Lucis Magazine, Spring/Summer 2021

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MLC School opens its heart for the inaugural Giving Day

The Magazine of the MLC School Family

Spring/Summer Edition 2021

incorporating Collegiate

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



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

EDITORIAL Michele Dunn Lucile Jaillais Barbara Hoffman

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nicole Anderson Joel Mesas Barbara Hoffman MLC School community




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CONTACT US Ph 02 9747 1266 General enquiries enquiries@

OFFICE HOURS MLC School hours are 8am to 4pm week days Lucis now incorporates the annual Old Girls Collegiate magazine, bringing news of all our community together and produced twice per year.



Cover photo: MLC School Inaugural Giving Day - Senior Centre.

Also inside this issue 6 14 16

















As I write these words, Greater Sydney is still in lockdown and Burwood is identified as a local government area of concern. Our staff are working from home and our girls have engaged in Flexible Learning for the entire term. After seemingly endless weeks, we now know of the NSW Government’s plan for a staggered school return in late October, meaning we will still have a long road ahead of us before we can gather as a community. Once again, I am in awe of the resilience, positivity and sheer grit and determination demonstrated by our entire community; our girls, our staff and our parents. Parents are sharing their workspace with their children again; all our meetings have reverted to webinars; parent-teacher interviews are by Microsoft Teams; chapel services are online; and wellness activities such as morning yoga sessions and regular check-ins now start the day. Our staff have been remarkably agile and flexible, with the same ‘no students, no classrooms, no problem’ approach they demonstrated last year but with increasing skill and creativity evident in the way that online lessons are delivered. We are all united in our commitment to overcome the many and various hurdles we have faced, with the goal always to provide our girls with the best learning and care possible in the circumstances. I certainly feel for our Year 12 students. Early in the year things seemed on track for them to experience a ‘normal’ final year, with all the significant celebrations and rites of passage that mark this important time in their lives. While they have adapted to the seemingly constant changes with grace and good humour, one cannot pretend that the current situation is anything but a disappointing end to their time at MLC School. However, they have made the most of the challenges, being the first MLC School students to undertake their trial exams via a lockdown browser, finding ways to connect with their peers and taking time to consider how they may assist others to manage the challenges of lockdown. They are indeed remarkable young women. I am inspired by them every day.

Empathy, along with curiosity, collaboration, openmindedness, accountability and self-awareness, is one of MLC School’s key learning dispositions. We believe these are essential qualities for our girls to cultivate and demonstrate and are the focus of our learning framework. Given the way that our students have taken on the challenge of assisting others during this time, it is fitting that Empathy is a key theme of this edition of Lucis, which I am again proud to introduce.

Our inaugural mlcschool Giving Day, held Tuesday 18 May, just a few weeks before lockdown, was a tremendous sign of our community’s compassion and unity. With the incredible combined effort of everyone, we not only reached our goal of $160,000, but far surpassed it to raise $213,000. These funds, donated by hundreds of families, students, P&F, Old Girls and staff, will directly impact the lives of many young women in the most tangible way, by providing them with an MLC School education. Those making donations online often added words of encouragement and support, making the day even more rewarding for those on the phone lines. These comments gave a special insight into the hearts of our donors and their close connections to the School. I am truly thankful for this generosity and display of support for others. The Tokyo Olympics certainly provided some relief from the routine of lockdown. In this issue of Lucis, we also profile the 12 Old Girls who have competed in the Olympic Games. Their stories echo the values of not just the Olympic Games but those of every MLC School girl I meet, of any age – they are adaptive, resilient and courageous; they embrace challenges and strive for excellence. I do hope that you enjoy this edition of Lucis.




empathy and

At MLC School we recognise the importance of social and emotional skills in the learning continuum, which is why we have defined emotional intelligence and understanding, specifically self-awareness and empathy as key dispositions to develop in our girls. These two dispositions are essential to ensuring that we truly live our School values of Courage, Compassion, Respect and Growth.

EMPATHY FOR STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS AND BETTER DECISIONS MAKING SKILLS The empathic disposition is a developed awareness of others' characters and feelings. It is the ability to understand the feelings of others, in order to connect communicate and facilitate positive relationships. Empathy is

part of the essence of what makes us human. It enables us to relate to other people and their experiences so that we understand them and show genuine compassion for their thoughts, ideas, and circumstances. For our girls to be courageous they must have empathy. Studies have shown that children with higher levels of empathy are more likely to engage in assertive bystander behaviour that is, they are more likely to stand up to a bully on behalf of someone outside of their friendship group. This is an example of the courage we want our girls to demonstrate.

Studies have shown that children with higher levels of empathy are more likely to stand up to a bully.



When individuals have a well-developed sense of empathy, they tend to have stronger relationships and are able to make better decisions as they understand the impact of these on those around them. Empathy is also a key component of learning to problem solve and leverage strategies such as design thinking, as the truly empathic person can put themselves in the position of the user to find a solution to a given problem or need.

DEVELOPING EMPATHY THROUGH EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN JUNIOR SCHOOL Empathy is not innate and does need to be taught in a logical progression that is appropriate to each learner’s age and stage of development. Through 2021 we have engaged in a process as a staff to articulate this learning progression and ensure it is embedded in all our programs.

self-awareness in learning. It begins with our youngest learners in Pre-K and Kindergarten as they are exposed to a diversity of ideas through songs, stories, and the creative arts. Staff model for our girls’ positive relationships and empathy, teaching students about the ways individuals are both different and similar. The girls learn to listen to each other and engage in imaginative play as they develop their understanding of why they feel and react they way they do in certain situations. In Years 5 and Year 6, our teachers are integrating a range of experiential learning opportunities and simulations in lessons, and teaching students about a wide range of cultural traditions and beliefs, and character traits. The texts selected for study become increasingly sophisticated in articulating empathy across a range of contexts and there are opportunities for group work to further develop the collaborative skills required for students to facilitate positive relationships. Through these experiences the girls develop the ability to see varying degrees in different situations and that rarely is any situation ever black and white. This experience of ambiguity is an essential element of their development as they learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of there not always being a right or wrong answer.

ENCOURAGING TAKING RISKS AND STIMULATING DEBATES IN SENIOR SCHOOL Through Years 7 -10 the girls are exposed to a broad range of potentially conflicting perspectives including both historical and contemporary events, to encourage discussion of challenging issues. The staff actively build a psychology safe learning environment so students can experiment with ideas and take risks in their learning. As they progress though each year the girls have increasing autonomy and agency over their own learning. If we fast forward to Years 11 and 12 the girls take ever increasing responsibility for their own learning and model for the younger year groups empathy as a lived disposition. They are active in supporting and empowering others, contributing to a positive school culture where they embrace working with a variety of people and the value this brings to

a community. The teachers continue to raise provocations and stimulate debate about real life issues as the girls develop passions for specific causes that they will carry through into their life beyond school.

perspectives influence the responses of others. They are demonstrating greater resilience as they spend extended periods of time immersed in learning that is challenging without giving up as they implement appropriate support strategies.


As they progress into the Senior School and work continues to increase in difficulty, our girls are guided through learning experiences that enable them to better understand the connection between how they think and feel and their growth as a learner. They demonstrate resilience and tenacity in learning to find solutions to complex problems and are proactive in seeking feedback.

For our girls to demonstrate an empathic disposition, they must also demonstrate selfawareness. This is the developed awareness of their own thoughts, emotions, and values and how these influence their behaviour and responses in specific situations. Selfawareness enables them to regulate and

'For our girls to demonstrate an empathic disposition, they must also demonstrate self-awareness' control their emotions in order to achieve their goals. With a well-developed sense of self-awareness, our girls will be able to confidently assess their strengths and weaknesses and learn from their mistakes as they will have a fundamental belief in their ability to achieve their goals. They will have greater insight into who they are and why they react as they do as well as giving them direction for growth. Just as we have been developing the learning progression for the empathic disposition, we are doing the same for self awareness. It begins with teaching our girls vocabulary so they can express the range of their emotions. They also learn to identify and understand the use of body language and other non-verbal strategies to express how they feel. Role playing is used to help them understand their emotions and their place in the world. It is at this very early stage that we begin to instil in our girls that effort is valued in learning and how to step out of their comfort zone. By the time our girls reach Years 5 and 6 they are regularly reflecting on their progress and setting goals that stretch them as a learner. Not only do they understand their own personal responses in specific situations, but they also understand how their actions and

As teachers set learning tasks that require students to wrestle with ambiguity and multiple perspectives in response to real-world issues our girls engage in robust discussion in a respectful manner and develop skills in communication and conflict resolution. By Years 11 and 12 our girls can identify where they are on the learning continuum for specific subjects and are putting in place realistic plans for how they will continue to grow in response to feedback. They are able to manage their time effectively, so they have an appropriate balance between academic commitments, broader participation in school life and personal time. Year 12 students work collaboratively with their peers to harness the relative strengths of individuals to help the entire cohort flourish and model for the MLC School community Respect and Growth. Without empathy and self-awareness, the cognitive and ethical dispositions cannot fully develop. One cannot exist without the others. Knowledge is a powerful tool that can only be fully realised when the holistic development of the learner is also nurtured. Students with highly developed emotional intelligence are better able to navigate all aspects of school life which correlates with greater academic and personal success. LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2021


THE PASTORAL CARE AND WELLBEING FRAMEWORK Research and evidence suggest that the development of the wellbeing of a student body, as well as the individuals in that student body, enhances each student’s academic outcomes alongside their social and emotional development. As such, Pastoral Care and Wellbeing were prioritised as one of the pillars of the MLC School 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.



Throughout 2021, Pastoral Care and Wellbeing has been a major focus in both the Junior and Senior Schools. This has involved dealing with the young women that we work with and their holistic development; managing the emotions associated with the challenges that a global pandemic brings; and in the development of our own, bespoke MLC School Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Framework. The Framework aims to ensure a common language across the School when talking about the Pastoral Care and Wellbeing and the social and emotional development of our girls. The evolution of the framework has included input from staff and soon we consider input from

students and families. The Framework will focus on a multifaceted, proactive approach to the wellbeing of all girls from Pre-K to Year 12, with developmental, evidencebased programs to follow. The Framework will continue to be refined through the remainder of the year. We look forward to continuing this very special and important journey with the whole School community as we bring to life the MLC School Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Framework and the pillar of the Strategic Plan.

JUNIOR SCHOOL Celebration of Learning

SHARING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT Each semester, all grades (Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6) host a Celebration of Learning. These occasions are wonderful opportunities for parents and carers to gain further insight into the learning that takes place at school. The girls are always very excited to share their efforts and achievements with loved ones. Students take enormous pride in showcasing their work across various subjects and demonstrating newly acquired skills. From time to time, the girls even teach Mum or Dad something new! Maintaining a strong partnership between school and home is integral to students’ academic success and our regular Celebrations of Learning are one important way that we foster this relationship. The amazing support provided to the girls by their families is reflected by how many attendees these events always attract.






Love was in the air on Tuesday 18 May and a wave of pink swept across the School. The Senior Centre ground floor was turned into a buzzing call centre with parents and Old Girls hitting the phones to share their love for MLC School with others in the community. In the days leading to the inaugural MLC School Giving Day, Junior School girls made videos talking about how much they loved the School and Senior students gathered to make a heart-shape which was visible from the sky. On the day, Senior Houses competed to make the longest coin snake, the school bands played on the Bird Bath Quad and staff and volunteers wore pink.

Pink symbolises compassion, love, hope, and friendship – the essence of what the day conveyed. “This inaugural Giving day is an opportunity for the whole community to come together and show just how much they love MLC School, and how much they want to share that with other girls”, explained Principal Lisa Moloney, in her appeal for support. “There is nothing more important than a great education. It is incumbent upon us as a School and a community to ensure we are as open and inclusive as possible – equity, diversity and opportunity have been as much a part of our 135-year history as our record of academic achievement and the smashing of perceptions of women”.

The most significant aspect of this event was the involvement of our whole community, with the shared goal of providing an MLC School education to those who would not otherwise be able to attend our School. Staff, students, current and past parents, Old Girls and Council members worked together to raise funds for the provision of Indigenous and Principal’s scholarships, for girls to commence in Year 10 and finish their schooling here. “MLC School has given me an incredible community, from who I continue to learn from and be inspired by every day”, said Amelie Roediger, School Captain of 2020, who was on the front line that day making calls for donation. She was joined by another dozen volunteers who enthusiastically helped with the fundraising efforts. The goal was set at $160,000 but the target was quickly smashed due to the enormous support for the cause. Together, the MLC School community raised $213,000 – an sum that will impact the lives of many young women. According to Abirami Ravichandra, President of the P&F Association, “Listening to the Old Girls speak of how their MLC School experience contributed to their successes, really made me reflect on how MLC School is impacting my own daughters, and also on how important our MLC School Bursary Initiative is for our community going forward.” The P&F Association very generously contributed $100,000 towards MLC School Giving Day.

Students, staff, parents and Old Girls showed their love for the School and their ambition to ensure more girls have the chance to experience an MLC School education. Donations flowed in, and the words of encouragement displayed on the big screen ‘tally-board’ in the Senior Centre brought to life the reasons why so many people supported the cause. These messages of support and love included: • A wonderful initiative supporting girls with the gift of an MLC School education. • An excellent cause, I’m happy to support! • As an Old Girl and current parent I love MLC School. • Can never repay our debt to MLC School. • From the Captain of Churunga 1946. • Fantastic Initiative! Excited to be supporting girls to Dare to Be More! • For dreams to come true. • From some Old Girls to the New Girls x • I am very lucky and want to help others. • Thank you MLC School for helping raise such strong, resilient and amazing girls. • Thank you MLC School. To work in a place that feels like home is so special Over 400 donors shared their love for MLC School and the entire School community participated in events and celebrations as part of the School’s 135 year anniversary.



Red Earth Cape York 2021

In June, 52 MLC School girls flew to Far North Queensland, to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of Australia’s First Nations People. They spent ten days in Cape York staying with traditional owners of homelands. “We have been working with Red Earth for the past two years to get this experience up and running at MLC School. This organisation allows our girls to connect and learn from the custodians of one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world. They bring back a rich understanding of Indigenous Australia and of themselves,” explained Sarah Tynan, Assistant Head of Senior School - Pastoral MLC SCHOOL


Care and Wellbeing, who was responsible for the organisation of the trip. “Linda Emms and I travelled on a staff immersion to Cape York in 2019 to evaluate whether the experience and the overall program would be relevant for MLC School students. It quickly became clear that this was something special and we certainly saw the benefits for our girls. This year we were all set to go to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, which is only accessible with a permit, but as COVID cases started to rise in NSW, The Northern Land Council decided it was time to close their borders to protect the vulnerable Aboriginal people living in

remote Arnhem Land. Red Earth was quickly able to arrange for us to travel to Far North Queensland instead, which was an equally amazing experience. For me, it was like going home, as I was welcomed on to the Homeland of Dikaarba, which I had visited earlier, and I could reacquaint myself with the Walker sisters whom I had come to know well from that previous trip.”

WORKING WITH THE FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE The 52 girls were divided into two groups, with two different itineraries, where they stayed on multiple homelands – a homeland defines land that has been returned to traditional owners, some of which have been in families for centuries. Girls were involved in community service projects, including building a public bathroom, painting the school playgrounds and working on a mural. It is important to mention that the girls worked alongside the Traditional Owners, and not for them, to make this happen. The girls also had the chance to volunteer at a school, to learn skills like weaving to make traditional artefacts such as baskets or bowls, to try their hands at bark painting, to learn about bush medicine, to taste traditional food, to play with the children, and to spend a lot of time talking with Aboriginal People and hearing the Elders’ stories.

A TOTAL IMMERSION We can say it was a total immersion - the girls are free from technology and have to adjust to a pace that is slower than what the girls usually know, coming from life at MLC School and the city in general. Whilst being technology free can sound like a challenge at first for teenagers, the girls grew to love it. It allowed them to be more present and mindful of where they were, to really appreciate the significance of the place, and to just feel freer. It also enabled them to connect with people they might not have known prior to the trip and from other year groups. I noticed that they talked much more than they usually do!

WATCHING THE GIRLS GROW To me, the highlight of the trip was to see the girls’ original nervousness and discomfort fade and watch them grow more comfortable, confident and self-aware by the end of the ten days. Some of them didn’t want to leave. They got to reflect on who they are and to expand their communication skills. As they worked with Aboriginal People, they developed their understanding of connection to Country and got a greater sense of responsibility in terms of group dynamics and leadership skills by working closely with the Red Earth staff. “Having been back in Sydney now for a couple of months (although it feels a lot longer!),

I find myself thinking about the Red Earth immersion often and reflecting on the many ways it has changed how I live and think. I am so grateful to have been able to spend ten days with some of the most beautiful people and to get know my peers so much better”, student Jasmine Balfour (Year 11) reflected.

UNDERSTANDING THE INDIGENOUS POPULATION Finally, the 10 days of immersion on traditional homelands provided the girls with a deeper understanding of Indigenous people, their culture and of their own connection to family and land, and the challenges they face: the pull between traditional culture and modern way of life, limited access to healthcare due to remoteness, and the lasting trauma for Elders part of the Stolen Generation. Hearing their stories, their history and their progress is a great privilege, one that will hopefully be a lasting memory in the hearts and minds of the girls who travelled. “I have learnt to really appreciate the little things that before this trip I had taken for granted. I’d never really thought about what it would be like to live without what I think of as everyday things, like flushing toilets. This trip was lifechanging and I have learnt so much about myself as well as the incredible country I live in with one of the oldest cultures in the world”, said student Zara Kilborn (Year 10).




Square Round Square is an organisation developed by Kurt Hahn, a German educational philosopher, and is based on six pillars: internationalism, democracy, leadership, environmentalism, adventure and service. The Round Square network now consists of over 200 schools in 50 countries. Any school eager to join must be able to demonstrate how they imbed these pillars in everyday school life. Last May, MLC School hosted a Round Square Mini Conference and invited six schools from NSW and ACT whose students attended over 3 days. The students came from: • Radford College • Kinross Wolaroi School • Bishop Druitt College • The Armidale School • Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School • Newcastle Grammar School

Here, Blake Fatouros, Director of Co-curricular Programs takes a look into the conference program, its aims and learnings.

HOW DID THE ROUND SQUARE MINI CONFERENCE GO THIS YEAR? WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS? We wanted to develop stronger connections with like-minded schools in the region, especially since we couldn’t organise anything global this year due to COVID-19. We collaborated with The Big Issue, a social enterprise that works with the homelessness in Sydney. Our aim was to highlight that homelessness does not discriminate, and we wanted to open discussion about privilege. Representatives from The Big Issue ran workshops with the students on the Friday. The students met and heard firsthand accounts from




individuals who have had to sleep rough and gained some insight into how they supported by the organisation. Groups also made beanies for people sleeping on the street. To building on their experience from this workshop, on Saturday students participated in a scavenger hunt in Sydney’s CBD. This was no ordinary scavenger hunt, students took on the persona of someone who had moved to Sydney on Friday for a job interview on Monday, with only $50 in their pockets. How to eat, where to sleep, and where to find interview outfits with such little money? Students were encouraged to approach associations and authorities such as the local Police to ask for advice. It was an eye-opening experience for all – especially as it was the first time some of the students visited a city as big as Sydney. We also handed out the looming beanies students had made the day before. Another theme of the weekend was acknowledging and better understanding the Indigenous heritage of Sydney. We participated in the Tribal Warrior cruise around Sydney, to learn about life precolonisation, traditional culture, history, and the different clans. Across the weekend the students participated in several baraza groups. Baraza is an old African word from the Swahili language meaning “The coming together of different people”. In the context of a Round Square Conference, barazas allow student delegates to hold open discussions and debate ideas where everyone’s opinion is valued equally. Organised and led by our senior students, these sessions allowed delegates to unpack and reflect on what they had seen, what could be done, and how they could make a positive change.

ROUND SQUARE CONFERENCES ARE STUDENT-LED. WHAT ARE THE REASONS AND THE BENEFITS? Organising, or simply attending the Round Square Conferences, helps students develop their leadership skills, understanding of the world and how they can make positive change. We have noticed that taking part in Round Square shapes our girls. We can see them grow, develop initiative and gain confidence – especially if they get to organise and attend conferences. When you have 1200 teenagers in a space at once, with diverse opinions and ways of thinking, it takes courage to voice your ideas and get them heard, and just generally to get yourself out there. At the end of the day, we want our girls to understand the world better and feel empowered to go and take action; and Round Square helps them just do that.

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR ROUND SQUARE AT MLC SCHOOL? Due to COVID, the next international conference will be virtual. The theme is ‘Blue skies and brave conversations’. Three of our Senior School girls will be conference leaders. It’s a very exciting project as it will be designed like a virtual campus, with lecture halls etc. We’re also hoping that what we did this year will inspire regional school partners to do the same. Eventually, we’d like to develop better relationships and create a network of opportunities to underpin what Round Square does globally. We need to acknowledge the hard work of Ms Caitlin White, our Round Square Coordinator; Ms Kath Notley, Radford College’s Round Square Coordinator; and Kayla Graham, MLC School’s 2021 Round Square Captain for all of their hard work and dedication which made this event such a success.






Sleepout Did you know there are over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness across Australia?



In June, MLC School Principal, Lisa Moloney, took part in Vinnies’ CEO Sleepout. In its 16th year, this initiative by the St Vincent de Paul Society aims to raise awareness about homelessness. The idea is simple: leaders in business, community and government sleep without shelter for a night, and experience firsthand this growing social issue. A panel of homeless people share their own stories with the participants to provide them with personal insight into the nature of homelessness.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED WHILE PREPARING FOR THE SLEEPOUT? I did wonder whether it was the right thing for me to do, and if it would have the impact I wanted it to have. I didn’t just want to raise funds: I wanted to raise awareness. Being homeless can happen to anyone from any background.

'Women account for almost 50% of the homeless population and are escaping domestic violence, often with their children. Their stories often go untold.' I wanted to especially highlight the condition of homeless women, who account for almost 50% of the homeless population and are escaping domestic violence and other abuse, often with their children. Their stories often go untold. As it was at the end of term and with the second wave of COVID-19 building up, I didn’t really have the chance to worry about whether I would feel cold, tired or lonely.

HOW DOES THIS INITIATIVE TIE IN WITH THE SCHOOL’S VALUES? The CEO Sleepout asks participants to give something of themselves rather than just raising funds. This approach reflects the values we want to see develop in our girls: we want them to be agents of change, stand up for what they believe, and show compassion. The values underlying the work done by Vinnies are also deeply ingrained in the Uniting Church: the commitment to work for justice, to walk alongside the dispossessed and to support those in need, both spiritually and practically.

WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EXPERIENCE? The experience was led by people who are recently or currently homeless, who are being helped by Vinnies. To listen to their stories helped me to more fully understand that while the money is important, the key of for these funds to be used for education, training and practical support is the key.

Solving homeless is not just about finding a home for someone. It is about working together in a way that they come to understand that they are valuable, loved and deserving of new opportunities. Feeling strong, capable, and supported greatly improves a person’s chances of success. On the night, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or where to go, I had to pick up the cues and found myself following the lead of those who (seemed to) know what they were doing. Having to form groups with people I had just met and work with them to choose the most sheltered place to sleep and share newly found information such as where to collect our dinner was challenging and a very simple representation of which life on the streets may be like. I certainly got some sense of what it is to not belong. In the evening, once the panel of homeless people finished sharing their stories, we were sent outside to our cardboard shelters and the lights were switched off. It was such an eerie feeling. It’s suddenly pitch black, you are surrounded by people you don’t know, and you are cold and a bit hungry. Of course, we were safe, in a fenced area, and we’d wake up to a warm breakfast… but try to imagine having to worry also about your safety, next meal and possibly also suffering from a range of health conditions?

HOW HAS THE MLC SCHOOL SUPPORTED YOU? The financial support from the School community was astonishing. I received donations from parents, staff, and students. I really appreciated the messages of support and encouragement that people wrote when making their donationsthanking me for role modelling and leading from the front. I was also gifted an MLC School-coloured beanie for the night, made by the Looming With Love student group. Afterwards, it was great to share my experience, and answer questions as to what it was like and if I would do it again. Unfortunately, the restrictions on School attendance during Term 3 have made it difficult to share my experience with as many students as I had intended, but I hope to do this once everyone is back at school.

SO… WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Yes, absolutely – and I would encourage anyone who has the chance to participate to do so too. It is amazing how much you can learn in just one night.

'It’s suddenly pitch black, you are surrounded by people you don’t know, and you are cold and a bit hungry.'




appreciation SING ING ANIM AL






The Teacher Appreciation Week has blossomed into a week of activities and celebrations, where students across the School show their support and gratitude for the work and effort of all staff. This year, the week began with a scrumptious morning tea for the staff in the Junior School, catered by the members of the Junior School Social Committee; and colourful chalk messages of thanks were drawn by the SRC near the front gates. All girls and their families were encouraged to write notes of appreciation to the teachers and other staff, who were delighted by these generous acts. In the Senior School, the SRC held daily ‘Mystery Teachers’ quizzes throughout the week (did you know that Ms Powl went to university with Benedict Cumberbatch??), and organised MLC School’s first Masked Singer competition.



Six staff under masks which included a panda, a fox, Pikachu, Thor and a duet of lions thrilled a crowd of students and staff with their singing and their colourful interpretations of their songs. This event was a huge hit and a fitting way to end the week of fun and thanks. The winner was Panda, aka Ms Martina Stolzi. The Senior School SRC had also invited the Junior School SRC to discuss what Teacher Appreciation Week would look like across the whole School. “It was great to hear ideas from past experiences and shape those into our own Junior School version at our next JSSC meeting,” said Joanne Sharpe, Deputy Head of Junior School – Student Life.




at Camelot: JAZZ IN THE CITY

Thrilled to be back in front of a live audience, fifty MLC School jazz musicians from Year 4 to Year 12 performed at one of Sydney’s premier live music venues, Camelot Lounge, in June. The audience enjoyed the electric atmosphere of the room, sipping on wine and snacking on pizza while listening to a mixture of all styles from Rock, to R’n’B to jazz standards to contemporary chart songs, from “Pink Panther” and “Born to be Wild” to “Skyfall”. Our jazz students had family, friends and staff dancing, grooving along and cheering for more. They wowed the audience with their skills, great ensemble work and stylish playing. The girls revel in the opportunity to ‘play a real gig’ and gain experience at a renowned live-music club in the middle of Sydney.







Hitler’s Daughter Production

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT FROM THE PAGES OF HISTORY? The annual Senior Years school production held in May was an adaptation of the play Hitler’s Daughter. Hitler’s Daughter is a popular novel for young people written by Jackie French, and it was later adapted into a play by Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry. It explores the possibility that the infamous Nazi leader may have had a child. An important theme is around ‘what have we learnt from history’. “Our Entertainment students built and painted a complex, children’s ‘pop-up’ book set, which acts as a visual metaphor against which the action plays out. The story of Hitler’s Daughter is presented as a book and as each page turns, a new part of the play unfolds. These worlds are depicted both on the pages and before us on stage; and at times the past and present merge. In these troubled times, we explore what we can learn from the pages of history so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past”, explained the play’s directors, Lisa Jinga and Julian Kennard. As part of the journey, the audience glimpsed into the lives of the imaginary Heidi in Germany and other German folk living during the war from 1941-1945. Each of

the characters are confronted with issues of morality, personal responsibility and humanity. It was such a joy for students to be able to perform in front of an audience, after months of social distancing restrictions. “Despite the challenges of last year, through sheer determination and a commitment to excellence, the MLC School Drama staff continued to inspire and challenge our students, supporting each to find new ways of expressing their love of drama. Consequently, as soon as restrictions were lifted, the girls were well prepared for the auditions and enthusiastically began rehearsals for Hitler’s Daughter.”, said Principal Lisa Moloney. The production had a cast of 40 students, supported by 37 students, from Year 7 to Year 12, who formed the crew. This huge production brought together students from MLC School, Newington College and Trinity Grammar School making the intense 12-week rehearsals both energetic and creative. “The result was a brilliant display of talent, dedication and hard work - fittingly, all the four performances sold out,” said Director Lisa Jinga. The play was the second collaboration between MLC School and Newington College this term. Just a week before Hitler’s Daughter, two rock bands made up of seven MLC School girls including some of them cast of Hitler’s Daughter cast were invited for the first time to play at the annual Rockfest event at Newington College. This is part of an ongoing connection between the two Schools.



Inaugural Thelma Herring writing competition Good writing can dazzle the mind and stir the heart. For a writer it focuses attention and energises the mind; for the reader it can awaken the imagination and transport them beyond the confines of time and place. However, like a well-watered garden, good writing is a skill that’s nurtured. The driving premise behind the introduction of the Thelma Herring Writing Competition, to nurture the writer in all our students. Inspiration enters in ebbs and flows much like the way the wind stirs a willow. It needs to be harnessed through effort, care, and consistency. In a world of sound bites and digital information this may seem redundant, time-consuming, or just plain boring. But the spirit to share and express is hard to quell. The crafted word still wields a great deal of power. We still turn to it for wisdom, hope and counsel. The student whose talent lies with the written word are our sages, leaders, and poets of tomorrow. The Thelma Herring Writing Competition was introduced as a platform to nurture our future writers and thinkers. It offers students the chance to be still, to reflect and to then give voice. This process of turning thoughts into words demands courage and craftsmanship.

Open to all students in Year 6 to Year 12, the competition invited entries in two categories – poetry and short story – on the topic, Bridges and there were divisions for Juniors and Seniors. Over 100 entries were received in each category. Thelma Herring is an Old Girl whose life’s work centred on the written word. She was Dux of the School in 1933, the first female staff member of the University of Sydney English department, and a publisher for 32 years. The English department felt it fitting that Thelma represents the writing competition for students whose talents also lie with the written word. Head of Department – English, Cecilia Batista said, "We were delighted with the positive response in the competition’s inaugural year. The numbers reflect the calibre of student we have at MLC School.” Every entry each earned a point for their House. Lester was the winning house with 47 entries, and Moora Moora a close second with 46 entries. Congratulations to the overall winners in the Poetry and Short Story categories for the Junior and Senior division.

JUNIOR POETRY OVERALL WINNER A New Dawn Zara Poortvliet (Year 9) My eyes gaze upon foreign landscapes, Blocked by a gaping maw Salt thickens my hair, windswept. Wood, bends my back, carried from distant lands Nails, turn sour in my mouth, less every day Figures reach out their hands Brick by brick, stone by stone The new life is built No member left alone The maw is shut Blood hungry rivers, crash against smooth rocks The last plank is placed Hammered down by lost souls The bridge is built. Who knows what it holds



Thelma Herring



JUNIOR SHORT STORY OVERALL WINNER Crush culture is messed up, don’t you think? Chloe Zhang (Year 7) It’s a cold morning and my breath curls out of my nose and mouth like smoke from a dragon, the wisps lingering for a moment before dissipating. I yank my earphones awkwardly out of my ears and stuff them hastily into my pockets, the slight warmth in them from my body warming my frozen hands. Stepping out of the bus, I see other classmates, students, all filtering in through the school gates. A messy arrangement of unforecasted raindrops, without rhyme or reason, everyone individual and at their own pace. It’s the golden hour, although it sure doesn’t feel like it as the weak winter sun is barely visible, the light fading away and only the bleak, windswept playground is left. As I walk inside, the students are already grouping off into clusters, some walking around and mingling with others, most of them finding their clique and settling in. The hierarchy is evident, who’s allowed to talk to who, invisible lines drawn through the quad without any instruction or prior arrangement. You would think those lines align to the shape of the handball courts and benches, neatly laid out and drawn perfectly straight. It’s more akin to a Jackson Pollock painting, all lines and seemingly random splatters of paint all over the canvas. Real life is messy, and in this hasty, disordered mess of different people, souls, emotions, it’s all too easy to get lost. I continue on. Mindless, automatic steps retracing an intimately familiar path, one that I’ve walked everyday for three years and for three more years I will continue in my own footsteps. I’ve probably worn down this tiny fraction of the school with my consistent path - I smile wryly at that thought and shake my head.

SENIOR POETRY OVERALL WINNER I stop at my locker, heaving the heavy bag on my back into the cramped cubicle. The space is tiny and its small wonder when I accidentally knock the little calendar on the inside of the locker door to the ground. A small annoyance, so I sigh and bend down to pick it up. However, as I turn to retrieve the fallen object, I find that someone has already beaten me there. My eyes catch scruffy hair and a glint of the dim light above off glasses. Askew tie and sheepish smile with an outstretched hand holding an offering -of maybe friendship?that is my locker calendar. He-? She-? I can’t really tell, their features handsome and beautiful at the same time. And it doesn’t matter anyway to me- I accept it, my face conforming to a typical smile, isn’t this considered polite? When they look away though, I can’t help but my gaze follow their form. Sorrowful eyes and a fake twinkle in them. Faded ego, once great. Someone who’s finding it hard to smile. Akin to make believe, what you want to think you are. Fake it ‘till you make it, right? To be who you believe is the best possible version of you out of all of the multiverses. Half of a whole, (or so you think) looking for the other. Destined to be forever, until death do us part. Crush culture is messed up, don’t you think? Yet I still want to be theirs, which affects my heart with a pang. As twisted as it is no one can help it once they fall victim to crush culture, both admirer and the admired a victim. I want to talk to them more, see that smile no matter how fake it is- somehow, I still admire it. I see everything in them as perfect. This is dangerous, I know, but my will is weak. Maybe this will become part of my daily routine. Some distant part of my mind protests, but I reach out a metaphorical hand of friendship to them. Building bridges, you know? Make connections, and maybe fit into the highschool hierarchy better. For now I follow after them like a lost puppy, some order to cling onto in the sea of chaos that is relationships, friends, cliques and betrayal.

The Human Condition Robin Phillips (Year 11) A picturesque view across the harbour, Sky melting into one with the sea; Invading the serenity with tears, glowing white. The world is distant. Enervating. Gone! Once a rosen hue; static has burdened my mortal soul — Upon the rails: you can draw in the dust collected; temporary images and words, Unheard pleas— confessions that disappear in the air. Its structure is disturbed: Locks upon metal; ties of life, love, lust. They are rusted. You falter — Hesitance. A ghost stares from the abyss; Innocent— Pitiful. A child masquerading in reality. The sun is partially risen on the horizon; A vague glow visible through an overcast sky.

y t r The bridge is empty now— Reticent; ‘I shall return another time.’





SENIOR SHORT STORY OVERALL WINNER All in a Day’s Work Claudia Padman (Year 10) The day was dark. Fog had engulfed the harbour, barring the sunlight from creeping through. The only thing that could be seen through the misty curtain was the pylon. It stood looming over the shoreline, so large it could only be seen in its entirety by craning the neck to spy its apex. Carrying his flat cap in one hand and moving with brisk strides towards the pylon was Sean. As he approached, the wind rustled silently through his thin clothing. The construction emerged into view, revealing the bustling site. Granite ships offloaded their goods whilst creeper cranes hoisted steel beams hanging precariously over the glistening, black water below. The progress on the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was advancing steadily and Sean had a role to play. Twisting and turning up from the depths of the pylon, he climbed. Higher and higher he continued to ascend, his feet echoing on the makeshift walkway. Reaching the top, he shoved the hat over his cropped hair, steadying himself for the final hurdle. His heart reverberated through his chest and a surge of adrenaline swept through him – this was what he lived for. Propping his arms on the beams and placing his feet within their cradle, he began his mount up the braces. He nimbly moved across the steel labyrinth, searching for hand and foot holds as he went, only lightly panting as he proceeded. The rough of the metal brushed against his palms, cold to the touch. The frosty air continued to swirl around him, rushing past his ears. Daringly, he looked down at the expanse before him, grinning at the plunging depths as if challenging them. Even so, he tightened his grip.



In a matter of minutes, he reached the platform and was greeted with broad smiles and familiar accents of his distant homeland, hearing the standard, “ ‘ey Sean’s ‘ere, time ta get ta work.” But before he began, he made his way over to a young boy. Tommy, the son of his best mate back in Scotland, had just started his first day as a rivet cooker. His eagerness and excitement was barely masked – it would make him a great worker. “Welcome to th’team son,” he told him warmly. All Tommy could do was beam back.

only halfway and there were still the girders to cross. With an iron grip, and a steely resolve, he weaved his way over as fast as possible. Too fast. He began to lose his footing, stumbling backwards. Fingers locked onto the girder, he hung from the bridge, dangling over the water. This was it.

And so Sean began. Dunk, lift, toss. Dunk, lift, toss. Falling into a steady pattern with his crew, he thrust the rivets into the heating chamber before passing the molten steel for insertion. They glowed hot white before him, mesmerising, like the first star piercing through the inky sky at night. He smiled at Tommy from across the platform. The intense heat smothered his hands and sweat trickled down his blackened face, carving a silvery trail. Yet, he pressed on. Dunk, lift, toss. Dunk, lift, toss. He gave no thought to the 110m drop, only concentrating on the task before him. Whilst seemingly menial, it was jobs like his which were bringing the bridge into existence and efficiency was at the forefront of Sean’s mind. He only stopped to wipe the perspiration from his eyes. As he looked up he glanced at the other workers and was filled with a sense of pride. What he was doing was truly meaningful.

There was no time to recover. Completing his crossing, he jumped over yet another pile of supplies. Creak! Just as he was about to reach Tommy, the chord snapped. Beams began to hurtle from the sky, crashing downwards, one by one. In a final attempt, Sean lunged towards Tommy.

Suddenly, something caught his eye. A dark shape began to sway perilously; a pulley chord was beginning to loosen. Beneath it, was Tommy, working away over his heating chamber. If he didn’t move soon, he would be crushed by the falling beams. Panic set in. Sean’s heart began to thunder once more. He cried out across the platform but the sound of steel on steel drowned out his warning. Dropping his tongs, he leapt around the heating chamber and began to run across the platform. He dodged workers and climbed over cargo piles, scrambling to get to Tommy in time. The chord began to snap. He was

But he had come so far and Tommy was still in danger. With all his remaining strength he swung his legs onto the ledge, his muscles aching with the strain. Too close for comfort.

He just managed to hook the scruff of his collar with his fingertips and wrenched Tommy backwards. Smash! They both toppled onto their backs as the beams hit the platform with an ear-splitting crack. A cloud of soot rose up around him. Coughing and spluttering, Sean looked for Tommy. “Where is he?” Sean thought helplessly. As if answering his thoughts, a weak voice called out. “Sean?” Then he looked down. Beside him, the weary young face stared up. “Thank you,” it whispered. Sean heaved a sigh of relief, a single tear escaping from his eye. Shakily he replied, “Don’t worry son, it’s all in a day’s work.”


go all the way


In early June, the School hosted the Independent Schools’ Debating Association (ISDA), competition finals with MLC School Year 8 and Year 9 teams contesting the Grand Finals in their age groups. The competition started in February with 32 schools from the Sydney region competing in a virtual format. Thankfully, by finals time, the competition could resume in a face-to-face setting. MLC School had six teams progress to the final round of eight, known as the Octo Round; five teams progressed to the quarter finals and three teams competed in the semi-finals, with the Year 8 and Year 9 teams making it all the way through to the Grand Final. MLC School Year 8 team of Sarinna Cai, Sophia Bucci, Chloe Ho-Shon, Uma Singleton and Annaliese Yan powered through their debate to defeat Newington and rightly claim the trophy as the undefeated ISDA champions for the 2021 season. The equally talented Year 9 team of Moira Peach, Jody Feng, Anika Sanan, Georgie Roediger and Vishaalini Ravichandra came up against an undefeated Sydney Grammar team. After a closely fought debate, they were narrowly defeated in the end. Congratulations to all the MLC School debaters on a fine season.



A DAY IN THE LIFE WITH REVEREND SALLY YABSLEY-BELL MLC SCHOOL CHAPLAIN Rev Sally joined MLC School at the beginning of 2021 and works alongside Rev Vinnie as one of the School’s Chaplains. Though this is Sally’s first ordained placement working for the Uniting Church, she has more than 17 years experience in outreach ministry with children and families. In her training for Ministry, she also worked at Silverwater Prison and took a short rural placement in Broken Hill. Here she looks at her working day in lockdown. “I love that my job is full of different possibilities. Working with the girls at MLC School has been a steep learning curve. The conversations are different, the issues are different, and finding contextually appropriate ways to address them has been both fun and challenging. Working out how do we impart values to the students in ways other than in the classroom? Or how we build a compassionate community not only at school, but in all parts of life, daily?”

My day 8AM: My day starts around 8am, once I have made sure my three children are all ready for their day ahead. I start prerecording sermons or piecing new ones together. I prepare my next services by researching the topics, listening to podcasts and reading press articles, etc. I work on my Godly play and religion sessions for Junior School, that can involve anything from books, puppets, Lego people telling Bible stories and toys. Anything that will help the children connect to the message in a way that is easier to understand. 11AM: I usually take a break along with my husband who is also working from home, to listen to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's press conference! Or when we are not in lockdown, on Tuesdays during lunch I am hosting the Hats for Homeless beanie looming or knitting workshop. I discovered this group in last year’s lockdown. I realised I needed to stop playing on my phone so much and looming beanies gave me the distraction as well as the added bonus of helping people in need. Taking time out to do something for others is an important part of my Christian faith and what I hope to inspire the girls at MLC School to do. 1PM: During the afternoon, I generally meet with Rev Vinnie, or our Principal Lisa Moloney. I get in touch with the Year 12 students I mentor, whether it’s related to their IB CAS projects or just to discuss about any issue they may face. It is important that girls know that they are cared for in this space, especially during teenagerhood. I have been called a feminist before and working in a school that encourages girls to push the boundaries of what they can do is a good way to express that. As a matter of fact, both my grandmotherin-law and aunt-in-law are MLC School Old Girls and were thrilled when I told them about this opportunity! Every day is different in MLC School Chaplaincy and this is what I like about my job. Work-life balance is also essential, especially during these times. What gets me through the day is going on walks with my husband in the evening, sometimes just a walk and a hot drink can make a huge difference.





MEET MELISSA BYE WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? I worked in public education for over 20 years where I held many different positions. These include classroom teacher, Learning and Support teacher, Assistant Principal, and an Instructional Leader. My own children were coming to the end of their school journeys, and I wanted to broaden my experience in education. As a lifelong learner with a ‘growth mindset’ (Dweck), I wanted to innovate my teaching practices and grow as an educator.

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR JUNIOR SCHOOL GIRLS LEARNING FROM HOME? Working remotely with the girls has inspired me. They have displayed grit, determination, and perseverance like never before. We have had to find new ways of connecting and supporting each other, mind you, we have had a lot of fun in the process. I have also been encouraged and supported by the School’s Executive team and just as important the parent community.

MY TIPS FOR REMOTE LEARNING: • Have courage and take risks • Open mindedness and integrity • Understanding and respect for others • Work together as a community

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS ABOUT MLC SCHOOL, THE GIRLS AND THE SCHOOL’S PHILOSOPHY? When I arrived at MLC School there was a definite warmth from the staff and the girls. I was made to feel welcome and quickly began to build positive relationships with staff, students, parents, and the wider community. I strongly believe in the School’s values: Courage, Compassion, Respect and Growth and I continue to care and support the girls so that they feel valued and supported in their personal and academic growth. At MLC School, the teachers recognise the importance of connection for the girls. There is an understanding that relationships and emotional connections impact on the learning process and all staff ensure these connections are built and strengthened. As a teacher, I hold high expectations for my students. I ensure that I get to know them well, value them as learners, and understand when and how to support their learning. I ensure that I provide differentiated instruction, individualised feedback and engage in meaningful conversation in and out of the classroom.





WELCOME BACK JOHN CLEAR WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? I am thrilled to be involved here in this role, it’s an exciting opportunity I really have MLC School to thank for being in this position. My journey and interest in ICT in the classroom really grew when I previously worked at MLC School. I was employed as a classroom teacher in 1997, teaching my Year 6 class in what was then the primary school at Kent House (now DART). As was the case at my previous school, the girls each had their own laptop computer in the classroom. Barbara Stone, the Principal at the time, recognised my interest in technology in learning and teaching and asked me to become more involved in working with teachers K-12 in the effective implementation of technology in their classrooms. It was an exciting time! One of my early responsibilities was to help teachers use this new communication tool – email. This was closely followed by so many (colourful!) innovations. I remember the jelly bean iMac room in the ILC, girls carrying their purple, blue or orange clamshell iBooks using the

built-in handle, building the school’s first Intranet with Claris Homepage, teaching girls to browse the Internet with Netscape Navigator and to learn to write simple HTML, and helping teachers and staff connect to the then magic of Apple’s wireless AirPorts. After some years in that role, I left to work at a neighbouring school before taking up an Education Technology Consultant position at AISNSW, the peak body for independent schools like MLC School. It was a great role that afforded me the opportunity to work with many teachers in their schools around NSW. I missed being in a school though. Schools have a vibe that just isn’t present in other workplaces, and as a visitor you don’t get to experience or enjoy the wonderful relationships you develop with fellow teachers and students. So, it was time to go back to a school… and if you’re going back, why not go home! To find myself at MLC School feels like a natural turn of events as I had loved my time here previously. The girls are just delightful to

'Schools have a vibe that just isn’t present in other workplaces, and as a visitor you don’t get to experience or enjoy the wonderful relationships you develop with fellow teachers and students.'



work with and this has become increasingly evident in these current circumstances. They are so appreciative of the work their teachers are doing to ensure that their educational experience is rich and enjoyable as well as thorough. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and despite these trying times, every day has a good number of laugh out loud moments.

AT THE START OF TERM 3, CLASSES RETURNED TO AN ONLINE FORMAT DUE TO A NEW COVID OUTBREAK. WAS THAT A CHALLENGE TO IMPLEMENT? WHAT IS THE TAKEAWAY FROM THIS EXPERIENCE? Like the girls, the teachers are generous with their time and accommodating in their approach. Teaching during this extended flexible learning period has, of course, been a challenge. But challenge brings opportunity. The opportunity to learn, to collaborate, share, learn from mistakes, test different technology tools and to try different approaches.

If asked six months ago, I don’t think many teachers would have dared suggest they would have the technology skillset they now possess. Teams channels, breakout rooms, digital whiteboards, collaborative spaces, invigilated exams using lockdown browsers… it’s all happening in every lesson, every day in every K-12 classroom. Learning enrichment continues, special literacy programs have been maintained and cocurricular activities continue to run. It’s a lot of work, but teachers and girls have risen to the challenge.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE BENEFITS OF E-LEARNING? I honestly believe this experience will benefit the adoption of future technologies in the school. Exploring new technologies is hard. It can be three steps forward and two steps back, and rely heavily on perseverance to maintain progress. This growth mindset will stand the girls and their teachers in good stead with a view to future projects that will require some resilience. The introduction of virtual and augmented reality experiences and artificial intelligence projects will not be without some failure. Full adoption of the full suite of Office 365 capabilities will require some application. But if the experience of the last eight or 10 weeks has taught us anything, it’s that with cooperation, application and determination, with a good dose of humour thrown in, we can achieve anything. I’m genuinely excited for the next few years.

2002 Girls with their "jelly beans" Macbooks in ILC16.




"If you can see it, you can be it" DR JOANNA DRIMATIS HEAD OF STRINGS

Is composition more of a male-industry? What can be done/is done to encourage women, and especially teenagers like our students, to pursue composition if that is their ambition? How are Australian composers highlighted in the MLC School curriculum?

Did you know that Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, was also a composer? Dr Joanna Drimatis, Head of Strings at MLC School, tells us more about the role of women in music composition, her involvement in the upcoming book “A Century of Composition by Women: Music Against the Odds”, and how important it is for girls to learn from and see female role models in maledominated fields such as composition. Joanna also has a passion to introduce students to music written by Australian composers. You have recently been involved in a book project about Women in Composition. Could you tell us about this project? In 2017, I gave a presentation at the Creative Women in Music conference held at the Australian National University, which focused on programming orchestral repertoire by women composers. As I had started at MLC School it was important for me to source music by female composers to be played by our students with the intention to inspire them to create and perform music. I was involved as both a performer and presenter at the conference and it was the presentation on Australian and New Zealand women composers that has turned into a book chapter. All of the music discussed I had performed in the past as a conductor and it was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on past practice. The book is titled A Century of Composition by Women: Music Against the Odds and is published by Palgrave Macmillan and should be released very soon. The editors are Assoc. Prof Linda Kouvaras (University of Melbourne), Assoc. Prof Maria Grenfell (University of Tasmania) and Dr Natalie Williams. These distinguished women are all celebrated Australian composers. I am very grateful for having my writing published and am very much looking forward to the book release in the next few months. MLC SCHOOL


The art of composition should be for everyonebut unfortunately like many professions it has been male dominated for centuries. When we think of great composers we think of Bach and Mozart, but we don’t automatically think of music written by women in the similar eras. For example, Mozart’s sister- Nannerl was an accomplished composer but her father wished her to be married and didn’t encourage Nannerl to have a career in music. Other examples of women who were composers but who had limited opportunities during their lifetimes include Fanny Mendelssohn (sister of Felix Mendelssohn) and Clara Schumann (the wife of Robert Schumann). Both women came from households where they were encouraged to be musicians but there were limited opportunities for their music to be both published and performed. Both women were excellent pianists and it was through the performances of their own works that audiences became familiar with their compositions. We are very lucky at MLC School to be able to support our students to create, compose and perform music. These young women who take elective music classes here at MLC School are required to compose and submit compositions as part of their assessments. It is vital they perform and study repertoire by all composers to provide them with a contextual understanding of music construct. However, it is also important that they learn from and see female role models in predominantly male-dominated fields such as composition and conducting. In addition, across the syllabus in the Senior School it is mandatory that the students learn about and perform Australian music. Therefore, I have set myself a challenge to try and perform a minimum of one to twoworks by a female composer each year. My philosophy which I always like to share with the students is that if you see it you can be it!

You spoke at to the ‘Strike A Chord’ Teachers’ Conference and have been invited to the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Conference, to present a discussion about Australian music for student chamber groups and orchestras. Can you tell us about these presentations? I feel very honoured to be invited to present at these major events. The Strike A Chord Teachers’ conference was an opportunity for music teachers around Australia and around the world to share information on training students in the art of chamber music performance. This is an important skill, which develops the student’s ability to play a part on their own as well as learn how to work with others in order to achieve a common goal. My role at this conference was to talk about the importance of introducing students and teachers to chamber music written by Australian composers. It is an area where some teachers would like to introduce their students this repertoire but they are unsure of how to access the music. I also spoke about the chamber music projects we have achieved which involved the commissioning of a chamber work by Mr Tristan Coelho, our Head of Composition for our students to perform for the Strike A Chord competition as well as highlight the music of Year 12 student Ellery Joyce whose composition was also performed as part of the competition this year. The Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference is a national and international event that occurs every two years. This year it is to be held in Perth and I was so looking forward to attending the conference live and seeing my family as well. However due to Covid the conference will be virtual so I will be presenting from my study. My topic is an extension of the book chapter I spoke about earlier which is on Australian music written for school orchestras and is a culmination of all of the works I have performed and commissioned over the years. This topic has been a passion of mine as it was my time overseas that made me think about our own Australian orchestral repertoire. My PhD research on neglected Australian orchestral music has definitely given me a unique perspective on how to share the knowledge I have gained on the more contemporary repertoire and I look forward to studying and performing a range of new Australian works.

Leading in the field DR MANUEL CONDOLEON TO K CO O R D I N ATO R

Education scholars have also questioned the appropriateness of TOK for students of nonWestern cultures considering it has grown from a programme with a strong Western humanist tradition and dominated by the Western languages. Against this backdrop, however, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is experiencing its strongest growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Manuel Condoleon, MLC School Theory of Knowledge (TOK ) Coordinator, completed his doctorate about the integration of the Theory of Knowledge in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and was also awarded the MLC School Old Girls Scholarship last December. Can you tell us about your doctoral research and your passion for the project? My doctorate was to a large extent inspired by my passion for multidisciplinary learning and an opportunity arose to indulge this passion by undertaking a PhD at The University of Sydney. The study explored how teachers of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme integrated the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course in their teaching. TOK explores questions about the nature of knowledge with a particular focus on the connections between multiple areas of knowledge such as Arts, Ethics, History, Human Sciences, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Religious Knowledge Systems. It is a compulsory element of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) as all teachers are expected to include TOK in their teaching, however teachers have often expressed a sense of confusion and lack of confidence when teaching TOK.

This study therefore sought to explore some of the ways in which TOK is interpreted, adapted and implemented in the IBDP across non-Western contexts. A qualitative case study methodology was employed focusing on three international schools, one in India, one in Thailand and one in China. The study considered the views and practices of IBDP subject teachers relating to TOK across

You were also awarded the MLC Old Girls Scholarship last December. How do you plan to use it and what will the impact be? The MLC School Old Girls’ Union sponsors a Teaching Fellowship for teaching staff at MLC School. My project proposal that led to this award is strongly connected to my PhD research areas and involves participating in various Professional Educational programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Specifically, I plan to specialise in the field of ‘21st century teaching and learning’ which promotes the teaching and learning of critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, selfefficacy and cultural sensitivity.

'Specifically, I plan to specialise in the field of ‘21st century teaching and learning’ which promotes the teaching and learning of critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, self-efficacy and cultural sensitivity.' the multiple case study schools, which in turn raised issues for future pedagogical practice such as strategies for the successful collaboration of educators and other key stakeholders in promoting multidisciplinary teaching and learning. Your research has been widely recognised, can you tell is a little about some of your awards? In undertaking and completing this PhD study, I have been fortunate enough to receive multiple awards and scholarships such as The University of Sydney Thomas and Ethel Mary Ewing Scholarship in Education; The University of Sydney Nicholas Aroney Research Fund Award; The University of Sydney Raymond L. Debus Scholarship and most recently 2020 Best Paper in Education at the 4th Australia and New Zealand Conference on Advanced Research.

Participation in the Harvard programs will hopefully lead, in conjunction with my research, to the empowerment of teachers in fostering the action-based competencies that could equip MLC School girls as future citizens to tackle the various social, political and environmental challenges of this global age. I also hope this project takes me back to the classroom with a renewed passion for teaching and learning and also inspires other teachers, within and across various disciplines, year groups (K-12) and programs (NESA and IB), to re-engage with renewed enthusiasm and rigour in their classrooms.




MLC School Principal Lisa Moloney with 2021 Alumnae Award recipients Anne Empson (1978) and Evangelyn Carr (1951).

EVANGELYN CARR (1951) 2021 Alumnae Award for Social Welfare and Impact Evangelyn enrolled at MLC School into 2nd Form (Year 8) in 1948. She was a Senior Prefect and completed the Leaving Certificate, in 1951. She trained as a nursing at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and attained a number of higher nursing certificates.

CELEBRATING OUR OLD GIRLS Since 1886, the Old Girls of MLC School have helped to make the world a better place. Their ability to think differently, show courage and conviction, and lead with passion across many fields of endeavour have benefited society. At the end of April, the second MLC School Alumnae Awards were held at our annual Back to College Dinner. The 2021 Awards recognised and celebrated 10 of our Old Girls who have shown outstanding effort over a sustained period in one or more of the Award categories. Nominations were received from Old Girls and community members, and the winners were determined by the Principal in consultation with the President of the Old Girls’ Union.



We were also fortunate to have with us six of the 2020 Alumnae Award winners, with whom we were unable to celebrate in person last year. These women are also shining examples of what dedication and commitment can achieve. Every one of the 2021 recipients recalled the pivotal impact that being a student at MLC School had made in their lives; challenging them to work for others, be fearless and caring, and learn from mistakes. They were all grateful for the opportunity to be inspired by strong women and follow in their footsteps. We congratulate the 10 extraordinary women who are the recipients of the 2021 MLC School Alumnae Awards. Each has demonstrated exceptional achievement in their field. We are honoured to call these women MLC School Old Girls and know that our entire community is also proud of their contributions.

Evangelyn began as a Tresillian nurse in 1960. In 1968, she became the Matron, taking over from another MLC School Old Girl, Kathleen Clifton (1925). Evangelyn has said that together they imbued Tresillian with the MLC School ethos of service and compassion for over 50 years. One of Evangelyn’s proudest achievements was being part of the Tresillian research team team that initiated research leading to recognition of and assistance for women suffering from post-natal depression. In the 1960s there were few GPs and fewer psychiatrists in Sydney who would accept that post-natal depression existed. Today, Tresillian assists more than 50,000 new parents each year through their phone and online live-help service. Evangelyn’s entire life has been characterised by a generous and solutions-based attitude. She could be found fixing the old donkey boiler, washing nappies at 4am, or boiling puddings for the families who would come to Christmas day lunch, in between attending to her little charges and a multitude of meetings. Evangelyn was the Matron of the Tresillian Family Care Centres for over 20 years. Nowadays, she still attends meetings at Tresillian and Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children.




2021 Alumnae Award for Cultural Contribution

PhC Syd, MSc London, FRPharmS

Sandra Ross (1955) was a Boarder at MLC School with her sisters Jane Sherrard (Ross, 1959) and Dr Susan Beal (Ross, 1952) and like her sisters, she was an all-rounder at School. She was a Senior Prefect, a (Boarding) House Prefect, and was active in all sports and arts activities. Sandra says the annual Shakespeare Days at MLC School ignited her passion for theatre. After her Leaving Certificate in 1955, Sandra qualified as a Speech and Drama teacher under the tuition of MLC School’s Joyce Forman. She then went on to complete a Pharmacy Degree at the University of Sydney. In 1968, Sandra commenced a theatrical course with the Ensemble Theatre founder, Hayes Gordon. In 1986, she was appointed the Artistic and Governing Director of the Ensemble Theatre. Sandra’s appointment was described in the 2005 Australian Government publication ‘It’s An Honour’ as the “birth of a new Australian star.” During her tenure, Sandra directed more than 100 plays, and actively encouraged Australian content. She is renowned as the longest serving Artistic Director in Australia. In 2001, Sandra received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to theatre and the performing arts. She was awarded the Variety Club Heart Award for Theatre in 2002. In 2004 she was awarded the Hayes Gordon Memorial Glugs Theatre Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre. In 2007 the Sydney Theatre Critics presented Sandra with The Lifetime Achievement Award.

2021 Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement Rosalind Coulson enrolled into 5th Grade at MLC School in 1949 and completed her Leaving Certificate in 1955. After leaving MLC School, Ros studied Pharmacology at the University of Sydney and became a registered pharmacist in 1959. Ros moved to the United Kingdom and competed a Master of Science in Biopharmaceutics in 1982 at King’s College, University of London. During her 25-year tenure at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK, Ros held a number of roles. Initially she was the principal pharmaceutical officer and group manager, later moving to the Post-Licensing Division where she had oversight on the monitoring of the safety of all medicinal products in the UK. In this role, Ros developed and implemented Adverse Drug Reaction Online Tracking (ADROIT) – the system used to monitor and research safety data of medicines and medical devices in the UK. Ros’ innovative ADROIT system won her a Smithsonian Institute (USA) award for its contribution to medical

science. During this time, Ros also took on a special project to revitalise the UK General Practitioner’s Research Database. This remains one of the most important sources for pharmaco-epidemiological research in the UK today, and Ros recently contacted us to say that the system is playing a pivotal role in the tracking of adverse reactions to COVID vaccinations there. After becoming a member of the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH), Ros was successful in standardising the international medical terminology used by regulatory authorities and the biopharmaceutical industry worldwide, by taking the medical dictionary she developed for her UK ADROIT system and developing MedDRA. MedDRA terminology is now used through the entire pharmaceutical regulatory process, from preto post-marketing, and data entry, retrieval, evaluation, and presentation. Upon retirement from the MHRA, Ros Coulson served as an independent consultant on the safety of medicines to European regulators, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical service providers. In recognition of her services to the profession of pharmacy in the UK, Ros was made a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 1992.

'Every one of the 2021 recipients recalled the pivotal impact that being a student at MLC School had made in their lives; challenging them to work for others, be fearless and caring, and learn from mistakes.'

The Ensemble Theatre introduced the Sandra Bates Director’s Awards on her retirement from the theatre in 2017 – where two recipients each year are sponsored to be Assistant Director on two mainstage productions – fostering and mentoring the next generation of theatre directors as a legacy in Sandra’s name to her extraordinary career. LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2021


DR SYLVIA WALTON AO (COLLIS, 1957) EdD (hc LTU), BA, MA, Dip Ed (Syd), B Ed (LTU), FRGS, FAICD, FACEL, FACE, FAPC, ACEL Gold Medal. 2021 Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement Sylvia Collis (1957) enrolled into Year 4 at MLC School in 1950. For her outstanding results in the 1957 Leaving Certificate she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship for tertiary studies. Sylvia commenced as a teacher of History and Geography. She then held various Executive positions in colleges and grammar schools across Australia. Her experience of implementing innovative programs and setting new benchmarks earned her the reputation as one of Australia’s foremost Principals. From 2006 to 2011, Sylvia served as Chancellor of La Trobe University. In 2011, she was awarded a Doctorate of Education



(honoris causa) in recognition of her outstanding leadership, and for addressing issues of access in higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. La Trobe University has two scholarships in Sylvia’s name, established to support students experiencing financial hardship and/or educational disadvantage. The list of honours in Sylvia’s name are many, and include: La Trobe University’s ‘Sylvia Walton Building’, the Australian College of Educators (VIC) annual ‘Sylvia Walton Oration’, and the Dr Sylvia Walton AO Alumni Scholarship at Tintern Grammar for financially disadvantaged students. Sylvia has been the recipient of numerous awards, and in 2007, shewas awarded the Gold Medal – the most prestigious award conferred by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, presented annually to an educator whose contribution to the study and practice of educational administration and leadership is assessed as most outstanding on a national level. In 2003, Sylvia was awarded the second highest award in Australia, Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of her leadership and education at the secondary and tertiary levels. In 2014, Sylvia was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll. This acknowledges the contribution, leadership and achievements of exceptional women within the Victorian community.



2021 Alumnae Award winners (including those receiving an Award on behalf of winners)

CATHY CRAIGIE (1976) 2021 Alumnae Award for Cultural Contribution Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaroi and Anaiwon woman from Northern NSW. In Year 6, Cathy enrolled as a Boarder at MLC School. During her teenage years, Cathy volunteered at various local Aboriginal organisations where she interacted with some of the leaders in the community and was inspired by their passion and beliefs. Her knowledge and interest in First Nations history and cultures grew out of this time. After completing secondary school, Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Technology. In 1990, she was one of the three founders of Gadigal Information Service (Koori Radio 93.7FM) and was the General Manager for 10 years. Cathy and her fellow founders saw the need for an Aboriginal owned and operated communication organisation in response to negative stereotypes portrayed by mainstream media.

P&F President Abirami Ravichandra (Senthilkumaran, 1996), OGU President Sue Cartwright (Packham, 1978) and Santhi Rajendran (1996).

She has held a variety of key positions in Aboriginal arts, health and housing organisations. Along with Koori Radio, Cathy is also a founding member of Ngalawi Housing Co-operative and the First Nations Australia Writers Network. For the past 15 years, Cathy has worked as a consultant to various government bodies and Aboriginal communities, as well as to the arts and media industries. She has written several plays and fostered a number of children and is currently working on a performance piece on the Gamilaraay version of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades). Cathy says she has never been ambitious for herself. ‘The work I’ve done and continue to do has a purpose, and that’s communicating with and educating Aboriginal as well as nonAboriginal people to make our lives better.’

management and governance at a senior level in the profit and not-for profit sectors, in both multi-national and small companies.


Cathy is passionate about Aboriginal capacity building and community development and has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over 30 years. From local community organisations, her career took her to senior positions in Government, including Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and Executive Director of the First Nations Australia Writers Network.

Lesley Carew (St John, 1972) with 2020 Alumnae Award recipients Helena Graham (1959) and Gail O’Brien (Bamford, 1972).

ANNE EMPSON (1978) BCom (UNSW), GDipTh (CSU), ATCL, CPA, GAICD 2021 Alumnae Award for Contribution to MLC School Anne Empson (1978) enrolled at MLC School in 1971 into Year 5 and completed the HSC in 1978. In 1979 Anne joined the MLC School Old Girls’ Union and later was a member of the School’s Foundation Board. For 40 years, from 1991 to 2020, Anne was a member of the MLC School Council, initially as the Old Girls’ Union representative and more recently in her role as the Schools Relationship Manager for NSW/ACT Synod of the Uniting Church. Anne graduated from the University of NSW in 1981 with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and later became a CPA. In 2009, she graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Graduate Diploma in Theology. Most recently, Anne became a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, specialising in Governance. She has worked in accounting,

As well as her membership of the MLC School Council, Anne also represented the Uniting Church on the Boards of several colleges. Anne’s role as the Uniting Church’s Schools Relationship Manager was to work to strengthen the relationship between the church and its schools and to support the Councils that run the schools on behalf of the church. In 2020, Anne became the Quality and Compliance Manager for the Safe Church Unit of the Uniting Church – a role that ensures the safety of children and vulnerable adults within church communities. She is also the Treasurer of the Sydney Presbytery of the Uniting Church and sits on the Board of Paddington Child Care Centre and the Sydney Presbytery Standing Committee. Anne has a genuine love for MLC School. Besides her business and philanthropic contributions to the School, she is part of a multi-generational MLC School family – her mother, sisters, nieces and cousins are all Old Girls. She has always shown interest in the girls’ sport and co-curricular activities, regularly showing up to sports games and other School events. Every year she attends the Sapphires’ Luncheon to support her Old Girl mother, Pamela Empson (Waters, 1954), maintain a connection with the School.



B.Build (UTS), Grad Dip UEM (UTS), GAICD 2021 Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement In 1986, when Alison was in Year 7 at MLC School, she was one of only two girls to join the Cadets program. This experience as well as taking Speech in the HSC, laid the foundations for Alison’s construction career. Alison went on to gain a Bachelor of Building (Construction Economics) and a Graduate Diploma in Urban Estate Management from the University of Technology. She is also a graduate of the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. At the age of 32 years, she became the first woman and the youngest person worldwide to be appointed to the role of Director at Multiplex.

Alison is a prominent female executive in an industry renowned for a lack of diversity. She is driving positive change in the construction industry by directly influencing the gender diversity ratio at Roberts Co. by growing the female talent pool through sponsoring university women in engineering and by promoting and mentoring women and girls in construction. Aside from her business role, since 2018 Alison has been a member of the UNSW Foundation (Director since 2019), and last year she joined the Advisory Board of AeroPM, an Australian firm providing professional consulting services to Defence. In recognition of her career achievements, Alison received the Laing O’Rourke Business Woman of the Year award at the 2018 National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) NSW Awards for Excellence.



She then became the leader of the NSW/ ACT regional business unit for Lend Lease’s Building business. In 2017 Alison took on the role of CEO of the boutique tier one construction firm Roberts Co. Since commencing, Alison has built Roberts Co. into a company with 140 full-time staff supported by a $640m build pipeline.

CASSANDRA SPIES (BROWN, 1991) BSc (Food Tech) 2021 Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement Cass is the oldest of the three Brown sisters who attended MLC School – Georgina is from the class of 1995 and Andrea from 2002. After her HSC, Cass completed a BSc majoring in Food Technology, before travelling to London where she spent 13 years in the Financial Services industry. She finished her Financial Services career on a high as a Global Project Manager, rolling out largescale technology projects across the globe managing an international team. Upon returning to Australia in 2009, she decided to fulfil a dream she’d had since childhood to start her own business, and Twisted Healthy Treats was born. In 2015, it transitioned from 100% retail to 100% manufacturing, which saw the business grow five times in size. Coles, Woolworths and Harris Farm are some of the local supermarket chains stocking Twisted Healthy Treats products. Twisted Healthy Treats manufactures all its own products at their factory in Sydney, and proves that is it possible to have delicious and decadent frozen treats that are also nutritious. Recently Cass has negotiated the overseas market and Twisted Healthy Treats are now in Costco (Texas and Midwest USA) and independent retailers across the USA.

Judy O’Neill (North, 1955), Elaine Carter (Bates, 1955) and Roslyn Hunyor (Lovett, 1955) with their classmate and 2021 Alumnae Award recipient, Sandra Bates AM (Ross, 1955).



Together with her all-women management team, Cass has built an authentic Australian brand that is ever expanding. She says her legacy will be an example to future generations of women, showing them that it is possible to make your way and create something great in industries that have traditionally been dominated by men.


2009 EMILY SUN (2009)


2021 Young Alumnae Award for International Achievement and Cultural Contribution

BA (IntlSt) / LLB (Hons)

Emily enrolled at MLC School into Year 7 in 2004. After school, she continued her violin studies with Dr Robin Wilson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and then with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music London, where she now serves on the faculty. Before moving to the UK to study at the Royal College of Music London, Emily – who was named Best Newcomer in the 2012 Limelight Awards – had already had considerable success in Australia. She performed as a soloist with the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmanian and Canberra Symphony Orchestras. At the Royal College of Music, she won the Violin Competition in 2012 and the Concerto Competition in 2015. Emily has performed recitals in some of the world’s major concert venues including Sydney Opera House, Wigmore Hall London, Tchaikovsky Great Hall Moscow and Auditorium du Louvre Paris. She performed at Buckingham Palace alongside Maxim Vengerov in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, in the presence of HRH Prince of Wales, and at the Royal Palace of Brussels in the presence of the King and Queen of Belgium. A multi-international prize winner, some of Emily’s awards include the Tagore Gold Medal from the Royal College of Music, the 2018 ABC Young Performer of the Year (Australia), and the 2016 UK Royal Overseas League Commonwealth Musician of the Year. Emily currently works at the Royal College of Music in London.

2021 Young Alumnae Award for Social Welfare and Impact Cecilia Ngu (2012) enrolled at MLC School in Year 7 in 2007 and in 2012 was the School’s Vice-Captain. She graduated with an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, achieving an ATAR over 99. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney, graduating with First Class Honours and placing first in course for Civil Practice. While at University, Cecilia was also the President of the Justice Action Committee of UTS Law Students’ Society and was a volunteer legal assistant at Redfern Legal Centre where she set up and ran the Young Professionals Strategic Committee. Cecilia was admitted as a lawyer and recently completed the Foundations of Directorship course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors. A winner of numerous academic prizes, Cecilia’s awards include the Herbert Smith Freehills/National Law University Delhi International Negotiation Competition, the (UTS) Dean’s Merit Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement 2017, and the NSW Bar Association Prize for Civil Practice.

Currently Cecilia is the Policy and Research Director at Diverse Women in Law (DWL), a Sydney-based organisation which aims to address the under-representation of diverse women in the legal sector by facilitating access to quality mentoring, networking and other initiatives to support diverse women entering and progressing in the NSW legal sector. Cecilia’s passion for social justice informs her day job as a solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF). She works in the Projects (Government and Infrastructure) team. In this role, she has worked on a number of social infrastructure projects including social and affordable housing projects. At HSF, Cecilia is also a co-chair of the Multiculturalism Network which aims to support staff from diverse backgrounds. Cecilia’s sister and Old Girl, Natalia Ngu (2008) who nominated Cecilia for this Award, says ‘Cecilia exemplifies what it means to be an MLC School Old Girl. She is courageous, compassionate, highly accomplished and a true leader.’

Cecilia has always had a keen interest in social justice; she says it was something that was instilled in her during her days at MLC School, particularly while undertaking community service as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and the IB.

Proud to celebrate 10 of our Old Girls who have shown outstanding effort over a sustained period.



OUR OLY M PI A N S Since its inception, MLC School has aimed for excellence in every field. For 135 years the School has maintained its philosophy that participation and accomplishment in the pursuits of music, creative arts and sports are equal to that of academia. Sports have been played at MLC School since day one. The ‘paddock’, acquired with the original purchase of Miss Lester’s ‘Kent House’ in November 1885, has remained a Sports field for the life of the School. This field holds an important place in the history of girls’ sport in Australia, as on 3 November 1906 MLC School held Australia’s first Athletics Carnival for girls on our Sports Field. The School has many Old Girls who have gone on to achieve remarkable success in a variety of sporting endeavours. On the world stage, there is no competition that ranks higher in people’s imaginations than the Olympic Games. MLC School has 12 Old Girls who have competed in the Olympic Games, some more than one, and during this Olympic year we celebrate our exceptional Olympians.



Lorraine Crapp (1955) in 1958 training for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.

Lorraine Crapp (1955) at the Australian Swimming Championships in Melbourne in 1954.

LORRAINE THURLOW AM (CRAPP, 1955) Lorraine Crapp (1955) represented Australia in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and 1960 Rome Olympic Games in Swimming (Freestyle). She won two Olympic Gold medals and a Silver medal at the 1956 Games. In 1956, Crapp won the Olympic 400 m freestyle (Olympic record) title easily when she beat teammate Dawn Fraser by 7.9 seconds in a time which was 17.5 seconds inside the previous Olympic record. Fraser reversed this result in the 100 m freestyle (both beating the previous world record) and the pair then combined with Faith Leech and Sandra Morgan to win gold for Australia in the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay (world record). In 1957, Crapp was awarded the city of Genoa Christopher Columbus Trophy as the outstanding athlete in the world. Lorraine retired after the 1960 Rome Games where she picked up a Silver medal in 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Lorraine Crapp enrolled at MLC School in Kindergarten in 1944. In 1954, at the age of 15 years, she represented Australia at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, where she won gold medals in the 110yards (100m) and 440yards (400m) freestyle.

Lorraine Crapp (1955) in 1954.

Lorraine attended the opening of both MLC School pools in 1957 and in 2003. MLC School’s first Olympian was also the first woman to swim the 400m freestyle in under five minutes, and the first Australian— male or female—to concurrently hold the world record in all freestyle events. Lorraine was one of the group which spearheaded Australia’s domination of world swimming in the 1950s. Throughout her swimming career, Lorraine broke 23 world records (16 individual and 7 team) and won nine Australian championships. At the British Empire and Commonwealth Games she attended, she won a total of three Gold, one Silver, and two Bronze medals. In 1972, she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and in 1986 into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. In June 1998, she was named as Member of

A 15-year-old Lorraine Crapp (1955) at MLC School in her British Empire and Commonwealth Games attire prior to her departure to represent Australia at the 1954 Vancouver Games.

the Order of Australia for 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. On 8 February 2000, Lorraine was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in recognition of her and teammates efforts in winning the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay at the 1956 Olympics. The same year she was one of the eight flag bearers at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. On 1 January 2001, Lorraine was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through the sport of swimming. She is one of nine “Legends” of the Path of Champions at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.



JANICE THORNETT (ANDREW, 1960) Janice Thornett (Andrew, 1960) represented Australia in Swimming (Butterfly) at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games where she won a Bronze medal in the 100-metre butterfly and a silver medal in the 4×100-metre medley relay. Janice enrolled into 3rd Form in 1958, completed Intermediate Certificate and then attended the MLC School Commercial College.



Champion diver Vanessa Baker (1992) represented Australia in Diving (10m platform) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Gillian Foster (Thomson, 1994) represented Australia in Soccer at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Vanessa attended MLC School from PreKindergarten (1979) to Year 12 (1992). She began her diving career at the age of 6 and won her first State Gold Medal at the age of 8. She competed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games (NZ) and the 1994 Commonwealth Games (Canada).

Gillian started soccer at age nine and was a sports star at MLC School from the beginning. In her final year at School, Gillian was a representative in the 17 years girls Australian Indoor Soccer Team.

Her wins at the Junior World Championships in Madrid 1989 and Perth 1991, the China International in Beijing and at the 1991 Winter National Championships resulted in Vanessa achieving the highest medal tally of all divers in 1m, 3m and platform at this time. Over the course of her diving career, Vanessa represented Australia on all board levels (1 metre, 3 metre and Platform) and accumulated 68 Gold medals: 3 International, 23 National and 42 State.

In 1996, Gillian was first identified as a future prospect for national women’s soccer when she was named as a member of the National Train-On Squad. After suffering a stress fracture in her foot in 1997, Gillian spent three determined years fighting her way back to be selected into the Australian Team, The Matildas, for the 2002 Australia Cup against South Korea. Gillian played 39 times for Australia between 2002 and 2005. She was member of Australian team at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the winning Australian team at the 2003 OFC Women’s Championship. She is considered a spirited midfielder who has the ability to make foraging runs in attack.

Vanessa Baker (1992) diving from the 3m board at the MLC School Aquatic Centre opening on Friday 11 April 2003. Vanessa Baker (1992) completing a dive at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Image courtesy Craig Golding.

Janice Thornett (Andrew, 1960) (left) receiving her Bronze medal for 100m Butterfly at the 1960 Olympic Games, Rome. Vanessa Baker (1992) at the MLC School Aquatic Centre opening on Friday 11 April 2003.



ELIZABETH (LIZ) KELL (2001) Multi-award winning rower, Elizabeth (Liz) Kell (2001) represented Australia in Rowing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Liz enrolled into Pre-Kindergarten at MLC School in 1979 and completed her HSC in 2002. In 2003, Liz received the Sydney Olympic Park Outstanding Talent Award after winning a gold medal in the women’s double scull race at the World U/23 Regatta. Just a few weeks later, she helped Australia qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the women’s double scull at the Senior World Championships in Italy. Although she qualified as a member of the 2004 Australian Olympic Team, an injury to her shoulder from a horseriding accident meant she had to withdraw.

2006 was a big year for Liz. She and partner Brooke Pratley won the 2006 World Championships in the Double Scull; she won the Female Rower and Crew of the Year awards at the Rowing Australia ‘2006 Australian Rower of the Year Awards’; and at the NSW Rowing Awards, Liz won the award for NSW Oarswoman of the year 2005-6. (She also won the 2006-7 Award the following year.) In 2007, lumbar disc degeneration and resulting surgery forced Liz to switch to sweep rowing. And in 2008, Liz made her Olympic debut in the eight with coxswain at the 2008 Beijing Games.

PENELOPE (PENNY) BLACKMORE (2002) Penelope (Penny) Blackmore (2002) was an Individual Rhythmic Gymnast who represented Australia in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She was crowned the Australian National All-Around Champion in 2003, and in 2004 she again won the Australian National Championships. After her family moved from Melbourne to Sydney, Penny enrolled into Year 8 at MLC School in 1998, completing her HSC in 2002. The year after leaving MLC School, Penny was crowned the Australian National All-Around Rhythmic Gymnastics Champion (2nd Hoop, 2nd Clubs, 3rd Ribbon). In 2004, she again won the Australian National Championships (2nd Hoop, 1st Ball, 2nd Clubs, 1st Ribbon) which gave her the opportunity to qualify as a wild card entrant in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. After the Games, Penny announced her retirement from the sport.

Gillian Foster (Thomson, 1994) battles for control of the ball at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, USA (Australia vs Russia). Photo courtesy Steve Grayson, Getty Images.

Liz Kell (2001) in 2016 with the MLC School 4x+ Quad named in her honour.

Rhythmic gymnast Penelope Blackmore (2002) at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Photo courtesy Naya Hach.

Gillian Foster (Thomson, 1994). Liz Kell (2001), centre of photo, at the 2008 FISA Rowing World Cup, Germany. Photo courtesy Alexander Hassenstein, Getty Images.



Parade welcoming home the 2004 Athens Olympians. Felicity Lemke OAM (Galvez, 2002) (second from right) with her fellow swimming teammates.


KEESJA GOFERS (2007) Keesja Gofers (2007) made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as a driver for the women’s Water Polo team, and this year she competed for Australia in Water Polo team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Felicity Lemke OAM (Galvez, 2002) was a member of the Australian Olympic swimming squad for both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In 2003, at the Australian Swimming Championships, Felicity won the National Title for the Women’s 200m butterfly, moving her to 4th place on the all-time Australian list for this event, and at the 2004 Olympic Team Selection Trials, Felicity set personal best times in all three butterfly events. Her swim in the 200m butterfly was the third fastest Australian all-time record. In 2008, Felicity broke both the 50m and 100m short court butterfly records, and in 2009 at the FINA World Swimming championships, she reclaimed her 100m butterfly record. At the 2008 Olympics, Felicity won two Gold medals for the Women’s 4 × 200m Freestyle Relay and the Women’s 4 × 100m Medley Relay. In 2009 she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to sport as a Gold Medalist at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.



Felicity Lemke OAM (Galvez, 2002) swimming at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

TANIELE GOFERS (2003) Taniele Gofers (2003) was a member of the Australian Water Polo team who won Bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She was also a part of the FINA World Cup winning Australian team in 2006 – at the time this Australian team was ranked the number one women’s water polo team in the world. Taniele enrolled into MLC School in 1997 into Year 6. Despite her intense Water Polo training schedule, in her final year at school she was the Whitley Vice Captain and one the MLC School’s HSC High Achievers. At the 2003 Speech Night Taniele won the OGU Prize, MLC School BLUE for Water Polo, and was the Senior Swimming Champion. Taniele is an outstanding athlete who has achieved State, National and International recognition in the sport of Water Polo.

Keesja enrolled at MLC School in 1999 into Year 4. In her final year at School, she was the 2007 Sports Captain, one of the MLC School HSC High Achieving Students, and recipient of a MLC School BLUE for sport; all the while maintaining a rigorous National and International sporting schedule. In 2007, Keesja played national league for Sydney University, represented NSW in both the Institute challenge and the Australian All Schools championships, and was crowned Most Valuable Player at these championships. She also won a World Championship as a member of the victorious Australian under 20 team in Portugal, and won the silver medal at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and the bronze medal at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Keesja was known at MLC School as a true sports-person. Not only did she compete and perform outstandingly at National and International competitions, she also gave her best for MLC School, representing the School every chance she had.

Taniele Gofers (2003) walks to the bench during the Women’s Gold Medal Water Polo match during the XII FINA World Championships. Photo courtesy Quinn Rooney,Getty Images. Felicity Lemke OAM (Galvez, 2002) displaying her two Gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Taniele Gofers (2003) at the AOC announcement of her selection in the Australian Water Polo team that will compete in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Photo courtesy Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images.

Keesja Gofers (2007) at the the FINA World League Intercontinental Tournament, 2017.

Keesja Gofers (2007). Photo courtesy Swysh.

MLC School sisters and Water Polo Olympians, Keesja Gofers (2007), left, and Taniele Gofers (2003).



ELISA BARNARD (2010) Elisa Barnard (2010) competed in the Recurve Archery Individual event at the 2012 London Olympic Games. That year, Elisa also won both the National and Oceania Championships. Elisa enrolled at MLC School into Year 1 in 1999. In her final year, despite a demanding archery training schedule, she was one of seven MLC School students to receive a Premier’s Award for All-round Excellence in the HSC. At the 2010 Speech Night, Elisa received the Prize for Studies of Religion II and an MLC School BLUE for sport. Elisa has been an Australian champion archer since 2005. She is the only Australian archer to win three consecutive Australian Opens and was the only female Australian archer at the London 2012 Olympics. Elisa Barnard (2010).

Jessica Ashwood (2011).


Elisa Barnard (2010) in a promotion photo for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

In the Summer 2016 edition of Lucis, just after her win at the Rio Olympic Games, Jess reported that her training regime involved gym, boxing and yoga as well as eleven swim sessions a week. At the time, she was working towards the Commonwealth Games in 2018 on the Gold Coast, saying that competing “in front of a home crowd has been a dream of mine”. When asked to give her advice to MLC School students she stated: “Believe that you can do it. A lot of the time it isn’t other people that hold us back but ourselves.”

Jessica Ashwood (2011).

Jessica Ashwood (2011).



Jessica Ashwood (2011) represented Australia in Swimming (Freestyle) at two Olympic Games – London in 2012 and Rio in 2016, winning Silver at Rio in the women’s 4 x 200m relay. In the 2015 World Championships she set new Australian records in the 400m freestyle and in the 1500m freestyle, and at the 2018 Commonwealth Games she won Silver in Women’s 800m Freestyle.

AMIE THOMPSON (2013) Amie Thompson (2013) is an Artistic Swimmer who competed in the Artistic Swimming Team event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She was the co-captain of the Australian Artistic Swimming team this year at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and competed in both the Team and the Duet events. Amie enrolled at MLC School in 2009 into Year 8, finishing with the HSC in 2013. In Year 10 in 2011, she was selected as a reserve for the 2011 FINA World Championships Team, and while in Year 12, she represented Australia at the 2013 World Championships – and still managed to achieve one of the year’s top ATARs. At the 2013 Speech Night, Amie was awarded an MLC School BLUE for sport. It was her MLC School Swimming teacher who first suggested that Amie try out Artistic Swimming (then known as Synchronised Swimming). Just eight years after making this change, she was part of the team selected to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Amie Thompson (2013).

Amie Thompson (2013), left, practicing the Artistic Swimming Duet for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.







We congratulate the following MLC School Old Girls in their recent achievements and recognitions.



Environmental science researcher, Dr Ayesha Tulloch (1996), was recognised as a leader in research excellence and public outreach by being named a recipient of the 2021 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards. The Australian Institute of Policy and Science present these annual awards to recognise the work of early career scientists who are leading in their field.

At MLC School, Madeleine demonstrated all-round academic excellence and was one of the top high achieving IB students for 2007. While in Year 10, Madeleine co-wrote and co-directed (and designed, produced, cast, lit and promoted) Working Title, a play about a girl whose life slides between reality and the world of movies.

Currently, Dr Ayesha Tulloch works at the University of Sydney’s School of Life and Environmental Science where she is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Fellow. Her specialisation is using ecological knowledge to inform conservation decision-making processes. Ayesha works with non-government conservation organisations, private industries and government agencies to develop ecosystem management solutions, prioritising investment in conservation actions to maximise our chance of living sustainably with our environment.

Madeleine completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University, NY. Her novella, Afraid of Waking It was awarded the 2015 Griffith Review Novella Prize, and her non-fiction has appeared in The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Madeleine’s debut novel “The Inland Sea” was shortlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia’s most prestigious literature prize. The novel is about coming of age in a dying world and exploring our capacity for harming ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Facing adulthood, the narrator finds that the world around her is coming undone.

presenter, roster keeper, mentor and trainer for this community-based radio station established and run by volunteers, that ‘turns print into sound’ for those who have difficulty reading printed material.

OAM FOR JEAN BENNETT (DAVIES, 1951) IN QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HONOURS After completing her Leaving Certificate in 1951, Jean attended Sydney Technical College to obtain a Science Certificate while also working as a Laboratory Assistant. She went on to complete a BSc and a MSc in Microbiology. Jean worked at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as an Experimental Officer, and later at the University of NSW as a Senior Tutor in Microbiology. She also taught in Sydney and Canberra’s universities and spent her last 11 years before retirement as a Science teacher. After retirement Jean continued part-time and casual work before pursuing voluntary work. It is this voluntary work for which she was awarded her OAM. On learning that her devotion to her volunteer work had led to her OAM, Jean said she was amazed to receive an award for “doing what I enjoy”. Some of Jean’s ‘service to the community of Canberra’, include:

• Women’s Groups Jean has been an active volunteer, and President since 2011, of the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association, Australia; a group devoted to promoting peace by developing better understanding and fostering friendship among all women of the Pacific and Southeast Asia in order to improve the social, economic, and cultural conditions for women in this region. Since 1988, Jean has been an active member of Country Women’s Association (CWA) – Canberra Evening Branch. She has held many executive roles and has been the branch delegate for the organisation’s NSW state conferences. Currently she is the Visiting Speakers Officer. • Dance In 2011, Jean was a Founding Member of Canberra Dance Theatre’s ‘Growing Old Disgracefully (GOLD) Seniors Dance Group’, and since 2016, she has been a volunteer with the ‘Dance with Parkinson’s Group’ at the Belconnen Arts Centre. • Advisory Committee From 2003 to 2014, Jean was the Community Representative on the ACT Advisory Committee on Ionising Radiation. This group investigated ways to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

ALEX HARBRIDGE (2019) APPOINTED AS A PILOT INTO THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY Alex Harbridge recently graduated from the Royal Australian Navy’s New Entry Officer Course (NEOC) as a Midshipman. She was awarded the Australian Naval Institute Sea Training Deployment Prize during the graduation ceremony. “One of the greatest highlights was spending two weeks on board HMAS Canberra, the flagship of the RAN, where my NEOC peers and I familiarised ourselves with life on a warship” said Alex. She has now been posted to HMAS Albatross as part of the Naval Officer Year One program, where she will spend time learning more about working in an aviation environment. In January 2022, Alex will commence a Bachelor of Science through UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy over a three-year period, and then begin pilot training at RAAF Base East Sale.

• Radio 1RPH – serving the ACT and surrounding regional NSW. Jean has been the President and Committee Member as well as a reader,



VALE At MLC School, Helen was a Senior Prefect, a (Boarding) House Prefect, was on the Sports Committee and was a member of the ‘A’ Hockey and Swimming Teams. She was also part of a multi-generational MLC School family: her sisters, mother, aunt, grandmother, great aunts and cousins all attended MLC School.

Helen, left, with her sisters Janet and Barbara at the 2016 Sapphires’ Luncheon.

HELEN ALISON (SUTHERLAND, 1948) It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Helen Alison (Sutherland, 1948) passed away on 16 July 2021 at the age of 90. For the last few decades, Helen lived in New Zealand where she moved after meeting her husband Harvey, to whom she was married for 66 years. Together they had four children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Helen’s grandmother, Lilla Matchett (Dent, 1892) commenced at MLC School in 1890. After her mother Willa Sutherland (Matchett, 1920) completed School she held a variety of leadership roles in the P&F and the OGU. Willa was a generous benefactor who helped to raise funds for many School projects and was instrumental in realising our first swimming pool which opened in 1957. To commemorate Willa and her long and valued contribution to MLC School, in 2003 the Sutherland Rooms were renamed in her honour. Present at the opening ceremony were the four Sutherland sisters and their cousins, Lady Sonia McMahon (Hopkins, 1949) and Merelyn Wallace (Hopkins, 1948) – MLC School’s first third generational girl.

Margaret Coulson (1949) Exit photo.

MARGARET COULSON (1949) Margaret’s sister Ros Coulson (1955) has sent us this beautiful tribute to her beloved sister who passed away on 16 January 2021. Margaret enrolled into 1st Form at MLC School in 1945 and completed her Leaving Certificate in 1949. She intended to start an Arts degree at the University of Sydney but unfortunately an illness intervened and she later decided to instead pursue nursing studies. Margaret completed her nursing training at the Royal North Shore Hospital and after graduating went on to complete a midwifery course. In order to earn enough money to start her world travels Margaret went into private nursing, and once she had gathered her funds in 1957, her adventures began. She spent 18 wonderful months in the UK and Europe, fulfilling her dreams of going to the theatre, opera, ballet, galleries and concerts. While in London she received an invitation to the very last debutante season. In March 1958 she made her debut before The Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. On her return home to Sydney, Margaret furthered her nursing studies and obtained a teaching diploma. She then took up a post as Nurse Educator at Lewisham Teaching Hospital. She left this post to assume the position of Assistant Matron – Theatre, at Sydney Hospital. Her time at Sydney Hospital was one of her most important nursing achievements. There, she specialised in operating theatre management and ultimately took charge of the operating theatres, managing the difficult task of meeting the needs of medical, nursing, and lay staff.

A family gathering at the opening of the Sutherland Rooms (L-R) Lady Sonia McMahon (Hopkins, 1949), Helen Alison (Sutherland, 1948), Joan Cashmore (Sutherland, 1948), Barbara Clark (Sutherland, 1947), Janet Walker (Sutherland, 1956) and Merelyn Wallace (Hopkins, 1948).



During the extensive restoration of the hospital in the early 1980s, Margaret was sent to the UK and Europe on a fact-finding tour, to look at examples of modern operating theatres and techniques. In 1992 Margaret was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the NSW Operating Theatre Association ‘in recognition of valuable services rendered to the Association’. It was during her time at Sydney Hospital that Margaret was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was only 53 but was fortunate to be able to join a new trial and instead of becoming a 10-month statistic, she recovered. After her cancer treatment she decided to retire and completed an Arts degree in History at the University of New England. Her love of history, especially ancient history began at MLC School and lasted a lifetime. She travelled widely throughout the world and Australia, mostly in the company of her sister Rosalind. Margaret was a knowledgeable and talented gardener, a keen member of the National Trust. and an active member of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.

a familiar face on our first day at MLC School and formed a close friendship for the rest of our lives. It was on our first day at MLC School that we also met Lynette Degotardi (Barker, 1949) and we three became lifelong friends. Verna Dimsdale (Moore,1949), already a friend of Lynette’s, and whom I had already met at an MLC School interview day, also became a close friend of Shirley’s that first day. In our school years we stayed at each other’s homes for weekends and holidays and spent many happy hours rowing on the Parramatta River near Gladesville Bridge. At MLC School Shirley excelled in scripture and was awarded the Scripture Prize multiple times. She also became an accomplished musician, playing the piano for School assemblies and was awarded the Music Prize in her leaving year. After leaving MLC School, Shirley furthered her studies at Avondale College completing a bible worker’s certificate and music study for her AMUSA. There, she met her future husband, Desmond Mowday, a Seventh Day Adventist Pastor.

Shirley Mowday (Petherbridge, 1949) Exit photo.

SHIRLEY MOWDAY (PETHERBRIDGE, 1949) Frances Lawson (Abbott,1949) has written this tribute to her dear friend, Shirley Mowday, (Petherbridge, 1949) who died 15 March 2021. Shirley attended MLC School from 1945 to 1949 and loved her school years, meeting her lifelong best friends, Lynette Degotardi (Barker, 1949) and myself there. This lifelong love of her friends is reflected in her youngest daughter’s name, Lynette Frances. Shirley and I had first met in 5th class at Drummoyne Public School so we were both pleased to see

After her husband’s retirement they began their travels. They had a fascination for India and Nepal and while in Nepal they became aware of the poverty and heart disease that afflicted the local people. This began a philanthropic period for them both. Shirley was a brilliant organiser and for the next 13 years she gathered teams of volunteers to travel to Nepal to help build a heart hospital and homes for people with leprosy. They had the honour of an audience with the Prime Minister of Nepal where they were thanked for their tireless work for Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the official humanitarian agency of the Seventhday Adventist Church.

Shirley Leifermann (Tester, 1950) Exit photo.

SHIRLEY LEIFERMANN (TESTER, 1950) Frances Lawson (Abbott, 1949) has kindly written this tribute to another of her MLC School friends, Shirley Leifermann (Tester, 1949). Shirley died peacefully on 22 March 2021. During her short illness she was cared for by her devoted husband, Norman, in their home in Goonellabah, north east NSW. She is greatly missed by Norman and sons, Philip and James. Norman has expressed his great sadness in losing her, that they did everything together and were never apart. Frances Abbott, Shirley Petherbridge and Shirley Tester had alternately won their class’s annual Art Prize. But Shirley Tester also excelled in sports, especially tennis, and was a member of the 1948 MLC School Tildesley team that bought home the Shield. Shirley also played basketball and was the Captain of the B Team in 1949 and a member of the A team in 1950. Shirley married Norman in 1957 at the Burwood Methodist Church with her sister, Jean Kench (Tester, 1947) as a bridesmaid. Shirley and Jean had attended MLC School for most of their school lives. After her retirement Shirley continued to express her artistic ability through embroidery and tapestry. Norman commented how her beautiful tapestries fill the walls of their home.

Shirley died at her home in Avoca Beach and is greatly missed by her loving husband of 69 years, Des, their five children and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Shirley was always cheerful and full of love. She will be greatly missed by us all. LUCIS SPRING / SUMMER 2021


Toni Price (Cutler, 1962) Exit photo.

TONI PRICE (CUTLER, 1962) Toni’s husband, Warren, called to let us know that his beloved wife had passed away on 9 February 2021, surrounded by her loved ones.

Ann Thomson (Irwin-Smith, 1952) Exit photo.

Sandra Walsh (Fox, 1961).



Margaret Stonier (Baker, 1963).

Margot Maathuis (Fox, 1965) has written to let us know of the sudden passing of her sister Sandra Walsh (Fox, 1961) on 30 June 2021.


We have learned from the son of Ann Thomson (Irwin-Smith, 1952) that his mother passed away, surrounded by family, on 26 December 2020 aged 85. Ann enrolled into Nursery (now PreKindergarten) in 1940 and completed the Leaving Certificate in 1952. During her time at MLC School, Ann was a Senior Prefect, a member of the Senior A Hockey team, the Junior and Senior Swimming teams and was on the Sports Committee.

Sandra was a contemporary artist and teacher working from her home and studio on the Central Coast at Gosford. Her enthusiasm for art was ignited by her Art teacher, Ms Deer, during her MLC School days. Apart from her art accomplishments at School, in her final year Sandra was a Senior Prefect and the Captain of Mooramoora. On completing her Leaving Certificate, Sandra studied at the National Art School in Darlinghurst and later gained a BA (Visual Arts) at the University of Newcastle. Her artwork strongly referenced the natural environment around her and her passion and concern for a changing climate. Working predominantly in acrylic paints with many other mixed media she had a deep love and intelligent knowledge of colour. Sandra passed peacefully with her family by her side. She is survived by her husband David, daughter Fiona and son Benjamin.



Louise Rasmussen (Stonier, 1997), daughter of Margaret Stonier (Baker, 1963) has written to tell us the sad news that her mother died on 13 September 2021. Margaret attended MLC School from Kindergarten in 1952 and completed the Leaving Certificate in 1963. Thanks to the class alphabetical seating arrangement, Margaret Baker was seated next to Wendy Wilson (Browne, 1963), who would become her best friend. They remained best friends from day one, and often fondly recalled their time together at MLC School. After graduation, Margaret attended Hayles Business College. Initially she worked for the College and later ran several successful businesses with her husband Jim, whom she married in 1966. They had three children, Greg, Kathryn and Louise (Stonier, 1997), eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. MLC School always remained a special place of memories for Margaret.

Helen Male (Warr, 1970) (right) and her mother Wynne Warr (Barter, 1938).

Helen Robinson (McDonald, 1981).

Rev Dr Robert Wyndham MSc, LTh, DipRE, DMin.




Daphne McCaughan (Wright, 1970) has written the following tribute to her beloved friend, Helen Male (Warr, 1970). My life-long and dear friend, Helen, passed away on 31 December 2020. Helen attended MLC School in the 1960s and her mother Bessie Wynne Warr (Barter, 1938) (known as Wynne) was also an Old Girl. Helen and I grew up together in Cronulla, attending the local Methodist Church and the Cronulla public school together in the 1950s. After completing her studies at MLC School, Helen worked in the Sutherland Shire Library network and was particularly involved in children’s book appreciation. She had a wide interest in cinema, attending and organising movie appreciation courses, including establishing one within the library system. For a few years after School, Helen and I followed our separate lives but we reconnected at an MLC School Class of 1970 Reunion when we discovered we were both National Trust members. From then on Helen always let me know of upcoming School functions. She enjoyed her years at MLC School immensely. Helen had a delightfully dry sense of humour and a great deal of strength and wisdom. We had fun reminiscing about our early lives growing up together and days at MLC School as we drove all over Sydney going to National Trust events. Helen was a treasured member of her family and is greatly missed by her husband, Peter, and her two boys, as well as her mother, Wynne, and her brothers.

Tributes have flown in after the sudden passing of Helen Robinson (McDonald, 1981) on 3 March 2021 at the age of 56 after losing her years-long battle with neuroendocrine cancer. Helen started at MLC School in Year 7, completed her School Certificate in Year 10 and then commenced at business college. Twenty years ago she married Evan and fulfilled her dream of moving to the country when they settled in Warwick in south east Queensland. Helen was a well-known photographer/ artist and a treasured community member in Warwick. Her photography is displayed in businesses across the town and on two billboards welcoming visitors on the highway into Warwick. She was also a long-time member of the Warwick Allora Kennel Club (recently appointed the Club’s Publicity Officer); she had a passion for animals, especially her four curly-coated retrievers. In January this year Helen and her husband Evan announced they were opening Art @ The Precinct, a gallery to celebrate the region’s talented artists. Helen saw her Gallery open and was able to be a part of it in the weeks before her death. In a tribute to Helen published in the local Warwick press, a friend said that “Helen managed to make you see the beauty in life, in nature, and she also made you look at photos creatively … she loved to stretch your mind.” Helen’s Class of 1981 MLC School friends recall that Helen had a wicked sense of humour that helped her keep her head above water throughout her much too-short life.

It is with sadness that we share with you the news that MLC School Chaplain, Rev Robert (Bob) Wyndham, and father of Old Girl, Rev Kathryn Wyndham (1989), died on 22 July 2021. Rev Bob Wyndham was ordained in 1968 and, apart from his time as Chaplain at MLC School, he served in the Wentworthville Circuit, Port Kembla–Shellharbour Circuit, and at Revesby, Bankstown, Norfolk Island, and Bexley. In 1984, Excelsior welcomed the new Chaplain, Rev Wyndham ‘and his puppet friends’ to MLC School. During his time at the School, Rev Wyndham regularly conducted morning assemblies and was responsible for many of the innovations in the religious life at the School. He extended the ‘family services’ to include the Junior School as well as the entire Senior School. In addition he was the Head of Christian Studies, and under his sevenyear leadership the Department flourished. During his time at MLC School Rev Wyndham viewed the School community as his parish and was actively involved in counseling students, parents and staff. During 1991, he took ten weeks’ leave to visit the San Francisco Theological Seminary to work on a Doctorate of Ministry, a project which also involved further work in the United Kingdom. After Rev Wyndham left MLC School, he took up a position as senior minister in a team ministry at the Bankstown Uniting Church, and after his retirement, he served as a ‘Supply Minister’ (during clergy vacancies) at Menai-Illawong and Miranda.






Around 400 members of the community kicked up their heels to the John Field Band to celebrate 135 years since the founding of MLC School at a Celebration Dinner held at the Hilton Hotel in June. After so many months where large groups could not gather, parents, staff, Council members and Old Girls revelled in the opportunity to catch up, glam up and dance the night away.





Class of 2001 Reunion 1990

Class of 2011



Class of 1991

10, 20 AND 30 YEAR REUNIONS Class of 2010

Almost 300 Old Girls gathered at the School in May for the 10, 20 and 30 Year Reunions for the Classes of 2011, 2001 and 1991 as well as the covid-postponed Reunions for the Classes of 2010, 2000 and 1990. Reunions are a wonderful way for Old Girls to catch up, renew friendships and reconnect with the School. As can be imagined, with almost 300 Old Girls spread throughout the Senior Centre, there were hugs and cheers, happy chatter and endless laughter. People reminisced about their school days and fond memories of friends, teachers had and school pranks.

Reunion 1991

One Old Girl said she saw the MLC School Reunions as a way to reconnect with the eight years of her life that she spent at the School; the time that planted the seeds that grew into the person she is today; and to be thankful for her MLC School education. Sadly, due to another COVID-19 lockdown the 40, 50 and 60 Year Reunions as well as the Sapphires Chapel Service and Luncheon have been postponed. We will keep in touch further with our Old Girls when new plans can be finalised.

Class of 2000




From Top , Left to right: Judith Stokes (Woolley); Susan Hughes (Rooke); Margaret Kerr; Annmaree Bernie (Le Feuvre); Christine Sandoval (Bryant); Wendy Stahel; Leonie Prater; Genelle Cook(Moore); Kerrie Howson (Morris); Angela Catterns; Annabelle Farnsworth

On Saturday 7 September 2021, a small but happy MLC School reunion was held. The Old Girls from the Class of 1971 have sent us this story of their Zoom Reunion. As our 50 year reunion had already been cancelled twice due to covid-19 lockdowns, a small group of the MLC School Class of 1971 decided to meet on the re-scheduled date regardless! We had a wonderful Zoom Reunion and we wanted to share our experience with the wider MLC School family. We are all so thankful for the opportunities and the 50 years of friendship our time at MLC School gave us. Childhood is wonderful



in that way; it throws a collection of people together and an extraordinary bond is formed which can never be fully erased. We met as children, there were no hidden agendas or motivations, we were simply friends. Our time at MLC School may have been a small part of our 68 years, and during busy times in our lives we have gone months and even years without seeing each other, yet ‘warts and all’ our friendships have remained.

We have been able to stay connected and we still chose to spend time with each other, sharing in each others lives and having fun: we have had wonderful weekends away, meetings at cafes and museums and taken long walks together. Won’t it be wonderful to meet a larger group of the Class of 1971 – in person – on 14 May 2022!

2022 Term Dates Term 1 2022 Tuesday 25 January 2022 Term 1 begins with Commencement Day for all new students and all Year 7 2022 students Wednesday 26 January 2022

Australia Day Public Holiday

Thursday 27 January 2022

Term 1 begins for Year 1 to Year 12

Friday 28 January 2022

Term 1 begins for Kindergarten

Monday 31 January 2022

Term 1 begins for Pre-K 5-day and Mon–Wed program

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Term 1 begins for Pre-K Wed–Fri program

Friday 8 April 2022

End of Term 1

Term 2 2022 Wednesday 27 April 2022

Term 2 begins for whole school

Monday 13 June 2022

Queen's Birthday

Friday 24 June 2022

End of Term 2

Term 3 2022


Tuesday 19 July 2022

Term 3 begins for whole school

Friday 16 September 2022

End of Term 3

Term 4 2022 Tuesday 11 October 2022

Term 4 begins for whole school

Tuesday 6 December 2022

End of Term 4 for Pre-Kindergarten to Year 2

Thursday 8 December 2022

End of Term 4 for Year 3 to Year 12

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

NEXT 2021 VIRTUAL SCHOOL TOUR Thursday 4 November 2021, 10.30am


To register for a tour visit 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)