, building sets, gaining sponsorship, and doing hair and make-up on the event days.

Blake explains the impact of this further, ‘As we began to develop the programs and processes to achieve our strategic goals, we realised there were aspects of the MLC School girls’ experience such as Round Square initiatives, service, outdoor education, and the immersions that did not fit neatly into the set strategic pillars.

‘From our success in this area, and in alignment with the strategic plan at the time, I was tasked in developing a co-curricular dance program across the Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 learning continuum.’

‘This was the first spark in the move from a simplistic focus on co-curricular programs to the boarder concept of experiential pedagogy.

A promotion to Dance Coordinator (Pre-K – Year 12) followed and under Blake’s guidance, the co-curricular dance program rapidly expanded. When he took the reins in 2013, there were two curriculum dance teachers and one dance tutor. Today, the program has three curriculum dance teachers and six dance tutors. It was evident to those in senior positions that there was more to Blake’s capability. At the end of 2015, he was appointed co-immersion coordinator alongside Gavin Starr. They were responsible for the running of both the Broken Hill Experience and the City Experience in 2016. In Term 4, 2016, a new role came Blake's way, Director of Co-Curricular Programs. In 2019 he was also Acting Round Square coordinator and worked alongside Caitlin White. In Term

‘Though I still oversee both the day-to-day administration and strategic leadership of our co-curricular programs, my new role has a wider scope. I am responsible for leading the new Adventurers program and working on the redesign of the pedagogical approach to immersive learning experiences. ‘Through this new role I have also been able to develop key initiatives such as the Spirit of MLC School Award, which will allow us to better recognise the contribution that girls make to the School community from Year 5 through to Year 8. ‘As the Director of Co-Curricular Programs my focus was predominately on the operational aspects of the programs, as Director of Experiential Pedagogy my role requires a greater balance between operational management and strategic leadership.



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The outer dimension is our Experiential Learning Areas (ELAs). The ELAs are the way we categorise and group the various programs which we offer as a part of our approach to experiential pedagogy. These areas include:







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• Service Initiatives • Making Life-long Connections The next layer outlines the Experiential Pedagogy Lenses (EPLs). These are applied to relevant ELAs to inform our approach to student learning across the Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 continuum. Each lens is underpinned by research and is designed to work in combination enabling us to operationalise the School’s strategic objectives whilst fostering those skills that we deem essential to life beyond MLC School. These are: • Differentiated Approaches • Holistic Wellbeing • Student Agency

Experiential Pedagogy explained 'Once we realised that our girls’ learning experiences beyond the classroom went further than just our co-curricular program, we began looking for a framework or approach that would support our girls in this space. Just as there is no typical MLC School girl, our approach had to be tailored and bespoke, something off the shelf would not work in our context. We developed the Experiential Pedagogy Framework to be a uniquely MLC School approach to the learning and teaching that occurs outside of the classroom, drawing on best practice and research. The Experiential Pedagogy Framework combines several existing programs including co-curricular, immersion and outdoor education together under one framework with a focus on creating authentic learning environments. MLC School’s Experiential Pedagogy Framework has been designed through the amalgamation of various educational frameworks and approaches. The framework consists of four interconnected dimensions. The inner two dimensions incorporate the MLC School’s Learning Dispositions and School Values. These dimensions are shared with the Learning and Teaching Framework and the Wellbeing Framework, creating parity across all aspects of the School.

• Integrated Curriculum Models • Character Education • Leadership Development • Skill Acquisition Working with the leaders across the Experiential Learning Areas we have be able to develop a clear vision that is the driving force behind the work we are doing in these areas of the School. Our Vision is: Experiential pedagogy at MLC School provides our students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that they develop in the classroom to real world contexts. At MLC School we create unrivalled learning experiences beyond the classroom that spark curiosity, foster growth, and provide a platform to achieve excellence. Our programs empower and prepare the MLC School girl to be a courageous, compassionate, and respectful global citizen. From the vision we have developed measurable aims and objectives for each of the learning areas under the framework. Like the strategic plan, we are placing the MLC School girl at the heart of everything we do and through this lens our focus is on improved student outcomes; higher levels of student engagement with our programs; enhancing the students ties to the School community; and preparing them for life beyond their time at MLC School.


Modelling the notion of a life-long learner Blake completed his Master of Education in Leadership and Management at Western Sydney University in Semester 1, 2021. The degree was newly developed when he began in Semester 2, 2018. The course work drew partially from a traditional Master of Education with a focus on curriculum development, educational leadership, professional learning for staff, and Aboriginal education. The second half of the degree coursework was from the Master Business Administration with a focus on marketing, human resources, financial decision making and leadership theory, which are all fundamental skills for contemporary educational leaders. As Blake recalls, ‘This business part of the degree was daunting and a great challenge initially, as I had only studied business in Year 9 and Year 10 Commerce. I needed to embrace the MLC School value of growth! I had a great sense of accomplishment when I achieved my highest marks in these subjects. ‘Having to learn remotely; learn how to sit exams again; and write a 6000-word essay after a long break from formal study really helped me understand and empathise with the experiences of our Senior students over the past couple of years.


‘Importantly, much of MLC School’s approach to experiential pedagogy can be attributed to the research I undertook throughout my Masters. ‘The course gave me a breadth of knowledge to appreciate that to successfully improve the connection between the learning that occurs inside and outside of the classroom, we need to draw on several different frameworks to support our students and foster in them our core values of courage, compassion, growth and respect.’ With a long tenure at the School, Blake now proudly welcomes back former students who join as staff. Many are playing a key role in rolling out the Framework he has developed. ‘A lovely aspect of my time at MLC School is that I get to work with staff who were former students. Victoria Noy in Junior School was in my first ever Year 10 Drama class here. Esther Maling was a part of our Rock Eisteddfod Crew from Year 8 through to Year 12 and was a member of my Senior Entertainment Industry class. I now work closely with her in her roles as Round Square Coordinator and Cadets Coordinator. ‘The extended MLC School community has always been a great support to the programs I have been involved in and it fills me with great pride to have been a part of it for so long.’

Just as there is no typical MLC School girl, our approach had to be tailored and bespoke, something off the shelf would not work in our context.




Recognising positive contributions to MLC School and its community. The Spirit of MLC School Award is a new multi-level program designed to encourage girls from Year 5 to Year 8 to extend themselves through a range of experiences. It is the platform to provide younger students with the skills to undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Award when they enter Year 9. The pilot of the program has been introduced for Year 7, 2022 and will be rolled out to students in the other years progressively. ‘The aim of the program is to recognise the positive contributions made by the girls to both MLC School and the broader community; to reward active and ongoing participation in a range of activities together with a genuine commitment by the girls to gain the most from their time at the School’, explains Blake Fatouros, Director of Experiential Pedagogy.

The Cambridge Blue Award is the first level of the recognition and is named after the dark blue colour in the school uniform. To receive this Award, girls must complete the requirements across the four specified award areas in one calendar year: Adventurer Program, Physical Activity, Co-Curricular Program and Contribution to the Community. To demonstrate that they have met the requirements, girls must submit evidence of their participation and complete a structured reflection to demonstrate their growth against the 12-character attributes of the Round Square Discovery Framework.


To be eligible for the award, each student must fulfil the criteria in each award area: Adventurers Program • Attend the Year 7 camp • Demonstrate preparedness • Attempt all scheduled camp activities Physical Activity • Complete a minimum three terms of at school-based physical activity in the same calendar year These Physical activities which could include Dance, Sport, Fitness classes, Gymnastic Club Co-Curricular Program • Complete a minimum three terms of a co-curricular program in the same calendar year • The co-curricular program can include Music, Speech and Drama, Mind Challenges, Societies, Debating and Public Speaking. (Dance cannot be counted in two categories)


Contribution to the Community To be eligible for the award each student must be able to demonstrate at least one example where they have made a positive contribution to either the School or the broader community. • This could be through supporting the Reverends by participating in devotional assemblies • Volunteering outside the School • Participating in school service projects like ‘hats for the homeless’ • Becoming a buddy for a new student • Actively contributing to House Chapel or another school-based program The introduction of the Award has been received with enthusiasm by the Year 7 girls, who are the first to have the opportunity to participate. ‘I’m excited to try new activities and explore my interests. Doing this allows me to do new things, make new friends and explore the variety of activities MLC School has to offer.

I’m also excited about receiving an award knowing that I have achieved my goals in 2022’, said Krystal Pham. The girls are embracing the large variety of activities offered as part of the program: ‘For my sport activities, I am currently doing Rowing and have trialled for the Netball teams for Term 2. For my co-curricular activities, I do ISDA Debating and Speech and Drama. For my community service, I regularly attend a place of worship, where I actively do fundraising by performing traditional arts and selling food at events”, said Meena Kanthathas. Rebecca Ho-Bui plans to take part in Fencing, Netball, Yoga, Debating, Band, and Jazz Ensemble. The Award scheme is a fundamental component in the development of the ‘whole girl’, one who can demonstrated the dispositions identified as vital for young women to be adaptable, active participants in the world after they have graduated from school.



VALEDIC After delays and postponements, the School formally farewelled the Class of 2021, with a Valedictory Assembly and Service in December. The customary guard of honour was formed by students and staff and their

rousing cheers and the beating of the Taiko drummers sent the graduating class off in a fitting way. It was an emotional experience for everyone in attendance, given the arduous year these girls had endured.










DAY Speech Day was held in the International Convention Centre (ICC) in December and was a celebration not just of academic achievement but of being able to bring parts of the School together for the first time in many months. Year 3 to Year 6 were recognised at the Junior School Speech Day in the morning, followed by the Senior School Speech Day in the evening. The event was interspersed with musical items played by our bands and orchestra, giving the School's musicians the chance to perform before an audience again.









The Assembly for Academic Achievement is held annually to celebrate the results of students in their final examinations, either the Higher School Certificate or the International Baccalaureate. Students from the Class of 2021 were invited back to School on Wednesday 16 February 2022 for this special assembly. In front of current students, staff, family and friends girls were recognised for Nominations and Selections for HSC Showcases, for NSW State Rankings, and for achieving an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 98 or above. We also formally acknowledged the twelve girls who were awarded the Reverend Dr Charles J. Prescott Medal for the highest ATAR achieved for their year, all having received the maximum 99.95.

The Ros Pesman Medal

A highlight was the introduction of the Ros Pesman Medal, to recognise a student who has achieved First in State in a subject in the Higher School Certificate (HSC). The honour of being the inaugural recipient of the Medal went to Elsa Tonkinwise for her First place in Ancient History.

Returning to Australia, Ros took up a history lectureship at USyd. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer, then Associate Professor and finally to a personal chair in history.

The award for the students who achieve First in State in a subject in the Higher School Certificate (HSC) is named in honour of Emeritus Professor Ros Pesman AM (Cooper, 1954). After achieving excellent academic results at MLC School, Ros began her studies at the University of Sydney (USyd). She graduated with a BA (Hons) degree and was later awarded a PhD from the University of London.

Ros has an international reputation both within her field as well as within tertiary education

leadership; she held many key leadership roles at USyd. Notably, she was the first woman to be elected Chair of the Academic Board and was the first woman appointed to the Challis Chair in History. In 2012, Ros was awarded an AM for services to tertiary education through academic and administrative roles. Ros Pesman (Cooper, 1954) achieved many firsts for women in academia and has served the discipline with great distinction. It is fitting that girls who achieve great distinction within their subject receive an award named in her honour.



HELP KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING IN 2022 In 2021, the community wholeheartedly supported MLC School’s inaugural Giving Day to give opportunities to girls who would not otherwise be able to attend the School.

The success of that day can be measured not simply in funds raised, but in the spirit of unity it engendered. Thank you for your support in 2021. This year, our annual appeal invites you to consider a gift to impact our current students, by giving to support projects that will benefit the girls who are here now. There are two building projects scheduled to commence in 2022 that will change the way our current girls experience life at MLC School. Plans for the Junior School will see it transformed in the latter part of the year. There will be new studios on Level 1 for all Year 5 students. This in turn will allow the Year 1 to Year 4 studios to be expanded and reconfigured into engaging learning spaces.



Students will have access to a new and relocated canteen, Drama studio, Music rooms and more toilets, easily accessible from the yard. These changes will provide an optimal learning experience for all our Junior School students.

exceptional. With your help, we can continue to grow the general funding for the full range of scholarships to provide access to a wide range of deserving students. Every dollar you donate makes the program stronger.

On the Senior campus, the complete upgrade of both Food Technology kitchens will start in the second half of 2022.

Another exciting initiative is the MLC School Parents and Friends Association fees raffle. Tickets are $100 each and limited to just 500 tickets. The winning ticket will win a rebate of $25,000 off their child’s School fees, the remaining $25,000 raised will be donated to the School to support a priority identified in consultation with the Principal.

The commercial kitchen was last refurbished in the late 1990s, in preparation for the Sydney Olympics. Whilst the main kitchen has not been updated since the late 1970s – many Old Girls see them today and remember them just as they were when they were here. These kitchens will become contemporary teaching spaces to provide inspiration and opportunity for our girls to explore the many career opportunities available in the food industry including nutrition and health, food styling and photography, and commercial cookery methods. Please consider a gift to the Building Fund to support these projects. Your donation is tax deductible and will be directed to both these projects for immediate impact. Thank you to those who regularly contribute to the Building Fund when they pay their fees, your contributions help these projects come to fruition. There is also an opportunity to continue your support for the Scholarship program. The depth of the support for Indigenous and Principal’s Scholarships during the past two years has been

As the current President Abirami Ravichandra points out, ‘The purpose of this initiative is to support the School to deliver a project that will immediately benefit the students and parents who are here now.’ The MLC School Giving Day will be held every two years, so the next one will take place in 2023. Thank you for your continued support of the School. To visit the Building Fund webpage, scan this QR code:

To visit the Scholarship Fund webpage, scan this QR code:

There are two building projects scheduled to commence in 2022 that will change the way our current girls experience life at MLC School.






Watch out for the pumpkins! In Semester 2 last year, part of the PreKindergarten’s Collaborative Learning Project (CLP) explored the themes of Environmental Sustainability and Changes through a project that involved a compost tumbler bin, which was quickly filled with the Pre-K student and staff lunch leftovers, plus fruit and vegetable scraps brought in from home. Once the compost was ready, the girls spread it on the garden.

‘The girls have had the opportunity to see all the stages of the pumpkin growth, from the seed to the flower, to the full-grown vegetable,’ explains Gina Zucco, Pre-K teacher.

Over the end of year school holidays, the weather was the perfect blend of rain and sun for special changes in the compost to take place.

The Pre-K and Kindergarten students are very understanding of their need to co-exist with the plants. They navigate their bikes and carefully walk around the vines; although there are times when little fingers simply can’t help but pick some flowers. The pumpkins also piqued Year 1 girls’ curiosity. They went on a pumpkin hunt and the experience provided stimulus for some of their writing.


Lurking within the compost were pumpkin seeds, and as the girls returned to school after the break, they were delighted to see what Mother nature had done while they were away – their garden was alive with massive new plants! Giant pumpkin vines had taken over the garden, some had grown across the bike track and over the fence, all the way down to the lower playground; yellow pumpkin flowers had bloomed; there were plenty of sprouts, and best of all a few baby pumpkins.

‘They got to understand that it takes time for anything to grow. It is all about good weather conditions, a lot of patience and a little bit of magic too.’

'Soon, the dozen pumpkins that are growing will be ready to be eaten, and the project will have come full circle. We will cut open the pumpkins, the girls can spoon out the seeds (and then throw them back into our compost) and prepare the pumpkin to make soup and other delicious food, from our playground to our plate,' said Gina.



ARCHDALE DEBATING WIN Back in December, the 7A Debating Team - Amelia Tchan, Umaiza Mahfuz, Anna Obaid, Harriet Hahn and Elena Sun, was victorious over Kambala to take out the Grand Final of the Archdale Debating Competition. MLC School team took the Negative side debating the topic ‘Political parties should not be able to advertise on TV’. It was a lively debate with excellent speakers on both sides. Most of the competition was conducted online but for the finals the teams were able to prepare together in a room at the School. MLC School finished in second place, an agonisingly one point behind SCEGGS, the overall Archdale Shield winners for 2021. Congratulations on an outstanding season to all our debaters.

HARRIET SPEAKS OUT Congratulations to Harriet Hahn who won the 2021 Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award NSW Final last November. The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award was established in 1995 with the aim of encouraging students to develop their public speaking skills. The prepared speech is of five minutes’ duration on a topic of the student’s choosing. The adjudicators were looking for knowledge of the subject matter, sincerity in the presentation of the material, skilful development of the theme, and the effective use of English.

Following the prepared speeches, each contestant was given five minutes to prepare an impromptu speech of two minutes’ duration, with the same topic, 'missing the point'. Harriet gave a great speech, up against students in a year above her. Well done Harriet! Thank you also to one of her coaches, the 2013 winner MLC School Old Girl, Ella Finlay.



Stimulus picture from WriteOn 2021. Credit David Maurice Smith

SARINA IS THE TALK OF THE TOWN Congratulations to Sarina Nagra (Year 9) who represented MLC School in the prestigious Sydney Eisteddfod last December and took out first place in the monologue section. ‘My experience participating in the Sydney Eisteddfod was incredibly positive,’ says Sarina. ‘I submitted a monologue that I had filmed and received lots of positive comments. I was very encouraged that all the effort I put in with my teacher paid off, especially when I heard that my character was very believable. It was my first time competing against a variety of people all across Sydney and I was very excited to be announced the winner!’

WRITE ON, CHLOE WriteOn is an annual writing competition offered by NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) open to all NSW primary students in Year 1 to Year 6. It provides students with the opportunity to become published authors and showcase their creativity and talent. Students were first presented with a stimulus picture as the focus for their writing. In total, over 600 entries from across NSW were sent to NESA. Despite the pandemic, the recurring theme throughout much of the students’ writing was hope. Out of the hundreds of entries, only one entry could be chosen, and in November, we learnt that Year 5 and Junior School Captain, Chloe Lu’s contribution was as one of only six entries to receive a Gold Award in the Stage 3 category. A range of contemporary topics were represented including climate change, refugees and drought. Chloe told a story from a young boy’s perspective, whose dad’s farm was being sold because he couldn’t find the money to keep it. In providing feedback, the judges said Chloe’s use of descriptive and figurative language was very effective.

Chloe said that the award has encouraged her to write even more. ‘I am an avid writer, and this acknowledgement made me pursue my passion of writing even more than I did before. It was great knowing some people who saw my article thought that it was good enough to deserve a gold award! I prefer writing realistic fiction, which means my stories have a basis in fact. For example, I enjoy writing about the conditions during epidemics, wars, or other things in our world such as cultural differences and fitting in.’ Chloe encourages Year 5 girls to just ‘go for it’. 'You never know what will happen (I didn’t!) and you will feel extremely proud of yourself for giving it a go and trying (which, after all, is a way to demonstrate one of our school values - courage!). WriteOn is a great way to learn how to improve your skills and chase your passions of writing.’ Congratulations Chloe!


Ishwary Ramjeevan and Sally Marks at the Zoomers Exhibition




ARTISTS ON SHOW In a year where completing the practical aspects of the visual arts was extremely difficult, the works of several MLC School Year 12 students were highly recognised, with two being accepted for display at prestigious exhibitions: ARTEXPRESS at the Art Gallery of NSW, and Zoomers at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

ARTEXPRESS is a yearly exhibition of outstanding student artworks created for the artmaking component of the NSW HSC Visual Arts examination. Artworks can include ceramics, collections of works, documented forms, drawing, graphic design, painting, photo media, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and fibre. Kittu Hoyne’s HSC Visual Arts project, 'A Portrait in Frequency', was selected for inclusion in the ARTEXPRESS exhibition. Influenced by artists such as Bill Viola and Fuyuko Matsui, Kittu explains that her body of work explores humanity’s existence in space and time against an ever-expanding digital world. The video installation loop builds on

visual and sound techniques to represent a young girl who amplifies, disassembles, fragments and rebuilds back to her natural self. ‘My intent is for the viewer to feel, see and hear the intense vibrations of her metamorphosis. The photographic series merges video and photographic techniques, expressing a digital evocation of the psyche and the body’s physicality, unlocking frequencies of the human condition.’ Zoomers is a new exhibition of local and regional students’ artworks demonstrating excellence in HSC Visual Arts. Three MLC School students were nominated: Cassidy Maher, Sofia Carey and Ishwary Ramjeevan. Ishwary Ramjeevan’s work ‘The Complete Adventures of the Sri Lankan Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ was selected in the exhibition. Ishwary used hand and machine embroidery, silk painting and dying, sewing and laser cutting to create her canvas, a traditional Sri Lankan dress. It represents a classical Hindu love story between a prince and a princess, but places the characters into an Australian landscape adapted from May Gibbs’ iconic children’s novels, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Artwork by Ishwary Ramjeevan



Ishwary says, ‘blending iconic Australian iconography with aspects of my Sri Lankan heritage enabled me to effectively explore the influence of both these cultures on me as I define my own cultural identity.' According to Sally Marks, Head of the Design and Arts department (DART), ‘It is a privilege to teach students that are willing to push themselves beyond their boundaries for the greater of their concept and trust you to go on the journey with them. There are endless possibilities for them to work on if they are willing to learn and work, and the process is very rewarding for them, and for us as their teachers.’ Sally took the current Year 12 students to the ARTEXPRESS exhibition in March. ‘It might have been a bit daunting for them to wonder how their predecessors came up with these concepts and exteriorised them. But it also gave them an idea of the level or refinement possible within the timeframe they have – and for them to see the finished artworks was really inspiring.’

It is a privilege to teach students that are willing to push themselves beyond their boundaries for the greater of their concept and trust you to go on the journey with them.

Artwork by Kittu Hoyne








The brand-new Fitness Studio is designed to help girls not only build strength but also discipline and confidence. Physical activity and exercise are essential for growth and development. What’s more it’s a healthy way to relieve stress and connect with other students. The MLC School sports program aims to keep girls fit and healthy. Research shows that active teens sleep better, improve their overall health, and build strong muscles and bones. Exercise is critical for their mental health and wellbeing, the human brain functions better when the body is fitter. But it’s not just the physical benefits of sport that have such a positive influence on the girls, it’s what they get out of training that they will use in later life: training builds confidence, discipline, focus and integrity. The Fitness Studio has recently been refitted with brand new workout equipment to cater for a variety of students and staff. There are small handheld weights for young girls learning to exercise and starting in our fitness classes; and larger machinery and barbells for senior girls and staff members to use. Class sets of boxing gear and cardio machines are used during PDHPE lessons and there is specialised equipment like an Assault runner and SkiErg, which are used for sport rehabilitation and for students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, where Individual Assessments are relevant. A variety of sports including Rowing, Football, Athletics and Triathlon use the gym for strength and conditioning sessions, where athletes exchange their usual equipment for weights and machines to increase their muscular strength and power. This enables them to be stronger when they get back out on the field, preventing injuries and increasing fitness. Year 11 and Year 12 girls

can also use the space for their own training and fitness in their spare periods, when supervised by a sports staff member. Before using the gym, athletes complete an induction on all the equipment; are taken around the room and taught how to safely use the equipment; and are shown some examples of exercises they can do. 'When athletes spend one or more sessions a week in the gym doing strength and conditioning in addition to their regular training session, there is a benefit to their overall performance. Put simply, increased strength = decreased effort = increased fitness. Working out their muscles in the gym allows students to obtain a higher level of strength, which means it takes them less effort to perform skills, which may normally challenge them. This additional strength means they can put in more effort in training to learn new and more complex skills increasing their capabilities in their sport. Strength and

conditioning sessions also include exercises that aim to strengthen muscles that prevent common injuries. This allows girls to avoid injury and increases longevity in playing sport,' said Director of Sport, Lisa Filby. According to Haya Yahia, 2022 Rowing Captain, ‘This new fitness studio has been so beneficial for us in our training. It allows us to work efficiently on different body parts and muscle groups, and we have seen an improvement in terms of strength and endurance since we started using the studio in January. Besides, having all this brand-new, state-of-the art equipment really motivated us to get out of the lockdown slump!’ Ashley Harris is the Sports Coordinator, who oversees student and staff use of the gym, and clearly has a passion for coaching young women. Ashley completed her Bachelors in Sport and Exercise Management, and is currently undertaking a Masters in High Performance Sport. She began her coaching career as an athletics coach nine years ago and started coaching athletics at MLC School in 2019.



‘I progressed to taking on Strength and Conditioning programs for Rowing as well as general fitness classes for all students. At the end of 2021 I joined the Sports department as a Sports Coordinator, and it has all been an exciting journey from there. ‘I’ve always enjoyed coaching young women.’

By undergoing strength training, girls acquire a healthier lifestyle, increasing their fitness and brain functioning

Developing a relevant tailored program for any sport is a large task, but one that Ashley relishes. The process begins by completing research to fully understanding the biomechanics of the sport, the primary muscle groups used, and the most common injuries sustained. From here a program is devised that focuses on developing a basis of strength relevant to the sport and preventing injuries. ‘Once I start coaching strength and conditioning with a sports team or individuals the goal is to build relationships with the girls and understand their individual needs. At this stage programs can start to


be more individualised to the athlete to help them work on their weaknesses and further develop their strengths.’ ‘The biggest challenge with strength training is to build an environment which promotes teamwork and commitment to personal growth and development. The more confident girls are through their teenage years the more successful they can be in later life,’ says Ashley. By age 17 around 50% of girls have dropped out of sport; participation and retention are some of the challenges in relation to girls’ fitness. This dropout can be attributed in many circumstances to changes girls experience through their teenage years. This includes changes to their bodies as they go through puberty, changes in social groups and changes in their values and future endeavours.


To enable girls to continue to develop strength through their late teens and adulthood, MLC School is committed to supporting them by recognising these changes and providing them with options to keep them involved in sport.


By undergoing strength training, girls acquire a healthier lifestyle, increasing their fitness and brain functioning and learning many skills such as time management, decision making and respect for each other that will have a positive influence on them later in life. As Ashley says, ‘We hope that the new gym provides a place where girls can continue to develop, train and be supported to achieve all their endeavours.’

Old Girl and 2021 Athletics Captain, Kiara Shine is making her mark in athletics. Kiara competed at NSW All Schools last December and won the gold medal in the U19 female javelin. In addition, she took home a bronze medal in the open female javelin team event representing University of Sydney.



From our inception, MLC School has placed great importance on the education of the very young, being a pioneer in the introduction of Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten schooling.

2009 Pre-Kindergarten ... 2022 Year 12 In 2009, eighteen our current Year 12 girls started their MLC School journey as the inaugural Pre-K class in the new MLC Junior School. At the end of that year, a Pre-K tea towel with self-portraits drawn by each of the girls, was given to their parents, to celebrate the inaugural Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) class. In February, Principal, Lisa Moloney received a note and wonderful donation from Anuja Sharma, mother of Arya. It was this very same tea towel. In her letter, Anuja wrote 'These girls have had an amazing journey through MLC School.'

From little things


We are proud to recognise the students who have spent 13 years of their lives as an MLC School girl: Zoe Brase

Hayley Ma

Tori Charalambous

Tina Papamanuel

Sophie Ciesielski

Alexandra Robinson

Anna Constantinidis

Arya Sharma

Chloe Correia

Gauri Sharma

Trinity Elghitany

Lara Taleb

Tara Grasso

Marissa Tsaousidis

Himani Gupta

Renae Varvaris

Mia Jameson Erykah Lakkis

Pioneers in educating young children

We are proud to recognise the students who have spent 13 years of their lives as an MLC School girl.

From its early days, MLC School demonstrated the importance of educating young children. In 1889, the School established a coeducational Kindergarten which included Nursery-aged children (Pre-Kindergarten was called Nursery for many years), placing MLC School in the forefront of educational practice. This was a historically important innovation as the idea to educate young children was in its early days in Australia and was struggling to gain support. The Pre-K and Kindergarten movement owes a lot to the support it received in the 1890s from MLC School.


Trinity Elghitany

Arya Sharma


Hayley Ma

Himani Gupta

Alexandra Robinson

Sophie Ciesielski

Tori Charalambous

Anna Constantinidis

Tina Papamanuel

Renae Varvaris

Chloe Correia

Erykah Lakkis

Marissa Tsaousidis

Tara Grasso

Gauri Sharma

Mia Jameson

Zoe Brase

Lara Taleb



Pre-K students meet Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor General of Australia (2009)



Nursery was first located in the original Kent House that stood on the corner of Rowley Street and Park Road.

For many years Nursery was coeducational. Young boys were part of MLC School from the early years to well into the 1950s. Rev Prescott’s daughter Kathleen Margaret (Kittie) Prescott (1904) reminisced in Jubilee (1936) that 'the little girls were mostly good little girls, but the boys were little imps. They used to delight in tying the little girls’ braided hair to the back of their chairs and hearing the poor victims’ 'Ow!' as the slightest movement resulted in a painful jerk.' Like all students in the very early days of the School, Nursery was first located in the original Kent House that stood on the corner of Rowley Street and Park Road. After the completion of the Kindergarten building in 1890 - the first of its kind in Australia - all our youngest students were educated there. This building was then removed in the 1920s to make way for Potts Hall. In 1922, the property known as Abbeythorpe was purchased and all of our little charges were taught there until ‘Youngarra’ on the

corner of Gordon and Rowley Streets (renamed Kent House in memory of Miss Lester’s original school) was purchased in 1949 and occupied by the Nursery, Kindergarten and lower primary school (upper primary school remained in Abbeythorpe). This second Kent House was demolished and was replaced by a new and larger building in 1966, which finally brought the Junior students together under the one roof. This third Kent House (now our Centre for Design, Art and Technology – DART) was used as the MLC Junior School until the new Junior School on Park Road opened in 2009. On 15 May 2009, the Governor-General of Australia, Her Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, officially declared the new Junior School ‘open’. During the Opening Ceremony, the Pre-K students (now in Year 12) were asked what they thought of their new school. They unanimously replied that they ‘loved their new school’, ‘especially the playful, sunny studios’, and that they ‘wouldn’t want to be anywhere else’.



MLC School’s first IB high achievers, Rachael Hart, Anne Williamson and Nicole Lee from the Class of 2002.






In keeping with our tradition of being leaders and innovators in girls’ education, MLC School was one of the earliest in NSW to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) to all students in Year 11 and Year 12 as an alternative to the HSC.

2022 marks 20 years since the first cohort of MLC School students graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma.

In early 2000, MLC School announced that the IB would be offered for the first time to Year 11 students the following year. At the commencement of 2001, seven Year 11 candidates made the bold decision to take the IB Diploma rather than the HSC for their leaving qualification. One of MLC School’s inaugural IB students, Mariana Zafeirakopoulos (2002), suggested a story about those students’ journey to celebrate 20 years of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) at MLC School. As Mariana says ‘being the first is never easy, and it certainly had its struggles and challenges’, but there was cause for celebration when the first IB results were announced in early 2003; six of our IB pioneers scored a calculated University Admissions Index (UAI)1 over 90, with three receiving an exceptional UAI score of 99.45 and above. These three students also scored an ‘A’ in Theory of Knowledge and/or The Extended Essay. All seven inaugural IB students scored in the top bands 19 times over 11 IB courses.

From a small group of seven IB students in 2002; which was less than 5% of the cohort; MLC School’s IB Program has gone from strength to strength. Last year 49 students sat the IB exams, representing 37% of the Class of 2021. Twelve of those IB candidates achieved the maximum score of 45 (an ATAR of 99.95). This is the highest number of maximum scores awarded to a school in Australia in IB history, but it is important to note that worldwide, only 1.1% of the IB candidature in the November 2021 examination session were awarded the perfect score. In 2020 and 2021, MLC School was named the Top IB School in Australia and Top 50 IB Global School. Mariana said ‘I look back on my days at MLC School fondly, although I know some of my peers really struggled with the IB. They were, however, able to raise their issues with the School’s leadership, who were very receptive to our advice. Going first had its challenges, but it is wonderful to know that it paved the way for improvement and future success. I have great admiration with how many girls take the IB now, and how successful MLC School has become with the IB Program.’ Four of the original seven MLC School IB pioneers have shared their impressions of the Program and how it influenced their later pathways.

Footnote 1. The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) replaced the Universities Admission Index (UAI) in NSW and the ACT in 2009. The highest rank became an ATAR of 99.95, as opposed to a UAI of 100.



Mariana Zafeirakopoulos (2002) ‘The Theory of Knowledge subject really influenced my life, as did the IB in general, specifically in my pursuit of life-long learning. I am currently doing a PhD on knowledge integration in complex contexts, specifically researching more caring aspects of National Security. I did a degree in Social Sciences majoring in International Relations and Asian Studies before I decided to do a law degree. ‘I have done such a broad range of things, the IB really set my sights internationally. I worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as an intern to help put war criminals like Karadzic behind bars. I worked in serious and organised crime prevention for the Australian government before I left and worked in innovation, strategy design, human-centred design and design futuring – in short, trying to create the future we want rather than inform on future risk or harm. ‘I’m really motivated by international injustice and try to do what I can in my own sphere of control to create impact and change. I also lecture at the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Sydney and Charles Sturt University across Design, Innovation and Strategic Intelligence Law Enforcement subjects.

‘I’m married to an incredible human who saves people’s lives at Liverpool Hospital. His frontline work keeps me humbled. We have two sons. They test me every day, but my education and ‘growth mindset’ means that I am constantly learning! I just wish I had more time to play the violin like I did back at MLC School, but I am sure that will come with time. ‘I am still in contact with a couple of my fellow IB students. They are doing some incredible things. It is quite inspiring to see them all do great things in such interesting places.’

Ms Jane Reilly, IB Coordinator, Cara Hegarty (2002) Year 10 student, Mrs Barbara Stone, MLC School Principal and Mr Chris Brangwen, IB Asia Pacific Regional Representative for Australia, at the Information Seminar to launch the introduction of the IB Diploma at MLC School.



Giti Datt (2002) is an applied anthropologist who has worked for LGBTQIA+ awareness and rights in South Asian communities, and in special needs education. She has contributed to the Closing the Gap Campaign, was an Indigenous Health Project Officer, and an anthropologist with the Aurora Project, Cape York Land Council. She also runs her own business. Giti completed a BA Psychology and Sociology in 2006 at the University of Sydney and followed this up with a Masters in Applied Anthropology in 2009 at Macquarie University. Giti is focused on identifying and analysing social problems and service gaps; and designing practical and well thought out solutions using a multidisciplinary approach. In a University of Technology Sydney article, Giti said ‘There’s a long history of researchers going in and collecting data that is ultimately of no benefit to the people who are providing it – it was something we were conscious of and wanted to get away from, from the very beginning’.

Rachael Hart (2002) is currently a Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Society New Zealand (Otago and Southland Division) based in Dunedin, NZ. She has previously been a diplomat, based in Fiji for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and a General Manager at the Oaktree Foundation. After receiving a BA (Advanced) (Honours) from the University of Sydney, Rachael completed a PhD at the University of Sydney in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Margarita Hiquiana (2002) is the Senior Talent Manager at the Vancouver, Canada office of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic. In 2006 she completed a Bachelor of Economics & Social Sciences (Hons), Human Resources & Industrial Relations, Government & International Relations at the University of Sydney.

We would love to hear from the other inaugural IB students. Please contact our Archivist, Barbara Hoffman, at to share your story.




Until 1969, MLC School Principals and their families lived in the School’s Tower Wing. The Tower Wing opened on Saturday 22 March 1919, adding ‘a touch of flamboyance to the School’s appearance1 ‘. The building was financed by the endowment given by Mrs Schofield, the School’s first benefactor, whose earlier gift enabled the construction of Schofield Wing to house the Boarders (now the MLC School Chapel). In May 1989, most of the Tower Wing, primarily the section that housed the Music Rooms, was demolished to make way for a new Administration Block. This block was named the Cornell Building and was opened on 1 September 1990.


Happily, one section of the Tower Wing remains, being the current Deputy Principal’s office and east to the old entrance on Park Road. This was once the Principal’s Residence. We have always been curious to know what living at MLC School as a member of the Principal’s family would have been like. We were, therefore, thrilled to receive an email from Kathy McKenzie (Bennett, 1972), daughter of Rev Edgar Bennett. The Bennetts were the last Principal’s family to live in MLC School’s Tower Wing, residing there from 1965 to 1969. Kathy was kind enough to write the following story of her time living at MLC School. 'I was 11 years old when we moved into MLC School. My Dad (Rev Edgar Bennett) was a Methodist minister and was the Principal of MLC School for five years, from the beginning of 1965 to the end of 1969. There were Boarders at the School at that time, so my Mum (Dorothy) automatically became the House Superintendent in charge of them.

It was not so daunting for my Dad to take on the job of Principal of the School, having had experience running boys’ schools, although a girls’ school was quite a different challenge. Mum, on the other hand had loved Circuit (parish) life in the country and, I believe, was quite apprehensive about the task ahead. The Bennett family arrived at MLC School in January 1965. By this time my two brothers, Richard and Don, were working as teachers and it was my sisters and I who moved into MLC School with our parents. My sister, Bev was studying at Sydney Uni and my sister Marie had spent the previous year at Strathfield Girls High School and chose to remain there. I was the lucky one who was a student at MLC School, commencing 5th Class in 1965 in Abbeythorpe under the guidance of Miss Thomas. The Tower, built in 1918, was the Principal’s Residence. It was the biggest house I had ever lived in – there were three floors!



The main entry was from Park Road and just inside, on the right hand side, was a washroom (which is still there). The main hallway led to the lounge room and dining room (now the Sutherland Rooms), which could be divided in two by large wooden sliding doors. Off to the side was a verandah that looked out over the lawn area surrounded by a low-maintenance garden (the Principal’s Lawn, which was only to be used by the Principal’s family). Further west down the hall was a small kitchen, pantry and staircase to the left, and to the right was Dad’s study (now the Deputy Principal’s office) which overlooked the garden. The staircase to the first floor was grand with wooden banisters. Unfortunately for my sister Bev, the stairs creaked, so there was no sneaking past Dad after a night out with the boyfriend! There were three bedrooms on the first floor entered from the hallway. First was the main bedroom, then another large one where my sister Marie and I slept, and a smaller bedroom overlooking Park Road where my sister Bev slept. (This first floor bedroom area is now used as a Staff Room.) To the west of the bedrooms was a bathroom and separate toilet. I think we also had a small washing machine in there somewhere. A large, enclosed verandah ran the full length of the northern side of the bedrooms and overlooked the garden. The hallway outside the bedrooms was adjacent to the Boarders’ sleeping quarters2 and occasionally Dad would bang on their door to quieten them down!

We used the verandah for hanging washing and there was a blackboard there where my sister Marie (a budding teacher) tried to teach me (an unwilling pupil) Latin. I also slept on the first floor verandah in summer time. At the Park Road end of the first floor hallway was another flight of stairs. These stairs took you to the second floor, or ‘attic’ as we called it (now a staff meeting room, known as the Tower Room). There was a large open area on this floor which I eventually claimed as my bedroom, and there was also another smaller bedroom and a bathroom. My brother, Don, occasionally would come home from Grenfell where he was teaching and would sleep in the small bedroom. Don would also spend hours with me trying to teach me Maths and help me with my homework. On the second floor, there was another tiny flight of stairs leading to the roof – the ‘battlements’ as it was known by us. It was

only a small area but the view was expansive. We could see the city skyline and I think we could see the Blue Mountains on a clear day. My sister Marie and I used to sunbake on ‘the roof’. From memory there was a lot of silver-coloured sarking which made it extremely hot – so fortunately we didn’t last too long in the sun. From time to time the Boarders were invited into the Principal’s Residence for an evening with us. They wore the ‘dinner dresses’ they would normally wear into their own dining room. Dad would organise a few games or a film. I think the girls sometimes put on a gym display for us. I’m not sure they all wanted to come to these evenings, but it was a tradition. I was rather shy and didn’t find the evenings easy at all.





During school holidays we had the swimming pool and tennis courts to ourselves, and we could have friends over.



At the beginning of our life at MLC School, Mum was rather at a loss and relied heavily on the house mistresses and kitchen staff. My Mum’s strong faith that her God would give her guidance seemed to provide her with the strength to meet these new challenges. One thing she was slow to accept was having a cook – Mrs Ainsworth only cooked only for us and was not connected to the Boarders’ kitchen staff. Mrs Ainsworth lived in ‘the Annex’ – a house on the northern side of the Principal’s Lawn. The stress and strain of life at the School took its toll on my mother. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer before we arrived at MLC School, but had been in remission. Sadly, Mum’s health deteriorated in 1968 and she relinquished most of her duties. I clearly remember Dad telling my sister Marie and I on the steps to the Principal’s Lawn, that Mum’s diagnosis was not good, and she did not have long to live. We were all devastated. It was then that the decision was made for us to leave MLC School for a quieter life.

Occasionally there was an end of year school dance and I remember Dad would be out prowling the School grounds with his torch to see that noone got up to any mischief! Dad and Mum almost always had dinner with us, and only infrequently with the Boarders. The Boarders Dining Room (now the Chapel) adjoined our downstairs hallway and was a large area with a lot of timberwork and a parquetry floor. It served as a great venue for my brother’s and sister’s 21st birthday parties (in school holidays of course!). For me, the best part of living at MLC School was access to the sporting areas. I am extremely grateful that I learned to swim at MLC School. Being a country girl, I was terrified of the pool, but under the expert tuition of Don Talbot (AO OBE)3 the swimming master,

I became an accomplished swimmer, and even won my age race when I was 12 years old. In summer, I would often go over for a swim after school. I also enjoyed hitting-up (solo tennis) on the wall in front of Abbeythorpe where there were about three ‘bays’ to hit against. I also spent a lot of time after school doing athletics training and hurdling on the grassed area behind the tennis courts (eastern edge of the Sports Field), with Miss Lawson. Anything to get out of homework! During school holidays we had the swimming pool and tennis courts to ourselves, and we could have friends over. We held a Bennett Family Reunion for about 50 family members, and the MLC School grounds, with all these facilities available, were a great venue for the occasion.

Although I was not a conscientious student, I was very fortunate to have a good education at MLC School. My life since the adventure of living at MLC School has been a good one. I live in a lovely community on the NSW south coast, with whom I am involved, I play tennis and I am a sculptor. Footnotes 1. MLC School Publication Walk in the Light (1986). 2. The Boarders’ sleeping quarters were on the first floor of the 1891 Schofield Wing that was lost in the 1977 fire. The lower floor, which was once the Boarders’ Dining Room, is now our School Chapel. 3. From 1964 till 1972, Don Talbot (AO OBE) was the Australian men’s Olympic Swimming Coach. In 1980 he was appointed the inaugural Director of the Australian Institute of Sport, and in 1989 he became the National Head Coach at Australian Swimming.




Sonia Oelrich (1943), right, with Nola Hewitt (Freeson, 1938) at the 2019 Sapphires’ Luncheon

Sonia Oelrich (1943)

Mary Forster (Hooper, 1946)

Mary Forster (Hooper, 1946)

Thank you to Sonia’s niece, Sinety, for sending this tribute:

Tony Forster wrote to let us know that his mother, Mary Forster (Hooper, 1946), passed away in August 2021 at the age of 94.

'I am writing to inform you that my beautiful aunt, Sonia Marie Ermance Oelrich passed away peacefully at home on 18 September 2021 at the age of 94. Until a few days before her passing Sonia had been in hospital, and her family are very grateful to the staff at the hospital for making it possible for Sonia to be able go home as she had wished.

Mary enrolled into Form 1 (Year 7) in 1941 after her family was evacuated from Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, just before the start of the WWII. She left School after the Intermediate Certificate in 1944. Rev Deane, MLC School’s Principal at that time, wrote that during her time at MLC School, Mary had ‘shown herself to be a very fine girl indeed.’

After finishing at MLC School, and her postschool studies were all completed, Sonia became an accountant and her career took her to New Caledonia, where she worked for over 20 years. She travelled extensively throughout the world and had many tales to tell. In 1983 Sonia retired from work and returned to Australia.

Mary was a champion athlete at School, winning at inter-school competitions. She was a member of the ‘A’ Basketball and ‘A’ Tennis teams and was part of the Doubles winning team at the 1944 Tildesley Shield.

Sonia always spoke fondly of MLC School, her days there as a student, as well as the School reunions where she was able to catch up with all her school friends. Sonia had a great passion for the opera and ballet performances and had a beautiful life with her extended family. She was treasured by her family and will be sorely missed. Sonia had a niece and nephewin-law, four great-nieces and nephews and one great great-niece who stole her heart.'

Amongst her cherished processions, Mary kept the Prize List from the 1942 Speech Night where she won the Form VB2 (Year 10) – Middle School Physical Culture Prize. Also in the collection of items that were very important to her was the book she received for the Prize. After leaving MLC School, Mary trained as a Physical Education teacher and taught at Wenona, North Sydney. While traveling overseas in the early 1950s, Mary met Allan and they married in 1956 and moved to Brisbane. Always very active, she played golf well into her eighties. Mary always spoke with great fondness of her time at MLC School, and the value of the good education she received here.


Elaine Gilbert (Case, 1946) We have received news that Elaine Gilbert (Case, 1946) passed away peacefully at home on 22 August 2021 surrounded by her family.


Actively involved in the life of MLC School, Barbara was on the Sports Committee in 1946, a member of the Senior B Hockey Team in 1947, was also a (Boarding) House Prefect in 1947. Barbara attended Sydney University briefly and then transferred to Karitane School (nursing school for child and family health) which was much more her calling than the academic life. She moved to North Star, NSW (north of Moree) to work as a Karitane nurse and met Mort Clark while she was helping his brother with his new baby. That was to be the start of a great romance. Mort died in 1974 just six months short of their twentieth wedding anniversary, he was the love of her life and irreplaceable. Barbara and Mort had six children, fourteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Sutherland sisters: Barbara, Janet, Helen and Joan.

Barbara Clark (Willa Barbara Sutherland, 1947) Barbara Clark (Sutherland, 1947) passed away on the 12 September 2021 at the age of 91. Barbara was the eldest of the six children of Willa Sutherland (Matchett, 1920). Barbara and her sisters, Joan Cashmore (Sutherland, 1948), Helen Alison (Sutherland, 1948) and Janet Walker (Sutherland, 1956) attended Ravenswood and then PLC Pymble, before boarding at MLC School for their high school years. Barbara’s family has a long history at MLC School. Grandmother, Lilla Matchett (Dent, 1892) and her two sisters boarded at MLC School, and later Lilla’s two daughters, May Hopkins (Matchett, 1915) and Willa Sutherland (Matchett, 1920) also attended. They in turn sent their daughters to the School. May’s daughter’s were Merelyn Wallace (Hopkins, 1948)—MLC School’s first third generational student—and Sonia McMahon (Hopkins, 1949) who went on to become the wife of Prime Minister Billy McMahon. In 2003 when MLC School dedicated the Sutherland Rooms in Willa Sutherland’s name, all six of Lilla Matchett’s granddaughters attended the official opening.

After Mort’s sudden death, Barbara took up the challenge of running the family farming businesses, with the associated struggles of floods and droughts, as well as parenting their six children, ranging in age from 3 to 18 years old. She did this all with indefatigable energy and determination. She was a canny businesswoman and a great mentor to younger generations of farmers. As soon as she could, she retired from the active management of the farming businesses, only to start up a new retail business, a coffee shop and gift shop, in Goondiwindi, QLD. Her later years were spent in Sydney, when not travelling with friends. Without the worry of running businesses, Barbara returned to her first love: children and family. She was a much loved and active grandmother and great-grandmother, and never happier than when surrounded by the younger generations of her family.

Margaret Streeader (Beddie, 1948)

Margaret Streader (Beddie, 1948) Megan Stuart (Streader, 1972) has sent us this tribute to her dear mother, Margaret Streader (Beddie, 1948). 'Sadly our mother passed away in the last week of October 2021, one day before her 90th birthday. Margaret Streader (Beddie, 1948) was a farm girl from Condobolin, who lived with her aunts in Bondi during her high school years at MLC School. After school, Margaret went to Sydney Teachers College. She began her teaching career at Broken Hill where she married and settled for ten years. Later the family moved to Sydney and Margaret taught at Blacktown West Infants School for nearly 30 years. After the death of her husband, Alan, Margaret moved to Redcliffe, QLD to be near her daughter and this is where she spent the last two years of her life. She is survived by her two daughters, Old Girls, Megan Stuart (Streader, 1972) and Barbara Beasley (Streader, 1975) and her two sons, Matthew and Ian.'



Pamela Tancred (Miles, 1948), right, with her school friend at the 2013 Sapphires’ Luncheon.

Gwenyth Mitchell shows some of her favourite quilts to admirers from Kent House in 2000.

Ann Thomson (Irwin-Smith, 1952)

Pamela Tancred (Miles, 1948)

Gwenyth Mitchell (Lambkin, 1949)

Ann Thomson (Irwin-Smith, 1952)

Pamela’s son, Michael, told us that his mum, Pamela Tancred (Miles, 1948) passed away peacefully at home on 15 July 2021, just days before her 90th birthday. Michael said that a year before his mum’s death he was told by medical staff that Pamela had just days to live. Immediately, he moved his mum to his place and dedicated himself to her health and wellbeing, engaging carers to help make her comfortable and healthier. Two nights before she died, they stayed up and talked for hours. He takes solace in knowing his mum passed comfortably with her beloved dog and her two loving carers by her side.

Gwenyth’s daughter, Stephanie, reported that her mother passed away in 2021.

Robert Thomson, Ann’s son, has sent us this tribute to his mum, Ann Thomson (Irwin-Smith, 1952) who passed away, surrounded by family, on 26 December 2020 aged 85.

In the late 1990s, when Australia’s quilt makers and textile artists were invited to contribute to the Quilts 2000 project to raise money for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Gwenyth, a member of the Sydney Quilters Guild, immediately joined the project.

Ann was born in 1935 and was a local Burwood girl. She was enrolled into Nursery (PreKindergarten) at the age of four and did her entire schooling at MLC School.

An article in the 2000 edition of Lucis describes Gwen’s visit to MLC School with a selection of her beautiful quilts, including her Southern Cross-themed Paralympic quilt, one of the 650 quilts donated to the Quilts 2000 fund-raising event. More than $500,000 was raised from the Quilts 2000 quilt auction to support the Sydney 2000 Paralympics. The initiative was endorsed by the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) as one of two official community projects for the Paralympic Games. Quilts 2000 was recognised as the most outstanding event of the year by the Fundraising Institute of Australia in 2001.

Ann was involved in a number of sporting activities while she was at the School: swimming (both Junior and Senior teams), hockey (Senior A Hockey team) and tennis. She served as a Wearne Librarian, was on the Sports Committee and was a Senior Prefect in her final year. Mum had many fond memories of her time at MLC School. She particularly recalled a school trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland; a very exotic destination in the early 1950s! There were sad memories too. She remembered the Headmistress’ solemn announcement at assembly one morning of the death of King George VI. After leaving school, Ann studied physiotherapy at the University of Sydney. She then worked at several hospitals in Sydney. She also enjoyed the customary OS trip; she travelled to the USA, Canada, Europe and the UK, living and working in London for a number of months. In 1960, while holidaying with workmates at Shoal Bay, Ann met a fellow guest, Ian Thomson, at the hotel’s fancy dress ball – a year later they were married. While raising her family at various locales on Sydney’s North Shore, Ann remained active in her children’s schools, serving as Secretary for a number of years on various



P&F committees and helping with innumerable school fetes.

She is quoted as saying that the support of her community made the months of unpaid work worthwhile: 'People appreciate what you do and that is the most important thing in life.'

In 1987 Ann and Ian retired to Bowral in the Southern Highlands, where together they gardened and golfed with fervour. Ann was also a keen bridge player and a volunteer with the National Trust of NSW. Though widowed in 2007, Ann continued to live a full and active life. In her later years she suffered serious health issues, but she still pursued life with keen zest. She greatly enjoyed the celebration of her 85th birthday in September 2020, surrounded by her entire family. Ann maintained life-long friendships with several of her MLC School schoolmates, and in particular with her two great mates Nola Frost (Chapple, 1952) and Barb Madgwick (Wood, 1952). She was particularly upset at the news of Nola’s death in June 2020. Ann died very suddenly on Boxing Day 2020. She is greatly missed by her three children and her four grandchildren.

Janette Singer (Guest, 1957)

Janette Singer (Guest, 1957) Janette Singer (Guest, 1957), a regular attendee at our Sapphires’ Luncheons, died peacefully on 18 November 2021. Janette spent her whole schooling at MLC School, enrolling into Kindergarten in 1944 and completing her Leaving Certificate in 1957. In her final year at the School she was a Senior Prefect and a Wearne Librarian. Janette was much loved by her family and friends, particularly those from the MLC School Class of 1957, who will miss her presence at this year’s Sapphires’ event.

From 2003 to 2005, Marlene was a lead player in Strathfield United, the residents’ group that ran the successful ‘anti-Council amalgamation’ campaign opposing Auburn Council’s attempt to amalgamate Strathfield Council.

Marlene Anne Doran pictured in 2006 receiving her OAM, with Her Excellency Professor Maree Bashir AC Governor of New South Wales.

Marlene Anne Doran OAM (Stout, 1957) Local community hero, Marlene Anne Doran OAM (Stout, 1957) passed away on 2 December 2021 at the age of 82. Marlene Anne lived in the Strathfield area her whole life. Her mother owned a shop High-Jinks in the Homebush shopping precinct where Marlene often worked helping her mother. As Marlene’s mother enjoyed travelling, she often left the responsibility of running the shop to her young daughter. This experience led to Marlene opening her own shop, Mari-Anne, which she operated from 1971 until 1988. During these years Marlene, who had a keen interest in the local community, also attended weekly Strathfield Council meetings, the Police Neighbourhood Watch meetings, and for many years was a member of numerous Council Committees. In the 2000s, Marlene became the Honorary Archivist for Strathfield Council and edited a book on the History of the Strathfield Senior Citizens. Marlene organised the group that led to the 2002 establishment of the Bendigo Community Bank in Homebush, and for a time was Chair of the Bank. Her efforts, which involved spending 18 months of Saturdays on the main street of Homebush collecting pledges from locals to form the Community Bank, were recongised with a Centenary Medal; the award marking 100 years since Australian Federation. In the Sydney Morning Herald article (22 April 2003) listing Centenary Medal recipients, Marlene’s story is at the forefront.

In 2018, Marlene, who was then the President of the Strathfield West Senior Citizens, appeared in the Daily Telegraph (9 October 2018) to campaign against Strathfield Council’s dramatic rent increase imposed upon Strathfield Meals on Wheels and other community organisations. For her voluntary community efforts, Marlene accumulated an impressive list of honours and awards, some of these include: • OAM awarded in 2006 for service to the communities of Homebush and Strathfield in support of organisations relating to community banking, civic services, crime prevention and local history. • Living for Others Universal Peace Federation in 2006 • Centenary Medal in 2003 • Strathfield Council Citizen of the Year in 1999. Marlene had three children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her daughter, Leanne Doran-Rosato (Doran, 1989), was a Kindergarten to Year 12 MLC School student. Marlene will be sadly missed by her family and friends, and remembered with gratitude for her tireless service to the local community.



Lynette Tamsett (Annabel, 1959)

Sandra Mee (Haddon, 1976)

Tanya Bendall (Collings, 1986)

Lynette Tamsett (Annabel, 1959)

Sandra Mee (Haddon, 1976)

Tanya Bendall (Collings, 1986)

Michelle Johnson (1973) has reported the sad news that Lynette Tamsett (Annabel, 1959) passed away suddenly on 30 December 2021 at the age of 80.

Colin Mee called to let us know that his beloved wife, Sandra Mee (Haddon, 1976) died on 31 December 2020 at the age of 61 after a four-year battle with brain cancer.

For 36 years, Lyn and her beloved husband, Denis, were owners and managing directors of KG Hurst Real Estate in Eastwood, and for over ten years, Lyn was a member of the Property Management Committee of the NSW Real Estate Institute.

Sandra was a much-loved nurse who started her career at Prince of Wales/Prince Henry Hospitals. After completing her Midwifery Certificate, Sandra moved to Nepean Hospital. For the last 36 years of her career, Sandra worked at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in the Accident and Emergency department.

Rachel Bilney (1986) emailed about the tragic news that her dear friend, Tanya Bendall (Collings, 1986), died on 11 January 2022 from injuries resulting from a car crash while travelling with her husband near her home in Queensland.

Lyn was a mother and grandmother. Her sister Diane Hurt (Annabel, 1961) is also an MLC School Old Girl.

Patricia Chapman (Binns, 1959) Patricia’s husband, Graeme, has told us that his dear wife, Patricia Chapman (Binns, 1959) passed away on 20 July 2021. Patricia was part of a four-generation MLC School family. Her mother Dorothy Binns (Hume, 1927), daughter Deborah Chapman (1988), and son’s daughter Briana Chapman (2020) were all students at MLC School, as was Patricia’s husband’s sister, Sylvia Binns (1925).

Outside of work and family, Sandra’s great passion was Physical Culture. She was a member of the same Physie team for 26 years and competed regularly. Sandra had two children and three grandsons, who she adored.

Family, friends and the entire regional community of Toowoomba were in shock and mourning when Tanya died from her injuries five days after the crash. The Courier Mail published social media tributes to Tanya that included one from an Old Girl friend: 'I will hold onto many cherished and dear memories we shared since high school and will feel your loss every day.' In her last year at MLC School, Tanya was the Booralee House Captain and a champion diver, gymnast, swimmer and athlete. She won the open diving competition at the 1986 Independent Girls School’s Annual InterSchool Swimming Carnival and went on to the National event where she finished 6th in the Tower dive. At the 1986 Independent Girls Schools Gymnastic Competition, Tanya came 3rd on the Level 4 bars. Throughout her high school years at MLC School, Excelsior often reported that Tanya was ‘the Booralee star performer and overall champion’ in diving, swimming, athletics and/or gymnastics. After completing her HSC, Tanya became a junior school teacher. She was a much-beloved prep (junior) teacher at Pittsworth State School, west of Toowoomba, for ten years from 2012. The School announced that a celebration of Tanya’s life took place at the School on 21 March 2022.


Former MLC School Council members, Bruce Bagley and Jim Woolley in June 2016

Wayne Mitchell

James McAlpine (Jim) Woolley OAM

Wayne Mitchell

Long-time MLC School Council and P&F member, Jim Woolley, passed away on 1 December 2021. Jim was a kind and devoted family man who supported MLC School in many ways. For decades he was a valued member of our governing committees as well as an active fundraiser for the School. Jim’s three daughters attended MLC School: Robyn Hawkshaw (Woolley, 1968), Judith Stokes (Woolley, 1971) and Lyn Melrose (Woolley, 1974), and, in tribute to them, many years ago he sponsored the annual Year 8 Prize given at Speech Night: The Robyn, Judy and Lyn Woolley Encouragement Award. Fellow MLC School Council member, Bruce Bagley (former Council Chair) has written this tribute to his dear friend: Jim Woolley…always the gentleman and a special friend. I had a long association with Jim through the Dental Health Foundation and of course MLC School where he was a valued member of the School Council over decades. I always appreciated his keen yet sensitive business sense and his willingness to debate an issue while keeping the well-being of our Students and Parents as a priority. I will miss my enjoyable person-to-person contact with Jim that continued well into his twilight years. Jim’s family remember and cherish the words he would use on parting: 'Cheerio. Keep smiling.'


Former staff member, Wayne Mitchell passed away in early February after a prolonged health battle following a stroke in 2018. Wayne was an esteemed member of our community, having worked at MLC School as the Director of Sport. Many of our staff and students are grateful to have known him as a colleague, mentor and friend and appreciate the proud legacy he leaves our community.



WELCOME, AT LAST! For the first time in two years, parents and staff could finally mingle at the Principal’s Welcome Drinks. After a COVID postponement and weeks of torrential rain, thankfully, the April Fool’s Day date held no further pranks or diminished the smiles of all those who attended. A live band, paella and Spanish tapas set the scene for a casual, lively event filled with fun and laughter.








WINTER ARTS FESTIVAL Drama: Little Women 8-11 June – MLC School

Throughout the month of June, Music, Drama and Art and Design will be the focus of a school wide festival that shines a light on the creative and performing arts. The festival is for students of all ages, parents and the community to enjoy and celebrate to array of talent at MLC School. Get set for a jam packed program and show your support by attending as many events as possible.

Little Women, is the much loved story about the March sisters, romantic Meg, shy Beth, wilful Amy and passionate and fiery Joe, growing up in genteel poverty against the backdrop of the American Civil War. The war was a devastating and bloody event which tore the American nation apart and its effects were long lasting. ‘Having just survived our own devastating, dark event that was the COVID-19 pandemic, MLC School revisits this timeless classic to discover how resilience, humour and the strength of women can lead us from the depths of despair to the light of a new day – whether it is post the Civil War or post our own war against COVID-19’, explained Lisa Jinga, Head of Dance, Drama and Entertainment.

Creative Arts: Illuminate 16 June – MLC School This year, the Art and Design department students invite you to play golf! Every House group will create a mini cardboard golf course, and each of these courses will tell a story, or highlight a need or a concept that they want to share with the community. ‘Illuminate is the avenue for students to explore their own thing’, says Sally Marks, Head of DART. ‘This year, they are eager to incorporate each faculty, get everyone to participate and interact rather than being bystanders.' On top of the mini golf course, Illuminate will also feature an art fair with interactive stalls; music and dance performances; and speeches.

Music: Resounding Voices 15 June – 6.30pm to 8pm – Sydney Town Hall Following the Junior School concert on 3 June, the ReSounding Voices Concert is set to be one of the highlights of the Shine Arts Festival. ‘We chose Voices as the theme because we want to show off the way that some pieces of the concert will be in different languages’, says Trevor Mee, Director of Music. ‘And ReSounding, like ‘resonating’, but also because we are finally playing again for an audience for the first time in two years’ Being held at the landmark, Sydney Town Hall, the concert will be an 'atmospheric' sort of work, with pockets of musicians in each corner of the stage. The Music department has worked with the newly appointed Director of Indigenous Education, Tim Lennon, on a piece, which will feature traditional Indigenous sounds over the song Dawn Mantras by Australian composer Ross Edwards. The concert, which features MLC Schools students from Year 6 to Year 12, will also include works from the Symphonic Wind band and the Rock Orchestra. The finale will feature a choir, including percussion, piano and bass, and a ballade from the 1980s. This concert is a highlight of the School calendar and is not to be missed!

Music: Groove At Camelot 22 June – 7pm to 9pm – Marrickville The end of the festival takes place on Wednesday 22 June, at the Camelot Lounge in Marrickville where Senior School students will play all styles from Rock, to R’n’B to jazz standards to contemporary chart songs in this intimate venue. This concert always sells out, so get in early to buy tickets.




Like to reconnect with Old Girls from your year? Want to find out what’s happening? Have you moved to a new city and would like to get together with other Old Girls? Interested in more archive information? Get set for a new way of reaching out and staying connected.

Shine Winter Arts Festival Little Women

8-11 June MLC School Drama Theatre

ReSounding Voices MLC School Music Concert

Wednesday 15 June 2022 6.30pm-8.30pm Sydney Town Hall

Illuminate Thursday 16 June 2022 4pm-7pm Senior School Campus Groove at Camelot

Thursday 22 June 2022 7pm-9pm Camelot Lounge

Share your news! We very much encourage and welcome your news and love to receive photos. To get in touch, please contact Barbara Hoffman, MLC School Archivist, on 02 8741 3214, or email

Old Girls Events Boarders' Lunch

Friday 22 July 2022

Sapphires' Luncheon

Friday 13 September 2022

London Reunion

27 or 28 September 2022 (TBC) More information to come soon

For more information about any School or Old Girl event, contact Jillian Avramis

2022 SCHOOL TOUR DATES Tuesday 16 August 2022, 10.30am Thursday 10 November 2022, 10.30am


To register for a tour visit or email


Take a virtual fly-through tour Visit


MLC SCHOOL LIMITED A UNITING CHURCH DAY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, PRE-KINDERGARTEN TO YEAR 12 Rowley Street, Burwood NSW 2134 Australia PO Box 643 Burwood 1805 Ph +61 2 9747 1266 Fax +61 2 9745 3254 ABN 84 645 102 325 CRICOS No. 02328D

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