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umbe volume 26 / n spring 2 010 /

r e h t e Tog e e Women’s colleg the journal of th ey dn ity of sy within the univers

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Content s 2 3 4 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 10 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 16

Chair notes & Principal points Teaching fellows & SCR Council elections Students meet Quentin Bryce Sports round-up Women’s College exchange Women in sport dinner Aboriginal immersion program Our donors Leadership seminar Profile: Rebecca Ordish From the alumnae president Winning sopranos Best friends Women in business dinner Kellie Dickerson On the balcony Vale Staying connected Events calendar

CHAIR notes


s Chair of The Women’s College Council I am regularly reminded of the benefits of living in our outstanding community of scholars, and of the reasons why students choose to come to Women’s over living in a share house or flat. A great deal is on offer over and above our residency program: fantastic networking relationships through our mentoring program and special events, a range of scholarships aimed at increasing access and diversity, and an extensive academic program of tutorials and peer support. Our new teaching fellows have greatly enhanced this program through their skills and regular presence in College this semester. Council’s strategic planning continues to focus on extending diversity within the College. Currently, Women’s houses students whose homes are local, rural, interstate and overseas, taking courses across the University curriculum. It is this special mix which makes our community worth celebrating, and on which we would like to build. This issue of Together highlights some of the amazing talents and achievements of our current and past students. I have constant cause to admire their initiative, their willingness to embrace new experiences, their prodigious accomplishments and their unwavering friendships. Clearly, Women’s College students are an exceptional bunch!

Lucinda Warren

Chair, The Women’s College Council



he Women’s College has strong connections with the broader community and we are constantly seeking to enhance these relationships. For example, we have been developing our profile with the faculties and the recent Women in Business Dinner, co-hosted with the Faculty of Economics and Business, provides one instance of our success. Similarly, the Women in Sport Dinner, to be held on Friday 8 October, is an exciting initiative sponsored by Buildcorp and Sydney University Sport and Fitness. This event will improve our sporting connections and enable us to reach out to schools and their talented young athletes. Our Jobs for the Girls Careers’ Day on 15 October is a further indication of our intention to link our community to the wider world. The Employer Breakfast and Graduate Panel followed by the Careers’ Market will allow students to engage with potential employers in ways that will assist their transition to the world of work. The Women’s Business Nexus, our newly launched professional on-line directory, is designed to support our Alumnae and facilitate their interaction but it also acts to disseminate the extraordinary expertise of our former students to a wider audience. Please go to Directory on the website and register! Building connections strengthens our community, benefits our students and ensures we contribute more effectively in activities beyond our immediate environment.

Jane Williamson

Principal, The Women’s College

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SCR & fellows

The SCR program 2010 Wed 11 August SCR dinner & seminar: Books, bras and Bridget Jones: adaptations of Pride and Prejudice Olivia Murphy

New initiative

The fellows

In July 2010 College appointed four teaching fellows and launched its new Senior Common Room as part of an initiative aimed at providing a new intellectual space for seniors at College. Teaching fellows Gemma Easter, Rebecca Lesic, Olivia Murphy (2001–04) and Philippa Ryan are leading the College academic tutorial program in their respective disciplines of psychology, chemistry, English literature and law, and are offering a seminar program set to ignite lively intellectual discussion in the Senior Common Room. In addition, a feminist reading group has been established, with all students at College invited to participate in the groundswell of debate.

Gemma Easter holds an MA Honours in Economics from Cambridge University, and a Graduate Diploma of Psychology from the University of Sydney. She is currently finishing Honours in Psychology, and will begin a PhD in Psychology in 2011.

The College Council has generously allowed the lovely Fairfax Common Room in Main to be used during semester periods as the Senior Common Room. Membership of the Senior Common Room is open to students of College in fourth year and above, with third years invited to join by submitting a formal expression of interest. For chemistry teaching fellow Rebecca Lesic, coming to College has been an entirely new experience: “For me personally it’s been stimulating interacting with and being exposed to women from a variety of disciplines,” she says. “It’s a very supportive environment and the vibe is empowering. Each time I come I feel more like I’m part of the family.”

Rebecca Lesic has recently submitted her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Sydney, with a thesis on silica reactivity. She has a first class honours degree in Chemistry, on forensics-based fingerprinting. She has won several science awards including a Young Scientist Award in 2008. Olivia Murphy has recently returned from Oxford University and submitted her doctoral thesis on “Jane Austen’s Critical Art of the Novel.” She was a student at Women’s College from 2001–2004, graduating with first class honours and the University medal in English. Philippa Ryan is in the final stages of a doctoral thesis in law entitled “A new classification for accessory liability.” She has a law degree from UTS, an Arts degree from the University of Sydney, and she is a practising barrister with extensive legal experience in several Sydney law firms. Pictured above (left to right): Gemma Easter, Olivia Murphy, Philippa Ryan and Rebecca Lesic.

Wed 8 September SCR dinner & hypothetical: Bank error in your favour, collect $10 million Philippa Ryan and a panel of law students Thurs 7 October SCR dinner & seminar: Behind the scenes of CSI –where did that fingerprint go? Rebecca Lesic Tues 26 October SCR dinner & seminar: Predictably irrational: Human biases and errors in judgement, decision-making and forecasting what makes us happy Gemma Easter

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Council Elections

Nominations are called for five councillors of The Women’s College Council to hold office for four years from 1 January 2011. Nominations close at 12 noon on Monday 4 October 2010 and should be sent to: The Returning Officer, The Women’s College, University of Sydney, NSW 2006. Nomination forms can be downloaded from The Women’s College website at or contact Mary McGuirk on 02 9517 5002 or email The main purposes of the Council are to provide, maintain and develop the College as a residence for such female students of the University as the Council may approve and for related purposes; and to provide such assistance in the educational development of the residents of the College, who are students of the University, as the Council may decide. The Council consists of ten elected councillors, a Treasurer, and four ex-officio councillors. The ex-officio councillors are: the Principal of the College, the Senior Student of the College, the President of The Women’s College Alumnae, and the person nominated by the Senate of the University. The Council currently has five committees: Building and Development, Finance, Marketing, Nomination, and Scholarships. 4 / The Journal of The Women’s College / spring 2010

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COUNCIL MEMBERS STANDING FOR RE-ELECTION Ms Camille Blackburn BEc LLB MCom, Head of Compliance and Regulation, Travelex Limited. Member of College: 1987–90 (Senior Student 1990). Committees: Finance Year of Council Membership: 1990, 2007 Record of Attendance (2010): 4 of 4



Professor John Carter AM BE PhD Deng FTSE MASCE FIEAust CPEng, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University of Newcastle.

Dr Jane Williamson BEc BA MA PhD,

Committees: Building and Development Year of Council Membership: 2002 Record of Attendance (2010): 0 of 4

Principal Year of Council Membership: 2008 Record of Attendance (2010): 4 of 4 Committees: All-ex-officio

Mr Stephen Harrison AO MEc FCA FAICD, CEO Global Accounting Alliance.

Dr Roslyn Bohringer BSc PhD MEdAdmin, Senior Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Cumberland Campus.

Treasurer of the College

University of Sydney Senate Member

Committees: Finance, Marketing Year of Council Membership: 2002 Record of Attendance (2010): 2 of 4

Committees: Finance Year of Council Membership: 1998 Record of Attendance (2010): 4 of 4

Year of Council Membership: 2010 Record of Attendance (2010): 3 of 4 Committees: Finance

Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM MD MPhil MBBS FRACP FRCPCH FRCP, Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Consultant Paediatrician The Children’s Hospital, Westmead.

Ms Jaqui Lane MA (Hons), Publisher, Focus Publishing.

Ms Jacqueline Hicks BA (Syd) Dip Lib (RMIHE) Dip Ed Prim (ACAE) MA (Syd) MA (Deakin) BA Hons (UNE) Dip Ed Sec (CSU), Librarian.

Ms Virginia Dowd CEO Money Solutions.

Member of College: 1975–78 (Senior Student 1977) Committees: Scholarships, Nomination, Finance Year of Council Membership: 1977, 2003 Record of Attendance: (2010) 3 of 4 Justice Jane Mathews AO LLB (SYD) LLD (Hons), Acting Judge NSW Supreme Court. Member of College: 1958–59 Committees: Nomination Year of Council Membership: 2002 Record of Attendance (2010): 2 of 4 Ms Mary Walker BA (Hons) LLB, Barrister. Deputy Chair of Council Member of College: 1975–78 (Senior Student 1978) Committees: Finance, Nomination, Scholarships Year of Council Membership: 1978, 1999 Record of Attendance (2010): 4 of 4

Committees: Marketing, Scholarships Year of Council Membership: 2002 Record of Attendance (2010): 2 of 4 Mr Dick Persson AM BA FAIM Year of Council Membership: 2001 Record of Attendance (2010): 4 of 4 Committees: Marketing Ms Lynn Rainbow ReID Tourism. Committees: Building and Development, Nomination, Scholarships Year of Council Membership: 2001 Record of Attendance (2010): 2 of 4

President, The Women’s College Alumnae Member of College: 1975–1976 Year of Council Membership: 2010 Record of Attendance (2010): 1 of 1 Committees: Scholarships, Nomination Ms Anna Wright-Hands Senior Student 2010 Women’s College House Committee Year of Council Membership: 2010 Record of Attendance (2010): 4 of 4

Ms Lucinda Warren BEc, Executive Leader Human Resources, Mission Australia. Chair of Council, Member of College 1984–86 (Senior Student 1986) Committees: Building and Development, Finance, Marketing Year of Council Membership: 1986, 1997 Record of Attendance (2010): 3 of 4

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celebrating women

2010 Women’s College charity convenors, second year students Celeste Buckley and Lara Meers meet the Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC (former Principal of College 1997–2003) at the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) 25th birthday reception hosted at Admiralty House on Monday 2 August 2010.

sport round-up



Lavinia now has her sights set on the forthcoming Australia New Zealand Continental Cup.

Congratulations to our sportswomen!

n our last issue we profiled Slalom skier, third-year economics/social science student Lavinia Chrystal. Lavinia has recently returned from the Australian National Championships in Thredbo, where she won the Open Giant Slalom and Slalom titles. She also beat an international field of competitors to take the Slalom title outright, and was named 2010 Combined Australian Champion.

Women 2 Women

n rowing news, College recently supported Jo Wood (third year commerce) and Grace Michell (second year economics/social science) to represent the Australian Universities at the 2010 Trans Tasman Rowing Series in New Zealand. The pair trained for a minimum of 15 hours a week in the months leading up to the race. They overtook the New Zealanders by 26 seconds in the 5km race, and placed second overall.

Four students from each college participated in the exchange, and both colleges treated their visitors to weekends of sightseeing, shopping, and social activities. In Brisbane, Sydney students attended the St Leo’s College Ball, and in Sydney, UQ students experienced the St John’s College “car park” Formal. Socialising aside, the most fulfilling aspect of the weekends was the exchange of ideas. Students reported that they spent a large part of their time together sharing ideas and comparing how each college did things. Sydney Women’s College house committee secretary Karen Muller said: “we really had an instant connection with the UQ girls, and that was the most exciting part of the exchange. Despite our different backgrounds and study areas, Women’s girls are all passionate and motivated about something.”


hen Sydney Women’s College students met peers from University of Queensland (UQ) Women’s College at the Women’s Education Worldwide Conference in Sydney in January 2010, they found a synergy they were all keen to build on. As a result, over two consecutive weekends in August, house committee members from both colleges participated in an inaugural Sydney-Brisbane Women’s College exchange.

Above left: UQ and (in blue hats) Sydney Women’s College students at the Cromwell College “Bunker Australia” Party. Back row: Chloe Langbroek (UQ house committee President), Alicia Wells, 2 UQ freshers, Zoe Cotton. Front row: Jocie Gulliver, Karen Muller, Tore Downs (UQ sport rep), Emma Byrne.

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OF OUR DONORS women in sport dinner 2010 FRIDAY 8 OCTOBER 2010 Designed to interest young women athletes, the dinner has been sponsored by Buildcorp and Sydney University Sport and Fitness. The speaker will be Johanna Adriaanse, Co-Chair of the International Working Group on Women and Sport. For information, or to register your interest in attending, contact us on: E: or P: +61 2 9517-5000

A lasting immersion Second-year international and global studies student Jessica Walker recently returned from Goodooga in north-western New South Wales as part of an eight-day program of immersion in Aboriginal culture.


rganised by St Vincent De Paul Society and the Edmund Rice Centre Sydney, the trip explored issues relating to education, social justice and Aboriginal culture, past and present.

Jess spent the week with the Gibbs family, an Aboriginal family headed by Wayne, a shearer, and Mindi, the local year five and six teacher and Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher. In addition to the human members of the family, reports Jess, “the yard was full: two cats, two dogs, chickens, a home grown vegetable patch and an open fire that was always warm. I was instantly accepted as one of the family.” From this home base Jess ventured out to meet Elders of neighbouring Aboriginal communities. She learned about the Brewarrina Mission, visited a museum of Aboriginal artefacts, and heard first-hand from community members the stories of the Dreaming. “It saddens me that, if things do not change, we are likely to be one of the lucky few groups remaining who will hear those stories,” says Jess. “This kind of cultural beauty deserves to be preserved.”

With thanks to all who supported the college in the second half of 2010. This column recognises our donors and celebrates the diverse range of support the College receives. No matter how small or large, each gift makes a difference to our students and the projects we support. SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING Jean Ashton Ruth Barry Anne Bissaker Rosemary Cartwright Shirley Catterall Julie Chiaverini Jennifer Combet Anabelle Copeman Sandra Culph Penny Curry Gabrielle Curtin Jacqueline Dalton Shanny Dyer Lisa Ferguson Kendal Fittler Janet Flint Denise Fung Rachel Grahame Sue Grimshaw Catriona Gulliver Kerry-Anne Hartman Elizabeth Hudspeth Margaret Huth Karen Karykis Georgina Kennedy Alison Lawless Christine Lee Rhyl Lewis Christine Liddy Jenni MacKillop Melissa Mahony Robert Maple-Brown Patricia Marino Kate McClymont Eleanor McCourt Janet McCredie Stephanie Moffitt Margaret Murray Ken and Helen Neale Ruth Nicholls Joan Perkins Eleanor Putnam Margaret Randall Caroline Ratcliffe Nance Park Richards Susan Robertson Janet Spring Lee Steer Kathryn Sweeney Christine Tilley Kate Tuohy Main Youchan Zhang OTHER DONATIONS Fae Bown Joan Perkins

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leading social change

Senior female high school students are passionate about issues in their community and the world, and on 28 May 2010, 150 female students travelled from as far as Coonabarabran, Junee, Bathurst, and Port Macquarie to take part in the Women’s College Leadership Seminar, “Girls Leading Social Change.”


he leadership day featured guest speakers Raul Alberto Caceres from Social Innovation and Media Solutions, Rebecca Ordish, founder and director of the Mitrataa Foundation, and Michelle Williams, Social Media & Digital Marketing Consultant at Fulfill This.

The day opened my eyes, gave me a new perspective and encouraged me to support and promote issues I am passionate about.

Students expressed concerns about refugees and asylum seekers, world poverty, women's issues such as equality, discrimination and health, racism and human rights. During the day students were able to connect live via Skype with young women leaders around the world who talked about the ways in which they work to make a difference in their communities.

participation by young women at this year’s seminar reinforced The Women’s College tradition of supporting academic excellence and developing new avenues of leadership for women. It was a message not lost on the students who attended. One student remarked: “The day opened my eyes, gave me a new perspective and encouraged me to support and promote issues I am passionate about.”

The students also worked in groups to explore the use of different technologies to promote the causes they care most about. Each of the groups made and posted a video to a password protected website and the videos were screened to the assembled audience at the end of the day.

Several students who attended the seminar have reported that they are using the skills and inspiration they gained as springboards for social activism. Two students from Lithgow High School are fundraising for a trip to Nepal in April 2011. Students from Fort Street High School are organising a sister school program. Two girls from Mosman High School are planning a school trip to Cambodia through the Tabitha Foundation. Three girls are setting up a youth ambassadors program, and a number of others have been fundraising and raising awareness of the issues of domestic workers in developing countries.

Activities were focused around inspiring and empowering young women to have a positive impact on our world. The eager

A video presentation of the leadership day can be viewed at: http://

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in focus

Rebecca Ordish One of the keynote speakers at the leadership seminar on 28 May was Women’s College alumna Rebecca Ordish (STEELE: 1993 – 95). Rebecca is an intellectual property (IP) lawyer who has spent time living and working in Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore, and has recently returned to Australia after working as Senior IP Counsel, Asia and Pacific for Cadbury. Rebecca and husband Adam founded the Mitrataa Foundation in 2001 after living and working as volunteer teachers in Nepal. The Foundation works with women and girls in Nepal, teaching them to dream and empowering them through education and training initiatives. Mitrataa’s model is to share skills and create opportunities that encourage the people of Nepal to take responsibility for their future. “My time at Women’s College opened my eyes to so many opportunities,” says Rebecca. “The supportive and collegiate environment enabled me to really make the most of my time at Sydney University. My confidence and leadership skills grew significantly during my time at College.” For more information, go to

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jacqueline hicks Women’s College Alumnae Committee

2010/2011 President Jacqueline Hicks Vice President Melissa Robins Secretary Eliza Newtown Treasurer to be appointed Membership Secretary Victoria Harper Committee members Jenny Harrison Stephanie Moffitt India Hardy

From the

Alumnae President


ur wonderful start to the year has continued. Reunions flourish. The young alumnae reunion at College on 19 May was a great success. In the UK, members of our ex-pat community met at Susie Flook’s home at Windsor. We will welcome 1960s Freshers to their 50 year Reunion on 4 September at College. Come to lunch among the tulips for the Reunion in Canberra on 18 September. Our floral theme will continue with the Wisteria Lunch the next day at College, and a chance for the Riverina Alumnae to meet at Eliza Newton’s family garden at Walla Walla near Albury on 9 October. Our AGM was a great opportunity for a get together, and to learn about College’s plans for the coming year. A new committee has been elected and we look forward to the year ahead. Our thanks go to Merilyn Bryce for her tireless enthusiasm as President, and to others we lose from our ranks: Julia Wokes, Kate Treloar and Julia Featherstone. They will be missed.

We look forward to keeping in touch with our alumnae community, while ensuring a new generation of students can benefit as we have from the opportunities offered by College, and through our commitment to enhancing scholarship funding. An enthusiastic treasurer is also needed and we welcome volunteers. One of the exciting new developments is the plan to develop an Oral History Project, a fantastic way of connecting current College members with their predecessors! It will also offer an opportunity to unearth hidden gems from our collective memories, sharing and saving them for the future. The project has Principal Dr Jane Williamson’s enthusiastic support. Continuing the idea of exploring our history, our next Women’s College Writers’ Festival in August 2011 will take Writing History as its theme. We look forward to including you in our project and hope to hear from all of you who might have suggestions.

Jacqueline Hicks Recent Women’s College alumna Emma Moore (2006 –08) won the prestigious McDonald’s Operatic Aria competition, a part of the Sydney Eisteddfod, at the Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House, on 15 August 2010.

Our winning


The Wollongong soprano won the $43,000 competition with her renditions of arias by Donizetti and Gounod. Emma plans to head overseas for further study after completing her advanced diploma of opera at the Conservatorium of Music. A former recipient of the 77-year-old competition was Joan Sutherland, in 1949. Also in August, Sydney Conservatorium and Women’s College graduate Simone Easthope (2003–05) won the Lady Fairfax 2010 New York Scholarship, which provides substantial funding for Simone to continue her studies in New York. Both alumnae are taught by Maree Ryan, and are former recipients of the Women’s College Music Scholarship.

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Best friends Marika LIND and Henrietta Cheshire (JONES) were at Women’s College from 1990–92 and have lived on either side of the world for most of their friendship since. Henrietta designs her own Australian-made children’s clothing label, One Sunday. Marika is a marketing consultant for The Leading Edge in Singapore. Both have three children. HENRIETTA I think it was a mutual sociability that brought us together. We both sewed and we were both working on a patchwork quilt. In second year we lived in the same corridor and I remember spending hours sitting on Marika’s bed talking about nothing in particular and drinking the world’s longest coffee. Marika is fabulous to waste time with and I’ve always felt very comfortable in her presence. At college Marika was fun and slightly mischievous. There was nothing negative about her – she didn’t come with any baggage. Boys loved her because she was so petite, pretty and easygoing. We are quite different but what we have is an amazing mutual respect for each other’s differences. Our lives were relatively simple and similar at College, but later in life we’ve taken very different roles. Marika is more career oriented and I’ve worked for myself for the last ten years, but it’s felt more like a hobby than a career. We also dress completely differently. Marika is much more exploratory and adventurous than me. I’m happy in a pair of jeans and a sloppy jumper, whereas she’ll read a magazine and go and hunt out a piece of wild jewellery or shoes. We share a love of having friends around to enjoy our homes and families, and we both love cooking. Coming together like that has been an important basis for our friendship. Marika is an incredibly thoughtful friend; she always arrives with gifts of wine and lovely flowers. On election night Marika was in town and all

our college friends got together at my place. We had a very intelligent conversation despite coming from across the political spectrum. And though we’re all doing completely different things we have that lovely College base. I get a lot out of Marika as a friend – she’s very thought provoking and I appreciate that. We have an incredible honesty and we don’t keep secrets from each other. We are also incredibly loyal to each other. I can’t imagine not having Marika in my life; all these years being on the other side of the world from each other haven’t impacted on our friendship in the slightest. I’m really looking forward to her coming back to Australia one day so that we can pick up where we left off.

MARIKA Henny had an amazing sense of style and confidence at college. She always had a plan and a little business on the side – she was typing up assignments and charging people for them, or making Women’s College shorts. Social life and projects were much more important than uni! I remember once we talked (Principal) Dr Ann (Eyland) into having a Highland Fling party in Main Common Room and we invited boys from Andrew’s and Paul’s. It got very messy and we had to front up to Dr Ann in the morning feeling very hung over and fragile! I think we’re very similar, and we appreciate the same things: family and friendship is important, and being a sounding board for each other. Hen is really inspirational, she has a clear idea of who she is and what she wants in life and she really sticks to that. I get frustrated if I’m not working, whereas Hen’s

Bobs an d should er pads: Marika and He nrietta at


made a career out of being a great mum and caretaker of her family. But she adds on a whole lot to that – her business, and other projects. I feel as though I can only do one thing at a time, whereas she’s so capable; there’s nothing she can’t do if she sets her mind to it. Hen is competitive in a fun way. Her patchwork quilt was always better than mine! I’m quite competitive too, so we egg each other on a bit, and it’s good because it makes us both raise our bar a bit. One of my roles in the broader friendship group is that if there’s an issue it defaults to me to raise it. I’ve played that role for so long I get away with it and we all laugh it off. Hen is the first person I go to in a crisis – when I broke up with a long term boyfriend she came over immediately with a bottle of wine. She’s always been there for me in a crisis and will cut through it all and have some great insights. She instinctively knows how I feel about things because she knows me so well. Hen’s worst characteristic is that she’s shocking on the phone – she never calls or emails, and I’ve learnt to not worry about that, because when we’re together I am absolutely her centre of attention. I’m looking forward to reigniting our friendship on a deeper level when I return to Australia – I’d love to go into business with her as I think we’ve got complimentary talents. I can definitely see something like that happening down the track. Tell us your best friend story. Email:

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Women in business dinner 2010

. ssandra Kelly James and Ca in ft) Above: Emily (le ird sor Marian Ba Right: Profes nda Nicholls. Li th wi n sio discus

Linda Bardo Nicholls AO was guest speaker at the inaugural Women in Business dinner held in conjunction with the Faculty of Economics and Business and hosted in the College dining hall on 19 August 2010. Ms Nicholls has an MBA from Harvard Business School and more than thirty years experience as a senior executive and company director in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.


n welcoming the 120 alumnae, faculty and guests present on the evening, College Principal Dr Jane Williamson said that the aim of the dinner was “to reach out to the business world, as well as faculty and alumnae, and to work towards creating joint scholarships with the Faculty of Economics and Business to encourage the brightest and best women to come to University and College.” In her address Ms Nicholls discussed what she believes Australian businesses need to do to compete successfully in an international context. She said success and growth come from managing risk well, and focussing on what “must go right” in a business, rather than on what may go wrong. Similarly, benchmarking in business should identify gaps and opportunities, and should drive innovation, rather than simply reassure companies about their position in the market. She challenged guests to ask themselves “what would people never say about your business?” in order to work out how to reposition themselves to remain competitive globally.

Women’s College

online business directory Dr Williamson took the opportunity at the Women in Business dinner to launch the Women’s Business Nexus, College’s new online business directory, hosted on the College website. Registration to this professional directory is open to present and past students, their parents, Women’s College staff and Council members. Alumnae are strongly encouraged to promote their own business or the organisation they work for and to access services provided by other alumnae. “This is an opportunity to network and find the expertise you’re looking for,” said Dr Williamson. “It’s also a way of thanking our alumnae for their contributions to College.” Alumnae are invited to register online at directory-registration.php

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on the balcony

stellar career

Kellie DICKERSON (1989 –92) is the music director of Wicked Australia. She was the first and is currently the only female music director of this production in the world.


n May 2010 Kellie visited College with some of the cast of the Sydney production of Wicked to speak at Formal Dinner. She thrilled students with her recollections of College life in the late ’eighties and early ’nineties, and offered some important insights into how College had been significant in her emerging career. Kellie followed up her visit with a special ticket offer for Women’s College students, and in June almost eighty students trooped into the Capitol theatre to see the awardwinning production. Kellie graduated in 1995 from Sydney University with a B.Mus. (Hons) and received the Donald Peart Memorial Award for music. After finishing her degree she turned to music theatre and opera. She won three scholarships for the Ronald Dowd Summer School with the English National Opera. She has conducted productions of Orpheus in the Underworld, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, and 42nd Street. In 1996 Kellie toured NSW with her own big band, Simply Swing. In the pit Kellie has played for Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, and Beauty and the Beast. She was the assistant musical director of the acclaimed production of Showboat for the Lyric Theatre, where she conducted over one hundred performances. For the past eight years Kellie has worked on many Australian productions of musical theatre and opera including The Producers, The Witches of Eastwick, The Sound of Music, The Mikado, and Die Fledermaus, in addition to being Rob Guest’s musical director. Kellie was recently awarded a Green Room Award for her musical direction in Wicked. So far 500,000 people have snapped up tickets for Wicked in Sydney, where performances are drawing to a close after a twelve-month run. As well as managing a gruelling performance schedule, Kellie is currently mentoring two Women’s College students, Erin Holland (4th year Music Performance) and Senior Student Anna Wright-Hands (3rd year Arts), both of whom are keen on a music theatre career.

The cover of this edition of Together presents an intriguing vignette of 1920s College life: Edna Florence Mackenzie, resident at Women’s College from 1923 to 1928, paces along the third floor Main balcony in the midday shadow of her lace parasol. The caption, penned in ink in Edna’s keepsake book, reads: “Learned medical student undergoing process of becoming doctor.” Edna’s book, now in the possession of her daughter Barbara Rudoe, contains some visual gems of College life, including several photographs of Women’s and St Paul’s Colleges not seen before. In her recent book Many Journeys Barbara Rudoe traces the various strands of her family history through Scotland, Ireland and Australia, culminating in her mother’s birth in 1904 at the Mackenzie family seat, Dundonnell House in Scotland. Edna’s life up to Women’s College and beyond will be further commemorated in Barbara’s second book, due for publication later in 2010. A full review will be printed in the next edition of Together.

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Patricia Robin Giesecke (HARBUTT: 1955–58 outstudent;1959–60 in residence)

Judith Robinson-Valéry (WHITE: 1950–53) 29 June 2010 College friend Robin Marsden (BROWN) writes: Judith, born on 1 July, 1933, died suddenly just before her 77th birthday.

19 April 2010 College friend Louise Parsons (IRVING) writes: Robin grew up on the family’s cherry orchard in Orange. From an early age she was determined to be a veterinary surgeon. She arrived at Women’s College in 1955 and took part in College life with enthusiasm; in the fresher play of her year her petite stature earned her the role of AA Milne’s Piglet and from then she was affectionately known as Piglet by her College friends. She sailed through the veterinary course and was awarded the AVA prize for Veterinary Pathology and the Essay prize for nutrition of beef cattle as well as riding with the University and winning second place in the Farr Equitation Prize in 1957. After a time in mixed veterinary practice Robin joined the Veterinary Research Institute at Parkville, Victoria and then the Central Veterinary Laboratories at Weybridge UK to further study veterinary pathology. She was awarded the Master of Veterinary Science in 1969 and received the Belle Bruce Reid Medal. Following a short period in New Zealand where she established a private diagnostic laboratory, Robin worked as Senior Specialist Veterinary Pathologist in Adelaide and continued training and teaching at the SA Department of Agriculture. Her many other interests included field geology, wood carving and music. Her history of the women in Veterinary Science was ready for publication at the time of her death. Robin’s many professional achievements blazed a trail for women in Veterinary Science to follow. Above: Robin with her carving of Women’s College donated by Patricia Giesecke.

Judith was a daughter of Harold and Elizabeth White. Sir Harold White (1905-1992) was joint Commonwealth National Librarian and Commonwealth Parliamentary Librarian 1947–1960, and National Librarian 1960–1970. The Whites lived on Mugga Way near Red Hill in Canberra, amid foreign Embassies, white gums and English gardens. Judith loved her “Burley Griffin” Canberra. In our cultural history no record is more remarkable than Judith’s. High intelligence and unremitting diligence, allied to beauty and charm created an arresting “presence” that never forsook her. Successful in all her academic enterprises Judith is now renowned in France for her research on the works of genius of revered 20th century French writer, Paul Valéry. Judith’s conversations at College weekly formal dinners in 1953 were memorable. 1953 was her Honours year at Sydney University in Betty Archdale’s time as The Women’s College Principal. Just twenty, Judith was already a distinguished presence in the College: her knowledge of many subjects, including English literature, the French language and a number of scientific subjects for good measure was wide, illuminating, effortlessly precise. Judith gained First Class Honours in English and the University Medal in French. In 1954 Judith commenced her studies at the Sorbonne, reading the French writer “Alain”, pseudonym of Émile-Auguste Chartier (1869–1951), on Balzac and Stendhal, earning her a doctorate with the highest distinction. Judith married twice. She met her first husband, Dr Brian Robinson on the ship travelling to Europe. On 28 June 1956 they were married at the British Embassy in Paris. Their only child Tony was born in 1970. They divorced in 1975 and Judith left Australia to live in Paris. Judith’s second marriage to the late Claude Valéry, son of Paul Valéry, was celebrated in 1976 in the great Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame. An assessment of the pioneering significance of Judith’s contribution to French studies, Alastair Hurst’s A Tribute to Judith Robinson-Valéry, published in 2003, to mark “the fortieth anniversary of the appointment of Judith Robinson-Valéry as Foundation Professor of French and Head of the School of Western European Languages at the University of New South Wales”, is justly admiring. Judith was supported by her son Tony in endowing a scholarship at The Women’s College, established in 2004 as the “Judith Robinson-Valéry Scholarship”, to be awarded “to a student who is studying in a postgraduate Psychology course at the University of Sydney and residing at The Women’s College”. This scholarship has already assisted several postgraduates. On 18 August 2005 a ceremony was held at College for Judith to acknowledge proudly the French Government’s award as “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”, and receive the insignia from the French Ambassador. Tributes from France were read on that memorable occasion. Judith’s scholarship was crowned by her achievement in making accessible the Notebooks of French poet and thinker Paul Valéry: in those 29 Cahiers Valéry recorded his powerful thoughts every morning for 50 years. Judith has left for posterity her unpublished poems.

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Staying connected News from some of our alumnae


Elizabeth Richardson OAM (ARNOLD: 1940 – 42) BSc Cert Dietetics Elizabeth is a retired dietitian whose Anti-coronary Cookbook was first published in 1975. Stephanie WAY (1944 – 49) MB BS MRACGP DipAcup Stephanie has retired from “a lifetime of work” in her own practice in Lindfield. She now travels widely with her husband and is very busy with a huge number of interests.


Rae Litting (GEDDES: 1961–64) BA DipEd DipTESOL Rae is an ESL teacher currently employed by Adult Migrant English Service in Sydney. Her book, The Kidnap of Alice McGilvray, a whodunit, was published in 2008.

es” : e fortunate on “Abode of th from Edna ge lle ograph of Co page 13. a 1920s phot on y Book. See stor Mackenzie’s


Fiona REYNOLDS (1977– 79) BA DipEd Fiona is currently working for CSC leading a team of information technology specialists deploying ITIL aligned service management toolset and processes to major clients (government and private) across the globe.


Michele MAHER (1983 – 84) BAg After working in the financial markets at Blomberg in Sydney, and 9 years in London, Asia and New York with Bankers Trust, Michele is moving to Darwin to teach at an independent school which houses 300 Indigenous borders. She is keen to connect with Women’s College Alumnae in Darwin. Bairbre O’HOGAN (1986) MA DipEd After College Bairbre returned to Dublin in 1987 where she worked as a teacher and in tourism management. She is now a state-accredited translator specialising in providing Irish language materials for schools. She is married with two sons.

Please send us your news for the next issue of Together:


Helen Harris (HOURIGAN: 1995 – 97) BSc Helen has returned to Australia after five years in the United Kingdom. She is currently working in procurement, living in the Blue Mountains, and is expecting twins in September 2010. Sarah Hogan (SPEAR: 1998 – 99) BA (Japanese) LLB Sarah has recently been appointed Territorial Legal Counsel for the Salvation Army (Australian Eastern Territory). Sophie Weitemeyer (SHEPHERD: 1991– 93) BVSc After eight years in rural mixed practice Sophie moved to Brisbane in 2001. She worked part time mostly in small animal practice in between children George, Isabel and Emma.


Roshell Boulton (MARSHALL: 2001– 05) BEd BEc (SocSc) Roshell is employed as a secondary teacher at Cranbrook School in Sydney. Her son Lachlan was born in 2008. Helen FINN (2003 – 05) BEd (Prim) Hons Helen is currently teaching Year 1 at Northbridge Public School. Emma Maloney (MOFFATT: 2000 – 02) BNursing Emma has just returned to the final year of her medical degree at the University of Queensland after the birth of identical twin girls, Eve and Sophia, in January 2010. Catherine PRATHER (2001– 02) MB BS Catherine is currently training in Queensland to become a specialist radiologist.

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Events calendar

WISTERIA LUNCH Sunday 19 September 2010 For alumnae who entered College in 1970 and before. WOMEN IN SPORT DINNER Friday 8 October 2010 RIVERINA REUNION Saturday 9 October 2010 Lunch at “The Elms” Walla Walla outside Albury Wodonga. JOBS FOR THE GIRLS The Women’s College Careers Day Friday 15 October 2010 1961 FRESHERS AND THEIR FRIENDS 50 YEAR REUNION DINNER Saturday 29 January 2011, 7.30pm at Women’s College If you would like to come, please send an email or snail mail to: Angela Nordlinger (Cookson 1961– 63) 14 Wright Street, Middle Park, VIC 3206 An invitation will then be sent to you. louisa macdonald oration and dinner Friday 27 May 2011 For details of all events, see the website: Or contact Kathryn Wyss on Phone: +61 2 9517– 5008 Email: All events take place at The Women’s College unless otherwise stated.

Photo credits: Contact details: The Women’s College The University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia Phone: +61 2 9517 5000 Fax: +61 2 9517 5006

Maja Baska Miguel Herrera Ted Sealy Staff, students and alumnae of The Women’s College

Editor: Tiffany Donnelly

Designer: Regina Safro

Our cover: ‘Learned medical student undergoing process of becoming doctor’: Edna Birkenshaw (MACKENZIE: 1923 –28) on the Main balcony in the 1920s. This publication is printed on ENVI Silk Carbon Neutral paper. ENVI is manufactured in Australia by Australian Paper and is certified Greenhouse Friendly™ by the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change under the Greenhouse Friendly™ initiative.

Designed and produced by The Women’s College within The University of Sydney in September 2010.

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Together Spring 2010  

Journal of The Women's College within the University of Sydney.

Together Spring 2010  

Journal of The Women's College within the University of Sydney.