Lucis Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2023

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The Magazine of the MLC School Family A HISTORY OF GIVING OH WHAT A (INTERNATIONAL) NIGHT! Autumn/Winter Edition 2023 incorporating Collegiate

MLC School’s goal for each girl when she graduates is to be:

– Compassionate to herself, interacting with others with kindness and celebrating diversity

– Courageous in her pursuits, expressing herself honestly and with integrity to live a life with purpose

– Capable of navigating change, showing leadership in adapting to the multiple paths that her future will take

– Connected to the legacy of MLC School, using it to inspire her to be an agent of change in her world


Michele Dunn

Barbara Hoffman

Amelia Morgano


Nicole Anderson

Wendy Chung

Barbara Hoffman

Tracy Mock

MLC School community


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MLC School acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the School is located, the Wangal people of the Eora Nation, and pays respect to Elders past and present.




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from the PRINCIPAL

Amongst the busyness of School life, a critical part of my role is to ensure we remain focused on our values: Courage, Compassion, Respect and Growth. These are at the very core of our aspirations and constantly inspire our approach.

Authentically articulating how we develop these values so they are appropriate for each stage of a student’s journey is a critical function of leadership at MLC School. Deputy Principal, Melissa Boyd, and Head of Senior School, Joanna Graffen, strongly reflect the School’s values and have already made an impact since starting at the School this year. These impressive women bring great experience, expertise and incredible warmth to their roles.

A key theme in this issue of Lucis explores the School value of Compassion and looks back at the incredible legacy of giving that forms an enduring thread through our history. Those who have chosen to donate to MLC School have shaped our history, facilitated our growth and supported the vision for our great School. These genuine acts of compassion have had a profound impact on everyone who has, does and will pass through our doors.

The growth of our Indigenous Scholarship program and our associated commitment to ensuring our entire community is culturally aware and sensitive takes compassion and respect. We have all grown through the process. That we can have an informed conversation around First Nations people and reflect on the efforts we must take towards reconciliation has an even greater context in a year where we will vote on the referendum for ‘the Voice’. This year sees the second MLC School Giving Day, where every member of the School community can tangibly signal their support for our Indigenous program. It’s also an incredibly powerful occasion, where everyone connected to the School can unify for one cause. I urge you all to become involved in whatever way you can.

I found the article on the history of our cultural diversity extremely interesting reading. Not only does MLC School have a proud history of acceptance and tolerance, but these traditions genuinely continue today.



1. How has your career path prepared you for your role as MLC School’s Deputy Principal?

Originally, I trained to become a Registered Nurse where I developed a love of caring for others, an understanding of health needs and the importance of prioritising wellness. One thing was missing though, I’d always wanted to be a teacher.

In the final six months of my degree, I transferred to education, specialising in PDHPE and I have never once regretted that decision.

My first teaching role was a six month casual block at Beverley Hills Girls High School. I taught students from diverse backgrounds and quickly learnt that the value of girls’ schools is multifaceted. I’ve also taught at two other girls’ schools - Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta where I was Head of Year, and Pymble Ladies’ College (Pymble) starting as a Head of Department, leading the curriculum development of the PDHPE department for students in Year 3 - Year 12. I loved the experience of supporting teachers and students in the Junior School to prioritise their health and wellbeing. In my 12 years at Pymble, I went on to become the Head of Upper School, specialising in the academic care of girls in Year 9 and Year 10, then the Head of SecondaryWellbeing.

I am a strong advocate for girls’ only education, where girls are free to be themselves without the pressure of conforming to gender stereotypes and can explore their interests and passions without fear of judgment. The supportive MLC School community helps girls develop strong relationships with their peers and mentors, fostering a sense of belonging and self-esteem.

2. What are your goals here?

My first goal is to learn everything I can about this community; whether it be a tour with our archivist to learn about the rich history or greeting students at the gate in the morning - being out there building relationships through conversation has been a wonderful introduction to the School’s culture.

At the moment, my focus is to enhance and ensure student safety by confirming our high quality policies and processes work effectively to support the health and wellbeing of students and staff. I’ll discuss best practices and consult with community members to ensure we meet the needs of all stakeholders, especially our students.

I’d love to further explore opportunities for service-based learning! I truly believe that service to others is integral to character development. I support Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom that ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ Over the past five years, I had the joy of being the coordinator of the Pymble/Shore

Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp, a program run by the Sony Foundation Australia charity. The program provides 25 children and young people with disabilities the opportunity to experience a fun-filled and empowering four day, three night holiday camp hosted by Year 11 students.

My goal is to bring Sony Camp to MLC School. Gandhi (I know I am a bit of a fan girl), again stated, ‘the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.’ MLC School girls have generous hearts and are passionate about using their skills to improve the lives of others. The success of a program like this is truly dependent on the sponsorship and generosity of the School community - watch this space to see if it can become a reality.

3. What’s the best part of your role?

The interaction with the girls; supporting them on the sports field, watching them perform on stage in music, dance, drama or teaching a lesson, I love engaging with learners and responding to their individual needs. The most magical moments generally come from a student making a mistake or mastering a problem they didn’t think they could solve through trial and error. Watching that development and persistence is the making of these wonderful young women. Assisting our girls to grow with integrity, empathy and learning how to work effectively with others is a privilege.

Q&A with new Deputy Principal, Melissa Boyd.

4. Who do you admire/aspire to be like/model yourself on?

My mum is the most important influencer. Selfless and kind, she raised me with love, and I grew up wanting for nothing, despite coming from relative socio-economic disadvantage. A single mum, she often sacrificed her own needs to ensure my brother and I had every opportunity… I must call her on my way home tonight to tell her how much I appreciate her.

There were also the inspirational teachers who noticed the little things like my emerging talents; they encouraged me to follow my dreams.

The friends who I hold in deep trust and confidence and allow me to be vulnerable without judgement.

The leaders and mentors who held up a mirror to me when I needed to look inside to grow.

And finally, those students who challenge me to work hard and remember that they are our purpose.

5. Is there a quote or phrase that you always like to refer to?

‘They will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’ – Excerpt from They Will Forget by Maya Angelou

Here Maya reflects on the fleeting nature of fame and success, and the importance of living a life with purpose and meaning rather than seeking external validation and recognition. While external accomplishments may be important, what truly matters is the impact we have on the people around us. This aligns so closely with our mission at MLC School - 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.

6. What do you feel are the most critical issues girls face today?

There is no doubt that life can be challenging for our girls and young people in these complex times. Girls across the country are experiencing high rates of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, which can be linked to a range of factors including social media use and body image issues.

We need to develop in them a strong sense of self and expose them to a range of skills that they can draw upon in times of stress.

7. What does ‘Compassion’, one of MLC School’s four values, look like here?

Compassion involves not only feeling empathy for others but also using our resources and skills to take action to help them in whatever way possible. On a large scale, I’ve seen our student leaders speak with empathy about gender inequality on International Women’s Day. Students and staff have also courageously signed up for The World’s Greatest Shave to raise awareness and funds for people living with cancer. Each House has selected a disadvantaged group in the community to support. Rev Sally Yabsley-Bell meets weekly with a group of dedicated students to knit beanies that keep premature babies warm and the list could go on! The small acts are also impressive: caring for a younger student who is lost or upset, the students who care deeply about our School environment and clean spaces that are not their own. I love when the girls think no one is watching - these leave the biggest impact.

8. How do you think parents can help support their children to prepare for life outside of school?

Let them make mistakes; assist them to sit with uncertainty at times of challenge, as tolerance of uncertainty has a direct correlation to the development of resilience, thus decreasing symptoms of anxiety. It can be so tempting to rescue our children, but in doing so we are depriving them of valuable opportunities to recognise their own strengths, abilities and sense of agency. Communicate with us at School early on when you have concerns - we are here to work in partnership with you.


the class


Girls from the Class of 2022 were invited back to School on Wednesday 15 February 2022 for a special assembly recognising their academic and creative achievements.

With family, staff and the current Year 12 cohort in attendance, our newest Old Girls were recognised for HSC Showcase Selections, Reserve List and Nominations. Students also accepted Excellence in Academic Achievement Awards for placing first in the MLC School cohort course after their final HSC and IB examinations. We celebrated 23 students who achieved an Australia Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 98 or above* (19 of which were over 99).

We also formally acknowledged three girls with the Reverend Dr Charles J. Prescott Medal, for the highest ATAR achieved for their year* - Lia Al-Soufi, Laryssa Latt and Tina Papamanuel all achieved the maximum of 99.95. This special medal is proudly named in honour of the founder and first Headmaster of MLC School (1886–1899), who was a strong advocate for the education of women and girls in his time.

In the words of the girls, here are some highlights from their MLC School journey:

‘I have met so many thoughtful, bright, and generous people who have helped shape who I am and offered new perspectives.’

’I think a highlight was involving myself in drama and doing School productions. Or participating in things like the International Round Square Conference.‘

‘…since I joined in Year 5, MLC School has provided me access to sport for every month of the year.’

*This may not be a full representation of these achievements. ATARs are not made public or provided to the School. We rely on students confirming them. Some students elect not to share this information or prefer for it not to be published.


Overall Distinguished Achievers

HSC Distinguished Achievers list and Certificate of Distinction for Diploma Programme

35 nominations for HSC Showcases

42 Girls

who achieved an ATAR of 95 and over

Scan to learn more about their success



The annual celebration of academic achievement was held at the International Convention & Exhibition Centre (ICC Sydney) once again in December.

The morning Speech Day event recognised girls in Year 3 to Year 6, with our musicians welcoming everyone with the ever-popular Pirates of the Caribbean tune by the Year 5 and Year 6 Band. 2022 MLC Junior School Captain, Leela Das and MLC Junior School Vice-Captain, Eloise Wong spoke with great confidence and maturity.


Speech Night recognised the achievement of girls from Year 7 to Year 12 2022 as well as being the final farewell for all of Year 12 and retiring long standing staff. Principal Lisa Moloney shared how nurturing the development of the girls’ own internal GPS navigators at MLC School can guide their futures beyond academia and the School gates.

We thank the Moderator of the Synod of NSW and the ACT in the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Simon Hansford, for sharing his wise words of wisdom about Compassion for others, a key MLC School Value, during his six years of service as the 28 th Moderator.

SPEECH night


ROAD TO THE MLC SCHOOL Lawyer, Dragonboat Racer, Leader

Introducing Joanna Graffen, Head of Senior School

Joanna Graffen’s passion for education over the last decade has seen her teach and travel internationally. She brings this wealth of professional and life experience to our community at MLC School.

As the new Head of Senior School (responsible for all girls from Year 7 to Year 12), Joanna has a clear goal ‘to make MLC School an inclusive place where girls are supported to do their best academically, but they are also inspired to explore the many different opportunities that we have available’.

Joanna began her career as a solicitor, so it’s no surprise that she’s already started coaching students in the NSW Law Society Mock Trial Competition, with the aim of seizing the title from St Catherine’s School Sydney, where she was previously the Director of Day School.

‘It’s those areas outside the classroom that complement and can assist a student’s development of other skills like leadership through public speaking and more.’ said Joanna. ‘I’m passionate about imparting knowledge from my legal background, but most importantly about building decision-making capacity and confidence in the girls.’

When asked about her own school memories, Joanna reflects on her passion for English, essay writing, drama and sport. Her visions of being a political journalist and being a little unsure of what to study apart from

following her strengths led her to complete an arts/law degree, which opened up a wide scope of opportunity for her future.

‘I see our role as educators as being able to present a lot of doors that our girls can walk through, while empowering their individual decision-making through guidance and teaching pedagogy. They choose which door to walk through.’

For Joanna, the Senior girl’s school experience should be at a place where students try lots of different things, have opportunities to succeed, but also experience failure in order to develop resilience. ‘After all, we want to prepare them for what life is going to offer them after they leave the school gates’.

‘Swimming carnivals are a perfect example of this classic school experience; when else can you dress up and express your spirit socially, put your skills and competitive streak to the test than in the pool? Losses are part and parcel of the carnival experience.’

According to Joanna, a highlight of her role so far is the social connection and relationship building that allows her to thrive, especially in such a welcoming school environment. ‘Person-to-person interaction and belonging to the community is what makes our diverse School so great.

‘I’m thankful to have met so many parents, students and families so far at our Coffee with the Principal and the stunning Parent Welcome – Drinks and Music on the Lawn event.’

Joanna looks forward to building close relationships in order to improve the day to day lives of our students, starting with understanding the world around each girl.

Her career pivot towards working with young people came from a desire for the joy they bring to our lives.

Life led her to work and live for five years in the thriving and dynamic city of Hong Kong; a place of opportunity where she changed careers to teach while keeping connected to her passions. Here in this new environment and microcosm of cultures, she endeavoured to continue her passion for Netball and social sports; in the process, she was a manager of the Hong Kong netball team at the Asian Netball Championships

In the spirit of trying something new, she also got involved in Dragon Boating while living in the world city of Asia. Joanna explains, ‘For those unfamiliar, Dragon Boating is a fast and furious, paddle-driven water sport that originated in China over 2000 years ago. The modern sport sees crews, plus a sweep and drummer, train and race in fibreglass boats with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. For anyone who’s visited Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, especially on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month (sometimes referred to as ‘the double fifth), it can be an incredibly colourful sight to witness hundreds of boats competing against each other.’


Following her first hand immersion into the local experience, Joanna taught English to speakers of other languages including adults, ‘it was wonderful to get to know so many local families (and their local authentic food). Every weekend was a journey to find the best dumplings or learn a little bit of Cantonese (which I’ve sadly forgotten as you need to practice it)!’

Joanna joined The Australian International School Hong Kong, a co-educational international school in Kowloon Tong for children from Preparatory to Year 12 from more than 25 nationalities. She thoroughly enjoyed teaching diverse younger students, especially as she had her first child internationally.

She understands that first impressions are important. ‘In my first few weeks at MLC School, I was so impressed that the girls feel empowered to speak about what’s important to them, whether that be their love for social justice or starting a new cultural club. I think it’s important to celebrate our many different cultural and religious backgrounds while coming together to make a really positive environment for those around us to do the same.’

‘Our School value of Respect contributes to this, along with the teachings of community, living with love, grace and hope that the Uniting Church in Australia offers.’

Leadership to Joanna is all about extending this understanding so that everyone feels known by their leaders. She feels that healthy relationships, both social and academic, are important for students so they can perform at their best, ‘Everyone has their own stamp on how a leader needs to act – it’s so important to approach people how you would like to be known. Knowing who our students are and where they come from is what’s important to me.’

Finally, Joanna is looking forward to getting out on the MLC School Netball courts in the next staff vs student event.

‘I’m competitive but I continue to play my favourite sport mainly to have something that’s for me; a social, holistic hobby,’ she explained. ‘Of course, my favourite team is the NSW Swifts.’


A History of Giving by the MLC School Community

Unlike almost every other independent school, MLC School began without the benefit of a founding grant, and unlike our brother school, Newington College, the School was not financially supported by the Wesleyan Conference. As a result, the School’s early years were marked by financial struggle. It was only through the generosity of the MLC School community that the School continued, and indeed, thrived.

Gifts from our community have supported significant improvements and developments at MLC School that have had a positive impact on the future of all our students. Donations have funded scholarships, improved buildings, upgraded equipment and contributed to the MLC School experience. Our community’s gifts have made a direct difference to the lives of our students by positively influencing their education.

The generosity of our community has

The School’s scholarships program has also progressively expanded, directly as a result of gifts from the MLC School community. Community members who give for scholarships say that their wish is to provide the unique opportunities of an MLC School education to as many girls as possible, in an enduring way. Scholarships at MLC School have fostered an enlightened, diverse school community and have had a positive impact on both the School and the students alike. The story of MLC School’s expansion over

The theme of the MLC School song Here In This House speaks to the ideals of endowing a place of beauty, truth and kindness for future generations. These ideals are exemplified in the history of giving by the MLC School community.

In 1890, a member of the MLC School Council donated approx 300 pounds to build a one-storey wooden building with a wide verandah to house the new Kindergarten, the first of its kind in Australia. It stood on the corner of Rowley and Grantham Steets.



In 1891, Ellen Schofield pledged 2,000 pounds which allowed construction of the Boarders’ dormitory hall and dining room (opened 1892), the ground floor of which is now the MLC School Chapel.

In 1895, a second donation from Ellen Schofield of 800 pounds assisted in the building of the Tower Wing that housed classrooms as well as the Principal’s residence.





In 1888 John Hardy gifted the School 100 pounds. The founder and senior partner of the jewellery firm Hardy Bros Ltd, John Hardy was a prominent lay person in the Methodist Church. He was an early supporter of MLC School as well as a member of Newington College Council. Two of his daughters were students at MLC School: Lucy Elizabeth Hardy (1886) and Adeline Emma Arnott (Hardy, 1893).


In 1890 Dr Walter William Joseph O’Reilly gifted the School 100 pounds.

Dr WWJ O’Reilly was a Foundation member of the MLC School Council, the father of Susie O’Reilly (1898) and Olive Wood (O’Reilly, 1909) and the grandfather-in-law of Rev Winston O’Reilly who was the MLC School Principal 1960–1964.




In 1922, the Old Girls’ Union (OGU) gifted the School 69 pounds which enabled the reference library to be established as a separate entity from the fiction library.





Donation of 125 pounds in memory of Rev George Lane, a friend and mentor to Rev Prescott and an early advocate of MLC School. He was the one to persuade Mrs Schofield to donate to the School.


Mr and Mrs G.J.W Waterhouse donated 2,000 pounds which was used to establish Scholarships for Minster daughters at the School and was 'based on the principle of need and not on examinations.' (MLC School Council Minutes 28 August 1923.)

Donation of 100 pounds in memory of Mr J N Taylor.


In 1927, the OGU donated 1,100 pounds to the School.




In 1935, two gifts of 100 pounds each were received: one from Rev Potts and one from Mr & Mrs GA Davey.



The Parents and Friends (P&F) Association and OGU together donated more than 1,000 pounds to go towards the Swimming Pool Fund and the Wearne Library Fund.


Mr and Mrs G.J.W Waterhouse presented a gift of 100 pounds for the establishment of a prize to be called The George Brown Prize for Leadership. Mr and Mrs Waterhouse chose to honour George Brown with this gift because they believed that he exemplified leadership. The prize is still bestowed at Speech Night.


The P&F and OGU together donated 150 pounds for the provision of Diamond Jubilee Scholarship for the daughter of an Old Girl.

Old Girl, Alice Rishworth (Channon, 1894) died in 1927 and left 100 pounds to the School in her Will.


Willa Sutherland (Matchett, 1920) gifts the sum needed to finally start the build on the first MLC School swimming pool.

Willa Sutherland worked tirelessly for the School in a variety of leadership roles for the Parents and Friends‘ Association and the Old Girls’ Union. A generous benefactor, she helped to raise funds for many School projects and was instrumental in the building of MLC School’s first swimming pool which was opened in 1957. In recognition of her long association contributions to MLC School, in 2003 the Sutherland Rooms were named in her honour.


Rev Cornwell initiated the Design for the Seventies campaign in 1971 with the aim to raise $200,000 for School capital development. Within two years the amount had been raised by generous donations from the MLC School community.

The funds were used to build the Whitley Science Labs and the Senior Boarders Dormitory (both since removed during the construction of the 2019 Senior Centre).

1950 1960 1970

The P&F and OGU raised the funds from the MLC School community required to rebuild after the 1977 fire.

On Saturday 21 February 1981, over a thousand people attended the official dedication and opening of the new buildings: the Drama Theatre and the Chapel.


A gift of $2,000 is received in February 1992 from the Estate of the late GA Davey, the School Council’s Treasurer for more than 20 years, Councilor of Strathfield Council from 1920s to 1940s, and Mayor for sometime. Mr and Mrs Gordon Davey were generous MLC School benefactors, both with gifts and with their time. It was decided to use a part of this gift to establish The G. A. Davey Cup For Highest Overall Score In House Competition, first awarded at the 1994 Speech Night. This Award honours the Daveys for their considerable contributions to the life of MLC School.

1980 1990

The 1996 Capital Appeal raises enough funds from the MLC School community to build the Independent Learning Centre (ILC). Ailsa Butcher (Thompson, 1936) makes a significant contribution and is appointed the first MLC School Patron. The third floor of the ILC is named the Ailsa Butcher Room in her honour.


In 1995, Nancy Anderson (Penman, 1938) made her first donation of $500 which was used to improve the Sports Field. Her second donation occurred in 2013.



Edna Curtis (1922) left the School a $60,000 bequest in her Will with a request to establish a scholarship. Since 1992 the Edna Curtis Scholarship has been awarded annually to a girl in Year 7 who is the daughter of an MLC School Old Girl.



In Jan 1992, Robert Forge, the husband of the late June-Anne Forge (Odewahn, 1945) sent a gift of $27,895 to establish the June-Anne Forge Scholarship for Speech which commenced in 1993.

The scholarship was to be used to pay for Art of Speech lessons for the scholarship holder within Drama, Debating, Rostrum – Voice of Youth, and Mock Trial.


In 1994, (Walter) Douglas Denham and his wife Melba Denham gifted the School $21,000 to establish the Edith Moffat Memorial Scholarship in memory of Douglas’ mother, Edith Denham (Moffat, 1901), a renowned singer and organist.

The Scholarship was announced yearly at Speech Night from 1994 to 1999 and was for a Year 10 and Year 11 girl who shows outstanding musical talent and musicianship to assist in the continuation of their music studies in Year 11 and Year 12, respectively.



Jean Kerr (Chambers, 1944) attended MLC School from Year 6 in 1939 to 1944 on a scholarship and was a Senior Prefect in both 1943 and 1944.

In 2001, the School received $50,000 from Jean for the Wearne Library fund. In the letter accompanying the gift, Jean commented on her wonderful English teacher Miss Dorothy Law, who was the inspiration for her donation. “I received a well-rounded education which I have valued more as each year passes. It gives me great pleasure to make this donation to my school, the source of education and friendship…”

Jean lived in Canada for many years after meeting her future Canadian husband in 1967.


At the 2002 annual giving appeal, members of the MLC School community gave generously to help fund the purchase of pool items for the new Aquatic Centre. Money was raised for items such as diving boards, scoreboards, clocks, pool ladders and pool tiles.


Marjorie Adam (Brian, 1937) left the School a generous bequest to be directed to the OGU.


Daphne Line (1943) named MLC School as one of the major beneficiaries in her Will. The School received $1M from her estate. The funds were used to build the new Junior School and its top level auditorium is named The Daphne Line Hall in her honour.


2000 2010


(Hilda) Marjorie Evelyn Dixon (1928) who became Lady Stewart after her marriage to Sir Frederick Harold Stewart, left a sum in 2001 to MLC School that became the Lady Stewart Scholarship Fund.


Former staff member Joyce Denning, left $180,000 in her Will to MLC School in 2005.

Joyce joined the School in 1930 as the Sports Mistress. In 1960 she became the School’s Deputy Headmistress.

Joyce retired in 1972 having dedicated 42 years to MLC School.

The Joyce Denning Memorial Prize for Tennis awarded at Speech Night is named in her honour.

Margaret Pryor (Greenwell, 1938) a former Boarder, left the School $6060 in her Will. Margaret enrolled in June 1932 at the age of 11.


Jocelyn Brian (1940) left MLC School $14,100 in her Will in 2011.

Jocelyn enrolled into MLC School as a Day Girl in June 1930 at the age of 6.

Joan Bradley (Davidson, 1933) a former Boarder, left MLC School $1,250 in her Will in 2011.

Joan was part of a multi-generation MLC School family. She was from Temora and enrolled in February 1928 at the age of 11.


2007 2013

Lawrence Hinchliffe, the husband of Meryl Hilda Hinchliffe (Wright, 1927), leaves the School funds in his Will to be allocated to a Food Technology Speech Night Prize and to refurbishing the Food Technology kitchens, in memory of his ‘beloved wife’. These funds have been used for the 2023 remodelling of the technology kitchens.

2007 2018

Helen Kenyon (Nash, 1946) sent the School a gift of $10,000. She noted that she enjoyed keeping in touch with school friends and keeping up with the School through Lucis and other publications and sent the gift as a ‘Thank You’ to the School.

Get in touch

We value those who wish to generously contribute to the School's esteemed history. For a confidential discussion, please contact Heleen Fourie, MLC School Development Manager, on +61 2 8741 3129, or email

We believe the information presented here is accurate according to records held within the School’s archives. However, if you are aware of any errors, omissions or would like to contribute to our records, please contact Barbara Hoffman, MLC School Archivist, on


Keith Weymouth made a donation to the School to honour his wife of 63 years, Helen and established the Helen Weymouth (Stephinson, 1945) Prize for a musician of a rare instrument.

2020 2023


Nancy Anderson (Penman, 1938) bequested

MLC School the sum of $30,000 in her Will which was used to improve the Wearne Library.

2022 2018

In 2018, Cynthia Gunn (1960) travelled from her home in Switzerland to gift the School with $100,000; inaugurating the Indigenous Scholarships program.

MLC School’s inaugural Giving Day is held on 18 May 2021.

The goal was set at $160,000 but the target was quickly exceeded and together, the MLC School community raised $213,444 – a sum that will positively impact the lives of many young women.


$1M gifted by Ros Coulson (1955) on behalf of herself and her sister, Margaret Coulson (1949), to be used for Indigenous Scholarships and to be named the Margaret and Rosalind Coulson Scholarship.


A history of progressive


from British/European backgrounds. There were, however, also a significant number from Pacific Islander and Asian backgrounds.

One of our early eminent Old Girls, Olive Nelson (1929) became the first Samoan, as well as the first Pacific woman to attain a Bachelor of Laws from Auckland University, graduating in 1936 with the Butterworth Prize for the highest law exam results in the University. Later that year, Olive was admitted to the New Zealand Supreme Court, as both a barrister and solicitor. Olive was one of the five Nelson sisters from Western Samoa who attended MLC School from 1925 to 1935. From the early 1900s, MLC School consistently had a number of students from Western Samoa, Tonga, Taluva, Tokelau, Nauru, Fiji and New Zealand.

MLC School has a distinguished history of cultural diversity. Like much of the Australian population at the time when the School was founded, most of our earlier students were

Students from Asian backgrounds are also present throughout the history of the School. In 1956, the School Captain (then known as

Over the years, the cultural diversity of the School has reflected the evolving diversity of the population of Australia. Students and their families have, and still come from all corners of the globe; the School’s diversity and acceptance of all cultures and faiths continues to enrich the lives of all our students.

Head Prefect) was Mee-Na Cheok (Young Lee, 1956) who was the School’s first Asian School Captain. Mee-Na was also the Basketball Captain and the Senior Athletic champion. She remained deeply connected to the School and her school friends for her whole life.

When the House system was first introduced at MLC School in 1942, it was decided to select Aboriginal words for House names. The editorial in the 1942 Excelsior ; although peppered with expressions that are now well and truly out of date, announced that the new House names have a beauty given to them by the people ‘whose land Australia really is’. Further on, the article recalls that Aboriginal Peoples ‘welcomed the Duggeri-gai, the strange white people from over the seas, the foreigners who settled on their tribal grounds, ate their food, fished their waters’ and ‘usurped’ their territory. While the article has

many problems, the assertion of Traditional Ownership was radical for its time.

Leading up to the 1967 Referendum (to change the Constitution so that like all other Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would be counted as part of the population and the Commonwealth would be able to make laws for them), Excelsior published pieces by students strongly supporting reconciliation and passionately denouncing racial prejudice.

Within 1966 Excelsior, ‘Aboriginal Charter Of Rights’ by Oodgeroo Noonuccal was quoted, and Coral Adler (1970) in 3rd Form (Year 9) at the time, used this poem as an inspiration for her own work which ended with ‘Ban racial bias – NOW!’

Excelsior 1966 included an eloquent and affecting appeal to end racial prejudice by Susan Wilkins (1972), then in Year 6.

The School’s multicultural population in 1980 was demonstrated by the Schools’ Commission Survey conducted at the time across Australia. The results, reported in Excelsior that year, revealed the breadth of the multicultural MLC School community at that time.

In 1980, of the 770 students at the School, 191 students or their parents were born in one of 47 countries other than Australia, with 35 languages other than English spoken at home.

1980 Excelsior noted that while the School’s Commission Survey had ‘Chinese Languages’ under one code, MLC School could have listed its Chinese languages spoken by students and their families as: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Hunanese. In the same way, the Indian languages spoken by MLC School families at the time could have been specified as Punjabi, Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and Marathi.

Photo of Olive Nelson, Senior (Boarding) House Prefect, from Excelsior 1930.
Mee-Na Cheok (Young Lee, 1956) with Ruth Nichol (McAllister, 1956) in 1953 in 2nd Form.

The Excelsior report concluded that the multicultural diversity of the students and their families ‘gives our school a ‘one world’ atmosphere and enriches our lives’.

In 2023, of the 1380 students at the School, 80 students were born in one of 15 countries other than Australia and 489 parents reported 56 countries of birth other than Australia.

213 students reported speaking 17 languages at home other than English. These were reported as: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati,

Hindi, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Serbian, Spanish, Tamil, Telugu and Tulu.

An outward expression of MLC School’s celebration of the cultural and linguistic diversity of our students and their families was the introduction in 1998 of the Junior School International Day (now International Night). Lucis reported that ‘the School’s first multicultural day was a resounding success with students and staff dressing in many national costumes which highlighted the rich diversity of cultures represented throughout Australian society.’

The MLC School Values: Courage, Compassion, Respect and Growth are manifested in the School’s commitment to encouraging and celebrating cultural diversity. By being immersed in a multicultural population, our students learn to respectfully interact with each other, regardless of cultural heritage. Our rich cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and it is central to our identity.

The MLC School Values: Courage, Compassion, Respect and Growth are manifested in the School’s commitment to encouraging and celebrating cultural diversity.


At the 2022 Sports Awards

The special speaker was raised in both Japan and Australia, part of a Japanese/British family. As the eldest of the Sakakibara duo, Kai Sakakibara was the first to discover a passion for BMX as a sport.

From the beginning, Kai prided himself on giving BMX his absolute all – eventually making the top 10 in World Rankings. In 2020, while attempting to qualify for his first Olympic Games, he crashed and suffered brain damage and was in a coma for eight weeks. When he woke up, he had to be told what COVID-19 was!

His story has the makings of a movie; he has rebuilt his life and worked his way back to being mobile and taking on the world once more. His story had the audience laughing, crying and wanting to fight for the best life possible.

held in The Daphne Line Hall, students and parents heard about the journey and challenges of a sporting high achiever.

Kai Sakakibara

Nicole Horton – Spirit of Sport Pin History

Nicole Horton (1993) was the best sort of MLC School all-rounder; a great team player (she helped her peers in the Firsts Hockey to victory time and time again), an excellent student, an eloquent actress and debater, and the 1993 School Captain.

Days before the start of the HSC, Nicole was diagnosed with cancer and despite the illness and treatment program, she delivered a clear, confident and remarkably optimistic message in her Captain’s Speech on Speech Night

Two students at the Awards reflected on his visit and the gift he gave them.

Sitting in the crowd alongside Mum and Dad, I was proud to watch my older sister receive a very special award. I am especially proud because I know that Isabella tries her best; even when things seem difficult she never gives up.

Listening to Kai Sakakibara’s speech outlined the obvious courage, determination and passion he has for bicycle motocross. This has motivated me in both my sports and academic learning to always push harder to achieve and be the best I can be.

Sienna Munoz (Year 6)

Proud sister

Receiving the award in memory of Nicole Horton showed me that it is possible to be the best, however, you must earn it. Nicole worked hard, loved sports, and never gave up. These are the key aspects that anyone needs

in order to succeed. I admire the love Nicole had for sport and the joy she got out of playing. One key aspect is to always find joy in anything you do, as this will continue to grow your passion. I believe the joy I get out of playing sports helped me to receive the Nicole Horton Spirit of Sport Award*.

Listening to Kai Sakakibara’s speech, it is evident that he displays a strong passion for bicycle motocross. His inspiring story will remain with me forever. Kai’s persistence and love for BMX riding tells a valuable story. Even after his near-fatal crash, there was never a doubt in his mind about getting back on that bike.

Kai explained that ‘the minute you give up is the minute it’s all over’. I will remember his influential words as I enter a new year of playing sports and a new year of learning.

Isabella Munoz (Year 8)

Nicole Horton – Spirit of Sport Pin recipient*

After completing school, her last two and a half years were dedicated to Canteen and helping improve outcomes for other young cancer sufferers.

After her untimely death in May 1996, the girls in Sutton House, Nicole’s House, donated a memorial fountain to recognise her achievements, her generosity and her valour.

Nicole’s spirit is further celebrated at MLC School by two awards named in her honour: The Nicole Horton Prize for the Players’ Player awarded at Speech Night and the Nicole Horton – Spirit of Sport Pins.

Nicole was an inspiration and her legacy continues to inspire compassion and courage in our students and everyone who learns her story.

*The Nicole Horton Spirit of Sport pin is presented to Year 7 students who participate in four terms of sport and embody the true spirit of sport, i.e. commitment, service, effort, sportsmanship and enjoyment.


Cherie WITH


The history of philanthropy is long and well entrenched in the fabric of MLC School. The buildings that shaped the campus in the earliest days right through to today are the tangible record of such giving. However, donations in support of Scholarships are powerful and transformative; the impact on young lives is profound.

Here we take a look at the journey of one scholarship student, Cherie Pepperell (2020) and the powerhouse she is quickly becoming.

Cherie started at MLC School in 2017 (Year 9) on an All-Rounder scholarship and from day one it was clear she would seize every opportunity on offer and chart a path to great success.

According to Cherie, ‘My scholarship gave me access to an incredible education, co-curriculars and opportunities I would not otherwise have had access to. The support of my teachers and

peers was another factor that set MLC School apart from others.

I applied for the MLC School Scholarship because I wanted to attend a school that would value and foster my academic mindset and achievements.

When I began at MLC School, I leapt at the opportunity to get involved in as many co-curriculars that interested me. These included debating and public speaking, tennis, netball and music. I trained in public speaking and debating, competed in competitions such as the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award, Rostrum Voice of Youth Speaking Competition, ISDA Competition, Archdale Debating and AHIGS Festival of Speech.


The impact of these co-curriculars on my confidence, public speaking skills and critical thinking has been outstanding. These are skills which I continue to use to this day and that, I believe, make me stand out as a leader.’

In true MLC School style, Cherie pursued her passion for music and played in the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music Ensembles. In 2018, she travelled to Europe on a music tour.

Physical challenge was also on Cherie’s list, as she completed her Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

‘The experiences and life skills from undergoing the Duke of Edinburgh program were second to none,’ she recalls.

Cherie still remembers the influence of her teachers and is most grateful for their support. She cites her IB English and Math teachers, Ms Pow and Mr Truong, in particular.

‘It is incredible the difference that a great and dedicated teacher can make to your education, subject marks and motivation,’ she says.

Teachers also encouraged Cherie to step out of her comfort zone. ‘Despite my late start at MLC School, the tremendous support from my teachers and peers gave me the courage to try out for a position in the 2020 Leadership Team, and I was elected Public Speaking and Debating Captain. I thoroughly enjoyed the leadership skills attained as a result. That accolade as well as the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award are my proudest achievements at school.’

With all these strings in her bow, Cherie believes she developed as a true all-rounder. Graduating in 2020 with an International Baccalaureate (IB) score of 43 (99.55 ATAR), the benefits of this strength and her academic record meant the door for scholarships at a number of universities was open wide.

Cherie pursued her passion by studying a degree in Engineering and achieved The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Women in Engineering Scholarship.

Cherie is now in her third year studying a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Biomedical Engineering, which is a five to six year degree at UNSW.

Over the last two years, Cherie has been actively involved at UNSW, taking on several roles to build her engineering and leadership experience. Her aim is to build momentum for

provides university students with industry experience and placements within the TfNSW cluster of projects. She has an internship at the Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport working on the Station Boxes and Tunnelling Delivery Team.

If that’s not enough, the same year, Cherie also joined the Sunswift Racing Team which is a

more girls to become involved in Engineering. She represents UNSW as an Engineering Student Ambassador. She works within UNSW Women in Engineering as a workshop coordinator for the Girls in Engineering Club, which is a community for high school girls interested in engineering.

‘I focus on running workshops that highlight the different disciplines of engineering that can be studied at UNSW – 19 specialisations in total! I remember being in the Girls in Engineering (GIE) Club in high school and attending the 2020 GIE Camp which solidified my passion for and desire to study Engineering at UNSW As the workshop coordinator, I now focus on creating and delivering engaging, handson workshops in collaboration with UNSW Engineering societies to highlight the various types of engineering. I believe many high school girls are not aware of all the possibilities and career paths available from a degree in engineering. That was certainly the case for me. Hence, my focus on educating female high school students to enable them to consider a career in Engineering.’

In 2022, Cherie applied for and was selected to be part of the Transport for NSW Scholar Program. This is a scholarship program that

university project offered by UNSW. The team, currently comprising 90 UNSW Engineering students, has been building solar powered cars to compete in solar vehicle races since 1996. The newest model, the Sunswift 7, was launched in early 2022 and has since broken a Guinness World Record for the ‘Fastest 1000km achieved by an electric vehicle on a single charge’.

Her leadership capacity was quickly recognised and in 2023, Cherie was approached to take on the role of Team Manager of Sunswift Racing.

‘As Team Manager, I focus on the organisational aspects of the team and operation of events. My main focus for this year will be getting the Sunswift Team ready to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October 2023 where the Sunswift 7 will be racing 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.

I am incredibly honoured to be leading the team in this role. Although it will be challenging, I am confident in the leadership and problem-solving skills I have developed throughout high school and university, in enabling me to fulfill this role.’

So, where did this passion for engineering come from? According to Cherie, ‘My Dad is my

It is incredible the difference that a great and dedicated teacher can make to your education, subject marks and motivation.

role-model. He graduated as a civil engineer and had a passion for building projects and a constant curiosity about the world and the way things work. Although he passed away in 2019, I am still inspired by his curiosity and thirst for knowledge. I am so thankful that I inherited his curiosity and love of building. I know that if he were still alive, he would be amazed by, proud of and be involved in all of my engineering projects.’

Clearly, the future for Cherie appears unlimited. She’s still discovering what she’s passionate about and what path her career should take, and remains philosophical and open, ‘As I complete my degree and become exposed to the different engineering career paths, the answer will become more evident.

The fantastic aspect of an Engineering degree is that it develops my logical thinking and problem

solving skills. These skills will open up a wide variety of career paths available to me. In fact, Engineering is the most common undergraduate degree of the Fortune 500 CEOs!

For now, I will focus on attaining my Masters in Biomedical Engineering as this combines engineering with medicine and human biology and therefore affords the option of pursuing a career within Health as well.

I enjoy learning, challenging myself, and taking on roles that have a significant impact on a community. Ideally, I would love to pursue a career path that provides me with challenges and pushes my boundaries to succeed even further.’

My main focus for this year will be getting the Sunswift Team ready to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October 2023

HONOURSAustralia Day

for MLC School Old Girls

Two of our Old Girls, Annabelle Farnsworth AM (1971) and Jane Latimer AO (Broderick, 1978), were honoured on Australia Day for their respective contributions to health and to women.

Emeritus Professor Dr Jane Latimer (Broderick, 1978)

BAppSc (Phty), GradDipAppSc (Manip Phty), PhD, MAPA was awarded an AO for distinguished service to tertiary education and research, particularly public health and to women.

After School, Jane completed two degrees in Applied Science and later a PhD in Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences at The University of Sydney

Jane is Emeritus Professor in the School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health at The University of Sydney and is recognised internationally for her research in back pain and Indigenous health.

She was previously Deputy Director of The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, an academic health partnership between The University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health

District (from 2017 to 2022) and was visiting Professor of Musculoskeletal Health at the University of Oxford (from 2016 to 2022).

Jane also works as Director of Strategy for Elizabeth Broderick & Co., an organisation focused on gender equality and cultural change. In this role she works closely with the Champions of Change Coalition (CCC) STEM and supports Elizabeth Broderick (Jane’s twin) in her role as UN Chair-Rapporteur for Discrimination against Women and Girls.

Jane has been an invited mentor for both university and industry programs, and recognises the responsibility a good mentor has to move beyond advice and coaching and to use their positional power to advance the careers of mentees.

Jane was 1978 School Captain and the winner of the Old Girls’ Union Prize in 1978. At School she was a talented debater and played high-level tennis, netball and softball.

Emeritus Professor Dr Jane Latimer (Broderick, 1978) returns to the Principal’s Lawn with Principal Lisa Moloney.

Adjunct Professor Dr Annabelle Farnsworth (1971)

MBBS (Hons), FRCPA, FIAC, Dip Cytopath (RCPA), RANZCOG (Hon) was awarded an AM for significant service to medicine and to women’s health. She is the Medical Director and Director of Cytology at Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology and a leading expert in cervical cancer screening.

After completing the HSC at MLC School where she was an all-rounder with a talent for singing and drama as well as science, Annabelle graduated with First Class Honours from The University of Sydney and trained as an anatomical pathologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA).

For a number of years, she was Director of Anatomical Pathology at the Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington, before joining the Douglass Practice in 1995.

Prof. Farnsworth is a specialist gynaecological histopathologist and cytopathologist and is Director of GynaePath at Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology. She is well known throughout Australia and internationally for her contributions to cytology and gynaecological pathology.


Responding to her awards, Helen said ‘Music has provided me with such joy. I really can’t imagine why I would receive an award for something that I just naturally love to do.’

Helen Campbell (Bingley, 1947) Honoured Twice in 2022

Last year, Old Girl Helen Campbell (Bingley, 1947) was recognised twice for her service to music education and performance in her hometown of Crookwell, NSW.

On Australia Day 2022, Helen was named the Crookwell Citizen of the Year, and when the Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced, Helen was delighted and astonished to hear that she had received an OAM ‘For service to music through education and performance.’

These awards celebrate Helen’s generous contribution to Crookwell’s musical life over many years. Starting in the early 1960s, Helen taught music to an incalculable number of Crookwell students. She directed 22 musicals over 30 years with the Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society and loaned her expertise to the Kids Acting on Stage (KAOS) group. She was a member of the Crookwell Community Singers and the Crookwell Choral Society, while also being the organist for her local Uniting Church.

Helen continues to entertain and regularly plays the piano for her fellow residents at Viewhaven

Helen says ‘Music has provided me with such joy throughout my life and I just hope that I’ve been able to extend that to other people.’ Clearly, she has succeeded.

These awards celebrate Helen’s generous contribution to Crookwell’s musical life over many years.

Alumnae 2023


We congratulate 11 extraordinary women who are recipients of the 2023 MLC School Alumnae Awards.

Each has demonstrated dedication, commitment and exceptional achievement in their chosen endeavours. We are honoured to be able to call these women MLC School Old Girls and know that the entire community is immensely proud of their contributions.


Adjunct Professor Dr Annabelle

Farnsworth AM (1971)

Alumnae Award: Professional Achievement

Adjunct Professor Dr Annabelle Farnsworth AM was awarded an AM this year for ‘significant service to medicine and to women’s health’. She is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Cytopathology at Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology. She is also Chair in Pathology at the School of Medicine at Notre Dame, and the Clinical Associate Professor of Pathology at Macquarie University. A practitioner, author and teacher who is well known internationally for her contributions to cytology and gynaecological pathology, Annabelle is a leader in her field.

Alyssa Healy (2008)

Young Alumnae Award: Sporting Achievement

Australian cricket champion, Alyssa has been a wicketkeeper, batter and bowler for Cricket NSW for 16 years and Cricket Australia for 14 years. Awarded the Belinda Clark Award (presented to the most outstanding Australian female cricketer of the season) at the Australian Cricket Awards in 2019. In 2022 she achieved the highest score ever by a person (woman or man) in a World Cup final, making 170 (off 138). Alyssa’s career achievements stand shoulder to shoulder with any modern cricketer, male or female.

Nirosha Karunakaran

(Ganeswaran, 1996)

Alumnae Award: Philanthropic Endeavours

In 2016, Nirosha’s six-year-old daughter, Aisha, then in Year 1 at MLC School, succumbed to complications stemming from a Bone Marrow transplant to treat Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Nirosha and her family transformed their personal tragedy into something meaningful. She has raised over $120,000 for paediatric AML and Bone Marrow Transplantation research, organises an annual toy drive for the Sydney Children’s Hospital and has inspired students at MLC School to focus fundraising efforts on Leukemia research.

Julie Koh (2001)

Young Alumnae Award: Cultural Contribution

Julie Koh has established herself as a leading Australian author and a rising star in the Australian arts community. She is the author of two short-story collections. Portable Curiosities (2016) was one of The Guardian’s Best Australian Books of 2016, an Australian Book Review 2016 and 2017 Book of the Year, a Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life feminist reading pick of 2016, a Feminist Writers Festival Best Feminist Book of 2016, and an ABC Radio National 2017 Best Summer Read. Julie was named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist.

AnnabelleFarnsworth AlyssaHealy
NiroshaKarunakaran JulieKoh

Emeritus Professor Dr Jane Latimer AO (Broderick, 1978)

Alumnae Award:

Professional Achievement

Emeritus Professor Dr Jane Latimer (Broderick, 1978) was awarded an AO this year for ‘distinguished service to tertiary education and research, particularly public health, and to women’. She is recognised internationally for her innovative work in musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain, and for her work on Indigenous health. She designed and led high quality clinical trials and has published in the world’s leading medical journals. Jane is Director of Strategy for Elizabeth Broderick & Co. an organisation focussed on gender equality and cultural change. She is an active advocate for women’s rights.

Lucinda Longcroft (Jones, 1986)

Alumnae Award:

Professional Achievement

Lucinda is a senior international lawyer with expertise in online privacy and safety, cyber security, AI, intellectual property, emerging technologies and international law.

She leads a team at Google who are focused on connecting Australians with authoritative information and tackling misinformation, and uses her influence there to make a difference by leading programs on disability advocacy and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity.


Alumnae Award: Cultural Contribution

Fiona is an internationally acclaimed author of short-stories and novels The Night Guest, The High Places and The Sun Walks Down. In 2014, Fiona was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her writing has won several prestigious prizes, including LA Times Book Review prize, Dobbie Literary Award, Voss Literary Prize, Prime Minister’s Award, and the International Dylan Thomas Prize. And her works have received short and long listings for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley. A peer has described her as “an extraordinary writer, one of the best working today.”

JaneLatimer LucindaLongcroft

Dr Nikita Simpson (2011)

Young Alumnae Award: Academia

Nikita Simpson’s award-winning doctoral thesis was completed at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She researched illness and mental distress amongst Gaddi tribal women in Himalayan North India. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she co-founded the LSE Covid and Care Research group, a collective of researchers who have influenced policy on COVID-19 at the highest levels of government in the UK and the EU. She is a Lecturer in Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her current research is focused on healing and racial trauma in the UK and India.

Judy Singh (Wooll, 1955)

Alumnae Award:

Contribution to MLC School

The nomination for Judy Singh (Wooll, 1955) was received in late 2022 and recognises her contribution over decades of tireless service to the School. Sadly, Judy passed away suddenly on 19 January 2023. Since the nomination for Judy was received in the relevant timeframe, the School resolved to proceed with presenting this Award posthumously.

Judy Singh (Wooll, 1955) worked tirelessly for MLC School for decades. She was President of the Old Girls’ Union (OGU) for 12 years, and for over 10 years was the OGU Representative on the MLC School Council. Judy served the School in many ways with energy and distinction. Most recently she was part of the driving force behind the magnificent refurbishment of the MLC School Chapel.

Dr Anita Vandyke (Ho, 2004)

Young Alumnae Award: Social Welfare and Impact

Anita is an aeronautical space engineer, a doctor, and a zero-waste crusader. Her Instagram (@rocket_science) has become very successful and she regularly appears in the media to share advice on how everyone can produce less waste. Anita’s first book A Zero Waste Life: In thirty days, won Gold at the Nautilus Book Awards in 2019 and has been translated into seven languages.

Shan-Shan Wang (2008)

Young Alumnae Award: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Shan-Shan is known as one of Australia’s youngest innovators and a next generation cutting-edge business leader. A creator of innovative technology and built products, Shan-Shan’s work focusses on human-centred product and industrial design and is grounded a commitment to making a positive impact on society. Importantly, she takes her ideas from concept to mass production. Founder of Roam Technologies, Shan-Shan created JUNO – the Intelligent Portable Oxygen Concentrator, a world first smart, hand-held concentrator providing continuous oxygen delivery – which has made it possible for oxygen to be accessible and available to everyone everywhere.


NEWS Old Girls

Happy Memories at the Annual Luncheon of the Class of 1958 36 MLC SCHOOL

Happy Memories at the Annual Luncheon of the Class of 1958

In February, Rosemary Maclean (Graham, 1958) shared with us the news that the Class of 1958 have resumed their annual reunion lunch at the Queen’s Club.

Rosemary says ‘for a number of years we have met annually for a luncheon at the Queen’s Club. The conversation always flows freely with a lot of very happy memories remembered and exchanged.’

Katerina Chen (2017) Represents Australia at the APEC Conference

In November 2022, Old Girl Katerina Chen (2017) was one of only five youth delegates chosen to represent Australia at the 2022 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Below she shares her experience:

I had the honour of being one of the five youth representatives for Australia at the APEC 2022 Conference. During this unforgettable opportunity, I had the chance to present at the youth forum, attend the APEC CEO Summit and view the APEC Economic Leaders Summit

Some notable highlights of this trip include being the Australian delegate chosen to partake in the creation of the ‘Youth Declaration’, alongside one youth representative from 14 different economies. This article outlined issues of access to education, green economy and international trade in the Asia Pacific region. This document was personally presented to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, and given to other world leaders to use at the APEC Summit. It was an honour meeting His Excellency Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha and to be given a personal tour of the Thai Government grounds.

Another notable mention was the Australian Youth Delegation’s meeting at the Australian Embassy. During this meeting, we had the privilege to engage in discussions with the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, Dr Angela McDonald PSM, and other prominent members of the Australian government in areas such as Austrade and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Some notable highlights of this trip include being the Australian delegate chosen to partake in the creation of the ‘Youth Declaration’
Katerina Chen (2017) (in maroon top) walking with the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, at the 2022 APEC Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

Future changes to the Vale section of Lucis

In line with MLC School’s commitment to sustainability, we have will streamline the printed Vale section in Lucis to include a small notice with a direction to view the full obituary posted on our website in the next edition.

By moving obituaries online, we are able to provide more timely and comprehensive coverage, and include photos, links to relevant articles and resources, and personal tributes from family and friends.

We recognise that obituaries serve as a way for us to honour and remember our old girls who have passed away, and we want to continue this tradition.

Get in touch

We value being able to recognise Old Girls who are no longer with us. To get in touch, please contact Barbara Hoffman, MLC School Archivist, on +61 2 8741 3214, or email


Pamela Phelan (Cobcroft, 1945)

Pamela’s son, Andrew, advised that his mum died on 31 December 2022, at the age of 94.

Pam enrolled at MLC School as a Day Girl at the age of four in March 1932. She completed all her schooling at MLC School and graduated in 1945. Pam’s sister (June) Rosemary Rodd (Cobcroft, 1942) was also a student, enrolling in 1929 at the age of five.

In the year Pam enrolled, the Daily Telegraph ran a pictorial story on MLC School. The whole school photo taken in May 1932 shows a four year old, blonde-bobbed Pam, front and centre.

Andrew says that Pam held very fond memories of her time at MLC School, right from the time when, she said, she was allowed by Miss Wyndham exceptionally to attend Nursery (Pre-Kindergarten) from age ‘three and a bit’.

Vale to all those in the MLC School community who have gone from our lives. As daughters of the light, they are in our thoughts and prayers.

Jean Nevell (Hindmarsh, 1941)

The daughter of Jean Nevell (Hindmarsh, 1942) wrote to let us know that her mum had died on 26 December 2022 at the age of 97.

Jean grew up in Yanco, south-central NSW. She first enrolled at MLC School on 15 February 1938 at the age of 13 as a Boarder, later becoming a Day Girl.

Her daughter says that right up to the end, Jean enjoyed receiving Lucis and keeping up with the changes at her old School.

Pam once said that ‘starting school way back in 1932 was the fulfillment of all my dreams –full of excitement and thrills. School was full of interesting activities, information, games and fun!’. She carried that enthusiasm into a life-long interest and drive for knowledge of history, places and people – and delight at writing and poetry.

After leaving school, Pam became a teacher in NSW public schools, following in the footsteps of her mother and maternal grandparents. She was a very committed, enthusiastic and skilled teacher who put her heart and soul into educating children. After retirement she became actively engaged in community issues: campaigns to save hospitals and improve parish amenities.

Andrew says that while his mum was a woman of her time, in many ways she was ahead of her time.

Pamela Phelan (Cobcroft, 1945), right, receiving flowers at the 2017 Sapphires’ Lunch
It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of members from our community.

Marilyn Martin (Dobson, 1950)

Marilyn’s daughter, Vikki Navin (Martin, 1973) shared the sad news that Marilyn passed away on 16 February 2019 at Bangalow, NSW. She is survived by her two children, two grandchildren and her five great-randchildren.

Marilyn was the matriarch of a four generation MLC School family: daughter Vikki, granddaughter Amanda and great granddaughter Freya were all students at the School.

Diana Fisher (Newbiggin,


Diana passed away in her home region of Cowra on 25 December 2022 at the age of 84.

She was the loved wife of Graham and loved mother of Grant, John, Glenda and their families.

Diana’s mother, Anne Newbiggin (Farrant, 1925) also attended MLC School and she sent Diana to complete her high schooling at MLC School. In her final year Diana was on the Sports Committee, was the Booralee House Captain, a (Boarding) House Prefect and a Senior Prefect.

Judy Singh (Wooll, 1955)

The MLC School community were saddened to hear that Judy Singh (Wooll, 1955) suddenly passed away on 19 January 2023.

Judy was part of a four generation MLC School family; mother Gwendoline Wooll (Daniel, 1934), daughter Tanya Singh (1977), granddaughters Anna Crawford (2005) and Megan Crawford (2007), and her son-in-law’s sister, Fiona Crawford (1982), all attended MLC School.

Judy enrolled into Nursery (Pre-Kindergarten) at MLC School at the age of 4 in 1943 and completed her entire schooling at the School. Later Judy became an active and dedicated Committee member of the MLC School’s Old Girls’ Union (OGU).

Elizabeth McRae (Hotten,


The School has recently heard that Elizabeth McRae (Hotten, 1951) died on 9 April 2022 at her home in California where she had lived for many years.

At MLC School, Elizabeth was a Senior Prefect, the 1951 Captain of Mooramoora, Tennis Captain, a member of the ‘A’ Tennis Team and on the Tildesley Tennis Team from 1948 to 1951.

Margaret Wells (Pulsford, 1955)

Margaret’s daughter shared the sad news that her mother passed away on 4 August 2022.

MLC School extends its sympathies to Margaret’s sister, Barbara Dickens (Pulsford, 1960), Margaret’s three children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Judy was the President of the OGU on five occasions for a total of 12 years, holding other Executive positions at numerous other times, and for over 10 years she was the OGU representative on the MLC School Council. She also represented the MLC School OGU on external committees such as the National Council of Women and the Girls’ Secondary Schools Club. In the late 2010s, Judy was part of the driving force that led to the magnificent revitalisation of the MLC School Chapel.

Judy’s contribution to MLC School cannot be understated. She gave financially and donated her time for decades. She was a valued and much loved member of the MLC School community and is greatly missed.

Recently, Judy was posthumously awarded a 2023 Alumnae Award for services to MLC School.

Elizabeth McRae (Hotten, 1951) Marilyn Martin (Dobson, 1950) Diana Fisher (Newbiggin, 1955) Judy at the 2022 Sapphires’ Lunch
Margaret Wells (Pulsford, 1955)

Diana Brown (Flack, 1958)

Diana’s life-long School friend, Rosemary Maclean (Graham, 1958) sent this tribute to her dear friend:

In November 2022, I learned of the death of Diana Brown (Flack, 1958) in Wollongong after a long illness.

Diana was born in September 1941 in Blacktown. Following her Infant years at the local school in Blacktown she followed in the footsteps of her older sisters, Patricia Flack (1945) and Janette Garnsey (Flack, 1953) to MLC School.

We started at the newly opened Kent House* on the same day in February 1950. Following the opening of Kent House there were a number of ‘new girls’ in that class with our teacher Mrs Alchin. ‘We girls’ from that class were still together when we sat for the Leaving Certificate in 1958.

Diana was always a gifted and diligent student winning many prizes throughout her years, culminating in topping the state in History for her Leaving Certificate; her overall mark placed her in the top 100 students in the NSW. In her final year, Diana was made a Senior Prefect.

Diana was involved in a number of the School’s performances culminating in the lead role of Elizabeth Barrett in the ‘Barretts of Wimpole Street’.

Diana went on to university where she studied to become a teacher. She taught English and French, had three daughters and two grandchildren.

Diana retained her friendship with her classmates from MLC School and always tried to be each year at our reunion lunches.

*This Kent House was the 1949-purchased ‘Youngarra’ on the corner of Rowley and Gordon Streets.


Mele Barrett (Havili, 1958)

We recently heard the sad news that, after a short illness, Mele Barrett (Havili, 1958) passed away at her daughter’s home in Auckland on 27 June 2020 at the age of 82.

Mele enrolled as a Boarder at MLC School in 1954 and finished in 1958 when she was a (Boarding) House Prefect.

After school, Mele married Captain Edward P. Barrett and had three children, and later, eight grandchildren.

Margaret Falconer (McAdam, 1958), Pamela Batten (Plant, 1958) and Mele Barrett (Havili, 1958) at the 2013 Sapphires’ Lunch.

Elizabeth Brown (Goodwin, 1968)

Elizabeth’s daughter, Annette, contacted us to say that her Mum passed away at the end of April 2022, around 18 months after being diagnosed with Lymphoma.

Marion Sutton (Knight, 1961)

Marion Sutton (Knight, 1961)

Marion’s sister, Ruth Berczelly (Knight, 1961) has written to let us know the sad news of her sister’s sudden death on 12 December 2022.

Marion, seated second from left, with her school friends at the 2019 Sapphires’ Lunch

Lynette Ford (Somerville, 1972)

Lynnette Ford (Somerville, 1972)

Stephanie Somerville (1977) has sent this tribute to her sister, Lynnette Joy Ford (Somerville, 1972) who recently passed away on 11 December 2022.

Although she faced the ordeal of back surgery (Harrington rods) and rehab while wearing hipto-armpit plaster as a teenager, Lynne excelled academically at MLC School and became a Senior School Prefect. She joined in the fun of Muck Up Day, happily dressed in her brother’s Newington College rugby uniform.

After MLC School, Lynne trained as an Occupational Therapist which led her to work for various hospitals and Allied Health departments in NSW and Victoria. While on executive boards, Lynne traveled throughout the UK, Canada and the US, sent to study overseas models and compile advisory reports for Victorian Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy

Lynne married Alan (deceased 2021) in 1975 and became a caring mother to Kristen, Matthew and Jonathan, and later, a besotted grandmother to five. She was proud to be the organist for her local church.

She attended her MLC School 1972 Class Reunion in May 2022 but sadly passed away in pallative care. She has gone to be cradled in God’s hands far too soon.

Barrett (Havili, 1958) Diana Brown (Flack, 1958) and Rosemary Maclean (Graham, 1958) at the 2017 Sapphires’ Lunch


Over 100 Old Girls who graduated at least 51 years ago, gathered for a Chapel Service and then lunch in the Senior Centre late last year. The joy in the room was evident, as people caught up once again after three years.

Joan Bell (Parr, 1943) the eldest Sapphire in attendance, along with the youngest daughters and granddaughters of MLC School Old Girls cut the celebratory cake. Many warm conversations were had, along with stories of bygone days shared.



Great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and more; 35 families came together for an afternoon tea to celebrate their family connections with current students at the School in March.

The talking point of the afternoon were the school photos of many of the guests and a visual representation of their family lineage prepared by School Archivist, Barbara Hoffman.

The thread of generations runs across the School community and it was marvellous to have a table of students and their families who link to the School’s very early years, in particular the descendants of Sarah Matilda (Tilly) Scott (Evans) who was born on 22 July 1876 and joined the School at age 10.


Hair Day Prep-hair-ing for Crazy

CrazyHairDay held in March.

When asked what was involved to create such amazing hairdos, a variety of responses were shared such as ‘My dad created this masterpiece’ and ‘Mum used all recycled materials for my hair’. One girl exclaimed ‘I set an alarm to wake up at 6am. Mum and I got our materials all ready the night before to plan our idea, so all we had to do was brush out my hair and tie it all up crazily!’

The House raised awareness and funds for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave which aims to defeat and treat blood cancers.

Pre-Kindergarten learnt all about why we help others at MLC School, the different Houses and how they will join one next year.

A lot of early rises, hair spray and creative flair went into this year’s Leawarra Junior School


excursions ARE BACK

Year 1 went back in time at Rouse Hill Estate in northwest Sydney, which has been owned by six generations of one family.

Year 2 examined a wide variety of local native plants and Farm Cove at The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney ; within the Cadi Jam Ora garden they discovered food, medicine, tools and weapons used by First Australians, the Cadigal people.

Year 5 learnt lots of new skills while on camp south of Sydney in Kiama. Faith Huynh explains ‘My highlight of camp was snorkelling, because I got to do it with my friends and I learnt how to go underwater with my snorkel.’

In addition to excursions and camps, full year group Immersions continue in 2023 as part of the newly launched MLC School Experiential Pedagogy Framework.

Our goal is to create unrivalled learning experiences beyond the classroom that spark curiosity, foster growth and provide a platform to achieve excellence. Each program aims to empower and prepare the MLC School girl to be a courageous, compassionate and respectful global citizen.

The MLC School excursions and camps have returned and are in full swing again. These are a vital part of the curriculum and allow students to explore and apply themes of learning in a context beyond the classroom.


International Night, a celebration of cultural diversity returned in late March having been on hold.

The night was a much-anticipated opportunity to enjoy fantastic food and watch the amazing array of performances by the Junior School. For the first time, the event enjoyed perfect weather and was held in the Senior School Bird Bath Quad, filling the space with aromatic flavours, song and dance. The impressive costumes, craft and crepes were a big hit!

On behalf of the MLC School community, a big thank you goes to the Junior School Parents and Friends (JSP&F) for their planning, dedication and execution of such an enjoyable fundraiser.


NIGHT! AInternational



Sunny skies, live music and fabulous street food… this is what summer in Sydney is all about!

The energy was high at the Principal’s Welcome event as parents and staff enjoyed the chance to mingle in the Bird Bath Quad.



The inaugural Lunar New Year High Tea at the end of the first week of term paid tribute to the traditions associated with the new lunar and lunisolar calendar. Parents from all year groups enjoyed an array of delicious dumplings and refreshments. At MLC School, we are proud of the many cultures within our


2023 Dates to Note

Term 2

Junior School Grandparents Day and Official Opening of the Renovated Campus

MLC School Giving Day

Term 3

Father Daughter Breakfast

Valedictory Week

Term 4

Sapphires’ Chapel Service and Lunch

Speech Day/Speech Night

Friday 2 June

Wednesday 7 June

Friday 1 September

Monday 11 September -

Thursday 14 September

Tuesday 10 October

Thursday 7 December

Wednesday 7 June is the day to unite as a community this year.

Look out for the pink around the School and information in your inbox.

Give with your on Giving Day 2023.

# MLCSchool

MLC School’s inaugural Giving Day in 2021 showed the power of our community to make a difference in the lives of others when students, staff, parents and Old Girls combined their effort to raise funds for scholarships for Indigenous students and girls to commence in Year 10. With the help of 450+ generous donors, the original goal was smashed and a total of $213,440 was raised!

Most importantly, three girls’ lives have been changed through your generous and compassionate actions.

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very much encourage and welcome your news and love to receive photos. To get in touch, please contact Barbara Hoffman, MLC School Archivist, on 02 8741 3214, or email 2023 SCHOOL TOUR DATES
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