Tara Circle Spring 2022

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A publication for the Tara Community Spring 2022

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


CONTENTS From the Principal

125 Celebration Dinner Gallery





Wellbeing at Tara

My role as Archivist

Tara Timeline Tuesday Gallery Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical Gallery

Scholarships at Tara

Educating the leaders of tomorrow

Memories of Tara

Connected Community Tara Old Girls’ Association

Tara Anglican School for Girls Masons Drive, North Parramatta NSW 2151 Tel. 02 9630 6655 www.tara.nsw.edu.au CRICOS 02320A

Editors: Mrs Angela Doubleday, Mrs Sue Hammond, Ms Alison McLaughlin 2

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Printers: SNAP Eastwood

From the Principal


t has been a delight to continue to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Tara as a school. The world has changed a great deal in 125 years. In 1897, when it is first known that we began as a school led by Miss Joan Waugh, Australia did not actually exist. We were still known as NSW. We did not form a Federation of states and become Australia until 1901. Queen Victoria was the Queen. The first imported car did not arrive until 1900 and there was roughly one horse for every two people in Australia. We did not have electric streetlights in Sydney until after 1904 and radio until 1905. It was a very different world. Tara has had several homes over the years but has always been in Parramatta. We moved to this site in Masons Drive in 1958 for the Senior School and in 1970 for the Junior School. This site was a hospital for children who were recovering from Rheumatic Fever. Prior to that, it was a farm and Masons Drive was a dirt track so the farmer could get his produce up to Pennant Hills Road. In the years before 1970, the Junior School was in a building in Parramatta called Ellangowan, which is still standing. Some of the other properties have also been preserved such as Roseneath, a house opposite the Parramatta Stadium. One of our other homes for a few years was All Saints Church on Victoria Road, which also happens to be where I was married and so will always hold a very special place in my heart. Over the years since we have been at Masons Drive, we have bought more land, built new buildings, added new levels and refurbished others. The area that was the

hospital ward is now the main staff common room and we have tried to retain some elements of the original building in its design today. We are now a School on 32 acres, one of the largest girls’ schools in terms of space in Sydney and the envy of many. As the 10th leader of this School, I stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me. I am so proud of the School we have become since we began with morning classes from the front room of Miss Waugh’s family home that was known as Tara in 1897. We are a School that has always had a Christian foundation, and this has never changed. We have a history of which we can be rightly proud. Many young women have benefitted from an education at Tara. We might be a School with a significant history and while we celebrate a milestone of 125 years, we should never sit back and be satisfied. One of the reasons that we are an important and well regarded school is because we are always focusing on the future: thinking about the world into which Tara girls are moving and making sure they are well equipped, not just in learning, but also as young women who will thrive beyond the Tara gates. There are many people who contribute to our story: students, staff, families, the School Council, Tara alumni and past staff. It is a long and successful story and I consider it a great privilege to be part of it and I hope you do too. Happy 125th Birthday Tara! Mrs Susan Middlebrook, Principal Celebrating the past, shaping the future.



Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Birthday Assembly


Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Celebrating 125 Years We invite you to watch the 125 Birthday Celebration Video. Thank you to our Tara community for a wonderful 125 Years. Enjoy our video celebrating this momentous milestone. Scan the QR code on your device to view the video.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Wellbeing at Tara A Whole School Framework Ms Ruth Adams Deputy Principal | Head of Junior School


tudent wellbeing is an important part of everyday life and learning at Tara. Given the strong correlation between wellbeing and effective learning (Patton, 2021) it is appropriate that every day, students participate in explicit and implicit opportunities to grow their social emotional learning. Both 2020 and 2021 were years characterised by social gathering bans, spatial distancing, hand sanitiser, illness, hotel quarantine, job seeker and job keeper, aged-care facility tragedies, and lockdowns: firstly in 2020 for what seemed at the time such a long period (the final weeks of Term 1 and the first few of Term 2), only to be surpassed by the lockdown of 2021, which saw most of students and staff working remotely for one third of the year. While many of us may have enjoyed the end to a daily commute and a relaxing of social obligations, what emerged throughout these tumultuous and worrying first two years of the pandemic, was the other pandemic: one of worries and anxiety, isolation and loneliness, stress and negativity, and uncertainty and upheaval. With nearly every social interaction mediated via a screen, a new phenomenon called ‘zoom dysmorphia’ emerged, a constant focus on, and critique of, one’s appearance, a practice especially harmful to the mental wellbeing of women and girls (The Conversation, April 2022; ABC Everyday, 2021). Many members of our community were facing great financial and familial worries, with job insecurity and separation from family and friends, whether they lived 5 or 5000 kilometres away. I think we all remember that first weekend when picnics became possible. My own family worked out the exact location in Sydney Olympic Park, in the centre of the Venn diagram of our local government areas! Who would have imagined the positive impact of a simple picnic! Learning and teaching are highly socialised activities. As an IB World School, we understand the principles of social constructivism: that skills and knowledge are developed through shared social interaction and language use. To be thrown into isolation, away from our peers and colleagues, changed the whole nature of learning, and although staff and students went to great lengths to mitigate the effects of this, there is no denial that the second year of the pandemic had an impact on our social and emotional wellbeing.


Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

It was in this climate of uncertainty that the School successfully applied to join a wellbeing project of the NSW Association of Independent Schools (AIS) called ‘Compass’. Schools are a logical delivery point for wellbeing initiatives (APSA, 2008) and vital in the development of student wellbeing (Australian Government, 2008). So Compass, as a research informed ‘collaborative action model’, provided us with the opportunity to devote time and personnel to: 1.

A whole school approach – the Compass Team comprised staff from across the School. At salient times, students have been brought into the consultation process.


Reflection and Planning – staff audited, examined, analysed, and evaluated current practices and understandings in the area of social emotional wellbeing and how they aligned with our School’s Purpose, Vision and Values. Strengths were identified and gaps revealed.


Professional learning – the AIS provided an abundance of workshops, readings and resources for individual staff, the Compass Team, and whole school. Through these experiences, we became familiar with key areas such as: the role of school climate and other protective factors for students’ wellbeing, the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, and the social emotional learning skills for social progress based on the CASEL framework, being ‘self awareness’ and ‘self management’, ‘social awareness’, ‘relationship and friendship skills’, and ‘responsible decision making’.

Our participation in Compass was challenging. Schools are notoriously busy places, and even in a normal year, innovation takes time – both in terms of quantity and quality. This was made difficult in 2021 as staff and students spent so much of it apart, and even when we were on campus, the distractions, and limitations of COVID restrictions were ever present. Despite that, the key actions we had planned have been successful. As a whole School, we have articulated what we mean by ‘wellbeing’.

‘flourishing’ and ‘resilience’. Even samples that seemed initially irrelevant had merit and contributed to our final product. For example, the definition of environmental wellbeing at first glance is about interacting with nature (caring for it, being safe in it), but we realised this notion of protective factors is highly applicable and an essential component in any definition of personal wellbeing, and one that we included in Tara’s. In our final definition, we rejected including the buzz terms of ‘flourish’ and ‘thrive’. This is definitely not because we do not want our girls to thrive: of course, we do! However, to confuse wellbeing with perpetual happiness and success is unhelpful. For the thinktank putting the definition together, notions of coping and adapting, knowing they belong and have purpose, and feeling positive and hopeful, is a more useful view of how we see wellbeing.

Wellbeing is multifaceted, occurring in spiritual, cultural, physical, social, emotional, financial and academic domains.

One of our first tasks was to define what we meant at Tara by the term ‘wellbeing’. It is difficult to have a corporate approach to wellbeing without a shared understanding of the term, and yet, wellbeing is a challenging concept to define and is open to various interpretations (Collie, 2021). We could not assume that there is a single agreed definition, or that a definition that speaks to one setting will fit at Tara. Wellbeing is multifaceted, occurring in spiritual, cultural, physical, social, emotional, financial and academic domains. We wanted to go beyond Collie’s synthesised definition of wellbeing as ‘feeling good and functioning effectively’. To really delve into its components, meant going beyond notions of ‘happiness’ or ‘resilience’ and explore the role of the individual and her community in one’s wellbeing. Early in 2021, staff were invited to a thinktank to create a Tara definition of wellbeing, using the AIS resources. We began by understanding where a definition ‘sits’ in the Tara framework of our Purpose, Vision, Values and the IB philosophy. We explored and analysed (using old school cut and paste!) a range of definition samples from diverse areas: some that were more ‘global’ (overarching and general), some that were situated in a specific context, and some that were about isolated components of wellbeing such as ‘recovery’,

Tara’s definition has the best of both the global and the componential: starting with a motherhood statement about health balance in an individual and community, and then unpacking it with three dot point components which illustrate how this balance is pursued, characterised and realised across the Tara community.

The second significant achievement by key staff across Junior and Senior School was using the CASEL framework to write a comprehensive E-12 scope and sequence of social and emotional learning. In our early work with Compass, we were affirmed regarding the depth and breadth of approaches to social and emotional learning, and focus on student wellbeing. However, using the CASEL wellbeing framework across E-12, has allowed us to ensure a balanced and relevant progression. For example, one of the things I love about working in a girls’ school is the way we can focus on friendship. We know that to promote student wellbeing, attention must first be given to students’ engagement and the nature of their peer relationships (Patton, 2021). As a girls’ school, we can pay attention to the unique way that girls build, sustain, and at times undermine, friendships. Using the CASEL elements of ‘self awarenes’ and ‘social awareness’ to develop the other elements of ‘relationship and friendship skills’, ensures that we are teaching the fundamental building blocks of relationships.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Our new Wellbeing Framework, currently in the final stages of review, is broad in its scope, and coherent in its sequence. It identifies important times in the school year where social and emotional competencies are crucial, such as the commencement of the academic year, periods of transition, and prior to camps and carnivals. In developing our Framework, we had in our mind the notion of ‘inoculation’: a term we are all so familiar with as a result of the pandemic! We seek to pre-emptively protect, equip, and prepare our students so they can cope, adapt, and feel hopeful with certainty…even in the face of uncertainty. While at times, our involvement enacting the elements of Compass was another burden in an already overwhelming year, one year on, Tara is richer for the experience, and better placed to assist our community to pick up the pieces after the pandemic. As a Christian school, we are able to unashamedly claim the truth that while we may be living in globally uncertain times, we have a certainty in our God, who is dependable and sure. In the words of our Chaplain: It is not merely enough to recognise and spruik the need for wellbeing. Online influencers, the local chemist or vitamin multinationals have that market sewn up. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the importance and value of our wellbeing, individually and collectively, is worth fighting for. Those of us in education in these unprecedented times must communicate, plan, enact, and truly hear and be in tune with the voices of our students: What do they need? Are they a well being? Are we? At Tara, we are up for that challenge!

References: ASPA (2008). Policy position statement: Student wellbeing. Australian Secondary Principals’ Association. Australian Government (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. The Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs CASEL framework https://casel.org/fundamentals-of-sel/ what-is-the-casel-framework/ Collie, R. (2021) Address at the AIS Wellbeing Conference, June Felig. R., & Goldenberg, J. (2022). Staring at an image of yourself on Zoom has serious consequences for mental health – especially for women. The Conversation, April 2022 Patton, G. (2021) Address at the AIS Wellbeing Conference, June Runions, K.C., Pearce, N., & Cross, D. (2021). How Can Schools Support Whole-school Wellbeing? A Review of the Research. Report prepared for the Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales. Watson, M. (2021). How to deal with ‘Zoom dysmorphia from excessive videocalls throughout the pandemic. ABC Everyday 10

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Wellbeing at Tara Spiritual Wellbeing Mrs Michelle Kay-Browning Chaplain | Director of Christian Faith and Values


ellbeing, as recognised across the entire NSW secondary education sector, includes “cognitive, physical, social, emotional and spiritual development.” Schools embrace a present and future focus, Hedonic (relating to pleasurable experience) and Eudemonic (relating to meaning and purpose) approaches, and individual and collective wellbeing intentionality. The combination of these components ultimately shape, ‘the values and attitudes of the society in which they live,’ (Powell & Graham, 2016). At Tara, we take this seriously, our purpose being to encourage, equip and empower girls to ‘achieve, serve and thrive’ in the dynamic world in which they are placed. As a Christian school in the Anglican tradition, we envisage education to be more than the impartation of knowledge, but rather to be a contextual formation of our young women. Our educational practices are strengthened by a caring approach which properly takes account of the whole person and not merely one’s mind. Indeed, ‘Spiritual Wellbeing,’ or ‘the human need for meaning, purpose and connection to something greater than ourselves’ is much more than the longheld traditions, values, or the Christian foundation and legacy of a 125-Year strong heritage. Spiritual wellbeing, as an intrinsic component of holistic wellbeing, is best fulfilled, we believe, through a relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, regarding faith, it is not ultimately what you know, but who you know that matters.

God’s connection and relationship with humanity is at the heart of the gospel. It is the essential reason for Jesus’ sacrificial gift of love and grace to the world. God desires humans to live a flourishing life, a life ‘in all its fullness’ (John 10: 10), in and through Himself. To belong, be known, live purposefully, thrive in the present, but with an assured hope of the future, is a spiritually well, being. To personally know a God, who offers rest for your soul, and peace for your troubled heart is both a phenomenal privilege and an invitation which is freely and readily available to all. It is this profound invitation which lies at the heart of our ‘spiritual wellbeing’ focus at Tara.

Our educational practices are strengthened by a caring approach which properly takes account of the whole person and not merely one’s mind.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Wellbeing at Tara Henry’s Story


ver the past three years, the value of companion dogs in schools has received increasing attention in the media in fostering a positive sense of wellbeing amongst students. This has provided impetus for the introduction of dogs as pet therapy in independent schools such as Barker College and Pymble Ladies’ College. At Tara, Henry, a cocker spaniel-poodle cross, has been part of the wellbeing program for the past six years and therefore a frontier influence in such pastoral programs involving animal therapy. Over the last six years, Henry has become firmly established as a Tara entity with his own official School file containing documentation recording vaccinations, training and grooming procedures. While warmly welcomed by most students, it is acknowledged that some students are not comfortable with dogs and as such, Henry is always kept on a leash and only accesses students wanting to interact with him. In accordance with AIS guidelines for companion dogs in schools, Henry is not required to attend school every day, but he is available on any timetabled School day as requested. The use of companion dogs in schools has received increasing attention, supported by empirical research, detailing the many benefits of interaction with animals. Studies have found that interactions with animals can lead to better mental health by reducing anxiety and improving mood. As a contributor to the Wellbeing Program at Tara, Henry’s duties have been varied and at times unpredictable. He is a regular on the Colonnade during breaks from classes; sometimes just sitting with groups or being walked by students. For some students, walking Henry provides a diversion from personal challenges and other students benefit from seeking a much sought-after friend. He is also a conduit in terms of conversation as girls or staff who walk Henry inevitably interact with others. Such socialisation and connection are of value to those feeling a sense of awkwardness or isolation. Henry regularly attends whole School events, particularly those with an obvious wellbeing focus such as RUOK Day and Wellbeing Week. When invited, Henry attends individual counselling sessions with girls experiencing the normal anxieties, stressors, and pressures of adolescence. He is also a regular at the Health Centre during vaccinations. However, Henry’s key role is to provide a fun loving distraction and 12

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Mrs Stephanie Griffiths - Director of Student Wellbeing unconditionally accepting figure within the School environment who is always open for a cuddle and pat! The statements offered by students and staff at Tara are reflective of the powerful influence of a single animal in terms of providing prodigious support in terms of the wellbeing of both staff and students. It could be argued that the normality of such a source of comfort and security could be seen as a model of future pastoral support for students. Students of this age seek clear and secure avenues of support that are not overlaid with complexities of psychological and pastoral data which are way beyond their social and emotional perceptions. Empathy with current students’ socio-cultural engagement with a rapidly changing world by providing secure and direct points of support that stand independent of these challenging transitions is imperative. In short, the love of a dog has been a constant for centuries and will last well beyond any technical or digital mastery of communication that is, inevitably transient.

Our Henry Doggie... Mila – Year 12

Siena – Year 9

“I have often walked Henry and watched him sit or play with students in the playground. When visiting Mrs Griffiths in her office, Henry would either sleep by my legs or listen attentively to conversations.

“Henry was constantly by my side whilst completing my service for my Duke of Edinburgh Award. I can happily say that these moments were filled with smiles and laughter thanks to Henry. His presence brings immense security and pure happiness, especially when undertaking such a long task, Henry made my D of E experience fun and memorable. It is always a pleasure to do activities with Henry.

Henry is wonderful with all Tara staff and students! His friendly nature makes Tara feel like a second home. During my time at Tara, I was comforted knowing Henry was there to provide companionship, emotional support, or wellbeing support if I ever needed it. He is gentle and very affectionate, always brightening my day!”

Carol – Year 9 “When I do service activities during lunchtime and after school, Henry is usually there giving us support and motivation to complete our tasks. He is almost always walking around the playground or playing with other students during our lunch and recess breaks on the days that he is there. Henry also supported us in Year 7 when we had to get our vaccinations. I feel that Henry is a key part of the wellbeing department here at Tara. I love that when I come to school, I can always see Henry. I love when Henry visits the classroom because it makes learning so much more entertaining. Henry improves my day-to-day life at Tara because he is always so playful and carefree. He improves my day, by always supporting us and being there when we are at school.”

Eleni - Counsellor “At the end of the day, when everyone has gone home, and the corridor is quiet, Henry comes and sits by my side or on my couch and just keeps me company. He keeps me going for the remainder of the day.”

Henry is a great companion to have, especially during work, knowing he is by your side. He entertains all of us with his cute, little personality and brings a smile to our faces. Henry has never failed to make me laugh or cheer me up when I see him. I absolutely adore him! He brings a great atmosphere filled with joy wherever he goes. Henry’s playful personality is irreplaceable. Henry’s joyful personality has never failed to lighten my mood whenever I’m feeling irritated or stressed. He helps me to forget about any lingering issues I’ve dealt with throughout the day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, I am very grateful to have Henry at Tara to cheer me up in those small moments. He always leaves a positive impact wherever he goes.”

Mansi – Year 7 “I play with and walk Henry doggie and I give him cheese. He improves my day at school to be more fun. I feel happy when I am around Henry.”

Nilia – Year 7 “I love walking Henry around the School. Sometimes I just sit with him. He is so much fun and loves to be cuddled. Henry always makes me feel better after rough times. Just seeing him being walked around the School makes me smile.”

Megan - Teacher Librarian “I just love Henry. When he comes to visit you forget about everything and feel so much better.”

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Wellbeing at Tara Eggleton House Mrs Samantha Cocks - Director of Boarding


he wellbeing of the boarders is at the heart of everything we do at Eggleton House. When we think about wellbeing, we often think about our physical wellbeing: sleep, nutrition and exercise. As a boarding house we are responsible for guiding the boarders in all these areas as we are acting in loco parentis. With this in mind, a variety of measures are put in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the girls. Research shows that having downtime from technology is so crucial to sleeping well; therefore, the boarding house has technology guidelines for boarders up to Year 10, together with a set nighttime schedule, dependent on age.

Ultimately though, wellbeing is more than just about sleep, nutrition and exercise. It encompasses a wide range of factors and is about developing the resilience needed to live your best life. In order to increase the boarders’ wellbeing holistically, we use Martin Seligman’s wellbeing model PERMAH as a framework. PERMAH stands for: • • • •

We also know that a poor diet can contribute to depression and other health concerns. So, our School Chef, Albert, prepares nutritionally sound meals, catering for a variety of tastes and needs, and so the girls can make healthy choices, information is provided on what is needed for our bodies to perform at their best. Exercise is also highly encouraged. The boarders are involved in sport at Tara, have access to the gym and spend ample time on the trampoline. External sporting pursuits are also encouraged and supported.

• •

Positive Emotions: experiencing good feelings like happiness, peace and joy. Engagement: being fully involved in a task and living with interest and curiosity. Relationships: having solid relationships with self and others. Feeling loved and connected. Meaning: having a purpose in life, feeling that our lives are worthwhile and serving a cause greater than ourselves. Accomplishment: striving for and achieving things that really matter to us. Health: establishing habits that increase physical and psychological health

‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ focuses on the essential elements of wellbeing via short snapshots of information or activities provided before dinner, so that the girls are able to build lifelong skills tailored to their own needs. The girls understand that wellbeing is on a continuum just like health, and sometimes changes may need to be made to improve our own wellbeing. At one end they can be thriving and at the other, professional support may be needed. ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ aims to provide strategies to move up the continuum. For example, in Term 3 the spotlights focused on building strong connections following the interruption and isolation due to COVID-19. Matters discussed included tips on how to build connections, noticing friends struggling, conversation starters and dealing with conflict. Alongside these snapshots, a wellbeing survey is sent to all boarders once a term. The questions are aimed at assessing their current wellbeing status and is another tool that is used to support the girls.

The girls understand that wellbeing is on a continuum just like health, and sometimes changes may need to be made to improve our own wellbeing.

Professional support staff are employed to care for the girls. At orientation, all new boarders and their families meet with our School Nurse, Mrs Peterie, to ascertain any medical issues to ensure that we can treat and care for them effectively. Psychological support is also provided for all boarders. At the start of the year, all new boarders have a ‘new boarder check in’ where one of the School Psychologists, Mrs Harvey, introduces herself and the wellbeing support options at Tara, including how to access them. These connections early in the term overcome that initial hurdle many girls feel when accessing support for the first time. Thereafter, all boarders are offered a boarder wellbeing check twice per year. Boarders are able to call in for a chat in the afternoons or email questions as needed to any Boarding staff member.


Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Relationships play a major role in feeling connected, supported and valued. This is so important in a boarding house as the sense of community is what makes it feel like a home. Community building activities occur in the house in a myriad of ways. The vertical structure allows the boarders to get to know girls from different grades at dinner, during prep and through weekend activities. It is quite normal to see a group of boarders from a range of year groups cooking or bouncing on the trampoline while they chat. Other community building activities include the Welcome Dinner for families at the start of the year, In-Weekend, formal dinners, birthday celebrations, and the annual Christmas party. The spiritual wellbeing of the boarders is supported by the Senior School Youth Worker, Brooke Naidoo. Brooke comes to dinner twice a week to chat with the girls and on Monday nights, she talks on our theme for the term from a spiritual perspective. Her insights provide a positive, hopeful and Biblical perspective of the world. Service also plays a key part in improving the wellbeing of the boarders by serving a cause greater than themselves and exploring the impact they can have for good. Each Tuesday, selected boarders attend Ronald McDonald House Westmead, on a volunteer basis, to peer tutor the children in the house, who may be patients or the siblings of patients living at the House during medical treatment. The connections developed are fabulous to witness.

Expanding across the globe, Eggleton House also raises money each year for a girls’ boarding school in East Kenya run by the Vanessa Grant Trust, Vanessa and her sisters being past Tara boarders with Vanessa being Head Boarder. When Vanessa unfortunately passed away at the birth of her second child, her family started the Trust in her name to support girls’ education and women’s agency in East Kenya, the country of Vanessa’s birth and where she was working as an educator. This year, Eggleton House raised $2,000 which will provide resources for the boarding school. We have a small group of dedicated boarding staff who have been at Tara for many years, and they know the girls well, providing care and guidance every day, and enabling each girl to feel listened to and supported. Each afternoon all the staff on duty greet the boarders as they return from school, sign them in, have a chat and since COVID-19 we now also take their temperature. This interaction allows us to pick up on any immediate concerns or changes in behaviour as well as find out the exciting news of the day. Regular professional development is completed by the staff each year to ensure that they have the expertise to deal with any situation that may arise. Through the wellbeing supports in place at Eggleton House, we provide an environment for the boarders to feel a sense of belonging, purpose and connectedness. This gives them the foundation to develop skills and strategies needed to cope, adapt and thrive in the world.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Wellbeing at Tara Mind - Move - Food Ms Ruth Adams Deputy Principal | Head of Junior School


very individual is part of a social ecosystem consisting of elements such as family, peers, health services, faith community, neighbourhood, community groups, and schools. This ecosystem interacts to impact a child or young person, and her development. Tara is aware of the influence and significance of school in a student’s ‘wellbeing ecosystem’, and therefore, the imperative to offer a broad repertoire of supportive, affirming approaches to nurture the wellbeing of every student and in doing so, contribute to a positive development of identity. At Tara, this calls for peer groups, mentor groups, year groups and, in fact, nothing less than the whole school being involved.

To Live By and the key Bible verse Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up. We love that affirmation - the acceptance, nurture and respect of every individual - is a Tara value. Girls learned from Elmo and the whole Sesame Street gang how to show care, and from special video animations how to ‘colour their world with kindness’ and how kindness can be like a boomerang. Knowing the impact of kind and inclusive behaviours on the wellbeing of individuals and the whole Tara community, girls had a top secret mission to spread some kindness in a secret letter swap, writing and receiving letters and drawings of affirmation up and down through the School.

A recent ‘spotlight on wellbeing’ in Junior School provided girls and their teachers with a unique opportunity to pay attention to the importance of physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing. During Week 8 everyday students and teachers participated in engaging and meaningful activities which taught skills and strategies for positive mindset, including gratitude and resilience, healthy eating and food awareness, and regular involvement in, and enjoyment of, high heartrate activity.

On Wednesday the wellbeing theme was Team Building. We are blessed to be a part of the Tara community, where so many people eschew selfinterest and go out of their way to love and support others. This has a powerful impact on ours’ and others’ wellbeing. Helping the girls appreciate the power of collective brainpower, wisdom and skill, each class participated in a challenge to achieve a particular task, only made possible by the power of team work. Older girls viewed the video ‘The Power of Teamwork’ to truly understand that a team is only as strong as its most vulnerable member.

Tara is aware of the influence and significance of school in a student’s ‘wellbeing ecosystem’

From E to Year 6, girls engaged in the daily focus: teaching knowledge, skills, and attitudes across a range of wellbeing areas. On Monday, we learned that Mindfulness matters. The girls learned about the merits of being ‘right here, right now, in this moment’. When they notice their thoughts, how their body feels, the sounds around them, it can ease the worries that can unnecessarily occupy their minds, regulate their emotions, and develop self awareness. Using resources such as the Smiling Mind, the girls learned that mindfulness exercises are just like muscle exercises: they keep our brains healthy! Tuesday’s focus was Kindness and so we engaged in a day learning about affirmation, which enabled the girls to draw on our theme from Chapel this term: Words 16

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

On Thursday, we revisited the practice of Growth Mindset. Through discussion, immersive activities, video stories (including the inspirational ‘Soar’, ‘The Most Magnificent Thing’ and ‘Umbrella’), songs and reflection, the girls learned about the power of ‘yet’ in overcoming resistance or anxiety, and were able to identify those things they are not good at yet, have not learned yet, or have not mastered yet, with a positive self view of one’s own possibility and potential. Finally, it was Friday, and we were able to spend some time learning about the redemptive and restorative power of Gratitude. In the quest for a positive and hopeful approach to life and learning, getting better at gratitude is important. Our girls have a lot, and

learning to appreciate both the material and emotional blessings helps them feel optimistic and safe. Our Gratitude Tree, now on display in the Library Foyer, expressed the myriad of opportunities and people for which our students are grateful. Alongside these explicit wellbeing focus areas, each day, the girls enjoyed the intrigue of a ‘mystery letter of the alphabet’ arriving to their classroom. This initial letter was used by the students to record meaningful wellbeing words, synonyms, skills, and facts, expressing their knowledge and experience. These will be compiled into the Junior School’s own A-Z of Wellbeing informed by the voices of our girls. Each day’s colourful ‘crunch n sip’ and Friday’s Gala Day were opportunities to be curious, courageous, and cognisant about the role of food and movement on our wellbeing. Friday began with a whole school ‘stretch and move session’ and progressed into a rotating series of nutrition activities such as food identification and tasting, cooking smoothies, bliss balls, fruit kebabs and hummus, learning about food labels, food groups and the importance of water from brain and body wellbeing, and understanding why we choose what we choose to eat. Students have spent Term 3 learning how to skip and execute fancy rope manoeuvres. Forty five students chose to participate in the opportunity to support Jump Rope for Heart, improving their physical wellbeing through lunch time skipping, and their mental wellbeing knowing they were supporting a worthy cause to the tune of $17, 772 for the Heart Foundation. Our Mind – Move – Food week culminated in a huge Jump Off Celebration – an afternoon of skipping, laughing and enjoyment by all. Mindfulness, kindness, teamwork, growth mindset and gratitude are not new concepts in Junior School. On the contrary, they form an integral part of the daily learning and playing culture. However, having a spotlight week, to refocus our attention, learn new skills and develop a collective language for talking and thinking about wellbeing has been invigorating. The week was the brainchild of the Junior School staff, with a smaller staff team leading different elements of the week, including the Gala Day nutrition rotations, daily wellbeing foci, food purchase and preparation, liaising with Jump Rope for Heart, artwork and publicity, and the crazy end of day skipping festival on the tennis courts. We are all more well beings for it!

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


My role as Archivist


Mrs Enid O’Carroll

joined the Tara community earlier this year as Archivist. A school archivist is the caretaker of the history of the school. When I explain what an archivist is, I start from the point that everyone has an archive. A shoebox, an iPad with memories, personal records, photos of special events and documents that are kept as a record of our lives. The school archive collects and keeps the story of a school, remembering the events of today are the history of tomorrow. The Tara archive is a collection of memorabilia, documents, publications, trophies, textiles, maps, plans, learning materials, non current School administration documentation and historic student materials such as class rolls, photographs and artefacts. My first months were becoming familiar with the collection and its arrangement. All archives are a little different. Finding materials through the archive catalogue and paper indexes and just delving into boxes and leafing through photo albums. Engaging with the story of the School, its characters, stories and site and building history. A day in the life of a school archivist, may range from writing, researching queries, arrangement and description of accessioned material, conservation, and preservation activities. Talking to students from Year 7 History on the development of their School and surrounds. My favourite activities are working with students and alumni, curating and research, and being a resource for teachers. Traditionally, archives were collections of physical materials, documents, letters, textiles, photos, artefacts, and publications. Much of the material collected today is in born digital format. Presenting new challenges to collect and maintain access to websites, e-newsletters, emails and databases. Then changes in technology, cassette tapes, VHS videos, where equipment is virtually obsolete, and the medium can deteriorate over time so rendered unreadable. These need to be migrated to current forms such as MP4 format, an ongoing practice to ensure that they remain accessible. One of the biggest challenges for an archivist is storage. The importance of temperature and humidity on preserving traditional archival materials, finding a safe and functional environment to house them. The importance of preparation, e.g. the simple paper clip will rust over time and storing them in suitable archival packaging. I love the concept of the Museum’s Discovery Centre, Castle Hill where the storage becomes the museum. Racking with furniture and objects and storage drawers to open and explore. The key role to me is to unlock the archive, throw the 18

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doors open and share the links and stories with the School community. Seeing history repeating itself, gives hope that things will pass e.g. reading early School day recollections, post World War I, of the need to wear a gauze mask when playing outside at school due to the Spanish flu pandemic. Giving girls a sense of their part in the ongoing story. Sharing the resources and collection beyond the physical location, creating online resources which open the archive virtually. Finding creative ways to share and engage the School community with the collection. The Archive collection grows by donations. A box of photos, and materials sent by a retiring teacher. Or memorabilia donated by the child of a past student, who had clearly cherished the memories they evoked or the meaning they held by keeping these materials all their lives, something lovely about them coming full circle. I came to Archives via a varied career path but can honestly say, late in my working life I have found that elusive job where your passion and job connect. I hope to continue to grow our knowledge of Tara’s past, its present, its students, so today’s and tomorrow’s students can find connections and reflections of themselves.

Giving girls a sense of their part in the ongoing story.

Mary Elizabeth (Joan) Waugh c.1890-1905

St John’s Parish c. 1907

Pierson Sisters Hassall St

Northwood 1927

Hassall St Boys 1930 - 1940’s

Christmas Tableau c. 1953

Dedication and Opening Day 1 August 1959

Boarders with Headmistress December 1959

Library and Mrs Peggy Hall 1962

Home Science Room 1964

Students Playing Chess 1968

Tara Crest Presentation 1972

Multipurpose Building 1984

Choral Competition 1995

Celebrating the past, shaping the future. 19 Opening of Tara Chapel Ellangowan Building 2017 2002


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1991 - South Pacific

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Uploaded each Tuesday on our social media


Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Scholarships at Tara Tara Anglican School for Girls offers scholarships to students that demonstrate excellence, combined with a high degree of personal commitment and involvement in a range of activities. Students must excel in music performance to be eligible for the music scholarships. Scholarships are also offered to assist families with limited financial resources. In keeping with Tara’s tradition of inclusion and recognition of outstanding individuals, we are pleased to offer a number of scholarships to cover part or full tuition or boarding fees to girls in Senior School. “Tara offers scholarships to students that demonstrate excellence, combined with a high degree of personal commitment and involvement in a range of activities. Students benefit from scholarships because their particular interest and abilities are recognised and valued, and they are given the opportunity to flourish. Our School and other students also gain from the contribution made by these students to our community. Parents can be confident that they are providing an opportunity for their daughter to be part of a School where Christian values are foundational, the learning culture is one committed to the pursuit of excellence and their daughter will be enveloped in the School’s culture of affirmation, service to others, opportunity and integrity.” Mrs Susan Middlebrook - Principal

Scholarships available at Tara Anglican School for Girls: • • • •

Academic All Rounder Years 7 and 9 2024 - Day students only Music for girls entering Years 7 - 2024 Tara Foundation Scholarship for girls entering Years 7 - 2024 Regional Boarding for girls entering Years 7 to 11 - 2024 (External students only)

Applications for Tara Scholarships commencing in 2024 are now open. All scholarship candidates are required to take the Scholarship Examination, conducted by Academic Assessment Services, held at Tara Anglican School for Girls. Scholarship applications will incur a fee of $130 and are not available for Overseas Students. Tara offers scholarships based on applicant’s examination results and their application submission, which together highlight academic and cocurricular achievements. Applications Close: Academic Examination: Music Audition:

Friday 3 February 2023 - late applications will not be considered Saturday 18 February 2023 Friday 24 February 2023

Parents will be welcome to join a School tour on the scholarship examination day. For more information contact the Tara Enrolment Team on 02 9630 6655 or scholarships@tara.nsw.edu.au


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Educating the leaders of tomorrow

This is an incredibly special year at Tara as we celebrate 125 years as a school. With the increasing impetus that leadership is gaining globally, centres of excellence in leadership are being established in all sectors. For the young women of Tara, leadership will be a key enabler as they move from school to tertiary education and beyond. With this in mind, Tara works to develop leadership skills from Junior School through to Year 12 leadership portfolios. Leadership is an active demonstration of what is valued at Tara and the kind of attitudes the School community wishes to see developed in our girls: • • • • •

Students are encouraged to think globally, with opportunities for cultural experiences, international performance tours and exchange programs abroad.

Student leadership programs give every girl in the School the opportunity to identify and develop her own leadership potential.

it is authentic and student centred, it is inclusive as every girl has a vital role, it is empowering as girls fill every leadership role, it is collaborative as it requires girls to work with and alongside others on projects, and it inspires and supports younger students.

Student leadership programs give every girl in the School the opportunity to identify and develop her own leadership potential. Leadership at Tara is open to all students with all leaders elected through a transparent and democratic process. Our School is renowned for offering opportunities to empower students, including debating, public speaking, performing arts, sports, and academic and social clubs.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Inspirational role models for all girls


ara offers boarding at Eggleton House, situated in a contemporary, comfortable setting in the heart of our School. Boarders contribute to the daily life of the School enjoying an all encompassing school experience.

Your daughter will be known and cared for in a Christian learning environment and family atmosphere where she will develop life skills for university and beyond. Families from rural and regional areas are an integral part of the Tara School community. Why Board at Tara? • • • • • • • • • •


Security of living and studying in a safe and stimulating environment Spacious boarding rooms, recreational areas, and vast green leafy grounds Junior School boarders have sizeable dormitories, carefully designed for privacy Senior School boarders in Years 11 and 12 have individual rooms Boarders are supported with their learning and study routines Teachers and tutors are available during prep sessions to assist with homework Nutritionally balanced meals prepared by a professional chef A Health Centre and qualified School Nurse on site Great opportunities for companionship and friendship Independence through exciting learning experiences, enabling girls to make the transition to city living and tertiary study

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Passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II We pay tribute to an extraordinary woman who devoted her life to doing her duty, dedicating herself to the service of her country and the Commonwealth. Her leadership and legacy is one of constant, dignified public service. Vale Queen Elizabeth.

Tara recognises the honour bestowed on Danny Abdallah as one of ten Australians invited by the Prime Minister to accompany him to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. This was a worthy recognition of Danny’s and Leila’s tireless campaign to promote the transformative power and impact of forgiveness through the i4give Foundation. As Danny and Leila say, “Forgiveness is the most astonishing miracle we will ever see or experience this side of eternity”. The Queen was a woman who lived her life in response to the saving grace of Jesus expressed in her duty and service for others, and it is so appropriate that Danny represented his lovely family and the Australian people at her funeral. Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Memories of Tara Mrs Kath Marshall and preached a very meaningful sermon each day except Thursday, I think, when Rev Crawford came from Parramatta. Dear Miss Abell, was able, no pun intended, to quieten the whole assembly with a lift of one finger. The Year 12 departing class often satirised these assemblies at the end of their school year, mimicking Dr Shatford, Miss Boston and Miss Abell …very observant they were too! It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life to be contacted by old girls or to run into them in the shops, on holidays, sometimes in very odd places, and to be greeted so warmly. They say I look the same which is really stretching the truth but nice to hear, nevertheless. I also love seeing the parents with whom I had a lot of contact and to be invited to their daughters’ 21st Birthdays and weddings.

Years at Tara: 1982 to 2013 Roles at Tara: Teacher, Department Coordinator, Centenary Coordinator, Publications, Registrar


s I was at Tara for more than 30 years, there are just so many memories that I have as the School played an enormous part in my life.

First of all, I remember the girls. I know that at Tara we always thought what was best for the students and acted thoughtfully on that premise. I can still remember the many girls I taught and with whom I came in contact through the musicals and plays and in my Form classes. I can even remember where they sat in my classes! I will never forget the Chapel Services every morning in the old hall with the long blue forms where girls sat in their class groups with a supervisory staff member at the end of the row. Dr Shatford took every Chapel Service 28

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It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life to be contacted by old girls or to run into them in the shops, on holidays, sometimes in very odd places, and to be greeted so warmly. My second vivid memory is of the wonderful staff with whom I worked; many are still my closest friends. Initially, we had one big staff room with a giant table in the middle where we all sat, prepared, and marked lessons and ate our morning tea and lunch. Those morning teas used to come from the old kitchen where the reception is now, and I can remember hearing the trolley rattling along the corridor from the classrooms above. I taught with some very great teachers, and I will never forget Marlene Noller who was so kind to me in my first days when I didn’t know the unwritten staff rules! I loved sharing material and lesson ideas and hope that when I had new teachers working with me, that I helped them too.

The third biggest set of memories fall into the category of Tara Functions…the Centenary Year springs to mind with just such a plethora of events, all held on the School grounds, and which had been planned by the fabulous committee of Old Girls, Parents, Council Members and Staff. We had the Ball, the Prom Concert, Picnic and Fireworks, the Arts week including a Black Tie Oxford Debate, Bronwyn Hubbard‘s book launch, the Centenary Fête with the beautiful Tara rose for sale, the Tapestry reveal and more.

The new staff facilities make life so much more professional for the staff which is also better for the girls.

and education so much fuller for the girls, the gym and music school, the new Science and Tech block, the Telescope, the Senior Learning Centre, the new Boarding House and the even newer canteen, the Chapel and now the new aquatic complex and lovely gardens. All make for a better place for the girls to be. The new staff facilities make life so much more professional for the staff which is also better for the girls. The uniform, such changes, from the very drab all grey outfits, to the blue and now the plaid. Great improvements indeed both for the girls and for the staff to see the students far more smartly attired. I could write for ages, and I have so many memories, but this may give readers a taste of Tara as it was, and is, for me. I loved the School and hope I contributed something to the place it has become.

All these activities were concurrent with the School functioning normally. It is hard to imagine now the gym with bleachers totally surrounding it for the guests at the Centenary Thanksgiving Service, a wonderful day. A vivid night for me was Miss Boston’s Fairy Well where all the students came in costume, as fairies of course, and the Fairy entertainers sprinkled everywhere with sparkles. The groundsmen expressed great annoyance that they had to spend half the night vacuuming up glitter to make the Hall presentable for Assembly the next morning. Thank you to all the grounds staff at Tara. They do a great job. I also remember, of course, all the plays and musicals at Tara and with The King’s School and the happy cooperation with the boys. I once said in class that I liked teenage boys, having two of my own, and I could never live that down! The Geography excursions were great ways to get to know the students , particularly the country girls, as we visited many of their properties on our ventures west. The hospitality shown to our groups was simply outstanding . The Year Camps were a venture that started in my time too…another splendid way to get to know the girls better and for the girls to learn more about each other, outside the classroom. No social media, of course! I am pleased that this tradition of Year Camps has continued. Funnily, although they loom very large in the life and finances of the School, the buildings are just that, buildings. I loved that the new additions made life Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Memories of Tara Mr Dallas Booth A number of important improvements were made to Tara while I was on the School Council… Junior School Library, Senior School Staff Room, the Bowern Room but I am especially proud of the work that was done to establish the Senior Learning Centre. I was the School Council Chair of Finance when the global financial crisis hit Australia. This had an impact on the School, with a drop in enrolments and a reduction in income. It was a major challenge to work with Mrs Bowern to review School operations and activities, in order to maintain the core strengths of Tara while being financially responsible in the long-term interests of the School. Dr Ruth Shatford was the Principal when my daughter started at Tara and I was involved in the recruitment of Mrs Carol Bowern. It was also a real pleasure to participate in the recruitment of Mrs Middlebrook as the incoming Head of the School. This was a great appointment by the School Council. I am still passionate about Tara and the School’s continued growth in academic, pastoral and cocurricular activities. I enjoyed my time as a parent and roles after my daughter graduated.

Years at Tara: 1993 to 2012 Roles at Tara: Tara Parents & Friends (Committee & President), Tara School Council – Chair of Finance Committee, Tara School Foundation member


he thing that impressed me with all my involvement at Tara while my daughter, Louise, was at the School was its strong commitment to girls’ education and preparing the girls to be proud and confident members of society when they leave School. During the Centenary year (1997), my wife Lynne and I with Dr Shatford embarked on creating the Tara Centenary Rose. We sourced and visited the grower at the Central Coast and grafted a new, beautiful, pink rose to be sold to parents and staff. Two of the original stock are in our garden today and as well as growing in the School. A wonderful legacy and reminder of our time at Tara when it blooms. 30

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

A wonderful legacy and reminder of our time at Tara when it blooms.

Memories of Tara Mrs Anthea Azzi I remember being in awe of our gymnastics teacher, Mr Watson who would get us to time him doing a handstand and watching his face turn red as approached 10 minutes. I also remember Dr Shatford hosting a dinner for the prefects in her little cottage and spending hours reciting hymns in the hot summer months for final assembly, whilst Mrs Maxton would be conducting us to ensure the timing was perfect. A significant lesson I learnt at Tara was to always give something a go and take up a challenge. Through getting involved, I had such a wonderful School experience and forged so many solid relationships not only with fellow students, but also with the teachers. I have adopted the same philosophy in my life and enjoyed participating in my local community. I have had some wonderful times volunteering at our local athletics, soccer and community garden clubs, being on various committees and meeting some wonderful people along the way, sharing similar passions. I think saying “yes” as much as possible, is good a policy.

Years at Tara: 1976 to 1988 Parent at Tara: 2013 to 2022


remember being in Kindergarten and my teacher, Mrs Saxton would play the piano for us. She mentioned she had eyes at the back of her head, to ensure we all behaved and I believed her!

I remember playing on the Junior School oval and the teachers rallying us to go inside because a prisoner had escaped from Parramatta jail. At athletics training, wearing our grey puffy bloomers without the pinafore over the top so we could run faster.

I had such a wonderful School experience and forged so many solid relationships not only with fellow students, but also with the teachers.

I remember being in the King’s and Tara musical (Oliver Twist), wandering over to King’s to rehearse after school and eating dinner in the dining hall with all the boys. I remember almost drowning in the School pool laden with layers of clothing whilst trying to tread water to earn our life saving award. Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Memories of Tara Miss Alexandra Shai-Hee Life and Career: I spent a few years after School working from home as a music teacher. I graduated with a double degree majoring in International Relations and Software Technology and worked for technology conglomerate Samsung for a year after graduating. I am currently working for Darktrace, an acclaimed UK based Cyber Security Company. I am the first female in Australia and second female in the ANZ region to be holding my current role.

Not being sporty didn’t stop me from participating in everything.

Years at Tara: 2006 to 2015 Tara Old Girl


chool excursions and movie nights at School are favourites.

I played tennis but wasn’t the sporty type. Not being sporty didn’t stop me from participating in everything…Camp, swimming carnival, cross country and carnivals particularly Interhouse Choral and Drama competitions. Music was my passion and Tara provided so many opportunities to perform with the Chamber Orchestra and String Quartet at Open Days, assemblies, special events and an eisteddfod (which we won). I went on a fantastic overseas Music Tour and became Tara’s Chamber Orchestra Captain.


Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Memories of Tara Associate Professor (adjunct) Dianne Jackson-Matthews Travelling to the US as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in 1979, I landed at the University of Pennsylvania (a lovely Ivy League campus in Philadelphia). I married a Ph.D. scientist from Philadelphia in 1983, and Jim and I moved to Boston where I began work in applied science for a diagnostics company. This was exciting stuff, developing the first over-the-counter tests available in the pharmacy for detecting ovulation and early pregnancy from urine samples rather than blood. Jim and I moved to New Jersey in 1985, where we welcomed our sons James (1986) and William (1990). These years saw me working in the pioneering area of genetic engineering and biotechnology. It was fantastic to be at the cutting edge of developing novel medicines. After joining a European-based consulting company, I returned home in 2004 and opened their Australian office in Brisbane, from which I consulted for companies worldwide on global scientific and regulatory strategies for delivering medicines such as cell and gene therapies for patients. As a consultant I travelled extensively, i.e. millions of frequent flyer miles...

Years at Tara: 1964 to 1969 Tara Old Girl


ecalling a special memory of an exciting science class in the [then] new laboratory complex (1964). Eager 12-year old girls were mixing chemical solutions in a class with Miss Whittle, who inspired me to embark on the scientific pathway. Unfortunately, overenthusiastic mixing inadvertently produced sufficient hydrogen sulphide (aka rotten egg gas) to empty the entire building for the rest of the period. Classmates considered us heroines! Life and Career: My time since graduating from Tara in 1969 has been filled with science, family, and travel. I completed my Honours Bachelors degree in biochemistry in 1973 and gained a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at UNSW in 1978. This was the first Ph.D. earned by a Tara girl - something of which I am very proud!

I like to think I helped to plug the Australian “brain drain” in my own modest way, coming back to the country that educated me so well to use my 25 years of international experience to support Australian companies, scientists and students. I have been on faculty at the University of Queensland since 2010. In 2020 I semi-retired to enjoy some consulting to keep the brain ticking, to lecture at Uni, and most importantly to devote more time to family and my new career as a grandparent. Science has been central to my professional life and success, and it is fair to say that Tara provided the teachers and environment giving me the foundation for building my career as a scientist. In 1969 I wrote in the first school magazine of the “shining potential of the future”. Fifty plus years on, the Class of ‘69 meets for regular reunions, and the evidence seems to support our successes in that future.

Tara provided the teachers and environment giving me the foundation for building my career as a scientist. Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


In their words Wendy Mackenzie - Past Parent 2001-2009, Old Girls Alicia, Caitlin Great memories – Supporting with FOTM (Friends of Tara Music) Soirées with FOKM (Friends of King’s Music) for opening nights of TKS/Tara Musicals. Collaboration time with Michael Griffiths, Head of Performing Arts and Kath Marshall, Registrar prior, during and after the TKS/Tara Musicals and then Tara/ TKS Musicals. All the performance costumes were made by parents – lots of sewing by many! Making copious trays of Florentine Slice for supper with coffee to service to guests. Washing multiple glasses post event with Peta Black. Camaraderie and fun with FOTM Committee members Adrian, Nettie, Doug, Lamia and Annaliese organising FOTM Events like Soirees, James Morrison Concerts on White Oval, Tara Music Nights. Hating Alison Ashley, My Fair Lady, Oliver and Sheen Performer of the Year Night.

Claire Afaras - Parent 1972-1988 Old Girls Rebekah, Anthea; Grandparent 2013-2022 Zara-Claire, Mia It was November 1971, and (my just turned 4) elder daughter, Rebekah, (probably because of her two older brothers), had outgrown preschool and with the intention of trying to have her start at Tara early (perhaps in second term), I made an appointment with Miss Butterley, the then Principal of Tara Junior School. On arrival, Miss Butterley insisted on interviewing Rebekah on her own without my presence. After the interview, Miss Butterley emerged with Rebekah and informed me that Rebekah was ready for school and could start on the first day of term the following year! I was amazed, but thrilled, because I had an 8-month-old baby (Anthea) at home and thus could give her uninterrupted attention. On the way home from the interview, I asked Rebekah what Miss Butterley had to say. “She asked me my name, my address and my telephone number,” Rebekah said, “and then she asked me to tell her the time from her watch and for me to undo and tie up my shoelaces. That’s all!” Thus, Rebekah became the youngest student at Tara and probably the smallest as I still have her tiny School blazer which David Jones had especially tailored. I also have her felt “potty” hat which the girls wore then. 34

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

In their words Yvonne Howard - Staff Junior School 2004 – 2010 School Musical, in particular The Wizard of Oz and designing the program, Team Teaching. The Year 5 Bathurst Excursion and preparing the students prior by giving them ‘Etiquette’ lessons weekly! The joy of the students visiting the ‘Maths Tasks Centre’. Having a ‘real’ teapot with tea in it (a really, large one) in the staffroom at recess and lunch. The ‘Blessing’ that we would always sing in Chapel.

Denyse Smith - Past Parent 2003 – 2007 Old Girl Felicity Hosting children from Japan and the UK. Taking the Japanese students to Taronga Zoo. Watching Felicity and team row at the Head of the River. Staying up late making paper cranes to float on the Tara swimming pool ready for the visiting Japanese students and all the plays and musicals. All the sports days and swimming carnivals.

Karin Trent (Schellack) - Old Girl 1956 – 1960 As the first German student at Tara, and with limited English, I was never made to feel an outsider. I was adopted by the “Tara Family” and only having been in Australia for three months, my first school holidays was a trip to Brisbane with a friend from School.

Rebecca Pratt - Old Girl 2005 – 2010 I loved the House Choral Competitions each year. I loved the lead up of rehearsals in House meetings and the fun and creativity that was on show on the day, as well as the theatre sports. It was so special when I finally had the chance to lead Hake House as House Captain and fondly remember our rendition of The Circle of Life from The Lion King.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Memories of Tara Mrs Cheryl Turner Our youngest girls learned how to present their ideas to an audience with confidence and skill. The beaming faces on stage, of those who competed in the finals for each year group, evidenced their achievement and pride having commenced a journey which would have an important application throughout life. New Junior School Library From a double classroom space, while an attractive and inviting environment created by Mrs Christine Sinden, Teacher Librarian, who would have imagined a new, inspirational place of contemporary learning and the journey which would facilitate exciting programs in the Junior School. Mrs Christine Sinden’s exceptional understanding of teaching and learning and of the developmental needs of students, combined with her ability to create “magical” spaces to stimulate thinking, was fundamental to the design and crafting of this “new” Learning Centre. I was humbled and excited to have had the opportunity to travel the journey through many meetings, as the “grand design” came to fruition.

Years at Tara: 2004 to 2011 Role at Tara: Head of Junior School


ara was the most significant educational and professional experience of my career. It is always with a smile and thankfulness, that I recall the many experiences that made Tara an outstanding place of learning, the result of exceptional School leadership and staff, magnificent girls and supportive, appreciative parents. Chapel What a joy to commence the week with the buzz of an exciting chapel service in the Junior School Hall, led during my time, by Rev Barry MrGrath, followed by Rev Denise Nicholls and Rev Marty Telfer! The contribution of our student Chapel Leaders modelled Christian service for our students. We joined in song, learned about God’s great love for us through the sharing of the Bible’s message and celebrated Tara’s Christian ethos. Talkfest A passion for public speaking led to a class based program for every student in Kindergarten to Year 6. 36

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Early Learning Centre The Early Learning Centre initiative of Mrs Susan Middlebrook, was an exciting new opportunity for girls in the year before school, to engage in play based learning. A space adjacent to the Junior School playground was transformed into an inspiring, resource rich, learning environment. The quality learning program was developed and implemented by an experienced and creative teacher, Mrs Wendy Quadrio. Her inspiration was reflected in every aspect of the program. Since those early years and now under the leadership of Mrs Terri Wilson, our littlest girls have been nurtured with amazing care. There are countless wonderful experiences that I can recall of my time at Tara. A demonstration of the wonderful whole school ethos, engendered by the School principals during my time, was the celebrated Kindergarten to Year 12 Dinner. Organised, promoted and run by the Year 12 Student Leadership Team, this event was a highlight for every student and was contemplated with excitement every year. I was fortunate to have served the Tara community together with an outstanding group of educators, beautiful people, talented and committed professionals who embraced change, accepted the challenges and achieved the very best for the girls in their care. The dedicated administration team equally supported the teaching staff and myself, ensuring the important tasks which enabled Junior School.

Memories of Tara Mrs Belinda Baxter My beautiful little students were a source of great joy and I still keep up with many of them today. I taught Year One, Year Two and Year Three classes, was the Hake House Patron at some stage and also did a patch as acting Deputy Head. These experiences set me up for success when I applied to be the inaugural Director of Infants at The King’s School. With so many shared families across the two schools this was a hop over the fence but not a goodbye to Tara. My favourite memories are without a doubt sharing my love of literature with my students. I would like to think that every little girl I taught remembers the gumnut babies. There is a little Snugglepot of mine on the blue ceramic cross in the Junior School courtyard. I have so many fond memories of my time at Tara, and feel most blessed to have taught so many dear little girls, and connected with their families.

Years at Tara: 1981 to 1999 Role at Tara: Junior School Teacher


was so fortunate to join Tara as a first year out teacher in 1981. Dr Ruth Shatford and Miss Noreen Butterley recognised that some youth was needed on the Junior School staff and they gave me the most wonderful opportunity to join the School. Little did I know that I would stay for 19 years and celebrate major life events there, such as my engagement and wedding to my life partner Glenn, and the birth of our two wonderful sons, Alexander and Harrison.

My beautiful little students were a source of great joy and I still keep up with many of them today.

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Memories of Tara Mr Ken Bunt time watching and supporting our daughters as they participated in their chosen sport. Sharing this time with other parents was always a joy. The Saturday sport BBQ run by the fathers was always an excellent time to get the parents involved and to meet other parents. There were many memorable dinners held at Tara. I have fond memory of a black tie dinner held in the gymnasium with over 400 guests attending. The education sector is such an important and growing industry. Tara has always taken the lead with the introduction of new and excellent curriculum and programs as well as providing the necessary staff and facilities going forward. The Science and the Design & Technology Complex opened in March 1999 was the biggest and most exciting project during my time at Tara. The School also purchased additional land adjacent to the Boarding House and at the top of Masons Drive. The additional land is an excellent investment for the School to satisfy the increasing demands for new facilities and spaces. Now the School is constructing the exciting Aquatic Centre and Sports Precinct.

Years at Tara: 1986 to 2003 Roles at Tara: School Bursar and Parent


rior to working in independent schools and in particular working at Tara, I worked in financial management in multinational companies. When I commenced at Tara I was immediately impressed by the very caring culture and enthusiasm of all the staff. All the teaching and non teaching staff worked together to achieve the best outcomes for the students and the School. It was a total team effort. Tara has a strong and supportive community which is woven within the School to form the fabric of the School. There are many memories from Tara. I had the pleasure of not only working at Tara, but also as a parent with my two daughters attending the School. My wife and I still meet socially with some of the ex-parents of the School and we constantly relive many of the great times and memories we shared at Tara. Saturday morning sport at Tara was always an enjoyable 38

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

There have been so many inspiring people who I have worked with and met during my time at Tara. Some of who would be all the members of School Council who wisely guided the strategic direction and policies of the School, School Principal, Dr Ruth Shatford for her leadership and care of students and staff, teaching staff for their professionalism and all the non teaching staff for all their hard work, expertise and work ethic. Also, all the parents who volunteered and gave so freely of their time and energy. I had the pleasure of working with the School Architect, the late Mr Bruce Smith. During the many years Mr Smith was involved with Tara; he gave freely a lot of his professional time to Tara and is responsible for the many impressive buildings and facilities at Tara today. When you talk to other people about your time at Tara, the kind of things you mention are:• •

Tara is achieving at a high level and is a hidden gem. Tara is not too big and every student is nurtured and guided with the focus on their academic abilities and other strengths all within a caring Christian environment.

Connected Community Parents and Friends Association (P&F) Tara Dads Club (TDC) The Parents and Friends Association and Tara Dads Club recognise and value the roles parents and carers play in the education of their children and aim to strengthen and reconnect the partnerships between families, the School and the wider community. The purpose of the P&F is to reach out to current families to build a friendly and welcoming community by providing opportunities for parents and carers to gain insights into the life of the School. The Tara Dads Club connects, unites and facilitates the building of relationships between the Tara Dads and their daughters through social events and activities with their daughters. The P&F and TDC provide the School community with practical assistance and financial resources for educational, cocurricular and personal development opportunities for students and social events for the wider Tara community. When your daughter commences at Tara, you automatically become a member of the Parents and Friends Association and Tara Dad’s Club. Each year the P&F organises social events such as the Mother and Daughter High Tea, and Junior School Mother’s Day Stall and this year contributed with the Tara Dad’s Club to the 125 Celebration Dinner, The Tara Family Picnic and Fireworks Evening and the upcoming Carols in the Colonnade. The Tara Dads Club organises social events and fundraisers which include The Colour Run Festival and the Dad and Daughter Camp. The P&F and TDC facilitate the second hand uniform shop, crested items and the running of the sport’s canteen every Saturday morning. These functions provide great opportunities for parents and carers to meet other parents and staff in which many wonderful relationships have been formed.

Parents and Friends Association Executive Committee

Tara Dads Club Executive Committee

President: Patricia Cross

President: Pascal Mouawad

Vice President: John Capolupo

Vice President: Vik Garg

Treasurer: Nairi Malek

Secretary: Adam Canceri

Secretary: Graeme Bellach

Committee: Joe Sassine John Capolupo Chris Hui James Raad Kassam Hussein Sanjit Roy Mouhamad Dib Rob Fallins Neil Armstrong Tim Curtin

Committee: Julie Cleary Kesara Jayasuriya Donna Karam Meg Le Lievre Peter Ryan Jacqui Seraglio

Diary Dates Tara Dads Club


12 November - Colour Run Festival

26 November - Carols in the Colonnade

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.


Tara Old Girls’ Association SPOTLIGHT: Barbara Edge Hill, the Head of Tara Junior School at the time, to ask if they had considered starting a pre-school. The answer was a no, but the new After School Care (just started in 1999) needed a Director as the current one was leaving. I accepted the position temporarily until they could fill the position through advertising. After six months I realised I was staying for a while, 23 years to be exact. Over those 23 years the Centre has grown from 6 to 12 girls attending daily to often over 40. We have also moved ‘homes’ a few times. We started in the current building, moved to where ELC now reside, (we called this the blue room as it had blue doors and blue carpet), onto the room under the Boarding House in Senior School, then into the house at the top of the Masons Drive and finally back to where we started and currently live. I have cared for so many girls over these years and am always thrilled to have them drop in to say hello during the years at Senior School. Many come back to volunteer at the Centre and most of my wonderful staff are Tara Old Girls and I remember seeing them in their Junior years. I will certainly miss the smiles, chatter and laughter of the girls who attend the Centre as well as catching up with their lovely families.

It is an honour to celebrate the career of Mrs Barbara Edge at Tara. Most of our community would know Barbara in her capacity as the Director of the Before & After School Care Centre in Tara Junior School. What you may not realise, is that Barbara has been a part of the fabric of our rich tapestry that is Tara for a long time and in a multitude of roles. ‘My Tara Journey’ “Tara has been part of my life for exactly 60 years this year. I came to Tara when I started high school and made many life-long friends and have many fun memories of my school years. I didn’t have a lot of contact with the School during the 1970’s but received a call in the early 1980’s from the Tara Old Girls’ Association to join the Committee, and that brought me back to the School. Both my daughters attended Tara in Junior and Senior School. During that time, I was an active member of the Tara Mother’s Association and the Old Girls’ Association, even taking on the role of President for a few years. I taught a few classes in Junior School in the early 1990’s until I bought a childcare business. After selling my business in 1999 I approached Joy 40

Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

Although I have retired as the Director of the Before & After School Care Centre, I look forward to continuing to be involved with the School through the Tara Old Girls’ Association Committee and by attending functions throughout the year.” Mrs Barbara Edge

Tara Old Girls’ Association From the President It is an understatement to say that Barbara has been an integral part of the Tara community in her roles as a student, mother of Tara girls, staff member and Old Girls’ Association Committee Member, Vice President, and President. Barbara approaches each of her roles with a passion, humour and grace which has touched so many of us. Even as a mother of four terrific children and now seven amazing grandchildren, Barbara selflessly gives her time and support to our community. The Tara Old Girls’ Association would like to thank Barbara for her service to Tara and the Tara community. We are blessed to have such a wonderful, caring, kind leader and friend amongst us. We would like to wish Barbara health and happiness in her well deserved retirement. Ms Lucinda Beck

Join Us To join the Tara Old Girls’ Association send an email to taraoldgirls@tara.nsw.edu.au with your contact details. Stay Connected: Tara Old Girls can update their details by visiting the Tara School website Community page or via this link www.tara.nsw.edu.au/community/tara-old-girl-update-your-details/

Reunion - Class of 1970 The Tara Class of 1970 Reunion was a great success! We all had a great time and are arranging to get together again very soon. Definitely a 55th Reunion to come. Anne L - Class of 1970

Celebrating the past, shaping the future.



Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.

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Celebrating the past, shaping the future. /tasfg




Be Inspired. Be Challenged. Be Excellent. BE YOU.