Lucis Magazine, Spring/Summer 2020

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A year to demonstrate courage

The Magazine of the MLC School Family

Spring/Summer Edition 2020

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


FA R E W EL L I N G T H E R EM A R K A B L E CL A S S O F 2020

EDITORIAL Michele Dunn Melissa Pollett Barbara Hoffman Julianne Sheedy

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nicole Anderson Joel Mesas Barbara Hoffman Julianne Sheedy MLC School community

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OFFICE HOURS MLC School hours are 8am to 4pm week days





Cover photo: 2020 Valedictory Assembly and Service

Lucis now incorporates the annual Old Girls Collegiate magazine, bringing news of all our community together and produced twice per year.

Also inside this issue 10 12 16



W H AT A Y E A R ! – A C A P TA I N ' S P ER SP EC T I V E




41 K A R EEN H E A LY ’ S D O L L’ S H O U SE 50





A year like no other LISA MOLONEY / PRINCIPAL

‘So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.’ – Ruth Bader Ginsburg In the last (April 2020) edition of Lucis, I wrote about the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant shift to new modes of teaching and communication. Overnight, we went from having over 1200 girls on campus each day, to having 30 students attending in person and how, in combination with a corresponding decrease in the number of staff working onsite, our School felt empty and devoid of life. At the time, I expected that we were not that far from returning to life and school as normal. However, as I write, restrictions on School activities continue and we are uncertain as to when we will enjoy the normal routines and celebrations of School life. Despite the lengthy and far reaching restrictions, the MLC School community has very much turned “an impediment” into “great, good fortune”. As you will read in this edition of Lucis, regardless of where in the world they are located, MLC School girls, Old Girls and parents have demonstrated resilience, creativity, drive and determination to make the most of this ‘year like no other’. From the time capsule that our Year 12 girls initiated and gifted to the School, the pen pal partnerships between our current and past students and virtual assemblies for our girls, through to the unprecedented rate of implementation of new learning technologies, the tireless commitment of our staff and



the support shown by our parents; at every opportunity the MLC School community united to ensure that our girls were not just supported but able to flourish despite the difficulties. Of course, there have been challenges. I have missed my regular catch ups with our Old Girls near and far, gathering with the community in worship, chatting with parents at sport and music events and representing our magnificent School in the broader community. However, I have also relished having Old Girls from across the globe join the OGU meetings via Microsoft Teams, laughed at the wonderful virtual updates and challenges created by staff and students and marvelled at the speed at which even our youngest learners have adapted to using technology for learning. This edition of Lucis is a marvellous record of not only the achievements of our past and current students but also the story of how members of the MLC School community continued to be leading lights in a time of challenge. We have taken the decision to fold the annual Collegiate publication into the twice yearly Lucis, as a means for our entire community to share in the news and success of our Old Girls and equally to keep our Old Girls more regularly updated. It is with great pride that I commend it to you.

‘Despite the lengthy and far reaching restrictions, the MLC School community has very much turned “an impediment” into “great, good fortune”.’

Senior Centre wins

prestigious Architecture Award The architects of MLC School’s Senior Centre, BVN, were awarded the prestigious William E Kemp Award for Educational Architecture at the NSW Architecture Awards on 3 July 2020 for their work on this incredible building. The Senior Centre opened for students at the beginning of 2019 and its design moves beyond the traditional classroom into flexible learning spaces that encourage adaptability and teamwork. The Senior Centre spans four floors with education spaces located around a central atrium. The building contains eight state-of-the art science laboratories, a central amphitheatre, dance studio, an outdoor learning terrace, four staff rooms, which can be openly viewed by all, an IT help desk and kitchen spaces on each floor.

The Award Jury said, ‘With an eye on the future of collaborative work-place environments the Senior Centre enhances learner-centred design principles by providing daylight-illuminated spaces that enable students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning and be more self-directed in how they shape their learning experience. Open areas have successfully blurred the boundaries between spaces such that staff and students are often working side by side in their preparation time. The glass pods suspended throughout the building encourage senior students to make the most of the opportunity for private study, small group study or meetings with teachers. There is a harmonious and successfully realised balance between open collaborative spaces, performance, practical and more traditional spaces.’





Year 12 girls cheered on the Battle of the Bands, where Red Scare were worthy winners; they fought it out for the COVID Cup, which replaced the usual House Athletics Carnival; they ‘took over’ the Senior Centre; and challenged the staff to dodgeball.

The week of celebrations to mark the transition for the Class of 2020 from MLC School students to MLC School Old Girls was stamped with warmth, joy and great respect for the resilience that these fine young women have shown throughout the year.



With the School closed to parents, we lived streamed the final day’s events. The morning began with the unveiling of the pavers dedicated by parents to their daughters. This was followed by the formal ceremony for the burial of the Year 12 gift – a time capsule to be opened on the School’s bicentenary. At the Year 12 Final Assembly, following the final roll call, we heard from each of the 2020 School and Portfolio Captains and enjoyed a range of musical performances. Through the tears and laughter, students shared their love for MLC School, thanks for the opportunities that they had been afforded, their appreciation for the staff and how much they value the support of their peers.

The girls left their Final Assembly to be surprised by a whole-ofschool guard of honour that wound through the school grounds, with lots of clapping from the younger girls and the sound of the Taiko drums adding to the atmosphere. The path laid out by the guard of honour delivered the Year 12 girls to their House lunches where there was an opportunity to relax and enjoy a meal with their Heads of House. The day concluded with the Year 12 Valedictory Assembly and Service, at which we gathered to worship and to give thanks for all that we have and have shared. The announcement of academic awards and the peer nominated Spirit of Year 12 award, which this year was awarded to Ruby Guminski, brought great cheers and special recognition for the efforts in such a challenging year. In a surprise musical item, Head of Senior School, Neil Scotney and a support band of Executive and Music staff paid tribute to the Year 12 cohort with a rendition of You Raise Me Up, which led to more tears and lots of applause. As these girls leave us, we are confident they will continue to ‘walk as daughters of the light’ as they certainly have this year.







‘Guts’ by Raina Telgemeier is the most popular Middle Years book and ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ by Jenny Han is the most popular Senior Years book at the MLC School Library in 2020. Both of these books are regularly borrowed and both are constantly reserved by eager borrowers.

in time

‘Guts’ is a graphic novel and its popularity is indicative of our girls’ growing love of this format. Our girls can connect with the narratives in both of these books as they reflect their world and the challenges they face – at School, with friends, with romance, and with life in general.

The 2020 Year 12 cohort’s gift of a time capsule brought the entire School community together. ‘The idea of creating a time capsule was first brought up at the beginning of our year as Captains as a way in which we could celebrate and bring together our community in a combined effort to capture MLC School in 2020,’ says School Captain Amelie Roediger. ‘The idea gained greater significance after the coronavirus pandemic began and particularly resonated with the Year 12 cohort, who, despite the uncertainty of the year, recognised the unfailing spirit and resilience of the MLC School community. The time capsule offered the opportunity to acknowledge and capture this school spirit and the staff and students who contributed to it.’ Academic departments, Year groups, Houses, committees, parents and Old Girls were asked to provide a keepsake that best represented their 2020. As this year was like no other, contributions largely focused on unity, resilience and the School’s ability to steer a steady course. Below are just a few of the many items currently buried in the Principal’s Lawn, all ready to be revealed in 2086, the School’s 200th anniversary.

MAGAZINE ARTICLES FROM 2020 USED WITHIN CLASSES HUMAN SOCIETY AND ITS ENVIRONMENT (HSIE) DEPARTMENT The decisions that led to the choices are representative of just how broad the social sciences are. From the perspective of Geography teachers, the pandemic has been a reminder that our human experience remains encapsulated within an ecosystem that will MLC SCHOOL


continue to show us the limits of our resource use. Although, the pandemic also offers a glimpse of what a low carbon future might look like as the global quarantines clear smog from industrial centres around the world. The Business Studies teachers recognised that a distinct set of losers and winners emerged in the commercial world. The mass migration away from working in commercial hubs to working from home has meant commercial landlords, nor hoteliers, no longer enjoy their high returns for locations in the Central Business Districts. Restricted travel has also decimated the aviation and public transport industry. However, businesses which have shifted their operations online have been the big winners as have workers who no longer have to endure long, boring commutes.

Neither book shies away from complex themes; with the characters in ‘Guts’ facing anxiety, and the characters in ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ facing humiliation and embarrassment. The MLC School Library, and more specifically books and reading, are very much part of our School community. MLC School girls are avid, eclectic readers who use the Library frequently both in class groups and individually. We included these books as a reminder of the importance of literature in our world; to quote the famous Dr Seuss

The Psychology team included an article that reflected how a global mental health pandemic has arisen amidst an infectious disease pandemic. The range of strategies used to rein in transmission will ultimately pave the way for a range of psychological issues since limited access to pharmaceuticals, doctors and psychologists can often exacerbate latent mental illness. Social sciences seek to explore the contemporary human experience, yet we remain aware that the pandemic is an event that has occurred within a range of larger megatrends underway over even longer timescales. We have great hopes that the pandemic will be just one event which helps to shape a better future for us. MLC School staff and Old Girls will be the ones who are able to evaluate this when they open the time capsule. Buried in 2020

‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ Our MLC School girls certainly take on this challenge.

MEMORABILIA FROM THE 2020 CHAPEL REFURBISHMENT PROJECT OLD GIRLS’ UNION Although a relatively new physical addition to the School, the MLC School Chapel now represents the living soul of the School – a true link to generations past and future and a symbol of God’s work shown to all who pass through the School. The arrival of the baptismal font in 2017 commenced the journey of the MLC School Chapel refurbishment. All the Chapel timber was restored and French polished, creating a cohesive effect. The Old Girls’ Union (OGU) has further assisted with the funding of a heating/cooling system and new carpeting which was designed to include the MLC School crest. The OGU’s final step in the refurbishment of our Chapel was to increase its capacity by designing and manufacturing pews, which were installed this year. We know that our beautifully refurbished Chapel completed in 2020 will allow the generations who come to find peace and

solace in times of great sorrow, share joy together at the baptism of new babies and the celebrations of weddings, and provide all students with a beautiful place where they can develop their relationship with Christ in the School.

A SIGNED SPORTS SHIRT WRAPPED AROUND A HOUSE PHOTO WHITLEY HOUSE The Whitley girls submitted a sports shirt wrapped around a House photo of the girls spelling out Whitley, with a letter to the future written on the back. The signed shirt was chosen to signify our strength, unity and our sense of belonging to Whitley House. We hope that a future Whitlian will wear this shirt, and that maybe a future granddaughter will recognise a signature. All Whitley Luminary groups were wonderfully enthusiastic about arranging themselves into a letter to spell Whitley for the House photo. The idea was to give Whitley many faces, and to see the fun the girls had doing this. The letter on the back of the photo gave the Whitley girls the opportunity to describe their experiences of 2020 – both wonderful and challenging. We hope to connect with the future generations and extend the unity of Whitley over the years.

DRIED SUNFLOWER SEEDS YEAR 4 Three sunflowers were planted for each class just before the COVID-19 flexible learning period. The girls enjoyed spending time nurturing these sunflowers and watching them grow. It was something positive that the girls had to focus on during a challenging time in their learning. The message the Year 4 girls are sending to the Year 12 2020 cohort and to the future is that no matter how tough a situation, there is always something positive developing out of it. Though challenges come in adversity, we always have growth through challenge and the seeds of that growth can generate thousands of greater positives. ‘This time capsule will allow us to capture a moment in time to later revisit our past endeavours and experiences,’ expresses Amelie. ‘Not only will they compare MLC School paraphernalia and get an unparalleled insight into a year which will be remembered, but our objects will offer insight into the zeitgeist of this moment in time. Rather than merely learning about the events of this year in a history book, future students can be immersed into our worldview and unique perspective. As the artefacts are representative of different communities in the School, they will understand the diverse community of MLC School.’

To be opened in 2086 LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2020



Gifts for the generations who follow THE CENTENARY TIME CAPSULE

In 1986, MLC School’s Centenary Year, the culmination of a year of celebrations was the burial of the Centenary time capsule. The event took place on 21 November 1986, a day the MLC School Council named Commemoration Day. The day’s events commenced with the girls and staff dressed in the fashions of 1886, and morning lessons were conducted in the manner of lessons in the late 1800s. This re-creation of our founding days was called ‘MLC School as in 1886’. Just before noon on the day, the entire School gathered in the Chapel forecourt for the burial of the Centenary time capsule and the cutting of the Centenary cake, which had been kindly donated by the Old Girls’ Union. The rest of the day’s activities were ‘given over to the students’ and included a long, leisurely picnic. The 1986 time capsule burial day was a huge success, particularly with the students. A senior girl commented: ‘The most memorable moment in the Centenary Year was on Commemoration Day when we dressed up and the MLC School cake was cut and the time capsule was buried’ with a junior girl

Buried in 1986


To be opened in 2086


adding: ‘The thing that I enjoyed most was the burial of the time capsule because it gave me an eerie feeling to think that some of our work would be seen in 100 years.’ In preparation for the burial, the girls of the 1986 Student Council shared their ideas about what the time capsule could contain. Ideas ranged from diaries, uniforms, badges and photos through to lists of subjects, clubs and sports, a copy of the School rules, the bell times and a list of canteen foods. It was, however, decided to not record a definitive list of the 1986 capsule’s contents. MLC School staff member for 39 years, Mike Hayes (1978 to 2017) told us that ‘there was a deliberate decision not to record what was placed in the 1986 time capsule so that it would be a surprise for those who dig it up in 2086.’

Curious about its contents, we asked some Old Girls and staff to think back to 34 years ago and see what they could remember about the time capsule. Mike Hayes remembers that ‘the capsule was a metal cylinder about 40cm long and not all that wide’, meaning the contents had

to be on the smaller side. Mike says that he thinks he ‘passed on a floppy disc with some computing students’ work on it’. We wonder what the students and staff of 2086 will make of that?

Yvonne Kaloterakis (Kostopoulos, 1986), the MLC School Captain that year, says she thinks the capsule contained the 1986 Excelsior, 1986 Diary, timetables, samples of classwork, 1986 Speech Night Prize List, a uniform, the Centenary Figurines (of two school girls), and her Speech Night speech, which she says Principal Rev Cornwell made her rewrite ‘in better handwriting’.

HIDDEN IN THE FOUNDATIONS Looking further through the MLC School recorded history reveals that there is another ‘time capsule’ within our School’s foundations.

The 1946 issue of Excelsior, celebrating ‘Sixty Years A School’, included reminiscences from Old Girls and staff. One of these looked back on the official opening of Potts Hall on a ‘sunlit morning’ in 1926. The official ceremony included the tradition of laying a coin beneath the entrance step. The author informs us that along with this coin, ‘in a niche in the foundations was placed a parchment record of the history of the School.’ As she watched the event, ‘the years dropped away, and I saw another day, far off, and other people with tender hands lovingly unfolding the parchment from its long resting place, as if they knew we did endow this place with beauty for them here and now, and I knew that here, in this house, others would come to dedicate themselves to a life of truth said and goodness done.’

The cutting of the Centenary Cake, donated by the OGU, in the Chapel forecourt at the Centenary time capsule burial ceremony.

1986 Centenary time capsule plaque and location in the Chapel forecourt (below).

Potts Hall, taken in 1970. In a niche in the foundations lies a parchment written in 1926 detailing the history of MLC School. LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2020




The Student Representative Council (SRC) works as a voice of the students to actualise change and improvements in the School environment. Despite all of the difficulties this year with various event cancellations, the SRC has been able to achieve a great deal. This has included the planning of various events within the School to give back to others, show gratitude and build community spirit, including Teacher Appreciation Week, which was celebrated at the end of July. Teacher Appreciation Week was a week focused on displaying gratitude for the staff of the School, especially during flexible learning when they went above and beyond. Activities during Teacher Appreciation week included giving out appreciation notes to the teachers, teacher/student trivia, ‘guess the teacher’ competitions, a teacher baking competition, a student Haiku Competition, and on the last day of the week, a ‘dress as your favourite teacher’ mufti day. SRC Captain, Charlie Kairaitis said, ‘You could really feel the girls were filled with gratitude and appreciation for our teachers, and the sheer volume of appreciation notes delivered on the last day of the week represented this spirit’.




The SRC were also responsible for World’s Greatest Shave. Events were scheduled to witness girls and teachers shave off their luscious locks to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of the shaves were filmed at home and shared with the community online. One of the funniest shaves filmed, which was full of screams of shock, was of Elizabeth Gilberthorpe, Music teacher and former owner of long luscious locks. Charlie Kairaitis said ‘I am so proud of the teachers and girls who pulled together to raise a total of $16,500 for the Leukemia Foundation. The strength and commitment of all those who put their hair on the line for this awesome cause must be appreciated – it was a phenomenal effort!’ The SRC plays an important role in student life at the School, with an emphasis on activities that look beyond individual enjoyment and participation to those that have a wider impact.

While the girls dressed as their teachers, Principal Lisa Moloney dressed as her students.

A box full of appreciation notes from students to be sent to MLC School’s dedicated teachers and staff members.

On the final day of Teacher Appreciation Week our girls dressed as their favourite teachers. Some great lookalikes!




ej oy



of music For Year 12’s Joy Xu, music has always been a great love, so there was never any doubt that she would choose Music 2 and Music Extension for her final two years in the HSC. The fact that she is hearing impaired was entirely irrelevant. Joy is an accomplished pianist and cello player and her MLC School piano teacher Ying Ho knew she would excel in these subjects. As she said, ‘Joy has a rare musicality and an incredibly innate feeling for music. What impresses me the most is her extraordinary level of expression. Her love and passion for music really shines through in her piano playing.’ Director of Music, Trevor Mee added, ‘Joy is incredibly humble. There is no bloated ego accompanying her talent, she just enjoys playing music beautifully.’ The Head of Junior School, Daniel Sandral, recently invited Joy to meet with a group of girls who are also hearing impaired to share her journey from Kindergarten to Year 12. He, like Joy and these girls, is also hearing impaired. Daniel recounted that he had been

told as a young boy that there were many things he would never be able to do due to his hearing loss in his right ear. ‘This has clearly not been the case, I’ve never felt I couldn’t achieve whatever I set my mind to. Most people don’t even know I have a hearing condition,’ Daniel told the girls. Joy was diagnosed with hearing loss when she was in Kindergarten. At the time she was the only girl in the Junior School with a hearing device and she recalled that many of her friends would have fun playing with it. Today, the Junior School has five girls with a hearing impairment. They all enjoyed the chance to share in Joy’s story, her tips about how to enjoy music and advice to take advantage of all the support available. Each of the Junior School girls plays a musical instrument and Amelia in Year 5 is an accomplished dancer having performed professionally at the State Theatre in Jack and the Beanstalk last year.

wonderful when you see the benefits.’ She then thrilled the Junior School girls them with a performance of a piece by Chopin, which clearly showed her hard work. According to Daniel Sandral, ‘Like so many girls in our Senior School, Joy is a wonderful example for our Junior School girls. ‘All of us have challenges in our lives. Joy has shown us that through dedication and perseverance how she has overcome hers to become an outstanding musician. ‘Like Joy, I believe that our young Junior School girls will also be an inspiration to others when they are in their senior years here at MLC School. ‘We thank Joy for sharing her inspirational story.’ Joy’s final word of advice for the girls was ‘to always enjoy what you are doing and don’t let anyone stop you from following your dreams.’

Joy spoke of her love of music, ‘Even though it’s hard work to get the results, it’s



Richard Burgess






You will find Richard Burgess in the newly renovated Kent House cottage most days of the week (even the holidays) helping the girls with their design projects. Richard is one of our dedicated Design, Art and Technology (DART) teachers. Richard is a relative newcomer to MLC School. After spending seven years at Trinity Grammar teaching Design and Technology, and then 15 years at Newington College as Head of Technology and Applied Science (TAS), Richard thought he would head into semi-retirement and travel the world. He did manage to do some travelling before MLC School found him in 2019 and lured him back to cover a maternity leave position in the TAS Department. We are very happy to say that Richard became a full-time staff member in Term 4 2020. Richard is well-known for his passion and dedication for teaching; however, teaching wasn’t originally in his plan when he was at university. Richard initially studied architecture at university but didn’t enjoy it. A friend suggested that he might enjoy teaching, so Richard decided to do an Industrial Arts degree as well. After finishing his degree, Richard found himself at Leichhardt High School for seven years where he discovered that he did love teaching… the rest is history.

After teaching in boys’ schools for over 20 years, Richard has found teaching girls a very different experience. He says, ‘There is a very different dynamic when teaching girls. MLC School girls are always self-motivated, creative, and strive to achieve their best. They are very appreciative of their teachers and always thank you for the skills they learn each lesson. The genuine care they have for peers is evident in all areas of schooling. The girls are very talented, but their confidence is not as high as the confidence boys have, but it should be.’ When asked what he loves about teaching TAS at MLC School, Richard says ‘The energy and enthusiasm of the girls and their genuine desire to do their best – and it is the buzz of the classroom. I have a growth mindset and enjoy learning and teaching new skills and techniques. Helping students reach and exceed their potential with design and construction work is a driving force. I enjoy the collaborative nature of the DART Department and learning from the vast array of talent it possesses.’ Richard worked tirelessly to help the Year 12 Design and Technology girls finish their major projects in Term 3.

SUSTAINABLE MODULAR SEATING ARRANGEMENT – EVA TELEMACHOU (YEAR 12) Eva Telemachou’s sustainable modular seating arrangement is inspired by her passion for landscape architecture, green spaces and gardens. ‘In Term 3 of 2019, my Geography teacher David Latimer took our class to the new green space at school. It is a stretch of grass the School wanted to develop into a functional green space. Mr Latimer asked our class about the type of seating we would like to sit on and the material it could be made from. This is when I had the idea to design sustainable seating. The School went through major construction work over the last few years and decided that it was essential to

implement green spaces. Green space is very important to help relieve stress and improve mental health.’ Richard’s experience and motivation to help the girls has been very important for Eva’s project. ‘Mr Burgess has been amazing throughout the whole process of my major work. He has allowed me to develop my ideas through his passion for Design and Technology. He is always excited and comes to me with new ways I can improve my design and develop my modular seating arrangement further. I am constantly learning new things with new techniques, tools and materials, which has allowed me to expand my knowledge and improve. He has truly made Design and Technology my favourite subject.’

TREAD LIGHTLY – SAMANTHA NAAYEN (YEAR 12) Samantha’s project, titled ‘Tread Lightly’, is a pair of slippers with lights to help people find their way in the dark. Samantha’s inspiration came from her grandma, who recently had a fall, and her mother, who is a physiotherapist specialising in elderly rehabilitation from slips, trips and falls. ‘As a young person, I have no understanding of the fear of falling. Yes, I know I could fall down, but I know I will heal and bounce back. For my grandma however, a fall could have serious implications and that is how I started thinking about how these fears could be lessened and confidence improved. Then I stumbled across an infomercial for slippers with lights in them and thought I could do that better.’ Samantha has been expertly guided by Richard Burgess and Linda Emms, Head of Learning and Teaching, and Samantha’s Design and Technology teacher. ‘Mr Burgess and Ms Emms have been a massive help, as I previously had no experience in circuitry and textiles, not any idea about entire process of how to create a shoe. With their help, I have been able to combine my research with their knowledge of tools and materials to hopefully create something of value for older people.’



MLC School family generations

THREADING through time

2020 Year 12 student Mia Novati is one of our incredibly talented Textiles and Design students whose work was on display at the Design, Art and Technology (DART) Showcase on Thursday 3 September 2020. Mia is part of a multi-generational MLC School family: her mother and aunt are Old Girls, as are her grandmother and great aunts. Speaking with Mia about her work which was inspired by the Italian literary fairy tale ‘Sun, Moon, and Talia’ as well as Paolo Sebastian’s couture collections, she revealed her grandmother’s connection to the work. 1962 Leawarra House Captain, Beryl (Bess) Trollope (Houston, 1962) is Mia’s grandmother. Bess, who attended MLC School from Pre-Kindergarten through to her Leaving Certificate, also excelled at textiles at MLC School. Bess continued her love of textiles into her adulthood and has amassed an extraordinary amount of fabrics, threads, ribbons, and buttons. Most of the fabric, ribbon and thread Mia used in her Higher School Certificate (HSC) major work were sourced from her grandmother’s vast textiles collection. Textiles teacher, Robyn Langford, described Mia’s work as an ‘inspirational piece designed around the fabrics, ribbon and lace acquired from her creative grandmother Bess. The silk wall hanging is adorned with stump work, ribbon roses, whipped stitch roses, crochet stitch, bullion and French knots. Mia is a naturally talented Textiles and Design student who enjoys working with both traditional and contemporary hand techniques. Her beautiful wall hanging encompasses delicate techniques and a link to her past whilst commenting on the contemporary issue of sustainability.’ Mia's grandmother, Beryl Trollope (Houston, 1962).



YEAR 6 EXCITEMENT DAY Preparing Year 6 girls to move into Year 7 starts when they cross the road from the Junior School to the Senior campus at the start of the year. The girls become familiar with the rhythms of the Senior School, attend some of the assemblies and chapels (virtually these days) and interact with the older girls through the Middle Years leaders, in the Café and at breaks. Importantly, their learning aims to stretch them beyond the traditional Year 6 program so that MLC School girls avoid the general hiatus many girls experience whilst they ‘wait’ to move onto their new school for Year 7. Welcoming and connecting girls, who are coming from other schools with those continuing from Year 6, as they all begin afresh as the new Year 7 cohort entails a number of carefully planned immersion and orientation events. A new feature of the transition program was introduced in July, called Year 6 Excitement Day – a day where all current Year 6 girls had

the chance to experience a day as a Year 7 student, but with a very special twist. Each class was taken by a member of the Senior leaders of the School. Principal, Lisa Moloney took each girl for a Science class which involved investigating the transfer of energy by measuring the distance that marshmallows travel when launched using a plastic spoon as a catapult. It was an English lesson with a difference from Deputy Principal, Frances Booth, with a light-hearted look at puns and homonyms. Vietnamese rice paper rolls were on the menu with Head of Learning and Teaching, Linda Emms, for Food Technology. Head of History, Peter Klamka kept the girls enthralled as Time Detectives examining pictorial evidence ranging from Ancient Egypt to World War 1. Head of Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE), Olivia Nolan gave the girls a taste of an interactive PDHPE lesson which included unpacking holistic health and wellbeing, exploring the body systems and playing some fun games.

Preparing parents and welcoming them to the community is also a vital part of the process and includes information sessions and various communications.

IMPORTANT DATES Monday 26 October 2020 Year 7 and New Senior School Parent Information Evening Thursday 5 November 2020 Junior School New Parent Induction Evening

The feedback from the day has been excellent, with this comment summing it up, ‘I can only wish the time had not passed by so quickly!’




COVID-19 changed the world


1. 5 M A PA R T

Fresh on the heels of the catastrophic summer season of bushfires, the pandemic of COVID-19 changed our world instantly and dramatically. Today, new words fill our vernacular – self isolation, lockdown, social distancing, sanitiser, webinars. Parents cannot enter the School without an appointment, choirs cannot sing, woodwind players cannot join their ensembles. Even though we have always relied on technology, it is now imperative for the School community to stay connected.

Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Stream, Zoom, YouTube, Vimeo, Canvas and social media have become vital – they enable us to stay connected for staff briefings, parent information webinars, subject selection evenings, and parent/teacher meetings. Overnight we have become film directors and editors. The Senior School and Junior School now record their assemblies every



week because year groups cannot mix, Music concerts and Design, Art and Technology (DART) exhibitions like Illuminate are filmed and uploaded for the School community to view. The impact of social distancing has meant virtually all School events have been cancelled, or have had to be reimagined within the confines of the government mandates. With visitors no longer allowed on campus, School tours are impossible for new families. As a result, online School tours are now streamed live and with great success. While families are unable to get a physical ‘feel’ for our School, they receive all the important information from an impressive panel that includes Principal, Lisa Moloney, Head of Junior School, Daniel Sandral, Head of Senior School, Neil Scotney, and Registrar, Nerida Coman. Our 2020 Junior School Vice-Captain, Sophia Antipas, and School Captain, Amelie Roediger, or Middle School

leader, Jasmine Stavros, play an important part on the panel, speaking about their experience at MLC School and answering questions about school life. In many respects having an hour or more Q&A affords prospective parents an opportunity they had not previously had. Through it all, the girls of our Year 12 cohort have remained resilient though many of their final events have simply not been able to occur. Nevertheless, they have smiled and stayed extremely positive, quietly accepting the restrictions that have been imposed on the significant occasions which they (and their families) have looked forward to as marking their time at school. MLC School girls have adapted incredibly well to the rapid changes during COVID-19. They stayed connected with their teachers during flexible learning, maintained their friendships during lockdown and returned to school with great enthusiasm when it was deemed safe.

A crazy year JODHI BOU / 2020 JUNIOR SCHOOL CAPTAIN ride our bikes and caught up on the Marvel movies. My family means so much more to me. COVID-19 has definitely changed the way we learn. There were moments of ups and downs. We all learnt how to use Microsoft Teams which made me feel very grown up. Canvas was also very cool to use and forced me to work independently. I still prefer being at school with teachers and friends around me.

Lockdown in most of Australia was short and restrictions relatively limited compared to other countries where many of our Old Girls now live. We are all very much aware that COVID-19 will be a part of our lives for some time, the way in which we have all adapted so quickly and optimistically shows the strength of the entire MLC School community, our common bonds and shared values. Throughout the next pages are experiences from different members of our School community describing how COVID-19 has affected their year and how they, and the community, have adapted to change.

This year has been the craziest year I have ever had at MLC School. It’s been different in so many ways. Home learning, isolation, frequent hand washing, no hugs for friends and grandparents, social distancing, parents working from home and finally the use of masks. This is a new experience for all, fun for some but tough for others, especially for parents. For those who have siblings you would know that they can be troublesome, however my sister was great company during isolation. When Mum and Dad were busy, I was able to play with her. We played games, we went outside to

We had to deal with the disappointment of not going on excursions and camps because I was really looking forward to going to Ballarat. After school activities were cancelled along with carnivals and weekend sport. Even speech and drama went virtual. Overall, the home learning experience was tough, however I think that we have learnt to readjust to new conditions even in times like these.

‘I still prefer being at school with teachers and friends around me.’






I think it’s fair to say that the majority of the world was particularly excited for 2020. With the usual opportunity for a fresh start, the promise of the Summer Olympics, the debate as to whether 2020 was or wasn’t the start of a new decade, or simply the anticipation of all the palindromic numbers that would appear in our times and dates, there was much to look forward to. Indeed, the pun ‘2020 Vision’ was at the forefront of many people’s minds. Needless to say, the year has not played out as we expected. But it is with great pride that I recount the strength, optimism and resilience of the School community prior to and throughout the worst of the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. With rollover in Term 4 of 2019, the Leadership team immediately set about planning the year ahead. Alongside the individual plans of the portfolio captains, we launched a new captains’ newsletter titled The Captains’ Corner; we continued emphasising the importance of random acts of kindness with cookies for the staff and the girls; and we MLC SCHOOL


diligently practised the School song in regular assemblies in preparation for Speech Night. Term 1 of 2020, however, brought great change in our community, and the global community, due to COVID-19. The instantaneous shift of the MLC School community to flexible learning was incredible. It prompted each and every student and staff member to swiftly adapt to a new learning environment with ever-changing conditions. Among the inevitable challenges, the nation-wide period of isolation brought on a new ‘era’ of virtual classes and assemblies, weekly competitions and an expertly executed compilation of distanced music performances. Social distancing cancelled or pushed back many annual events including Round Square Week and Illuminate. Despite this, the Leadership team have sought new and innovative ways to celebrate the School community, embodying the philosopher Alain de Botton’s powerful words ‘A good half of the art of living is resilience’. Certainly, the excitement and lively atmosphere of projects and events including Teacher Appreciation Week and the creation of the MLC School 2020 time capsule have been amplified by our two-month period in isolation. In a similar way, Year 12 has certainly been extraordinary, with changes to assessments and even the cancellation of the Italian examinations for some International Baccalaureate (IB) students. However, with the support of our amazing teachers and the strength of our cohort we have definitely made the most out of the tumultuous series of events. Looking back on 2020, there is no doubt about the tragedy and disruption caused by the bushfires and the pandemic, but we must also acknowledge the profound strength, optimism and resilience that has carried our community through the worst of this year. 2020, with its lows and much welcomed highs, is definitely a year to remember.

perspective A YEAR OF MYSTERY




Coming into this year I wasn’t sure what to expect. Year 12 is a year that is shrouded with expectations and mystery. I think I can confidently say the expectations part of Year 12 was definitely subverted, however the mystery part lived up to its expectation.

This year will be remembered for all the wrong reasons! Ah yes, the adage of 2020. This year has certainly shaken the MLC School, Australian and world’s conscience in a number of ways. From meticulously studying COVID-19 numbers in the Southern Hemisphere to predict whether or not we will sit final IB examinations, to wondering if we can bring partners to the formal, this year has undoubtedly brought unprecedented stress upon the 2020 cohort. But I argue that there has been a silver lining, as there often is, and our Year group has grown together as a tight-knit family. Whatever happens next, I am proud to belong to such a supportive, inclusive and caring cohort, which will be impossible to forget.

As Seniors Vice-Captain, my role entails running assembly fortnightly. Unfortunately, lockdown and flexible learning threw a huge spanner into the works, resulting in the captains and the whole School community adapting to a very rare and unique circumstance. I went from having assemblies in front of three year groups that ran overtime, to pre-recording videos that struggled to make 10 minutes. Fortunately, I persevered, and with help from the other Captains, Head of Senior School, Neil Scotney and Head of Year 12, Angela Renwick, assemblies became longer, more entertaining and ultimately more fun to create. Academically, the switch to flexible learning was difficult to start off with. I think I can speak on behalf of many girls and say that the switch from home life to school life was hard, but after a week or two, routines started to flow again and online learning became the norm. As restrictions eased, Year 12 girls were allowed back to school full time. Every day I saw a different Year group. The grounds were empty, and once again it was difficult at first, but with perseverance it became normal. Then just like that everyone was back.

I would not say that this year has shattered expectations, but rather, spurred their reform and our adaptation. I had a very set idea that my role as Middle Years Captain would be to lead the Middle Years assemblies alongside the fantastic Middle Years leadership team. Rather, my role at some points has involved brushing up on my inadequate iMovie skills whilst FaceTiming the Middle Years leaders in an attempt to create engaging virtual assemblies. It was, however, incredibly rewarding when girls or teachers acknowledged the humour in these videos. Unfortunately, we said goodbye to some exciting ideas, such as orchestrating one large card game with all of Middle Years, but in the process, we have all learnt more about the nature of leadership and collaboration.

Leadership is not and will never be about self, but the community whom we guide. During difficult times, the community looks toward optimistic leaders, but it must not be forgotten that leaders themselves draw strength from the resilient community. Every member of the MLC School family should be commended for their approach to changing times, and commitment to maintaining a high level of support. I hope that as the Middle Years girls have grown closer in their friendship groups, classes and cohorts, they continue to connect with the years above and below, forming a resilient community amongst themselves. In an attempt to strengthen cross-cohort ties, this year I have worked closely with Year 6 teacher, Andrea Martinez and Head of Year 10, Sharon Connolly, to establish a Year 6 and Year 10 peer mentorship system recalling the Big Sister Little Sister program loved by many. Credit to the Vice-Captains of 2019, Emily Osborne and Rachel Wang, for the genesis of the idea behind the program. Although the time spent with buddies was less extensive than envisaged, both Year groups benefitted, and we hope to continue this program in the future. Although this year has brought many changes, a great deal of my experiences has remained unchanged. The Class of 2020 retains its indelible spirit mixed with both excitement for the future and nostalgia for the past, particularly as the year progresses. Overall, through all the unexpected and shared experiences, the Class of 2020 has united and developed resilience and leadership skills we will carry throughout the rest of our lives.




‘A key aspect of all schools, particularly here at MLC School, is the sense of belonging and the knowledge that you are part of something larger than yourself.’



Maintaining a sense of community NEIL SCOTNEY / HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL It’s not every day schools are given the challenge of responding to a global pandemic by moving everything to an online platform, asking students to stay at home and charging ahead with ‘the show must go on’ up in lights. I’m thrilled to say that the staff and students took up this challenge and seamlessly moved from face to face lessons one day to flexible learning the next. It was an incredible feat, and one that allowed us all to take on new skills and deliver a business as usual approach to learning and teaching. Faculties set about delivering content from an online platform with a good mix of video conferencing and real-world experiences, all from the comfort of home. Highlights included a music lesson that involved improvised percussion instruments form the kitchen, an art lesson on the balcony and fitness lessons in the backyard or lounge room. Once again, the ability of all staff to adapt to these changing times was a great testament to their commitment to the girls and their chosen fields, along with their professionalism. I’m sure there would be many that acknowledge it was far from easy, but a journey that was very rewarding. One of the biggest challenges as Head of Senior School was to maintain the sense of community despite the inability for us to meet together, as we are used to doing. A key aspect of all schools, particularly here

at MLC School, is the sense of belonging and the knowledge that you are part of something larger than yourself. This is how we build culture and maintain our School’s core values. It’s also a key way of celebrating student success and inspiring girls in their pursuit of ‘dare to be more.’ While initially this was problematic, it quickly became clear that we needed to meet weekly via a virtual assembly. The challenge throughout the first few weeks was the inability of accessing staff and students for the purpose of interviewing and gaining much needed content. Over time, this became less and less of an issue as we met on a weekly basis and shared stories of success and gained insights from staff and students on how the online learning experience was impacting on them. There was a good mix of positive messages and good humour, although much of the content was ‘dad jokes’ it enabled us to continue to have a shared experience and maintain connections as a School. I am deeply grateful to all staff and students for their willingness to be involved, their honesty and humour and, above all, their incredible sense of fun and community. While the impact of COVID-19 has been significant, it won’t stand in our way of maintaining connections with each other.





GAME ON! LISA FILBY / DIRECTOR OF SPORT In 1992, when addressing her nation on Christmas Day, Queen Elizabeth II described the year as an ‘Annus Horribilis’ a Latin phrase meaning horrible year. I feel that the events to which she referred in 1992 pale in comparison to what the world has dealt with in 2020. Who would have thought that in this day and age, with all the medical technology we have available, a virus could bring the world to a standstill? Sport was not immune to the virus. Every aspect of sport has been affected, from grass roots sport to the sporting pinnacle – The Olympic Games. Training, competitions, media coverage and spectators were all affected. At MLC School we had to think outside the box to find innovative ways to deliver a sports program without actually having the girls on campus. How do you manage to keep the girls engaged when everyone is trying to deliver some sort of program online? At MLC School, the Sports Department introduced the weekly challenge. The challenges ranged from the ‘top shot’ goal shooting competition, healthy cooking challenges, exercising with your pet competition and the Just Dance Challenge. We created a virtual ball passing video that showed our School community that even though we were apart from each other, we still had a connection with our peers and staff. Towards the end of Term 2 we saw the slight easing of restrictions and we were able to



introduce the Return to Physical Activity program. This program was not a return to training, but an opportunity for the girls to participate in some form of physical activity where they could try a new sport, learn a new skill and be with their friends after several weeks of flexible learning at home. The sessions filled up quickly clearly showing the girls were eager to get back to sport. As of Term 3, we slowly returned to sport in its full capacity. The further easing of restrictions allowed us to return to full

training and our regular Saturday Sport Competitions albeit with some hygiene protocols and spectator restrictions in place. When I held my first training session with my Netball team since the lockdown during COVID-19, I realised how something so simple could be missed so dearly. If there is one thing we have learnt from this pandemic, it’s to never take the simple things in life for granted. We were all looking forward to that first whistle on our first Saturday back indicating its game on!



COVID-19 affected everyone’s experience in fundamental ways. For the Music Department, the ramifications struck at the core of what we do with the most immediately obvious effect being the inability to perform for an audience. As the realisation descended that ensemble rehearsals, music classes and private one-to-one tuition was impossible, the gravity of the phenomenon became apparent. Like all departments across the School, collectively our IT skills improved exponentially. I commend the girls on their patience as we fumbled our way through the process. As a member of a generation far less familiar with the technological world than the current generation of ‘digital natives’ we teach, we went into this challenge with a ready and willing ‘IT help desk’ at the other end of each online lesson. Our private instrumental tutors provided students with continuity of learning and offered parents a chance to break up the constant home time with something other than screen time to

occupy the day. Joanna Drimatis, Head of Strings, and Richard Coward, Head of Bands, together with instrumental tutors, also maintained the Junior School instrumental program by providing video instruction, which will remain a resource moving forward. With the gradual relaxation of restrictions daily, the department feels more ‘normal’. We have provided performance opportunities by uploading video recordings of small groups – the Piano Festival and the Chamber Music Concert are examples. To have our building reverberating with the sound of young people making music again is such a pleasure. To hear the very first rehearsal of a new Middle Years brass ensemble at the start of Term 3 gives great hope for the future. The atmosphere of enjoyment and camaraderie seems palpable at the moment.

As we look forward, we are happy that one-to-one lessons are back to routine and we were enjoying having our ensembles back to their regular rehearsals until further restrictions broke them apart again. But this has allowed us to offer some new programs like Ukelele Orchestra, African Drumming and School of Rock to help extend the girls’ expression and enjoyment of music within the new health confines. I would like to extend thanks to the Executive for their support through this time; my congratulations and thanks to the MLC School Music staff, tutors and parents for such a quick adaptation to such a fundamental challenge. I can’t think of a more perfect set of circumstances to present an unsettling period of confusion and practical challenge. As a community, we handled them with grace and a spirit of cooperation. ‘Out of adversity comes opportunity’ – Benjamin Franklin.






Before commencing at MLC School in July 2019, I worked at the International College of Management in Sydney for 10 years. Within seven months of starting at MLC School, COVID-19 started to evolve, leading to a dramatic change in the delivery of education. Fundamentally, technology needed to fill the gap for off campus education delivery at MLC School, in other words… flexible learning. Fortunately, in 2019 the IT Department had completed extensive work migrating the entire email system into Microsoft Office 365, and this forged a credible foundation to extend a cloud offering from Microsoft to fill this gap in flexible learning. Microsoft Teams became a valuable application from Microsoft Office 365. As COVID-19 spread, we needed to be incredibly agile in our approach to adopting a completely bespoke pedagogical delivery to our normal teaching practise, and this was overwhelmingly adopted by the entire MLC School community. Every department in the School went above and beyond to assist in the common goal to deliver excellence in



service to our MLC School girls. At times I felt I had an IT Department of hundreds! In my career, I have managed many largescale cloud adoption projects, but never have I seen such an amazing adoption rate of Microsoft Teams in under a week. With incredible work from Roshan de Silva, Director of eLearning, Linda Emms, Head of Learning and Teaching, our teachers, and the IT Department, we went live within two weeks with a completely new way of education delivery, wading into completely unchartered waters. There was no time to build a predefined rule book for this newfound pedagogy, and our teachers, with their solid technical foundations, dived into the deep end and produced a world class flexible learning classroom that many higher education institutions would be jealous of. During the first week of flexible learning, our Microsoft Teams user adoption statistics smashed through the ceiling, with around 1000 active users, nearly 300 active channels, producing 15,000 messages, which has been growing consistently every month.

Once flexible learning had stabilised, our focus moved to internal MLC School business processes, including live events to hundreds of parents and online staff meetings. Now that the girls and staff have returned to the school campus, we have time to assess in more detail the mammoth feat MLC School achieved in two short weeks. The positive outcome is how the MLC School community joined together to adopt technical change at such a rapid rate. The lessons learnt during this time are now being adopted into our refined 2020 strategy, and I believe we have now built a brilliant pedestal from which to springboard efficiencies and added customer value with tools that allow us much more depth of learning and teaching into the homes of the girls. Who knows where we will be in months to come… but one thing I do know, is that with team MLC School, and the way we managed lockdown, I am in good company and ready to take on any further challenges that may have be in store for us, head on – DARE TO BE MORE!

When we started flexible learning, we wanted to ensure we were still sticking with our usual routine to keep normality to cope with learning from home. We set up our house to have designated learning areas for the three girls to allow them to focus on their online school tasks. My Year 4 and Year 2 daughters were able to log on to their video conferences with their teachers and complete their home learning tasks independently. I mainly assisted my Kindergarten daughter with her work, whilst entertaining my three-year-old at the same time.



Life is always on the go when you have four young girls, three daughters in MLC Junior School in Kindergarten, Year 2, Year 4 and a three-year-old toddler. During the uncertain time of the COVID-19 lockdown, our lives entered into a new territory we were not expecting.

Our daily routine always included scheduled snack and lunch breaks and some sort of physical activity each day. We tried to follow the timetable as best as possible, but found that after lunch, the lack of motivation and concentration meant we spent the afternoon outside, enjoying the fresh air or doing arts and crafts. Initially it was difficult and stressful to manage three girls in three different grades, but after some time, we adjusted and found our rhythm.

As a result of all the after school, recreational and social activities put on hold, we had a lot of additional time on our hands trying to keep the girls entertained. We wanted to keep the girls as active as possible, so our family spent time on bike rides, exploring local bike paths each weekend that included a pit stop for bubble tea. This was a nice bonding opportunity and a real positive of COVID-19. With social activities being restricted, the girls kept in touch with their family members and friends with regular FaceTime and Zoom chats, which also helped entertain them during this time. Between having a three-year-old at home, and three girls learning at home, there was not much time for anything else. My life was consumed by looking after my girls 24/7. However, I did take the opportunity to teach my girls some of their favourite recipes as we bonded through cooking and baking. Although each week was always very busy, it was always nice to celebrate the end of week with a virtual catch-up and online drinks with friends and family.



Our experience was very different from the Senior School to the Junior School. In the Senior School, the School (and our older daughter) really handled it all. School work continued almost seamlessly for what was possible via flexible learning. We understood that certain aspects of the school experience would not be possible through this time, and we felt that the teachers tried their best to keep the girls engaged. It was also lovely to hear our older daughter still having fun with her friends and enjoying her school day

from her bedroom. She would come to join us at break times for snacks and lunch. We even saw her doing PE with her friends each week. Our younger daughter had a very different experience. The teachers uploaded work each week to complete. In the first few weeks, except for a quick check-in with their classroom teacher, the girls were left to complete their work independently. I found myself becoming my younger daughter’s teacher and classmate. We got a lot of work done without all the distractions of the classroom and friends; however, I could see that she was missing the fun of learning and at times it was quite a stressful experience for both of us. We were both very happy when the School move to the more interactive approach to flexible learning in the Junior School as this was definitely much more enjoyable for her.

All in all, I think the School did an amazing job during a very challenging time. Both our daughters really missed being at school with their teachers, their friends and the amazing facilities we have at MLC School and I’m sure they now appreciate their face-to-face experience of schooling in a whole new way. LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2020



Our Old Girls from abroad BRING A VIEW

Sally Ellick (Carter, 1965) Alberta, Canada



Lisa Sung (2014) New York City, USA

Julie Pocock (Mungomery, 1981) Froxfield, Wiltshire, UK

Lynette Foo (1989) Singapore


LISA SUNG (2014)

My final year of studying a Master’s degree at The Juilliard School in New York City started well for me, being insanely busy and living my best life. I never thought I could get any busier, but here I was, playing an average of four concerts a week as guest violist with the New York Philharmonic, playing chamber concerts around New York City, and giving community outreach performances at elementary schools. I was invited to join the New York Philharmonic Europe tour that was scheduled for April 2020, and I was on the final stretch of student life looking forward to my graduation in May. My goal for 2020 was slowly becoming a reality – I had passed four rounds of blind auditions for a chamber orchestra in Minnesota. As part of the final round, I finished two weeks of playing with the orchestra and was focusing on my final audition recital which was scheduled for 12 March 2020. On the final evening before the big day, I received a notice which took me by surprise. The pandemic had finally hit the USA, and my final recital was postponed. What bad timing… I was so close! Many thoughts crossed my mind on how I should reassemble my priorities – it felt as if someone shook up my puzzle as I was placing my last piece. Everything I planned was totally wiped out – from the tour to concerts, and Juilliard classes and lessons moved online. I was catching up on all the news, and the US was in total chaos, and my home city of New York was the epicentre. People were panic buying, borders were closing, and I knew I had to return to NYC as soon as possible. I booked my first flight back, went straight to the grocery store where shelves were

already almost empty, and I stocked up for the next month for survival. Day by day, the virus was spreading like wildfire throughout the country and it was slowly rising to the peak. I would wake up to news and watch updates from Governor Cuomo – at the worst peak, hundreds of New Yorkers were dying per day for weeks. My sister, Sarah (MLC School Class of 2015 and Juilliard Bachelor of Music Class of 2020), and I stayed in our apartment and could not go out for 35 days straight – the longest ever in isolation. We were in despair and tried to keep ourselves busy by learning many viola duos, connecting with people on social media, and focusing on our final exams and graduation recitals that were moved online. Last year this would have been a big bonus holiday in the midst of my hectic lifestyle. However, this break didn’t feel like a good rest to me as my future became blurry and I felt like I was in a blackhole, not knowing what the future would look like, much like everybody else. When we ran out of food after a month, we geared up with our masks and gloves, as if we were going into a warzone. Every evening at 7pm in NYC, people cheered from their balconies, banging their pots and pans to thank the healthcare workers, and blasting New York, New York on loudspeaker, as some neighbours slow-danced with their partners. Central Park was filled with emergency beds for COVID-19 patients, and the streets were totally empty. The bustling city suddenly became a ghost town, and sirens echoed throughout the empty city that replaced the usual hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. After two months of isolation, we felt very homesick and were amazed at how Australia was recovering so quickly. In mid-May, as my rent lease was ending, we made a final decision to pack up all our belongings and escape the city and return home. The travel experience back home was surprisingly very

comfortable as only twenty people were on our flight, and the attendants practiced extremely good hygiene. After landing, we were taken in a bus to the Sydney Sheraton Hotel, where we were not given a hotel room key so we couldn’t get out — and the windows didn’t open. Nurses called in once a day to know if I was feeling okay, and for every mealtime they knocked on our door and left the food in plastic bags. On 22 May 2020, Sarah and I graduated from Juilliard (alone while quarantined in separate hotel rooms) on Zoom, which was definitely unusual, but it was good to see my class of 2020 in one place for the last time. All in all, this whole experience was extremely eye-opening to me. To think positively, this pause is a time to take a break from the hectic lifestyle, reconnect with my family and friends back in Australia, and focus on what’s important in life. This season will ultimately make me stronger for the future when everything resumes – it is a reset button on life. I have never felt prouder of my country, Australia, for its prudence in handling this pandemic. Now that I’ve gone through the biggest storm in the midst of the worst hit city in the worst hit country in the world as an international student, I feel mentally and physically immunised for other obstacles that may come my way. I am reminded that you cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude towards your situation to make the most out of it.

‘It felt as if someone shook up my puzzle as I was placing my last piece.’





On 7 February 2020, Singapore went from a yellow alert to orange alert meaning all businesses had to implement strict temperature control checks and ensure that everyone declared their travel history. By 7 April 2020, as infection rates rose throughout the world, Singapore went into lockdown. I run a cooking studio in Singapore, so from February we already saw business fall steadily as people grew increasingly anxious and therefore went out less and less. The government forced all non-essential businesses to close from 7 April 2020 and we were only allowed to open again from 2 June 2020. We were only given a few days to wind down the studio, reschedule classes and clear out all the fresh food in our pantry. Everyone stayed at home and this was strictly enforced by the government with many officers out checking the streets. We had to wear a mask every time we stepped outside our house. We could not leave unless we were buying food and groceries or seeing the doctor or exercising. We could still run and exercise outside. After eight weeks, some businesses including ours were allowed to return to work, but we could not have any face-to-face clients. From 19 June 2020, Singapore opened up almost all businesses and we were allowed to return to work and hold face-to-face classes as infection rates dropped dramatically. In Singapore, the majority of our cases (over 42,000) were not local transmissions in the general population or imported cases. They were mainly from the 200,000 foreign construction workers living in tightly packed



dormitories. As they were tested, the numbers rose rapidly. During this period, borders closed around the world and Singapore airport was closed with only repatriation flights available. Singapore did not allow any transit passengers which affected those going to and from London and Australia. Life in Singapore was very quiet during those eight weeks. The streets grew silent and empty, there was major fear of catching the virus and also fear and anxiety due to many job losses. The government announced four stimulus budget packages to give some money to the local population and to businesses so that they didn’t retrench staff. We did not retrench any of our staff. Singapore is a small country and power is held without question by one political party without opposition. Because of this, they were able to implement rapid changes and every few days, there seemed to be new rules and announcements. Singaporeans are generally very obedient. We listen and obey the government so there were no protests (protests are illegal anyway) and there were very few people who chose to flout the law. If they did, they were dealt with very swiftly with stiff jail terms and fines. The law is strictly enforced in Singapore. Foreigners who decided to flout the law were repatriated immediately to their countries and their employers were banned from hiring any foreigners for a period of time.

For me, I stayed home and worked out a routine (exercise in the mornings, work in the afternoons, early nights) and my employees and I used that time to revamp our website, work on new class offerings, tested many recipes and recorded over 60 videos for our YouTube channel. We also launched online classes once we were allowed to return to the studio on 2 June 2020. We did not have any revenue for more than two months and we know that life will slowly get back to the new normal in the coming months. We feel so grateful that we can return to work. We still have to wear a mask all the time whenever we leave our house, our borders are still closed (only citizens and residents and essential services are allowed in and out of Singapore), and safe distancing is the new buzz word. We can’t have more than five people at our homes and restaurants can’t seat more than five people on one table. Everyone is still encouraged to work from home at all times. Leisure travel is definitely not something that will happen in the near future. I found that by staying positive and understanding that we all have to do our bit, I really had no problems staying home and staying sane during those months of lockdown. The human spirit is resilient and adaptable, and we will continue to survive.

‘... I really had no problems staying home and staying sane during those months of lockdown. The human spirit is resilient and adaptable, and we will continue to survive.’



I live in a small village in Wiltshire, about halfway between London and Cardiff. It’s a beautiful part of the world, part of the North Wessex Downs and an area of outstanding natural beauty. Lockdown officially started in the UK on 26 March 2020. The public was instructed to stay at home. Only limited travel was allowed. This included shopping for essentials, medical needs or to work if absolutely necessary. One form of exercise a day was allowed but this had to start from one’s home. A 10-week movement to ‘clap for the National Health Service (NHS)’ started that day and continued every Thursday at 8pm. I took part and was amazed at how emotional I felt. People stood at their front doors and clapped, banged pots, played their trombones, rang bells showing thanks to the NHS for keeping us safe. This also included our gratitude to all care staff and essential workers in keeping the country going. I am not that close to my neighbours but could hear the noise coming up the valley. It was a wonderful feeling of unity and gratitude in a time of uncertainty and fear. My husband moved to his parents’ house at the beginning of lockdown due to their serious health issues. I am responsible for procuring groceries for us all and he comes over once a week to collect them. I have been really lucky and have managed to get home deliveries nearly every week only having to twice venture to the local supermarket. The process there is to queue down the pathway through the car park, a two-metre distance

‘Living in a small village is like a family. We started a WhatsApp group for my street with offers to get groceries and make sure we are all okay.’ between people, preferably one person only from each household. At the front of the queue, one grabs a trolley that has been sanitised, then, when the staff on the door give the go-ahead, enter the supermarket, use the hand sanitiser and then meander around the aisles using a one-way system, with tape across the aisles at two metre intervals. There is another queue at the checkouts, again two metre lines across the floor. Check out staff are shielded by perspex walls. Not all supermarkets follow these safety measures, but I felt very comfortable there as nearly everyone was following the rules. The government has provided a scheme called ‘furlough’ which allows staff to be paid 80% of their salary (up to £2,500) if the employee would otherwise lose their job with the hope that the business will continue when restrictions ease. There is a similar arrangement for the self-employed. Living in a small village is like a family. We started a WhatsApp group for my street with offers to get groceries and make sure we are all okay. Another group started for the whole village. Friends have dropped by with cakes and Easter eggs and flour and stand on the road to talk to me, keeping our two-metre distance. People adapt to changes and opportunities arise. As pubs and restaurants are closed, some are offering take away and local deliveries as well as setting up corner shops selling necessities. Cooperatives have started

or farm shops expanded so that hard to get items can be purchased, although the prices have inflated! As the weather has been lovely, many of my friends have done amazing work in their gardens. I am not a gardener but have taught myself how to use the lawn mower – a great sense of achievement! I have also pulled up weeds and tried to remember to water the pot plants! I go to a weekly Zoom ‘party’ on a Saturday night with friends from the village. This very quickly turned into a quiz which is wonderful fun. The losers receive a toilet roll (from the days when they were worth more than gold!) with a role of honour written around the outside, surrounding a wooden spoon. My MLC School education I’m sure has meant that I am yet to receive the ‘wooden spoon’! My local camera club has adapted our weekly meetings to online Zoom ones that have worked really well. We’ve been able to have guest speakers and even run competitions. It feels like I am there with them at the local town hall. Restrictions started to ease at the beginning of June. Each nation within the UK has slightly different restrictions so my comments just relate to England. On 1 June 2020 up to six people from different households can now meet outdoors but with a two-metre distance maintained.



The biggest change to my life was on 13 June 2020 as now a one-person household (me) can now be in a ‘bubble’ joined to another household. This means that I can now visit and stay at my in-laws, spending time with my husband and helping him look after his parents.

risking a second wave of the virus. There is even talk of reintroducing restrictions in the future if numbers increase. We have been planning a trip to Sydney for my 40-year MLC School reunion as well as a weekend away with the girls from school next year, but I wonder what the world will be like then. Will long-haul travel be safe? We will wait until next year to see what sort of world we are living in.

On 15 June 2020, non-essential shops opened and hairdressers and restaurants (both with a lot of restrictions) opened on 4 July 2020. Personally, I think the government is trying to walk a fine line between kick-starting the economy and maintaining the safety of its citizens. Our numbers of infections and deaths are atrocious, albeit reducing. People are naturally anxious and stir crazy. The weather this spring and summer has been the best we’ve had in a very long time so there are a lot of people breaking the rules, showing a shameful disregard for others – flocking to the beaches, all on top of each other and leaving a terrible mess behind,

This is an unprecedented and difficult period, but it is also a time of kindness and love. I feel surrounded by both. I have a wonderful network of friends locally as well as virtual contact with friends and family all around the world. Social media has meant that I can keep in contact with lots of my friends from MLC School. That last day of school in 1981 really doesn’t seem that long ago. Hopefully we can all be together in person sometime soon.





I live in a townhouse in Edmonton, having lived in this city since 1981, and I am retired from my career as an occupational therapist. My immediate family in Alberta consists of three daughters, their husbands/partners and four grandchildren. One daughter and her husband live in the city of Edmonton and the other two, including the grandchildren, live in other parts of the province.



The arrival of the pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives in Canada, as in so many places around the world. Alberta has had the third highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Canada, after the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. At the end of June 2020, Canada had over 102,000 confirmed cases, with 8500 deaths. Alberta had 7800 confirmed cases and 153 deaths. Between 75 and 80 percent of the deaths nationwide have occurred in long-term care facilities.



In Canada, the federal government holds an advisory role in public health and has promoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines related to the pandemic. Each province is responsible for the directives issued. Thus, we have seen variations from province to province in every facet of pandemic management. Alberta is now in the second phase of re-opening following the self-isolation much of the province and country participated in during the earlier months of the pandemic. Any person who wishes to, is able to be tested for the virus at this stage, symptomatic or not. The Chief Medical Officer of the



Province publishes the daily statistics on how many new active cases have been confirmed and how many deaths, if any. It is anticipated that we will not reach a point where COVID-19 is eliminated from our population, until a vaccine is hopefully developed. The major drivers of decision-making policies are around hospital capacities and ICU bed availability. We share a common border with the United States, and the virus has entered Canada primarily from the US and from Europe. The border with the US is currently closed for all non-essential travel or business. Canada depends on a lot of our food supplies coming up from the USA, so it is impossible to close the border completely. There are public health guidelines for each area of the economy, as they cautiously enter into reopening, with different businesses assigned specific phases. At this time restaurants have reopened, however some restaurants in Edmonton temporarily closed down again due to identified cases of COVID-19. We are learning that we also have to factor in our own personal tolerance for risk as businesses reopen, and we decide which activities we are comfortable engaging in once again. On a personal level, I have not visited my grandchildren and their parents since February. They live in a rural town 110 kilometres south of Edmonton. Initially all non-essential travel was not recommended and contact with grandchildren was also not recommended as a health precaution. At this time, travel within the province is allowed, as long as health guidelines are followed. Small social gatherings may occur outdoors, with social distancing of two metres and mask wearing.

I order my groceries online and have them delivered and do almost all my shopping online or through a curb side pick-up system. I am very thankful to be able to access my favourite bakery products and fresh fish from small local businesses which offer curb side pick-up. Getting outdoors in the early stages of the pandemic was challenging. Canada is a winter country, and Edmonton is the largest northern city in North America with a population over 1 million. In winter months it can be too cold to get out for the daily walks or exercise as a recommended way to cope with isolation. I am thankful that five out of the six adult members of my family have jobs where it has been possible for them to work from home. Mask wearing is not mandatory in Alberta, although strong recommendations are in place for their use when out of the home anywhere a two-metre distance cannot be assured, or if indoors. Many new businesses have sprung up making fabric masks, and I have sewn masks for my family. Disposable masks have not been easily available for purchase, so fabric masks with an inside pocket for a disposable filter are recommended. As virus filtering materials are not available online, I use coffee filters folded and stapled as a daily filter in my fabric mask. When walking my dog, I initially wore this mask all the time. At this stage I wear it around my neck ready to pull up if needed, as breathing through the two layers of fabric and coffee filter can be more challenging when walking. One of my daughters is in her first pregnancy, and this is a challenging time for her.

‘We live in the present, and we are thankful if our loved ones are healthy.’ Healthcare check-ups are all carried out with masks and her husband has not been permitted to accompany her to any ultrasound appointments. Stores have not been open for purchase of necessary items for the baby. Recently she was referred for weekly tests at the local hospital, and within one week of her first appointment an outbreak was declared at the hospital with 19 people testing positive for COVID-19 and resulting in one death. Children have spent the last three months completing their school year at home. Plans are tentatively in place for the resumption of attending schools in September, at the start of the new school year. So, as for those in so many places around the world, we in Edmonton, have had to adjust to a new and very different sense of what is normal. Uncertainty is part of that new normal. We do not know when it might be possible to see loved ones in Australia again. We have learnt to depend on new ways to mitigate the tremendous sense of social isolation, and to do without in so many areas. A great new perspective overshadows all. We live in the present, and we are thankful if our loved ones are healthy. We notice the very small things in nature which bring great pleasure. We take nothing for granted and we hope for the future.




babies, plants & the world


In June 2020, MLC School recognised 15 Old Girls in the inaugural Alumnae Awards. Each Alumnae Award recipient has demonstrated exceptional achievement in their chosen endeavours, dedication and commitment. Nominations were received from Old Girls and community members, and winners were determined by the Principal in consultation with the President of the Old Girls Union. DR SUSAN BEAL AM (ROSS, 1952) ALUMNAE AWARD: SOCIAL WELFARE AND IMPACT Dr Susan Beal has investigated the circumstances surrounding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) for more than 20 years. Susan studied medicine at Sydney University and specialised in paediatrics. Dr Beal began working at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital as research registrar in neurosurgery and then running the Cerebral Palsy Clinic. In 1970 she was asked to investigate the incidence of SIDS in South Australia. Since then Dr Beal has been involved in research and public awareness campaigns that have led to a dramatic decrease in deaths.



Between 1973 and 1990 she visited more than 500 families who had lost babies to cot death, and in 1986 was able to show that the rate of death was highest among babies who slept face-down. She is credited with being the first person anywhere to argue publicly against babies sleeping on their stomachs. In the countries that have heeded her advice the incidences of SIDS have almost halved. Today, the incidence of SIDS has reduced by more than 80%. Dr Susan Beal was a finalist in Australian of the Year in 1993 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list, 1997, for service to medicine, particularly in the fields of paediatrics and SIDS research.

NATALIE BENNETT BARONESS BENNETT OF MANOR CASTLE (1983) ALUMNAE AWARD: INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Natalie Bennett led the Green Party of England and Wales from 2012 to 2016 and was chosen by the Party to receive a life peerage in 2019, from Prime Minister Theresa May, to become Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, which reflects the area of Sheffield in which she lives. She has been a feminist since age five and regards her concern for environmental and social justice as an extension of that. Explaining joining the Green Party in 2006, she told the BBC, ‘I thought about the state of the world and that I needed to do something.’ Natalie received an academic scholarship to MLC School and was Joint Dux in 1983.

A fascination with the land led her to study Agricultural Science at Sydney University, but after an unsuccessful stint as a jillaroo she became a journalist. She worked in regional newspapers, then in 1995 headed for Thailand as a volunteer for the National Commission on Women’s Affairs. As an external student she completed a BA Honours in Asian Studies at the University of New England and a Master’s in Mass Communication (University of Leicester).

PAULINE BLIGHT-JOHNSTON (1988) ALUMNAE AWARD: CONTRIBUTION TO MLC SCHOOL AND PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT After 10 years as Chair of Council, Pauline Blight-Johnston (1988) stepped down from the position in April 2020. Pauline is an Old Girl, Dux of the College (1988), and the first female Chair of MLC School Council. During her tenure, Pauline was instrumental in transforming the physical nature of the School. This is marked most notably by the building of the Senior Centre, the biggest capital project ever undertaken by MLC School, as well as Cafe 1886 and a significant landscaping project on the senior campus. Buildings were never the endpoint for Pauline but a means of ensuring the School continues to deliver outstanding educational outcomes for the girls. Pauline also oversaw an expansion of academic programs at the School. Every girl now has the opportunity to experience learning in an international context. Whilst the continued growth of the School’s academic results, especially in the International Baccalaureate (IB), cementing MLC School’s place as one of the top IB schools in Australia and the world, happened under Pauline’s watch. The 2020–2024 Strategic Plan was also developed under Pauline’s leadership. She also implemented stronger governance arrangements to support a new corporate structure. Pauline remains a member of Council, committed to helping MLC School be a place where girls thrive.

Dr Susan Beal

Natalie Bennett Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Pauline Blight-Johnston Dr Elizabeth Dennis AC

Pauline has had a successful career in wealth management and insurance and has over 25 years’ experience in senior management, financial and strategy in Australia, New Zealand and globally. She joined Genworth as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director this year and prior to that held senior leadership roles in a number of top tier insurance companies.

DR ELIZABETH DENNIS AC (1960) ALUMNAE AWARD: PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Elizabeth (Liz) Dennis (1960) was recognised in 2019 with a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia’s highest award, for outstanding achievement and service for her eminent work in the areas of genomics and plant development. She jointly received the inaugural Prime Minister’s Science Prize together with Professor Jim Peacock in 2000 for her outstanding achievements in science and technology. She obtained her BSc (Hons 1st Class) and PhD from Sydney University and after a Post-Doctoral time in New York lectured at the University of Papua New Guinea for six years where she did chromosome and DNA studies on the native rodents. Liz joined the CSIRO in the Division of Plant Industry in 1972 as a Research Scientist, rising to the position of Chief Research Scientist in 1991 and CSIRO Fellow in 2001. She is now an Honorary Fellow and a Distinguished Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. Internationally known as a pioneer in plant molecular biology, Liz’s work spotlighted how plants recognise environmental cues to flower at the right time. She has studied the genes behind many plant processes including how plants have evolved molecular mechanisms to cope with environmental stresses such as floods.

Anne Feneley

ANNE FENELEY (MCFADZEAN, 1957) ALUMNAE AWARD: SOCIAL WELFARE AND IMPACT Anne Feneley (formerly Mulcahy) dedicated her life to teaching, leadership and championing the cause of indigenous students and young people less fortunate. Anne trained as an Infants teacher at Sydney Teachers College and commenced teaching at Moree at the age of 18. Following her training at All Saints Missionary College, Anne taught at the Methodist Aboriginal Mission on Milingimbi Island in Arnhem Land. The children did not speak English and, at times, there was only one other teacher in the school. Anne was required to contribute her South Australian Department of education salary to The Mission, retaining only five pounds for her personal use. This experience was the start of Anne’s love of indigenous education. On returning to Sydney, Anne chose to teach in the rapidly developing areas of metropolitan western Sydney where she worked mainly with children from non-English speaking backgrounds. She created her own learning materials and her books, designed to assist reading for Aboriginal Children, which were widely acclaimed. In these books, she used scenes of the local topography around Walgett such as the houses, parks and the Barwon River, to help motivate her students. She was one of the first four Infants Mistresses to be promoted to a large primary school as Principal. Anne was Principal of Glenorie Primary School in Sydney and then later of Quakers Hill Primary School where she remained until her retirement in 2006. Anne was, and still is, passionate about educational opportunities for the less fortunate.



HELENA GRAHAME (1959) ALUMNAE AWARD: CONTRIBUTION TO MLC SCHOOL Helena Grahame remains grateful for and proud of her education at MLC School. She attended the School from Kindergarten to the Leaving Certificate in the footsteps of her mother Constance Haigh, who attended from Kindergarten to 4th Form when she left for Business College in 1931. Con’s sisters Margaret, Norma and Barbara also attended MLC School, two of whom attained tertiary level at the University of Sydney. Helena’s grandfather, Arthur Haigh, taught music at the School in the 1920’s. Helena’s association with MLC School was strengthened further by the fact that she was the only girl of her generation or many years. Helena has been a lifelong member of the MLC School Old Girls’ Union where she has held executive positions as Secretary and is currently Vice President assisting President Sue Cartwright. Helena was an active, committed and enthusiastic member of the MLC School Council for 20 years, retiring in 2018. On the Council, she served on various committees including the Principal’s Selection Committee.

Her long, professional experience teaching in Department of Education schools gave her confidence in her ability to recognise and share educational advantages of both the private/public sectors.

DR KATE HARRISON BRENNAN (BRENNAN, 2000) YOUNG ALUMNAE AWARD: SOCIAL WELFARE AND IMPACT During her student years at the University of Sydney, Kate’s engagement in social justice went from strength to strength. Kate was a volunteer paralegal at the Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern and in Katherine in the Northern Territory. Following her time in Katherine, Kate worked with a community in East Arnhem Land to develop a swimming and public health program and was named 2006 Young Australian of the Year for NSW as a consequence. Kate then focused increasingly on community development work and, during her last year of Law School, whilst on exchange at the University of Melbourne, became the Assistant Director of The Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s first entirely youth run aid and development organisation. Kate was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for NSW in 2007 which enabled her to study international development at Oxford University. At Oxford, Kate completed an M.Phil (Distinction) and attained first place in her year. Magdalen College awarded Kate a visiting fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, where she completed the final year of her D.Phil in Politics. Subsequently, Kate held the role of Director of Global Affairs and Strategic Communications at the Australian Consulate-General in New York.

Kate returned to Australia from New York to be Advisor to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, for whom she had worked previously in the portfolio of social inclusion. Following her time in Canberra, Kate founded Global & Smart as a digital storytelling platform and agency for ‘the story behind the good’ – products made responsibly and sustainably. Her edited volume, Making Global Institutions Work, was published by Routledge in 2015. For the past five years, Kate has been the CEO of Anglican Deaconess Ministries, a 127-year-old Christian women’s foundation, where Kate works to reimagine the vision of the organisation and re-establish their work in public and practical engagement.

MICHELLE JOHNSON (1973) ALUMNAE AWARD: CONTRIBUTION TO MLC SCHOOL AND PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVOURS Michelle Johnson was President of the MLC School Old Girls’ Union from 1996 to 1998, and concurrently served as Old Girls’ Union representative member of the MLC School Council. She also served as a Foundation Board Director for MLC School between 1995 and 2006. While at MLC School in the 1970s, Michelle undertook voluntary work at Repatriation Hospital at Concord on Friday afternoons which included writing letters and chatting to those patients receiving ongoing treatment for war injuries. Michelle was privileged to have shared historical accounts with patients and wishes now that she had encouraged patients to write historical accounts of their service. Michelle remains committed to an ongoing involvement with members of squadrons of the RAAF and Bomber Command is a committee member of the Bomber Command Association. Michelle holds a Masters of Laws with a Commercial Law Major from the University of Technology, Sydney, and was admitted



Helena Grahame

Dr Kate Harrison Brennan Michelle Johnson

as Barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1988 and as solicitor in 1990. Michelle practices as a solicitor and is in sole practice specialising in inheritance and elder law issues.

Jocelyn has won a number of art prizes, including the Robert Le Gay Brereton Memorial Prize for Draughtsmanship (student award) in 1957, the Portia Geach Memorial Award for Australian Female Portraitists in

As Chairman of the NSW Branch of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners for the period 2001 to 2006, she was awarded the Founders Medal for her commitment to the evolution of the Branch in NSW and Australia.

1976, the Margaret Fesq Prize for Portrait Painting (RAS award) in 1983, as well as various municipal art awards.

THE HONOURABLE MEGAN LATHAM (1972) ALUMNAE AWARD: PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Megan Latham had an exceptional career within the judiciary. She was appointed as Crown Prosecutor in 1987 and Crown Advocate of NSW in 1996, the first woman to hold this post. In 1998, Megan was appointed to the District Court of NSW, where she remained until her appointment to the Supreme Court in 2005. She was sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2005 and was the sole Commissioner of the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption from January 2014 to November 2016.

JOCELYN MAUGHAN OAM (1955) ALUMNAE AWARD: SOCIAL WELFARE AND IMPACT AND PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Jocelyn Maughan (1955) was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2018 Honours with an Order of Australia Medal ‘for service to the visual arts, and to education’. After MLC School, Jocelyn studied fine art for five years at the National Art School, Darlinghurst. She completed the Diploma of Fine Art, specialising in painting, graduating with honours in 1958.

The Honourable Megan Latham

She has exhibited at the Wynne Prize (finalist 1995), the Archibald Prize (finalist 1996 and 1997) as well as various one- and two-person exhibitions: Artarmon Gallery, Woolloomooloo Gallery, Taree Municipal Gallery. Jocelyn’s works can be found in various private collections, including commissioned portraits at the Grafton Municipal Gallery, MLC School, Ravenswood College, Royal Agricultural Society, Mitchell Library, Sydney, Reserve Bank, Sydney, and Eryldene Trust, Gordon. Her commissions included a portrait of Professor John Turtle for Sydney University and a portrait of Rev Ken Cornwall, Past Principal of MLC School.


Jocelyn Maughan OAM

Dr Elizabeth New

Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, one of the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes (2019) and the ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship (2017), awarded annually to one researcher internationally. She is regularly invited to present at major international conferences and is recognised as a leading thinker in her field. Liz has worked to bring together researchers from different disciplines to discuss innovative ideas and lead new initiatives. Liz and her team of 18 researchers study lightemitting molecules and their applications, including fluorescent tracking of molecules in the body to better understand health and disease. In furthering her research she pioneered the development of new molecular imaging tools to study the activity of anti-cancer drugs and to understand how oxidative stress is related to diseases associated with ageing. She is passionate about university teaching and has also served on a number of national committees that aim to improve opportunities for future generations of scientists. Her awards for research and teaching include the 2018 Eureka 3M Emerging Leader in Science Prize, and the 2016 RACI Chemistry Educator of the Year Award.

Elizabeth (Liz) New (2000) is one of Australia’s brightest young inorganic chemists, nationally and internationally recognised for her research excellence, winning the Malcolm McIntosh

‘It was something of a shock to me to discover that a woman’s voice was not always given the same deference as a man’s voice. At MLC School, there was never any question that your voice was heard and valued.’ – The Honourable Megan Latham



Gail O’Brien AO

Marise Payne

Rachel Siu

GAIL O’BRIEN AO (BAMFORD, 1972) ALUMNAE AWARD: SOCIAL WELFARE AND IMPACT Gail O’Brien’s Order of Australia was awarded in 2018 for her ‘distinguished service to community health as an advocate for and supporter of cancer sufferers and their families through comprehensive research and treatment programs’. Gail is Patient Advocate and Board Director at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, a world-class, fully integrated and comprehensive cancer care hospital co-located with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and Sydney University. Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is the legacy of her late husband Professor Chris O’Brien AO. Gail was integral is realising his dream. The AO recognises Gail’s service and dedication to those whose lives are touched by cancer and is a testament to her incredible generosity and fortitude.

Lorraine Thurlow AM

MARISE PAYNE (1981) ALUMNAE AWARD: PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Marise Payne (1981) has been Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Morrison Government since 2018, and was also appointed Minister for Women in 2019. She became the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Defence in 2015. Her interest in politics started young. She joined the Liberal Party the year after leaving School while studying an Arts and Law Degrees at the University of New South Wales. Marise became the first woman to serve as President of the Young Liberals from 1989 to 1991. She was appointed to the senate in 1997 as a Senator for New South Wales, representing the Liberal Party and was elected to a full-term in 2001. Since then she has had the distinction of having been re-elected four times. Marise Payne was first added to the shadow ministry in 2007. She was made Minister for Human Services when the Coalition returned to power in 2013.

RACHEL SIU (2015) YOUNG ALUMNAE AWARD: INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Rachel is an emerging highly regarded cellist. In 2019 she took out first prize in the 2019 “Getting to Carnegie” international competition, making her solo debut there. She later won a joint gold medal prize at the VIII David Popper International Cello Competition in Várpalota, Hungary and was also a prize winner at the IX Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition in Morelia, Mexico. Although Rachel graduated from The Juilliard School in New York with her Bachelor’s degree last year, she was invited back to pursue her post graduate degree, with the generous Kovner Fellowship, offered to only one incoming cellist that year.



LORRAINE THURLOW AM (CRAPP, 1955) ALUMNAE AWARD: SPORTING ACHIEVEMENT Lorraine Thurlow AM is a former Australian Olympic Swimming Champion and was one of the group who spearheaded Australia’s domination of world swimming in the 1950s. Lorraine earned a place in world swimming history as the first woman to break the fiveminute barrier in the 400m freestyle. In 1954, at the age of 15 years, Lorraine represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada, winning gold medals in the 110yds and 440yds Freestyle. In 1956, Lorraine was selected to represent Australia at the Melbourne Olympic Games, winning 2 gold and 1 silver medal, also achieving 17 World Records during the lead up to the Games. She became the first Australian swimmer, male or female, to hold World Records in all freestyle distances at the same time. Lorraine also competed at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales and the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy – winning medals at both. During her career Lorraine set as total of 23 World Records. On 8 June 1998, she was named as Member of the Order of Australia service to sport, ‘particularly swimming at national and international levels, and to the community through the promotion of sport and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.’

Kareen Healy’s Doll’s House A beautiful doll’s house was donated to MLC Junior School in June 2020 by Kareen Healy’s (2005) mother, Sandra. The doll’s house, made by Kareen’s Uncle Allan, was once Kareen’s favourite toy. It will now be enjoyed by MLC Junior School girls for years to come. The doll’s house is just one of the tributes to Kareen at MLC School that reflects Kareen’s, and her family’s, warmth and generosity. We thank Sandra for this kindhearted and touching gift. Kareen Healy was a wonderful girl who was beloved by both her many school friends of all ages, and by the staff at MLC School. She was described as a generous, positive and cheerful person. Tragically, her life was cut short at the end of Year 9 when she collapsed while doing something she loved; playing touch football for MLC School with her schoolmates. Kareen had an anaphylactic reaction and went into cardiac arrest on 2 December 2002, and she subsequently passed away without regaining consciousness on 5 December 2002. Kareen was an energetic, fit and fun-loving girl who participated in a number of team sports and always strived to beat her personal best. Teams were incredibly important to Kareen; all she wanted was to compete, support her teammates, and to respect the sport and the spirit in which it was played. This was Kareen’s strength and one that endeared her to all. Friendships meant a lot to Kareen and she was popular because she did not judge people, rather she acknowledged the strengths of her peers without criticism. She was generous to her friends in many ways. It was fitting that even after death she enriched the lives of others – four adults were the recipients of Kareen’s donated organs. This is

something Kareen would have been pleased to know. Her family said ‘Kareen was a generous girl, a loving girl, a team player. She would be wholeheartedly happy at the fact that she kept four people alive.’ Even though she was very disciplined and her attention to detail was widely recognised, Kareen also had a mischievous ‘prankster’ streak aimed at creating fun and laughter for her mates. Her laugh was more like a chuckle and a smile continually lit her face. Kareen Healy had a personal motto: ‘Be the best you can possibly be and then improve further, in all you do.’ The generosity of spirit that Kareen always displayed is reflected in the annual Kareen Healy Memorial All-Rounder Sports Award which is awarded to a Year 11 student in recognition of their community commitment – someone who has a positive influence on the team, is a quiet achiever, displays respect for the sport played and its officials, and who plays the sport in the spirit of MLC School values. Kareen’s younger sister Alyssa Healy (2008) was also a student at MLC School. Alyssa left MLC School a couple of years after Kareen died, but for many years returned to the School to present the Speech Night Award in her sister’s honour. Alyssa is currently a part of the Australian Women’s Cricket Team as a wicketkeeper, batter and bowler. Kareen didn’t row but as an avid sports player she had a number of good friends who rowed. In 2003, Kareen’s rowing friends purchased a 4x+ boat and named it Kareenypoo, Kareen’s nickname. The Kareenypoo was launched at a ceremony on 14 February 2003. Kareen’s sister Alyssa christened the boat and her father, Greg Healy, spoke, reminding all present that ‘there will always be six in this boat’. There is always a reminder that Kareen is looking over the School; a bench donated by Kareen’s family sits on the verandah of the Sutherland Rooms, overlooking the Principal’s Lawn.





Born out of the COVID-19 lockdown, a virtual penpal initiative was established to stay in touch with our Old Girls who may have felt more isolated than usual, but it became much more than that. Current girls from Year 7 to Year 11 were paired up with Old Girls and were encouraged to stay in regular contact with their penpal during lockdown. It was also a great opportunity for current girls to learn about life at MLC School when their penpal attended the School. The common denominator of MLC School was a great place to start. Many of the penpals are continuing to correspond with each other, here are some of their observations.

SOPHIA BUCCI (YEAR 7) AND KATHARINE CAMERON (1993) ‘I have loved talking to Kat and have learnt so much about her. She told me about what subjects she enjoyed in school and what the uniform was like. She also told me about all the things she did after graduating from MLC School – Kat has done so many things and it sounds so exciting. I also learnt all about her cat, Mr Moo, who is extremely cute.’

ANGELINA ZHANG (YEAR 7) AND LESLEY-ANNE CONGDON (BUTCHER, 1969) ‘I was willing to participate in the penpal program because I love learning about other people, and it was an amazing opportunity to speak to someone who was at this school in a very different time. Lesley-Anne and I talked about how the School used technology during flexible learning, her favourite experiences in high school, and she even encouraged me to write a journal so I could look back on these times when I am older’.

AMELIA NORTON (YEAR 10) AND MEGAN GOLDSTON MORRIS (THOMAS, 1974) Megan is a retired Librarian who lives in Sydney. ‘I am thoroughly enjoying communicating with my penpal Amelia. In these uncertain times its lovely to communicate with a young person. They have a different perspective on things and I’ve always enjoyed having young people to communicate with by email or letter. My children are now grown up, so hearing about MLC School not only reminds me of school but when my son and daughter were younger and at school’.

SARAH PICKETT (YEAR 7) AND DIANE FISHER (GRIFFIN, 1977) Diane is a Rotary Ambassador and is currently the Principal of a change management company, The Balance Approach, in Melbourne. ‘This has been such a rewarding experience. From the outset, the concept of cross generational correspondence struck me as a thoughtful and potentially very rich experience. From the initial questions that were shared with me, I found that I was considering how to address the questions. Silly as that sounds, I was mindful that being a student from the 1977 cohort, I was potentially older than Sarah’s parents, so wanted to make sure that my writing was ageless. Nothing that sounded like parental advice, nothing that sounded like past experience out plays current experience. It was a desire to enrich the connection that we are both members of the College fraternity and as such with much to share’.

AUDREY NGUYEN (YEAR 11) AND KEESJA GOFERS (2007) Keesja Gofers is an Australian Water Polo player who has competed in the 2016 Olympics and major championships worldwide. She said, ‘The virtual penpal program was a wonderful initiative that I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. I believe both Audrey and I both got a lot out of the communication and we continue to keep in touch.

connected LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2020


a Vaness

R ya n

‘Audrey and I learnt quickly that on the surface, we were different in many ways. Being a full-time athlete, my life revolves around training and competing. Audrey, on the other hand, is a Senior School student focused on her studies. ‘However, we also found a lot of similarities! We were able to connect on how we were managing being housebound during quarantine, plus memories of MLC School assemblies and favourite shows on Netflix. ‘This initiative was a great way for students and Old Girls to stay connected and learn from each other’s experience in an unprecedented situation. It is a valuable program. I believe it would be something beneficial to repeat in the future, without the global pandemic.’

VANESSA RYAN (YEAR 11) AND DR PATRICIA PIESSE (BIRCH, 1946) Vanessa was very keen to become a penpal. ‘I thought this penpal project would be a great way to not only interact and learn from an MLC School Old Girl, but also give them an extra person to talk to during these difficult, uncertain times. I also thought it would be really interesting to get to know an MLC School Old Girl and learn about her different experiences at the School and how things have changed over time.’



‘Patricia and I have chatted about a lot of really interesting topics. We began with talking about what we have been doing during the pandemic and I’ve also learnt lots about her experiences at MLC School – that the uniform infringements and detentions were much stricter when she was at school, and that Patricia had a connection with Dr Prescott, who my House is named after. I also learnt that both Patricia, her granddaughter and I have been on a French exchange through MLC School, which was pretty cool. Patricia also told me about her university degree and her career in medicine, which then led to her giving me some great advice on choosing career paths. Another interesting thing we talked about was her experiences at MLC School during World War II – practising entering the air raid shelters that were underneath the Hockey Field area and knitting sweaters for service men.’ Patricia is a retired medical doctor now living in Sydney. ‘It has been a real pleasure getting to know Vanessa via email. One of my granddaughters also attended MLC School, so I do have some recent knowledge of MLC School. I have enjoyed comparing school experiences with Vanessa, which are surprisingly still extremely vivid’.


ia Pies






We often say that any gift is welcome. This is not simply a platitude. Small regular gifts can grow to substantial donations overtime. In 1989, Anne Empson (1978) signed a monthly debit order to contribute to the School. Thirty years later her gift is close to $20,000. ‘I love the sense of giving back, staying in contact with friends from my cohort and other MLC School Old Girls. It is wonderful to have been part of the School as it thrived and to see the living history being shaped every day,’ said Anne.

Her contribution to the School has not primarily been financial. Anne has been involved in the larger MLC School community since the year she graduated. She joined the Old Girls’ Union (OGU) committee in 1979 and has served the School on the OGU Executive, as President of the Union, as a member of the School Council and lately as the Uniting Church representative on the Council.

Being part of a multi-generational MLC School family, Anne comes from a world where education has always been valued. The long line of MLC School girls in her family can be traced back to Anne’s grandfather who believed in an equal education and worked three jobs to be able to send his son to Sydney Grammar and his daughter to MLC School.

‘As you grow older and see the different generations passing through the School, contributing in this way makes more and more sense.’

A nne Empson (1978 ) with her mot

h e r Pa m

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, 19



For Anne, an MLC School education provides a cradle to the grave ministry and she feels she has experienced this firsthand in the friendship circles that is still such an intrinsic part of her life.



Nina Dillon Britton (2015) WINS THE 2020 UNIVERSITY MEDAL AND MICHAEL JACKSON PRIZE Congratulations to Old Girl, Nina Dillon Britton (2015) on winning the University of Sydney 2020 University Medal and Michael Jackson Prize for achieving the highest mark in Government honours. In true MLC School spirit, Nina described how she used the prize money: ‘I spent some of it on a much-needed new pair of shoes and donated the rest to the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, which provides emergency legal advice to refugees and asylum seekers.’ Nina’s innate passion for social justice and equality was evident in her prize-winning honours thesis, Throwing away the umbrella: A quantitative analysis of the effects of Shelby County v Holder. Her thesis examined the way that restrictive and racially discriminatory voting practices in the USA had increased since 2013 when the US Supreme Court decided to invalidate the ‘preclearance’ policy under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (The preclearance process was designed to reduce discrimination, increase voter turnout, and to ensure each citizen had equal power to elect his or her preferred representative.) Aside from Nina’s exceptional academic achievements, she is currently the editor of the University of Sydney’s student magazine Honi Soit and last year she was the Editor in Chief of the Sydney University Law Society’s Dissent Journal. Nina’s coverage of anti-sexual assault protests in Honi Soit was featured in the New York Times, and Junkee. The full article celebrating Nina’s outstanding success can be read on the MLC School website.



All we have consecrated will live on The story of our School song

The story of our School Song is one with links across the world. The words of ‘Here in this House’, that so strongly reflect MLC School’s ideals of bequeathing to future generations a place of beauty, truth and kindness, have also been cherished by other institutions who likewise were inspired by its message. JOHN MASEFIELD’S POEM In 1932 MLC School was directly honoured by John Masefield (1878–1967), the Poet Laureate from 1930 to 1967, who gave permission for the School to use the poem he had written for his daughter Judith’s school, Saint Felix School in Southwold, England.

MUSIC COMPOSED BY LINDLEY EVANS We were fortunate to have Lindley Evans at MLC School at the time we received permission to use Masefield’s poem. Lindley Evans, as well as teaching Music at the School in the 1930s and 1940s, was also the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Mr Melody Man’ on children’s radio, President of the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, and regular accompanist of operatic soprano Dame Nellie Melba.

WORDS THAT INSPIRE MLC School is not the only school to choose Masefield’s words to celebrate their school in song. Because the words were written for Saint Felix School, they were the first school to use the poem for their school song. They, however, chose to title the song ‘Beauty’. In 1932 MLC School adopted the opening phrase ‘Here in this House’ as our song’s title. The music for Saint Felix’s school song, which is still used today, was composed by Henrietta (Etta) Maria Addis, a student at Saint Felix School from 1920 to 1924. Last year we were contacted by Heather Simms, an Old Girl of the Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls, UK who told us that for fifty years, from the early 1930s to

the early 1980s, they had also used the John Masefield poem for their school song. Their version had music composed in 1929 by a Mathematics and Music teacher, and perhaps influenced by Saint Felix School, they had also titled the song ‘Beauty’. Upon hearing a recording of the MLC School Song, Heather wrote: ‘I think you win the prize for the best tune! Our music master used to complain about our tune when he was trying to teach it to us’. She added that Fran D’Alcorn, Saint Felix School’s former Headmistress and Chair of the ‘Old Felicians’, had said that the Saint Felix school song ‘is almost impossible to sing as it constantly changes from 3/4 to 4/4 time’. Further research revealed that two other schools in the UK (Mayfield School in East Sussex and the Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, London) had for a time used the John Masefield poem for their school songs, and that Northfleet School for Girls in Kent had used the poem as their school poem for many decades.

Early MLC School songs Prior to the adoption of ‘Here in this House’ in 1932 as the official MLC School Song, the girls sang two school songs; one official and one unofficial; to celebrate MLC School. In 1915 the girls, longing for a song to sing at sporting matches and other such occasions, composed one themselves which they titled ‘The Song of the Burwood Collegian’ which was sung to the tune of ‘Riding Down from Bangor’ (a song written sometime around 1871). Although this song was not granted official recognition, the 1976 Old Girls’ Union publication Links Across the Years says that it ‘enlivened many unofficial occasions’. The June 1926 issue of Excelsior opens with an announcement that an official School Song had been written by Lois Carter (Prefect and Dux that year) and set to ‘swinging music’ composed by her mother. Excelsior was in raptures at the announcement of an official School Song: ‘… the feeling that we so long to express, our joy in belonging closely to each other through the best School of all – M.L.C.– the School that ever exhorts us to be ‘Lucis filliae’.’ Here’s for our College days! M.L C.


Daughters of the best School, each one we!

A school song should both celebrate the institution for which it was written and be able to unify past, present and future students. John Masefield’s words perfectly capture the essence of MLC School by uniting the spirit of Old Girls, current students, and the ‘long generations’ who will come after us with a desire to bestow a place of truth and kindness for ‘the souls of other unseen friends’.

Here’s for the Shield and the Cross and the Star

‘We shall not see them, but we can endow This place with beauty for them here and now.’

Daughters of Light.

Known by us, loved by us, near or far! And whether it’s greylight, starlight, sunlight – Ever our hearts be filled with one light, Cheerful, brimful, merriest, funlight,

Images left: Lindley Evans CMG (1895–1982). Photo circa mid-1930s. Scan from cover of Lindley Evans’ autobiography held in the MLC School Archives. Lois Carter (1926). Photo from Excelsior, May 1927.



e h t d n a e s u o H t n e K From the archives To mark the opening of the refurbished Kent House Cottage, we look back at the history of the site as well as the buildings at MLC School that have been called Kent House.


Re n a m e d

e Kent Hous




The building on the corner of Rowley Street and Park Road that housed Miss Lester’s School was called Kent House. This building was purchased by the Wesleyan Church in 1885 to become the Wesleyan Ladies’ College (now MLC School).

In August 1949 a two-storey house, Youngarra, on the corner of Rowley and Gordon Streets, was purchased by MLC School. Youngarra was described as a handsome two-storey house with ornamented timbered gables, wrap-around bullnose verandah and wrought iron balcony.

Youngarra, the second Kent House, was demolished in 1965 and replaced with a new and larger building (also called Kent House, the third building at MLC School to have this name).

This is the first of three buildings at MLC School to have the name Kent House. In 1926 this building was renovated and wrapped, completing the facade from Potts Hall to Schofield Wing, and renamed Prescott Wing (this corner was lost in fire in 1977).



The building was renamed Kent House (the second ‘Kent House’), in memory of Miss Lester’s original school, and was occupied by the kindergarten and lower primary school. (the upper primary school was located in Abbeythorpe, now the site of the gymnasium within the Aquatic Centre).

The new Kent House contained nine classrooms, an assembly hall and library and allowed for the primary and infants departments to finally be located together.

Kindergarten Cottage


Avenue corne Rowley Street near the Mt Pleasant , renamed Kent House, taken from Images from left to right : Youngarra refurbishment. ergar ten Cottage during the 2001 The ‘conservatory’ added to the Kind ent. bishm refur ge Cotta April 2020 The ‘conservatory’ today after the

1980–1994 – EXPANSION OF THE KENT HOUSE JUNIOR SCHOOL 1980 In 1980 the large house at 8 Rowley Street (on the corner of Mt Pleasant Avenue) was purchased by MLC School and put to use as the primary library. Not long after, it was demolished to make way for a new building that connected the two existing sections of Kent House and provided a new, modern library as well as an art room and classroom. The complex was opened by the treasurer of the School Council, Mr W. G. Budge, in 1981. The north west part of the land where the original house at 8 Rowley Street stood was used as the playground/open space.

1988 In 1988 a house at 3 Gordon Street was purchased and was briefly used as a preschool centre. It was demolished and the land was firstly used as a playground, when the site was the Junior School, and now houses a workshop and gardens. 1994 – The Kindergarten Cottage In late 1994 the cottage at 2 Mt Pleasant Avenue was purchased for use as the Kindergarten Cottage. In 2001, the cottage was remodelled and a ‘conservatory’ added, creating a new home for the two Kindergarten classes in their very own ‘house’. The Cottage provided a variety of learning spaces for the girls that moved away from the more traditional lined-up tables.


Although the interior walls were able to be removed when needed, the space retained the original architectural features and the feel of a real cottage. In Lucis 2001, Issue 2, the Head of Kent House, Ms Porter, said: ‘This open plan arrangement will enable the two class teachers and their teacher’s aide, to work either with their own class, or when appropriate, divide the students for ability or social grouping activities.’ A significant addition was the extension and enclosure of the existing verandah to create an indoor/outdoor room, similar to a garden conservatory with French doors. This provided another ‘light-filled’, ‘flow through’ space, and was particularly useful for work that involved water and paint.



VALE The MLC School community extends condolences to the families and friends of our recently departed Old Girls. JEAN WYTHES (HEWETT, 1931) Jean’s daughter, Jennifer, contacted us to let us know that her mother, Jean Wythes (Hewett, 1931) died on 2 October 2019 at the age of 104. Jean was a Boarder at MLC School from 1928 until her Leaving Certificate in 1931. Her younger sister Mary Lett (Hewett, 1939) also boarded at MLC School but long after Jean had left. Jennifer says her Mum had many fond memories of her time at School and maintained a life-long and keen interest in the School and its achievements. Jean attended a number of Old Girl functions over the years until she was no longer able to travel from Canowindra to Sydney.

events. At the age of 104 she was still an active member of both the CWA and the Canowindra Historical Society.

AILSA DUMAS (MCKINNON, 1940) We have received word that Ailsa Dumas (McKinnon, 1940) passed away on 6 November 2019. Ailsa arrived at MLC School from Junee in 1938 and was a Boarder for three years. Immediately after finishing school Ailsa joined the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service to assist in the WWII war effort. Ailsa is one of the 56 Old Girls commemorated on the MLC School WWII Honour Board.

JEAN WATTS (BIRNIE, 1943) Jean’s daughter Liz contacted us to let her know that her mother passed away in early 2020. ‘Jean immensely enjoyed reading MLC School publications, and right to the end would recall her many fond memories of her time at the School. She maintained life-long friendships with her School friends, meeting up regularly to lunch and laugh.’ Liz says her Mum lived a wonderfully rich and empathy-filled life, values that Liz says she’s sure her Mum learnt at MLC School.

In 2014, on her 100th birthday, MLC School sent Jean a “magnificent flower arrangement”. She told her family that receiving the flowers and a message from the School was one of the highlights of the day. Jennifer said that Jean was at home right up until her last day, maintaining both an interest in her family and their activities (she had three children, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren) and in world



MLC School Old Girls: Alma Lindquist (Maguire, 1940) AAMWS, Beryl Evans (Williams, 1940) WAAAF, Beatrice Cook (Wright, 1941) WAAAF, Ailsa Dumas (McKinnon, 1940) AAMWS and Liska Weir (Lambert, 1932) during their WWII service.


Helen Weymouth at her piano

This beautiful tribute to Helen was written by her adoring husband, Keith. ‘Helen Stephinson joined MLC School as a Boarder in 1943. From her earliest years, Helen’s special interest was playing the piano. She achieved Honors in Piano from the Australian Music Examination Board at a young age. Helen continued her music studies at MLC School and featured prominently in the School’s music events during her muchloved years at the School. ‘One of her piano teachers at MLC School was the renowned pianist Lindley Evans who was a music teacher at MLC School during Helen’s time. He had been the accompanist for Dame Nellie Melba for several years and was also on the staff of the Sydney Conservatorium. After completing her Leaving Certificate, Helen joined the Conservatorium in 1946 to further her music education and was delighted that she could continue her piano lessons with Mr Evans. ‘Helen was also a keen hockey player at MLC School and represented the School in her final year as a member of the School’s 1945 ‘A’ Hockey Team. ‘On completing her studies at the Conservatorium, Helen moved to Geelong, Victoria to join her parents who had moved there. She taught Piano at Geelong College and at St Joseph’s, Geelong, as well as privately. In 1957, Helen married Keith Weymouth, at Scotch College, Melbourne, and they had two children, Jane and Philip.’ Helen passed away, after a short illness, on 7 December 2019. Helen and Keith spent 63 years together and had a life that was full of adventure and love. In Helen’s honour, Keith has generously bequeathed a Music bursary to MLC School that will be known as the ‘Helen Weymouth (Stephinson) Music Bursary’. More information about Helen's generous gift can be found on page 54.

PATRICIA MILES (HEWITT, 1944) We have received the sad news that Patricia Miles (Hewitt, 1944) passed away in mid-2019. Patricia had three sons, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren who all adored her and miss her greatly.

NONNIE BIALOGUSKI (PEIFER, 1947) Janina, daughter of Nonnie Bialoguski (Peifer, 1947) has written to tell us the sad news that her dear mother passed away on 14 February 2020 at the age of 89. Janina said ‘despite her increasing frailty and deterioration in health over the last few years, I know Mum enjoyed receiving the news and updates from MLC School, especially as it encouraged her to reminisce and talk about the happy memories and the friendships that were forged during her time there’.

BARBARA TOMKINS (CREW, 1953) Barbara’s husband, James, contacted us to let us know that ‘my dear wife Barbara passed away after a lengthy illness on 6 August 2019’. James said that Barbara was ‘greatly loved by her four children and 10 grandchildren and will be missed forever’.

Nonnie Bialoguski

VALERIE ALLAN (GRANT, 1954) This loving tribute to Valerie was written by her adoring husband, Keith. ‘Born to Methodist Missionaries, Valerie spent her early childhood on Mission Stations in Papua New Guinea and developed a love of both the people and their culture which remained with her for all her life. Her family always said, ‘you could take Valerie out of Papua but not Papua out of Valerie’. ‘In 1942, with the imminent threat of a Japanese invasion, Valerie, her sister Rosemary and their mother were evacuated from PNG on Christmas Eve and returned to Australia.



‘At the age of eight, Valerie enrolled at MLC School with her sisters, Rosemary Brown (Grant, 1949) and Pamela Foster (Grant, 1957), completing her education at the MLC Commercial School in 1953. She then returned to PNG and it was here that she met Ralph Keith Allan. The pair were married in 1955 with her father conducting the service and her mother playing the pedal organ. Within five years they had two sons and had returned to Australia. ‘Valerie excelled as an artist and specialised in water colour paintings of Australian flora and fauna. She exhibited in Sydney, London and Singapore, and produced commissions for private and commercial customers. Her talents also extended to other arts and crafts, including dressmaking, embroidery, knitting, porcelain doll making, teddy bear making and bead work. ‘Valerie passed away on 8 May 2020. She is survived by her husband, two sons and four granddaughters, two of whom are also MLC School Old Girls: Tiffany (Allan, 2004) and Tanya (Allan, 2005).

DAWN BEAL (RUSSELL, 1957) We have received a message from David Beal that Dawn Beal (Russell, 1957) ‘sadly passed away on 18 October 2019 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Rest in peace.’



KATHLEEN MIDDLETON (RANDELL, 1958) Rosemary Maclean (Graham, 1958) has sent us this beautiful tribute to her dear friend Kathleen Middleton (Randell, 1958). ‘It is with a great deal of sadness that I write of the death, after a battle (bravely fought), of Kathleen. ‘Kathleen’s entire school career took place at MLC School starting in Abbeythorpe in Year 1, Kent House in Year 3 and then through to the Leaving Certificate at the Senior School. ‘Kathleen shone academically, winning a Music scholarship in 1951, an academic scholarship in 1956 and many Form Prizes through her school years. She also represented MLC School in the Tildesley Tennis Tournament. ‘After completing school, Kathleen trained as a Pharmacist, married and raised three children. ‘Kathleen will be best remembered for her gentleness and her steadfastness. She was a loyal and staunch friend and a quiet, calming presence throughout her years at MLC School. ‘Kathleen died on 23 May 2020 surrounded by the love of her family and friends. Vale Kathy.’

Judith Spragg

JUDITH SPRAGG (1960) Judy’s brother, David, sent us this loving tribute to his sister. ‘I write to advise that my sister, Judy Spragg, died on 8 January 2020 aged 75, following a short illness. ‘Judy was a Coonabarabran girl who boarded at MLC School from the age of 11, completing her Leaving Certificate in 1960. ‘After school, Judy studied nursing at the Royal North Shore Hospital. She worked at Sydney Hospital and then at Mona Vale Hospital.

‘Judy left nursing and studied psychology at the University of NSW, gaining her Masters. She then applied her skills within NSW Health until her retirement some 15 years ago. ‘Judy retired to travel around Australia with her partner Carole. They then settled on acreage outside of Cooroy in Queensland. Following Carole`s death she began an era of somewhat adventurous followed by more milder, comfortable international travel through India and Myanmar plus several trips to the USA and ventures across the top end of Australia. ‘Judy was having a most fulfilling life and it is so sad her life was cut short. Judy was a most generous, kind and caring person. She was extremely pro-active, driven, motivated, enthusiastic, and a very loving (and bossy) sister.’

MARGARET HUENERBEIN MLC SCHOOL SPORTS MISTRESS/HEAD OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION FROM 1970 TO 1979 It is with sadness that we share with you the news that Miss Margaret Huenerbein, MLC School’s Head of Physical Education from 1970 to 1979, died on 24 May 2020. We are grateful to Old Girl Judy Stokes (Woolley, 1971) for passing on this news to us.

Margaret Huenerbein was a remarkable person. At MLC School Margaret was the Head of the Physical Education department for 10 years during which time she coached hockey, cricket, gymnastics, swimming and skiing. Excelsior ‘Sports Reports’ written by the girls in the 1970s, consistently describe Margaret as a patient, tireless, supportive and inspiring teacher.

Judy Stokes (Woolley, 1971) remembers that Margaret hand-restored an old timber Halvorsen motor cruiser at Bobbin Head, and that even in her later years, with her health declining, Margaret remained her stoic and cheerful self. Vale Margaret Huenerbein, an amazing woman. Margaret Huenerbein

Other articles in Excelsior demonstrate how Margaret was always willing to lend a hand in any way the School required. Along with Mike Hayes, Margaret managed the lighting design for School musicals and plays; she happily accompanied the Duke of Edinburgh girls on their hiking and cycling trips; and for over three months in 1978, Margaret and three other teachers ran the School in Principal Rev Cornwell’s absence. Margaret was also an adventurer. In the 1970s she went on many expeditions to Mount Everest and in the early 1980s Margaret was part of the Australian Antarctic Division exploration team.

If you would like to share any news please contact MLC School Archivist Barbara Hoffman on 02 8741 3214 or email





the way

To honour the life of the late Helen Weymouth (Stephinson, 1946), her husband Keith Weymouth approached the School to propose a generous donation to be used to celebrate her love of music. The Director of Music at MLC School, Trevor Mee, considered an interesting use of the gift would be to encourage girls to begin or continue learning an ‘endangered’ instrument such as Double Bass and Bassoon. Keith felt that Helen would have loved that idea and has established the Helen Weymouth (Stephinson) Bursary with such a purpose. Music was an integral part of Helen’s life. Her musical career was fostered at MLC School and the opportunities provided her during her time at school undoubtedly prepared the ground for her future studies at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. Keith remembers that Helen had lovely memories of her years at MLC School. The renowned pianist Mr Lindley Evans of the NSW Conservatorium of Music was a visiting teacher at the School and one of her teachers. Helen finished her studies at the Conservatorium and moved to Geelong with her parents where she became a piano teacher and met Keith. We are truly grateful to Keith for honouring his beloved wife Helen’s strong connections with the School. His lasting tribute will benefit the students of today and the future.




for future


Important dates for your 2021 diary

Below is a list of MLC School events scheduled for Term 1 and Term 2 2021. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions please visit the MLC School website and My MLC School Portal for specific event information as the date approaches. Weekly updates are also provided in Audacia, MLC School’s e-newsletter.

Principal’s Welcome Cocktail Evening Friday 5 February 2021, 7pm Scholarship Applications Close Friday 5 February 2021 Excellence in Academic Achievement Assembly Wednesday 10 February 2021, 10am Scholarship Examination Friday 12 February 2021 MLC School Tour Day Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10.30am Coffee with the Principal and Head of Junior School Wednesday 24 February 2021, 8.30am Coffee with the Principal and Head of Senior School Thursday 4 March 2021, 8.15am Generational High Tea Saturday 20 March 2021, 4pm Back to College and Awards Dinner Friday 30 April 2021, 6.30pm Reunion Afternoon Saturday 1 May 2021, 2pm MLC School Tour Day Thursday 20 May 2021, 10.30am

MLC School’s mission is to educate and inspire young women to be fearless thinkers with moral courage and compassion, to be agents of change in their own lives and the lives of others. The MLC School girl dares to be more and our aim is to open up opportunities to girls to attend the School through our scholarship and bursary program.

A RANGE OF SCHOLARSHIPS FOR 2022 ENTRY ARE NOW OPEN. Scholarships are available for new students, continuing students, all rounders, music students and daughters of Old Girls. For more information visit or email

If you are interested in a confidential conversation about how you can help girls enjoy the benefits of an MLC School education, please contact

Heleen Fourie, Development Manager, on 02 8741 3129 or email



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 75 549 644 535 CRICOS No. 02328D The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (NSW) (trading as MLC School)