'Walk In The Light', MLC School, 1986

Page 1




Sheena and Robert Coupe Research by Ena Harper

Published by MLC School Burwood in association with Ayers &James Heritage Books

Publish ed in 1986 by MLC School Burwoo d Rowley Street Burwoo d NSW 2134 in association with Ayres &Jame s Heritag e Books Copyrig ht © MLC School Burwoo d Project manage ment by Book Produc tion Services Pty. Limited Nationa l Library of Austral ia Catalog uing-in -Public ation data: Coupe, Sheena . Walk in the light. Include s index. ISBN 1 86252 134 4 ISBN 1 86252 1336 (Comm emorati ve ed.) 1. MLC School, Burwoo d - History . 2. Uniting Church in Austral ia - Educati on - New South Wales - Burwoo d. 3. Women - New South Wales - Burwoo d - Educati on - History. 4. Church schools - New South Wales - Burwo odHistory. I. Coupe, Robert. II. Harper , Ena. III. MLC School, Burwoo d. IV. Title. 373.944 '1

Typese t by Dovatype Melbou rne Victori a Printed by Kyodo-Shing Loong Printin g Industr ies Singapo re

Walk in the Light: so shalt thou know That fellowship of love His Spirit only can bestow, Who reigns in light above. Walk in the Light: and thou shalt find Thy heart made truly His, Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined, In whom no darkness is. Walk in the Light: and thou shalt own Thy darkness passed away, Because that Light hath on thee shone In which is perfect day. Walk in the Light: and e'en the tomb No fearful shade shall wear; Glory shall chase away its gloom, For Christ hath conquered there. Walk in the Light: and thine shalt be A path, though thorny, bright; For God, by grace, shall dwell in thee, And God Himself is Light. BERNARD BARTON


Contents Foreword



1 Founding a school 2 The Prescott years, 1886-1899


3 A time of consolidation, 1900-1913


4 The war and its aftermath, 1914-1922


5 The Sutton era, 1912-1940 6 Through boom and depression, 1922-1933

73 81

7 Slow recovery, 1933-1940


8 Troubled times, 1940-1948 9 Prosperity and expansion, 1949-1970

119 141

IONew directions


Appendices I Principals II Headmistresses


III School captains


IV Dux of college V Milestones in our history


Acknowledgments Index


200 202 203

Foreword school 's When we first started planni ng an appro priate celebr ation for our hed. centen ary, it was univer sally felt that a school history should be publis lee l'sjubi schoo the for red Previo usly, a large public ation had been prepa anecthe ced produ in 1936, and more recent ly the Old Girls' Union have dotal Links Across the Years. enjoyThis volum e has been produ ced to provid e an easy-t o-read and of history the up make that able -record of the salient period s and people are ents docum our all our great school . We are extrem ely fortun ate that report s, in good condit ion. The existe nce of Counc il minute s, Speec h Day the task Excelsiors and other prima ry histori cal source s have all simpli fied of prepa ring this history . by Ena Ackno wledg ment is made of the valuab le resear ch under taken much ed Harpe r, who system aticall y resear ched the source s and record s, Sheen a first-h and inform ation. Her work made the task of our author for and Rober t Coupe , much easier, and to them we expres s our thanks of work the e wledg ackno to their polish ed work. The Counc il also wishes d. the public ation comm ittee and its conve ner, ancy Donal ment at When you have read this book you will share a sense of amaze who have and gratitu de for the dogge d and devou t contri bution of those of our vitality and visions gone before us. When one reads of the great not would he that forebe ars, one feels like aboth who vowed to Ahab sirespon a give away his inheri tance. In turn we are consci ous that ours is over bility for the next centur y. There will be many chang es in our school t persis will that ones the are truths the next hundr ed years but the eterna l we 'All ce: existen uing and provid e the purpo se for the school 's contin s into have consec rated will live on to help the souls of other unseen friend a calm where beauty never ends.' (Rev) K. J. Cornw ell Princi pal



The Reverend Charles Prescott,founder andfirst principal ofWesleyan Ladies' College.




Founding a School a subdu ed HE OPE INC of Wesle yan Ladies ' Colleg e, Burwo od, was

and occasi on. There were no forma l speech es, nor any of the pomp T newly The cerem ony traditi onally associ ated with such an occasi on.

been in appoin ted headm aster, Charle s John Presco tt, and his wife had tt had reside nce at the school for barely a week, a week in which Presco E. Miss h. Churc dist Metho been ordain ed as a minist er of the Wesle yan found been had r Shiels had been engag ed as princi pal, and a house keepe three to organi se the domes tic arrang ement s and care of boarde rs. These ted were the school 's only full-tim e paid emplo yees, althou gh it was expec skills her bute contri would ', that Mrs Presco tt, as the 'lady of the house and talents to the runnin g of the school in an unpaid capaci ty. a landIt was 27 Janua ry 1886, the beginn ing of a new school year and ugh the mark in girls' second ary educa tion in New South Wales. Altho in secion direct new a ted reflec g school stole quietly into life, its openin culmithe was It girls. of ondar y educa tion, particu larly the educa tion yan nation of many years of discus sion and negoti ation within the Wesle Churc h and a tangib le sign of its comm itmen t to educa tion.

Girls' edu cati on in New Sou th Wales the conLess than a centur y earlie r the first white childr en had arrive d on een sevent tinent - thirty- six of them: ninete en the childr en of marin es, instru cted • the childr en of convic ts. Altho ugh Gover nor Phillip had been sent with was er lteach schoo no en, to provid e educa tion for these childr the first ore, theref , the First Fleet when it sailed in 1787. Not surpri singly to orted transp teache r was a convic t - a woma n named Isabel la Rosso n, to teachthe colony for theft. Follow ing her examp le, other convic ts took the payon others s, ration and land ing, some suppo rted by gover nment from living e meagr a eking roll of the New South Wales Corps , still others the fees paid by their pupils . 1


The first century in New South Wales saw the development of several kinds of educational establishments for girls. Many girls never went to school at all and their education - or lack of it - at home depended entirely upon the economic position and priorities of their parents. Some were taught by tutors or governesses; others were simply expected to contribute to the running of the household, and education of almost any kind was denied them. The first private school for girls was opened by Mrs Williams in 1806. It was the forerunner of many similar private venture schools. 'Ladies' academies', as they were usually called, came and went with remarkable speed; advertising their services in the press, they catered for a small, elite group of girls, perhaps as few as six, rarely more than twenty. These schools were often conducted in the home of the teacher-proprietor, and provided a means by which widows or spinsters with a social position to think of could earn a living while retaining their reputation as respectable women. Their strength was in the teaching of the so-called 'polite accomplishments': subjects with little practical value but which fitted the pupils to become the wives of respectable middle-class gentlemen, able to hold their own in polite society without having to bother themselves with seemingly unnecessary academic concerns or disciplines. The Roman Catholic Church established convents for the education of girls. Staffed by female religious, they provided a type of education rarely obtainable in other girls' schools and were patronised by Protestants as well as Catholics. Many of the sisters who came to Australia to further the church's work were quite well educated. They had a strength and determination and a belief in the value of educating women that was unusual for the time. Although some of these convents were starved for funds and offered little more than a basic education, others provided their pupils with a curriculum that combined domestic economy and housewifely skills with a sound academic training and an attempt to impart at least a little understanding of culture and the arts. The relationship between church and state in the administration ofeducation was never an easy one, even in the earliest days when governors inspected schools run by clergymen and commented upon the achievements of their pupils. The first century saw several administrative attempts to clarify responsibilities and determine just who was responsible for what, and (perhaps more importantly) who would pay for it. During most of this time church schools received subsidies from the state. After a series of unwieldy systems were tried and had failed, the Public Instruction Act of 1880 determined that state aid to church schools would be phased out by the end of 1882 and that thereafter church schools would have to support themselves by whatever means they could. The Public Instruction Act had other effects as well: it provided for the secondary education of girls by setting up state high schools in four districts: Sydney, Maitland, Bathurst and Goulburn. Although these schools did not all survive, an important precedent had been set. Girls were worth educating, and worth educating at a secondary level. This premise was strengthened further by the provision in 1881 for women to be admitted 2


r. In 186 3 it was orm er home on the Par ram atta Rive Newington Hou se,j ohn Bla xlan d'sf ington College. New 's day ofto ner or boys, thef ore run opened as a 'collegiate inst ituti on'f

At the 185 0) on the sam e basis as me n. to Syd ney Un ive rsit y (fo und ed in s tha t ool sch deg ree at the sup erio r pub lic stat e hig h schools, and to a less er nta ry me , girls wer e tau ght Lat in, ele wer e also cre ate d by the 188 0 Act re, elo, Eng lish lan gua ge and lite ratu ma the ma tics , mo der n lan gua ges nee dle , dra win g, mu sic, coo ker y and cut ion , his tory , phy sica l scie nce rco me ove to lum inc lud ed in the cur ricu wor k. The se latt er sub ject s wer e dem ic aca o spe nt so mu ch tim e stu dyi ng a com mo n con cer n tha t girl s wh rs and om e com pet ent hou sew ive s, mo the sub ject s wo uld nev er lea rn to bec wives.

M et ho di sm an d ed uc at io n e 181 2, d in priv ate hom es in Syd ney sinc hel n bee had gs etin me t dis tho • Me Com the Gen era l We sley an Mis sion ary wh en Tho ma s Bow den wro te to 5 the 181 In . iste rs be sen t to the col ony mit tee in Lon don to ask tha t min dis t tho Me New Sou th Wa les to con duc t Rev ere nd Sam uel Lei gh arri ved in pel in r, in 181 7, the firs t Me tho dis t cha serv ices of wo rsh ip. Tw o yea rs late local h on lan d don ate d byJ ohn Lee s, a the col ony was ope ned at Cas tler eag d, fiel sion mis a as col ony was reg ard ed farm er. For the nex t fort y yea rs the s arie sion Pac ific in whi ch We sley an mis not unl ike the islands of the sou th 3


were active. The first Australian Wesleyan Conference, at which the Australian Methodist Church was granted autonomy, was held in Sydney in 1855. In 1874 this Conference became a triennial General Conference, and annual conferences were arranged in the colonies ofNew South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. Methodism grew rapidly in the colony; perhaps its simplicity of doctrine and directness of emotional appeal attracted those who were less than committed to the more staid and rigid doctrines and practices of the other established churches. The granting of state subsidies for church schools during the 1830s prompted the New South Wales District Meeting ofthe Methodist Church in September 1839 to resolve that denominational schools should be established. The first Methodist foray into education was not a success: Wesleyan Grammar, opened in 1840, foundered because of lack of support and inadequate financial backing, combined with insufficient state subsidy. The day primary schools established by the Methodists were only just able to -survive. Small, poor and inadequately staffed, they provided a basic education for a few pupils. By 1859 there were nine ofthese schools in Sydney and as far afield as Windsor, Castlereagh and Maitland. The way was prepared for a new impetus in the provision of Methodist education when, in 1861, the ReverendJohn Manton proposed to the education committee of the Sydney district that a 'collegiate institution' be established for boys. Two years later the college was opened in Newington House, John Blaxland's home on the Parramatta River, with an original enrolment of 'nineteen miserable boys'. In 1880 the school moved to its present site in Stanmore and became a flourishing concern, partly because of its location along the railway line, and partly because of the standard of teaching staff it attracted and its growing reputation within the community.

A school for girls The success of Newington College at Stanmore stimulated church interest in providing a similar kind of educational institution for girls. The effects of the Public Instruction Act and the establishment of state high schools for girls were other contributing factors. For the first time the government was taking the secondary education of girls seriously. Those fortunate enough to qualify and wealthy enough to pay the fees could receive a solid academic education that could lead to university as well as to matrimony. Change was in the air and the members of the education committee of the Wesleyan Conference were aware of it. They may well have been spurred in their good intentions by intercolonial and interdenominational rivalry. Although the only Protestant girls' school in Sydney was St Catherine's, or the Clergy Daughters' School, in Waverley, there were already two Protestant schools in Melbourne: the Presbyterian Ladies' College, founded in 1875, and the Methodist Ladies' College at Kew, established in 1882. A similar school, Oakburn College, 4


M . L . C



1 B 8 b

Miss Lester for A plan of the school in 1886. The origina l Kent House, purcha sed from the road Across block. ofthe corner Road 6000 pounds , occupies the Rowley Street - Park und. playgro and eld sportsfi a as years many for girls is the 'field', used by Burwoo d

South was also opene d in Launc eston in Tasma nia. It seeme d that New while worth a as seen singly Wales was laggin g behind in what was increa educa tional initiati ve. someIt was a good time in which to be contem platin g the found ation of New which in years boom were 1880s thing as perma nent as a school . The as overse and wool , ofgold South Wales surged forwa rd on the mome ntum 5


investment, and on the confidence of its citizens that theirs was a land of infinite possibilities. Land and building boomed; railways and roads thrust outwards. The Australian International Exhibition, held in the ornate Garden Palace in Sydney's botanic gardens in 1879-1880, symbolised this new-found confidence in the seemingly boundless wealth the colony could produce. It was time, too, for progress in culture and learning: the Bulletin magazine, aggressively Australian and democratic, published the work of writers of the calibre of Henry Lawson and A. B. Paterson; at the university the traditional classics were being joined by geology, chemistry and other scientific subjects. The movement towards establishing a Methodist college for girls was an aspect of this social ferment, a belated recognition that girls' skills and talents were being wasted and that, given the chance to excel, they could con~ tribute more to society than was currently being expected of them .

. The .beginnings The Wesleyan Conference of New South Wales had first resolved in 1872 that 'the superior education of the daughters of our people' was a worthwhile objective. The idea was sound and generally accepted but there were years of frustrating inactivity in which other issues took precedence over the establishment of a school for girls. Not until 1883 did the Conference appoint a committee (one member of which was the future headmaster, Charles Prescott) to investigate the possibility. This committee, which duly met in the York Street church on 4 May 1883, confirmed its belief that: considering the great importance to our Church and to the country generally of higher education, this meeting is of the opinion that the time has now come when steps should be taken for the immediate establishment in the colony of a high school for girls. I The school, it was agreed, should offer 'a sound and complete education', at the same time paying special attention to 'the religious and domestic training of its pupils'. Even the relatively enlightened gentlemen of the committee were not able completely to overthrow the traditional concept of the 'true place of women'; they deemed it necessary to include domestic training in the curriculum, if only to attract pupils. In the following year the committee was instructed by the Wesleyan Conference to purchase or rent a suitable site or building. A subcommittee oflaymen and ministers was appointed to seek out and investigate possible locations for the proposed new school. It was determined that the ideal site would be close to the railway line and no further from the city than Ashfield and Burwood. The experience of ewington at Stanmore had shown how important location was in attracting students and thus ensuring the success of a school. Then followed a period of considerable frustration and delay as several sites were suggested, examined, priced and rejected. Properties at 6





TO BE OPENED JANUAB Y 27th, 1888. PrHiden t and JIMd Master (pronIfO Bally) t tn BaY. C. J. PRESCO TT. B.A. (late Exhibitto Jler of Wo!'Cllt ioDit CoIl~e, Oxford j Honours !D Mathema tiea1 Moderat 1878, and FiDala 18eO i .Prizema n of London UniTenit y)cl' who will be uaiIted Dy a a~ 01 e1Ilci8Jlt J'eIIidGU au villitinr Teachen . felt Thla College ia founded to meet a want that hu been in the for some yeara by membera of the Wesleya n Church, both at the deciaion the elty and the country j aud to cany out CoD!erence, arrlvecla t after' 4iacuaalon !D aeveral of ita annual meeting•• Whilt It undll'tak et, in the arst inatauce , to aupply thh "ant" 01 tta baaia will be sufficiently broad to meet the requirem enta parent. of lither Chaiat1an Churche s. E... ery ~ will be taken to foater a lofty moral tou aDd hie" Christian principle lD the papUa. The Collelfe it ~tuated in an eminentl y healthy neighbou rhood, auftlciently removed from the keen air of the _, euUy acesible by train from Sydney, and comman ding a beautitu l "rie" a DlADy :ia.il.. round. The premiaea han been OCl'Upied all • IChool by Mila IM_, . many yean paat, and are oonstque ntly well-kD01F1l. The Committ ee &Te prepared to make &1l neceuar y addition s and fmpro...e menta for the proper accommo datioD and comfort at da" !'cholara and boarden . The KhDla6tic oourae will !Delude the usual aubjecta of educa. life, wiD tion, and, while it aima at fitting the pupila for home tJ also make pro'f1aion for thou ~ho ",iah to prepare for Uni...enl .phere their honou!",z aDd for tbose ~ho look Ionrard to bd.in4f of userume u!D edueatio nalworlt . , Tlul Ladiea' Colle,. Committ ee hu appointe d the followin 0 gentleale ll, who are memben thereof, a COHliU TTEE Prethe ADYlCE to c~perate with the PRESID E..'(T ;-ReT. FLETC HE. ~ident of the Confenm oe ex-oftlcio, Rev. J. H D.D.. (Prea1dent of Newingt on College), ReT. W. KELYN. ~CK,LAND, nev. W. CLARIE . B. lAMES, EIlq., W. H. II'CLEL Esq., E. VICKER !LEaQ., H. C. Fruer. EIQ.. THE PROSPEl.TUSlo:S ARP. NOW BEADY . and may be Eobtained at the WESLEY AN BOOK DEPOT, GEORG 8THEET , SYDNEY j or from the PRE81D ENT. Wentwo rth..trl'Ct. Parrama tta.

ced in the Sydney The o~ening of the Wesleyan Ladies' College, BUTW?od, is announ the 'healthy neighstresses sement advertz The 1886. y Mornm g Herald on 23 Januar e from the 'keen distanc its larly particu noting sited, was school the bourhood' in which seen 'for many be could that air ofthe sea " its accessibility by train and the'beautiful view' miles around ',



Croydon, Ashfield, Auburn, Stanmore, Homebush and beyond were all considered, including Shubray Hall, the Hordern family home at Croydon which is now the site ofPLC School. For one reason or another, none was felt to be suitable - expense being a major stumbling block. Enthusiasm for the project declined as the search dragged on; one meeting had to be cancelled because, although twenty notices had been sent out, only four committee members had turned up. On 22 May 1885 the committee first heard of Miss Lester's school at Burwood, which was a possible site. Miss Lester, it was later ascertained, was willing to sell her property for 6849 pounds. This was considered too expensive and the offer was not accepted. Things dragged on until September when, perhaps in a spirit of desperation, a number of new members were co-opted onto the committee and a resolution passed asserting that 'it is very desirable to begin the Ladies' College at once in such suitable temporary premises as can be secured'. 2 The knowledge that the premises could be temporary rather than permanent spurred the committee to more positive action. Kent House in Park Road, Miss Lester's school, as well as Lansdowne House, on the other side of Parramatta Road, were possibilities. Miss Lester had established her first school in Lansdowne House in 1855 but had moved to Kent House soon after. A deputation visited Lansdowne House and decided against it, but interest remained in Miss Lester's present school, Kent House. On 6 November 1885 it was announced that the committee recommended the purchase of Kent House for a sum of6000 pounds, including whatever furniture was considered suitable. The buildings consisted of only four rooms on the ground floor, with a series of bedrooms above. The block also included a self-contained cottage, used mainly 'for sleeping purposes'. With the house came the grassed paddock on the other side of Park Road. Altogether the property amounted to about a hectare in area. The purchase was approved by the general committee in December but only as a temporary expedient. It was considered necessary to continue the search for a building that would offer more scope for expansion as the school grew. It was agreed that the name of the new school was to be Wesleyan Ladies' College, despite an earlier recommendation from the subcommittee that it be Methodist Ladies' College. From then until the opening of the school, events moved quickly. Mr Prescott was nominated for the position of headmaster and president of the college by the Reverend]. H. Fletcher, president of Newington College and principal of the Theological Institution, where Prescott had been engaged as tutor. Prescott's appointment must have concerned some of those at the Wesleyan Conference, as he was a mere twenty-eight years old. Fees were set at fifteen or sixteen guineas for boarders and three and four guineas for day girls, with extras being charged for at set rates. There was little time to solicit contributions or raise funds: some furniture was donated but little else that could have helped in the school's spartan early days. Mr Prescott was asked to put together the wording of advertisements to be inserted in the Sydney press, church papers and the papers of Presby8


Burwood in the 1850s. The suburb was still a rural outpost, but it was to grow rapidly with the coming ofthe railway and the western spread ofSydney.

terian and independent congregations. He visited the Methodist Ladies' College in Victoria to 'gain information re the details of its working'. 3 Trustees were appointed and the school made ready for business. Burwood was a sound choice of location. In the 1880s the suburb was growing quickly with the rapid development of Sydney and attracting those who wanted to live conveniently to the city without having to suffer the overcrowding and unhygienic conditions of inner city living. The subyrb had gained its name from Burwood Farm, the name given by the district's first settler, Thomas Rowley, a captain in the New South Wales Corps, to his 200-acre land grant in 1799. Perhaps he chose the name to remind him of Burwood Farm in Cornwall where he had lived as a young man. Part of his grant is now the Burwood Park near the school; part has been incorporated into the school's site. In the early days Burwood was a convenient staging post for the coaches that travelled along Parramatta Road on what was then a long and arduous 9



~~~~-- . ~ -~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~4~~~~~c:-~!1 -=

Crowds cheer the arrival of the first train at Parramatta in 1855. The Sydney - Parramatta railway line helped to overcome Burwood's isolation and stimulated both residential and commercial growth. By the 1880s Burwood had established itselfas a desirable residential area and was considered to be an ideal location for a new school.

journey. Dairy farms and market gardens were scattered about the district; cattle grazed in what is now built-up suburbia. The opening of the Sydney - Parramatta railway line in 1855 encouraged development and in the years following several grand mansions were built as country houses for city businessmen. A public school opened in Burwood in 1858; the post office followed in 1861 and St Paul's Church of England was built in 1871. In its own way Burwood was a model suburb: the Hoskins family developed land around today's Appian Way and E. T. Penfold, ofthe Sydney stationery company, built his home Woodstock there in 1873; other businessmen followed suit. Administered by a progressive educationalist, and with its position close to the railway line, in a developing and prestigious suburb, Wesleyan Ladies' College seemed set for success.

1 2


Minutes, 4 May 1883 Minutes, 18 September 1885 Minutes, 8 December 1885



Chapter 2

The Prescott '\ears r886 - r899 T

the headHE APPO INTM ENT of the youthf ul Charle s Presco tt to

maste rship of the new Wesle yan Ladies ' Colleg e was clearly someic thing of a gambl e. Altho ugh his intelle ctual ability and academ and iser organ an as skills his ce, achiev ement s were very much in eviden tment admin istrato r still remai ned to be tested . The offer of the appoin presier, was made on the recom menda tion of the Rever end]. H. Fletch tion, dent of Newin gton Colleg e and princi pal of the Theol ogical Institu capahis assess to and tt Presco e who had had a good oppor tunity to observ bilities during the previo us severa l years. ling Charle s Presco tt, the son of a Wesle yan minist er, receiv ed his schoo by John at Kings wood Schoo l in Bath. The school had been found ed ly strong a and ine discipl harsh for Wesle y in 1748 and had a reputa tion a er, howev , school the at author itarian tone. Soon after Charle s arrive d ons. traditi new gover nor was appoin ted who introd uced more liberal cive Most of Charle s' schoo ling took place in an atmos phere that was condu tion of to the develo pment of an inquir ing intelle ct as well as to the forma strong person al discipl ine. acaCharle s disting uished himse lf at school , winnin g many prizes for possdemic excell ence and taking full advan tage of the oppor tunity , made played ible by the more relaxe d atmos phere, to partic ipate in sport. He ped at develo game the on cricke t, soccer , and a kind of footba ll based sucwas year ing Rugby . In 1873 he was dux of the school and in the follow iate Assoc cessful in the Senior Oxfor d Local exami nation and becam e an in Arts at the Unive rsity of Oxfor d. masBefore going to univer sity Charle s took up a positio n as an assista nt his for both ns opinio ter at a school at Bolton . Here, again, he won golden onial testim g ability and for his qualiti es of charac ter and receiv ed a glowin from the headm aster, a Mr E. R. Lightf oot. d. At In 1876 he receiv ed a schola rship to Worce ster Colleg e at Oxfor as a also but r, schola univer sity he disting uished himsel f, not only as a 11



debater and a member of the college rowing team. But in scholarship he excelled: in 1880 he graduated with honours in mathematics and the university prize for Greek. Some idea of the range and depth of Prescott's scholarship can be gained from the fact that he was able to read five languages, apart from English, was fluent in French and a competent speaker of German. On graduating from the university Prescott began studies for the ministry. In 1882 he married Anne Elizabeth Price and the two set sail for Australia along with ten other aspiring ministers. Anne's health was the prime motive for the move to the Antipodes. She was suffering from tuberculosis and had been advised that removal to a warmer climate was essential ifshe was to survive. The move certainly proved beneficial: Anne's condition improved immediately and she went on to live an active and happy life for almost a further half century. When the Wesleyan Ladies' College opened on the morning of 27 January 18.86, it represented the culmination of a period of intense and dedicated effort on the part of its new young headmaster as much as the beginning of fourteen years of distinguished leadership. In the few weeks since he had been offered the position of headmaster Mr Prescott had, almost single-handed, organised the school into existence. There can be little doubt that Prescott relished the prospect of his new task. When the offer came on the morning of2 December 1885 he wasted no time in accepting it. By midday he had discussed it with his wife and had made up his mind. The next day both Charles and Anne went to Burwood' to inspect the school. Indeed, the prospect and the challenge of this position may well have provided the Prescotts' jaded spirits with a muchneeded fillip: barely two weeks earlier the young couple had suffered the loss ofa four-month-old daughter. Both the Prescotts approached the new challenge with enthusiasm. There were lengthy committee meetings to attend, prospectuses to be drawn up, staff to be appointed, advertisements. to be arranged as well as the need to attend to preaching and other pastoral duties at Parramatta. Before the end of the year, too, Prescott sat for the probationary ministers' examination, so that by the time the school opened he was a fully ordained minister. It was determined that the school would open with a staff of three: there were to be a headmistress and a matron or housekeeper as well as the principal. Mrs Prescott, although not officially on staff, would have an important role to play in the everyday running of the school. Prescott made a trip to Melbourne where he probably conferred with the founding principal ofthe first Methodist girls' school in Australia, at Hawthorn. He may also have met Miss E. Shiels who had previously been in charge of a school in Victoria and who was appointed as headmistress of the new school at Burwood. When the fledgling school opened its doors on 27 January, nine days after the Prescotts had taken up residence and the day after the arrival of Miss Shiels, there were a mere ten pupils in attendance - humble beginnings indeed. Four of these were boarders from as far afield as Kempsey on the Macleay and Goolagong on the Lachlan River; the other six were 12


between them, are An early school gathering. Mr and Mrs Prescott, with their son Arnold in the centre ofthe second row.

numb er day pupils from the surrou nding distric t. One reason for the small for the of pupils was obviou sly the short period in which prepar ations of pubschool 's openin g had to be finalised. Anoth er was no doubt a lack to done was little ts, isemen advert aper licity: apart from some newsp . school inform the public of the existe nce of a new fact Lack of adequ ate financ es may well have been a factor in this. In made the school began life on a very shaky financ ial basis: no appea l was be for funds and it was assum ed that expen ses, includ ing salarie s, would guaran no was There te. genera met by the revenu e the school was able to its or way its pay to tee that the Wesle yan Ladies ' Colleg e would be able years, staff. Financ ial proble ms were to plague the colleg e during its early 13


and would, during Mr Prescott's term as headmaster, be the cause of several crises and a good deal of controversy. Despite all this, the numbers of pupils grew steadily: by the end of January there were thirteen pupils in attendance with several more in the offing. By the end of the first year, fifty-four pupils were enrolled and the school's future looked reasonably secure. At first Mr Prescott and Miss Shiels undertook all the teaching duties. Miss Shiels was concerned mainly with the younger girls and with the teaching of needlework. As the school expanded a number of part-time teachers were appointed to look after specialised subjects such as music, drawing and painting and gymnastics, areas in which it was considered appropriate that young ladies should become proficient. Music teachers such as Miss Fairey, Mrs Simmons and Miss Thomson spent some tim~ teaching at the school during the first two years until the appointment of Mr Frederick Morley as music and singing master began an association that w~s to last almost forty years. During 1886 Miss Douglas was appointed to teach drawing and painting and at the beginning of 1887 Miss Foster became the school's teacher of gymnastics. Miss Douglas was later to make a tangibly permanent contribution to the school by designing, in collaboration with Mr Prescott, the school badge. It still survives today, as does the motto, chosen by the principal from the Vulgate: 'Ut filiae lucis ambulate' - 'Walk as Daughters of the Light'. The school colours, too - bands of dark and light blue - were chosen by Mr Prescott in tribute to his old university and to its rival institution, Cambridge. Mr Morley was an Englishman who had come to Australia to join his uncle's jewellery firm but, finding music more to his taste, had become a church organist instead. He was one of the 'characters' in the early life of the school and endeared himself to the pupils by his exuberance and goodnatured informality. References to him in the reminiscences of ex-pupils stress these qualities and reflect the affection he so naturally and universally inspired. We catch glimpses of Mr Morley playing rounders in top hat and tails, removing his hat and tucking up the tails to retrieve the ball from under a bench; we see him officiating at picnics with characteristic bonhomie, delivering comic songs at school gatherings, and encouraging the girls to give spirited renditions of what might otherwise be tedious songs. He was a keen tennis player and when tennis was introduced into the school he led the day girls' team and helped out with coaching. In many ways Mr Morley epitomised the lighter side of life at the Wesleyan Ladies' College. And it was a side into which the headmaster, too, could enter - if not with the same abandon as the irrepressible Morley, at least with humour and enjoyment. He, too, took part in games and expressed a strong belief in the importance of sport and physical activity, both for the enjoyment they provided and because they contributed to general well-being and improved intellectual and scholastic performance. Prescott believed, probably with more conviction than most people of the time, that intellectual discipline and scholastic achievement were 14









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and her proA week's program in 1887. The student noted her daily tasks in all subjects gress was duly marked and recorded.

that he impor tant object ives in the educa tion of girls. It was a belief h Day Speec expres sed more forcib ly as time went by. His report at the first female gives some fascin ating insigh ts into his beliefs about priorit ies in educa tion. In it Presco tt echoe d the conve ntiona l views of the day about the prime work impor tance of such 'accom plishm ents' as music, drawin g and needle things (but not dressm aking) in trainin g girls for their future roles: 'such time as music, drawin g and painti ng should occupy a larger part of a girl's would s parent ' pupils the of most than a boy's'. J It was a point of view that the have heartil y endors ed. Most people regard ed institu tions like ofthe ters Wesle yan Ladies ' Colleg e as 'finish ing school s' where the daugh wives of well-to-do or the socially preten tious were prepa red to be worth y tt Presco er, howev , report same wealth y and successful men. In the tance impor r greate ever e tentati vely broach ed an idea that would assum quaint ly in the educa tional practi ce of the school. In terms that sound anach ronist ic and even conde scendi ng today, Presco tt stated : adult woman , I Howev er the mind of an adult man may compa re with that of an differe nce ... believe that betwee n the mind of a boy and a girl there is no great 2 for mental discipl ine much the same course of study is the best. 15


It is hardly a revolutionary statement, but in the context oflate-Victorian attitudes about the role of women in general and private girls' schools in particular, it hinted at a more liberal outlook. The headmaster went on to reassure his listeners that though such sentiments may seem 'new and strange', no harm would be occasioned to the girls' health by the study of such disciplines as arithmetic, parsing and analysis and Latin and French. The possibility of the girls sitting for university entrance exams was raised but it had been decided to wait until 'our influence upon them was a little stronger'. They did not have to wait long. In the very next year, a Miss G. Williams took the University Junior examination, gaining a First in history and coming within a single mark of a First in French. Thereafter, more and more of the pupils sat for public examinations, the lists of successes grew steadily, and the announcement ofresul ts became a regular, feature of Speech Day reports. In 1893 Mr Prescott was able proudly to announce the first graduation from Sydney University of a former pupil of the school. Miss Amy Wearne, who had been one of the school's earliest pupils and was dux in 1889, graduated with first class honours in history. Later on, as a teacher, she was to make a significant contribution to the development of the Wesleyan Ladies' College. Amy Wearne was to be the first of many such successes. As the years passed an ever-growing number of Burwood girls distinguished themselves both in school and university examinations and the school built up an enviable reputation for scholastic excellence thoughout the community at large. While Prescott no doubt rejoiced in this realisation of one of his most cherished ambitions for the young school, and lost no opportunity to publicise its scholastic achievements, he was careful not to exalt scholarship A sketch by one of the early pupils in the October 1894 edition of Excelsior shows Mr Prescott, in academic gown and mortar board, with three ofhis students.



ngs of a pro ud musical tradition. An early string ensemble, the beginni

y as an of edu cat ion . Wh eth er prim aril at the exp ens e of oth er asp ects s or par ent s and oth er sch ool aut hor itie acc ept anc e of the exp ect atio ns of ortPre sco tt con tinu ed to stress the imp as a refl ect ion of his ow n atti tud es, 's ool sch the in sic, ent s, and especially mu anc e of the gen tee l acc om plis hm prio riti es. er con ver sati on, nee dle wo rk and lett • Sub jec ts suc h as dra win g, Fre nch alre ady ce in the daily sch edu le. We hav e wri ting occ upi ed a sig nifi can t pla nt of tme oin app nee dle wo rk and the not ed Miss Shi els' pre dile ctio n for n, ma nch Fre g and pai ntin g. A you ng Miss Do ugl as as tea che r of dra win ng usi am per app ear anc e and his oft en Mo nsi eur Bul tea u, not ed for his dap you ng sou nds fro m som etim es relu cta nt atte mp ts to elicit aut hen tic gallic for ma l sch ool to sup ple me nt the mo re Au stra lian mo uth s, visited the sati ona l pra ctic e. ins truc tion in Fre nch with con ver 17


Mr Prescott and Sixth Form, November 1897. In the early years of the school there was no official uniform, but girls were expected to be modestly dressed and well covered, even in the heat ofsummer.

Music was, from the beginning, a special preoccupation. So important was it considered that, even when the school was conspicuously successful in academic examinations, the results of music exams always took precedence in the annual Speech Day reports. It is probably indicative ofthe principal's concern with the pursuit of excellence and his natural desire to see his pupils compete successfully against others and achieve tangible recognition for their achievements, that examinations in music, rather than the mere practice of it, were valued so highly. Wesleyan Ladies' College helped to pioneer the establishment of the Trinity College (London) Examinations in musical theory which until then had been poorly accepted in Australia. 18


in and rela xat ion was also imp ort ant Bu t mu sic as a sou rce of ple asu re an beg ch whi gs, orts of boa rde rs' eve nin Pre sco tt's sch em e of thin gs. Rep wh ich itat ion s fro m Mrs Pre sco tt but spa smo dic ally wit h occ asio nal inv som e e life in the Pre sco tt yea rs, pro vid bec am e a reg ula r fea tur e of sch ool The se side of the prin cip al's cha rac ter. fas cin atin g glim pse s of the ligh ter e and for ma nce s by pup ils and adu lts alik wer e cha rac teri sed by mu sica l per rite d spi t's hos uld gen era lly end wit h the by lively con ver sati on. The y wo the on ng Son g', no dou bt acc om pan ied ren diti on of the 'Ye om an' s We ddi not ed for her musical pro wes s. pia no by Mrs Pre sco tt, wh o was to the role of ster n sch ool ma ster and Mr Pre sco tt's abi lity to step out of as ius gen l ura is cle ar evi den ce of his nat ass um e tha t of gen ial com pan ion n ctio affe tow ard s exp lain ing the obv iou s an edu cat or and goe s a lon g way he at wit h whi ch the y rec alle d him . Th in wh ich his pup ils hel d him and 193 6, the Jubilee Souvenir, pub lish ed in cou ld be sev ere is not in dou bt. In of his er pow the h of his disc ipli ne and Am y We arn e rec alle d the stre ngt the out t not eve n per fec t love cou ld cas ton gue wh en he was ang ry: '... t tha the the cul prit had to ack now led ge fea r of tha t and its lash ing . Bu t the e pas sag e Miss We arn e wro te of lash ing was des erv ed. '3 In the sam a ny ma t kep bt his eye s' tha t no dou 'kee nne ss and ran ge of view of wo uld -be mis cre ant in che ck. yea rs ss is fou nd in an inc ide nt rela ted An exa mp le of this visual ale rtne chi ldis h pupils. It shows a tole ran ce of ten t firs se tho of one by r late e min or mis dem ean our s in the ir tru mis chi evo usn ess , a cap acit y to view t hin a n eve e sev erit y wit h hum our and per spe ctiv e and an abi lity to bal anc of pla yfu lne ss: us imp orta nt een D..... and me whi ch see med to The re was a littl e hap pen ing betw tell me, so to s she wan ted was bub blin g ove r with som e new at the tim e. D cou sin, 'My te me a littl e not e. It was as follows: she dec ided to take a risk and wri to me sed pas g ... Mr Pre sco tt saw the not e bein g, M. C., is eng age d to Lor d B...... ' blin trem to me. ' So poo r D........ , in fear and to and said, ' D...... , brin g tha t not e it read ld D....... to stan d nea r by, and he wou n too k it ove r to him ... He ask ed The ere. sev kle in his eye, yet tryi ng to look to the sch ool, whi ch he did with a twin es com e tim read ing ; how eve r, whe n the he said, 'D ...... , this is inte rest ing the Sch ool. '4 u will sen d me wor d, I will read it to ann oun ce you r eng age men t, ifyo

wit h had frig hte ned one of her frie nds An oth er you ng wro ngd oer , wh o d alle eam ing dow n the cor rid or, late r rec a dea d coc kro ach and sen t her scr mie n' ma inta in the 'fie rce ang er in his the prin cip al's obv iou s eff ort to h of mp triu al ntu exp lain ed and the eve wh en the cau se of the upr oar was nt. me ish uce d the sev erit y of the pun t)le 'tw ink le in the eye ' as he red pup ils cer ned wit h the wel fare ofall the Th at Pre sco tt was gen uin ely con the fac t h aca dem ic pot ent ial is sho wn by hig h wit se tho h wit ply sim not and bed rea din g and wri ting . The se he dub tha t he set up rem edi al classes in ss'; Cla s' iter Wr s' Class' and 'Th e Bad rat her blu ntly , 'Th e Bad Rea der and ech of una ccc ept abl e hab its of spe the y wer e dev ote d to the rec tify ing Colyea rs' uns ucc ess ful lob byi ng of the han dw riti ng. In 189 1, afte r thr ee and suc cee ded in esta blis hin g a sew ing leg e Cou nci l, Pre sco tt eve ntu ally 19


dress-cutting class. Such a practical and sensible measure had been resisted by the Council, supposedly on the grounds that an activity as useful as this was not consistent with the aim of turning out young ladies of cultivation and refinement. Another example of Prescott's sensitive appreciation of his students' needs and his capacity to make observations and adjust established practices in the light of these was his decision, announced in his 1888 Speech Day report, to correct a tendency to rely on memory at the expense of reasoned thought by concentrating on grammar and mathematics and even giving algebra to the 'little girls'. Of course no survey of Mr Prescott's philosophy and practice of education can ignore the importance he placed on religion. Every morning pupils were required to recite verses of Scripture by heart, and regular Bible lessons were part of the school routine. According to Miss Amy Wearne, he taught Scripture with great conviction and managed to make 'the characters, even of the Old Testament, vivid personalities' and to impress deeply in the minds of his young listeners the basic principles and beliefs on which a Christian life should be based. Boarders were subjected to Sunday afternoon sessions in which they were required to recall, one after the other, aspects of the sermon they had heard at church that morning. One boarder recalled with amusement the confused attempts of the younger girls to dredge up even the most insignificant points so as not to be left without something new to offer, and the 'almost desperate' attention with which the sermons were listened to.

Physical education and sport Prescott believed strongly in the interdependence of body and mind and so considered sport and physical exercise to have an important place in the curriculum. In his very first Speech Day report at the end of 1886, the headmaster referred to the 'importance of the "corpus sanum" as well as the "mens sana" " as well as to the existence and use of dumbbells and parallel bars in the school. A boarder in those early days recalled how she painfully and rather imperfectly acquired: ... what I have long since lost, the habit of early rising. Early morning exercises with clubs and dumb-bells were then the rule, and I recollect how, during a burglar scare, we were instructed to take those deadly weapons up to our bedrooms, so as to be ready, I suppose, to drop them on the heads ofany midnight marauders attempting to scale the walls or balconies. s

In the second year of the school's existence a gymnastics teacher was appointed and in 1890 a fully equipped gymnasium was built. Very early on a tennis court was established in the 'paddock', across the road from the school building, and during the 1890s an asphalt court was built and space cleared for another two courts. Although at first slow to be taken up, by the mid-1890s tennis was very popular and was one of the two games (rounders was the other) to be played regularly. Matches were organised between 20


The school's tennis players pose for the camera .


ns of the board ers and day girls, with Mr Presco tt and Mr Morle y as captai so oliday half-h a respec tive teams. On one occasi on the princi pal declar ed and nts' that the entire school could witness a tourna ment betwe en 'reside agains t played was tennis chool inter-s 'non-r esiden ts'. In 1888 the first ps ionshi champ school and the Presby terian Ladies ' Colleg e at Croyd on lly genera were sport were introd uced. The high standa rds achiev ed in this attribu ted to the coach ing of Mr Morle y. 21


Rounders was played regularly twice weekly, again with the two masters captaining teams of boarders and day girls. Kittie Prescott, who attended the school while her father was headmaster, recalled Mr Morley's humorous 'Well, I'm jiggered!', uttered in mock disbelief whenever he was dismissed. One wonders just how much exercis~ the girls of those days derived from this sport: as their long dresses made rapid movement difficult, the two men did all the running for them. The most common form of organised relaxation for boarders, and no doubt a salutary form of physical exercise, was the brisk walk around the surrounding district. As a boarder from the nineties recalled: "'If you please, young ladies!" was always the signal to take our partners and march two by two along the Strathfield Boulevarde, or to the Concord paddocks ... or to perambulate the adjacent suburbs. '6 Rowing, too, was a pastime the boarders occasionally enjoyed; pleasant afternoons were spent rowing on nearby Hen and Chicken Bay on the Parramatta River. In 1899 cricket was introduced as an organised sport into the school.

The kindergarten An important innovation which, in a sense, placed the Wesleyan Ladies' College in the forefront of educational practice was the establishment of a kindergarten in 1889. The Kindergarten Movement, based on ideas developed in Germany by Friedrich Froebel, was in its infancy in Australia and was struggling to gain support. It was felt by many that, as their activities revolved around play, these kindergartens could be of little educational value. Prescott believed firmly in the importance of education for very young children, and managed to persuade the College Council to establish a coeducational kindergarten. A Miss Grady, who was trained in England, was appointed as kindergarten teacher. At the end of the first year the small children mounted a display of their work at the annual Speech Day and, so pleased was the principal with the success of the venture, that he boasted to his audience that, 'the little folk now prefer school to holidays and find Saturday a long and tedious day'. During 1890 a roomy, one-storeyed wooden structure with a wide verandah was constructed to house the new kindergarten. It stood in the corner of the school grounds bounded by Rowley and Grantham streets, and cost between 250 and 300 pounds to build. It was financed by a donation from a member of the College Council. It is believed that the Wesleyan Ladies' College was the first school in New South Wales to erect a kindergarten building. When Miss Grady left at the end of 1890 she was replaced by Miss Scheer. She had received her training in Germany in the methods developed by Froebels, but was willing to adapt her methods to fit in with Mr Prescott's ideas of what should be provided. Under Prescott's guidance and Miss Scheer's teaching, this kindergarten was certainly no mere play 22


her small charges Miss Grady, the school's first kindergarten teacher, photographed with 1890. in them for cted constru was that g buildin wooden the outside

purcentre . Game s there were, but games with a decide dly instruc tional t taugh even r Schee pose, design ed to 'encou rage observ ation oflife' . Miss Germa n to her small charge s. d Miss Schee r took an active intere st in many aspect s of school life beyon efforts her to thanks is It r. teache her immed iate conce rns as kinder garten for the that Excelsior, that chroni cle of school experi ences and outlet Schee r Miss studen ts' literar y efforts , came into being. As early as 1892 she set had sugges ted that a school magaz ine should be started up and rithandw were s edition t earlies The nt. about organi sing its establ ishme n editio d printe first the ten and run off on an old jelly roll' and in 1894 sed exerci r - of twelve pages - appea red. It would seem that Miss Schee t of fairly tight editor ial contro l over the magaz ine: acccor ding to a studen



the time, 'Contributions were not "invited", but certain girls were singled out and certain subjects allotted to them'.7 Despite this, even the remote possibility of getting into print seems to have awakened many a hitherto dormant talent: ... a spirit of poesy descended upon us, when every boarder provided herself with a huge notebook, and jotted down in metre the incidents of the school day.s

Miss Minnie Wearne The name Wearne figures prominently in the story of MLC Burwood. Between them the two sisters, Minnie and Amy, were important in influencing several generations of students and in shaping the future of the school. Minnie Wearne came to the school as an assistant mistress when Miss Shiels left in 1888; at the time her younger sister was still a pupil there.' Miss Minnie Wearne's arrival was opportune for a school that was anxious to establish a tradition of learning and academic excellence. She was a scholar by temperament and had the distinction of being one of the first seven women to graduate from Sydney University. When she arrived as a young graduate of twenty-three with a degree in mathematics and languages, the school was still in its infancy and she and Mr Prescott together were able to mould it into the kind of institution they wished to create. During her first four years at the Wesleyan Ladies' College she combined a demanding teaching schedule with further studies of her own. In 1892 she was awarded a second degree: a Master of Arts in ethics and political economy. Reports of Miss Wearne refer repeatedly to her quiet demeanour and gentle manner and to the respect and affection she inspired in her pupils. As one former pupil remembered: Only once did I hear a girl say anything derogatory about her. I think we all felt disposed to do the Lion Act and tear her to pieces. It was the first and last time she dared to utter such a remark. 9

In 1900 Miss Wearne was promoted to become the headmistress of the school.

Buildings and finances When the Wesleyan Ladies' College opened, its financial situation was anything but secure. Throughout his period as headmaster, Mr Prescott was plagued by financial problems: how to finance existing debts and at the same time cater for the ever-increasing numbers of pupils and their growing educational needs were matters that constantly worried him and that, more than once, elicited from him public expressions of frustration and dismay. 24


A photograph of the assembled school. Miss Minnie Wearne is on the left; Mr Charles Prescott towards the right.

In an appeal for funds in 1914, a notice in Excelsior stated that: ... the Burwood Ladies' College [the name was changed in 1899], unlike most modern schools, has never had any endowment. It was started in faith, perhaps in the hope that some generous friend might come forward and do something to lighten the debt incurred by the buying of the College. 10

It was to be almost six years before such a 'generous friend', in the person of Mrs Schofield, was to emerge. For the first few years, thing went along smoothly enough, though the school existed on borrowed money and the business of making ends meet with the burden of regular interest payments meant that tight financial



stringencies had to be observed. Some help had been forthcoming: some furniture had been given to assist with the school's opening and there had been the donation which had made the building of the kindergarten possible. But the original response to the advertisements, which stated that the school was being opened to satisfy a 'felt want' in the community, was very disappointing. For the first two years the school was running at a loss, and it was not until 1889 that the headmaster was able to announce that 'we just about pay our way'. By 1891 the outlook was looking distinctly bright. The number ofpupils had risen to eighty-seven and and there was a surplus of 200 pounds. As well, plans were afoot for a significant extension to the buildings. The cottage, which had been used mainly for sleeping accommodation, was to be demolished and, in its place and continuous with the existing main building, was to be erected a dining hall with a suite of bedrooms above. The sum of 2000 pounds needed to finance this major enterprise was to be pI:ovided by Mrs Schofield. Mrs Schofield, the wealthy widow of the Reverend W. Schofield, a Wesleyan minister, had herself been a teacher and it was generally expected that she would take an interest in the new school. She had in the past been very generous in her donations to churches and was a familiar figure at foundation stone laying ceremonies. She had a treasured collection of trowels that she had used for this purpose: a personal memento of her philanthropic largesse. Up to this time, however, she had provided neither encouragement nor funds to the new college. A friend and mentor, the Reverend George Lane, pointed out the' growing prestige of the school and probably dropped a hint about its financial problems. One day she summoned Mr Prescott and, to his delight and amazement, offered to provide 2000 pounds for the much-needed hall and extensions. The new hall, to be known as the Schofield Hall, was designed by Mr H. C. Kent who also made provision for two towers. Years later Mrs Schofield donated another 800 pounds for the construction of these. Not surprisingly Mrs Schofield laid the foundation stone at the 1891 Speech Day. One ofthe pupils later recalled her as 'a little old lady in a white dress, with white stockings and black slippers' .11 When the new building was opened in November 1892 Mrs Schofield visited the school to view the results of her generous gift. As well as the capacious hall with its beautiful timbered ceiling and wooden beams she was also able to inspect a cabinet - specially designed in a grand gothic style to blend with the architecture of the hall- in which were housed for the benefit of posterity her collection of foundation-laying trowels. They remain there to this day. In other ways, however, 1892 was a dismal year for the school. The looming economic recession, exceeded in severity only by the Great Depression of the 1930s, resulted in the removal of a large number of students, a phenomenon that was exacerbated by the competition posed by the Presbyterian Ladies' College at Croydon. This school, which opened in 1888 on a site that had been considered and rejected as a suitable situation for the Wesleyan Ladies' College, had the advantage of being nearer to the railway line. Its establishment caused considerable



s it served as The interior ofSchofield Hall, opened in 1892. For generations of boarder ntfunctions. importa r venuefo and hall y a dining room and was also the school's assembl ationoffound n collectio ld's Schofie Mrs housing cabinet In the corner can be seen the laying trowels.

h Day resent ment among suppo rters of the older school . In his Speec both his report of 1892 Presco tt vented his feeling s of frustra tion agains t a total own Churc h and the Presby terian rivals. He had claime d that with ers board en betwe evenly of sixty to sevent y studen ts, divide d more or less viable: y and day studen ts, the school would have been econo micall for that paltry [it is] a reflect ion on our Church that year after year I have asked the Colleg e aken rrumbe r and hithert o asked in vain ... I would never have undert of home privacy at all, would never have consen ted to abando n so much of the nt. .. ageme encour ... if I could have known that we should have had no larger little this extent I am tempte d to bittern ess of spirit when I remem ber to what to not ined determ am I .. institu tion has been left to sail along as best it could. 12 be beaten off the field by Presby terian compe tition.

and to In the follow ing year, in an attem pt to ease the financ ial crisis 27


The school in 1892, showing the original Kent House in theforeground, with the Schofield Wing beside it.

encourage new enrolments, both school fees and teachers' salaries were cut. Although by 1895 the crisis had passed and the school was once again reasonably secure, the school's finances remained in a precarious condition, fluctuating between small surpluses and perilously large debits. It was, as Prescott acidly acknowledged, an anomaly - but nonetheless an indication of prevailing values - that the same authorities who so wholeheartedly supported Newington could leave its sister institution in such a sorry financial condition. In 1898 Mr Prescott was nominated as the next president and headmaster of Newington College, and at the end of the next year he left 28


resignation of Mr The school assembled in the field in November 1899, just before the bushes) and the by ed Prescott. Across the road are the original Kent House (obscur Mrs Prescott row. second the in e Schofield Wing. Mr Prescott is slightly to the left ofcentr right. his on Wearne Minnie Miss is on his left and

his new Burwo od Ladies ' Colleg e, as it was known by that time, to take up his until tion distinc positio n. It was a positio n that he occup ied with great at on retirem ent in 1931. The Speec h Day of 1899 was a nostal gic occasi addres s which numer ous presen tation s were made to the Presco tts and an by Miss given was bution contri in apprec iation of the headm aster's great Wearn e. and And a great contri bution it had certain ly been. In fourte en years, school agains t somet imes enorm ous odds, Mr Presco tt had guided the ted respec widely was it where point a from an unpro mising beginn ing to 29


throughout the community as one ofthe finest girls' colleges in the country. There is no doubt that it was essentially Prescott's vision and persistence that had turned a tentative and, in many ways, hastily conceived enterprise into an institution that could look forward to a new century with confidence and pride.

Towards the future In October 1899 a new president, the Reverend E.J. Rodd, was appointed to succeed Mr Prescott. A month later the College Council resolved that a new system of 'dual administration' was to be introduced: the school would henceforth be administered jointly by the president and a, headmistress. Since Miss Shiels' departure more than ten years before the school had been without a headmistress, although Miss Wearne had in most respects filled this role. Miss Wearne officially became headmistress of the school in 1900. Under the new scheme the president was to have overall control and was to be responsible to the Wesleyan Conference, while the headmistress would be responsible for all matters concerning day-to-day running of the school, including the supervision of teachers and the maintaining of discipline. The engagement and dismissal of teachers was to be ajoint responsibility, but religious instruction was to be under the control of the president. In a radical departure from previous practice, the whole academic side of the school's administration was to be the province of the headmistress. This may have been a result ofMr Rodd's lack of university training and of Miss Wearne's obvious qualifications for the task. Whatever the reasons, the new arrangements would significantly reduce the influence of the president and correspondingly increase that of the headmistress.

Speech Day report, 1886 ibid. 3 jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 38 4 Mrs Kelk (nee Vance), jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 113 5 Excelsior, March 1914, page 13 6 ibid. 7 ibid., page 14 8 ibid. 9 Mrs Blessing (nee Healey),jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 116 10 Excelsior, March 1914, pages 11-12 11 ibid., page 13 12 Speech Day report, 1892 I



Chapter 3

A Time of

Consolidation beginn ing of OR AUSTR ALIA S, the year 1901 marke d not only the

y but also the inaugu ration of a new nation . The P the twentilthethofcentur Austra lia came into being amids t cerem ony, pomp and

Comm onwea tion genera l celebr ation on 1 Janua ry 1901. The signin g of the federa progreat a ing follow Park, docum ents took place in Sydne y's Cente nnial ately cession in which thousa nds of people march ed throug h the elabor e rose at decora ted city streets . The board ers at Burwo od Ladies ' Colleg positio n five in the morni ng to get to the city early enoug h to find a good startin g the d aroun tors specta along the route. One of them thoug ht the prowhole The h'. point, althou gh orderl y, were not 'enthu siastic enoug city 'the cessio n, she wrote, was 'one line of brillia nt colour ing', while illumiexcell ed all other previo us occasi ons with its decora tions' and 'the 1 llous'. nation s at night were simply marve ry Within a month the mood of eupho ria had chang ed. On 22 Janua had who 1901 the nation learnt of the death of Queen Victor ia, the queen half given her name to an age, who had been on the throne for well over Crown a centur y. The people of Austra lia displa yed their loyalty to the od Burwo onies. cerem ing t,hroug h a series of extend ed official mourn place to girls six Ladies ' Colleg e took part in these cerem onies by selecti ng ses, a wreath - 'a most beauti ful one, compo sed of white dahlia s, tubero in the with fine maide nhair fern' - on the base of Queen Victor ia's statue night ay Saturd one taken were city.2 Severa l month s later, the board ers ng, showi ph atogra ~o the Cente nary Hall where they watch ed the cinem the , sion and, in the second In the first half, the Comm onwea lth proces queen 's funera l. 31


With federation in 1901 came a new sense of optimism. The depression of the 1890s was lifting; prosperity was, it seemed, just around the corner. The city of Sydney was once again on the move; the suburbs were expanding and the middle classes could look forward to a future of increasing prosperity and comfort. An editorial in Excelsior expressed the school's ambition 'to fit the girls who come under our care to worthily use the opportunities coming to them to help in the work of nation-building'. 3 The new century brought with it a belief that educational reform was necessary if the future of the newly created nation was to be ensured. There were several reasons for this widespread interest in reform, chief of which was the influence of the so-called 'new education' from England. The new education was something of an amalgam of differing ideas and principles. There were those who favoured learning by observation and, experiment; those who believed in the close linking of body and mind; those who favoured the study ofliterature and moral education; and those who believed that education was the way to social reform. Their common interest was in change; the reform that developed from their efforts was a compromise between their varying approaches. Also important were economic and social changes within Australia itself. The ending of the depression saw a growth in commerce and industry and the development of a newly powerful middle class, a group of people who wanted higher and better education for their children and who supported the principle of university training for the professions. According to the terms of the new constitution, education was basically a state responsibility, and each state set about bringing its own house in order. In New South Wales the movement to reform led to the setting up ofa Royal Commission in 1902. Within two years the two commissioners, G. H. Knibbs and]. W. Turner, had produced three weighty reports, one of which dealt with the complex issue of secondary education. The Report ofthe Commissioners on Secondary Education, issued in October 1904, reflected the commissioners' views of both state and private school . They commented unfavourably on the lack of printed curricula for secondary schools and on the dominance of the university entrance examinations for which students were prepared. Standards were too often low and there was insufficient preparation for tertiary studies. The recommendations of the Knibbs-Turner Report were not acted upon until 191 0 when a new state government brought about a thoroughgoing reform of secondary education. The junior and senior university examinations were abolished and, in their place, three new examinations were introduced: the Qualifying Certificate at the end of primary school; the Intermediate Certificate after two years in secondary school; and the Leaving Certificate two years after that. The first Qualifying Certificate examination was held at the end of 1911; the first Intermediate Certificate in 1912; and the first Leaving Certificate the following year. This latter examination was recognised as qualifying the successful candidate for university entrance. Instead of working towards examinations set by the university, secondary schools now worked towards examinations set by the Department of Education. 32


with Altho ugh it was not compu lsory for school s to becom e registe red favour in ly strong very d worke the Depar tment of Educa tion, two factors tion of registr ation. Firstly , two hundr ed schola rships for univer sity educa ts studen its were offere d to registe red school s. If a school wante d to offer be that it the possib ility of subsid ised tertiar y educa tion, it was essent ial ion of provis the was factor second The registe red with the Depar tment . Nons. school e privat and bursar ies for able studen ts to attend both state s for nation state school s that wante d to enter candid ates for the exami . cation these schola rships had to be registe red with the Depar tment ofEdu menta l In other words , they had to accept period ic inspec tion by depart officer s. into the At the beginn ing of the centur y these chang es were twelve years e were future , and the immed iate conce rns of Burwo od Ladies ' Colleg princi much closer to home. Mr Presco tt had retired and there was a new differ ent pal in charge of the school . His style and person ality were very ensure to trying in ms from those of Presco tt, yet he faced simila r proble In the s. the viabili ty of the school and its contin ued educat ional succes , graduyears before World War 1, Burwo od Ladies ' Colleg e grew slowly to the ng adapti and s school girls' 'S Sydney ally establ ishing its place among chang ing needs of the twenti eth centur y.

A new principal an easy The task of replac ing the school 's found ing headm aster was not on in istrati admin of system l contro one and the establ ishme nt of the dual pal'. princi and ent 1899 meant a reduct ion in the functi on of the 'presid The Reverend E. j. Rodd, principal 1900-1914.



The Reverend E. j. Rodd with staffmembers and senior girls outside the Schofield Wing. Although the girls are not yet in school uniform, they wear the school hat with hatband.

The academic organisation of the school was controlled by the headmistress, with the principal responsible for general and business administration. He was also the school chaplain. The new principal, the Reverend E. J. Rodd, was officially welcomed to the school by Mr Prescott at a function on 27 April 1900. His wife took control of domestic management and the care of boarders. Mr Rodd was also appointed as tutor to divinity students at the theological college at ewington College. According to the Jubilee Souvenir of 1936, Mr Rodd had 'several qualities fitting him for the discharge of his duties' at the Ladies' College: 34


tha t eve ry had acq uire d a stor e of kno wle dge He had bee n a dili gen t stud ent, and a dev owas and ers flow d a refi ned tast e. He love had He ect. resp to nd bou was girl hea rt. He ng pre ach er. He had the fath er's tee of the bus h. He was a cha rmi kne w tha t the re ght ers, and his inti mat e frie nds bro ugh t with him his thre e dau give n him , re he had bur ied the one littl e boy was a littl e gra ve som ewh ere, whe 4 are deli ghtf ul. cut off at an age whe n chil dre n

ond the olo gic al trai nin g at the Ric hm Edw ard Jam es Ro dd rec eiv ed his stra lia d, and vol unt eer ed for wo rk in Au The olo gic al Ins titu tion in Eng lan owi ng foll the nt idw ood circ uit, he spe in 187 1. Fir st app oin ted to the Bra d. He slan New Sou th Wa les and Qu een twe nty -six yea rs in circ uit wo rk in h the er, his ser mo ns acc ess ible to bot was a not ed sch ola r and pre ach une duc ate d and the sch ola rly. dis tan t and alo of. Acc ord ing to the As a sch ool prin cip al, Mr Ro dd was e the o kne w Mr Rod d, 'the stu den ts wer Rev ere ndJ ohn We sley Boo th, wh ', awe ly s'. His stu den ts hel d him in 'ho stu den ts and the hea d was the bos of n nifi ed and aut hor itat ive ... a ma con sid erin g him 'un ben din g, dig al gic olo the d's Rod bat tler for the faith'.5 gre at pre cisi on' and 'a gra nd old re mo y alit son hav e res pon ded to his per stu den ts at New ing ton may well ry, he ord ing to Kit tie Pre sco tt's me mo tha n the stu den ts at Bur wo od. Acc t her ed the und ers tan din g of girl s tha was a lite ral, fac tua l ma n wh o lack ort at cat ion was con tain ed in his rep fath er had . His phi los oph y of edu Spe ech Day, 190 2: dire ctio n. Of , inte llec tual trai nin g, and mor al Edu cati on com pris es info rma tion nt, but it is orta imp is . To acq uire kno wle dge thes e, the last is the mos t valu able true end The . dge ght the pro per use of kno wle of gre ater imp orta nce to be tau sem ent, ndi gra -ag self us in a bet ter pos itio n for of kno wle dge is not the plac ing il our duti es to society. but the ena blin g us bet ter to fulf

Du rin g of the sch ool for fou rtee n yea rs. Mr Ro dd rem ain ed as prin cip al ght ers dau ee the boa rde rs. Th ey had thr this tim e his wife was in cha rge of late r 3, 189 Rod d, dux of the sch ool in - An nie , Cla ra and Edn a. An nie bec am e a tea che r at the sch ool .

Th e he ad m ist re ss es Miss Mi nni e Wearne, 19 00 -19 09

sib le app oin ted as hea dm istr ess , res pon In 190 0 Miss Min nie We arn e was ool . sch aca dem ic adm inis trat ion of the to Mr Rod d and in cha rge of the see ms eiv ed 150 pou nds per ann um . It In pay me nt for her dut ies she rec - cer wo rk in har mo ny wit h Mr Ro dd tha t Min nie We arn e was abl e to ord s. rec cial offi erw ise in the sch ool 's tain ly the re are no ind ica tion s oth Mr to g din ica ted hea dm istr ess . Ac cor She was a kee n tea che r and ded : ool of the bes t thin gs he did for the sch Pre sco tt, her app oin tme nt was one still to en the rep uta tion of the sch ool had 'It was in the ver y ear ly day s wh 35



Miss Minnie Wearne, the school's first headmistress, after whom the school's library is named.

be made; all who know her know how much ofthat is due to her work and personality. '6 Minnie Wearne was interested in all aspects of school life. Music and academic results featured strongly in her reports, along with details of the success of ex-students at the university. She believed in the value of physical



In the gymnas ium in the early years ofthe century.

ting exerci se, claimi ng that 'our climat e induce s all too easily an enerva subjec t languo r'. It seems that she had quite a fixatio n about exerci se, the e's Wearn Miss g Durin . school the to recurr ing often in her annua l report s girls the take to ed engag period as headm istress , a specia list teache r was basket throug h their physic al drill, the school was among the first to play ball, and it pionee red athleti cs meetin gs for girls' school s. allied Perha ps Miss Wearn e's strong suppo rt for physic al exerci se was comShe death. and ss with her seemin gly morbi d conce rn with sickne comand mente d often on the numb er and kind of illnesses in both school was munity , and seeme d both surpri sed and relieve d when the school hand overlo oked by 'the Great Reape r'. Presum ably the two things went today, is it than on comm in hand: at a time when early death was more physic al exerci se could well be seen as a way of thwar ting it. y, and Despit e the admin istrati ve chang es at the beginn ing of the centur tt's influthe appoin tment of a new princi pal and headm istress , Mr Presco largely were ished establ had ence remai ned strong , and the traditi ons he 37


Kittie Prescott in 1903. After a lifetime's association with the MLC Old Girls' Union and Newington College, she died in 1984 at the age ofninety-six.

maintained. There were several reasons for this. Minnie Wearne had worked with him for many years and was accustomed to his way of thinking, and his approach to problems and potential conflicts. Mr Rodd kept in touch with Prescott through his work with the theological students at Newington. Prescott kept his position on the College Council, attended meetings and retained more than a passing interest in the school's affairs. He and his wife were almost invariably invited to school functions; their daughter Kittie was one of the school's most able students, excelling not only academically but also on the sportsfield and tennis court. The patterns and precepts established by Prescott had been proven to work; they were therefore retained by the conservative Rodd and the equally cautious Minnie Wearne. In the first thirteen years of the twentieth century, enrolments at Burwood Ladies' College grew steadily, if slowly. There were seventy-two students at the school in 1900, including fifteen boarders. By 1906 the enrolment had grown to 114, with thirty-eight boarders. The following year there were 124 students at the school. Only thirteen sat for the junior examinations, with nine passing, and three sat for the senior examinations, two of whom were successful. The number of students being prepared for the junior and senior public examinations increased with growing enrolments, although the figures were never high. Much was made of the success of individual students at 38


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Myra Grainger's half-yearly report, Christmas 1903. Although her academic work was generally only 'very fair', she was obviously a diligent and well-behaved student.



the school's annual Speech Days. Most of those who went to the university studied arts; a few more adventurous girls opted for medicine. A constant concern during these years was the high percentage of girls who either did not attempt external examinations or who left school after thejunior examinations. Miss Wearne spoke frequently of this trend, commenting on the short-sightedness of allowing girls to leave school after such a limited secondary education. The school seemed to be failing to capitalise on the advances towards academic excellence that had earlier been made. evertheless, given the general community attitude towards the education of girls and the particular clientele of the school, this was a problem that only time could overcome. For many students, Burwood Ladies' College was akin to a finishing school, a place where moderate intellectual stimulation, pleasant social outings and good fellowship could be enjoyed in a refined and respectable environment. InJanuary 1909 Miss Wearne announced that she would retire from her position as headmistress at the end of the half-year because of ill health. However, in April she collapsed at school, and her resignation was accepted by the Council on 28 April 1909. It seems that the Council believed that she should have told her Principal and Council that further expert assistance was needed, not only as relieffor herself but injustice to her best girls. But she shrank from calling for increased expenditure and if changing conditions called for other demands on her energy, with her usual unselfishness she met them. Had the Council understood the situation it is pretty certain they would have taken steps to relieve her. But it did not understand and unfortunately she was the last to help them to do SO. 7

After twenty-two years at the school, almost ten of them as headmistress, Minnie Wearne had played an important part in the school's formative years. She was honoured by the principal, staff, old girls and the student body. Eleven old girls raised seventy-five pounds as a gift for Miss Wearne, and presented it to her with an illuminated testimonial. They wrote ofthe 'feelings of pleasure' with which they looked back to their 'happy schooldays': when you did so much to mould our characters, and encourage us to follow the highest ideals. That memory of your unfailing love and patience will ever form one of the sweetest recollections of our schoollife. 8

Mr Prescott wrote a tribute in Excelsior, in which he praised Miss Wearne's 'power of winning respect and affection from those she worked with', her 'love for learning', 'strong sense of duty' and 'unassuming unselfishness'. Most significantly, perhaps, he pointed to her unceasing work and interest in extra-curricular activities. Miss Wearne had spent many hours tutoring girls for public examinations, written 'paper after paper' for the Reading Club, stimulated enthusiasm for sport and administered the school responsibly and humanely. He concluded:



I told her so tha t she atte mp ted too muc h, and The one mis givi ng I hav e had is test tha t she pro ays alw ld adm it it, and wou ld mo re tha n onc e. But she nev er wou hine s suc h mac ic mat auto susp ecte d tha t if som e was per fect ly well, but I stro ngl y man y how red iste reg e ring dist anc e, cou ld hav nas mot or-c ars hav e for reg iste asto be ld wou us of e som rs to her sch ool wor k, hou ool sch of out e gav she rs hou 9 ishe d at the tota l.

190 9-19 12. Miss j. Hetherington, headmistress

Mi ss] . Hetherington, 19 09 -19 12

of the Miss J. He the rin gto n, a gra dua te Miss We arn e's rep lac em ent was brid ge. sch ola r at Gir ton Col leg e, Cam Un ive rsit y of New Zea lan d and nor doe s y: it was not kno wn to the girl s, He r firs t nam e rem ain s a my ster rin gto n the He s e her pre dec ess or, Mis it app ear on sch ool rec ord s. Lik frus was and spo rt; like her , too , she enc our age d bot h aca dem ic wo rk ior ts wh o wer e con tinu ing to the sen trat ed by the rela tive ly few stu den ws, Day rep ort she urg ed tha t 'on e kno exa min atio ns. In her 191 1 Spe ech e, hom at ed uir ght ers are ver y mu ch req of cou rse , tha t in the se days, dau e'. sibl pos to do wit hou t the m as lon g as but we wo uld like to urg e par ent s urn , Miss He the rin gto n dec ide d to ret Aft er thr ee yea rs as hea dm istr ess old girl by Miss Ma bel Sut ton , her sel f an to Eng lan d. He r pla ce was tak en pos the in ed ain istr ess in 191 2 and rem of the sch ool . She bec am e hea dm disis and ble the sch ool was con sid era itio n unt il 194 0. He r imp act on cha pte r. cus sed mo re fully in a foll owi ng n of nt coi nci ded wit h the intr odu ctio Miss He the rin gto n's app oin tme ing of edu cat ion disc uss ed at the beg inn the rad ica l cha nge s to sec ond ary 41


this chapter. The College Council feared that the state Department of Education would, through its control of examinations, gain a stranglehold on curriculum and teaching methods. '!fit is to be a case of survival of the fittest,' declared Mr Rodd in his Speech Day report in 1912, 'then we must strive to rank with the fittest'. The school would have to accept the challenge and become more relevant to the community at large. It would have to compete. One factor which helped to allay the school's concern about departmental domination was the personality and character of Peter Board, the state Director of Education from 1905 until 1922. According to theJubilee Souvenir, 'Teachers who feared the new regime, and were disposed to rage like lions, lay down like lambs' because of Board's tact and understanding of the position of private schools. One of Miss Sutton's major tasks was to . educate parents into an understanding of the implications of the new measures and a realisation that if success in the final examinations was to be gained, a solid preparation throughout secondary school was necessary. Burwood Ladies' College applied for registration with the Department and 'in due time was visited by a courteous inspector' .10 He had no doubt that the school was working efficiently: the headmistress was excellent, the staff efficient, the girls delightful and the premises sufficient and healthy. When the school was registered under the Bursary Endowment Act of 1912, the curriculum had to be altered somewhat. French became a standard subject instead of an extra, and science and mathematics were now compulsory. By 1913 Miss Sutton noted that there was 'more good than bad' in the new system.

Teaching and learning For most ofthe period under discussion in this chapter, the academic education of the Burwood girls was in the hands of the headmistress, Miss Wearne, whose task was the preparation of students for the senior examinations. Minnie Wearne was aided in her work by her sister Amy, who was appointed as assistant mistress. Her particular skill was in the teaching of history, and she was responsible for preparing girls for the junior examination. A straightforward, forceful character, Amy Wearne was not one for 'sidling along passages'; rather she 'strode down the corridors with purposeful gait'." She supported and encouraged her students when they went to the Great Hall at Sydney University to sit for their examinations, waiting outside the room until the papers were finished and buying them lunch and refreshing cups of tea to help them through the ordeal. Like the other staff members, 'Miss Amy' was expected to have a wide general knowledge and to be able to turn her hand to teaching a variety of subjects. Only a few teachers such as Miss Knight, the science mistress, were considered to be specialists. Like her sister Minnie, Amy Wearne left the school in 1909. She married her cousin,joseph Wearne.




and ide as abo ut lea rnin g by obs erv ing In the wak e of new edu cat ion al ool sch of t par ant ific urs ion s wer e a sign doi ng, it is not sur pris ing tha t exc y tur cen the of odu ced at the beg inn ing life. Sci enc e exc urs ion s wer e intr at ing gaz sen ior girl s spe nt sev era l hou rs and as ear ly as 190 1 a gro up of ono my tele sco pe. A gro up fro m the astr the star s and pla net s thr oug h a Soc iety 's and dem ons trat ion at the Roy al class was late r tak en to a lec ture roo ms in the city. ula r sub ject s, too , and the re wer e reg Exc urs ion s bec am e par t of oth er al ctic ms and the bot ani c gar den s. Pra visits to the art gal lery , mu seu nda s. at Bon di and Cur l Cur l, and at Du geo log y was stu die d on the bea ch exc iteat gre sed an Fle et in 190 8 cau Th e visit to Syd ney of the Am eric to wits ion wer e tak en on sev era l exc urs me nt in the sch ool , and the girl s wat che d Fle et stea min g up the har bou r, ness the occ asio n. The y saw the en on foll owi ng day , and wer e late r tak the pro ces sio n dow n Pitt Str eet the ted visi y the r late s ove r the city. Tw o day boa rd a boa t to see the fire wo rks s girl the , ong ed wit h visi tors '. Fin ally one of the Am eric an war ship s 'thr , ugh eno the illu min atio ns. Pre dic tab ly wer e tak en aro und the city to see rni ng, rni ng to lessons on Tue sda y mo the y 'did not like the ide a of retu afte r all our diss ipa tion '. 12 ects of ine Excelsior refl ects sev era l asp Th e sch ool 's hal f-ye arly ma gaz small a Firs tly, it is app are nt tha t it was the sch ool dur ing this per iod . distinctive blue Burwood Lad ies' College hat with its Doris Hor dern in 190 7, wea ring the t. fron the at t striped ban d and school cres



school. The same names appear many times over the years, mentioned perhaps for their efforts on the sportsfield or in musical recitals, plays and concerts, perhaps for their success in the public drawing, music or scholastic examinations for which the girls were entered, perhaps for their services to the Reading Club or Christian Union, perhaps as prizewinners at the annual Speech Days. Secondly, these early magazines reflect a growing sense of community, a feeling that the students were part of a school body that was developing its own traditions, its own institutions, its own sense of place and purpose. The form reports and 'College Chatter' segments contain snippets of school news and gossip that, while often insignificant in themselves, when taken together indicate quite clearly that the school body was being moulded into an institutional whole. The sly digs at teachers are there; the inter-class rivalry; the schoolgirl jokes about school buildings, classrooms and institutions. Consider the following examples: Although-VB did not win the Form Race, it was rather premature to wish to put their flag in half-mourning before the race was run. (October 1908) The tennis match against the teachers did not take place, as the teachers could not find sufficient players. We wonder if they would accept a chalJenge to play marbles. (May 1909) Tree-climbing has its draw-backs when gravitation has its draw-downs and the boughs are not too strong. Such is the experience of one of our number with a camphor-laurel tree below the tennis court. A Burwood girl a locust saw In a leafy camphor found; A locust saw a Burwood girl Sitting on the ground. (May 1909) Old boarders wilJ be astonished to hear that several aspiring members of Form III arose at 2.30 a.m. to filJ their extraordinary little heads with knowledge for the history exam. (November 1909) On Wednesday afternoons, if weird sounds are heard proceeding from Sixth Form room, and girls appear making strange facial contortions, do not fear for their sanity; they are only practising French phonetics, and are quite harmless. (April 1913)

The pattern of school life As the century progressed, school life at Burwood developed its own patterns and rituals. Some things were unchanging. Each year the school held a Speech Day in the Schofield Hall, attended mainly by 'ladies' and marked, like Speech Days today, by musical items, the principal's report, an address by a distinguished guest and the distribution of prizes to successful students. The kindergarten children received toys. 44


all the Empir e Day was anoth er uncha nging ritual. Mr Rodd presen ted Then . ribbon silk in woven studen ts with a small badge - a Union Jack the on girls the ed there was an assem bly at which the princi pal lectur sung nature and impor tance of the British Empir e. Patrio tic songs were and Auswith gusto and at a cerem ony aroun d the flagsta ff the U nion Jack . tralian flag were hoiste d to the studen ts' cheers

Extr a-cu rric ular activities the ReadMany of the girls were involv ed in either the Christ ian Union or old girl, an by d heade , ing Club; some took part in both. Christ ian Union Bible en betwe stresse d the ideal of servic e to others . Meetin gs altern ated to the study and addres ses by guest speake rs. Flowe rs and gifts were taken were Weste rn Subur bs Hospi tal, and bazaar s and other functi ons Union ian Christ The . arrang ed to raise money for the Bomb ay Mision s as they broug ht Burwo od girls into contac t with those from other school ons. entert ained each other or combi ned for joint fundra ising occasi both by orted suppp y activel was 1901, in The Readi ng Club, forme d g of readin the to d devote were Miss Wearn e and Mr Rodd. Its meetin gs issues the of sion papers on works of literat ure or other topics and discus ng Club raised . The subjec ts chosen for lectur e and discus sion at the Readi Ruskin as would deter most studen ts today: Thack eray's Esmon d (1900) , Dantz ig of town the of history a writer (1901) , Polish history (1903) , the The 1905). in Rodd (1904) and the nature of sociali sm (a paper read by Mr surnot did club seems to have lasted, more or less, until 1909. It obviou sly vive the depar ture of the Misses Wearn e. many The girls were encou raged to raise funds for charit able causes and y, centur the of ing beginn the events were arrang ed for this purpo se. At aid to school the at for examp le, on 18 Decem ber 1901, a bazaar was held was held a native teache r in New Britain . Two years later anoth er functi on items and for the same cause, this time involv ing tablea ux, a play, musica l t thirty almos and oms classro two elocut ion. Refres hment s were sold in earned 1906 May in pound s was raised for the teache r. A conce rt held the and twenty pound s for the missio n fund, the childr en's home held Lady Mawso n Memo rial Fund. Many other simila r functi ons were throug hout the period .

,Sport for sport Menti on has alread y been made of Miss Wearn e's enthus iasm doubt no were sport in s ement and physic al exerci se. The school 's achiev , the period the ghout a reflect ion of this suppo rt from above. Throu more e becam impor tance of sport was mainta ined and develo ped. It sporti ng highly organi sed and more compe titive, with the succes ses of success. teams increa singly being seen as a reflect ion of the school 's own



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A game oftennis on the school's court. Given the restrictive clothing worn by the players, tennis in the early years of the twentieth century was obviously a much less athletic game than it is today.

At the beginning of the century, tennis was the most commonly played game at the school, although rounders and quoits had their devotees too. There were forty-six members of the tennis club in 1900 and, when Miss Ellis offered a prize ofchocolate to the four worst players, competition was quite keen. According to one player: We discovered more than four who claimed to be bad players - for in our club there are many modest girls ... They gave us much amusement by their scientific strokes, and also by the frequent discoveries made by them of awkward holes in their racquets. 13

But enthusiasm for tennis was not always constant. The state of repair of the school's tennis courts probably reflected this fluctuating support. According to one budding schoolgirl poet in 1908: 46


t is holding the Miss Amy Wearne with the school basketball team in 1906. Kittie Prescot basketball.

Burwo od had a tennis court. But it cracke d enough for ten; Yet every time they mende d it 14 'Twas sure to crack again.

uction With suppo rt for tennis wanin g, the time was right for the introd ball, basket called game of a new sport. In 1904 Miss Amy spoke of a new other fresh from the United States , which was being played in some Ladies ' school s. Prospe ctive captai ns and umpir es visited the Presby terian d satisjudge being it and, played Colleg e at Croyd on to see the game being verThe od. Burwo at factory , prepar ations were made for its introd uction of sibility the respon ~atile Kittie Presco tt and Lottie Evans took on ing captai ning the A-gra de teams; Miss Amy becam e umpir e. In the follow s, winyear the Burwo od team played four match es agains t other school match the for rules the ine ning three of them. The umpir es had to determ their to ing accord at the beginn ing of each game, as all the school s played the of order own variati ons of officia l rules. By 1907 basket ball was 'the other day' and the school was regula rly playin g agains t, and defeat ing, school s. 47


A game of basketball in the field, about 1910.

Basketball had a setback in the following year, however, when the school magazine reported that there were 'no definite teams, and no matches'. In 1910 another sport had emerged: hockey. Its introduction was largely due to the influence of Miss Hetherington who had a particular interest in the sport. The school joined the Hockey Association and participated in a number of competitions. In 1911 a Burwood girl, D. Holloway, was selected to play in the state's schoolgirl hockey team. For some time a school rowing club, organised by Miss Knight the science teacher, practised on the Parramatta River on Thursday afternoons. According to a non-rower, they looked like 'seven enthusiastic damsels endeavouring to dig up the foundations of Hen and Chicken Bay' .15 A swimming club met every summer Wednesday at the Mortlake Baths, and was 'well attended' with 'diving and fancy strokes practised diligently'. In 1907 the school made history by holding the first girls' athletics meeting in New South Wales. Three senior students - Stella Morrow, Lottie 48


The school's first hockey team, 1910, with their coach, Miss Maybury.

athleti cs Evans and Kittie Presco tt - moote d the possibility of having an lted meetin g like the boys' schools. Miss Amy and Miss Wearn e were consu d aroun came finally first, at ied and agreed , and Mr Rodd, althou gh horrif took s hurdle and ,to the idea on the under standi ng that all high jumps place before the carniv al in the seclus ion of the school 's groun ds. Events The athleti cs meetin gs becam e a highli ght of the school year. event (an g drivin nail from war, of tug a ranged from a fancy dress race to an from races, sack to ing domin ated by countr y girls) and needle thread to race spoon and old girls' race to a novelt y paraso l parade , from an egg open more seriou s events such as the 440 yards handic ap and the 100 yards champ ionshi p.



The boarders Mrs Rodd was responsible for the boarders and, from all accounts, took a keen interest in their happiness and well-being. In addition to the activities they shared with day girls, the boarders were entertained in several ways. With Mr and Mrs Rodd as chaperones, they were taken to the city to hear the orchestras and visiting soloists. Outings were often simple by today's standards: a trip to Watsons Bay lighthouse was one highlight of 1900. St Patrick's Day in 1901 was spent in Parramatta Park, where the girls amused themselves by talking to the 'lunatic women from the adjoining asylum'.16 The king's birthday in 1901 was celebrated by an excursion by train to Carlingford. There the girls ate their picnic lunch in a paddock and went for a walk, collecting bunches of maidenhair. In the following year the holiday was celebrated even closer to home. Mr Rodd took the girls on an excursion .to Rhodes. When they found an ideal spot for a picnic, they came upon a notice stating that trespassers would be prosecuted: Undeterred, Mr Rodd said the notice did not apply to a party of Burwood girls headed by their President, so we marched boldly in and began to unpack our lunch ... Presently the owner of the property came in sight. Mr Rodd went to meet him and soon he came back saying we were welcome to the grounds but must leave them clean and tidy. I?

The day was capped offby a trip along the river in a Parramatta steamer. An excursion further afield was to Narrabeen in 1905. This involved forty girls and a variety of transport. They went by train to Redfern where they were met by a large dray which took them to the quay. They crossed to Milsons Point by ferry and crossed the Spit in a punt. Eventually they reached Narrabeen where: Having got over to the beach and into our bathing gowns, we had a glorious hour rolling and splashing in the breakers. After dressing and combing a portion of the sandy beach out of our hair we strolled over to the lagoon. Boats were there, but though we sent a message to the owner he put in no appearance. So with Mr Rodd's approval, we helped ourselves and soon four or five parties were rowing more or less eccentric courses on the lake. The owner of the boats was subsequently discovered and paid. ls

Boarders' picnics such as these were quarterly events and were no doubt anticipated with considerable enthusiasm. The monthly boarders' evenings, instituted in Mr Prescott's time, continued. Charades were played, concerts given, tableaux and plays performed; there were fancy-dress evenings and the ever-popular term feasts, arranged by Mrs Rodd. One boarders' evening, in 1912, had quite a different tone when Mr Rodd took the girls to Cabarita for a 'gipsy tea party'. The outing was enjoyed by all, and the party arrived back at school at the heady hour of 9 pm.



of the Anoth er activit y welco med by board ers was the house party. One girls, e Twelv 1901. in first was at Katoo mba during Micha elmas week folThe piano. chape roned by Miss West, rented a cottag e, compl ete with held was lowing year the 'camp ', as it was somew hat mislea dingly called, when them meet to station the at was one no at Thirro ul. Undet erred that they until line y railwa the along' they arrive d, the sixtee n girls 'stumb led two at again up found their cottag e. After a meal, they went to bed, got ves oursel in the morni ng, had suppe r, then went back to bed and 'occup ied d swimwith makin g uneart hly noises '. Durin g the week, the girls enjoye hats, their off took even day one ming and walkin g up the Bulli pass and coal Bulli the into tied handk erchie fs over their heads and were taken mine.

The kind erga rten eth cenThe kinder garten contin ued to grow in the first years ofthe twenti , who guests forty over by ed attend tury. An 'At Home ' in 1903 was ed watch work, their of tion admir ed the infant s' room, viewed an exhibi reciand songs of a march ing parade , and listene d to a short progra m in man's tations . All the activit ies were linked to the theme of 'Life the inforenviro nment : sea life' and were devise d as a means of ,deepe ning of the ideas own their s expres mation given, and leadin g the childr en to of level this At 19 subjec t, as well as trainin g eye and hand for future work'. with sed being espou t~e school , the princi ples of the 'new educa tion' were VIgour.

Fina nce and adm inist rati on report ed As princi pal, Mr Rodd attend ed Colleg e Counc il meetin gs and nor Miss e Wearn Miss r to the Counc il on the state of the colleg e. Neithe Hethe ringto n attend ed Counc il meetin gs. colIn Febru ary 1906 Mr Rodd broug ht the overcr owded state of the able to lege to the notice of the Counc il. The buildin gs were no longer rs. boarde 38 ing includ , pupils accom modat e the presen t enrolm ent of 114 er numb the or sed, Either accom modat ion at the school had to be increa to rence of studen ts restric ted. The Counc il alerte d the Metho dist Confe ions the proble m and in due course approv al was grante d for the extens neede d at the school . ished; • Severa l of the old buildi ngs at the back of the school were demol and larder the kitche n and pantry were doubl ed in si.ze, and a storer oom, two classsculler y were added . ine new bedroo ms, two bathro oms and This, ms. proble iate immed the least at rooms were built to overco me comof rd standa the to r accord ing to Mr Rodd, broug ht the school 'neare we ... tions institu fort and efficie ncy which moder n ideas requir e of such ate vindic are steadil y buildi ng up an institu tion which in years to come will it'.20 ed found the wisdom of those who 51


Nevertheless financial problems continued to plague the school and the premises were mortgaged in order to keep going. Wellwishers offered loans to the school, including one of 300 pounds for twelve months at 5 per cent from the principal himself. However, all was not well, as theJubilee Souvenir records: Mr Rodd's efforts to maintain things at the old level were not rewarded with the old success. He grew despondent and took a pessimistic view of the future. Affairs reached a crisis, and for the first time in its history, a cry was seriously heard which not even the disasters of 1893 had evoked, that the school must be closed. 21 In 1913 Council resolved that the Conference be approached with a statement of the school's liabilities and a request for financial assistance. Mr Rodd noted that 'a considerable reduction in expenditure, as well as a considerable advance in our income, are both imperative in order to change this unsatisfactory, and, indeed, unsafe state of things'.22 A proposal at the Conference that the school be closed and the buildings used as a theological college was defeated and the school was reprieved when it was resolved that the Conference assume the liabilities of the Burwood Ladies' College and remits the matter to the Executive Committee of the Sustenation and Home Mission Society, with power to use the Bright and Loan Funds for the purpose. 23 The Bright Bequest was inaugurated in 1887 from funds donated by Mr John Bright to the Methodist Church. Born in England, Bright migrated to Australia as a young man and became a successful businessman in the Wollongong district. The agreement to use the Bright fund to help finance the running of the school was an indication of practical support by the Methodist Conference. Another source of support for the school came from Mr and Mrs C. J. Waterhouse who provided bursaries to enable the daughters of Methodist ministers to be educated at the school for half fees.

The Old Girls' Union By 1902 the old girls' evening had become an annual event at Burwood, and old girls also met on Speech Days and at many of the social fundraising occasions arranged by the students. After a series of preliminary meetings, the Old Girls' Union was formed on 18 September 1903. Mr Rodd was elected as patron; Susie O'Reilly as president; Clara Rodd as vicepresident; Lilian Parker and Birdie Holloway as secretaries; and Ida Lucas as treasurer. Mr Prescott's links with the school were further strengthened when in the next month he agreed to..share the patronage of the club with Mr Rodd. The annual reunions took place on the first Wednesday after Easter so that old girls from the country who were in Sydney for the Easter Show 52


g that The school assembled in December 1908 in front ofthe timber buildin original kindergarten.

served as the

g excurcould attend . They took many forms: musica l progra ms, boatin of the ers memb 150 sions, 'drama tic entert ainme nts'. By 1906 there were of a ng clothi Old Girls' Union and in 1912 the memb ers under took the ,child at the Dalma r Childr en's Home in Croyd on.

The end of an era dents What had the first thirtee n years of the centur y produ ced? Ex-stu ce of gained some outsta nding passes at the univer sity, althou gh the practi studen ts curtai ling girls' educa tion remai ned a consta nt proble m. Severa l 53


gained arts degrees and two - Susie O'Reilly and Mabel Brett - went on to gain medical degrees. In the world of sport Burwood Ladies' College was a pioneer. Sport and excursions broadened the girls' experiences and encouraged a wider perspective. Towards the end of the period under discussion, the school had to accept a certain amount of state intervention in order to receive bursaries. This brought about a change in aspects of the curriculum, but did not alter the essential nature of the school. It was basically a finishing school for the daughters of the middle class. Some ex-pupils found work in commerce and teaching or in the professions; many others no doubt went back to their secluded worlds in the country or in the suburbs, where their daily lives revolved around social outings and functions and the seemingly enqless difficulties they faced with their servants. Academic excellence was not a major concern of the school, for women were still expected to remain within the home. Burwood Ladies' College suited the middle class: it provided a friendly, homely and respectable environment for the majority of its students who would become wives and mothers while stimulating those few whose ambitions were more wideranging. The Burwood girls in the Edwardian age had a straightforward, somewhat naive approach to the world and their place in it. Their world, it seemed, was secure and unchallenged. The events of the war years followed by the disaster of depression were to change this respectably comfortable view of their world.


Excelsior,july 1901, page 2

ibid., page 6 ibid., page 1 4 pages 19-20 5 Dr F.H. Rayward, Vignettes 1982-1984 6 Excelsior, November 1909, page 8 7 Jubilee Souvenir, 1936, pages 43-44 8 Excelsior, November 1909, page 7 9 ibid., page 10 10 Jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 23 II ibid., page 50 12 Excelsior, October 1908, page 8 13 Excelsior,july 1900, pages 3-4 14 Excelsior, October 1908, page 11 IS Excelsior, january 1906, page 20 16 Excelsior,july 1901, page 3 17 Excelsior,january 1903, page 12-13 18 Excelsior,july 1905, page 8 19 Excelsior,january 1904, page 6 20 Report to Conference, 1907 21 pages 23-24 22 Report to Council, 18 February 1914 23 Minutes of NSW Methodist Conference, 1913 2



Chapter 4

The War and its Aftermath

HE REVEREND E. J. RODD, after fourte en years as princi pal, was fareony welled by the pupils and staff of the school early in 1914 at a cerem Rodd Mr ted. in Schofi eld Hall. Speec hes were made and gifts presen and the spoke of the 'wealt h of happy memo ries' the school had given him ons. need for presen t studen ts and old girls to keep up the Burwo od traditi ded, conclu on functi the and staff Mr Morle y respon ded on behalf of the on the like so many in the early years of the school , with aftern oon tea lawn. up his The new princi pal was the Rever end L. H. Kelyna ck, who took the son positio n after the Easter break in 1914. Leslie Harol d Kelyn ack, gton Newin at ted educa and ofa Metho dist minist er, was born in Goulb urn of lor Bache a ed Colleg e and the Unive rsity of Sydne y, where he obtain 1896 in ry Arts degree . He becam e a candid ate for the Metho dist minist ted to and worke d in both countr y and city circuit s before he was appoin ne. forty-o of the Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e at the age was Like Mrs Presco tt and Mrs Rodd before her, Mrs Kelyn ack her Like nt. expec ted to work hard for the school , albeit withou t payme respec t two predec essors , too, she was well suited to the task and won the ed and affecti on ofthe studen ts, especially the boarde rs. It was later record house. the in work ack's Kelyn that: 'Too much can never be said of Mrs d heart She took entire charge of the domes tic admin istrati on, and worke ters, and soul in her care for the boarde rs.'! The Kelyn acks' two daugh Nancy and Phyllis, were pupils at the school . er Durin g Mr Kelyn ack's time as princi pal, the school under went a numb again once it when of impor tant chang es. The first occurr ed in 1914




The Reverend L. H. Kelynack, principal 1915-1922.

changed its name; the Burwood Ladies' College became known as the Methodist Ladies' College, Burwood. This reflected the continuing support for the college from Methodist families: Although other Protestants were always well represented, the number of Methodists at the school consistently outnumbered all other denominations. Having survived the crisis of 1913, when closure seemed imminent, the school once again began to make progress. For several years, pupil numbers rose quite quickly; the college became less like an extended family and took on many of the formalities of discipline and administration that befitted a larger institution. Mr Kelynack, perhaps because of personal inclination, perhaps because of the growing administrative burden, had less direct contact with the pupils than either of his predecessors. He was a diligent and dignified man who was prepared to take on even quite menial administrative tasks. Having learned book-keeping as a young man when he had worked in a bank, he kept the school's accounts himself to save expense. As a preacher 'he was never regarded as being very outstanding, probably because he was a quiet man'.2 Perhaps something of his style in the pulpit as well as some clue to his character can be gleaned from the rather verbose repetitivenes of his Speech Day reports, in which he indulges an evident liking for classical references and a penchant for the picturesque metaphor and the moral generality. In one characteristic passage from his 1915 Speech Day report, he ranges from the success of the school year, through a lofty tribute to the importance of idealism to the evils besetting the world:



so high, nor This year has been an excelle nt one, never has the enrolm ent been the utmost to taxed been have es the numbe r of boarde rs so large. Our resourc have which lties difficu Any ed. provid and extra accom modati on has had to be stand we e Colleg a As ... s Succes by arisen in our work have been those caused irlish grace, for certain ideals, the aspirat ion after which tends to produc e sweet-g ideals, and t withou live truly cannot We streng th of charac ter, nobilit y of action. ideals are when days are these and right, we cannot live truly unless the ideals are ed, cherish have s German the as such e being tested. There are those for instanc terrific the on vessel s potter' a like ed and becaus e they are evil are being shatter confus ion of wheel of War, others are rising above the sombre clouds, the cruel fire. chable unquen and lustre med undim raging battles till they shine forth with

tt; and Mr Kelyn ack did not possess a forcef ul person ality as did Mr Presco closely relate to s tunitie oppor the growi ng numbe rs of pupils reduce d the one who to his studen ts, as Mr Rodd had been able to do. Accor ding to cterknew the family, Mrs Kelyn ack seeme d to be the more vital chara was the 'an energe tic, strenu ously active, sympa thetic woma n ... Hers their missed who girls of charac ter that was fitted to win the hearts mothe rs'.3 Mabel Mr Kelyn ack had a strong and determ ined headm istress in toSutton . Her forthr ight directn ess of manne r is reflec ted in the downthe with ly strong st contra which s earth nature of her Speec h Day report and temflorid prolix ity of the headm aster's . The differe nce in their style develthat peram ent no doubt contri buted to the straine d relatio nship oped betwe en them.

The com ing of war y surpris ed The war is the all-imp ortant topic just now. We, at least, were scarcel n; and, thirtee were rs numbe when the storm- cloud burst, becaus e this term our conseIn !' happen to bound as our gloomy prophe t remark ed, 'Somet hing was 4 e. advanc in weeks quence , we had the Austra lian Fleet ready many

1 was first It was in such jocula r tones that the outbre ak of World War their own In e. Colleg ' menti oned by the studen ts of the Metho dist Ladies to come way, the Burwo od girls' ignora nce and innoce nce of the horro r ersed reflec ted that of the society at large. The war was casually intersp for ration prepa e, practic sports with the usual school girl chatte r about and rs teache about exami nation s, school routin e and light-h earted banter a girl other studen ts. It was noted that 'the first day of the war saved many 'from detent ion'. made Echoi ng the words and sentim ents of so many patrio tic speech es first his at pal princi the war, throug hout Austra lia in those early days of i'indom the ed, Speec h Day spoke of the 'somb re clouds ' that had gather cause' table spirit of the race to which we belong ', the 'righte ousne ss ofour to the and the 'unclo uded optim ism' with which the girls should look t. future despit e the proble ms of the presen 57


As the months and years passed and the full horror ofwar touched more and more people in Australia, the attitude of the girls changed dramatically. The abortive Gallipoli landing of 25 April 1915 and the months of agonised waiting before the evacuation of the peninsula in December not only caused pride in the toughness of Australian fighting men; for the first time on any large scale, Australians saw wounded and disfigured men being brought home from war. They scanned the casualty lists, hoping desperately that the names of their loved ones would not be there. War brought social dissension as the campaigns for and against conscription were bitterly fought in the streets and at public meetings. It exacerbated industrial unrest and helped cause the great strikes of 1917. Prices rose; goods were increasingly hard to buy; some businesses failed, others boomed on the spoils of war. Society, it seemed, was turned upside down. It was a time of ferment when old ideas and conventions were questioned and, sometimes, overturned. At the beginning of the war, at least, Australian women were as enthusiastic about it as most of the men. Convinced of the rightness of their cause, they set to work with a will to do their bit to help their country. For some this meant volunteering to become army nurses; for others it meant joining the Red Cross and learning first aid. Some (though not as many as might have been expected) took work in factories or businesses to replace men who had joined up. For most women, though, and for girls throughout the country, contributing to the war effort meant providing so-called 'comforts' for the troops. They knitted and sewed with unremitting fervour to produce thousands of socks, scarves, shirts, gloves and balac1avas for the fighting men. They organised all manner of functions to raise funds for military hospitals, the War Chest and local committees and organisations of one kind or another. So it was with the girls of Methodist Ladies' College. They threw themselves into their self-imposed tasks and, in their own minds at least, did their bit for the war. Imagine the scene, as described by an ex-student: I remember well our knitting of socks and comforts. We each contributed one penny per week of our pocket money for buying wool, and knitting bags were on every desk and swinging on our arms at odd moments. For half an hour after tea each night,while Miss Sutton would read aloud, we all knitted hard and in silence, except for the uncanny clicking, clicking of hundreds of steel needles. One week, in a supreme effort, we made almost 100 pairs of socks, to send in parcels to Newington Old Boys at the front. s

By the end of 1917 the girls at Burwood had knitted more than 640 pairs of socks; the younger children had donated 141 washers and 80 handkerchiefs. There was a special drive to fulfil a call for help from the Newington Old Boys' Union, and seventy pairs of socks in Newington colours were produced in record time. By the end of the war the girls had knitted over a thousand pairs of socks. They also arranged and supported fundraising functions such as fetes and bazaars, with the proceeds usually going to the Red Cross. 58


The prefects in 1914, with Miss Sutton at centre front.

rn With all this activit y, it is little wonde r that there was some conce InterAn about the effects of extra- curric ular knittin g on school work. media te Certif icate studen t in 1915 wrote: so commo n It has been noticed that VA girls do not suffer from the knittin g fever the Interpass to expect in other forms. Alas! Knittin g is a forbidd en joy. 'If you g', Knittin of instead g, mediat e Test you must spend your spare time in revisin slogsteady, , honest 'fine, to remark ed a mistres s; so of course we all settled down all congra tulate ging work' with the result that we all 'passed the test'. On this we socks!6 t ourselv es but what about the poor soldier s withou

tions .The Interm ediate class of 1918, howev er, clearly had no such inhibi ed renew to them urged board about knittin g. A notice on their class notice efforts : lives depend ed Citizen s ofV.A ., knit! Aim at least at two pairs each. Knit as if your of Flande rs. plains the on on it, instead of the men who are fightin g out there Revolu tion; French the of V.A., knitl as Madam e Defarg e did in the far-off days to it. 7 him send not tion, but let each sock you knit save a man from destruc



From war to peace Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, was celebrated in Sydney with fervour. The Burwood girls left school at the end of the year 'with lighter hearts than usual ... joyful because the sounds of strife had ceased, and rejoicing in the thought that our fighting brothers would soon be again within the home circle'. 8 Hardly had the celebrations died down when Sydney, and indeed much of the continent, was struck by the most serious epidemic ever to have affected Australia. This was Spanish influenza, a disease carried to Australia by returning soldiers. Schools, theatres and other public meeting places were closed, Red Cross and other volunteer organisations were again called into service and the community did its best to try to avoid the' spreading of the killer disease. Despite all efforts, the disease caused more than 11 000 deaths throughout the country. The f~ll gravity of the situation was perhaps lost on the writer of the following humorous verse, which appeared in Excelsior in August 1919 and which, incidentally, provides a glimpse of the measures that the school authorities took to keep the disease at bay: I'm a little pneumoccus [sic] And my life is full of woe, For none seems to want me Wheresoever I may go. I wanted to be friendly With some girls at M.L.C.; I tried to live right in their midst, So we could happy be. I liked their merry faces, And their shining glossy hair; But they - how strange - were very rude, They didn't want me there. With formalin and eucalypt, And disinfectants strong, They showed they wouldn't let me rest, I couldn't stay there long. 9 But the reality was grim and daily life was disrupted by discomfort and inconvenience. Girls who travelled on trains were obliged to wear muslin masks; they were even worn, for safety's sake, in the school classrooms. The opening of school in 1919 was delayed in the hope that the epidemic would pass and, when it did resume, the boarders were quarantined for several months. Miss Sutton spoke at Speech Day at the end of the year of the 'difficulties of the work in the early part of the year ... and ofthe loyal co-operation of every member of the staff in their various tasks'. A daily ritual was the boarders' procession to the school clinic for 'inhalation', and when the holidays came around again they were all 'lined up four abreast, 60



min ed eac h mo uth ' to be med ical ly exa in turn s, wit h a the rmo me ter in hom e on the trai n. 10 bef ore bei ng per mit ted to trav el ins t spo rt dur ing 191 9. Ma tch es aga Th e infl uen za epi dem ic cur tail ed cte d the girl s' abs enc e fro m sch ool affe oth er sch ool s wer e aba ndo ned and pra ctic e and tea m par tici pat ion .

Public ex am in at io ns pup ils dis t Lad ies' Col leg e, wit h its 140 By mo der n stan dar ds the Me tho Cer ele ven girls sat for the Int erm edi ate ly On ll. sma y ver still was 3, 191 in gai ned of 191 3; jus t six A passes wer e tifi cate exa min atio n at the end lish , Eng of s exa min atio n in the sub ject bet wee n the m. Th e girls sat for the udg y.J II, Fre nch , bot any and geo log geo gra phy , hist ory , ma ths I, ma ths s, ject and bot any wer e the stro nge st sub ing by the res ults alo ne, geo gra phy per ng stro a had o wh of Miss Sut ton refl ect ing no dou bt the ent hus iasm son al inte res t in the se subjects. n t Lea vin g Cer tfic ate in 191 3 was eve Th e gro up tha t atte mp ted the firs ed eiv s sat for the exa min atio n; two rec sma ller . On ly fou r Bur wo od girl er sub in geo log y and English. Th e oth hon our s in bot any and one eac h nch Fre in, Lat I, mo der n hist ory , ma ths jec ts stu die d at sen ior level wer e ed ain rem sical em pha sis of the sch ool and Ge rma n. Ob vio usly the clas and t scie nce - in the for m of bot any stro ng, alth oug h it can be see n tha Miss res t at the hig her level. Ag ain , inte ing act attr also was y log geo of the se sub ject s is evi den t. Sut ton 's infl uen ce in the pop ula rity sed Mr Kel yna ck ass oci ated the inc rea In his 191 5 Spe ech Day rep ort ut abo ate atio ns with the cur ren t deb stat e inv olv em ent in pub lic exa min at bes t, a ling erin g am biv ale nce to - or, con scr ipti on. His rem ark s bet ray ed deg ree of con trol now bei ng exe rcis a beg rud gin g acc ept anc e of - the he e, wer ns atio ion . In the pas t exa min by the stat e De par tme nt of Edu cat stat e tem ... the new cur ricu lum of the tho ugh t, aki n to 'the vol unt ary sys serv ice" '. He con tinu ed: may be reg ard ed as "co mp uls ory cho se its er days a school to a cert ain ext ent Und er the vol unt ary system in form e the wer re a fixed cou rse. Onc e so to spe ak the d. own pat h to kno wle dge . Now it is roa ed mis cho osin g. Now the re is the mac ada ch deli ght ful bus h path s of one 's own mar l ona em, mo re unif orm ity, the edu cati It is bet ter thus , the re is mo re syst of you th is mo re in step .

s for music and dra win g wer e fit sub ject Th e sch ool 's con tinu ing bel ieft hat stan sise d by the gro win g num ber and .yo ung lad ies to stu dy was em pha girls ns. Eac h Spe ech Day saw sev era l dar d of passes in pub lic exa min atio ety nin the of ix sical effo rts. Som e forty-s sin gle d out for pra ise in the ir mu iety Soc g min atio n of the Royal Dra win ent ries sen t by the sch ool to the exa in 191 3 rec eiv ed hon our s passes. in rse was ext end ed to thr ee years; In 191 7 the jun ior hig h sch ool cou rs. yea five to sed ool cou rse was inc rea the foll owi ng yea r the full hig h sch min girls pas sed the Int erm edi ate exa In tha t yea r twe nty -tw o Bur wo od 61


ation; four passed the Leaving Certificate. Miss Sutton was able to report that 'in the music and drawing sections good results have been gained'. By 1919, despite the influenza epidemic, the numbers had risen to seven candidates for the Leaving Certificate and twenty-six for the Intermediate.

School life The growing numbers of pupils changed the school in several ways. One was the introduction of a prefect system, based on the model of private girls' schools in England. When the school was small, senior pupils, by virtue of their seniority, had informal rights and responsibilities. They knew and were known by all the juniors, were admired for their maturity and. sporting ability, and had informal authority to reprimand and correct unseemly behaviour. Larger enrolments necessitated a formalisation of this system. A select group of senior pupils was henceforth appointed as monitors of discipline and standards of behaviour within the school. Eight prefects were photographed with Miss Sutton in Excelsior in November 1914; this seems to be the earliest reference to them. The first list of 'senior' prefects was published in November 1920. Another indication of growing formality within the school was the introduction ofa school uniform. It appears that the origin of this uniform was in the sports uniform worn by girls of the hockey and other sporting teams. To distinguish their team, the girls chose to wear a uniform consisting of a blouse and calf-length blue skirt. According to one memory, these uniforms became so popular that others at the school took to wearing them too. During the 1920s the shorter, pleated school tunic was introduced to replace these distinctly matronly skirts and blouses. Throughout the period, academic pursuits took up an increasing amount of the girls' time as they prepared to face the external examinations that could determine their future careers. Nevertheless there was still a number of extra-curricular activities offered and pursued in the school. The Christian Union continued meeting, with sessions alternating between Bible study classes and talks by visiting speakers such as Dr Bromilow from Melbourne who spoke to the girls about translating the Bible into Fijian. The members organised concerts and bazaars to raise money for missions and other worthwhile causes. They were fascinated by missionary work: it was both exotic and worthwhile. Gifts were collected for the 'little natives in New Britain'. Not all the events organised by the Christian Union had a religious purpose. There were parties at which novelty items were presented; meetings with other schools; and an annual schoolgirls' camp at which MLC was usually represented. The membership of the Christian Union had grown so much by 1918 that four separate circles were formed, each led by either a teacher at the school or by an old girl like Miss Lilian Vickery, who also served as president of the Union. 62


uniform. A rather Jess Trevitt in the early 1920s, wearing the Burwood Ladies' College as the sun was her flatter doesn't 'It states. aph apologetic note on the back ofthe photogr very strong and she was squinti ng.•

ra Chang ing times and new techno logy led to the forma tion of a Came raise to 'firstly ted Club in 1917. At the height of the war it was dedica taken money for our Soldie rs Fund, which we intend to do by selling copies e better by memb ers for the variou s compe titions ; and second ly, to becom rted for suppo lly iastica enthus was acqua inted with our camer as'. The club ed donat been had gs a brief period . By the end of 1917 twenty -six shillin enlarg and tank to the soldie rs' box and the club had bough t a develo ping led ing camer a. Two years later, howev er, intere st in the club had dwind and it disapp eared from the school record s. ngs' The board ers' lives contin ued to be enhan ced by period ic 'eveni girls' the of ght highli and excurs ions. The annua l launch picnic becam e a s of year, and a variety of other outing s were arrang ed for selecte d group many of boarde rs. Water melon s featur ed heavil y in the picnic fare on ed our includ which tea, ent excell these occasions: in 1915 there was 'an show to tend ... ots belove d waterm elons' ; in 1916, 'Some of the snapsh for te appeti -that the board ers have by no means lost their old happy , water- melon s'; by 1921 the girls arrive d back at colleg e 'tired but Someafter having consu med an incalc ulable quanti ty of waterm elon'. where od Burwo at times there were 'forag e partie s' to the shops dusty shade the game was water- melon or potato chips, eaten deliciously in the thereo f pips the unately Unfort of the coral trees that then lined Rowley Street. en'.12 ·verbot was melon proved our undoin g and from an early date water-



Indulging in the watermelon craze are Madge Channon and Tot Rothwell in 1922. One girl wears a school uniform; the other does not.

Although the form of the boarders' evenings changed little during the period, they became less frequent. Variety was added to the musical and elocutionary items by occasional outings to concerts or to the new-fangled picture theatres.

Sport Diving off the spring-board into waters blue, Racing for the goal-post with measured stroke and tune [sic]; Side stroke, breast stroke, floating, over-arm, or crawl, Active Burwood boarders criticised by all. Racing to the tennis courts, eager to begin, Practising with patience, thus we laurels win; Raising arm for service, smashing at the net. Bravo girls! Keep going till the final set. Dashing down the hockey field in our skirts so short, Dodging through a score of girls that we care for naught; Right into the circle skids that ball so round, When just as goal seems certain, we find we've hit the ground. 13



The school basketball team in 1920.

ned the Durin g Mr Kelyn ack's term as princi pal tennis and hocke y remai ls Schoo the most popul ar sports at the school . In 1914 the school joined titive Tenni s Assoc iation, which opene d up a range of more forma l compe the ed coach ion, champ tennis school match es. Kittie Presco tt, the forme r es. match chool inter-s in school team, which record ed its share ofsuccesses is it ; period The popula rity of basket ball waned somew hat during the in girl notabl y absen t from the verse quoted above , writte n by a Burwo od Colleg e, 1915. In 1918 the school joined the Presby terian Ladies ' both ing arrang for ation associ an Norm anhur st and Wood court school s in school ion champ the senior and junior match es. A shield was donate d for sly in the compe tition. Howe ver, enthus iasm for the sport was obviou ps basdeclin ing when a writer in Excelsior noted rather acerbi cally: 'Perha reason no is there but , hockey as ketbal l is not quite such an excitin g game why it should be despis ed'. 14 reflec ting , Swimm ing becam e increa singly popul ar in the early 1920s, went no doubt the greate r freedo m allowe d to girls. Board ers and day girls il, sucto the baths at Mortla ke for a 'weekl y dip' in summ er. One ex-pup caring swimm school first cessful in winnin g her events , remem bered the nival thus: hoarse ; and who The school travell ed en masse to Abbots ford Baths to shout itself on one's best water cared if an enthus iastic excited compe titor drippe d salt



panama hat, or ifone had been left the 'only wet patch' to sit upon ... What enjoyment our mothers of the more conservative school days missed!l can hear now the shout of my room-mates, 'Come on, Toot', and recall how that night I was feted with forbidden fruit. 15 An innovation during this period was the annual swimming carnival against other schools at the Drummoyne baths. Burwood first entered this carnival in 1913, sending five representatives. By 1916 over fifty girls represented their school at the carnival. The annual athletics carnivals continued, as much a time for fun and games as for serious athletic contests. One year the oranges for the Surprise Race were eaten by the girls before the race began. Phyllis and Nancy Kelynack shone at athletics as they did at swimming. In 1921 Phyllis won the senior championship and Nancy the junior. In 1921 the Secondary Schools' Sports meeting was begun. It was a cause of great excitement and anticipation: Happy laughter, much waving of school flags, and colours, reserved carriages in trains and trams, all point to some eagerly anticipated event, and indeed is this not an epoch-making day in the history of our school sport? For the first time our best athletes have the opportunity of competing against other schools and just how eager we all are to see the result is proved by the number of girls and their friends around the Rushcutters Bay oval, kindly lent by Grammar for the occasion. 16 The girls' enthusiasm and optimism were well rewarded. Phyllis Kelynack shone, winning the 100-yards sprint, and MLC won both the relay race (against Ascham) and the senior and junior cups for the overall point score. At the beginning of the 1920s sport, like other aspects ofschool life, had become more formal in its organisation. From this time Excelsior began to list captains of the school sporting teams, and a more extended sports report replaced the previous 'Sports Notes'. Participation in inter-school competitions and carnivals became a much more important part of school life and achieved greater prominence in the school's preoccupations.

Old Girls' Union The school's old girls served their country well during the war. For several years they cancelled their annual dinner and donated the money they had saved to the Belgian Fund. They knitted socks with gusto and organised a number of fundraising functions, thus combining patriotism with social activity. In September 1915, for example, members and friends were invited to bring articles of clothing to the YWCA rooms; the clothes, with a gift of seven pounds, were also donated to the Belgian Fund. The war brought personal sorrow and tragedy to some of the old girls as their brothers, fiances and husbands volunteered for service and some 66


the left in the front The staff hockey team in 1917. Mr Kelynack and Miss Sutton are at row.

atmos were killed. The Old Girls' Union report for 1917 reflec ted the phere of those dark days: s of bereav eSince our last issue, several of the Old Girls have known the sorrrow we offer our and ment throug h the terribl e war which still rages after three years, d was husban deepes t sympa thy to Mrs Kingsley Toddy (Doris Rickar d) whose e Chrissi , Brough killed in an aeropl ane accide nt in Englan d and also to Mary Watson Lily . France in Marsha ll, and Ofa Colwell, all of whom have lost brothe rs oon trip was marrie d to Mr P. Garrar d early in Octobe r, and while on her honeym been had , Watson E. .receiv ed the sad news that her only brothe r, Lieute nant A. killed in action four days before the wedding.J7

nza After the war the old girls helped in the emerg ency relief of the influe had who epidem ic. Plans for an honou r board , listing the names ofold girls 1921. served in the war, were first made in 1919. The board was erecte d in ations occup of range wide singly The period is notabl e for the increa in Austaken up by old girls of the school . Like other middl e class wome n 67


tralia, they found a new world waiting for them after the war. Nursing was an obvious choice of career: it came into its own during the war and, despite the long hours and sometimes unpleasant duties expected of nurses, remained a career which middle class women could enter with impunity. It was respectable and respected, and was generally considered to be fitting and suitable work for women. Medicine, on the other hand, was looked upon much more cautiously. The first women graduated in medicine from Sydney University in 1893 and in 1905 the first Burwood girl, Susannah O'Reilly, graduated as a doctor. Susie, as she was generally known, was the daughter of a doctor, two of her brothers were doctors, and ten years later her sister, Olive O'Reilly, also joined the profession. She too was a Burwood graduate and married the Reverend A. Harold Wood, with whom she worked in Tonga as a medical missionary. After thirteen years in Tonga, with six children to care for, the Woods returned to Australia and Mr Wood was appointed as principal of the Methodist Ladies' College at Kew. The th1rd ex-MLC girl to gain a medical degree was Frances Mabel Brett, who graduated in 1918. She worked as a radiographer at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital until her marriage. Teaching was another occupation favoured by MLC girls: it has always been a profession available to women of the middle class, especially at the junior levels. Many of those who studied arts and science at university went on to teach. Others trained at the kindergarten college at Blackfriars as junior teachers. In 1915 a Burwood girl, Ruby Starling, was appointed in charge of the radical free kindergarten at Pyrmont, organised along the principles espoused by Montessori. By 1919 there were four old girls teaching at the school: Mabel Sutton, the headmistress, Angela Galbraith, Marjorie Barr and Dorothy Hudson. The majority of girls expected to marry when they left school and for most of them this meant the end of their career. However, for those who did not marry, such as Susie O'Reilly, a career was possible in the wider world.

A time of expansion The school's finances were put on a firmer footing in 1913 when the church agreed to take responsibility for its liabilities. At the same time a Ladies' Advance Committee was formed, which 'not only gathered further funds, but infused a new spirit of enterprise and aggressiveness' into fundraising. Kittie Prescott gave an 'at home' at Newington in 1913 to initiate this movement, and it was noted that 'a lady who takes a deep interest in the College has promised 5/- for every pound given or collected by an Old Girl'. 18The first meeting of the Ladies'Advance Committee was held in August 1914, with Mrs Stead as chairwoman, Mrs Bryant as secretary and Mrs Vickery as treasurer. In the following year Mrs Bowes became secretary and Miss Hall took the position of treasurer. With Mrs 68


r Alfred. G· Newm an

g ofthe Tower Wing, The appear ance ofthe school was significantly changed by the buildin ior inJune 1918. Excels in ed publish on projecti t's architec An 1919. opened in March

comStead, they retain ed these positio ns until 1924. The memb ers ofthe pupils of s mittee were mainly mothe rs and old girls of the school or friend and their families. once In 1914 there were 54 board ers and 86 day girls at the school and n'substa a re measu rary tempo again accom modat ion was a proble m. As a 1916 By s. month tial brick cottag e' near the school was rented for twelve cotthe enrolm ent had grown to 200, includ ing 66 board ers, and a second at a cost tage had to be rented to accom modat e the studen ts. In additi on, built. were oms classro new of about seven hundr ed pound s, three in In her half-y early report to the Financ e and Adviso ry Comm ittee but, oms June 1917, Miss Sutton welco med the existe nce of the new classro task for in charac teristi cally forthr ight manne r, took the comm ittee to t for reques a adding d, offere they es certain deficie ncies in the faciliti the g praisin After gs. greate r consu ltation in the planni ng offutu re buildin about ain good lightin g and the 'up to date' desks, she went on to compl and an the cramp ed condit ions, poorly design ed locker doors inconv enient ly placed cloak rail. 69

Archite ct


The Park Road frontage after the completion of the Tower Wing in 1919.

Obviously, the problem of accommodation was still not fully solved. In February 1918 the Council resolved that the trustees be asked to report on the financial implications of a major extension costing some seven thousand pounds. Advice that the Bank of New South Wales was prepared to advance the money at an interest rate of five per cent was received in April and it was decided to go ahead with the building program. The Tower Wing, as it was called, was opened on Saturday 22 March 1919. The cost had risen to 8933 pounds and furniture added another 1594 pounds. The tower after which the new block was named, and which added a touch of flamboyance to the school's appearance, was financed, in part at least, by the endowment given many years earlier by Mrs Schofield. By 1921 Mr Kelynack was able to report to the College Council that the school was full and that he had been forced to turn away both boarders and day girls. A few months later, in February 1922, he resigned from his 70



ued positio n as princi pal. He return ed to circuit work, where he contin onia. pneum of until his death, resulti ng from an attack ed the For the most part, the catacly smic events of World War 1 bypass , sewed and d girls at the Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e. Certai nly they knitte only was raised funds and watch ed pagea nts about the war, but their world and vative conser ned remai school The periph erally altere d by it. Sport world. e outsid the of Christ ian and safe, despit e the proble ms - a relaoffere d greate r freedo m and challe nge to some girls, and others achiev etive few - took up the challe nge to greate r expec tation s and ments in the wider world.

jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 26 Rev. Dr F. H. Raywar d, Vignett es, 1982-1 984 g jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 57 4 Excelsior, Novem ber 1914, page 4 145-14 6 5 Miss H. Webb,J ubileeS ouvenir , 1936, page 6 Excelsior, Octobe r 1915, page 3 7 Excelsi or,june 1918,p age8 8 Excelsior, August 1919, page 15 .9 ibid., page 19 146 10 Miss H. Webb,ju bileeSo uvenir, 1936, page 16 page 1917, or,june Excelsi II 160 12 Miss Lois Carter, jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 12 page 1915, or,june Excelsi Ig 14 Excelsior, August 1919, page 6 page 123 15 Miss Inda Blessin g,jubile e Souvenir, 1936, 16 Excelsior, Novem ber 1921, page 18 17 Excelsior, Decem ber 1917, page 21 18 Excelsior, March 1914, page 12 I




Miss Mabel Sutton. This portrait was presented to her by the girls on her retirement in 1940.


Chapter 5

The Sutton Era whose influN THE HISTO RY of MLC Burwo od, there is one individ ual

I ence Sutton was probab ly more pervas ive than that of any other person . Miss was a teache r at the school for thirty years and headm istress

Mabel qualfor twenty -eight of these. Her forcef ul charac ter, strong discipl ine, sevthe that d ities of leader ship and remar kable skills as a teache r ensure at were eral genera tions of pupils , as well as many memb ers of staff, who memthe school for most of the first half of this centur y retain ed lasting and values , beliefs her of sions ories of her person ality and strong impres princip les. ed to Mabel Sutton was one of a numb er of forme r pupils who return old girls teach at their old school and the first of a disting uished group of in who becam e its headm istress . When she was appoin ted headm istress years three thirtywas she n 1912 on the resign ation of Miss Hethe ringto d the old; when she finally retired in 1940, six years after she had reache eninterv statuto ry retirem ent age, she was in her sixty-s econd year. In the diffiing years she had helped steer the school throug h some of its most nation the which during times cult, as well as some of its happie st times; ed econsuffer ed the traum as of the Great War, the worst and most extend global second omic depres sion in its history and the loomi ng threat of a ' years conflic t, but also enjoye d the relativ ely carefr ee respite of the 'boom of the twenti es. es In many ways, of course , the school reflec ted the moods and fortun and dress to es attitud of the wider comm unity: the genera lly more relaxe d on stangreate r freedo m in social relatio ns, with their inevita ble effect War dards of sexual morali ty, that prevai led in the years follow ing World of a phere atmos d rarefie ely relativ 1 could not go unnot iced even in the g warnin stern a many for privat e girls' school and provid ed substa nce rds. standa from Miss Sutton . She was, perhap s above all else, a stickle r for



The school had, during these years, its own internal problems. The system of dual control, established at the end of Mr Prescott's term as principal, was bound sooner or later to produce tensions between principal and headmistress, and Miss Sutton was not one to allow the role of headmistress to be downgraded. Through dogged persistence she managed to achieve reforms in the administrative system and to abolish anomalies that a lesser personality would have borne with. Mabel Sutton's strength of will and force of personality may well have been forged early in life. As a child she was no stranger to hardship and misfortune. Born in England in 1879, she was one ofa family of eight children. While she was still a young child her mother died, and her father, John Sutton, a builder by trade, brought the family to Australia where they settled, first at Thornleigh and later at Hornsby. The depression of the 1890s adversely affected the building industry and forced Sutton to take up fruit and vegetable growing in order to support his family. He must have had entrepreneurial skills because he later helped pioneer the tinned fruit industry in Sydney. Mabel won a bursary to the Wesleyan Ladies' College. Here, during the late 1890s, May Sutton, as she was known, was one of a select group of students who were noted for their intellectual and academic prowess and who were destined for university studies. The group included Susie O'Reilly, the first ex-pupil of the school to graduate in medicine, Rachel McKibbin, who became a teacher, and Birdie Holloway who, despite her university education, 'decided to enter into matrimony'.' In 1904 Mabel Sutton graduated from Sydney University with honours in mathematics and six years later, in 1910, shejoined the staffofBurwood Ladies' College as 'first assistant'. She very quickly established a reputation as an inspirational teacher, particularly of botany. One ex-pupil later recalled that Miss Sutton's botany lessons were 'an unforgettable experience'2; another claimed that it was Miss Sutton's teaching of botany that inspired her to undertake a university science course. In a reminiscence that throws interesting light on some of Miss Sutton's teaching methods, she recalled: ' Botany was ... very popular, and when in the senior classes we attended excursions in the bush, and commenced our collections of wild flowers, our enthusiasm was fired and kept burning by the enthusiasm and keenness of Miss Sutton, who led US.'3 In the days before 'hands-on learning' became the fashion, Miss Sutton was putting it into practice with her students at Burwood. It was one aspect of the progressive side of her character. Excelsior contains an account of a particularly adventurous geology excursion undertaken by Miss Sutton and four of her students in 1912: They went down a dusty stony road to the quarry ... It was indeed very terrible to look down the chasm, about 150 feet deep, and I could not help thinking what we should look like if we fell down that yawning abyss. In order to get to the bottom, we had to first climb down a rope. Miss Sutton was the first to go down and she stopped half way to help us ... But our course downwards was not nearly finished, as there was still a steep incline to descend. Two of us preferred to stop



to the bottom . where we were, but Miss Sutton and the rest of the girls went right in a huge were they if as echoed voices their and They looked so small and weird 4 vault.

much of Indeed , a spirit of adven turous ness and innova tion charac terised imes Miss Sutton 's teachi ng and admin istrati on. This very spirit somet 's school the in nts eleme vative broug ht her into conflic t with more conser when even e admin istrati on. While excurs ions in the cause of scienc the early they involv ed some dange r to life and limb - were accept able in too risky years of the twenti eth centur y, the theatr e was still consid ered reques t 's Sutton Miss 1920s. an experi ence for young ladies as late as the tted permi be she that to the Financ e and Advis ory Comm ittee in 1922 Night's to take a group of girls to see a perfor mance of A Midsu mmer n as Dream was turned down withou t explan ation, despit e her positio headm istress .

Pro blem s with dual cont rol a visit to The refusa l of the Financ e and Advis ory Comm ittee to appro ve experi Sutton Miss that tions the theatr e highli ghts the kinds of frustra auththe ng exerti in enced in trying to imple ment many of her ideas and l forma the of ority she consid ered she should have as headm istress . In spite , the fact author ity that dual contro l invest ed in the office of headm istress of coml contro the under were life remai ned that many aspect s of school not was she gs meetin whose mittee s of which she was not a memb er and ted appoin been permi tted to attend . Altho ugh a numb er of wome n had not was as memb ers of the Colleg e Counc il in 1915 the headm istress for new plans ved appro that g meetin il among them. The Colleg e Counc be istress headm the that merely classro oms in Septem ber 1916 resolv ed e Financ The ittee. asked to comm ent on the plans to the Buildi ng Comm ng buildi r and Advis ory Comm ittee, set up in 1917 to enquir e into furthe entire ly requir ement s, specifi cally the propo sed new wing, was compo sed of men. ot surpri singly , someo ne as determ ined as Miss Sutton raised object to tions to this state of affairs . In 1921 Miss Sutton made a forma l reques and e the Counc il that she be grante d direct repres entati on on the Financ t two Advis ory Comm ittee. It was determ ined that she would presen e, colleg the of side stic' 'schola report s a year on matter s pertai ning to the these when only gs and that she could be presen t at comm ittee meetin report s were under consid eration . had Relati ons betwe en Miss Sutton and the princi pal, Mr Kelyn ack, comof ership memb of ons questi becom e straine d, and went beyon d on. The mittee s to includ e matter s of school policy and admin istrati on 30 that seriou sness of these disagr eemen ts can be gauge d by the fact by Miss Janua ry 1922 the Colleg e Counc il consid ered compl aints made



Sutton and thirteen other members ofthe teaching staff against the principal. This also demonstrates the degree of loyalty that members of staff felt for their headmistress. The Council's response was to express its confidence in both the principal and the headmistress and to express its regret that 'misunderstandings' had arisen. It also granted Miss Sutton the right to attend Finance and Advisory Committee meetings and to present her reports in person; if disagreements arose about matters raised in these reports, Miss Sutton was to have right of appeal to the College Council. Several more meetings of the Finance and Advisory Committee were held to try to iron out the differences between principal and headmistress. It seems they failed: less than a month after the Council meeting referred to above, Mr Kelynack resigned. Before Mr Kelynack's resignation moves were made to end the system of dual control- moves that, if they had been successful, would considerably have increased Miss Sutton's authority. The Finance and Advisory Committee had recommended to the College Council that the custom of appointing a minister of the church as principal was unnecessary; a minister should be appointed to the position of visiting chaplain with responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the pupils and for ensuring that the interests of the church were properly served. The Council, however, did not accept these recommendations; at a meeting of the Council in April 1922 it was decided 'to leave the management and control of the College as it is, at present'. The Reverend T. F. Potts was duly appointed as acting principal, and within two years was confirmed as principal with the same degree of authority and control as his predecessors had enjoyed. The system of administration continued much as before with Miss Sutton attending committee meetings only to present her biannual report. At one of these meetings, in 1925, she tabled a list of suggestions about the proposed new assembly hall and at another she argued strongly the case for increased staff salaries - an indication that her contributions were not entirely restricted to 'scholastic' matters. The replacement ofMr Kelynack by Mr Potts did not, however, resolve the question of authority, and the arguments for and against dual control continued during the next decade. It would seem, too, that the issue created friction between Miss Sutton and Mr Potts and that this prompted Miss Sutton to tender her resignation in a letter to the Finance and Advisory Committee in 1928. The resignation was subsequently withdrawn and Miss Sutton felt compelled to explain her grievances in a letter of explanation. This letter no doubt outlined her complaints against the principal: it was circulated to all members of the College Council with the exception of Mr Potts. Miss Sutton continued to press for change and a flurry of deliberations ensued. In 1929 the Council produced a document in which it asserted that, as its members were appointees of the Methodist Conference, it had authority in all matters to do with the school. This document went on to confirm the principal as official head of the college and stated that the headmistress's duties were subject to the Council's direction. In a further 76


1915. t in the fron t, with her staf fin about Miss Sutton, seated second from righ

posus, the doc um ent pro cla ime d the dow ngr adi ng of Miss Sut ton 's stat the at d live -res ide ntia l. (Sh e gen era lly itio n of hea dm istr ess to be non kwee ry rne d to her hou se at Ho rns by eve sch ool dur ing the wee k, and retu n to n for Miss Sut ton in the dec isio end .) Th ere was som e con sol atio per ing of the nex t yea r by 100 pou nds inc rea se her sala ry fro m the beg inn ann um . an Pot ts, the Rev ere nd H. C. For em In 193 3, on the reti rem ent of Mr nge cha er, the Cou nci l for esh ado wed a was app oin ted as prin cip al. Ho wev uld en it res olv ed tha t dua l con tro l wo in the sys tem of adm inis trat ion wh ess istr dm Hea the on 'on the pos itio n of be rev iew ed wit h a view to abo liti the t rus ent to nci l was not of a min d bec om ing vac ant '. Cle arly the Cou con ind eed , to any wo ma n. Thi s was ove rall con trol to Miss Sut ton or, d ere of Miss Sut ton , the Cou nci l em pow firm ed wh en, on the reti rem ent vis ory suc ces sor of the Fin anc e and Ad the Exe cut ive Co mm itte e (the min (a al cip prin s ofa ppo inti ng eith er a Com mit tee ) to con sid er the opt ion e as tinu con e com ple te con trol or to ister) or a hea dm istr ess to ass um on and de was app oin ted hea dm istr ess bef ore . In the eve nt, Dr Gla dys Wa ere nd ary 194 0, a new prin cip al, the Rev the dea th of Mr For em an inJ anu ely ctiv effe s thu . Th e stat us quo was Wa llac e Dea ne, was nom ina ted ma inta ine d. 77


Miss Sutton as educationalist Miss Sutton believed strongly in the importance of education for girls and also that opportunities provided for girls should not be inferior to those made available to boys. In her first Speech Day report, in 1912, she made an eloquent appeal to parents not to remove their daughters prematurely from school: Then I want to insist on the desirability of leaving your girls with me as long as possible. If the parents only realized the development that rapidly follows the removal of a girl from VA to VIth - a character as well as a mental development - they would make greater efforts to give these girls the benefits which result from longer years in a Senior Form.

Throughout her Speech Day reports there is a strong emphasis on academic results and special mention is always made of particularly noteworthy achievements. When Burwood results compare favourably with those from other schools this is pointed out. But while she could see value in the examination system and saw some advantages in the competition it provided, she also deplored some of its more stultifying effects. As she put it in her 1933 Speech Day report: ... I have deplored for a long time the present inadequate system with its emphasis entirely on public examination results and I have tried to provide for your children a more generous course of study, while still conforming to the regulations.

For Miss Sutton music, drama and sport were also important aspects of the school curriculum that she actively encouraged and reported on in her Speech Day reports. She was a devotee of poetry; she often read poems at school assemblies and taught and performed poetry with great gusto in the classroom. During her time as headmistress Mabel Sutton's status as an educator received public recognition when, in 1933, she was appointed by the Minister for Education to represent the girls' private secondary schools on a committee that was to enquire into the curriculum and examination system for secondary schools. She was also elected to the Matriculation, General and Domestic Science subcommittees of the Education Advisory Council. In 1935 she represented the Headmistresses' Association on the Educational Council, a body set up by the state parliament to advise on possible changes to school policy. In the same year, she was awarded the MBE in recognition of her services to education. Mabel Sutton was a firm disciplinarian whose attitudes to certain aspects of discipline and behaviour seem, from our perspective, to be at odds with some of her more liberal educational views. Some of her pronouncements sound rather priggishly moralistic to us now; she was, even for her time, morally conservative. In her 1913 Speech Day report she expressed her distaste for new fashions in clothing, strongly hinting at a direct link between showy dress and moral looseness: 78


Sixth Form, 1917. Miss Sutton is third from the right in the back row.

the past, with The girl of today has undoub tedly more freedo m than the girl of d, over -minde shallow us, frivolo a it seems to me, less home trainin g. As a result her for dressed girl, hioned old-fas dressed young person often replace s the dear sash. blue and simple pleasur es, in white book-m uslin frock

rs of Again , in her 1925 report , she admon ished parent s about the dange them to 'grown up parties , dances and week day outing s', and advise d for ones up grown the save do 'Keep all the childis h pleasu res you can but by lified exemp is later on'. Miss Sutton 's propen sity for the moral maxim conin mind one old girl's recolle ction of 'certai n phrase s' that sprang to nectio n with Miss Sutton : one who never 'A sport is one who wins graciou sly and loses genero usly.' 'A lady is the backdeliber ately hurts anothe r's feeling s.' These things and others formed bone of our trainin g. 5

respec t The pupils seem to have regard ed Miss Sutton with a mixtu re of ur humo and awe. Anecd otes and remini scence s reveal little eviden ce of At one in her make- up. Her discip line was often rather unben ding. d in a resulte r speake g visitin a by e assembly an amusi ng slip of the tongu the by short cut tly burst of laught er from the studen ts, which was promp 79


headmistress's peremptory call, 'Self-control, girls! Self-control!' Her rather imperious manner at school assemblies was described by an ex-pupil in these terms: We see the dignified figure on the dais, the foot forward with toe pointed and the hand upraised, asking for silence, and we know that here is one who has that subtle thing called 'presence'.6

Her generally severe manner was, however, often tempered with conspicuous kindness and understanding. She was capable of handling a delicate situation with tact and even with a degree of self-deprecation as the following reminiscence shows: ... a group of us, 13-14 years old, had been particularly spiteful to one ofour class and were calling her by an unpleasant nickname. The following morning, in Assembly, Miss Sutton suddenly said: 'My darlings - I know you all call me "Suttie" and I like you doing so. Please remember that a nickname should be used only as a term of endearment. '7

In reading the recollections of Miss Sutton by ex-pupils one is struck by a certain ambivalence in their attitudes. The respect, affection and appreciation they express is often tinged by a hint of fear. Often there is a sense of humanity surprisingly discovered: the public severity belied by personal contact: But we also remember that it was the closer contact that made her most dear to us, although we often may have gone trembling to the interview ... we saw the wise grey eyes ... the nose, full of character, not too large, and not too straight, just to tell us that here was no self-satisfied dweller in the heights of Olympus, but a very human being. 8

It seems that a cool aloofness and formality of manner were Miss Sutton's natural attributes; expressions of warmth did not come easily to her. She was naturally authoritarian and sometimes overbearing and intimidating. She could overreact to trivial misdemeanours and unleash the sharpness of her tongue in situations where gentler measures would have been more just and appropriate. It was no doubt this acerbic quality in her character that, allied to her strong-willed determination, brought her into conflict with two principals and others in the school administration.

) Miss Etella Williams, jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 155 Mrs Cooper,jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 153 3 Mrs Whitehouse,jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 155 4 Excelsior, ovember 1912, page 7 5 MissJoyce Vickery,jubileeSouvenir, 1936, page 150 6 jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 59 7 Links Across the Years, 1976, page 21 8jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 61 2


Chapter 6

Through Boom and Depression 1933 the HE GREA T WAR had been fough t and won, the troops repatr iated, a mood, new a came es twenti influe nza epidem ic stemm ed. With the the forget to light-h earted , carefr ee mood that reflec ted people 's desire 'Roari ng horror s of war and live for the presen t. These were the so-call ed seeme d, Twent ies', that halcyo n time betwe en war and depres sion when it were for the well-to -do at least, that the future was indeed rosy, that riches to meant was life that them, there for those who wante d and worke d for l ntiona conve be fun. The rigidit y of the Edwar dian years was questi oned; ity author morali ty and establ ished social patter ns were openly challe nged; the time was It ity. author was it e becaus was no longer accept ed simply own, their into came hall dance when the motor car, the radio, cinem a and and war of es shackl a time for the young and carefr ee to shake off the . assert their youthf ul confid ence in thems elves and their future n for An outwa rd and visible sign of the chang ing times was the fashio rcounte their did it as n wome and bobbe d hair, which swept Sydne y girls the with be to desire a lised parts overse as. Cuttin g one's hair short symbo ont of times, to join the movem ent for libera tion and to be in the forefr e were fashio n. Early in the twenti es the girls at Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg Two hair. d bobbe of evils the about subjec ted to a 'long and solem n talk' ous rebelli this that feared girls had dared tp trim their hair and the school es twenti the as for fashio n might spread . Their fears were well groun ded, photo passed more and more Burwo od studen ts are shown in school graphs with the new hairsty le. short Clothi ng, too, chang ed with the times. Short hair was mirro red by the of s blouse and skirts. Gone were the 'distin ctly matro nly' long skirts




The senior prefects, 1923, wearing the school uniform of long skirt, long-sleeved blouse and loose tie.

past. Girls now wore tunics, themselves reflecting the current fashion for slim, belted dresses. As the years passed, the length of these tunics was shortened. Miss Sutton and the new principal, the Reverend T. F. Potts, expressed concern about these trends and stressed the need for pupils to resist the temptations of the new society. Miss Sutton spoke ofthe need for 'a sound and generous education ... to fit a girl to use her future liberty wisely and well'. She warned against the girls having too much freedom at too early an age. Their schoolwork would suffer, she asserted, ifthey were allowed to stay up late and attend 'grown up parties, dances and week day outings'.' Mr Potts reiterated this warning: When a girl is invited to a social evening or even a picture show, she finds it hard to resist temptation ... The wise parent wil1 at once perceive how difficult is the task of the teacher, who tries to secure concentration in the case of a girl whose brain is in a whirl over the evening past, and in a state of anticipation and excitement over the evening to come. 2

Boarders, according to Mr Potts, had an advantage here, for their lives were within the control of the school, so that the temptations of excessive socialising could be avoided. The lives of the boarders were as tightly ordered as the school could manage. The two excursions to the Burwood 82



ch, early 1930s. lined up and ready to leave for chur Sun day morning: the boarders are

to one of the out sid e wo rld' , acc ord ing chu rch on Sun day s wer e 'a bre ath ses tres at the sho ps, 'wi th the hou se mis ex- pup il, wh en girl s cou ld loo k ion act era l dec oru m'. A sig nifi can t attr kee pin g a wat chf ul eye on the gen n wh o me ng you the e ny girl s at leas t, wer of the se out ing s to chu rch , for ma san g in the cho ir. wer e s tha t boa rde rs wer e per mit ted Eve n as late as 193 1 the out ing ed suc h the ir doi ngs for tha t yea r inc lud tigh tly res tric ted . A res um e of 'pri m law n', sum me r eve nin g walks in inn ocu ous ple asu res as 'tea on the etme sion Mis n eig ts to the Ho me and For line s' dow n the local stre ets, visi ith Ead e Dam Miss Pot ts and an out ing to ings, an exc urs ion to the zoo wit h cin em a, ere was also a sing le visit to the Wa lke r's gar den s in Con cor d. Th spe cta cle of Mr Pot ts, to see East Lynne, a this tim e und er the wat chf ul eye tha n in was har dly , if at all, mo re libe ral tha t mo ved the m all to tear s. It Mr Pre sco tt's day.3 83





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The Boarders' Sunday Chart, as drawn by a contributor to Excelsior in May 1928.

Other students, however, roamed farther afield. Excelsior contains numerous accounts of trips to far-flung places by Methodist Ladies' College students: Britain, Europe, Asia are all visited and reported upon enthusiastically by the fortunate travellers. Burwood old girls, too, were inveterate travellers according to the Old Girls' Column. This points to a general level of affluence among the families of the school's students, an affluence that insulated them from the experience and even the knowledge of financial strain. An indication of this relative insulation can be glimpsed in the description of an excursion undertaken by a group of senior girls under Miss Sutton's supervision in 1925 to 'see the poor locality (in other words, slums) at Redfern'. The girls were shocked and much affected by the 'unbelievably narrow and filthy streets' and the general poverty of the area. It aroused their charitable instincts and they returned to their middle-class security and comfort 'with a resolution to help'.4 Whatever measures were undertaken to protect the students, and particularly the boarders, from what were perceived to be the worst influences of the age, the spirit of the times could not be denied. Along with the changed hair and clothing styles there was a conscious, and often articulated, feeling that this was a new and different age. A witty exposition of this spirit, and a vigorous celebration of a sense of unfettered enjoyment, was expressed in rhyming couplets in Excelsior in 1926:


\ '


1920s. The recently Boarders spend a Sunday afternoon in the playing field in the early background. the in visible is Wing ld Schofie the ng adjoini completed Tower Wing

I'm glad I entere d not this whirl Of living, a Victor ian girl; Of simper ing airs and dainty graces, With one of their insipid faces How I would love to have the power To snatch , and place for just an hour A handfu l of Victor ian churls, And - twenty , say - Victori an girls, Where they could see a little youth Of this enligh tened age of truth! It would be worth a million pounds To watch them, as they went the rounds . But if they saw the height ened skirts, The bare brown arms of moder n flirts, The Oxford 'bags', the slashin g style, The moder n boy's engagi ng smile I greatly fear the girls would faint; ... 5



A more subtle, but nonetheless significant, example of the intrusion of new fashions was the first appearance in Excelsior in 1926 of a poem in free verse. Of course, during the twenties the outside world became much more difficult to keep out; it was really the beginning of the era of mass communication. The gramophone, the cinematograph and, most significant of all, the radio became part of everyday experience and ensured the rapid dissemination of information and opinions. A gramophone was purchased in 1924 and, in the following year, radio officially came to MLC when the Finance and Advisory Committee approved the purchase of a wireless set at a cost of £47 14s 6d. Its immediate impact was heightened when, on the first day of its use, the 'Hello-man' gave 'a special address to the girls of the Methodist Ladies' College'. The enjoyment that the radio afforded the girls, especially the boarders, can be gauged from the repeated references to it in the Excelsiors of the period. The Form Notes that were a regular feature of the magazine are regularly cast in the form of a wireless broadcast: 'Hullo, Hullo, everyonel I shall now broadcast the news from station 1. Abbeythorpe.'6 Tune in, tune in, That's what you'd better do, You'll hear the best of everything From Station 6 B2 7

For women, in particular the twenties was perceived as a time of widening opportunities that offered them greater choices both in their lifestyle and careers. Mr Potts acknowledged as much - though one senses, with less than wholehearted enthusiasm - in his Speech Day report of 1923: As woman continues to exercise a growing influence in the world, the education of a girl becomes a matter of paramount importance. For weal or woe, the gentler sex are entering the professions - but that is no reason why the training of a girl should be a crude imitation of the training of a boy ... The modern girl has a worthy desire to be independent and to fit herself - should necessity arise for earning her livelihood.

In his Speech Day report of the previous year the misgivings implied in the above extract had been more directly stated. Here he had strongly supported the central importance of domestic science, or 'housekeeping', in the curriculum of a girls' school. In a revealing passage that stamps him unequivocally as an educational conservative, he stated: A husband poorly fed is continual menace to the happiness of the home. The author of 'This Freedom' says 'The peace of every home in civilised society rests ultimately upon the kitchen,' and one may add upon the domesticity of woman.

The enduring contribution that Mr Potts made to the school during his eleven years as principal can be measured more in the physical expansion 86


The Reverend T. F. Potts, princip al 1922-1933.



that occurred under his leadership, and largely as a result of his efforts and abilities, than in matters relating directly to education. In this period new properties were acquired, existing ones extended and new tennis courts were laid - a result mainly of the principal's outstanding business sense and his ability as a financial manager. When Mr Kelynack resigned early in 1922 Mr Potts was appointed as a temporary principal for one year. At the end of that period he was installed in the position, which he occupied until 1933 when, having reached the age of seventy, he retired in accordance with regulations laid down by the General Conference. Before coming to MLC, Mr Potts had been a minister for thirty-five years, most of them spent in country circuits. In 1921 he had been elected secretary of the Methodist Conference of New South Wales and in 1923 became its president. Mr Potts' life ended tragically the year after he retired when he was struck by a car while crossing Parramatta Road. He was a genial, pleasant character with a friendly, cheerful disposition which seems to have endeared him to the pupils of the school. One ex-pupil recalled the brief interview she had with the 'cheery' principal on her first day at the school and another remembered him as being 'so much our friend'.8 He was a hard worker rather than a scholar and was refreshingly free of pretensions about his own ability and not above making ajoke at his own expense. On his election as president of Conference, a colleague remembers him remarking with mock solemnity: 'This should encourage all my brethren, because if a fellow like Potts can become President, anybody can.' Mrs Potts was the first principal's wife who did not play the role of unpaid housekeeper and superintendent of the boarders. Although she was actively involved in the running of the school, the domestic management was entrusted, as a paid position, to her daughter, Miss Thecla Potts in June 1922. The school had, by this time, grown too large for this job to be done in an honorary capacity and, in any case, Mrs Potts was in delicate health. Mr Potts' other daughter, Miss Ellie Potts, was a teacher at the school for some time and later helped her sister with the running of the boarding school. What made the ambitious program of building and extension necessary was the spectacular growth in the number of pupils that occurred during the twenties. At the end of 1922 there were 319 pupils in the school. By the end of the next year that number had grown to a new record of 380 pupils, of whom 104 were boarders. By 1926 the boarders had increased their numbers by only one - no doubt reflecting the accommodation available - but the number of day pupils had risen to 360, making a total school enrolment of 465. In his Speech Day report in 1930 the principal was able to announce proudly that with 522 students Methodist Ladies' College was 'the largest school belonging to any church in New South Wales'. It was a remarkable achievement that did credit both to the entrepreneurial skills of its principal and to the excellent reputation the school had achieved throughout the community. 88


A class in the mid-1920s.

the In that report Mr Potts paid tribute to the staff and attribu ted staff school 's enviab le status largely to the quality of their teachi ng. This an ed includ and rs numbe t studen in too had expan ded with the increa se gradu eight were there ever-g rowin g propo rtion of gradua tes. In 1923 total the of ates; by 1930 the fifteen gradu ates compr ised almos t half from the teachi ng staff of thirty- two. The gradu ates were disting uished duty. rest of the staff by the academ ic gowns they always wore while on period that in e, Colleg ' Ladies Many of the teache rs at the Metho dist il, ex-pup an f hersel and later, were ex-pupilS of the school . Miss Sutton , return as adopte d a delibe rate policy of encou raging forme r pupils to Girls' teache rs and was no doubt able to use her conne ctions with the Old er numb a for ent presid been had Union - she was an active memb er and



of years in the previous decade - to help realise her goals in this regard. An indication of the stability of the teaching staff and of the close-knit nature of the school was the professional longevity of so many of these teachers. Miss Sutton herself set a fine example by remaining at the school for almost thirty years, but others were there for longer. Lulu Thomas, who was head of the primary department, was at the school from 1922 until 1968; Ethel Hill was appointed as Miss Sutton's first assistant in 1912 and remained at the school for thirty-three years; Miss Joyce Denning joined the staff as games mistress in 1930, remained there for forty-two years and became deputy headmistress. Miss Dorothy Law instilled a love of literature into several generations of students; she joined the school as English mistress in 1923 and stayed in that position for twenty-four years. Both the stability of the staff and their dedication to their task no doubt contributed to the excellent academic record, as reflected in examination results, that the school achieved during this period. The twelve Leaving Certificate passes in 1922 had risen to twenty-four in 1932. In 1930 fiftyeight girls were successful in the Intermediate Certificate. The 1931 number of sixty-six Intermediate passes put MLC on a par with The King's School. The school also won its share of university exhibitions - bursaries granted by the government which allowed the recipient to attend university without paying fees. In 1931 two of these went to MLC girls, one to Alice Whitley, a future headmistress of the school. Despite the generally conservative tenor of the school and its administration, it was ahead of its time, for a girls' school, in the emphasis it placed on science. The impetus for this may well have come from Miss Sutton, whose enthusiasm for botany and skill in communicating this enthusiasm have already been noted. The provision of a science laboratory certainly helped stimulate interest. MLC was the first girls' school in the state to present candidates for the Leaving Certificate in physics.

Music and drama In 1930, as well as the full-time teachers, there were eleven vIsItIng teachers who gave lessons in specialist subjects. Notable among these was Mr Lindley Evans, for many years a leading figure in Australian musical life and education. The appointment of Mr Evans reflected the prime importance that continued to be placed on music in the curriculum. Throughout this period girls continued to sit for practical and theory examinations and successes in these were proudly announced at Speech Days. During the twenties the number of music lessons was increased, with each girl receiving individual as well as class lessons. In 1930 Excelsior began to publish a regular column called 'The School's Music' in which results of competitions were announced and details were given of the musical activities of the school. They tell ofa wealth ofmusical activity in the form oflunchtime and other school concerts, recitals by visitors and gramophone lecture-recitals. The impact of the gramophone can 90


~(hool ~ong Music by LINDLEY EVANS.


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Here in this house where we are singing thus Long generations will come after us: Friends we have never known will come to share This life of ours, wondering what we were. Long after we are gone their minds will take The human pathways our endeavours make. We shall not see them, but we can endow This place with beauty for them here and now, We can so live that after we are dead They may find beauty here like daily bread. We can so live that they may find each one A life here of truth said and kindness done: The knowledge that this world of mysteries Wants many thousand true for one that's wise, The faith that when a twilight finds us gone, All we have consecrated will live on To help the souls of other unseen friends Into a calm where beauty never ends. -By Permission of the Poet Laureate and the British Society of Authors.

A slightly modified version ofwords byJohn Masei!eld, set to music by Lindley Evans, was adopted as the school song m the late 1920s.



be seen in these columns. In the December 1932 issue an appeal is made for the donation of records so that the school could establish by degrees an excellent record library. The arrival of Mr Evans meant an immediate improvement in the standards achieved by the senior choir. In his first year, 1930, it came second in the Dempster Shield competition and the following year it came equal first with Ascham. But perhaps the crowning achievement of this period was the formation of the school orchestra in 1932. It had been some time in the making. In her Speech Day report in 1930 Miss Sutton had noted that 'violin girls are loving their work with Miss Maldon and that a school orchestra seems somewhere within the bounds of possibility'. There were a considerable number of string players in the school and in 1931 the first steps had been taken towards the setting up of the orchestra by the formation of an ensemble class. It came to fruition at the senior play day when the ensemble, formed by the coming together of the violin class, one cello and the percussion band, conducted by one of the students, played some folk dances. The orchestral forces comprised 'one first violin, four second violins, a 'cello, piano, 4 triangles, 2 drums, 4 cymbals, 1 tambourine and a girl conductor'. The report in Excelsior declared it 'a tremendous success' and looked forward to its performances of 'Beethoven Concertos and Symphonies'. During the next six months the orchestra, slightly augmented in numbers, performed at a school fete and provided an accompaniment to the singing ofthe national anthem at the Speech Day. Thejunior play day in 1932 also saw the appearance of ajunior orchestra picturesquely dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. Another lasting contribution that Lindley Evans made to the school was the composition of the music for the school song. The words were adapted from a song the poet laureate,John Masefield, had written for the school his daughter attended in England. Mr Potts wrote to Masefield to obtain permission to use the words. The new song replaced one written in 1926 by a student, Lois Carter, who was a prefect and dux of the college in that year, to music by her mother. Another cultural tradition established during the twenties was the school play day. The committee that refused to expose the girls to the dangers of A Midsummer Night's Dream performed by professional actors obviously saw no harm in these same young ladies donning male garb and impersonating depraved Roman emperors and performing acts of mock bloodshed. In 1925 there were two play days, and the second of these is described in Excelsior with good-humoured indulgence. It would seem that the occasion was marked by the kinds of mishaps that inevitably afflict amateur theatricals. One of the senior classes presented the assassination scene and funeral oration from Julius Caesar. In the latter scene an inconveniently narrow doorway prevented the smooth entry of Caesar's corpse which was being conveyed on a wire mattress. Quick thinking prevented total disaster: the crowd created a diversion by simulating a disturbance and the mishap went largely unnoticed by the audience. Another senior class presented a scene from The Merchant ofVenice, as did also one 92


The boarders' rest room in the mid-1920s.

a scene of the interm ediate classes, VC2. The middl e school acted out n of versio a did 11 from Dicke ns' David Copperfield while Form Rumplestiltskin. eld The first two play days were held in a hopele ssly overcr owded Schofi play day Hall. Its inadeq uacy for this purpo se caused the suspen sion of days play two and ready was during 1927. In 1928 the new assem bly hall the for er anoth and were held: one for the senior school (Form s V and VI) tuted junior school (Form s 1 to 1V). Again excerp ts from the bard consti to the the progra m of the forme r occasi on. In 1932 a staff play was added of mance perfor rs' teache the by agend a. Much amuse ment was afford ed a mid-V ictoria n roman tic piece. 93


Burwood girls photographed at the Kosciusko snowfields in 1924, with some boys from Sydney Church ofEngland Grammar School.

Other extra-curricular activities It is hardly surprising that as the numbers of students increased there was a corresponding expansion in the number of clubs and other institutions within the school catering for special interests. Although the camera club went into decline and finally ceased to exist in 1930 several others were established: a debating society was formed in 1930 and a French club in 1931. Earlier, in 1925, an MLC company of Girl Guides, known as the 2nd Burwood Company, was formed. The inspiration behind the venture was provided by a teacher, Miss Bessie Forster. At first there were sixteen members in three 'patrols'. As membership increased another patrol was formed in 1928 and yet another in 1932. In 1928 a 'ranger' patrol was formed for girls over fifteen; MLC was the first school in the state to have such a patrol. Besides providing training in a range of valuable skills such as bushcraft and first aid and even music, the Guides gave girls the opportunity to mix socially with girls from other schools and other districts. There 94


nt to were camps and length y hikes that added a health y outdo or eleme with their school experi ences. On one occasi on a group from MLC joined . Valley g goran Burra the h a group from Granv ille to hike throug school Promi nent in the guides was Alice Whitle y who was dux of the return would in 1930 and who, after disting uishin g hersel f academ ically, came top to the school as a teache r and later as headm istress . In 1926 she she was of the junior divisio n in the course for the ambul ance badge and one of the first to becom e a ranger . es The Christ ian Union contin ued to functi on throug hout the twenti to ation and early thirtie s and to provid e social as well as spiritu al stimul as Moun t its memb ers. Each year school girl camps were held at places such sed organi were ons functi ous numer Victor ia, Goulb urn and Bowra l, and includ ing parties , talks and singin g aftern oons.

The library with the The library in 1922 was just beginn ing to blosso m. In that year, the ref, help ofa donati on of sixty-n ine pound s from the Old Girls' Union library . erence library was establ ished as a separa te entity from the fiction Durin g A new maple bookc ase and some volum es to fill it were purcha sed. be seen. Excelsi or, The compulsory goal-throwing competition: a few styles that will 1931. December










, :





j--j / I


.... "- ,

.-...: .


(" r !

o~iljl,~, /-~. \ ( /\






/ 95


II ~.


Preparingfor the All Schools' Sports, 1924.

the next decade library activities occupied much of the leisure time of some students, who applied themselves to raising money and attending to the day-to-day running of the library. Monitors were appointed to both libraries and these girls were responsible for its proper functioning. In order to use the library students had to pay a subscription. Money for the purchase of books was also raised by class and individual donations, as well as by fundraising activities such as fetes and sweet stalls. At first each library consisted of a bookcase housed in a classroom. By 1932, however, they had their own rooms and the reference library became known as 'The Minnie F. Wearne Library' in memory of the school's illustrious former headmistress who died in that year.

Sport As the twenties progressed inter-school sport became more and more important in the school agenda. MLC established itself as a force to be 96


and Burwoo d Park, Abbeythorpe, the residence that stood between the school's property y classes. primar and arten kinderg the for used and 1923 in sed was purcha

ed reckon ed with in a numb er of games and from time to time achiev predo minan ce. . The Tenni s contin ued to be perhap s the most popul ar of the games who all to game school 's severa l tennis courts made it a readily accessible illthe wished to play it. In 1922, despit e disrup tions to practi ce caused by for some ness of key player s, the school was more successful in tennis than Cup Davis r forme the when years. The sport receiv ed a boost in 1929 year that In player , Mr J. O. Ander son, becam e coach of the tennis team. three and the follow ing three, MLC won the Tenni s Assoc iation shield times and was runne r up once. y Durin g 1924 and 1925 basket ball was replac ed by netbal l, a slightl . sports winter main two modif ied versio n of the same game, as one of the junior both Hocke y was the other one. In both these sports MLC fielded and senior teams with varyin g degree s of success. h, Swimm ing contin ued to engag e the enthus iasm of the girls even thoug lling Trave sport. the at shine not being a waters ide school , MLC did not e and to the baths at Abbot sford for swimm ing lessons becam e a tiresom 97


time-consuming business and the baths were not considered to be very hygienic. In 1929 an important organisation was formed whose contribution would be appreciated in later years. At a meeting in April the Parents' and Friends' Association came into being despite an initially disappointing response from mothers. Its first objective was to raise money to build a school swimming pool and to this end it set about arranging such events as fetes and concerts. In its first year it raise more than four hundred pounds. Every year there were two important athletics days: the school's own sports day and the All Schools' Sports - something of a misnomer as it only took in schools in the Association of the non-state Registered Schools. An idea of the excitement of sports day can be gleaned from the following rather breathless account of the 1929 event. It is one of the grandest and most longed-for events of the year, when fond parents behold their daughters flying gracefully over hurdles or carefully balancing an egg in a spoon. There is colour everywhere. Colour in the dress of the spectators, colour in the ribbons fluttering so gaily, and there is laughter in the wind, and through all the general noise and chatter there is the rhythmic music of the band ... Oh, what shouting and jumping there is, and although we are told never to use nicknames, it is very hard to refrain, and mouths are seen snapping short on forbidden names. 9

It is a far cry from the days ofMr Rodd when athletics were permitted only under sufferance, and hurdles and jumping events were to be held only in the privacy of the school grounds. Methodist Ladies' College was often notably successful in the All Schools' Sports. In 1927 and 1932, for example, the school won the Senior Cup and 1932 was the sixth year in succession that it had won the senior relay.

Buildings and finance It was acombination of increased revenue from a constantly growing number of students and the capable and shrewd business management of Mr Potts that made possible the purchasing and building program of the 1920s that transformed so dramatically the physical appearance of the school and the facilities it could offer its students. In 1923 a successful bid was made to purchase the single property that stood between the school playing fields and Burwood Park - a handsome two-storeyed house ofItaliapate design called Abbeythorpe. Several years before, in 1920, it had been resolved to purchase the property, which was owned by a Mrs Starling, for 'a sum not exceeding £2800'10 but nothing had come of the plan. This time the price was not to exceed 3250 pounds. 98


In 1924 one ofthe classrooms was converted to create the school'sfirst science


small tennis It was a large prope rty that contai ned, as well as the buildi ng, a court. found When the girls return ed to school at the beginn ing of 1924 they closely more g lookin that everyt hing 'looke d the same as before ', but on thorpe they discov ered that 'great chang es had been wroug ht' .11 Abbey tairs was used to house the kinder garten and prima ry classes in the downs rs. upstai rooms the in ers board rooms and to accom modat e the weekly Forms and thorpe Abbey to The follow ing year the junior school moved 2 and 3 occup ied the upper rooms . B classThe other great chang e the studen ts discov ered was that the 'V 1 ating room was conve rted into a labora tory, fitted up with such fascin schemi a join to longed all we shelve s and cupbo ards, sinks and taps, that for focus a e provid to try class withou t delay.'12 The new labora tory was 99


science studies in the school and to give added impetus to physics and chemistry as subjects in the curriculum. By 1925 the school's resources were becoming severely strained. The Schofield Hall was the largest indoor space in the school and could no longer cope with the uses to which it was being put. Since 1915 Speech Days had been held in a marquee in the sports field with all the discomforts that wind, rain, heat and the unevenness of the ground imposed. A new hall was desperately needed. In early 1926 there was a record enrolment of 451 and the debit bank balance stood at a relatively healthy £2396 14s Id, almost 2000 pounds less than two years before after the purchase of Abbeythorpe. The Finance and Advisory Committee therefore decided to go ahead with a plan to build a new assembly hall on the site of the old kindergarten on the corner of Rowley and Grantham streets. The building firm of Kell and Rigby was engaged to build the hall at a cost of 10658 pounds. The new block was to have a tower to balance the one on the Tower Wing and was to incorporate a gymnasium and art room underneath as well as some new classrooms. Work began immediately and the whole school bubbled with excitement. For the next year a sense of change and movement pervades the descriptions of school life: girls are constantly moving rooms, packing, tidying, all with a tremendous feeling of excited anticpation. Noise and bustle characterised the place as almost daily the school changed before its pupils' eyes. An entry in the Excelsior in 1926 catches the mood of the time: This term has been chiefly remarkable for the constant ghostly 'tap-tap-tapping' of a million hammers, and the loud rending and tearing of an instrument of torture beneath our windows, used for crushing stones (or bones). For we are to have our long-dreamed-of Hall at last; and not only a Hall, but Gymnasium, Art Room and new Classrooms! It would be impossible to realise that the dream is so near its fulfilling, were it not for the incessant noise, the mysterious appearance of pools of boiling cement ... the foundation stone, and the building itself. 13

Finally, on 7 June 1926, the 'beautiful myth' materialised with 'the swiftness and unreality of a dream'14 and the new building was opened by Dr Earle Page. The splendid new hall which seated 1000 people as well as the art room, classrooms and gymnasium were eagerly explored by the students. The gymnasium was particularly admired in view of the fact that it had been fitted out from money raised by the girls themselves at a fete the previous year. A sum of almost 1200 pounds was raised by the Old Girls' Union in order to provide furnishings for the new hall. This money was raised by both direct subscription and as the result of a very successful fete, representing the 'Seven Ages of Woman', held in 1928. It was not long before the sound of hammers was heard again, but this time in the service of a much less imposing, though perhaps no less appreciated, edifice - the school tuckshop. This was constructed in early 1928 and henceforth the quadrangle at lunch time was populated by a 100


ofaccommodating The new Assembly Hall, opened in 1926,fi nally resolved the problem s. occasion formal other and large number s ofpeople at Speech Days

eager to long queue of girls 'decor ously waitin g for lunche s ... all ... secure their favour ite biscui t'. 3300 The purch ase of two more prope rties in Park Road in 1929 for ies. activit ing pound s marke d the end of Mr Potts' buildi ng and extend r furthe r The Great Depre ssion was at hand and its effects were to rende extens ions both unnec essary and unfeas ible.

The Depression and MLC preThe girls who attend ed the Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e were s. The domin antly the daugh ters of well-to -do upper middl e class parent and withst to tions institu many school was, theref ore, better placed than



"y~rs. The opening ofthe Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1932 was an important event in the life ofthe city. The new bridge was drawn in the June 1932 edition ofExceisior by a kindergarten pupil, Lola Green, aged five.

the worst effects of the economic crash which was to devastate so many sections of the community. Its healthy finances, too, helped buffer it against economic storms. It was, as the editorial in Excelsior ofJune 1931 acknowledged, relatively insulated from the events that were causing so much distress elsewhere: 'Our national distress reflects on us more than it affects us.' The writer then goes on a little moralistically to extol the virtues of kindness and charity: 'Our world is happy, but some worlds are sad, and in this hour of need and party politics, let us cultivate the art of being kind'.ls But not all pupils or their parents could remain comfortably aloof. In an article entitled 'Courage' the editorial writer in the next issue sounds an ominous warning: 'We shall all need to practise this "lovely virtue". Because of slender purses, too soon must some of you say farewell to the school you love.' 102

The Buildings

Above: The senior schoolfrom the corner of Rowley and Grantham streets. Wade and Sutton houses can be seen along Grantham Street to the left, with the assembly hall, administrative offices and drama theatre along the Rowley Street frontage. Right: The distinctive crenellated style of the Tower Wing, opened in 1919.

Left: The main quad of the senior school, looking towards the staff room and computer room.

Below: The school and its playing fields, an aerial view showing both the senior school and Kent House.


"Now good digestion wait on appetite Rnd health

"Salutation s and Greetings to you AII."-As you like it.


Prog ramm e

both. "-Macbet h.

Men u

TOAST- His Majosty the King "\I::my years of happy days befall our Gracious

Sovereign ."-Richard II.

Roast Turlcey and Seasoning

By the President of the Conferenc e, Rev. L. E. BENNET T, M.A., B.D.

Roast Parle: and Seasoning


. Mr. Harrison Allen

SOLO . . . .

. . Mrs. W. ]. Kessell

TOAST- Our Guests

Yorle: Castle Ham

. Mr. Lindley Evan'


(Rev. T. F. and Mrs. POll' and Miss E. Potts)

Fruit Jellies

Cream TriAe

Fruit Salad and Cream

By Mr. ]. A. SOMERV ILLE, Mis< M. SUTTON . B.A., Head Mistress, Miss G. POTTER . Senior Prefect

Preserved Peaches and Cream Cream Meringu es

Miss A. Dyer

Presentat ion on behalf of the Council by Mr. J. A. SOMERV ILLE



Devilled Almon<ls

"You have mRde ,lrood work."-Cor iolllIlUS.

Cheese Straws

Reply hy Rev. T. F. POTTS, Retiring Principal . Miss Houston . SOLO PIANOFO RTE SOLO . .


Hot Mashed Potatoes

"So fare you well 'till we shall meet a~ain, Fuir thou~ht5 nnd hnpry hours ntrend you," -Merchan t of '·enice.

SOLO . . . . . . .

Shredded Lettuce Salad

Hot Green Peas

Vanilla Tee-Cream

. . Miss Stevens

(TI" (omp"ny will withdraw to tht Rut Room. whtTt all will b, afJordtd tI" opportuni ty of sayin!! "Fartwtl l" to OUR GUESTS )

"Though loath to hid

"So Good-night unto you all. .. Give me your hand." -A Mid~\lIllmer Ni~ht'" Dr~Am.



Fruit Cup

Auld Lang Syne




I~n ve."-Peric les.

1933. The program and menufo r the school'sfarewell to Mr and Mrs Potts,

and As the Depre ssion deepe ned the middl e classes, too, were affect ed that mean did ' these effects filtere d throug h to the school. 'Slend er purses did not some studen ts had to leave and that many potent ial enrolm ents fallen materi alise. From a high of 522 studen ts in 1930 the enrolm ent had and rn conce cause to one but crisis to 432 by 1932 - not a positio n of n burde the ease to pt arouse sympa thy for those who had to go. In an attem s, salarie staff school fees were slightly reduce d. It was also resolv ed that cut by which were alread y low by gover nment school standa rds, would be 10 per cent but this resolu tion was not acted upon. of the As before , a nation al emerg ency spurre d the charit able instinc ts benev to sent and Burwo od girls and their teache rs. Money was collec ted sed. olent institu tions, and garme nts were knitte d for the needy and distres 103



During the winter of 1931 more than sixty patchwork quilts were made by the girls and sent to the Central Methodist Mission. The retirement of Mr Potts in 1933 was, as we have seen, more from necessity than desire. He might very well have continued for several more years. But he could look back on his years as principal with a justifiable sense of pride. They were years of solid and tangible achievement. It was fitting that after his untimely decease barely a year later the assembly hall which he brought to fruition should be named in his memory.

Speech Day report, 1925 Speech Day report, 1925 3 Excelsior, December 1931, pages 9-10 4 Excelsior, November 1925, page 6 5 Excelsior, june 1926, page 23 6 Excelsior, May 1927, page 19 7 Excelsior, November 1927, page 16 8 Miss Lois Carter,jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 163 and Miss J. Bowden, page 166 9 Excelsior, November 1929, page 3 10 Trustees Minute Book, 22 june 1922, page 15 II Excelsior, May 1924, page 13 12 ibid. 13 Excelsior, November 1926, page 3 14 Excelsior, November 1927, page 3 15 Excelsior,june 1931, pages 1-2 I



Chapter 7

Slow Recovery 1933 Depre ssion HE YEARS BETW EEN the easing of the worst effects of the

T andand the outbre ak of World War 11 were a time of recove ry, consol iexpan sion. While the Depre ssion exacte d a toll on the

dation ed by Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e this toll was much lighte r than that suffer s suffamilie their and pupils ual the comm unity at large, and while individ drafairly The hed. unscat fered the institu tion itself remai ned relativ ely 1932 and matic drop in studen t numbe rs that occurr ed betwe en 1930 steadprove d to be only a tempo rary setbac k; the enrolm ents began to rise 1938 by s, thirtie the of most for 500 ily, and while they remai ned under hunfive of high record a d they had reache d 512 and by 1940 had attaine dred and twenty -nine. during Buildi ng expan sion and new prope rty purcha ses, too, occurr ed school . this period - a furthe r indica tion of the financ ial streng th of the other, two the of ion condit ial This was in marke d contra st to the financ , Wales South ew and much young er, Metho dist girls' school s in s school these Raven swood at Gordo n and Annes ley at Bowra l. Both of going receiv ed substa ntial grants from MLC which enable d them to keep er of numb a to ted attribu be can th during the 1930s. Burwo od's streng large the ; school ed factors : its status as a long-e stablis hed and well-r espect that it numb er of pupils enroll ed; the shrew d and capab le manag ement financ ial had enjoye d under the leader ship of Mr Potts; and the exper t ville. Somer A. J. Mr s, thirtie the contro l exerci sed by its treasu rer during other most by ed charg While manag ing to keep its fees lower than those financ ial Protes tant school s, Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e still maint ained a level of stabili ty and even prospe rity in times of genera l advers ity. The to the salarie s paid to teache rs was anoth er factor that helped contri bute us vigoro 's Sutton Miss e financ ial well-b eing of the colleg e. Despit comin low ned champ ioning of the cause of highe r salarie s, these remai ing at pariso n with state school s and even other churc h school s. Teach 105


The Reverend H. C. Foreman, principal 1933-1939.

MLC was seen as a 'vocation' rather than a career and financial reward was considered an unworthy motive for undertaking the task. The English mistress, Miss Law, had in 1929 refused to accept a bonus offered to her in recognition of oustanding results obtained in examinations. During the 1930s the school was presided over by the Reverend Henry Clifton Foreman. He was the fifth principal and the second to be born in Australia. He was born in Sydney in 1874, went to high school in Maitland, and graduated from Sydney University with the degree of Master of Arts. Much of his life as a minister had been spent with the Central Methodist Mission, of which he had been superintendent for ten years. He also served as an army chaplain during the Boer War and World War 1. In 1932 he was president ofthe New South Wales Methodist Conference and in 1933, after the retirement of Mr Potts, took over as principal of Methodist Ladies' College, Burwood. Mr Foreman was a kindly, scholarly man, much given to the pleasures of intellectual discourse. According to a colleague, 'His private and social conversations were on an unusually high level ... He loved learning for its own sake and he regarded the classical authors as his personal friends'.\ He was an impressive speaker with an imposing presence and, according to his daughter, MissJoyce Foreman who became a teacher at the school, meticulously prepared his contributions to the morning assemblies and 106


r intelle cevenin g prayer s. His manne r, while it attrac ted adults of simila him found whom of many girls, tual propen sities, often discon certed the he books aph autogr aloof and difficu lt to comm unicat e with. In their on d steppe would write with stiff formal ity: 'Life lies before you, hardly yet.' lth. In Mr Forem an's time as princi pal was marre d by seriou s ill-hea and, life his him 1935 he was stricke n by a severe illness which almos t cost and n' even in late 1936 was descri bed in the Jubilee Souven ir as still 'shake sed and 'hardl y yet able to discha rge his duties'.2 In Janua ry 1940 he collap died sudde nly in the school reside nce. fell Of course , the day-to -day runnin g of the school during this period she gh althou largely to its indefa tigable headm istress , Miss Sutton who, inted reache d the manda tory retirin g age of fifty-five in 1933 was reappo the to ted subjec was she year Each annua lly until her retirem ent in 1940. her having of and cate ritual of produ cing a satisfa ctory medic al certifi -fifth work assess ed by the Counc il. In 1937 she celebr ated her twenty of ing annive rsary as headm istress and was honou red by a specia l gather was prethe whole school on the princi pal's lawn. At this cerem ony she leathe ra being e notabl most sented with numer ous gifts, perhap s the ing includ , school the in bound book contai ning the signat ure of every girl those of the smalle st kinder garten childr en. by The tone of the school and the tenor of school life were condit ioned Sutton Miss by upon d insiste rds the strict and rather conser vative standa sive air and suppo rted by the princi pal. There was somet hing of a repres the even and about some of the regula tions contro lling the girls', quite y teache rs', lives. Make- up, for examp le, which had becom e sociall ts or studen either by worn be to d allowe accept able by the 1930s, was not surrep a ed manag onally occasi ts staff. althou gh some of the senior studen rvaConse cted. undete titious applic ation of face powde r that usually went summ er tive standa rds of dress were observ ed by teache rs who even in the uniwore dresse s in muted colour s; the black academ ic gown remai ned form for gradu ate teache rs.' tunFriend ships betwe en the girls and boys were discou raged and oppor lly carefu were ities for board ers to meet memb ers of the oppos ite sex forthe monit ored. The stiffne ss of two such meetin gs can be gauge d by them in mally polite tone of apprec iation which charac terises a report of Excelsior inJun e 1934: rs, who had The confer ence meetin gs were enjoye d by a numbe r of the boarde We hope ... gton Newin of rs brothe our the pleasu re of sitting side by side with Their often. d repeate be will Boys Choir that the social given by the Burwo od 3 ... iated apprec highly songs, plays, and compe titions were

case they The passin g of notes from board ers to day girls was prohib ited in t was contac social ised superv onal occasi were destin ed for boys. While the taboo. tolera ted dancin g was still consid ered they For many day girls the sophis ticated and relativ ely libera ted lives rds the were allowe d to lead out of school contra sted sharpl y with standa 107


A formal group portrait, carefully posed before the Assembly Hall curtain, of the 1937 house prefects.

school sought to impose. For them mixed parties and dances, the wearing of make-up and even the possession of boyfriends were part of their social life.

Academic results That examination results were accorded a high priority at MLC can be inferred from a ceremony that took place twice yearly during the 1930s. The school assembled in the assembly hall to hear Miss Sutton read out every girl's result. Success and failure were thus publicly proclaimed for all to hear, to the gratification of some and, no doubt, to the extreme mortification of others. The headmistress would impassively deliver each class's results without seeming to draw breath. This form of motivation had variable results in terms of Leaving Certificate passes, although generally a high standard was achieved in terms of both quality and quantity. However the number of Leaving Certificate passes obtained in 1932 - twenty-nine - was not surpassed for the rest of the decade; indeed, the latter years of the thirties showed a falling off 108


194 0 e bei ng successful In 193 8 and wit h onl y six tee n and twe nty -on resp ecti vel y. per wer e som e rem ark abl e ind ivid ual Alo ng the way, how eve r, the re 4. She ain ed by The lma He rrin g in 193 for ma nce s, suc h as the pass obt class lish and Lat in as well as sec ond gai ned firs t class hon our s in Eng ic. dem aca an as to a dis ting uis hed car eer hon our s in his tory , and wen t on ilee jub the ult of twe nty -fo ur passes in In rep ort ing a ver y sati sfac tory res t tha t wit h evi den t sati sfac tion on the 'fac yea r 193 6 Miss Sut ton rem ark ed lish , a ver y wid e ran ge of subjects: in Eng in d che rea was rd nda sta rs nou Ho '. She nch , Lat in, Bot any and Phy siol ogy Mo der n His tory , Geo gra phy , Fre exh isity ver stu den ts had gai ned uni the n wen t on poi nt out tha t five ver uni r tive ly low num ber of passes, fou biti ons . In 194 0, des pite the rela ticu lar and the re was one pass of par sity exh ibit ion s wer e obt ain ed r firs t the ma xim um pos sibl e pass of fou bril lian ce: Lor na He an obt ain ed (in As two and ) lish , Lat in and Fre nch class hon our s (in phy siol ogy , Eng ). ma the ma tics and anc ien t hist ory e mo re typ ing and boo k-k eep ing bec am as h suc s Com me rcia l sub ject the lum , a phe nom eno n refl ect ing pro min ent in the sch ool cur ricu s' girl in sis pha em inc rea sin g voc atio nal dem and s of the wo rkp lac e and an also y ma s ject pup ils tak ing the se sub edu cat ion . Th e hig h num ber of for the fall ing off in the num ber s sitt ing acc oun t to som e ext ent for som e e. mo re aca dem ic Lea vin g Cer tifi cat

ember 1939. 'In the qua dra ngle ', Excelsior, Dec





Great emphasis continued to be placed on music, both as an academic subject and in its extra-curricular forms. The results of music examinations, both practical and theoretical, were duly announced at Speech Days as were the school's considerable successes in such inter-school competitions as the Dempster Shield which MLC won several times during the 1930s. In 1933 the first of the school concerts was held and featured items by the recently formed school orchestra and the senior and junior choirs as well as instrumental and recitation solos. The kindergarten presented a selection of songs with actions and a scene from Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale was enacted by senior students. These school concerts, which were held every two years, became an established part of the school's cultural life.

Other cultural and extra-curricular activities Senior and junior play days continued to be a feature of school life throughout the 1930s with the seniors still concentrating on Shakespeare and the juniors presenting material from a wider range of sources. The school's dramatic activities were given added impetus in 1936 with the for-

The illustrated poem was a popularform ofcontribution to the school magazine. This contributionfrom December 1935 is a good example.



h mismation of the MLC Drama tic Club, under the guidan ce of the Englis ers memb en fourte ted attrac e, tress, Miss Law. The first meetin g, inJun So six. thirtyto but by the end of the year, the memb ership had risen tic popul ar was the idea that before the end of the year a Junio r Drama to Club had been forme d. At first the club meetin gs were given mainly prostaged of ation prepar the to play readin gs but they soon progre ssed of Dan ductio ns. At the end of 1937 the junior club staged a perfor mance ed the provid Toter oh's The Stolen Prince, a play whose Chine se setting wearin g young actors with ample scope for hilario us mimic ry and for the setof exotic costum es. The perfor mance was repeat ed in a more public at ent, Movem y Librar en's ting at the Open- Air Theat re of the Childr Wooll oomoo loo. ated Apart from the sheer enjoym ent of playac ting, these clubs stimul other the ingenu ity of their memb ers by forcin g them to create sets and was n visatio Impro hand. to stage props out of materi als that were ready ise expert r greate the keyno te of their early produ ctions and as time passed proyears was develo ped in the exploi tation oflimi ted resour ces. Over the oratio n ductio ns of ever-i ncreas ing sophis ticatio n, somet imes in collab ces. audien iative apprec for with Newin gton, would be moun ted posed Conce rn about the worse ning world situati on and the dange rs it the of tion to world peace was given poign ant expres sion in the forma ive. Sections were During the 1930s, the school magazi ne, Excelsi or, became more decorat ced contriintrodu years many r whichfo one this as such motifs ive highlig hted with distinct butions from the primar y pupils.



International Club in 1936. The depth of this concern can be measured by the fact that by the end of 1937 almost half the school- 200 girlshad become members. It began with a peace pageant - directed by two teachers, Miss Elsie Hannam and Miss Lorna Foreman, the daughter of the principal - which gave a stylised representation of the opposition of the forces of Peace and War. It is possible that the founding of the club was the inspiriation of Mr Foreman and an attempt by him to alert his students to issues that transcended the more mundane preoccupations that dominated their lives. Later in the year the club organised a poster exhibition in the gymnasium. One penny was charged for admission and the proceeds were put towards the cost of sending a delegate to the Youth Peace Congress in Geneva. Despite the enthusiastic response and a very positive mention of the club's activities in Miss Sutton's 1937 Speech Day report, it proved a shortlived venture. During 1938 the club was addressed by a Miss Rivett, the headmistress of a girls' school in India, and after this it seems to have been disbanded, for there is no further record of its existence. Another school institution that had started with high hopes in the 1920s but did not survive the thirties was the Girl Guides. Its demise is rather pathetically recorded in the following note in Excelsior of May 1935: We decided at the beginning of the year that as our school days are so full of work, sport and other interesting pastimes, there is not really time for Guides as well. We had thought of closing the company before, but we were all very keen especially the younger Guides - to keep the company in the school; so it is with the deepest regret we learned that there were to be no more guide meetings held here. s

The Christian Union, perhaps not surprisingly, flourished in times of threatened adversity, again under the guiding hand of Miss Law. Regular meetings were held which included a mix of devotional and social activities. Mr Foreman in 1933 and his successor as principal, the Reverend W. Deane, in 1940 addressed the members about their travels in the Holy Land and there were other guest speakers as well as study groups. Probably the most memorable of these was Dr T. Z. Koo, the world secretary of the Student Christian Movement, who visited the school in 1937 and delighted his audience both with his 'long coat of blue brocade' and a bamboo flute on which he played some Chinese melodies. It was an important day for MLC which played host to parties of visitors from PLC Croydon and Normanhurst. In March 1933, the first of what were to become annual ceremonies of considerable significance and solemnity was conducted in the assembly hall by the president of the Conference, the Reverend Leslie E. Bennett. This was the induction of the senior prefects. It took the form of a religious service with hymns and the reading of passages from Scripture and a homily from the presiding minister. Each of the prefects was presented with a badge of office and solemnly and publicly pledged to 'maintain the best traditions of the School, to encourage others to do the same, 112


when hair was worn The school prefects, 1933. Short hair was still the prevail ingfash ion; long, it was plaited.

stice'.6 A and to exerci se my Prefec t author ity with discre tion and withju of red traditi on that has becom e associ ated with this cerem ony is the bowl roses that always decora tes the officia l table.

Spo rt part of Throu ghout the 1930s sport mainta ined its place as an impor tant prowe ss. school life and as a means of asserti ng both individ ual and group standC's ofML sign le tangib a , It was also, along with exami nation results school s depres or lift ing in relatio n to other school s, and a force that could in 1936 it morale . So intens e did the rivalry betwe en school s becom e that publis h was decide d to play all match es on Saturd ay morni ng and not to and the results . Stand ards in all compe titive sports fell off, at least at MLC, nced. annou by 1937 results were once again public ly 113


A group ofBurwood girls on a geological excursion to Jenolan Caves, September 1938.

Methodist Ladies' College had its share of successes in inter-school competitions and achieved its most spectacular triumphs in athletics and tennis. At the 1933 All Schools' Sports the MLC athletes surprised even themselves by carrying off five of the possible six cups and emerging as clear winners of the day. They won again in 1935 and 1937 and in 1939 triumphed once again, this time winning all six cups 'after very keen competition with our historic rival, P. L. C. Pymble'.' With six tennis courts on the school premises, MLC was ideally placed to excel at the game. Throughout the decade it competed with credit and in 1935, two senior girls, Joyce Moore and Sylvia Patterson, brought glory to the school by winning the state schoolgirls' doubles championship. But the crowning achievement came in 1939 when, for the first time, MLC won the coveted Tildesley Shield. Hockey and netball were played with varying success. In 1934 MLC won thirteen out of the fourteen competition netball matches it played; but 1935 was a disaster for hockey with the school failing to win, or even draw, a single match, a fact attributed by Miss Sutton to the school's lack of adequate access to the playing grounds in Burwood Park. As before, swimming was the school's Cinderella sport. During the thirties it ceased to exist as a school sport when the Abbotsford baths in 114


1936 GREETS 1886.

1936. Fifty years of change, a jubilee contribution to Excelsior, December denied the Parram atta River were declar ed unhyg ienic and the girls were d. enjoye usly previo even the limite d access to the water that they had and try to The Paren ts' and Friend s' Assoc iation had worke d hard iated allevia te this situati on. They remai ned steadf ast in their aim, enunc its with school the e provid to 1929, in at the forma tion of the Assoc iation l annua from s pound own swimm ing pool. By 1939 they had raised 2000 a and s partie subscr iptions , annua l fetes, tucksh op money and bridge ucted letter was sent to the Colleg e Counc il sugges ting that a pool be constr of plans in time for the 1940 season . Delays occurr ed in the prepar ation of onset the 1939, ber Septem in and when eventu ally these were ready, to had t projec the that war and the state of the school 's overd raft meant be postpo ned. and Durin g the 1930s the sports clothi ng worn by girls becam e looser r greate a both tted permi This ent. less restric tive to vigoro us movem In . games of g playin ve enjoym ent of sporti ng activit y and a more effecti uced; 1936 sports tunics with a pale blue band aroun d the hem were introd the from the bottom of the hem was to be four inches (ten centim etres) ent groun d when the weare r was kneeli ng. Howe ver, freedo m of movem were that ties and s blouse leeved was still relativ ely limite d by the long-s tory worn while playin g sport and by the stocki ngs that remai ned manda an be to until the end of the thirtie s. In additi on, in what may seem today ers were excess ive conce rn with maide nly modes ty, two pairs of bloom hole. a worn in case one had, or develo ped, 115


Buildings and finances In spite of lingering economic recession, as evidenced by continued high unemployment and the inability oflarge sections of the community to purchase such luxuries as motor cars or to own their own homes, Methodist Ladies' College was in a position to undertake some new building and to expand significantly its property holdings. In 1935 an enclosed elevated corridor, known as Tower Bridge, was constructed to join the Central and Tower wings of the college. This made for much easier access between the upper storeys of these two buildings. In the jubilee year 1936, a large two-storey house adjoining the school in Grantham Street - the property of a Mr Hardie - was purchased for the sum of 3000 pounds. It was named Sutton House in honour of the longserving headmistress and was used at the time to provide additional classrooms. In his 1936 Speech Day report, however, Mr Foreman looked ahead to the future development of the site when he stated that the new property gave the college 'increased grounds and provides for us a site for future building'. Later on Sutton House would be developed as the school's new library. Three years later, in 1939, two more properties, in Park Road, were purchased for 1250 and 1400 pounds respectively. During late 1937 and early 1938 sounds reminiscent ofthe great building boom of the twenties once again rang throughout the school. This time the Rowley Street facade was completed to make a continuous frontage joining the Assembly Hall and the Prescott Wing and providing additional classroom and dormitory accommodation. It represented, according to Mr Foreman, a 'consummation devoutly to be wished'.8 A view along Rowley Street before the construction in 1937 of the frontage linking the Assembly Hall with the Prescott Wing.



Sutton and Mr The whole school assembled during the jubilee celebrations, 1936. Miss Foreman are in the foreground.

did The purch ase of new prope rties and the extens ions to curren t ones rose raft overd The ces. resour of course impos e some strains on financ ial South to almos t 12 000 pound s in the middl e of 1939 and the Bank of New been had Wales advise d the princi pal that this exceed ed the limit that managreed to. The Counc il reques ted Mr Forem an to write to the bank sed increa 's school the out ng ager justify ing the extra overd raft by pointi prope rty assets.

Jub ilee cele brat ions a cause for In 1936 the Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e was fifty years old bution s contri whose those r celebr ation and a time to take stock and honou e and prestig t presen had helped to establi sh the school and bring it to its prospe rity. 117


The official Golden Jubilee celebrations extended over a two-month period, from September to November. They began with a service in Burwood Methodist Church and continued with garden parties, fancy dress balls, receptions, and a musical program arranged by Mr Lindley Evans. The Old Girls' Union contributed a huge and spectacular jubilee birthday cake. Standing almost two metres high, it contained 135 litres of ice cream in two shades of blue to represent the school colours, was decorated with college crests and had fifty candles. The candles were blown out by the first grandchild of an old girl to be enrolled in the school. A more lasting memorial was the production of a handsome book, the Jubilee Souvenir, containing tributes to the achievements of the school from prominent citizens, reminiscences from previous students of every era, articles on important aspects of the school's activities and biographies and appreciations ofpeople who had made significant contributions. In all it is a moving memorial to a school that was remembered with affection and gratitude by generations of former pupils and staff.

Rev. Dr F. H. Rayward, Vignettes, 1982-1984 Jubilee Souvenir, 1936, page 64 3 page 9 4 Speech Day report, 1937 5 page 14 6 Excelsior, May 1935, page 4 7 Miss Sutton, Speech Day report, 1939 8 Speech Day report, 1938 I



The Primary School

Above: A sports lesson in the grounds of Kent House. Right: Girls at work in a sewing class.

Above: Listening to a story in the modern, well-equipped library. Left: Developing the creative process: a craft lesson at Kent House.

Chapter 8

Troubled Times

y one of HE PERIO D BETW EEN 1940 and 1948 was predom inantl

ainty, tensio n and traum a for the Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e. T uncert sudde n death of the princi pal, Mr Forem an, at the beginn ing of 1940

The that and the retirem ent of Miss Sutton at the end of the same year meant simult almos the school 's two top execut ive positio ns had to be filled seriou s taneou sly, at a time when the nation and its institu tions were under the skills, threat . The follow ing years were to put very severe ly to the test erance persev and nerve the as well as both admin istrati ve and diplom atic, of the new admin istrati on. 's The war, of course , broug ht with it consta nt anxiet y. The school to ation admin istrato rs had to be prepa red for the possib le need for evacu ng and bombi of r dange resent ever-p the the countr y and to conten d with e decad the of years two first even the threat of invasio n. Life during the the of many While at least was lived very much in a state of consta nt alert. have girls, not apprec iating the full gravit y of the situati on, may well those enjoye d the drama and excite ment ofair- raid alerts and trench drill, have must ts studen its and school respon sible for the well-b eing of the ing. found the experi ence exhau sting and harrow ent of The relief that came with the ending of the war and the enjoym once the school 's Diamo ndJub ilee celebr ations had hardly subsid ed when n of again misfor tune struck . Early in the 1947 school year a large sectio the irony, e strang a By fire. by the school 's buildi ngs was severe ly damag ed ed achiev was war by ht devast ation that many had feared would be wroug consogreat, by chanc e during a calm autum n night. The one, but very rty and lation was that the damag e was confin ed to buildi ngs and prope ed. sustain that no loss of life or injury was series The two people who had to bear the main brunt of this formid able actted appoin was of challe nges were the Rever end Wallac e Deane , who 119


The Reverend Wallace Deane, principal 1940-1947.

ing principal after Mr Foreman's death and later confirmed in the position, and Dr Gladys Wade, Miss Sutton's successor as headmistress. It is a tribute to them and to their staff that the school not only survived perhaps the most difficult period in its history but that it managed to thrive and even prosper in adversity. A man of keen intelligence and wide culture, Mr Deane, like his predecessor, had been president of Conference before becoming principal of Methodist Ladies' College. His earlier background, and some of his achievements, were rather less orthodox. His father owned a coachbuilding firm at Mudgee in western New South Wales and the young Deane first trained as a signwriter. Before deciding to enter the Methodist ministry he studied art at the Julian Ashton school. He later distinguished himself academically, gaining a Master of Arts degree with honours in philosophy from Sydney University and a Bachelor of Divinity from London University. After his ordination to the ministry and his marriage, both in 1907, he spent some years doing missionary work in Fiji. While there he wrote a book, Fijian Culture, which later became a standard textbook for missionaries, and translated sections of the Bible into the Fijian language. He was also the author of a number of other books on religious themes as well as what were described in Excelsior as 'two happy adventure stories'.' He undertook pastoral work in a number of areas in New South Wales and for ten years was president of the ew South Wales Temperance Alliance. 120


had The Deane s alread y had strong associ ations with MLC: Mrs Deane had ters attend ed the school from 1898 to 1900 and all their five daugh been pupils there. the Under the system of dual contro l which contin ued to operat e under superl overal of new admin istrati on the princi pal's role was more one ay runvision and spiritu al leader ship than close involv ement in the everyd made it ning of the school . Altho ugh the growi ng numb er of enrolm ents he well, ts studen the of many difficu lt for the princi pal to get to know Deane Mr ions. excurs occasi onally took group s ofboa rders on outing s and ure and, did, howev er, take a very active part in the teachi ng of Script often indeed , it seems to have been a subjec t dear to his heart. He would ing enclos oard, blackb the on text a g spend a whole Script ure lesson writin and tions decora other and it in a scroll and embro iderin g it with flower s tance he all the time explai ning and comm enting upon it. The impor gauge d placed on the teachi ng of Script ure and his enthus iasm for it can be his 1941 from his freque nt refere nces to it in his Speec h Day report s. In l role centra the about beliefs his report , for instan ce, he clearly enunc iated of religio n, and the Bible, in educat ion: we believe that Moder n educat ion had its origins in the Church ... For instanc e, the individ ual of e doctrin l Biblica the of out the whole idea of freedo m springs Book we hold Great the of g teachin clear the by worth of the human soul. Guided make good to merely not is ion educat good of aim tenacio usly to the idea that the have no can We . women and men both in ter charac citizen s, but to develo p good ty morali an Christi no be can there and ty, morali an true educat ion withou t Christi of special work withou t the Christi an religio n ... I believe that in my own to the efforts of given is s impetu direct a re Scriptu inculca ting the truths of Holy ghly enjoy is the the teachin g staff. In this activity the only thing I do not thorou will be counte d markin g of hundre ds of papers term by term. I trust this huge task questio ns levelle d at to me for righteo usness . I am, indeed , gratifie d by the keen when one sees me from time to time. These I do my best to answer , particu larly possibl e to the that girls are'rea lly thinkin g earnes tly about the finest teachin gs human race.

ing, The joke at his own expen se is typical of much of Mr Deane 's report Mr , figure squat as are the clarity and directn ess of his manne r. A short, ; essors Deane lacked the impos ing physic al presen ce of some of his predec sion that he also lacked the tenden cy to pompo sity and grandi ose expres when lyrical wax could He nces. marke d some of their forma l uttera hingly refres are s report occasi on deman ded, but for the most part his ns about straig htforw ard accoun ts of the state of the school and his opinio dealit, often tinged with a wry and even mischi evous humou r. Even when ected ing with events of the utmos t gravit y he could introd uce an unexp was school the that ation touch of wit. Comm enting in 1942 on specul typiin ed report he about to be comm andee red by the milita ry author ities, cal style: l, a major, and It is certain ly true that somew here about March or April a colone lian lieuten Austra an by a captain , all of them Americ ans, were introdu ced to me



ant. These inspected the premises, and the only definite remark I heard was that the refrigerating chamber was on the small side. Well - I always knew that Americans loved iced foods. 2

This ability to see the lighter side of an otherwise grim situation must have stood him in good stead through the many difficulties he had to resolve during his period as principal.

Dr Gladys Wade To most of the students and staff the new headmistress, Dr Gladys Wade, seemed to keep whatever sense of humour she possessed hidden behind a stern and frosty exterior. Her extreme reserve and formal manner, stemming perhaps from shyness, meant that she made very few friends at the school and was thought to be unapproachable by many of the students and even the staff. She was a stickler for correct behaviour even to the point of obsession. She once summoned the director of the kindergarten, Mrs Liska Weir, to her office to complain that one of the four-year-olds had passed her in the park and had greeted her with a casual 'Hullo' instead of a formal 'Good afternoon, Dr Wade'. Dr Wade was forty-six when she became headmistress of MLC at the beginning of the 1941 school year. For the previous five years she had been deputy principal of MLC in Melbourne and had also been headmistress of a girls' school in Wales for two years. She was no stranger to Burwood; between 1918 and 1924 she had been a form mistress at the school and was, therefore, well known to Miss Sutton and to several ofthe longer serving members of staff. Her second period at MLC was to last almost twenty years - years during which she was to make a number of lasting changes and innovations to the organisation of the school. An only child and the daughter of parents who were themselves only children - a factor which may help to account for her reserve and aloofness - Gladys Wade was born and educated in Western Australia. She received a convent schooling and was among the first groups of students to attend the newly inaugurated University of Western Australia, from which she graduated with the degree of Master of Arts. She taught for two years in Perth before coming to MLC. On leaving MLC she travelled overseas and returned to teach again in Perth. However she received a scholarship to the University of London where she worked for four years on a thesis for a Ph.D. degree in English literature. Her thesis was on the religious poet, Thomas Trahearne, a subject that enabled her to develop and indulge both her religious and literary interests. Dr Wade, then, brought to her new job impressive qualifications and wide and relevant experience. Writing many years after her retirement, Dr Wade paid generous tribute to the high standards achieved by her predecessor and claimed that her main task was to maintain these standards. This she undoubtedly did; but the new headmistress very soon instituted changes that impressed her 122


Dr Gladys Wade, headmistress 1941-1 959.

implistyle and person ality on the school and had lasting and far-rea ching cation s for the quality of school life. by the Durin g 1942 a house system was introd uced. It was appro ved er of Execu tive Comm ittee in June and the details were decide d at a numb each and t studen Each ts. prefec meetin gs betwe en Dr Wade and the senior cut memb er of staff was to be assign ed to one of four houses which would ts studen across class lines and divide the school 'longit udinal ly', giving ng a interes ts wider than those of their own class or age group and creati 123


Three aspects ofschool life in the 1940s - a kindergarten group (toP), a gym class (above) and the boarders' rest room (above right) - as depicted in a prospectus distributed to parents ofprospective pupils.



d more greate r feeling of belong ing to the school as a whole . It also allowe perThe g. makin n decisio studen ts to becom e involv ed in organi sing and The ve. initiati spectiv es of the teachi ng staff were also broad ened by this ing a basis system would perme ate almos t every aspect of school life, provid for friend ly but noneth eless intens e compe tition. were The house names chosen were Abori ginal words and their initials Decem of or Excelsi the those of the school 's name: MLCB . The editor ial in a display ber 1942 explai ns the choice of Aborig inal names in terms that but that degree of social consci ousnes s that is advan ced for its time itynsibil respo r furthe from lians rather too readily absolv e white Austra ls. paralle moral and that draw some charm ingly far-fet ched e accusto med to This year our houses have been born. Gradua lly, we have becom Churu nga or rra, Leawa , moora thinkin g of ourselv es as belong ing to Moora have all They g: meanin and They are lovely names, both in sound Booral ee is. really lia Austra land whose given to them by the dark people the beauty north. the into away pushed been We someti mes forget these native folk who have for then we We remem ber them only to pity as a lost race ... We dare not recall, taken away having nal; aborigi the help might be ashame d, and it is too late now to return. in his pride, there is nothin g to give him who have Here, though , we shall freshly remem ber him now, since it is his people begin this year given us the names for our Houses , so that the traditio n which we has its roots in Austra lia's most distant past.



Mooramoora, with low, singing sounds, has the English meaning 'good spirit.' We are learning to have good spirit in our work and in our sport at school, whilst we hear also of the Good Spirit watching over us. Leawarra contains in its flowing syllables an ideal as well as a motto. 'Uprising' is suggestively inspiring. Churunga is a 'sacred place', our House: and our School, which has always given us so much in return for so little. Booralee symbolises that to which we hope to rise. It is a star, that unattainable ideal to which we must aspire if we are to see those things of beauty which are a joy forever, if we are to help our fellow man by good spirit, not hinder him by evil. 3

In a highly ingenious, if abstruse, exercise in symbolism, the colours green, violet, gold and red were chosen for the respective houses. When these are added to the school colours the phenomenon known in physics as 'white light' is obtained - a reference to the school motto: Utfiliae lucis ambulate ('Walk as daughters of the light'). Another tradition instituted by Dr Wade - and one that reflected her deeply religious nature - was the annual communion service which took place for the first time in October 1942. The service was conducted by Mr Deane and two other ministers in the Burwood Methodist Church and, according to the account in Excelsior, about 125 girls, many of whom were receiving communion for the first time, took part. It was by all acounts a solemn and moving ceremony which added a new dimension to the school's religious life. While some members of the teaching staff may have found Dr Wade forbidding and often disconcertingly abrupt, almost all of them had reason to be grateful to her. Throughout the whole of her time as headmistress she was tireless and doggedly persistent in her representations to an often unsympathetic Executive Committee on behalf of her staff. Like Miss Sutton before her, she strenuously argued for higher salaries and improved conditions for both individual teachers and the staff as a whole. And her efforts were often successful. The staff over which Dr Wade presided was generally more militant about matters relating to salary than the teachers under Miss Sutton had been. The war had brought about a shift in community attitudes and, as many more women entered the workforce, there was a much heightened consciousness of women's rights and a reluctance to accept less than adequate payment. There is little doubt that teachers at MLC were badly underpaid. While salaries at private schools were generally lower than those paid to departmental teachers, salaries at MLC were much lower than those paid by other private schools. Whereas the question of money was once considered an unworthy preoccupation for an MLC teacher, teachers during the forties actually threatened to resign if their salaries were not increased. Indeed, Dr Wade had to fight for her teachers in order to retain them. The attitude she adopted towards the Executive Committee was typically direct and aggressive. She was forthright in her demands, frankly critical when these were turned down and expressed 126


A holiday


Back to ~chQol-\Jlth



June 1943. A gloomy holiday forecast. A contribution by H. Joyce to Excelsior,

Comscant apprec iation when they were grante d. In her report to the terms: these in f hersel mittee in Augus t 1943, she expres sed the sudden My last report ... dealt chiefly with staffin g proble ms arising from ed out smooth ... that of out arising ns increas e in our enrolm ents. Your decisio tt Benne Mrs and s Thoma Miss Bathis, Miss several difficulties. Your decisio n re end the at leave ly probab will she me told caused disapp ointme nt. Miss Thoma s is increas ed. of the year; Mrs Benne tt will definit ely leave unless her salary whole field the with deal to like would I Staffin g is my most urgent anxiety and in some detail.



World War II and MLC It is a tribute to Dr Wade's ability and complete dedication that she was able to institute important changes during the most disturbed and difficult time in the school's history. As the Japanese advance gained momentum and as attack from the air and even invasion became more likely, extraordinary measures had to be taken for pupils' protection and contingency plans made. Apart from the physical dangers there was anxiety that the school's buildings would be taken over for military use or that evacuation to the country would be necessary. The attitude of parents was another source of worry and the fluctuating enrolments reflected parental fears for the safety of their daughters. The Japanese bombing of Darwin in February 1942 sent shock waves through the Australian community. The effects of this were felt immediately at MLC when twenty-five pupils were removed from the school. The Executive Committee hastily began considering options, one of which was to evacuate half the school to some suitable place in the country. Dr Wade argued strongly against such a plan, saying that they should stay where they were unless the military authorities decided to take them over. An Executive Committee meeting in March eventually resolved that evacuation to a country property would be too expensive to contemplate; the school would remain at Burwood and would close temporarily if the need arose. In the meantime protective measures had been taken. The halls of the Tower Wing had been converted into air-raid shelters, and bags and sand to fill them had been purchased as a protection against incendiary bombs. Sandbags and buckets of sand littered almost every corridor and doorway. By March 1942 air-raid trenches had appeared in the field - they were provided by the Burwood Municipal Council - and just over a month later these had been boarded, floored and provided with draining. MLC was prepared for the worst. Air-raid drill became a regular feature of school life and the pupils quickly became accustomed to the routine. Six long peals of the school bell and the whole school would spring into action: The air-raid bell rings. We very quickly form a double line in our classroom and wait for our form mistress. As soon as we are allowed to go, we hurry to our shelter, - a table in the boarders' dining room. Chairs are quickly pulled out and we crawl under. We put on our ear pads, a handkerchief or rubber in our mouth, and sit there till the bell rings again telling us we may return to our classroom. 4 Nightly alarms often rudely awakened the boarders and sent them scurrying for shelter, although as they invariably turned out to be false alarms, any sense of fear receded and they became occurrences to be borne with patient resignation: 128


THE PREPROOM-AGAIN Our prep-ro om's somew hat change d now, We're in with young VA, For though we can't believe it, We've moved up to VIA. Some boarde rs have deserte d, And some old girls stayed back, And two day-gir ls have joined us (Becau se at home they slack?) . There's Pat, who's doing Physics , And Daphne , by the walI, Who's bravely at French Honour s, The lone one of us all.



-.l .


To do Matric. has Ruth returne d And Mary's firmly set On First Class History Honour s, (You finished Hazen yet?).

( )J

It's Helen G. beside her, She's making up her French , For spares are spent too often Inside an air-raid trench.

Helen and Judith whispe r Of lists they have to fit, Being Heads of School and House: It's quietly we sit. Isla's lost to VIB s, And Nancy' s coming late, Pam's become a day-gir l, Lorna waits for Fate. Which leaves but June and Enid, Who haven't change d their ways, Except to leave the wireles s For those with leisured days. And I'm still scribbli ng verses, Instead of Latin Prose, But pressin g work besets me, So, therefo re, I must close.


For now we're VIA preppin g, The silence is so deep, ~ ~ That if you didn't know us, ~ ~ "'Ir~ ' "U ')""" '71~n(1You'd think us alI asleep. -VIA Boarde r.

Excelsi or, June A boarder comments on the responsibilities of being in the senior year, 1942.



In M.L.e. at midnight (9.30 to be precise), mysterious shapes drift all over the school. Ghosts? No,just an A.R.P. practice. A tinkling bell heralds the approach of the Japanese, each boarder grasps her dressing-gown, slippers (if she can find them), tucks a pillow under one arm and a rug under the other and hurries with dignity to her place of refuge. Familiarity breeds contempt apparently, for we no longerjump with dismay at each fresh 'false alarm '; we only sigh for loss ofsleep. 5

The degree to which normal school life was disrupted by the war can be gleaned from an inquiry from a boarder who was leaving the school in 1945. She wondered: 'What is M.L.C. really like? I have only known it during the War years when our lives have been governed by "blackouts" by night and regular Air-Raid practices.'6 Although Mr Deane, in his 1942 Speech Day report, was able to make light ofthe threat of the school's being taken over, the possibility was a real one. High-ranking American officers had visited MLC and other schools and a letter had been sent from the Headmistresses' Association to the prime minister seeking exemption for the schools. The reply was noncommittal; some private and government school were commandeered, but MLC was not among them. Shortages of materials and food plagued the school as well as the rest of the community during the war years and continued well after the fear of attack and invasion had gone. Rationing of food and clothes continued right to the end of the war and necessitated a rather begrudging relaxation of the normally stringent standards of uniform. Stockings inevitably ran to holes or laddered; darning could not prolong their life indefinitely and when they could not be replaced they had to be discarded. During 1942 the Executive Committee approved the wearing of short socks for sport, with the prim warning that 'modesty in attire should be guarded'. The headmistress adopted the eminently sensible attitude that 'the child is more important than her clothes' and some slight degree of flexibility was permitted. Catering for the many and varied needs of a boarding school was difficult in these times. Blankets, sheets, pillowcases, crockery and cutlery were hard to come by, as were the people needed to work with them. More lucrative employment was available elsewhere, and staff shortages and disgruntlement became chronic problems. Such problems were the province of the House Superintendent. In 1941 Miss Mitchell retired from this position and was succeeded by Miss Denning who had previously been sports mistress. Two other house superintendents had to cope with the difficulties of the war and its aftermath: Mrs Muller who followed Miss Denning in the job, and Miss Peter who came in 1946. So desperate did the cleaning situation become that in 1944 the cleaning of lavatories and the polishing of floors in the kindergarten at Abbeythorpe had to be done by the director, Miss Lambert, and her staff. The Executive Committee agreed to divide the cleaner's usual fee among the kindergarten staff until the situation returned to normal. Demands for higher pay were" constantly received from the domestic staff and the school was required to make some unusual accommodations. In one case 130


level that in 1943 when the head laundr ess's pay had been raised to a as a status her lose to requir ed her to fill in an incom e tax return and r furthe be depen dent wife, she deman ded, successfully, that her pay increa sed to offset this loss.

er 1945. The steps to success as depicted by Beris Corben in Excelsior, Decemb

~ucc. E5S I



In his 1945 Speech Day report Mr Deane took a guardedly optimistic view of the domestic scene: We can count ourselves exceedingly fortunate that we have arrived at the end of the year. A sharp indication of the trend of events is found in the fact that we have had in our domestic employ during the year over 100 people. The come, they go, and, to use an Irishism, some never come at all. .. The style of the College has been considerably affected by rationing and coupon control. In general the school dress is, however, slowly returning to where it was, even badges being now available. In the House the boarders will be returning as soon as possible to the regulation dress for tea, and we shall endeavour also soon to have uniformed maids waiting at table - that is, if we can get the maids. We believe that the deterioration brought about by the war should be rectified as soon as possible. But we are well aware of the difficulties in the way.

The effects of the war on enrolments were dramatic but temporary and as the principal wittily pointed out in his 1942 report the numbers of students at any particular time 'was as accurate as the share market in recording the fluctuating feelings of the parents'. As the Japanese advanced the numbers had steadily fallen but after the Battle ofthe Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway Island 'public confidence was restored, and the evacuated girls began to return. Not even Jap submarines in the harbour could now stop the returning children. We number at the moment about 510, only 26 below our record. What it will be when the Fleet of the Rising Sun is destroyed, one can only imagine." Well before that destruction occurred - in fact by the middle of 1943 - there were 603 pupils, including 140 boarders, attending the school. At the end of 1944 the principal informed his Speech Day audience that many prospective students for the following year had had to be turned away and that little boys would no longer be accepted in the kindergarten. Three years later, in 1946, Mr Deane reported an enrolment of 675 pupils. s As they had done during the First World War and again during the Depression, the pupils of MLC responded in a time of need. Throughout the years of the war they undertook a bewildering array of activities, contributing their ingenuity and hard work in support of the war effort. They devised fundraising schemes, held fetes and market days, gave concerts, organised stalls of various kinds, sponsored prisoners of war through the Red Cross and, of course, laboured hard and long at such tasks as knitting scarves and other woollen garments. Money was raised, and goods and clothes provided, for a wide range of deserving causes ranging from the Finnish Relief Fund to the children who were victims of the bombing of London. At one market day, held in October 1943, the Parents' and Friends' Association and the Old Girls' Union combined with the students and staff to raise over 600 pounds for the Fourth Liberty Loan. Early in the war, the old girls had introduced the War Savings Certificate scheme to the school; almost two and a half thousand pounds were raised from this scheme. 132


Di am on d Ju bi lee ce leb ra tio ns ed as e rea che d wh at Miss Sut ton des crib In 194 6 Me tho dis t Lad ies' Col leg rirop app an rs'. 9 Wi th the war ove r it was 'the com for tab le age of sixt y yea nts eve t dur ing the yea r sev era l sig nifi can ate occ asio n for cel ebr atio n and the se n. Th e firs t and mo st sol em n of wer e org ani sed to ma rk the occ asio Th e hal l in the Ass emb ly Hal l on 7 Ap ril. was a tha nks giv ing serv ice hel d eve nt the for larg e cro wd tha t tur ned out was una ble to acc om mo dat e the lawns ool oug h lou dsp eak ers to the sch and pro cee din gs wer e rela yed thr gs was larl y mo vin g par t of the pro cee din and the Sch ofie ld Hal l. A par ticu aili ng ool off ere d by a ver y eld erly and a pra yer of red edi cat ion of the sch t he tha ool sch pub lic app ear anc e in the Dr Pre sco tt. It was to be his last had fou nde d. Aug ust 194 6 in ial Diamond Jubilee dinn er held in The toast list and men u for the offic the Schofield Hall.


The Pre.i dent.


munst Ilist

Grap efrui t

I. THE KING Print i1al. Rev. Wall ace Dean e, M.A.• B.D., AUS TRA LASI AN CHU RCH 2. GRE ETIN GS FRO M THE dent- Gene ral. Dr. J. W. Burto n, M.A., Pre.i NEW SOU TH WAL ES 3. GRE ETIN GS FRO M THE . CHU RCH Conf erenc t. Rev. R. Piper , Presi dent of the

Turk ey Ham Roas t Potatoes Caul iflow er French Beans Grav y and Bua d Sau a


ent H. W. Wood hou.e , Ex-P resid Conf erenc e. Rts1 onu: Dr. G. r. Wade , M.A. Mr. G. A. Dave y.




Pineapple Mer ingu e Pie Frui t Sala d and Ice Cream Cream

6. TOA ST-T HE STAF F. Mr. R. G. Stain .., M.A., REd.

Scotch Woo dcoc k

Rts1 onu: Mis. J. Webs ter. B.Sc. SEN T PUP ILS. 7. TOA ST-P AST AND PRE Miss M. SUllon, B A. Presi dent Rts1 onu: Mrs. E. R. Princ e, Girls ' Union .

of Old

ct. Marg aret Gilfo rd, Head Prefe

Cheese Stra ws Devi lled Almo nds Cafe Noir


Coff ee Souf fle

The Presi dent- Gene ral.


Frui t Cup


The Parents' and Friends' Association and the Old Girls' Union both celebrated in festive fashion, and at the dinner held by the latter organisation a cheque for 150 pounds was handed to the principal for the provision of a DiamondJubilee scholarship, preferably for the daughter of an old girl. In August the official jubilee dinner was held in the Schofield Hall. Among the throng of dignitaries was a single, and probably rather lonely student, Margaret Gifford, the head prefect who responded to Miss Sutton's toast to the past and present pupils. For the students the highlight of the celebrations came in December when a fleet of double-decker buses transported the whole school to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic followed by a cruise on the harbour. It was an occasion that was keenly looked forward to and organised by the headmistress with the utmost precision and efficiency. Speech Day 1946 was attended by the governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant-General SirJohn Northcott. He concluded the proceedings by laying the foundation stone of a new building which was to be constructed on the Grantham Street frontage and which would contain new science laboratories on the ground floor and a library on the first floor. Unknown to those present at this ceremony, an unfortunate event would soon occur that was to delay the completion of this long-awaited building for another three years.

Fire strikes When day girls turned up for school on the morning of Friday 21 March 1947 they were greeted with a scene of utter devastation. The school grounds were littered with fire hoses, broken glass and masses of charred debris. Items of clothing, hastily thrown from windows and now hanging limply from wires and palm trees, and the smoking remains of Prescott Wing told the story of what had happened more graphically than their dazed and distressed friends among the boarders could have done. Not long after midnight a fire, thought to be due to an electrical fault in the ceiling, broke out in a science laboratory in Prescott Wing. The exploding chemicals. awakened two senior boarders in Tower Wing and they immediately raised the alarm, banging excitedly on the principal's door and dashing off to gather the small children who were sleeping in a dormitory in the burning building. Happily, all the boarders were evacuated safely and assembled on the principal's lawn where they observed a series of colourful explosions. The prompt action of the two girls and a fortunate change of wind before the outbreak of fire may well have averted loss of life or serious injury. In the event, damage to buildings and personal property was estimated at about ten thousand pounds and the life and smooth functioning of the school was once again to be seriously disrupted. As well as the damage done to laboratories, dormitories and equipment, eight classrooms were made unusable and students' personal property, including books and study notes, were destroyed. In slightly satirical vein, the principal in his 134


House, December The official party at the laying ofthefo undatio n stonefo r the new Sutton South Wales, ofNew r governo tt, Northco Sirjohn Wade, Dr 1946:fr om left, Rev. R. Piper, were to 1947, of fire the Lady Northcott and Mr Deane. A number offacto rs, includi ng 1949. in opened lly eventua delay the construction and the buildin g was

to 'the Speec h Day report expres sed relief that no damag e had been done nery Kitche n, the Pantry , the Refrig erator , the Schofi eld Hall, the Statio the to all, above and om, Restro the in Room , the celebr ated carved table Fees Regist er'. diate Faced with this crisis, the school found many willing helper s. Imme erm long-t aid was offere d by local reside nts and more substa ntial and which relief was afford ed by the Dr Barna do Home in Grant ham Street Army the by and ced displa accom modat ed the board ers who had been Duffy in hton Broug which made availa ble its large prope rty known as n was sectio Street . The whole of the prima ry school as well as the busine ss being transf erred here for severa l month s while the school buildi ngs were restor ed. ation Materi als that had been destin ed for the new buildi ng whose found ed damag the of had been laid the year before were used in the restor ation result. a section of the school and the buildi ng progra m was postpo ned as By Septem ber school life had return ed to norma l. 135


The Old Girls' Union and the Parents' and Friends' Association The Parents' and Friends' Association's cherished ambition to provide MLC with is own swimming pool continued to be frustrated during the 1940s. The matter was raised at an Executive Committee meeting in 1943 when it was decided to make the swimming pool a Diamond Jubilee project. It was agreed that the difference between the 2200 pounds that the Association already had to hand and the estimated 4000 pounds needed for the pool would be provided in equal shares by the college and the Association. Heartened by what seemed at last to be a positive move, the Association set about raising money and by the end of 1944 had brought the amount in their pool fund to 3000 pounds - more than their agreed contribution. However, disappointment was again encountered when the Department of War Organisation of Industry failed to grant permission for its construction. Once again the plans were shelved. During the forties the Parents' and Friends' Association and the Old Girls' Union combined in a number of fundraising efforts. At one market day in 1944 the two organisations raised enough money to close the swimming pool fund and to make a contribution of more than a thousand pounds to the Wearne Library Fund. The Old Girls' Union had achieved a position of considerable influence in the affairs of the school and in 1945 its three members who were members of the College Council were also admitted to the Executive Committee. In 1947, with the retirement of Mr Deane due to take effect in 1948, the Union voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing the system of dual control. In what was clearly a statement of confidence in Dr Wade they petitioned the Methodist Conference that the headmistress be placed in overall control of the college. As subsequent events showed, their petition was not successful.

Academic and extra-curricular activities Very high among the priorities of the new headmistress was to maintain the standards of scholarship and academic success that Miss Sutton and her staff had achieved. This task was made easier by the fact that when Dr Wade arrived there were on the staff a number of teachers of very long standing. Most prominent among these was Miss Ethel Hill who hadjoined the school in 1912 as senior mistress and had been Miss Sutton's second-incommand during the whole of her time as headmistress. She taught French, and while her command ofthat language was less than impeccable and her manner lacked flamboyance, her kindliness and wisdom endeared her to everyone. The pupils affectionately dubbed her 'Aunt Et'. She was promoted to the newly created position of chief of staff in 1939 and no doubt her experience and expertise - and her intimate knowledge of the 136


from 1924 A reunion ofold girls to honour Miss Dorothy Law, senior English mistress until 1947. Miss Law is centre front. .

ned at ways of the school - were invalu able to the new head. She remai 1945. of MLC until her retirem ent at the end by the Anoth er teache r who had becom e an integr al part of the school MLC to 1940s was the Englis h mistre ss, Miss Dorot hy Law, who had come pment of in the early 1920s and who had been instru menta l in the develo 1947. in ed resign its strong drama traditi ons. She ty Despit e occasi onal grumb lings about salary and condit ions, the stabili that factor a of the teachi ng staff was largely mainta ined during the 1940s, ts sitmade it easier to sustain academ ic standa rds. The numbe rs of studen steadting successfully for the Interm ediate and Leavin g Certif icates rose did war, the of year l critica ily during this period . Only in 1942, the most and g Leavin x the numb er of passes drop; by 1947 there were fifty-si sevent y-nine Interm ediate passes. assessChang es were made to the Interm ediate Certif icate in 1944; the curivery 'a as bed descri Hill ment for the award was chang ed to what Miss 137


ous combination of internal and external examination' .10 It was seen by some as an attempt by a Labor government to dismantle the public examination system although Dr Wade welcomed the opportunity it provided for 'greater freedom in the important first three years of the secondary course'." As Miss Sutton had done before her, Dr Wade deplored the tendency to view the Intermediate as the goal of secondary education and strongly argued that girls should continue to the Leaving Certificate. Music retained its important place in school life and results of examinations still took pride of place at Speech Days. Although the inter-school competition for the Dempster Shield lapsed in the early 1940s and was not revived, the school orchestra and the senior and junior choirs continued to thrive and in 1942 training in percussion band work was introduced into the primary school. Inter-house competitions were held in both music and verse-speaking - MissJ oyce Foreman, daughter of the former principal, provided the impetus for elocution and verse speaking - and in 1947 the senior choir and the school orchestra represented MLC at the All Schools' Music Festival held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. This once again brought students from the school into musical contact with their peers from other schools. In 1946 Lindley Evans, who had taught part-time at MLC for almost twenty years and who had done much to develop its choral traditions and to encourage all its music making, ended his association with the school. His influence in the musical life of the school continued to be felt for many years. Several new clubs were formed during the 1940s. One whose light flickered but briefly was the debating society which began its life in 1944 but which by the middle of the next year had, as a report in Excelsior quaintly put it, 'died of malnutrition'. Longer lasting was the Pen Friends Club, begun in 1946 by Miss Hay and Miss Lorna Foreman with the aim of 'forming friendly relationships and broadening our interests in all countries of the world' .12 It attracted 160 members drawn from all levels in the school. Letters were written to and received from young correspondents in Europe and Asia; one poignant letter from a thirteen-year-old Japanese girl was published in Excelsior and bears eloquent witness to the importance of such contacts: I am afraid that you may not like receiving this letter or answering, because I am Japanese. But I hope it is not so. I am not your enemy. It may help a little ifI tell you that I, too, have suffered - my three brothers, they are asleep; and my house, it is burnt ... Even to war-scarred land like mine, Spring will come. It is coming now, with plum blossom and cherry and prettiness and warmth. How do we arrange that it may be Spring for all the world? I would beg you to believe that I write this letter not with my pen, but with my heart. 13

The senior and junior dramatic societies continued to operate as playreading groups and to support the more adventurous efforts presented at the annual play days. Shakespeare's birthday still provided a good excuse for enthusiastic, if sometimes rough-hewn presentations of scenes from his plays. 138


School prefects; 1944. Marie Adams, the head girl, is centre front.

Spo rt obtain Despit e the lack of a swimm ing pool and the recedi ng possibility of sance ing one in the forese eable future , swimm ing at MLC enjoye d a renais ing lifesav as well as s lesson ing during and after the war. From 1941 swimm pupils two 1942 in and and resusc itation classes were held at Enfiel d pool s and gained award s from the Royal Life Saving Society. By 1945 the lesson cominstru ction bore fruit: 131 lifesav ing award s were won and the school own its held MLC well As . Sports peted in the All Schoo ls' Swimm ing years fifteen lapsed had swimm ing carniv al, revivin g a traditi on that 139


A. TRAGEDY IN 4 SCENES A schoolgirl tragedy in four scenes, Excelsior, June 1944.

earlier. By 1947 a school swimming club with over a hundred members had been formed. It was managed by Miss Bryce with the help of interested parents and had its own badge, designed by one of the students. Tennis, athletics and netball remained strong and notable successes were scored in inter-school competitions such as the Tildesley Shield for tennis, which MLC won in 1940, 1941 and 1947, and the All Schools' Sports for athletics. As before hockey remained in the doldrums as far as competition results were concerned and, again as in the 1930s, the inadequacy of the facilities at Burwood Park were given as the reason. Sport was one of the brighter aspects of school life during the 1940s. For the most part it was a time of disturbances whose aftermaths were extended and difficult. By the end of Mr Deane's time as principal, when these difficulties had been endured and overcome, life at Methodist Ladies' College regained the relative equanimity it had not enjoyed for more than a decade. Positive plans for future development could now be made and implemented.


Excelsior, December 1940, page 4


Speech Day report, 1942


Excelsior, December 1942, page 1 Excelsior, June 1942, page 20 Excelsior, June 1942, page 11 Links across the Years, 1976, page 29


5 6

7 8

9 10

Speech Day report, 1942 Excelsior, December 1946, page 6 Excelsior, December 1946, page 28 Excelsior, December 1946, page 8


Speech Day report, 1943


Excelsior, December 1947, page 14 Excelsior, December 1947, page 14



Chapter 9

Prosperity and Expansion 1949 - 1970 D

stan Au stra lian society und erw ent sub UR ING TH E 19505 and 19605 or no effe ct on the

nge s had littl e tial cha nge s. Som e of the se cha erwo od; oth ers imp ing ed onl y sup Me tho dis t Lad ies' Col leg e at Bur rs che tea its and con fro nte d the sch ool , ficially; yet oth ers ma de the ir ma rk l nfu lt pro ble ms and som etim es pai and adm inis trat ors wit h diff icu decisions. es mix bro ugh t abo ut by the gre at wav Th e cha nge s in Au stra lia' s rac ial upop 's ool sch wer e not refl ect ed in the of pos twa r Eur ope an mig rati on and , wai ting lists for ent ry to the sch ool lati on. Th ere wer e alre ady lon g tum fro m the low er soc io-e con om ic stra in any case, mo st mig ran ts cam e the e sid out e wer t tha reli gio us gro ups of society and ow ed alle gia nce to -do l-to wel m fro girls, pre dom ina ntly sch ool 's sph ere . Som e Asian of one and 0s d at ML C dur ing the 195 Sin gap ore an families, wer e enr olle e hea d pre fec t in 195 6. the se, Me e-N a Yo ung -Le e, bec am the shifts in com mu nity atti tud es and Mo re diff icu lt to resist wer e the as ty rali mo ual sex beh avi our , dre ss and gen era l rela xat ion of stan dar ds of us gio reli l ma of the chu rch and of for well as the dec lini ng infl uen ce h the s. An eve r-in cre asin g con cer n wit obs erv anc e in ma ny peo ple 's live s of sion of ma teri al goo ds in all sec tion acq uisi tion and con spi cuo us posses like values and beliefs tha t ins titu tion s the com mu nity pos ed a thr eat to the ntide an of , too ulc ate. Th e em erg enc e, ML C sto od for and sou ght to inc d tere fos lly ow n bra nd of com me rcia ifiable tee nag e cul tur e with its t tha ity hel ped bre ak dow n the aut hor ma teri alis m and its pec ulia r ritu als e cam figu res wer e abl e to exe rt. Wi th it par ent s and oth er adu lt aut hor ity als ide the of t roo y tha t stru ck at the ver a deg ree of sex ual per mis sive nes s the sch ool sto od for. 141


Senior prefects, 1956. The head prefect, Mee-Na Young-Lee, is in the centre front.

Of course, MLC's strong traditions of religious instruction, reinforced by such regular features of the school calendar as the annual church service and annual communion service, were a bulwark against the growing secularisation evident in the community. Despite this, the level of religious awareness and biblical knowledge among the students declined markedly during the 1950s. This is borne out in comments made by Miss Deer who taught art at the school between 1945 and 1975. She maintained that in her early days at MLC over 90 per cent of the pupils attended Sunday school; in the 1950s this tradition had lapsed to such an extent that in order to teach art history she first had to teach biblical history so that the subject matter of so many works of art could be understood. 142


lunch' Excelsi or, Two scenes from boarding life drawn by Joan Maguire: 'Boarders at 1955. er Decemb or, Excelsi mail' rs' 'Boarde December 1954, and

when A featur e of school life at MLC throug hout these two decade s, ed rebell and m much of the comm unity's youth discov ered a new freedo the to rm agains t traditi onal mores , was that most of the studen ts did confo were no ts studen course Of them. of standa rds of behav iour expec ted 143


longer as meekly submissive to constituted authority as they had been in earlier decades and in 1967 the principal had to report to the College Council that the conduct of the boarders was sometimes 'difficult'. Infringements of the rules did occur and were dealt with by the imposition of conduct marks or, for more serious misdemeanours, detentions. Student smokers, perhaps taking their cue from some of the teachers, were occasionally apprehended on the trains or even on the school premises, but graver moral transgressions such as sexual promiscuity and, later on, drug taking were seldom, if ever, encountered. The school administration during this period was acutely aware of the dangers posed by the forces at work in the community and maintained fairly tight discipline in the school. At the same time they were conscious that the school was no isolated unit that could comfortably ignore wider societal influence and were prepared to move with the times in ways that did not represent a compromise of their ideals. In the mid-forties a letter to Excelsior requesting that the school hold an annual dance, as did many other schools, evinced a rather curt reply from the editor to the effect that the Methodist Church forbade dances being held on its property. The matter was not negotiable. Ten years later MLC had its annual school dance - at St Paul's Church of England Hall in Burwood - as well as regular classes in traditional ballroom dancing. Strapless off-the-shoulder dresses, then the fashion for teenage dances, were considered beyond the pale and boarders' escorts were carefully vetted by the principal's wife. 'The lesson before gym', drawn by Lame Davis, Excelsior, December 1954.



ive Conce ssions were made to greate r comfo rt and a more attract conThis m. unifor er summ a of appea rance with the introd uction in 1955 cuffs and sisted of a simple cotton frock in blue and white check with white stockand collar. The gather ed skirt still came demur ely below the knee and the ings had to be worn. Howe ver, the inexor able rise in hemlin es not could n, wome e matur for even growi ng accept ance of the mini-s kirt, being were MLC at s be resiste d and by the end ofthe 1960s school dresse worn well above the knee. in the Great er freedo m of expres sion was permi tted and, especi ally ty on the 1960s, article s and letters in Excelsior reveal a refres hing capaci would that ts subjec treat and part of studen ts to espous e and expres s views in article An phere. have been frown ed upon in a less tolera nt atmos Hair l Decem ber 1969, for examp le, strong ly defend ed the new musica conaginst the virule nt critici sm with which it was greete d by many moral ' hearts closed and minds 'closed servat ives and bitterl y conde mned the iption conscr m Vietna the that produ ced such criticis m. I Both sides of

or, December 'Wet lunch hour (How not to behave)'. A drawing by Lame Davis, Excelsi 1956.



controversy that divided Australian society in the 1960s were aired in Excelsior and the cloyingly artificial enthusiasm that had sometimes

characterised descriptions of school life gave way to a more critical approach. When new science laboratories were built in 1966 they were described by one junior student as 'ugly and depressing' and in December 1969 the 'Boarders' Notes', normally so correctly appreciative, described boarding school life as 'not exactly exciting' and stated that the weekends 'always tend to drag'. Dr Wade remained at MLC as headmistress until her retirement in 1959. Her firmness and strong discipline were instrumental in maintaining the even tenor of the school and in this she was ably supported by the principal's wife, Mrs Sylvia Lew. Mrs Lew had come to the school when her husband, the Reverend Robert Lew, took over as principal after Mr Deane's retirement in 1948. Keen to be actively involved in the running of the school, Mrs Lew sought the position of house superintendent and was appointed to the job, in an honorary capacity, by the Executive Committee in December 1949. She entered enthusiastically into the life of the school and did not shirk from menial work when it was necessary. But her influence went further than domestic supervision and catering, and was felt in the musical and religious life of the school. Having received musical training at the Sydney Conservatorium, she put her skills to good use by forming a boarders' choir within a year of coming to the school. This choir performed at the first carol service - a joint initiative of Dr Wade and Mrs Lew - which took place in early December 1950 and was held thereafter every two years. The choir also played a central role in other religious services and in May 1952 received wider exposure when the boarders' service was broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. It was probably as a result of increased efforts by the administration and staff in the face ofa perceived decline in religious commitment and observance that aspects of the school's religious life flourished during this period. The number of regular religious events in the calendar had grown and a high proportion of the school's members was participating in them. More and more students were taking part in the communion services and each year there was a Church Members' Reception Service at which girls who were not already members were received into the church. The annual church service held at the Burwood Methodist Church became two services - one for seniors and one for juniors - and the prefects' induction service in the Assembly Hall retained its highly devotional character. The Student Christian Movement, too - this was the new name that the Christian Union had acquired during the 1940s - was particularly active, especially in the early 1950s. Functions and activities, both within and ouside the school, continued to attract fair numbers of students. The religious consciousness of the school as well as sections of the community received a significant boost in the late 1950s with the arrival of the American evangelist Billy Graham who attracted huge crowds to his congress at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The boarders were taken by bus to the crusade rally and many of the day girls were taken by their parents. SCM 146


The Reverend R. B. Lew, principal 1948-1959.

ed the group s discus sed the issues raised by the crusad e which also inspir ts. forma tion of Bible study group s for first and second year studen ed in While he was princi pal of MLC Mr Lew was also deeply involv 1954 and 1950 en Betwe level. t church affairs - and at the very highes ofthe neral ent-ge presid he was secret ary-ge neral and from 1954 to 1957 ed overMetho dist Churc h of Austra lasia and in the latter capaci ty travell t repseas twice as a repres entativ e of the church . This appoi ntmen career in resent ed the crown ing achiev ement of a long and disting uished 147


the service of the church during which he had been an army chaplain, had worked in a number of Sydney circuits and had been secretary and then president of the New South Wales Methodist Conference. The esteem in which he was held is evidenced by the fact that he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Baldwin Wallace University in the United States in 1956 and received the OBE in 1959.

The move to the new Sutton House - orderly and disorderly - as drawn by Monica Donkin and Joan Deasey, Excelsior, December 1949.



Buildings and expansion in the 195 0s seen from That Mr Lew was a princi pal of energy and comm itmen t can be The office. of term the chang es that were wroug ht at the school during his they es; 1950s were not only a period of social chang e and shiftin g attitud ngs at were a time of rapid expan sion in both studen t numbe rs and buildi MLC. labora The constr uction of a new Sutton House to provid e new scienc e d new tories, a geogra phy room and the long-a waited and much neede unate library was eventu ally compl eted in 1949 after a series of unfort

am on its back The Wearne Library in Sutton House. Each chair bears the school monogr support.



delays. Permission for the building had been obtained more than three years earlier and the foundation stone had been laid on Speech Day 1946 in anticipation of an early start. This, however, was frustrated by postwar shortages of materials and the fire of 1947. The building was officially opened on Speech Day 1949 by the state governor, Sir John Northcott, who had laid the foundation stone in 1946. The science rooms, which came into use early in the year, and the geography room were on the ground floor. Upstairs was the splendid new library, which retained the name Wearne Library in honour of the school's first headmistress, and which, with the geography room, came into use towards the end of the year. There were also two senior form rooms on the upper floor. The imposing new building and the facilities it offered were welcomed with great enthusiasm by both staffand students. A description in Excelsior of December 1949 exulted in the shining newness of the science laboratories and the geography room, saying of the latter that it 'seems to have come from a picture in an American magazine'.2 By contrast, another article in the same edition stressed the more subdued character of the new Wearne Library, speaking in romantic vein of its 'purity and simplicity of line, its subtle colour harmony, its clarity and spaciousness and peace'.s A feeling of solemnity, appropriate to a place dedicated to quiet reading and research, was created by the profusion of brown timber and the deep blue leather of the chairs' upholstery as well as the 'ivory-tinted' walls, and accentuated by the imposing portraits of the present headmistress and her predecessor, on the stairs leading up, and the portrait of Miss Minnie Wearne above the main desk. The library provided seating accommodation for a hundred girls and was for the use of the whole school The Old Girls' Union had donated the furniture and each of the chairs had the school monogram carved on its back support. The total cost of the building was almost 17 000 pounds. The library was the new home for the contents of the former fiction and reference libraries and was administered by a newly appointed full-time librarian, Miss Sibyl Nardin. The student librarians continued to assist in the running of the library. The bright newness of the laboratories and geography room and the spacious elegance of the new library threw into unflattering relief the drab and cramped quality ofthe surrounding sections ofthe school, where the classrooms were often dingy and ill-lit and their furniture crudely made. A rising school population, and the demand for more places, were also increasing the strains on the resources available and the space at the school's disposal. By 1950 the number of students had reached 843, about 120 more than the previous year. Over 40 per cent of these - 368 pupils - were in the primary and infants' departments and accommodation for these sections of the school was verging on the inadequate. In August 1949 a two-storey house, Youngarra, situated close to the school on the corner of Rowley and Gordon streets, came on to the market. Its fourteen rooms and quarter of a hectare ofland made it an enticing prospect for a school in a built-up area that needed to expand. An Executive Council meeting in that same month approved the offering of 5000 150


rty was pound s for the prope rty, setting a limit of600 0 pound s. The prope ved appro was s pound acquir ed for the latter amoun t and a furthe r 1400 il, Counc for renova tions which were compl eted to the satisfa ction of the whose the Old Girls' Union and the Paren ts' and Friend s' Assoc iation, ed renam was ng buildi The s. month repres entativ es inspec ted it, within six ied occup was and , school Kent House , in memo ry of Miss Lester 's origin al demol by the kinder garten and lower prima ry school . Kent House was finally ished in 1966 to be replac ed by a new and larger buildi ng which roof. one the under school ry prima broug ht the whole kinder garten and Assembly Hall was Speech Night in the Sydney Town Hall, 1958. By the mid-fifties, the Speech Day. Since annual the ng attendi people the odate accomm to no longer large enough Hall. Town Sydney that time the ceremony has been held at night in the



The old girl tradition has always been strong at MLG. In 1956 the school's seventieth anniversary was marked by these group photographs showing the daughters of old girls (above) and the grand-daughters of old girls (below).



e at At the beginn ing of 1953 anoth er prope rty - the land and cottag huneight nd thousa One s. pound 22 Park Road - was acquir ed for 3200 rty dred pound s of this was a loan from the Old Girls' Union . This prope nment gover l was not put to immed iate use but was leased to a federa and depar tment for five years; the rent was to be 390 pound s per annum 1956 an the depar tment was to pay any increa se in the counc il rates. In rty, prope nt adjace the owned agreem ent was reache d with the couple who a of nd thousa One at numb er 24 Park Road, for its eventu al purcha se. ing retain total price of400 0 pound s was paid immed iately with the owner s e would posses sion until the death of one of them, at which time the balanc The rty. prope the over take be paid to the other and the school would bunga the when 1978 house and groun ds were not acquir ed by MLC until -term oflong low was demol ished to make way for tennis courts . This kind school 's arrang ement gives some idea of the difficu lties impos ed by the need to physical situati on in the middl e of a reside ntial suburb and of the make provis ion for future expan sion.

A drea m com e true carrie d The promi nence that swimm ing had achiev ed during the 1940s n in over in the 1950s and no doubt swayed the Colleg e Counc il's decisio to and pool ing swimm a of uction Octob er 1955 to recom mend the constr cena of r quarte a than offer 5000 pound s toward s its cost. This was more the idea tury after the Paren ts' and Friend s' Assoc iation had first moote d gly and begun to raise money for its implem entatio n. After seemin d by interm inable postpo nemen ts and procra stinati ons - some dictate the seness perver cratic circum stance s, others the result of bureau se purpo of ty tenaci s dream was to becom e a reality and the Assoc iation' was to be vindic ated. s in Anoth er factor that certain ly contri buted to the school 's succes the pool swimm ing and may have influe nced the decisio n to procee d with y talent rdinar extrao of er was the presen ce within the school of a swimm world new set to who was soon to becom e an Olymp ic champ ion and ling at record s in freesty le events . Lorrai ne Crapp receiv ed her schoo chool MLC betwe en 1944 and 1955 and repres ented the school in inter-s red honou very a as h triump in carniv als in the early 1950s. She return ed a kers onloo the guest at the pool's openin g cerem ony in 1957, and gave demon stratio n of her trainin g metho ds. the The reason most comm only proffe red for the postpo nemen t of seem to made was space ble swimm ing pool projec t - the lack of availa side of rather hollow by the decisio n to place the pool on the east 1922. in Abbey thorpe , a part of the estate that the school had purch ased 12 000 The projec ted cost had by this time soared to 25 000 pound s, Associ s' Friend and ts' Paren the by ed pound s of which would be provid just was cost total the 1957, ation. When the pool was opene d in March up conunder 24 000 pound s, of which the Paren ts' and Friend s' ended tributi ng over 16 000 pound s. 153


The swimming pool: (above) under construction, Excelsior, December 1956, and (right) in use, Excelsior, December 1959.

The opening was ajoyous occasion in which the festive atmosphere was duly tempered by a touch of solemnity. In a fitting tribute to the efforts and the forbearance of the Parents' and Friends', the Association's first president, Mrs Eirene Brett, opened the pool in a ceremony that included a prayer offered by the former president of the Conference and a speech from Dr Wade thanking all those who had contributed to its completion. There was a ritual element, too, in the first use of the pool: the senior and junior swimming champions first set official school records and the illustrious old girl, Lorraine Crapp, fresh from triumphs at the Melbourne Olympic Games, set an 'all-comers' record. There were also displays of synchronised swimming from a visiting team and a spectacular diving display. It all emphasised the serious purposes to which the pool was to be put. 154


The shat terin g of a drea m g of the Hardly a year after the eupho ria that accom panied the openin whole the cast school swimm ing pool there occurr ed a tragic event that of its school into deep gloom and profou ndly afflict ed the family of one enstuden ts. In the early hours of the morni ng of 11 April 1958, a fourte and point knifeat ted abduc was year-o ld board er, Marga ret Thom as, dormi stabbe d to death in a nearby park by an intrud er who entere d the young The tory by climbi ng a ladder and clamb ering throug h a window. . victim was the niece of Miss Lulu Thom as, a teache r at the school , thfield ofStra suburb ouring neighb the The offend er, a labou rer from had he whom pupils other by was quickly appre hende d and identif ied of the awake ned. The incide nt and the subseq uent trial and convic tion the ted murde rer cast an unwel come spotlig ht on the school and attrac banne r attent ion of the tabloid press which , true to form, featur ed it in headli nes and exploi ted its sensat ional value to the full. of the It was a tragic and traum atic event that cast a pall over the life and Lew Dr school , despit e the sympa thetic and dignif ied respon se ofboth fact of Dr Wade. The bereav ed parent s took some consol ation from the friend s their daugh ter's braver y in the face of dange r: she had advise d her ed a donat They tor. abduc to stay in bed and had gone quietly with her Wade Dr ter. prize to be award ed on Speec h Day in memo ry of their daugh 1958, wrote a movin g tribute to the dead girl in the Excelsior of Decem ber forthbeen had that thy sympa and rt gratef ully ackno wledg ing the suppo comin g from everyo ne intere sted in the school . most As a result of the murde r, securi ty at MLC, alread y adequ ate by and the standa rds, was upgra ded by the install ation of an alarm system appoin tment of a night watch man. 155


A new administration At the end of 1959 both Dr Lew and Dr Wade retired and their places were taken by the Reverend Winston O'Reilly and the school's head of science and deputy headmistress for the last five years, Dr Alice Whitley. Dr Whitley's appointment was particularly timely for it was just at this time that the importance of science education was receiving special attention from educators, not only in Australia but throughout the world. At this period the space race was well and truly underway: the Russians had successfully launched the first artificial satellite into orbit three years earlier and would very soon send the first human being into space. By the end of the decade American men would walk on the moon and the event would be beamed live to incredulous millions of television viewers. Science and technology were seen as the way to a better future for the world, greater security for nations and increased prosperity for individuals. New syllabuses were devised for science and the secondary curriculum particularly was restructured to give mathematics and science a more prominent position. In 1962 the report of the Wyndham Committee into Secondary Education was implemented in New South Wales schools. The most publicly conspicuous aspects of this change were the introduction of the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate examinations to replace the former Intermediate and Leaving certificates and the extension of the secondary school course by one year. At the Higher School Certificate level what many considered as an undue advantage was given to science and mathematics by allowing them together to count as three subjects when both were taken at an advanced level. Both by its traditions and in the person of its new headmistress, MLC was well placed to respond to the new emphasis on science. Science had flourished in the school under Miss Sutton, herself an inspired teacher of botany, and in the 1920s MLC had played a pioneering role in being the first school in the state to present girls for the Leaving Certificate in physics. Alice Whitley had been a pupil at the school for nine years in the heyday of the Sutton era and was its dux in 1930. After graduating with a degree in science from Sydney University, Miss Whitley taught mathematics at Brighton College, Manly and at SCEGGS Moss Vale before coming back to MLC Burwood in 1941 as a teacher of science and mathematics. The years 1952 - 1954 were spent in England working on a thesis for a Ph.D. in chemistry from London University. The former Miss, now Doctor, Whitley returned to MLC in 1955 to be head of mathematics and science and deputy headmistress. Throughout her career, Alice Whitley played an active and prominent part in the promotion of science education both within MLC and in a wider sphere through her involvement with the Science Teachers' Association, of which she was president in 1956 - 1957 and vice president in 1958 - 1959. She helped formulate the science syllabus for the new Higher School Certificate, was a member of the Commonwealth Science 156



cipal 1960-1964. The Reverend Winston O'Reilly, prin

scienond ary Sch ool s, con trib ute d to Ad viso ry Co mm itte e for Sta te Sec of two boo ks. tific jou rna ls and was co- aut hor den ive aca dem ic and pro fes sio nal cre A scie ntif ic spe cial ist wit h imp ress in the Wh itle y still too k a kee n inte res t tials in her field of exp erti se, Alice ion ed mp cha She ML C off ere d its pup ils. tota l edu cat ion al exp erie nce tha t ool s sch er mp le, at a tim e wh en som e oth the cau se of art edu cat ion , for exa to use the new cur ricu lum as an exc wer e usi ng the pro visi ons of res t spo rt and too k a kee n per son al inte ted mo pro y ngl stro it, ade ngr dow in the Gir l Gu ide s mo vem ent . ecip als dur ing the 196 0s. Th e tim Dr Wh itle y ser ved und er two prin e tim rem ain ed in ope rati on dur ing this hon our ed sys tem of dua l con trol 0s 194 Old Gir ls' Un ion at the end of the des pite the rep res ent atio ns of the Dr of ent rem reti us by the sim ulta neo and the opp ort uni ty pre sen ted . tion rup dis sys tem wit h min imu m Wa de and Dr Lew to cha nge the wh en was prin cip al fro m 196 0 to 196 5 Th e Rev ere nd Wi nst on O'R eill y rn in New Sou th Wa les Con fere nce . Bo he left to bec om e sec reta ry of the 's ear ly the mo st pro min ent oft he sch ool 191 3, he was the nep hew of two of of the dux n bee y, eac h of wh om had old girls: Susie and Oli ve O'R eill wh en e tim gra dua ted in me dic ine at a sch ool and eac h of wh om had and e n was sev ere ly res tric ted . His wif wo me n's ent ry to tha t pro fes sio you ng C. Aft er leav ing sch ool , the dau ght er had also atte nde d ML 157


The Reverend E. A. Bennett, principal 1964-1969.

O'Reilly took a series ofjobs, including working in his father's retail store, before entering theological college and going on to obtain Masters degrees in Arts and Education. Before coming to MLC he had been deputy principal of Leigh Theological College for eleven years. Mr O'Reilly was succeeded at the beginning of 1965 by the Reverend Edgar Bennett, whose career in many ways paralleled that of his predecessor. Like Mr O'Reilly, Mr Bennett was born in 1913 and received his schooling in the state system, graduating from Fort Street Boys' High in 1929. He trained as a teacher and taught for three years at Newington, during which time he completed his Master of Arts degree, before entering Leigh College to train for the ministry. After ordination in 1941, Mr Bennett worked in a number of country and city circuits and spent five years as chairman of the Riverina district. Immediately before his appointment as principal of MLC for a period of five years, Mr Bennett spent a year as a lecturer at Leigh College where his father had been principal for twenty-seven years.

Building and expansion during the 1960s Capital works were once again a major preoccupation of the MLC principals during the 1960s. These were undertaken despite the fact that the overall enrolments rose only slightly throughout the decade and the pri158


projec t mary and kinder garten enrolm ents fell alarmi ngly. One buildi ng lth onwea comm was, in fact, made possib le by the benefi cence of the gover nment . were Hardly had Mr O'Reil ly taken up his appoin tment when plans time had y Whitle Dr had ly scarce afoot for an impor tant new buildi ng and emcomm was essor to adjust to her new respon sibiliti es when her predec orated in the namin g of a new wing. FebAt the first Execu tive Counc il meetin g attend ed by Mr O'Reil ly in given be should ng buildi new a for ruary 1960 it was decide d that plans disurgen t consid eration . In fact two years earlie r the projec t had been up drawn been cussed and plans for a buildi ng along traditi onal lines had ced and approv ed. At the next meetin g in early March a plan was produ and this for a contem porary buildi ng at an estima ted cost of 55000 pound s over little a and tly promp began won the approv al of the Counc il. Work House Sutton and Hall a year later the tennis court betwe en the Assem bly orey had disapp eared and in its place stood Wade House , a moder n two-st the very brick buildi ng whose featur e panels proud ly prono unced it to be er, howev tastes, some To n. fashio l epitom e of contem porary archit ectura

in 1961, links the The Rowley Street- Granth am Street corner. Wade House, opened aph. photogr ofthe Assembly Hall on the corner to Sutton House on the left



it seemed oddly out of keeping with the old-fashioned reserve of the buildings to which it was joined. Inside, too, it reflected the prevailing vogue in its profusion of eye-catching colour. As an article in Excelsior in December 1961 enthusiastically described it: Attractive modern colour-schemes have been selected. The entrance hall is periwinkle blue, with grey floor-tiles relieved by touches of blue, and the school crest just inside the threshold. Other interesting colour combinations are the parchment and underwater blue of the changing room; bamboo in the passage-way, with teal blue doors; green spice on the feature wall of the classrooms combines with beige and off-white; a touch of magnetic flame lends piquant contrast. 4

While the style of the new building may have raised the odd eyebrow, there could be little argument about the usefulness of the facilities it provided. It housed a bright and roomy new art room to replace the rather sombre one that had served for many years, five large classrooms on the top floor for use by the fourth and fifth years as well as several smaller rooms, and downstairs, domestic science rooms and a commodious and well-appointed staff room that was a distinct improvement on the cramped and gloomy space that had previously served that purpose. The controversy surrounding state aid for non-government schools,

Dr Whitley and Sir Hugh Ennor at the opening ofthe school's science laboratories, 3 June




sixties , that had been simme ring during the fifties, flared up in the early Churc h fuelled mainly by Catho lic militan cy on the issue. The Catho lic a fifth about for d catere and s contro lled the vast major ity of privat e school in alent ambiv were of the state's school childr en. Other denom inatio ns result their attitud e to the questi on, fearin g that an accept ance ofaid could to the in a loss of autono my. The Metho dists had expres sed oppos ition power singly increa the to bed idea but when the politic ians finally succum its accept to agreed h fullob by in favour of state aid, the Metho dist Churc share of the offerin g. to be Accor dingly , in 1964, with a lot of comm onwea lth money about ent equipm and ngs buildi e scienc of 'made availa ble for the upgra ding tories. labora e scienc new for throug hout the countr y, MLC drew up plans govern The estima ted cost was 19 500 pound s, and the comm onwea lth e 1967 ment agreed to provid e 16000 pound s toward s this amoun t. InJun norththe new labora tories ,juttin g out above the Sixth Form rooms at the y, Whitle Dr by ed design rs interio ern end of the school prope rty, and with onComm the to ary were offically opene d by Sir Hugh Ennor , Secret wealth Depar tment of Educa tion. , A short stroll then took Sir Hugh and the official party to Kent House with its where he opene d anoth er buildin g: the new prima ry block which y block, 3 June Sir Hugh Ennor unveili ng the plaque at the opening of the new primar und. backgro the in , Bennett Mr al, 1967, with the princip



nine classrooms, assembly hall and library would finally house the primary and infants departments in the one location. To make way for the new building the former Youngarra - the handsome two-storey house with oramented timbered gables, wrap-around bullnose verandah and wrought iron balcony that the school had acquired in 1949 - had been demolished.

Primary numbers The construction ofthe new Kent House was a singularly sanguine gesture on the part of the school's administrators because at the time there was considerable concern about the falling enrolments in the primary school. Between 1960 and 1965 the enrolment in primary and kindergarten had fallen by a quarter - from 322 to 234. And there was no immediate remedy in sight for by 1969 there were only 182 primary and kindergarten children. The reasons were primarily geographical. Burwood was by this time a settled affluent suburb with an aging population. Its comfortable bungalows and rambling mansions were beyond the reach of all but the most well-to-do young couples and so local children of primary school age were few in numbers. And while parents were generally prepared to let older children use public transport to get to school, they liked their primary schools close to home. PLC at Croydon was experiencing the same problems, and for the same reasons. In 1963 a proposal that the two schools pool their resources to provide transport for prospective pupils from the Cronulla area was rejected by MLC because it could create tensions between those for whom transport was provided and those who had to find their own way to school. Dr Whitley also suggested that there could be some merit in the idea of removing the lower primary school to an area where there was a greater concentration of young children with parents willing and able to pay. The suggestion was not taken up and the worrying situation, with its disturbing implications for the future, remained unresolved.

Matters academic In 1969, for the second time in the space of a decade, MLC received the unwelcome attentions of the tabloid press and found itself in the glare of unfavourable publicity. This time academic standards were the issue. The Daily Mirror, a Sydney evening paper, ranked Sydney schools on the basis of their 1968 School Certificate results and concluded in typically facile fashion that state schools achieved better results. It then went on to rank schools in order of merit, singling out MLC Burwood as an example of a poor achiever in the academic stakes and, with rather heavy-handed irony, quoting the current scale of fees. The school authorities were able to dismiss the report and its invidious implications on the grounds that it was limited in scope, took no account 162


The nursery class, 1961. Miss Purdie (Mrs Dickman) is on the left.

passes of other years' results and report ed only on the level of the t out obtain ed, conve niently omitti ng to note that at MLC only one studen voiced of 142 had failed the exams . But the advers e critici sm so public ly ng earchi soul-s some bly inevita was a blow to the school 's pride and ensued . y, One result of this was that the teache rs came under closer scrutin and sevespecially those over sixty years of age. There were nine of these aper newsp the before Even years. eral had been at the school for many d neede was blood report some old girls had been arguin g that more young eldofthe l on the staff, and the article added weigh t to their claims. Severa notice erly teache rs resign ed, one was asked to leave and others were given time. year's a that they should leave in 163


A display of the pupils' culinary skills at Open Day, 1968.

The composition of the teaching staff had, in any case, been changing during the fifties and sixties, although the changes had in the main been forced on the school by necessity rather than undertaken as positive innovations. Regulations governing the employment of married women and of full-time male teachers were relaxed and at one stage in the fifties a Catholic teacher was employed in the mathematics department - but only until a suitable Protestant replacement could be found. Despite the school'sjustifiable resentment at being pilloried in the evening press, it remained true that MLC's public examination results under the restructured Wyndham scheme were not as good as they had been under the old system. Perhaps many of the teachers found it difficult to adapt to new syllabuses and altered exam formats after many years of working under a system that had become comfortably familiar. Perhaps, too, Dr Whitley was unconsciously venting some frustration at MLC's lack of academic success when, on Speech Night in 1969, she inveighed against the 'lackadaisical attitude of a permissive society which places too much importance on examination resu.lts and not enough on the continuing process of learning'. 164


row is a young The school swimming squad in 1952. Third from the right in the centre Lorrain e Crapp.

Spo rt impor tBoth Dr Wade and Dr Whitle y impre ssed upon the studen ts the h Day Speec 1950 her In m. ance of sport in a balanc ed educa tional progra comsport, to e report Dr Wade made a plea for a more positiv e attitud to be plainin g that 'Ther e are still too many even at school who want only n'. Dr specta tors, missin g the fun and the benefi t of active partic ipatio al physic and sport a ted institu Whitle y went beyon d mere exhor tation and ulum. curric school educa tion progra m as an integr al part of the second ary new Up till then sport had been an option al extra- curric ular activity. The in the system began in 1963 with a weekly after-s chool session for all girls 1967, In years. higher the into ed first year and was progre ssively extend school of part l norma this progra m becam e more firmly establ ished as a would life when it was decide d that the first four years of the senior school school finish lessons at 2.30 on one day a week and give over the rest ofthe Dr report Night h Speec 1969 her In tion. day to sport and physic al educa ation applic its and m progra Whitle y stresse d her comm itmen t to the the time all to all, and not just the most athleti cally incline d studen ts. By this were girls were requir ed to partic ipate in gym classes and swimm ing and strong ly encou raged to play tennis or a team sport. 165



1st Year Curious Innoceole

2nd Year


3rd Year ''Teenage


4th Year

Mature Beings

5th Year "Ye gods" aloof

The schoolgirl's progression, Excelsior, December 1964. An erratum sheet was inserted to correct the misspelling.

Swimming continued to predominate as the sport in which MLC most consistently achieved success in inter-school competitions. The appointment of Mr Don Guthrie as school swimming coach during the 1950s and Mr Don Talbot in the late 1960s certainly helped to boost and maintain standards and the existence of a pool on the premises provided a strong stimulus. MLC had outstanding success in the 1953 and 1954 All Schools' Swimming Sports, due in no small part to the presence in the team of Lorraine Crapp. After her departure successes were more sporadic and less spectacular. Twice during the 1960s, however - in 1966 and 1967 - MLC won the senior points score at the All Schools' Sports and in most years there were noteworthy individual performances. Tennis, too, remained strong. The keenly contested Tildesley Shield came back to MLC in 1959 after a long absence and was retained for another two years after that. Instrumental in this success was Kaye Dening who at the time was one of Australia's most prominent young players. MLC's former prowess in athletics waned during the fifties and sixties, with only one memorable success being recorded: the school took out the senior cup at the All Schools' Sports in 1960. Basketball, cricket and hockey were still played competitively with variable but never outstanding results. The presence of a nl;lmber of tennis courts and a fine swimming pool no doubt boosted those sports at the expense of others whose facilities were not immediately to hand. 166


A Tildesley Shield tennis team, 1950s.

own rate Durin g the fifties and sixties MLC Burwo od had respon ded at its . It and in its own way to the pressu res impos ed by a volatil e society much emerg ed from this testing period as an institu tion superf icially the ining mainta and values same chang ed but in essenc e profes sing the it, upon forced been had es same ideals that it had always espous ed. Chang flexifor need and in accept ing these its admin istrato rs had learne d the bility and the value ofjudi cious compr omise . fresh The decad e ahead would bring new challe nges that would deman d l contro dual of on questi and imagin ative respon ses. The old and thorny spirit ing modat was soon to receiv e anoth er airing ; this time a more accom , be laid would prevai l and the matte r would finally, albeit not too gently to rest.

I 2

g 4

page 72

Excelsior, Decem ber 1949, page 3

ibid, page 21 page 3



QUOVADIS? Where are we g~ing?

What is the future for MLC?

All through its history MLC has always had the magic blend of the best from the past and the best of current educational thought and practice. It would be impossiblefor Dr. Prescott to have envisaged the shape ofthe school these 100 years gone. It is impossible for us to envisage the school as it will be in 2086. However, I am sure ofthis: It will be a School where Christ is honoured. Our Centenary Stained Glass Window is a grand reminder of the Eternal Nature of Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

It will be a School where the search for truth is paramount, where students will be encouraged to pursue academic excellence. It will be a School where students will sense that they matter and are part ofa Community ofCaring. It will be a School where students will be encouraged to creatively express themselves in Music, Art and Literature.

It will be a School in which young lives will grow into truly finer human beings. No doubt its buildings will be vastly different. They will have to be, to keep pace with the demands of the accelerating changes in technology and society. I am sure of this: all that is of value that we have Consecrated will live on.

(Rev.) K.J. Cornwell Principal

Quo Vadis? Mr Cornwell's projections for the school's future.




N ew Directions


Rever end HE ARRIV AL of a new princi pal in the person of the

radKenne th]. Cornw ell in 1970 herald ed a period of major and even arrive d, ical reform in almos t all aspect s of school organi sation . When he ial financ ents, enrolm falling with , MLC Schoo l was in a situati on where ain; uncert d seeme stringe ncies and variab le academ ic results , its future ty, under his leader ship it has reache d a positio n where its financ ial securi have pleasi ng ambie nce and consis tently high standa rds of achiev ement made it one of the most sough t after girls' school s in Sydney. ya It did not take long for Mr Cornw ell's keenly critica l eye to identif very the was these of numb er of areas in which reform s were neede d. One essary system of admin istrati on; dual contro l, as he saw it, impos ed unnec ial strains on both princi pal and headm istress and was a source of potent and lation formu the made and ship conflic t. It imped ed decisive leader d to be. imple menta tion of school policy more difficu lt than they neede opinio n of body Within the Metho dist Churc h, too, there was a strong al and that, given the shorta ge of ordain ed minist ers availa ble for pastor as prinother church work, it was somet hing of a luxury to use one of them would she soon retire to due cipal of a girls' school . As Dr Whitle y was l genera a was reach the manda tory retirin g age of sixty in 1973 - there hand. feeling that the time for a chang e to a more efficie nt system was at to a At Mr Cornw ell's instiga tion moves for an eventu al chang eover six, of ittee comm a 1971 late by single -contr ol system were institu ted, and priate appro mend includ ing Mr Cornw ell, had been forme d to recom renmodif ication s to the school consti tution . The plans for reform were y at dered more urgen t by the unexp ected early resign ation of Dr Whitle been had tution consti draft new a the beginn ing of 1972. By March 1972 Colleg e drawn up and, after some amend ment, it was appro ved by the Counc il. 169


The new principal, Rev. K.j. Cornwell, and Mrs Cornwell in 1970.

Another, and unexpected, development occurred when the annual Methodist Conference, which as a matter of course had to ratify the principal's position, almost failed to reappoint Mr Cornwell for 1972. It was only the intervention of the Reverend Winston O'Reilly, the former principal of MLC and then chairman of the College Council, that secured Mr Cornwell's reappointment. At about this time, with fundamental 170


group s chang es being moote d and a spirit of reform in the air, there were who school the in st intere an with among the old girls and other people er togeth This, pal. princi were arguin g for the appoin tment of a woma n as minisits of with the Churc h's conce rn about the most sensib le dispos ition ell's ters, no doubt contri buted to the uncert ainty about Mr Cornw immed iate future . erSecure in his positio n for 1972, Mr Cornw ell had to give deep consid when, p palshi ation to the questi on of wheth er to apply for the princi and under the terms of the new consti tution , it was advert ised for 1973 ndtherea fter. He was, of course , keenly aware of the contro versy surrou in ents argum the of many with ing the matter , and could sympa thise his of ous consci was he favour of a female appoin tment . At the same time felt he own ability and comm itmen t, and of the valuab le contri bution he friend s, could contin ue to make. He took advice from collea gues and close and sort and during the May school holida ys went away to medita te, pray things out. from In the event Mr Cornw ell applie d and was the successful candid ate 1973. a field of nine. His appoin tment took effect from the beginn ing of ure struct a of head the be to was he In the everyd ay runnin g of the school burthe head, deputy the of author ity that devolv ed downw ard throug h subjec t sar, the head of the prima ry depar tment and the heads of the people , depart ments . He was to be respon sible to a counc il of twenty -one ent of of which he was to be a memb er; others were to includ e the presid ), Synod the of ator moder the the Confe rence of New South Wales (later Girls' Old the of fifteen electe d memb ers and two repres entativ es each Union and the Paren ts' and Friend s' Assoc iation. At Kenne th Cornw ell was in his prime when he came to MLC in 1970. er, found its since school the of pal thirty- eight, he was the young est princi essors , Dr Presco tt, and was very much young er than most of his predec son The s. career severa l of whom had come there in the twiligh t of their and st of musical parent s, Mr Cornw ell was himse lfan accom plishe d violini been has that arts the to t itmen comm and broug ht to the school a love of also He . pment develo ulum strong ly reflec ted in its subseq uent curric he years eight us previo broug ht ten years' experi ence as a teache r: for the was that had been chapla in at Newin gton Colleg e and for two years before Leigh chapla in at Presto n Techn ical Schoo l. Soon after gradu ating from had who , Vokes a Pamel met ell Theol ogical Colleg e in 1954 Mr Cornw Apart 1956. in d marrie recent ly migra ted from Engla nd, and the two were as a BA from his theolo gical qualif ication Mr Cornw ell had gradu ated record , from Sydne y Unive rsity; later he would enhan ce his academ ic a of gainin g a Bache lor of Divinity from Londo n Unive rsity, a Diplom year the in and, ty Divini of Religi ous Educa tion from Melbo urne Colleg e ell's he came to MLC, a Maste r of Arts from Sydne y Unive rsity. Mr Cornw the Far experi ence had also includ ed three years as superi ntend ent of not held West Mission. Unlike many of his predec essors Mr Cornw ell had prealso would ahead task the of high office in the church ; the magni tude enerwhose of all clude his seekin g it in the future . MLC now had a head, gies could be devote d to servin g its interes ts.



Mrs E. Gardner retired at the end of 1984, afterfifteen years on the staffofKent House, thirteen of them as headmistress.

On the day Mr Cornwell started as principal a new teacher, Mrs Elizabeth Gardner, took up an appointment as a member of the Kent House staff. Two years later, on the resignation of Miss French, who had succeeded Miss Thomas as primary headmistress, Mrs Gardner assumed responsibility for the Kent House section of the school. She remained in that position until her retirement at the end of 1984, when she was succeeded by another teacher on the staff, Miss Dianne Alchin, an MLC old girl. During Mrs Gardner's period as headmistress Kent House would be transformed from a small school of 124 pupils, struggling to maintain its numbers, to a thriving sought-after establishment of over 300, with pupils travelling from as far afield as Cronulla, Penrith and even Bowral. It would see such changes as the introduction of drama, the extension of its music program and the beginning of inter-school sport competitions.

Priorities for the seventies In many ways the early seventies was not a propitious time to undertake a program of expansion and to seek to increase school numbers. As early as 1970 the first signs of a coming economic recession were becoming mani172


endem ic fest: rises in unemp loyme nt and inflati on, which were to becom e quickl y later in the decade , were alread y in eviden ce. The new princi pal plans. future sough t to establi sh priorit ies and to make ns of A survey of the buildi ngs soon made clear that, despit e the additio of a recent years, in many respec ts they were not adequ ate for the needs secschool of MLC's size and standi ng. The genera l ambie nce of whole parin , school ing board the and tions of the school was dark and gloom y ions and ticular , was not up to standa rd. A maste r plan of buildi ng extens modif ication s was, theref ore, drawn up. found The school 's financ es, too, were a cause for conce rn. Mr Cornw ell s had coffer MLC's ard, cupbo rd's to his dismay that, like Mothe r Hubba thing, one For needs. future nothin g in reserv e to cover contin gencie s or ongoi ng fees had been kept artific ially low and, as well, there was no for the n fundra ising progra m. He theref ore initiat ed the so-called 'Desig develo pSeven ties' campa ign which aimed to raise $200 000 for school 1971, early in ed launch being ment. Within two years of the campa ign's the amoun t had been raised . of Durin g the early and middl e sevent ies MLC's financ es, like those unity many other privat e schools, contin ued to cause anxiet y. The comm were people many and ion recess mic as a whole was in the grip of an econo unable simply were , less willing than before - or, if they were willing under was to pay for a privat e educa tion. At the same time the school many pressu re to increa se staff salarie s which , like school fees, had for enrepres the to largely thanks 1974, By years been lower than the norm. e privat in s salarie iation, Assoc tations of the Indep enden t Teach ers' s. school state in rs school s were comm ensura te with those paid to teache by a There was no choice but to increa se fees. They were raised middl e modes t 10 per cent for tuition and 5 per cent for board ing in the adjust of 1973 and by a massive 30 per cent in the follow ing year. Furth er of rate high the for nsate ments were necess ary after that to compe s. salarie rising inflati on and its effects on the school 's costs, partic ularly conMeanw hile, and largely as a result of this, the numbe rs of enrolm ents and by tinued to fall; they had been falling right throug h the sevent ies t modes only were there which 1975 had reache d a low of 699, from 1980s. the in impro vemen ts until the upsurg e that occurr ed durThe level of gover nment fundin g to certain school s also decrea sed and ing the 1970s. State aid, which had not been wante d in the 1950s years which had been accept ed almos t reluct antly in the 1960s, had, ten of its threat the and life later, becom e an establ ished fact of econo mic govLabor m remov al or reduct ion set the alar,m bells ringin g. The Whitla to be ernme nt that came to power In 1972 was genera lly percei ved classifiunfrie ndly in its intent ions toward s afflue nt privat e school s. The of the result a as place took cation of school s accord ing to needs that ble availa grant Karme l Repor t in 1973 resulte d in a drop in the per capita pessiof to MLC and to other school s in a compa rable situati on. A mood Mr mism grippe d the Protes tant privat e school sector , a feeling to which Comtive Execu the ed inform ely Cornw ell gave voice when he sombr mittee in 1974: 173


Whilst I do not express the view to parents or to pupils, I must share with the Executive my real pessimism about the economic viability of independent schools generally.

Such dire forebodings were, to the public eye, belied by developments at MLC that seemed to express a spirit of great optimism. Even while the principal was speaking in such unhappy vein, builders were putting the finishing touches to a new dormitory block for boarders which would be opened with due ceremony less than a month later by the state Minister for Education, the Hon. Eric A. Willis. As well plans were well advanced for substantial modifications to the library. The dormitory block was all the more remarkable an act of faith in the future because it was built at a time when the numbers of boarders were dropping and there was no obvious prospect that the trend would be reversed. On his arrival at the school four years earlier, Mr Cornwell had been disconcerted to find that the boarders were accommodated in conditions more appropriate to a youth hostel than to a progressive educational institution. Their quarters were cramped and unattractive, they had no personal privacy and many of them slept in double bunks. While spartan living might be good for the soul it was not conducive to effective learning or, indeed, to creating a favourable image for the school. The new principal felt that the senior boarders, especially, should be housed in conditions equivalent to those obtaining in a university college. The new accommodation had to wait three years before sufficient money was available and another building project - new science laboratories - had been completed. The building, abutting Tower Wing, comprised nineteen single bedrooms cum studies and one mistress's suite. It was financed mostly from the money donated to the Design for the Seventies campaign, supplemented by $23 000 from the government subsidy for the science laboratories. Its total cost was $181 000. During the 1970s the school, fired by Mr Cornwell's zeal to improve the school's facilities and to create more congenial surroundings, underwent the most extensive building and extension program in its history. For some with long memories it must have stirred reminiscences of the twenties when Mr Potts, under more favourable economic conditions, organised a radical extension of the school's buildings. A new generation of students was to live with the sounds of machines and builders at work and was to experience the excitement of seeing their environment being transformed before their eyes. Despite the cutback in the level in regular government funding, MLC did benefit to some extent from special-purpose grants for new buildings, a fact that angered a highly vocal group in the community who believed that funds were being needlessly diverted to wealthy schools that were well able to finance their own buildings. An organisation called DOGS (Defence of Government Schools) tried to mobilise public opinion against the provision of public money for private school projects. Part of their tactic was to disrupt opening ceremonies and even to 'occupy' temporarily facilities such as swimming pools that they thought had been paid for by 174


Patterns oflight and shade in a corridor in Wade House.

rty. the gover nment and which , in their eyes, were theref ore public prope In fact, gover nment money never financ ed school swimm ing pools. ng No seriou s disrup tion ever marre d the openin g of an MLC buildi the er, minist althou gh the cerem ony on 29 April 1972 at which the prime demon Hon. William McMa hon, opene d Whitle y House did attrac t a few Sutton strator s. The new two-st orey buildi ng, situate d at right-a ngles to new two ised compr rty, prope House near the northe rn end of the school The neath. under oms scienc e labora tories on the upper level and classro rest of scienc e labora tories were financ ed by a comm onwea lth grant; the es, supthe buildi ng was provid ed by the school 's fundra ising activit Dr after block e scienc new a of g pleme nted by a bank loan. The namin of four that meant and Whitle y was, of course , particu larly appro priate its of names the the school 's headm istress es were now comm emora ted in deterbuildin gs. In a curiou sly ironic twist, as the Execu tive Counc il was resher ring prepa was y Whitle Dr 1972 minin g the name on 25 Febru ary later. month ofa short iljust ignatio n; it would be accept ed by the Counc have Howe ver inimical the priorit ies of the Whitla m gover nment may ed provid seeme d to the intere sts of privat e schools, its educa tion progra m s. The a bonan za for school librari es in both public and privat e sector ry catchc tional educa the e becam library as the nerve centre of the school the of order the here and new and better equipp ed librari es were everyw 175


Pupils form a guard of honour for the official party at the opening of Whitley House on 29 April 1972. In front are Mr Cornwell and Dr Whitley. Behind them is Mrs Sonia McMahon, wife of the prime minister, and an old girl of the school.

day. Money for library building and upgrading was often made available to schools that could demonstrate a need for it. By early 1974 MLC plans had been drawn up for an extensive refurbishing of the Wearne Library, and a submission was prepared for government funding. The bureaucratic wheels were slow to turn and it was not until the library extensions were well underway that confirmation of a grant of $24 000 was received. The renovated Wearne Library, with new furniture, a redesigned interior and its size increased by the incorporation of the space at the top of the staircase, was completed by early 1976. A new, modern and well-equipped gymnasium was next on the building agenda. This was to be erected opposite the main school buildings in Park 176


the early 197Os. M r W. K. Thompson teaching in a science laboratory in Whitley House in

ng Road, on the site of Abbey thorpe , the hands ome old Italian ate buildi were Plans en. childr garten kinder that had once house d the prima ry and fate, in in hand for a major fundra ising appeal for the gymna sium when ete compl a the person of a young arsoni st, interv ened and caused reasse ssmen t of all buildi ng plans.

A fire and its afte rma th of In the early hours of the morni ng of 7 Janua ry 1977, just a couple pal month s short of the thirtie th annive rsary of the 1947 fire, the princi were was awake ned by a phone call from the police. The buildi ngs at MLC me aweso the by d greete was on fire! Rushi ng to the scene Mr Cornw ell



Dr Alice Whitley with senior students after the school's farewell ceremony in 1973.

The Old Girls' Union farewells Dr Alice Whitley, 9 March 1973. From left, Dr Whitley, Mrs Mollie Wright, Mrs Joan Harrison (past president) and Mrs Jean Champion (president). 178


view. The devastation ofthe 1977 fire is graphically illustra ted in this aerial

Road sight of large section s of his school near the Rowley Street - Park had corne r in the grip of an infern o. The fire, as it was later discov ered, to pting attem was who youth r-old been delibe rately lit by an eighte en-yea The sets. ion televis some cover his tracks after breaki ng in and stealin g damthree wings in Park Road closest to Rowley Street were extens ively floor of aged, parts of them beyon d repair : Schofi eld Wing and the first t three Centra l Wing were compl etely gutted and Presco tt Wing almos the but ablaze been had too, quarte rs destro yed. The roof of Towe r Wing, 179


fire was extinguished before the flames could spread to the rest of the building. Fortunately, as it was school holiday time, no boarders were on the premises and so the damage was restricted to property. When it was assessed the cost of repairs and replacement was estimated to be over a million dollars. It was also decided that a significant portion of the affected section would have to be demolished: Schofield and Prescott wings and the first floor of Central were all irretrievably lost. More disappointment was to come when advice was received that the assistance to be provided by the Schools' Commission would be assessed at the lowest level - Levell. The lump-sum insurance settlement fell about $50 000 short of the total cost, but the discrepancy was partly made up by an emergency grant of $27 000 from the Schools' Commission that was paid in August 1978. This apparent catastrophe was to make possible a phoenix-like transformation. The immediate havoc and the more long-lasting discomfort and inconvenience caused by the conflagration were eventually more than compensated for by the substantial improvements that the rebuilding program brought to the school. Most of what had been lost was outmoded and dingy; the saddest loss was of the historic and sombrely handsome Schofield Hall. It would, very appropriately, be replaced by a modern chapel - something the school had needed for many years. The need to rebuild provided the ideal opportunity for a reappraisal and revision of the building master plan that had been prepared some years earlier. Priorities were reassessed and it was decided to incorporate into the new buildings the chapel and a drama theatre that could be used both for major dramatic presentations and for the everyday implementation of the drama program that had, with Mr Cornwell's encouragement, become a component of the junior secondary curriculum. The chance was also seized upon to open up the devastated area by the incorporation of a courtyard and lawn into the new buildings and by removing the overbuilt appearance of the Park Road - Rowley Street corner. In the meantime work went ahead on the gymnasium which was completed and opened by the end of 1978, thus providing the school with a much appreciated resource and giving a decided boost to the physical education program. Just under a year later, in October 1979, the chapel was completed and the first service, a school communion service, had been conducted in it. At the end of 1980 the drama theatre, on the site of the former Prescott Wing and standing well back from the Park Road frontage, was at last completed at a cost of $240000. A gathering of over a thousand people packed and overflowed the Assembly Hall on Saturday 21 February 1981 for the official dedication and opening of the new buildings. The solemn dedication, by the moderator of the Uniting Church, the Reverend G. W. Hardy, and the opening, performed by the chairman of the School Council, Mr D. A. Cameron, were relayed on closed circuit television to about two hundred people in the drama theatre and adjoining art and music rooms. In his address, Mr Cameron paid warm tribute to the efforts made by the Old Girls' Union and the Parents' and Friends' Association in raising funds. 180


Libraries setting , Anoth er large gather ing, this time in a shelte red outdo or 1983, assem bled at MLC over three years later, during Book Week inJuly a open MLA, k Muloc R. to witness the state Minist er for Educa tion, Mr practithe and lic new senior library . In a happy juxtap ositio n of the symbo gs, cal, this library was situate d literall y in the centre of the school buildin busine ss a positio n delibe rately chosen to empha sise its centra l role in the buildthe Like areas. other of learni ng and for easies t access to and from known be to was it ing it replac ed, which was to be turned into classro oms, as the Wearn e Librar y. il at The princi pal had presen ted plans for the new library to the Counc , the the end of 1981. Even with its extens ions, compl eted five years earlier the of needs the for cater old Wearn e Librar y was no longer adequ ate to 's school n eightie s and to fulfil all the functi ons requir ed of a large moder and ch resour ce centre . The library , as the heart of the school 's resear the and logy techno its of much of study work, the co-ord inatin g centre and space more d neede als, reposi tory ofaud iovisu al as well as book materi The site a more conge nial atmos phere than the old one could provid e. ed involv chosen for the new library , almos t directl y behin d the old one, ing the loss of some open space and the destru ction of severa l trees, includ the raising by for nsated compe a venera ble jacara nda. This would be ing buildi ng to first-fl oor level, paving the area under neath and provid landsc aped garden s and seating . is now The library , which cost just over a quarte r of a millio n dollars , cts it conne system om interc and the hub of the school . A teleph one inator co-ord isual audiov directl y with the rest of the school and it has an numb er who contro ls the videos being played in individ ual classro oms. A acts as of compu ters are station ed perma nently in the library , which also the centre point of the school 's compu ter netwo rk. . The There are two full-tim e staff memb ers attach ed to the library the both in d worke librari an, Mrs Grant , has been at MLC since 1967 and sible prima ry and senior librari es until 1980 when she becam e respon exclus ively for the senior library . ance In 1980 a prope rty that had for many years been a source of annoy finally was House Kent and frustra tion to the staff and childr en at , stood acquir ed by the school . This large house, at 8 Rowle y Street and betwe en the two buildi ngs that had been constr ucted in 1966 on the effecti vely divide d the site into two parts. The prope rty first came it When ded. conclu was sale marke t in 1973 but was withdr awn before a and 128 $103 again becam e availa ble in 1980, MLC purch ased it for demol immed iately put it to use as the prima ry library . Soon after, it was g secished to make way for a new buildi ng that conne cted the two existin art an as well as library n moder tions of Kent House and provid ed a new, the of part now is room and classro om. Where the origin al house stood Schoo l playgr ound. The compl ex was opene d by the treasu rer of the Counc il, Mr W. G. Budge , in 1981. 181


Park Road properties Three properties in Park Road came into the school's possession during the 1970s. In 1971 the property at 35 Park Road was purchased for a sum of$28 000. Situated at the northern extremity of the Park Road frontage, the house was later refurbished to house the Scripture room and the chaplain's and the careers educator's offices. Five years later the adjacent property at 37-39 Park Road, now surrounded on three sides by school property, was acquired by MLC. This building was later demolished to make room for the new classroom block that was constructed in the wake of the fire. The third property to be purchased during this period was the house and grounds at 24 Park Street, for which negotiations had begun back in the late fifties. This property, too, was razed and its site is now occupied by tennis courts.

The end of a tradition Considerations about the future of the boarding school were brought to a head by the fire and decisions that might well have been postponed for a few more years were forced urgently upon the school's administrators. The possibility that the boarding school might have to be closed had been mooted in 1976 by the principal, who had noted that the boarding population had fallen from a high of 129 in 1970 - as many as could be accommodated - tojust under half that number in 1976. Most ofthese boarders were senior students and about half were from overseas. The country girls, who had always been the mainstays ofthe boarding school and who, in a sense, had provided its raison d'etre, were being kept away by the financial straits into which the rural recession had plunged their families. With most of the boarders' accommodation - including the dining room, restroom, kitchen and a number of dormitories - destroyed or damaged, and with no real prospects of a demand for boarding accommodation, the School Council decided not to rebuild the boarding quarters and to phase out the boarding school by the end of 1979. A more sudden end was at first considered but the principal's argument that commitments to boarders must be honoured won the day. Statistics gathered by Mr Cornwell in 1978 during a study tour in England confirmed the trend away from boarding that was evident in Australia and apparently vindicated the decision that had been taken. A sudden resurgence in the demand for boarding places occurred in 1979 and revived discussion about the boarding school. However, while this renewed demand was recognised it was also understood that it could be met by other schools whose boarding facilities were still intact. At the beginning of 1980 MLC opened its doors to day students only. Passions were roused by the decision to take in no more boarders, especially among old girls in the country who understandably felt that 182

In and Out ofthe Classroom

Clockwise from top left: A study in grace and symmetry: a diver training in the school's 25-metre swimming pool. Girls at work in the computer room. Computer literacy is an increasingly important part ofeducation for a technologically complex society. At work in the language laboratory. The art room is a focus for creativity and in it are produced works ofconsiderable sophistication.

·. .



Clockwise from top left: The gymnasium is a much-appreciated part of the physical education program and MLC School is building up a reputation for excellence in gymnastics. Learning by experiment. A science lesson in 1986. The tuckshop in the senior school, run by the Parents' and Friends' Association, is always well patronised at lunchtime and recess. A cookery class. The Wearne Library, opened in 1983, is central to the school's educational process. With its fine collection of book and non-book materials and as the focal point of the extensive video network, it plays an important role in class, group and individual learning.


aph shows one Boarde rs' accommodation was upgrad ed in the early 1970s. The photogr in 1974. opened block new ofa part were that s ofthe individ ual roomsfo r senior boarder

Meettheir forme r school was betray ing one of its impor tant traditi ons. but tion, resolu ings were organi sed and appeal s were made for a chang e of n the to no avail. In the event, all that the princi pal could do was to explai and the ration ale for the decisio n and to justify it in terms of the statistics observ ed trends . 183


MLC schoolgirls in the mid-19 70s, above and right. Short skirts were the height offashion.

A new name When, during the early 1970s, it became clear that the union. of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches to form the Uniting Church in Australia was imminent, consideration was given to finding an appropriate new name for the school. A plebiscite was conducted among old girls and parents and the overwhelming majority was in favour of retaining the initials MLC. There were legal problems, however, as the name of the large insurance company M.L.C. Limited was already a registered trade name. In order to satisfy the requirements of the Corporate Affairs Commission the word 'School' had to be added to the name to indicate the function of the institution. In June 1977 the Methodist Church was subsumed into the new union and the Methodist Ladies' College, Burwood, became known officially as MLC School, Burwood. 184


Aca dem ic and othe rwis e chief preThe pursui t of academ ic excell ence has always been one of the are nation occup ations of MLC and the results it obtain s in public exami After seen as a tangib le reflect ion of the standa rds the school is achiev ing. some in d resulte which , sixties late a few relativ ely medio cre years in the the staff, ng teachi the soulse archin g to find the causes and a close look at today until t results throug hout the sevent ies showe d a steady impro vemen 185


The courtyard outside the drama theatre and art block is sometimes usedfor outdoor dramatic productions.

MLC is consistently among the leading schools in terms of examination results. In 1983, for example, the principal was able to exult that 'the Higher School Certificate year of 1982 did us proud' and to go on to enumerate the 'glories' that were achieved, with six candidates being placed in the top 1 per cent in the state, 40 per cent ofMLC's candidates in the top quarter and 80 per cent in the top half. School Certificate results were similarly satisfactory. This standard was maintained in the following year and in 1984 was even surpassed: of eighty-eight candidates who sat for the Higher School Certificate examination, all but twelve were in the top half, and twenty-two were in the top 5 per cent and gained aggregate scores of 186


Inside the drama theatre.

whose over four hundr ed. These results from a school which is not, and are ve selecti e, princi pal is consci entiou sly determ ined will not becom impres sive indeed . assessBut academ ic results , while they are a handy criteri on for public pal princi The . school a of ence ment, are not the ultima te test of the excell purthe that phere states his distast e for the cut-th roat compe titive atmos of edusuit of them at all costs can engen der. It is the range and quality foster in cation al experi ences that a school can offer and the values it can t of itmen comm and skill the this In its studen ts that determ ine its worth . the of Much vital. are the teachi ng staff and the conten t of the curric ulum deputy the admin istrati on and superv ision of these areas is under taken by ents. princi pal, Mrs Meywes, and the heads of indivi dual subjec t deparm 187


Mrs Meywes was appointed head of history in 1974 and deputy principal in 1975 on the resignation of Dr Ruth Shatford. She combines her administrative tasks with a caring pastoral concern. Mr Cornwell sees his most vital task as the selection of staff and his most important skill as the ability to make a shrewd assessment of a prospective teacher's capacity, not only to teach a subject, but to present the right kind of role model. A personal commitment to Christian values is, he says, essential. MLC seeks to offer its students a rich and varied curriculum. There is a conscious effort not to foist upon the students the preference that girls' schools have traditionally shown for the arts and humanities over technology and science, an effort that is reflected in the fact that the HSC results tend, though very slightly, to favour the maths - science side of the curriculum. Computer education is given a high priority, both in the primary and senior schools. From the single Apple that was purchased in 1978 the school's stock of computers has risen to thirty, twelve of which are in the primary school at Kent House. According to the principal, the school's computer education program is based on the assumption that in the near future there will be a computer in every home; special emphasis is, therefore, placed on it in the primary years where it is used, among other things, to teach typing skills. The extensive use of computers at Kent House drew favourable media attention in 1982 when it was featured on a popular current affairs program on commercial television. In the secondary school computer studies is taken as a subject for the School Certificate, and in 1984 a computer club, the initiative of a group of student devotees, began to hold regular meetings. The principal's strong personal advocacy of the arts is certainly mirrored in the importance these assume both in the official curriculum and in the extra-curricular activities undertaken at the school. Music and drama, in particular, are very much at the centre of school life and every year they combine when the senior school presents its musical play in the drama theatre. In 1985 the musical Annie was performed with the school orchestra providing the accompaniment and with most of the props and scenery being the work of student artists and craftspeople. Shakespeare Day continues to be a part of the calendar, inspiring contributions from all levels of the secondary school and every year a major production of a 'straight' dramatic play is staged as part of the drama program. Despite the energy, enthusiasm and often genuine theatrical talent that goes into these dramatic presentations they are occasionally beset by the mishaps and misfortunes, both human and mechanical, that are so essential a part of theatrical folklore. According to the account in Excelsior, the 1984 production of Toad of Toad Hall was hilariously marred by 'falling down trapdoors in the stage, backdrops falling on heads and numerous cases of tonsilitis and laryngitis'. Much of this drama activity stems directly from the regul.ar tuition in all aspects of drama that has formed part of the curriculum for all junior secondary classes since the early 1970s. 188


by Mrs A drama traditi on is now well establ ished at Kent House . Begun drama the gs, meetin ime Gardn er in the late 1970s with a series of luncht chilthe to d group attrac ted so much enthus iasm that it had to be limite which dren from Years 5 and 6. They prepa re plays and drama tic scenes they presen t to an apprec iative audien ce at an annua l play night. music Music 's impor tance to MLC can be gauge d by the size of its n sixtee to ten from sed depart ment, which betwe en 1974 and 1985 increa ies sevent memb ers, to make it the larges t depar tment in the school . The menta l and eightie s have seen a great develo pment in the status of instru tra and orches senior the of size the in music and a corres pondi ng increa se tra orches the to ons additi in the range of music it can perfor m. Signif icant in n sectio string in recent years includ ed the introd uction of violas to the Friend s' 1983 and of brass instru ments - a gift from the Paren ts' and full symAssoc iation - in 1984. All that are now neede d for it to assum e group , ind woodw large a well phoni c propo rtions are double basses. As regums perfor and compr ising more than fifty player s, has been forme d g makin larly at Speec h Nights and other musica l functio ns. Group music tra, also featur es strong ly in the prima ry school which has its own orches choir. junior the as well as forme d in 1983, and record er group e Musical events in the school calend ar are many and varied and includ two of debut two specia l musica l evenin gs inJuly , which in 1984 saw the as the new group s - the junior and senior string ensem bles - as well Sydne y school 's own intern al eisted dfod. The annua l Speec h Night at the . pupilS the of talents l Town Hall, too, gives promi nence to the musica well as g playin The greate r conce ntratio n on orches tral and ensem ble dual as choral work resulte d in a smalle r empha sis being placed on indivi they are music exam results during the sevent ies and eightie s. Altho ugh over place of pride take longer still faithfu lly report ed, they certain ly no persolo s, theles Never . other academ ic achiev ement s on Speec h Nights ts, studen forma nce is strong ly encou raged and a high propo rtion of MLC tuition both in the prima ry and second ary section s, still receiv e one-to -one s. nation exami priate and are presen ted for the appro nence Speec h and debati ng are two other areas that have risen to promi er numb a in part and in which MLC has been successful. MLC girls take highly of debati ng and other public speaki ng compe titions , includ ing the the Law innova tive and entert aining Mock Trial compe tition organi sed by 132 in pupils of rs numbe Societ y of New South Wales. As well, large elves thems t presen 1984 - take privat e lessons in speech and drama and unicat ion for exami nation s with either the Austra lian Speec h and Comm Assoc iation or the Trinit y Colleg e.

Reli giou s edu cati on endin g With the introd uction of the single -contr ol system in 1973 and the therewho er minist ed ordain of the requir ement that the princi pal be an and tion educa us fore autom aticall y assum ed respon sibility for the religio The d. spiritu al guidan ce of the pupils , the positio n of chapla in was create 189


first chaplain, the Reverend John Hill, came to the school in 1973 and spent the last eight years of his ministry in the position. His kindliness and fatherly nature endeared him to the students of the seventies. He was succeeded in 1980 by Mrs Norma Brown who left in 1982 to pursue her studies for the ministry. The present chaplain, the Reverend Bob Wyndham, was appointed in 1983 and shares with the principal the task of teaching Scripture. The chaplain also attends to the religious needs of the primary children and teaches Scripture to Years 5 and 6, as well as taking primary assembly once a week. It is the policy of the school that all staff members have a responsibility for spiritual guidance and pastoral care, and specific areas in which students may encounter emotional or moral difficulties are often the subject of formal staff discussions. The Student Christian Movement, the voluntary religious organisation which, starting life as the Christian Union, had for decades been part of extra-curricular life at MLC, finally ceased to exist in the school in 1972. The principal attributed its demise partly to the very openness of the organisation and its willingness to allow membership to girls whose religious commitment was half-hearted. Its purpose had become illdefined and its direction nebulous. He reported to the Council that he was considering allowing the Crusaders, another, and very well organised, religious group to establish itself at MLC to fill the gap left by the defunct SCM. He had some misgivings, however, about this group's reactionary nature. In 1974 a branch of Crusaders was established at MLC with weekly prayer and song meetings as well as discussions and guest speakers. Because, perhaps, of its evangelical flavour it has never achieved the popularity its predecessor enjoyed in its heyday, although it continues to exist and to attract small groups to its meetings. In the early 1980s Mrs Gardner introduced the Crusaders into Years 5 and 6 of the primary school, where it has been received with considerable enthusiasm.

Sport The last fifteen years have seen some change of emphasis in MLC's sporting activities and the birth of some new traditions. The main agent of change has been the gymnasium, which opened in 1978 and, as the head of the Physical Education department, Mrs P. Gorman, put it, has been to the eighties what the swimming pool was to the sixties. In the last seven years much of the school's sport and physical education activities have centred around this spacious and well-equipped building where not only conventional gymnastic skills but also aerobics and various styles of group dances are taught. Each of the primary classes from Kent House comes to the gym once a week for a physical education lesson. ot surprisingly, 190

The School Assembled

The school population in the centenary year, 1986.

Clockwise from top left: A school assembly in the Potts Assembly Hall. Worship in the chapel. Rebuilt upon the site of the Schofield Hall after thefire of 1977, the chapel has a special role as a place ofquiet prayer and contemplation. Mrs Schofield's collection of trowels can be seen in the background. The staffin 1986 photographed in the drama theatre.


ental accompaniThe cast ofAnnie, the school's musica l produc tion in 1985. The instrum a. orchestr school the by d provide was ment

titive then, gymna stics has becom e the school 's most successful compe sport in recent years. well as Gymn astics, with its uniqu e capaci ty to develo p bodily fitness as ipants grace and poise and to provid e aesthe tic satisfa ction for both partic . decade last the over rity popula and specta tors, has grown enorm ously in MLC rated. inaugu In 1980 an All Schoo ls' gymna stics compe tition was positio n has partic ipated in this every year, and gradua lly impro ved its that peruntil in 1983 it was placed third. The follow ing year it repeat ed out of place first gained it tion, forma nce and in 1985, amids t great jubila sevent een schools. chool Anoth er sport in which MLC has enjoye d some success in inter-s as a compe tition is cricke t, which was introd uced in the last term of 1970 Wales summ er sport. In 1971 and again in 1972 MLC won the New South 1985, and 1984 in ly, recent Schoo lgirls' Cricke t Comp etition and more 191


the junior team have been premiers in their division. 1970 also saw the introduction of softball as a competitive sport and it is still played enthusiastically by girls in all years. As well as their weekly gym lesson, primary girls have an opportunity to participate in competitive sport. In the late 1970s they began to participate in inter-school athletics and swimming carnivals and in 1984 interschool netball was introduced at the primary level. In general, however, MLC's successes in inter-school competitions have during the last fifteen years been less spectacular than in the past and it has not retained the prowess it once enjoyed in athletics, swimming and tennis. This trend may well reflect an emphasis, supported by the principal, on sport as a healthy social and recreational activity rather than a competition to be won at all costs. Success is striven for and enjoyed when it is achieved but is not the main justification for participating. The policy, too, of not employing professional coaches has also contributed to a more relaxed approach to sport.

Towards the future At the end of 1985 the principal was able to express satisfaction with the present state of affairs at MLC School and to look forward with a confidence utterly devoid of smugness to a happy and successful future for the school. With a total enrolment ofjust over a thousand pupils, a little more than a quarter of whom are in the primary years, the school has reached what the principal considers an ideal size - large enough to be economically viable but still able to cater to individual needs and to engender in its members a sense of community. With thirty different national or racial groups represented in its population - a dramatic contrast to the sixties when it was overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon - it now accurately mirrors the multiracial nature of Australian society and affords its students a rich variety of social and cultural experience. With five places in Year 11 reserved for overseas students, most of whom come from Southeast Asia, and with a number of its own students every year going abroad as exchange students, it allows its senior girls to grow into early adulthood with a breadth of outlook and understanding that transcends parochial narrowness. It is, too, on a crest of academic success and public approval. What the second century, or even the near future, will bring is impossible to tell. Clearly there will be developments in society that will impose pressures for change; the administration is and should remain flexible enough to respond to these while keeping the school's Christian ideals firmly intact. There will be technological advances that will demand new methods and equipment; an innovative teaching staff and a sustained level of material prosperity should allow MLC to cope with these challenges. The present emphasis, strongly espoused by the principal and staff, on problem-solving as a means oflearning in all subject areas should prepare its students to deal with difficult life situations and unfamiliar subject mat192


A n aerial view ofMLC School Burwood. The area outlined with the dotted line is the site for the projected centenary music school.

ter. The importance of the creative and performance arts in the curriculum should prepare students to use productively the increased leisure time that most observers of social trends think will be available to them. To cater for the new roles that women are adopting in the working world, the principal envisages the introduction of some new courses within the next few years. Girls, as much as boys, need to learn to think technologically, and to help achieve this Mr Cornwell would like to introduce technical drawing as a subject in the senior school and to incorporate 193


more solid geometry, especially at the conceptual level, into mathematics studies. Other areas, such as art, that involve some mechanical work can also aid the development of a greater technical awareness. Plans for the immediate future are clearly formulated: in 1986 MLC School will celebrate, in a series of solemn ceremonies and festive occasions, its centenary. On Friday 31 January, the first possible date after the official anniversary ( 27 January) of the school's opening, there will be a special opening school service at which the induction of prefects will take place. A number of tapestries, donated by the Old Girls' Union and based on works by Marc Chagall in the Jerusalem Medical Centre as well as a superb new stained glass window designed and crafted for the chapel by Alison Gatt, an old girl, will be dedicated at this service. In March there will be a series of garden parties for different age-groups of old girls and at the beginning of April, the first of a number of son et lumiere presentations of the history of the school will be featured at an Old Girls' Back to College dinner. Also in April will be the centenary ball with debutantes from Year 11 and in June a centenary concert in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House will feature the 'best of old girls' and present girls' music'. In August there will be three performances in the drama theatre of Shakespeare's The Tempest and in October the centenary thanksgiving service will be conducted by the president of the Uniting Church Assembly. The governor-general, Sir Ninian Stephen, will be the guest of honour at the centenary Speech Night in December. OnJuly 14 a special centenary visitor will arrive for a three-week visit. MissJoanJefferson, headmistress of Hunmanby Hall School in Yorkshire and a leading Christian educator, will have a series of meetings and discussions with staff and students and, on July 30, will deliver a centenary lecture on the theme of Christian education. In what will probably be the last extension of the school's property, a new music school will be built on a large block on the corner of Grantham and Rowley streets, directly opposite the Assembly Hall. The handsome two-storey structure, designed to resemble a long-fronted cottage and to blend with the buildings in the rest of the street, will contain classrooms, studios for one-to-one lessons, an auditorium for recital work and a multikeyboard laboratory. When it is completed in about October 1986 it will give a great stimulus to what is already one of the school's greatest strengths and, when the excitement has subsided and the more transitory celebrations are only dim memories, will survive as a permanent and eminently practical memorial to a great school's first hundred years.

MLC School's musical tradition is a continuing source ofpride.





Appendix I Principals 1886-1899 1900-1914 1915-1922 1922-1933 1933-1939 1940-1947 1948-1959 1960-1964 1965-1969 1970-

Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev.

C. J. Prescott E. J. Rodd L. H. Kelynack T. F. Potts H. C. Foreman W. Deane R. B. Lew W. D. O'Reilly E. A. Bennett K. J. Cornwell

Appendix II Headmistresses 1886-1887 1887-1909 1909-1912 1912-1940 1941-1959 1960-1972

Miss E. Shiels Miss M. F. Wearne Miss J. Hetherington Miss M. H. Sutton Dr G. Wade Dr A. Whitley



Appendix III School Captains Note: The names of school captains up to and including 1936 are taken from the list of 'senior prefects' published in Jubilee Souvenir, 1886-1936. Diana Swan 1953 E. Thomas 1918 Patricia Bennett 1954 P. Anderson 1919 Helen Whitehouse 1955 M. Hardie 1920 Mee-Na Young-Lee 1956 B. Bingle 1921 Carey Ross 1957 A. McFadyen 1922 Margot Macdonald 1958 G. Thomas 1923 Wendy Pye 1959 R. Heighway 1924 Helen Haffenden 1960 H. Newton 1925 Elizabeth Fullerton 1961 M.Gale 1926 Elizabeth Seale 1962 M. Gale 1927 Suzanne Everingham 1963 1. Blessing 1928 Judith Rumbold 1964 O. Cotton 1929 Susan Sanders 1965 L. Hardie 1930 o prefects appointed 1966 L. Hardie 1931 Heather Dodsworth 1967 D. Roseby 1932 Lois Colditz 1968 G. Potter 1933 Paula Goesch 1969 R. Burton 1934 Sally Ash 1970 J. Utber 1935 Judith Woolley 1971 J. Beck 1936 Judith Alexander 1972 C. Newman 1937 Lynne Guthridge 1973 Pat Gluyas 1938 Lynne Cameron 1974 Catherine Morley 1939 Sandra McEwen 1975 June Oberg 1940 Sue Robey 1976 Margaret Kebby 1941 Helen Osborne 1977 Helen Morley 1942 Jane Broderick 1978 Mary Wright 1943 1979 Sonya Taberner Marie Adams 1944 1980 Hilary Webber Phyllis Jones 1945 1981 Rosemary Balleine Margaret Gifford 1946 Anne Gripper 1982 Pamela Corbett 1947 1983 Amanda Durham Dorothy Cull 1948 1984 Kristi Jones Ann Bagnall 1949 1985 Stephanie Robinson Catherine Hargreaves 1950 1986 Yvonne Kostopoulos Lois Walker 1951 Phyllis Ward 1952



Appendix IV Dux of College 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

C. G. Williams M. F. Arnott A. E. Wearne L. M. Peberdy W. Hall M. E. Johnston A.Rodd A.E.Channon E.L. Channon S. M. Hebblewhite S. H. O'Reilly E. A. Holloway A. Carruthers 1. V. Peberdy A. F. Dash M. B. Vickery A. Price C. S. Dash K. M. Prescott S.]. Vickery F. M. Brett B. D. Vickery O. K. O'Reilly 1. Holloway G. Tomlinson 1. Terry J. Bullen

1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926

J. Angelinetta J. Cookson L. Row B. Caldwell P. Anderson M. Hardie J. Carter E. Shorter P. Day G. Thomas ]. Crawford J. Bowden L. Carter

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965


A. Marks V. Piper M. Bode A. Whitley D. Roseby ]. Sibree T. Herring B. Basnett S. Bensley B. Cunynghame E. Woolnough L. Hean P. Champion M. Churchward V.Wilk W. Scales D. Line M. Alexander P. Unger A. Sykes J. Ridley M. Merrick P. Hextall J. Bryce J. Harrison U. Oates P. Ward (aeq.) R.Benn D. Hodgson (aeq.) ]. Britton A. Turtle S. Vautin A. Binns R. Cooper G. Cummins A. Dennis C. Vickery M. Robertson R. Callander J. Brady C. Lee


1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977

1978 1979 1980 1981

No award (transi tion year) A. Barton B. Penma n R. Krone nberg M. Denny R. Stanto n S. Wilkin s G. Ross S. Udall J. Grant P. Martin E.Pay ne

1982 1983 1984 1985


P. Abbot t C.Tam H. Webb er R. Ballei ne J. Donal d S. Mei Hui (aeq.) C. Ross N. Benne tt F. Macki e (aeq.) S. Hills C. Hughe s (aeq.) L. S. Wong


Appendix V Milestones in Our History 1886

1891 1892 1896 1899

1900 1907 1909 1912 1914

1919 1922


Wesleyan Ladies' College, Burwood, was opened with ten pupils. President and headmaster was Rev C. J. Prescott. Lady principal was Miss E. Shiels. School colours were chosen: two bands of dark blue (for love of Oxford) with light blue inserted (for love of Cambridge). School crest was chosen: the Book of Learning and the Star of Knowledge on the Cross of Saint George. School motto was chosen: a text from Vulgate, meaning, 'Walk as daughters of the Light'. Speech Day (enrolment now 54) was held in Burwood School of Arts. The kindergarten, a special room with all appliances and wide verandah, was erected on Rowley Street side. Schofield Hall was erected as dining room for boarders with sum of£2000 given by Mrs Schofield. The first hatbands were made, but not worn at all. The name of the school was changed to Burwood Ladies' College (B.L.C.). Miss M. F. Wearne, MA was appointed headmistress after being already twelve years on the staff. Dr Prescott left to be 'Head' of Newington College. Rev E. J. Rodd was appointed principal. Additions to buildings were made: nine bedrooms, two bathrooms, two classrooms. Miss Wearne retired, and was succeeded by MissJ. Hetherington, MA, until 1912. MissM. H. Sutton,BA, an 'Old Girl', and for two years a member of the staff, was appointed headmistress. The name ofthe school was changed to Methodist Ladies' College (M.L.C.). Rev E. J. Rodd retired and was succeeded by Rev L. H. Kelynack, BA, as principal. School buildings were enlarged. Two towers were added to the Schofield Wing. Rev T. F. Potts succeeded Rev L. H. Kelynack as principal. Abbeythorpe was purchased for aJunior School. The playing fields were extended. New classrooms and bedrooms were built. The kindergarten building was demolished to make room for new Assembly Block, with hall above and gymnasium and classrooms below. 200


1933 1935 1936 1940 1941 1947 1948 1950 1954 1957 1960 1961 1965 1967 1970 1972 1974 1977

1978 1979 1981 1983 1986

The hall becam e known as the Potts Assem bly Hall after the death of Rev T. F. Potts. Rev H. C. Forem an was appoin ted princi pal. Miss Sutton was honou red as 'Mem ber of the British Empir e'. Cartre ff was purch ased to provid e additi onal classro oms, and was renam ed Sutton House . The colleg e celebr ated its fiftieth birthd ay. Rev W. Deane succee ded Rev Forem an as princi pal. Dr G. Wade becam e headm istress after Miss Sutto n's retirem ent. Fire in junior dormi tory and classro om. Rev R. B. Lew becam e princi pal. Prima ry school locate d at Gordo n and Rowley streets . 50th annive rsary of the O.G.U . Swimm ing pool opene d. Rev W. D. O'Reil ly was appoin ted princi pal. Dr A. Whitle y succee ded Dr Wade as headm istress . Wade House opene d. Home scienc e rooms built. Rev E. A. Benne tt came as princi pal. Kent House opene d. Additi onal scienc e blocks built. Rev K. J. Cornw ell succee ded Rev Benne tt. The Counc il amalg amate d the positio ns of princi pal and headm istress and Rev K. J. Cornw ell was appoin ted to this post. Scienc e Block opene d. Senio r board ing accom modat ion and staff rooms added . Fire destro yed the board ing area, dining room, offices and classro oms. Unitin g Churc h of Austra lia was forme d and the school becam e MLC Schoo l Burwo od. Gymn asium . Board ing house closed. Chape l, art and music studio s and drama theatr e. Home econo mics and textile s rooms . Extens ions to Kent House . New Wearn e Librar y. Cente nary year when MLC has becom e a school that has the best of curren t educa tion blend ed with the best of the past, where studen ts are part of a caring comm unity and encou raged to achiev e their highes t goals.


Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank the following whose assistance in the preparation of this book has been much appreciated: Mrs Ena Harper for her meticulous and wide-ranging research; Mrs Nancy Donald, Mrs J. Loy and members of the Publications Committee for their comments and advice on the manuscript; the Reverend Peter Swain whose book on Charles Prescott proved a most useful source; the Reverend K.J. Cornwell for the information and advice he so readily gave; Mr Adrian Clayton who organised the production and publication of the book; Mrs J. Grant who provided access to and assistance with the school archives and photographs. Most of the photographs used in this book came from the school's archival collection. For obtaining additional photographs the authors are grateful for the efforts of Mrs Carole Jane. For the provision of these photographs acknowledgment is made to ewington College Stanmore, MissJ. Foreman, Miss V. Deane, Miss H. Lew, the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and the NSW Government Printing Office. Acknowledgment is also made to the many other people, too numerous to mention here, whose contributions - of information, assistance and advice - have made possible the production of this history.


Index umbers in italics refer to captions to illustrations.

Abbeythorpe 97,98,99,100,130,153, 177 Adams, Marie 139 Alchin, Miss Dianne 172 All Schools' Sports 96, 98, 114, 140, 166 Anderson, Mr J.O. 97 Annie 188, 191 Assembly Hall 100, 101, 104, 108, 116, 116, 133, 146, 151, 159, 180, 194 Athletics 37,48, 49, 66, 98, 140, 166, 192 Australian Wesleyan Conference 4

Chapel 180 Choirs 92, 110, 138, 146 Christian Union 44, 45, 62, 95, 112, 146, 190 Churunga 125, 126 Computer Club 188 Computer education 188 Corben, Beris 131 Cornwell, Reverend K.J. 168, 169,170, 171,173,176,177,180,188,193 Cornwell, Mrs Pamela 170, 171, 171 Crapp, Lorraine 153, 154, 165, 166 Cricket 22, 166, 191 Crusaders 190

Badge 14 Barr, Marjorie 68 Basketball 37, 47, 47, 48, 48,65, 65, 97, 166 Bathis, Miss 127 Bennett, Mrs 127 Bennett, Reverend E.A. 158, 158, 161 Bennett, Reverend Leslie E. 112 Blaxland, John 3, 4 Boarders 19,20,38,44,50,63,69,82, 83, 83,84, 85, 88,93, 99, 121,124, 128,129, 132,144,146,174,182,183 Booralee 125, 126 Bowden, Thomas 3 Brett, Mrs Eirene 154 Brett, Frances Mabel 54, 68 Bright, John 52 Brown, Mrs Norma 190 Bryce, Miss 140 Budge, Mr W.G. 181 Bulteau, Monsieur 17 Burwood 6, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 162 Burwood Ladies' College 25, 29, 31, 33, 38, 40, 42, 54, 74 Burwood Methodist Church 82, 126, 146

Davis, Larne 144 145 Deane, Mrs 121' Deane, Reverend W. 77, 112, 119, 120, 120, 121, 126, 130, 132, 135, 136 Deasey, Joan 148 Debating Society 94, 138 Deer, Miss 142 Dempster Shield 92, 110, 138 Dening, Kaye 166 Denning, Miss Joyce 90, 130 Depression 101, 102, 103, 105 Design for the Seventies 173 174 Diamond Jubilee 119, 133 iJ3 134 136 ' , , DOGS (Defence of Government Schools) 174 Donkin, Monica 148 Douglas, Miss 14,17 Drama Theatre 180,186,187, 188,194 Dramatic Club 111 Dramatic societies 138 Dual control 74,75,76 121 136 167 169 ' , , , Empire Day 45 Ennor, Sir Hugh 160, 161,161 Evans, Mr Lindley 90, 91, 92, 118, 138 Evans, Lottie 47, 48 Exce&ior 23,25,32,40,43,44,60,62 65,66,69, 74,84,84,86,90,92,95: 100,102,102,107,109,110,111,112, 115, 125, 126,127, 129, 131, 138, 140, 143, 144, 144, 145, 145, 146, 148, 150, 154, 155, 160, 166, 188

Camera Club 63, 94 Cameron, Mr D.A. 180 Centenary 194 Central Methodist Mission 104, 106 Central Wing 116,179,180 Champion, Mrs Jean 178 Channon, Madge 64



Excursions 43,50, 74, 84, 91, 111, 121 Executive Committee 77, 123, 126, 128, 130, 136, 146, 173 Executive Council 150, 159, 175

Independent Teachers' Association 173 Influenza 60, 61, 62, 67 Intermediate Certificate 32, 59, 61, 90, 137,138 International Club 112

Fairey, Miss 14 Federation 31, 32 Finance and Advisory Committee 69, 75, 76, 77, 86, 100 Fire, 1947 119, 134, 150, Fire, 1977 177, 179,179 Fletcher, Reverend J.H. 8, 11 Foreman, Reverend H.C. 77,106,106, 112,116,117,119 Foreman, Miss Joyce 106, 138 Foreman, Miss Lorna 112, 138 Forster, Miss Bessie 94 Foster, Miss 14 French, Miss 172 French Club 94

Jefferson, Miss Joan 194 Joyce, H. 127 Jubilee Souvenir 19, 34, 42, 52, 107, 118 Junior school see Primary school Junior university examinations 16,32, 38, 40, 42 Karmel Report 173 Kelynack, Mrs 55, 57 Kelynack, Reverend L.H. 55,56,56,57, 61,65, 67, 70, 75, 76 Kelynack, Nancy 55, 66 Kelynack, Phyllis 55, 66 Kent House 5,8,28,29,151,161,162, 172, 181, 188, 189, 190 Kindergarten 22, 23, 44, 51, 53, 97, 99,107,110,121, 130,132,159,162 Knibbs-Turner Report 32 Knight, Miss 42, 48 Koo, Dr T.Z. 112

Galbraith, Angela 68 Gardner, Mrs Elizabeth 172, 172, 189, 190 Gatt, Alison 194 General Wesleyan Missionary Committee 3 Gifford, Margaret 134 Girl Guides 94, 112 Golden Jubilee 117,117, 118 Gorman, Mrs P. 190 Grady, Miss 22, 23 Grainger, Myra 39 Grant, Mrs J. 181 Green, Lola 102 Guthrie, Mr Don 166 Gymnasium 20,37,100,176,180,190 Gymnastics 20, 191

Ladies academies 2 Ladies' Advance Committee 68 Lambert, Miss 130 Lansdowne House 8 Law, Miss Dorothy 90,106,111,112, 137, 137 Leaving Certificate 32,61,62,90,108, 109, 137, 138, 157 Leawarra 125, 126 Lees, John 3 Leigh, Reverend Samuel 3 Lester, Miss 5, 8 Lew, Reverend R.B. 146,147,117, 149, 155, 156 Lew, Mrs Sylvia 146 Library 95, 96, 134, 119, 150, 174, 176, 181 Lucas, Ida 52

Hannam, Miss Elsie 112 Harrison, Mrs Joan 178 Hay, Miss 138 Hean, Lorna 109 Herring, Thelma 109 Hetherington, Miss]. 41, 11,48,51,73 Higher School Certificate 157,186,188 Hill, Miss Ethel 90, 136, 137 Hill, Reverend John 190 Hockey 48, 19, 64, 65, 67, 97, 114, 140, 166 Holloway, Birdie 52, 74 Holloway, D. 48 Hordern, Doris 13 House colours 126 House system 123 Hudson, Dorothy 68

McKibbin, Rachel 74 McMahon, Mrs Sonia 176 McMahon, Hon. William 175 Maguire, Joan 113 Maldon, Miss 92 Manton, Reverend John 4 Masefield, John 91, 92 Maybury, Miss 19 Methodism 3, 4



Method ist Confer ence of New South Wales 88, 106, 136, 148, 171 Method ist Ladies' College 58, 61, 81, 84, 86, 88, 89, 101, 105, 114, 117, 119, 120, 133, 140, 141 Metho dist Ladies ' Colleg e, Burwoo d 56, 184 Method ist Ladies College, Kew 4,9,68 Meywe s, Mrs 187, 188 Mitche ll, Miss 130 MLC School Burwoo d 184, 193 Mooram oora 125, 126 Moore, Joyce 114 14,21, 22,55 Morley , Mr Frederi ck Morrow , Stella 48 Motto 14, 126 Muller, Mrs 130 Mulock , Mr R. 181 Music 15, 17, 18, 19, 36, 61, 90, 110, 138, 146, 188, 189 Music school 193, 194 Nardin , Miss Sibyl 150 Netball 97, 114, 140, 192 New educati on 32 Newing ton College 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 28, 34,35 ,38,38 ,55,58 ,68,11 1,171 Newing ton House 3, 4 New South Wales Depart ment of Educat ion 32, 33, 42, 61 Metho dist Wales South New Confer ence see Metho dist Confer ence of New South Wales

Potts, Revere nd T.F. 76, 77,82, 83,86, 8~ 88,89, 92,98, 101, 10~ 104,10 5, 174 Potts, Miss Thecla 88 Prefects 59,62, 82,112 ,113,1 39,142 , 146 Colleg e, Ladies ' Presby terian 162 5,112, 6,47,6 Croydo n 8,21,2 e, Colleg ' Ladies terian Presby Melbou rne 4 Prescot t, Anne Elizabe th 1,12,1 3, 19, 29 Prescot t, Arnold 13 Prescot t, Revere nd C.J. x 1 6 8 11 12,13, 14,15, 16,16, /8, i9,'20', 21: 22, 24, 2~ 27,28, 29, 2~ 30,34, 35, 37,38, 52, 133 Prescot t, Kittie 22,35, 38, 38,47, 47, 49, 65, 68 Prescot t Wing 116,11 6, 134, 179, 180 Primary School 99,151 ,158,16 1, 162, 172,18 1,188, 189,19 0 Public Instruc tion Act, 1880 2, 3, 4 Purdie, Miss 163 Qualify ing Certific ate


Radio 86 Readin g Club 40, 44, 45 Religio us educati on 20, 121, 146, 189 Report of the Comm issione rs on Second ary Educat ion, 1904 32 Rodd, Mrs 34, 50 Rodd, Annie 35 Rodd, Clara 52 Rodd, Revere nd E.J. 30,33, 34,34, 35, 38,45, 50, 51, 52, 55 Rothwe ll, Tot 64 Rounde rs 22 Rowing 22, 48 Rowley , Thoma s 9

Oakbu rn College , Launce ston 4 Old Girls' Union 38,52, 53,66, 67,89, 95,100 ,118,1 32,134 ,136,1 50,151 , 153, 157, 171, 178, 180, 194 Orches tra 92, 110, 138, 138, 189, 191 O'Reill y, Olive 68, 157 O'Reill y, Susie 52, 54, 68, 74, 157 O'Reill y, Revere nd W.D. 156,157 , 157, 159,17 0

St Cather ine's, Waverl ey 4 Scheer, Miss 22, 23 Schofield, Mrs 25, 26, 27 Schofield, Revere nd W. 26 Schofield Hall 26, 27, 44, 55, 93, 100, 133, 133, 134, 180 Schofield Wing 28, 29, 34, 85, 179, 180 School Certific ate 156, 162, 186, 188 School colours 14 School song 91, 92 Science laborat ories 99, 99, 146, 134, 150, 160, 161, 174, 175, 177

Parents ' and Friends ' Associa tion 98, 115, 132, 134, 136, 151, 153, 154, 171, 180, 189 Parker, Lilian 52 Patters on, Sylvia 114 138 Pen Friends Club Peter, Miss 130 Play day 92,93, 110 Potts, Mrs 103 Potts, Miss Ellie 88



Senior university examinations 32,38, 42 Shakespeare Day 188 Shatford, Dr Ruth 188 Shiels, Miss E. 1,12,14,17,24,30 Shubray Hall 8 Simmons, Mrs 14 Somerville, Mr J.A. 105 Starling, Ruby 68 Stead, Mrs 68 Student Christian Movement 146, 190 Sutton House 116,135,148,149,149, 159, 175 Sutton, Miss Mabel 41,42,57,59,60, 61,62,67,68,69,72,73,74,75,76, 77,77,78,79,79,80,82,84,89,90, 92, 105, 107, 108, 109, 117, 119, 133,134, 156 Swimming 64,65,97,114,139,153, 154, 165, 166, 192 Swimming pool 98, 136, 139, 153,154, 166 Sydney University 3, 16,42, 74, 120, 156, 171 Talbot, Mr Don 166 Tennis 14,20,21,21, 44,46,46,47, 64, 65, 88, 97, 114, 140, 166, 182 Thomas, Miss Lulu 90,127,155,172 Thomas, Margaret 155 Thompson, Mr W.K. 177 Thomson, Miss 14 Tildesley Shield 114, 140, 166, 167 Tower Bridge 116 Tower Wing 69, 70, 70, 85, 100, 116, 128, 134, 174, 179 Trevitt, Jess 63 Tuckshop 100

Uniform 18, 62, 63, 82, 115, 145 Uniting Church in Australia 184 University of Sydney 55 Vickery, Miss Lilian


Wade, Dr Gladys 77, 120, 122, 123, 123, 126, 128, 135, 136, 138, 146, 154, 155, 156 Wade House 159,159, 160, 175 Waterhouse, Mr 52 Waterhouse, Mrs C.J. 52 Wearne Library see Library Wearne, Miss Amy 16, 19,20,42,47, 47, 49 Wearne, Miss Minnie 24, 25, 29, 29, 30,35, 36, 3~ 37,38,40,41,42,45, 49, 51, 150 Weir, Mrs Liska 122 Wesleyan Conference of New South Wales 6, 8, 30 Wesleyan Grammar 4 Wesleyan Ladies' College, Burwood 1, 7,8,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,18, 22, 24, 26, 74 West, Miss 51 Whitley, Dr Alice 90, 95, 156, 157, 159,160,162,164,169,175,176,178 Whitley House 175, 176, 177 Williams, Miss G. 16 Willis, Hon. Eric A. 174 World War! 57,58,66,67,71,73,105 World War II 119, 128, 130, 132 Wright, Mrs Mollie 178 Wyndham Report 156 Wyndham, Reverend Bob 190 Youngarra 150, 162 Young-Lee, Mee-Na 141, 142