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Welcome to the fourth edition of the Old Girls' eNews for 2019. I do hope again you find this edition a worthy conduit to connect you back to your school.
The last few months have been very active for the Old Girl Committee with us holding the Annual Brunch in October. This was a lovely event and again I thank the OGA Committee and the Development and Community Office for helping with this event. Thank you to Helen Lewis (nee Carrell, ‘90) and Annabelle Garland (‘18) for their time and words at this event. It was also great again to share this event with many Old Girls. To read more about this event please click on the link within this newsletter.
Another significant role for the Old Girls’ Committee this time of year is facilitating the OGA Prize voting. The Old Girls’ Prize was first awarded in 1911 and has been awarded annually since then. It is awarded to a Year 12 Prefect who best exemplifies the spirit & vision of St Margaret’s and who throughout the course of her life will represent St Margaret’s with pride and dignity. It is presented at the Annual Speech Night as an Award of Distinction and is the last prize given on speech night. Congratulations to this year’s recipient Kelsey Booth (‘19), the OGA Committee wishes Kelsey all the best for the start of her journey past school and look forward to welcoming her back to our functions in 2020.
Another major event that I represented the Old Girls at this term was the launch of the book “Inspired to Fly”, to mark the beginning of the celebration of the school’s 125th Birthday. The Old Girls Association was delighted when Ros Curtis mentioned this project to our group. We are proud to have supported this initiative by donating the original seed money to start this journey almost 3 years ago. In my speech I thanked Madonna King for her insight and care for St Margaret’s, its history and for putting into words what so many of us already know about this special place.
I noted also in my speech that storytelling is so important. It is one of the most powerful ways we can put our ideas into the world. Stories offer us a way of understanding and making sense of ourselves, each other and the world around us. But to share our stories takes bravery, we must make ourselves vulnerable, and if we are able to, we can contribute to something bigger than ourselves. To write means to create. It means to put something out into the world. Something that didn’t exist before. And that very act of creation is something to celebrate and be proud of.
When reading “Inspired to Fly” I saw clear threads of: joy, passion, integrity, kindness and humour. These patterns were not just words, but you felt them in the stories that had been shared.
My hope as President of the Old Girls’ Association is that we learn from this history and that we continue to see the strength in the unity that comes from sharing. That we respect the value of the individual threads that bind us as a community. And most importantly, that we consider how we too contribute in the here and now, and certainly in the future.
Therefore, again I encourage you to share their stories, to connect and continue to be a thread in the fabric of this great school, I thank you for helping to write our history.
Planning for 2020 is well underway and I promised last newsletter to confirm dates for the OGA events. These events are:
Sunday 26 July: OGA Chapel Service and High Tea on the Terraces
Saturday 24 October: OGA Awards and Cocktail Evening (including Past Student Awards)
Thank you to the OGA Committee for their commitment and continued support, and we are looking forward to welcoming you all OGA events and 125th Birthday Celebrations in 2020.
I hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter and I encourage you to share your or your friends’ stories through the ‘Share’ link in this newsletter.
As always, if you have any other suggestions, please also feel free to email me directly at email@example.com. I am looking forward again to connecting more with all of you and connecting you back to St Margaret’s.
President – Old Girls’ Association
At the OGA Brunch I had the opportunity to share some of the highlights of the year. Although not a comprehensive list (I have chosen 12), my choices reflect the diverse nature of school activity and our focus on the philosophy of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent. Essentially, the Sisters’ philosophy incorporates three broad aspects.
First one, of course, is a focus on the school as a community of faith and in July this year, we welcomed a new Chaplain to the school, Susan Crothers-Robertson. In fact, her first formal event was officiating at the Old Girls’ Chapel Service.
The second emphasis in the Sisters’ philosophy is a focus on academic endeavour
The final Queensland Core Skills Test ever was completed by Year 12 students in September this year. Ironically, the theme for the writing task was “What’s Next?”. This year will be the last year of OP and it will now be ATAR. 2019 has been a busy year for staff in preparing for the requirements for the new senior assessment system.
St Margaret’s had outstanding results in NAPLAN this year. According to The Courier Mail, our primary school was ranked first in the state and our secondary school, ninth (although still the first all girls’ boarding school).
In the prestigious 2019 Australian Educator Awards, St Margaret’s received a national award as the Boarding School of the Year. We were thrilled to receive this recognition for our boarding and felt very affirmed in our commitment to rural and regional Queensland with our first class approaches to the student experience in boarding.
The third area of focus in the Sisters’ philosophy is on the developing the whole person. We do this through extra-curricular activity and service to the school community. Some examples of 2019 achievements in this area include:
Two St Margaret’s relay swimming teams were involved in the World Trials. A junior team placed 2nd and senior team placed 3rd.
In rowing, we won the Head of The River and the percentage cup. In fact, our 1st, 2nd and 3rd VIIIs all won their races.
Five out of seven netball teams in the Club Netball finals won their competition.
We were once again a champion school in Life Saving, this year again retaining the Champion Girls’ Sheena Dyason Shield. This means that we have won the Life Saving 21 years in a row.
Our school musical, The Adamms Family, staged over three nights, was a highly anticipated event in the school calendar and was very successful and entertaining.
Students raised $96,000 as part of the Ponytail Project, with 80 students from Years 7 – 12 cutting their hair. We have partnered with the Cancer Council Queensland on this project and they are rolling it out to schools across Australia.
This year our enrolments have been particularly strong with approximately 1020 students in both the primary and secondary schools – this level of enrolment is the highest ever in the school’s history. At this stage, 2020 will see approximately 1,100 students enrolled from Pre-Prep to Year 12.
Next year is our 125th year anniversary. We have launched our new book about the spirit of St Margaret’s, called Inspired to Fly. Thank you to the Old Girls’ Association for financial assistance with this project. There will be many opportunities next year to be involved in 125-year celebrations. I hope you find the opportunity to participate. We would love to see you involved.
Per volar sunata,
St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School
It has been a busy term with the construction of the new sports precinct. We hope you enjoy seeing the progress that been made on site, via the latest time lapse video.
Time Lapse Video
If you would like to make a donation to support our students through this project, please contact Lara Pickering, Director of Philanthropy and Stakeholder Engagement, on +61 7 3862 0884 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Superbly written by renowned author and journalist Madonna King, this commemorative volume brings together extensive archival material and a wide selection of interviews to showcase the spirit of St Margaret’s and voices from its vibrant school community.
To learn more about our 125 years celebration, check out our special 125 year website, including additional memorabilia available to purchase now and throughout next year. We encourage you also to share your memories on the website. Learn more here https://www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au/125/share-your-memories. Inspired to Fly is available from the School Supplies Shop or via Flexischools
The St Margaret’s community comprising students, staff and parents gathered at QPAC’s Concert Hall on Tuesday 12 November for the 122nd annual Speech Night and prize giving ceremony. It was a special evening recognising the achievements of students and staff throughout the year as well as an opportunity to formally farewell the graduating Year 12 students.
During the proceedings, Principal Ros Curtis gave an address which reflected on the school’s history and highlighted the consistency of the St Margaret’s narrative, or the ‘St Margaret’s Spirit’, from the school’s inception through to today.
She highlighted the fact that themes like community, academic scholarship and the school’s six core values of courage, passion, spirit, faith, integrity and respect, are commonly and consistently reflected throughout the school’s 125-year story.
Guest speaker Caitlin McConnel (’07) shared her journey since graduation, which has been one of persistence and determination, attributes our departing seniors will no doubt harness. She also spoke of the power of the St Margaret’s network and the opportunities that have been presented as a result.
Caitlin is a Brisbane-based lawyer, working at Australian law firm, Clayton Utz. She is also a sixth-generation custodian of and an historical spokesperson for her family property, Cressbrook Station near Toogoolawah. Caitlin maintains a strong passion for the preservation of agricultural history and the advocacy of issues pertaining to Queensland's agricultural future. She has a strong affiliation with her local community and show society, which includes working as a member of the advisory committee for the Somerset Regional Art Gallery, 'The Condensery', as well as permanently sponsoring the Toogoolawah Rural Ambassador Award.
Kelsey Booth was awarded the prestigious Old Girls' Prize Winner for 2019. Kelsey has already started a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Theatre Design. Not only did she start this in Year 12, she did this while she applied herself to all her other subjects, from which she graduated with Honours. Kelsey is a much admired member of her cohort, known for her kind nature, humility and willingness to offer a hand. Kelsey is an active environmentalist, avid reader and circus performer, and is looking forward to continuing her study and to make her mark on the world.
St Margaret’s Old Girls' Association bids a fond farewell to our graduating Year 12 students as they leave the school gates for the final time in pursuit of an exciting new chapter in their lives.
“May none of what she has given to each one of us be lost in
her transition,’’ Judge Alan Demack said in his eulogy for the late
philanthropist and music identity Helene Jones (nee Baird ’34) when she passed
in 2013. Helene left a wonderful gift to St Margaret’s in her Will, in honour
of her sister, Nora.
Helene’s gift is one that supports passionate and budding young music professionals now and into the future. The Helene Jones Estate for Nora Baird provides regular contributions to St Margaret’s Scholarship Fund for music scholarships.
Helene took such delight in the way other people exercised their talents, musical or otherwise, that her own achievements disappeared from her mind.
Helene’s own musical achievements were great. At the age of three in Ireland, Helene Baird was playing snatches of melody, often of her own making on the piano. At five, Helene was given a book of examination pieces and although it was a momentous occasion, Helene did not realise it; instead she saw so many more chances to make new music. She passed that First Steps, the Primaries and the Elementariness of the Associated Board with Honours and this was all before she could read the titles of the pieces, when her ambition was to be able to reach the pedals!
Helene left Ireland when she was still a child, and her sister, Nora, who was a music teacher did not join her in Brisbane until the following year.
Over time, Helene created quite the reputation for her Brisbane Eisteddfod work, and was studying violin under composer Gwen de Grant, while also studying elocution. Helene even took up dancing for a time.
St Margaret’s, then known as St Margaret’s C.E.H.S., was Helene’s alma mater for two years from 1931 – 1932. Nora secured a teaching position at St Margaret’s retiring some years later in 1973.
While studying all the usual junior subjects, Helene still took many musical examinations in piano, violin and theory. Helene reflected, “I got more fun out of my violin during those years. We used to play trios and the like for school concerts. One windy night I had the idea of using a safety pin to secure our music to the stand. In the middle of the piece we seconds had to stop while I un-pinned and re-pinned our music. Meanwhile the firsts were half a page ahead!”
Helene went on pursue teaching at the Teachers' Training College where she received honours in the final grade, which entailed the reward of her entry to Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (L.R.S.M). During her studies, Helene received top marks in the state in each of the four diplomas. The first student to be awarded both, Helene was awarded the Broadwood and Whitehouse gold medals for her efforts. The University of Queensland recommended Helene as this state’s most promising pupil in a national contest for a significant scholarship, where she placed second.
Helene had the honour of performing before Russian/Ukrainian born British pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch CBE and British born composer Dr Edgar Bainton. While she would have loved to have studied abroad, Helene felt there was much more she could do in Brisbane. It was that commitment to supporting a thriving musical scene locally that she took with her to Rockhampton in 1966 when she married Les Jones, Rockhampton City Council alderman.
She immediately became part of a larger family with a stepson Neil and a stepdaughter Avis, together with Neil’s wife Jean and Avis’s husband Paul. As each of these couples had children of their own, she became an instant grandmother. Her family grew to four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Although Les brought Helene in touch with new areas of interest, Helene continued her involvement in musical activities.
For someone who first won the Under 9 section at the Belfast Musical Competition when aged seven, interest and involvement in the Rockhampton Eisteddfod was entirely natural.
When the Rockhampton Chamber Music Society formed in 1973, Helene became a member. Rockhampton Youth Orchestra, Rockhampton Musical Union and Capricorn Silver Band all attracted her involvement and support as patron. Aware that the world of artistic expression extends beyond music, she was a Friend of the Pilbeam Theatre and Rockhampton Art Gallery.
Helene was the only person in the Rockhampton musical community who was surprised when in 1996 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to community music, particularly through Rockhampton Chamber Music Society, choirs and arts organisations.
Her sister, Nora, also made a great contribution to music in Queensland, as a teacher at St Margaret’s, foundation member of the Queensland Conservatorium, church organist, examiner and supporter of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1980, Nora was awarded an MBE for her work in promoting musical activity and appreciation.
*The content within this story has been reproduced from the Teleradio Newspaper article published in 1937 and The Morning Bulletin article published on 3 November 2012.
If you would like further information about leaving a gift to St Margaret’s in your Will, please contact Lara Pickering, Director of Philanthropy and Stakeholder Engagement, on +61 7 3862 0884 or email email@example.com.
If you have included St Margaret’s in your Will, please let us know so that we can appropriately acknowledge your wonderful support.
On Sunday 27 October Old Girls met in the Arts Centre Foyer for the Annual Brunch. It was a lovely sunny day and as we entered the gates of St Margaret’s a group were chatting and commented that they meet annually at the Brunch for a catch up. The Art Centre sparkled with bunches of wildflowers on the tables and champagne being offered to all guests on arrival. It was wonderful to see the comradery of the Old Girls who were busy catching up with their old school friends.
This year we had two very interesting guest speakers who educated and entertained us all.
Annabel Garland (’18)
Annabel Garland was the 2018 St Margaret’s School Captain and the recipient of the prestigious OGA Prize. She also received the Future Leaders – Helen Handbury Leadership Award for outstanding community leadership. This award recognises and rewards young Australians who have shown strong leadership and potential and are dedicated to inspiring others to make a difference through engaging in environmental and community issues. Annie is currently studying a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Law (Hons) at QUT in Brisbane.
She spoke about her time at St Margaret’s as a boarder and how she enjoyed the friendship of many students of all ages in the Boarding House and how she learnt leadership skills that she will take with her as she pursues her goals in life.
Helen Lewis (’90)
Helen was a Boarder for five years and spoke about her time at St Margaret’s. She said that her years at
St Margaret’s helped her to find her passion to help create change. On completion of her schooling, she attended the UNE Armidale to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics and Economic History. After finishing university, she has had various positions in Community Development, Ministerial Policy advising, Agri-politics and Agribusiness in Alice Springs.
All of these positions were the stepping stones to her current role as General Manager of the Outback Highway Development Council Inc. Helen talked about lobbying to seal the Outback Way, Australia’s longest shortcut (a transnational link from Perth to Cairns) through the heart of our nation. Helen spoke how it would open central Australia to industry and tourism and was very passionate about helping to see the remaining 1,600 kilometres sealed.
It was very interesting to hear her story and about her family, husband Ian, and children Archie and Isobel, who live on their 3,000-acre property west of Warwick. The family live and work on the land building soil carbons and have been supplying aged grass-fed beef (chemical free) direct to customers. It was another wonderful story of an Old Girl who is making a difference to rural communities in Australia.
We all left this special event having experienced warmth, friendship and learning.
Secretary - Old Girls’ Association
Tickets are on sale for the St Margaret's Women's Luncheon to be held on Friday 13 March 2020. In celebration of St Margaret's 125th Anniversary, the Luncheon is a wonderful opportunity for all past, present and future women of St Margaret's to come together and celebrate!
In addition to individual tickets, tables of 10 are also available, and we encourage you to start planning your Class table.
Tickets can be booked via Flexischools. For enquiries please contact the Development & Community Office on 07 3862 0765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the date! Next year’s Milestone Reunions will be hosted from 24 – 27 July.
10 Year Reunion – Class of 2010 – Friday 24 July 2020
20 Year Reunion – Class of 2000 – Friday 24 July 2020
30 Year Reunion – Class of 1990 – Friday 24 July 2020
40 Year Reunion – Class of 1980 – Saturday 25 July 2020
50 Year Reunion – Class of 1970 – Saturday 25 July 2020
60 Year Reunion – Class of 1960 – Saturday 25 July 2020
VIP 60+ Year Reunion – Monday 2 July 2020
Interstate and international Reunions
St Margaret’s will be hosting reunion events in Sydney, London and Melbourne next year. All past students living and working in, or travelling to, these cities are encouraged to attend.
Sydney - Friday 20 March 2020
London - Monday 29 June 2020
Melbourne - Friday 30 October 2020
Contact Our Admissions Team
An independent day and boarding school for girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12; Boarding from Year 5; Boys Pre-Prep and Prep
A School of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent St Margaret's School Council Ltd ABN: 69069684019 CRICOS Code: 00511K