The Women's College Magazine Vol 37, 2021

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Volume 37 • 2021

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The Women’s College Magazine is published annually to report on the activities of the College. Our students study across a range of degrees and our alumnae cover many fields of professional endeavour. The Magazine exists to tell the stories of this proud and unique women’s institution.

THE WOMEN’S COLLEGE 15 Carillon Avenue The University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

Postal PO Box 743 Broadway NSW 2007 Australia

Telephone +61 (0)2 9517 5000

Facebook @TheWomensCollege Instagram @womenscoll ISSN 2204-1028

Editor Tiffany Donnelly

Graphic Design Veronica King

Cover Alumnae ambassadors for the Realise campaign (left to right): Janet McCredie AM, Maryam Eghtedari, Rhonwen Cuningham, Christa Lenard, Carolyn Gavel, Nhi-Y Pham.

Photography Brett Boardman, Alexandra L. Edwards, House of Cameo, Marinco Kodjanovski, Liza Moscatelli, staff, students and alumnae of the College. College wishes to thank alumnae Rowena Newman, Anna Wright-Hands and Holly Dalton for their generosity in helping to bring the Realise campaign to life.

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26 24 20

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PERSPECTIVES 6 Changing Times

REALISE 12 Reconnecting community

Chair of Council Samantha Gavel reflects on the changing college landscape

8 Equal Access A new scholarship campaign, Realise, is introduced by Principal Dr Tiffany Donnelly

10 Choosing to challenge An excerpt from Senior Student Lucy McHutchison’s 2021 welcome speech to students

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Alumnae Committee President Lucinda Garling outlines alumnae efforts to reconnect in 2021


Realise campaign Launch of the Realise campaign and an introduction to our campaign ambassadors


COMMUNITY 20 Acknowledgements Celebrating awards and honours of our extended community

22 Raising support Acknowledging the generous support of our donors to College

24 Celebrated Sisters Celebrating the careers of sisters Joan Masterman AM and Rosemary Foot AO

26 Valedicts 2020 College farewells its longest serving student, Elisabeth Tondl

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C Changing


ouncil is pleased to note that after the challenges of 2020, the College has returned to a new version of normal this year, with both student and alumnae events back on the calendar, and life at College resuming a more regular rhythm. Pleasingly, demand for places at Women’s College was even stronger than in previous years, and both our residency and affiliate programs are again at capacity. After a year of lockdowns, online study and global uncertainty, young women are understandably eager to realise the many benefits of community life and study. The staff and students at Women’s College have done an admirable job in continuing to reimagine college life, taking great care to ensure minimum risks to the community while enabling social and academic interaction between students and


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Ms Samantha Gavel Chair Dr Sally Auld Deputy Chair

their peers. With vaccinations on the horizon, let’s hope the remaining restrictions will continue to ease. With the recent announcement by St Paul’s College to engage its community in a proposal to admit women in the future, the strategic landscape ahead is again shifting. Women’s College has enjoyed a long history of interacting with all of its neighbouring colleges on the University of Sydney campus, and will continue to maintain this outward focus into the future. Issues affecting young women in particular have been at the forefront of Australian media attention this year, reinforcing the ongoing importance for women to have a secure and inclusive space to develop into young adults. With this in mind, I hope our broader community will consider supporting the Realise scholarship campaign,

launched with this issue of the magazine. Its goal to increase the number of students supported by scholarships in the future is a vital one in ensuring no talented young woman is thwarted in her aspirations to attend Women’s College. Council has recently appointed Women’s College alumna Felicity Lehane to a vacancy created by the retirement in December of Councillor Alexandra Shehadie. Felicity attended the College from 1998 and was Senior Student in her final year, 2001. She has recently returned to Australia after a decade working overseas and is currently Principal, Legal Projects at BHP. We welcome Felicity to Council and wish our extended community good health for the remainder of 2021. SAMANTHA GAVEL Chair of Council

Mr Peter Wilson Honorary Treasurer COUNCILLORS

Ms Justine Beaumont Dr Jennifer Davidson Mr Hugh Donaldson Ms Felicity Lehane Ms Honor McFadyen Ms Judy Mills Ms Jane Oakeshott Ms Sue Weston PSM EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS

Dr Tiffany Donnelly Principal Associate Professor Tony Masters Chair of Academic Board, University of Sydney Ms Lucinda Garling President, Women’s College Alumnae Ms Lucinda McHutchison Senior Student 2021


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his issue of the Women’s College Magazine marks the launch our new scholarship campaign, Realise. The ambitious aim of the campaign is to enable more young women of academic potential access to College life by growing our scholarship capability over the long term. In 2021, a quarter of students in residence receive partial funding towards the costs of living at College and just 11% of total College fees are subsidised by scholarships. We would like to better this proportion so that by 2040, more than half our students can have access to financial assistance if they need it. When you talk to our alumnae there is a common conviction that their experiences at Women’s College, surrounded by women who believed in themselves and in each other, gave them the confidence to realise their own potential. For all students, College is about having fun and making lifelong friendships, but it’s also fundamentally about aspiration and inspiration. Spending your university years with other women who want to make a difference to the world is a catalyst for life. Six of our current donors to College who are also Women’s College alumnae came together for the



photoshoot you see on the cover of the Magazine and enclosed donation brochure. They represent different generations of our active alumnae, as well as a range of backgrounds and professions. In asking them why they donate to College and what the Realise campaign might mean to them, a number of common threads were articulated which you can read about later in the Magazine.

scheme can give these students the chance of a lifetime.” I hope you will consider supporting our Realise campaign by giving to our scholarships program. Our aspiration is threefold. First, for students of academic potential to be able to realise access to the Women’s College community, no matter their background or means. Secondly, it’s

Spending your university years with other women who want to make a difference to the world is a catalyst for life. Distinguished medical researcher Dr Janet McCredie AM reflected that, to her, Women’s College has always been a great melting pot for future professional women. She felt that through exposure to outstanding women in the community, through the pursuit of academic excellence, and by working for the good of the community, the College nurtures and inspires every generation of its students. For her, Realise represents specifically what College can do for disadvantage. In her own words, “having a generous scholarships

about realising potential – academically, personally and professionally – through the transformative experience of living and studying at Women’s. And finally, it’s about empowering a group of women leaders who, armed with the Women’s College advantage, can help our broader communities realise further steps towards gender equality. DR TIFFANY DONNELLY Principal


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Choosing to


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omen’s College has fostered female advancement by encouraging students to pursue independence, build on their own strengths and loyally support each other. It’s all the little things that add up to making life at Women’s an exciting, vibrant and supportive environment where we can develop and strengthen our identities as young women. It’s hard at our age to know exactly who we are and what we want to achieve in the future. We are so lucky to have a dynamic, encouraging community to help us. This year, let’s continue to develop a culture at Women’s College that makes every student who walks through the doors feel instantly at home – a culture of inclusivity and diversity. The recent circulation of the petition for schools to provide better education on consent at an earlier stage has been both heartbreaking and illuminating. It’s a powerful example of the way young people are taking action against a wider misogynistic culture in order to create a more optimistic future. In light of this, it’s more important than ever that we facilitate a safe, warm and empowering environment here at Women’s. Let’s inspire each other to be our best selves and build each other up so we can confidently assume positions of leadership in the wider community. Get involved, study hard and enjoy every second.

International Women’s Day marks a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is a call to action for accelerating gender equality and collaboratively forging positive change for women. In 2014 I watched Emma Watson’s UN Women speech and found out what feminism actually is. Seven years later I feel so lucky to be surrounded by women who inspire me every day to be the best feminist I can be. This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge. Within our community, we can embody the key values of this theme by forging a positive vision of female achievement and advancement by celebrating each other’s small wins and inspiring talents. Let’s challenge each other to build on our strengths. Let’s choose to challenge gender stereotypes and call out the assumptions that have been established to hinder women. Finally, let’s take action for equality within our own community. We are a household of intelligent, socially aware women who collectively can make a lot of noise – let’s not back away from the challenge of being heard. I know that together we will contribute to the College’s timeline of female empowerment – by supporting each other, challenging any obstacles that we may come across, and taking action to do the Women’s community proud. And we’re going to have so much fun doing it! LUCINDA McHUTCHISON Senior Student


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hat a difference a year can make. The Women’s College is once again full of the vibrant energy of almost 300 young women in residence, and the College is buzzing with rejuvenated enthusiasm for the potential that 2021 and beyond hold.

Similarly for our alumnae community, while 2020 may have meant a brief pause on our ability to connect in person, we are pleased to be able to recommence alumnae gatherings. We have already hosted a number of small, COVID-safe events this year and have plans to roll out more. A recent highlight has been attending the new Chau Chak Wing Museum, together with a tour from the museum curators. It was a wonderful reminder of the rich history that we are part of as alumnae of the University and of Women’s College. I’d encourage everyone to keep an eye out for future events and join us if you can. Now in its 15th year, the Women’s College Mentoring Program is in

full swing. The 2021 program has almost 80 students being paired with members of our alumnae and wider community. It’s a timely reminder of the strength of our alumnae community, and the power that these networks and connections can have on the leaders of tomorrow.

We have also recently awarded the Sibyl Leadership Grant for 2021. This year, the grant has been awarded jointly to Isabella Harris (4th year, Bachelor of Design in Architecture (Honours) & Masters in Architecture) and Nicola Dabboussy (4th year, Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) & Bachelor of Laws). These two young women will be using their grant money to explore academic, research and leadership development. Isabella will attend an architecture Master Class, travel to Brewarrina to conduct ethnographic research, and attend a Women in Leadership course. Nicola intends to participate in a month-long internship with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) during the summer holidays. We hope the Grant will help them both reach

their full potential and we will look forward to hearing about their experiences at the end of the year. Speaking of the strength of our community, we are continuing to hear stories of College Alumnae smashing the proverbial glass ceiling and being pioneers in their fields. A wonderful example of this is former Senior Student Georgia Dawson [1995-97], who was appointed as Senior Partner at global legal firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Elected by fellow partners, Ms Dawson is the first woman in the firm’s 277-year history to hold this position. Finally, but not least importantly, I encourage you to read about the Realise Scholarship Campaign in the Magazine and contribute what you can. The Women’s College has a unique ability to support the next generation of future leaders socially, academically and professionally, and it’s up to each and every one of us to help shape that future legacy.

LUCINDA GARLING Alumnae Committee President


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ith this issue of the College Magazine we officially launch our scholarship campaign to grow support for future generations of Women’s College students: Realise. Since its founding, Women’s College has provided scholarships and bursaries to assist students to attend university and College. Generated wholly by philanthropic donation, these funds have continued to enable high-potential students to experience the educational and professional advantages of being a member of the Women’s College community, regardless of their background or means.


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In 2021, a quarter of students in residence receive partial funding towards the costs of living at College and just 11% of total College fees are subsidised by scholarships. The goal of the Realise campaign is to build our scholarship fund to $30 million so that by 2040, half our students can have access to financial assistance if they need it. Reaching this ambitious target will help us to ensure that no young woman with academic potential is disadvantaged in realising her desire to attend Women’s College because of financial constraints. The Realise campaign features a multi-generational group of Women’s

College alumnae, all of whom are donors to College and several of whom received scholarships themselves to attend the College. In bringing this group of women together as ambassadors for the campaign, we asked them to reflect on the reasons they support scholarships and other programs at Women’s College and what the Realise campaign meant to them. Their responses are captured in the following pages. Collectively and individually, our campaign ambassadors articulated the impact that Women’s College had on their subsequent lives and

careers, enriching them through lifelong friendships, inspiring them through exposure to high-achieving peers and role models, and giving them confidence to pursue their ambitions. As one of our donors noted, “If more women can have access to Women’s College, more will be able to realise their potential, and in turn change their communities.” We hope the message resonates with future donors that, while students’ College years may only cover the short period of a university degree, the experiences are formative for life.

Reaching this ambitious target will help us to ensure that no young woman with academic potential is disadvantaged in realising her desire to attend Women’s College because of financial constraints. TO DONATE TO THE REALISE CAMPAIGN, VISIT


$30 million to support scholarships


Half our students to receive scholarships


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Dr Janet McCREDIE AM [1953-56]

Rhonwen CUNINGHAM [1960-62]

“As an institution, the College has always stood for the good of the community. It’s a great melting pot for young women who are going to become professional women and it’s been a source of lifelong friendships for every generation of students.”

“I am very happy to be able to support two students each year through The Barton Foundation as not only can it help them realise their academic and vocational dreams, but most importantly, it will also provide the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships.”

Dr Janet McCredie traces her connection to Women’s College back to her mother, Dr Marjorie Dalgarno, who attended College from 1921-24 and is credited with introducing mammography in Australia. The Marjorie Dalgarno scholarship was initiated by donations in 2011, and Janet continues to support the fund to enable students to attend College while they pursue their medical studies.

Rhonwen Cuningham was just sixteen years old when she started university. “All my school friends were going to Sydney University and I lived on the northern beaches, so my parents thought it would be best if I could live on campus,” says Rhonwen, who studied a Bachelor of Arts while living at Women’s College in the early 1960s.

Janet’s own career in medical research has been similarly distinguished. In the early 1970s she made the ground-breaking discovery of how thalidomide acted on embryonic nerves to cause limb deformities in newborn babies, and she later continued her mother’s work in mammography by advocating for broad population screening. Her contributions to College have been prodigious: she was Senior Student in 1956 and a member of the Council from 1992 to 2005, serving two terms as Chair. Janet received the Women’s College Alumnae Award in 2009 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 2011. In 1993 she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for her service to medicine.

Rhonwen established the Barton Foundation in 2017 in honour of her mother, Betty Barton, a nurse whose ambition was to study medicine, but was unable to realise her dream due to financial contraints. Rhonwen’s experience at Women’s College gave her the impetus to provide scholarships for young women to attend the College, hoping to provide them with the “lifelong and life sustaining” friendships she herself made.

For Janet, the Realise campaign is important in addressing future disadvantage. “Having a generous scholarships scheme can give these students the chance of a lifetime,” she says.

The Barton Foundation funds students residing in New South Wales who have demonstrated financial, social, or other disadvantage or need, and who also have the capacity to contribute to the College community through sport, music, community service or leadership.


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Carolyn GAVEL [1984-88]

Christa LENARD [1997-2000]

“If you look at our alumnae, we’re all doing something that is going to make a difference in our own sphere, whether that’s something public, or in very small actions. College is a place for everybody and every woman.”

“Women’s College gave us the power to know that we could be independent women. It provided me with a platform and foundation to go after what I wanted to do.”

Carolyn Gavel has spent more than 25 years in mathematics education working in the secondary school sector, and is currently Head of Curriculum at Ravenswood School for Girls in Sydney. She spent five years at Women’s College studying mathematics and statistics, and was Senior Student in 1988. As well as donating annually to the College, Carolyn has served on the Alumnae Committee, mentored our aspiring maths teachers, and is an enthusiastic supporter of College events. “To me, Realise is an acknowledgment that Women’s College was a launching pad for where I’ve ended up,” says Carolyn. “Without the people who went before me and contributed to scholarships and other programs, I wouldn’t have been able to realise who I am. And I also realise that I have a role to play for Women’s College in terms of service and contributions to scholarships. The future of College depends on that; on how we realise the potential for those women in the future.”

Christa Lenard won a scholarship to Women’s College and worked several jobs to help fund her way through university. “Having decided as a Year 11 student that I wanted to get out of the tiny country town that I’d grown up in,” remarks Christa, “I had sights only for Sydney. Women’s College was an obvious place to be and I couldn’t have afforded to have been there had it not been for that financial assistance.” A specialist in employment law, Christa is now partner at national law firm Kingston Reid, which provides expertise in workplace relations, health and safety. The company recently launched a consultancy focussed on HR solutions. As well as mentoring senior law students and providing pro bono advice to the College, Christa gives regularly to the scholarship program, paying forward the assistance she received so that future students can have the advantages of a Women’s College experience. “Women’s girls can change the world, and do,” says Christa. “Realise is opportunity to make change and to give back.”


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Nhi-Y PHAM [2008-13]

Maryam EGHTEDARI [2013-16]

“Women’s College changed my world; it opened my eyes to new experiences and the realisation that I could do whatever I wanted.”

“Realise means encouraging young women to achieve excellence. By supporting women’s education we can change the world.”

Nhi-Y Pham attended Sefton High School in Sydney’s south west and entered College and university with a 99.95 ATAR score. “Receiving a scholarship to Women’s College was the difference between living on campus and being involved in all of the College activities, as opposed to living at home and commuting,” says Nhi-Y. “Without Women’s, my world and my life would have been a lot narrower. I would have come to class and gone home and missed out on a whole part of university life.”

Junior doctor Maryam Eghtedari anticipates a future in which artificial intelligence plays a key role in everyday diagnostic health outcomes. Maryam entered Women’s College in 2013 to undertake a combined Bachelor of Advanced Science and Bachelor of Surgery degree. As a student she was President of the Combined Medicine Association and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Student Society, as well as founder of the College’s SciMed collective and Dux of College in 2015. Maryam was the recipient of the Marjorie Dalgarno Medical Scholarship at Women’s College, funded by Dr Janet McCredie AM in honour of her mother.

After graduating from her Commerce Laws degree, Nhi-Y worked as an analyst at investment bank Credit Suisse, before taking a role as Strategy Manager at Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia. She now works as Head of Business Planning and Analysis and General Manager of Ampol Property Trust within Ampol Australia. Nhi-Y continues to support the College through regular participation as a mentor in the professional mentoring program, by regularly attending events, and by giving to the scholarship fund that supported her during her six years at Women’s College.

Despite only recently starting her medical career, Maryam donates to the College scholarship fund and she continues to gain inspiration from her eponymous scholarship. “I had an inspiring Australian example of innovation and service in Dr Dalgarno, who performed the first mammogram in Australia. We now have a national screening program for breast cancer in Australia, so her impact has been immense. By supporting the scholarship campaign, I hope more young women can access their opportunities at Women’s College and realise their potential.”


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PHOTOS: (Clockwise from top left) Acram Taji, The Sibyl Centre, Sara Saleh, Alana Blackburn


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Officially opened in 2018, the College’s Sibyl Centre won a 2020 Good Design Australia Award. The Award citation notes that “The Sibyl Centre synthesises the historical, geometrical, intellectual and social pursuits of The Women’s College into an architectural language. The forms and spaces are part of the ongoing evolution of the College, a series of public rooms and external expressions that embody and contemporise its important history and particular culture.” Sibyl has also been short-listed for the 2021 Australian Institute of Architecture Awards. At the time of publication, the winner had not been announced. Several Women’s College alumnae have gained recent honours and awards. Emeritus Professor Acram TAJI [1973-74; 78] received a Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours “for significant service to education, and to horticultural science, particularly to plant technology.” Acram is a global humanitarian educator and advocate for women in agriculture. She is currently Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor at several universities abroad, with a research specialty in in vitro plant breeding and plant tissue culture. As an “agricultural crusader” she has lectured internationally on the challenges faced by humanity with respect to food, water and energy security. Karen BINNEKAMP [1983-84] received the Public Service Medal in the 2020 Australia Day Honours list for her “outstanding public service to health, particularly through improvements to listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and subsidy of breakthrough medical treatments.” A pharmacist by training, Karen has worked for almost 20 years at the Department of Health and Ageing.

Dr Susan GRAHAM [2005-07] was named Advance Awards Emerging Leader Winner in 2020. Susan was honoured for her work in leading a team of engineers, plant scientists and drone operators in tackling global scale deforestation. As Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Dendra Systems, Susan deploys a combination of data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and drones to restore natural ecosystems, enabling large scale management and restoration. The Advance Awards recognise the achievements of Australians working abroad. Dr Alana BLACKBURN [2001-04] received the Arts and Culture Award in the Armidale Regional Council Australia Day Awards in 2021. Alana teaches music at the University of New England and is a Board Member of the New England Conservatorium of Music. Alana’s citation notes that she “has been a driving force behind getting teachers from the New England Conservatorium to provide practical tuition to UNE students in 2020.” Alana is also involved in the Armidale Choral Weekend and UNE Chamber Ensemble Programme. In 2021 Sara SALEH [2005-07] became the first poet to win two prestigious Australian poetry awards in the same year. Sara’s poem ‘Poetics of Fo(u)rgetting’, exploring the experiences of a resettled Lebanese family living in Sydney’s west, recently won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize. Her poem ‘Border Control: Meditations’ gained first place in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, announced in March 2021.


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Anthony Abrahams Alliance Catering Pierre Azzopardi Sophie Baartz Victoria Baker Roanna Banh James & Nicole Barrett-Lennard The Barton Foundation Justine Beaumont Amanda Bell AM Kym Berry Christine Biggs Andrew Bird Frances Black Andrew & Alison Blattman Cynthia Bruce Christopher Buckley Peter Bull David & Belinda Cadwallader Penelope Cameron Lavinia Chrystal Helen Connell

Suzanne Conners John Copland AO Diane Craddock Nerida Croker Kate Cronin Peter Crossing Ryan Davis Jane Dawson Nikki Dawson Gineke de Haan David Dixon Anne Docherty Tiffany Donnelly Melanie Drake Maryam Eghtedari Mary Elsley Arthur Emmett AO James & Nicole Barrett-Lennard Estate of The Late Ann Moyal AM Estate of The Late Brenda Jean Stevenson Estate of The Late Helen Booth Wiles

Sven & Kendal Fittler Janet Flint Denise Fung Romy Fung Carolyn Gavel Samantha Gavel Carolin Gaven Jennifer Giles Christopher & Patricia Goodman Peter Graham Rebecca Griffin Fred & Alexandra Grimwade Lisa Gulesserian Brooke Hall-Carney Pauline Harding Isabella J Harris Kathleen Harris Jonathan & Francine Hassall Lindy Henderson Melissa Heris Jill Hickson AM Barbara Higgs

Richard Holden Carol Ann Hunter Monique Innis J.P. Morgan Chase Bank Penelope Johnston Geoffrey Joyce Jill & George Karhan Katharine & Thyne Reid Foundation The Katrina Dawson Foundation Sally Keir Martin Khun Belinda King Kingston Reid Jane Kuehn Felicity Lehane Christa Lenard Sharon Leow Edwin Lim Jocelyn Lloyd Angie Lu Cissy Lu Bruce & Elizabeth MacDiarmid


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Barbara Maddern-Wellington AM

Marjorie (Ann) Moffatt Stephanie Moffitt

Patricia Selkirk AAM

Alison Main

David Munns

Magdalen Malone

Lorna Siah

Helen Murray

Maple-Brown Family Foundation Limited

Elissa Smallman

Diane Nash

Julia Smart

Sandra Nash

Natalie Smith

Marion Nicholas

Judith Soper

Cherry O’Donnell

Lena Spark

Louise Gay Parsons

Leone Steele

Rachel Peterson

Catherine A Stewart

Janet Elizabeth Phippard

Rosalind Strong AM

Jennifer Pratten

Anne Sutherland

Catherine Priestley

Amelia Sweeney

Leah McKenzie

Eleanor Putnam

Pamela Sweetapple

Timothy & Juliet Meares

Ruth Rabin

Rachael Tarlinton

Robert Milliner & Diana Choquette

Shirley Randell AO

Emelia Milliner

Claire Russell

Skye Mason Catherine Mathews Philippa Mazoudier Bride McDermott Mary McGuirk Diana McKay Patrick & Sharon McKendry

Scott Milson

Carole Roussel Marama Schnitker

Karina Shircore

Cara Taylor Guo Ping Teo Elizabeth Thompson Roger Traves QC

TST Property Services Leo Tutt OAM The University of Sydney Annabelle Wadsworth Rachel Wald Elizabeth Walkley John Walton AM Lucinda Warren Hugh Watson Sarah Webster Alice Wilson Peter Wilson & James Emmett Lindon & Barbara Wing Margaret Winn Jennifer Woodwell Women’s College Alumnae Association Women’s College Students’ Club


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Rosemary (right) and Joan Ashton at Millamolong, c. 1941



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osemary and Joan grew up on the family property Millamolong, near Cowra in New South Wales, where the family were well-known woolgrowers. Their father and brothers were celebrated in the 1930s for their international polo success, and both grandfathers followed political careers. Paternal grandfather James Ashton Snr held the seat of Hay and was NSW secretary for lands from 1904. Sir John See, their maternal grandfather, was Premier of NSW who introduced a number of progressive legislative changes, including women’s suffrage in 1902. The sisters credit their undergraduate years spent at Women’s College as being pivotal to their later careers. Rosemary and Joan both pursued Arts degrees and fondly recall their time at College under Principal Betty Archdale. “Miss Archdale was an amazing woman and an inspiring individual,” remarks Joan. “She was ahead of her time in promoting women and not letting us feel inadequate with our male peers.” Dubbed by the Financial Review as “the matriarch of eco-tourism in Tasmania,” Joan co-founded the first commercial ventures in Tasmania’s wilderness areas: the Cradle Mountain Huts and Friendly Beaches Lodge in Freycinet. These ventures, both of which sit sensitively within their natural environments, introduced tourists to untouched areas, opening up walking trails which put Tasmania on the international tourist map. Looking back, Joan recalls that her experience of sharing a room with an architecture student at Women’s College in the 1950s led to her own

interest in town planning. She met architect Ken Latona while studying a masters of planning, and the pair later formed their own consulting enterprise, Latona Masterman & Associates. Joan’s love affair with Tasmania began when she and Ken worked on a management plan for convict site Port Arthur. Their subsequent work on the Cradle Huts and Friendly Beaches Lodge has had a huge impact on Tasmania’s eco-tourism industry. While Joan’s planning career was taking off, her sister Rosemary’s political star was on the rise: Rosemary was elected a Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly and was Member for Vaucluse from 1978 to 1986. During this period she was Shadow Minister in a number of portfolios, as well as Deputy Leader of the NSW Opposition, the first woman to hold this senior position. Over her substantial career Rosemary served on various State and Commonwealth advisory bodies and a large number of community boards. Asked about the influence of Women’s College on her political career, Rosemary reflects: “Having that collegiate life was very important; in politics you’ve got to get on with people or you don’t get anywhere. When I went into politics there were certain men who thought to undermine me and I was the only woman for a period, so it was a good thing to be able to stand up to them.” The sisters’ careers have both been recognised with Order of Australia Medals. Rosemary was awarded an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1999 and Joan received a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019. COMMUNITY

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ith student life disrupted last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Women’s College students quickly learned to rethink the ways they experienced College life. After spending April to July at home, students returned in Semester 2 and made the most of an altered calendar of activities held under continuing restrictions. Hopes for the annual formal were dwindling, when conditions in NSW improved enough to allow 300 people to gather indoors. With only two weeks to prepare, the College formal committee pulled together a

Women’s-only event at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf on 10 November. After a difficult year, it was a special occasion to get dressed up and enjoy having the whole community in one large space for the first time in many months. With dancing still not allowed, the hybrid event merged the formal and the valedicts dinner, farewelling the students leaving College at the end of 2020. Among the valedicts was Elisabeth Tondl, who entered Women’s College as a first-year student in 2011 and after ten years in residence, completed her undergraduate degree with honours and a doctorate in Chemistry. As

valedictory speaker, Libby recalled coming to Women’s College feeling like a “very small fish in a large pond,” and after four years of undergraduate study and six undertaking her PhD, completing her qualifications as a professional research chemist. The ten-year milestone makes Libby the longest continuous student in residence in the College’s history. In celebrating her fellow valedicts, Libby remarked: “We will remain part of a community whose strength lies in gathering together around higher education for women, where differences are welcomed and celebrated.”


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As an institution, the College has always stood for the good of the community. It’s a great melting pot for young women who are going to become professional women and it’s been a great source of lifelong friendships for every generation of students. DR JANET McCREDIE AM [1953-56]

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11/6/21 8:01 am

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