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Past Student News
Welcome to 2021 and it gives me great pleasure to once again be the President of the OGA. I am in a privileged position as every day I get to come to work at St Margaret’s as the Dean of Academics. I can say that while there are many things that have changed about our school, it is also great to see that some things have not changed and every year the staff and students are reminded of the history of this place, and treasures are always being discovered.
Each year the Old Girls' Chapel Service is held and each year there
is a retiring collection that is given to the School Chaplain to help in the
maintenance of the School Chapel.
For the last few years this money has been
saved so that the Processional Cross could be re-coated and
polished. This year, The Reverend Susan Crothers-Robertson (School Chaplain) found someone to do this, and in the process uncovered a piece of history.
The Processional Cross has been restored to its original glory and this piece of history reminds us all that we have many past staff and students who have made their mark on the history of St Margaret’s. The
Processional Cross was engraved with the name Miss Bessie Ham. Our school archivist Bronwyn Perry found the following in the 1952 Link about Miss Bessie Ham.
As we begin this year, I am pleased to share with you the 2021 Executive and Committee of the Old Girls' Association.
Patron Sister Gillian SSA
Vice Patron Ms Ros Curtis
President Mrs Nicole Devlin (nee Bender)
Vice President Mrs Sally Thomson (nee Harris)
Treasurer Ms Kimberley Middlemis
Secretary Mrs Norma Ticker (nee Wight)
Committee Members: Ms Kelsey Booth, Ms Bianca Christophers, Ms Lilly Devlin, Mrs Jacky Garnsworthy (nee Roebuck), Ms Elizabeth Fowler, Ms Grace Mullins., Ms Georgina Papworth, Ms Elizabeth Hook
Front Row (Left to Right): Norma Tucker, Sally Thomson, Nicole Devlin, Elizabeth Fowler, Lilly Devlin
Back Row (Left to Right): Kimberley Middlemis, Georgina Papworth, Grace Mullins, Bianca Christophers, Elizabeth Hook, Kelsey Booth
Absent: Jacky Garnsworthy
Dates for noting
24 April Past Student Awards Dinner
20 May Giving Day (see information included in this Newsletter)
23-25 July Reunion Weekend
25 July Old Girls’ Day Chapel and Afternoon Tea
26 July VIP 60+ Reunion Luncheon
23 October OGA Awards and Cocktail Evening @Arts Centre Foyer
26 November Annual General Meeting
There is a growing number of you sharing your stories of success with us and I encourage you all to continue to do this.
If you have any other suggestions, please also feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President of the OGA
2020 saw not only recognition of St Margaret’s 125th anniversary but the first year of ATAR for our graduating Year 12 students. The latter represented the most significant change in curriculum and assessment in Queensland schools since 1992. All this, combined with the impact of COVID-19, made for a challenging and interesting year. As we began 2021, we all realised that no matter what the year would bring St Margaret’s was up for the challenge! There is a lovely energy at the school as we now appreciate a little bit more and not take for granted the importance of the school community, events and even the day-to-day classroom experience.
This year we have adopted the One Book, One School initiative and at St Margaret’s – our parent community, our staff and our students – have been encouraged to read The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku. I encourage you to consider adding this book to your reading list this year and to be part of our One Book, One school program.
I was reading recently about strong cultures and successful organisations bringing the best out of each person and it referred to this quote by Rumi, a 13th century Eastern poet, where he encourages us to ‘Be a lamp, or a lifeboat or a ladder’. As we said goodbye to our Year 12 students last year, I couldn’t help but question was St Margaret’s a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder for them? I hope we were and that that they knew we were. As a lamp, did St Margaret’s help point students in the right direction and throw a light on the value of lifelong learning; as a lifeboat, how often did we offer a solution, help solve a problem or provide perspective when study was a little stressful; as a ladder, how often did we encourage young people so that their unique abilities and hard work could be celebrated? A school focused on being a light, a lifeboat and a ladder is a great one and it is a lovely metaphor for the focus of our practices to strengthen the St Margaret’s experience for our students.
Now that we can welcome back visitors to the school, I am pleased that our volunteers in the Development and Community Office are back. Sheena Dyason, Anne Muggleton, Dawn Rees and Suzette Purdy are still working on our project to ensure past student details are up to date, with Bev Fox and Trish Barlow to rejoin them soon. Please help us by advising the school if your details have changed.
Per Volar Sunata
As 2020 has shown us, it is sometimes difficult to predict what lies ahead, but the Old Girls' Association is hopeful that 2021 will see many of their much much-loved events returning. The first of these will be the Past Student Awards on Saturday 24 April. This will be a very special event as we celebrate four inspirational St Margaret's women (2020 and 2021 winners) and hear about the impact they have made within their fields of expertise and their communities.
The Past Student Awards Dinner is a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow Old Girls and parents, and to hear from this year's amazing award recipients, while enjoying canapes on the Arts Centre Foyer Terraces, followed by a sit down dinner and drinks.
St Margaret’s has been extremely lucky to have already held our first Professional Women’s Networking breakfast which took place on Thursday 18 March. We welcomed guest speaker Jenny Stevens (’73), who delighted us with her speech. Jenny advised the audience that 'a well lived life involves risk and I encourage you, the women of the future, to embrace fear of failure and make it your friend". Jenny talked about how she has fought her fear of failure, and how young women can live the lives they deserve to live.
Jenny has grown Attune Hearing to over 65 clinics servicing the medical community across five states. She is an advocate for patient care and innovation and has worked extensively on a number of fundraising committees for children with special needs.
As many of our Old Girls will be aware, we held our inaugural Giving Day back in March of 2020. Our goal was to raise $100,000 and the end result was $162,883! We are excited to announce that on 20 May 2021 we will run our second Giving Day and we welcome all support from our community in making this day as successful as possible. Our new ‘Every Girl, Every Opportunity’ appeal encompasses a number of planned building developments and refurbishment projects, as well as raising much needed funds for bursaries and scholarships. Further information will follow shortly as we launch this initiative.
Thank you for your ongoing generosity and support.
Durack College is excited to announce its newest initiative: The Durack College Associate Program.
Durack College associate members live outside the college but can call Durack ‘home’ while at university and enjoy the benefits of college life.
Becoming a Durack College Associate also provides social connections within the Durack College community. It is great for students who are commuting to university, new to Brisbane or living in accommodation where meeting like-minded women is difficult. Find out more here (PDF 399.4KB).
Judith Bell AM (née Hansen) is a teacher whose passion for education and helping others has led to an unexpected career, including roles on the Board of Trustees of Brisbane Grammar School, University of Queensland’s Senate and Commissioner to the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Judith attended St Margaret’s as a boarder for nine years and has happy memories of her time at the school.
She still enjoys keeping in touch with friends from school and also recalls the positive and motivating influence of her teachers – particularly Mrs Miller, Miss Stevenson, Mrs Hair and Miss Platt. In the secondary school, Miss Rees and Miss Jones were inspirational teachers of French, Latin and Ancient History. She also remembers her music teachers with affection – Sister Hope and Miss Baird.
Following school, Judith completed a Diploma in Education before travelling overseas for four years with her husband, primarily in England and Sweden.
After starting a family, she furthered her studies in education, completing a Bachelor of Education at Queensland University of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at The University of Queensland. Asked why she decided to become a teacher, Judith says she always thought of teaching as the highest calling, being the nurturing of other people’s children. Playing a part in a student’s development or hearing of their success – sometimes years after their time at school – was extremely rewarding. Judith says she was delighted to hear of past students topping pharmacy, finishing a house painter’s apprenticeship, starting a career in drama, law, medicine, architecture…all wonderful outcomes.
In 1995, Judith became one of two women to be appointed to the Board of Trustees of Brisbane Grammar School, the first in 130 years. At the time, the appointment of women to boards was not all that common and the government was calling on organisations to address the lack of female representation at senior levels. While being the first, and often the only, female in the boardroom was a challenging prospect, she came to relish her role and developed friendships with her fellow board members. Judith held the position for 16 years and played a part in some of the biggest projects undertaken in Brisbane Grammar’s School’s history, describing it one of the highs of her career.
Later accepting roles with The University of Queensland Senate, Judith then worked as a part time Commissioner to the Crime and Misconduct Commission from 2008-2013. Judith was selected as a Community Representative.
In 2003, Judith was one of The University of Queensland’s recipients of the Centenary Medal, commemorating 100 years of Federation, for distinguished service to the community. Earlier this year she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, for significant service to the administration of justice, to the visual arts, and to education. This recognition is a testament to Judith’s belief in the importance of service in one’s career and life.
Judith is now retired and enjoys time with her children and grandchildren, catching up with friends and former colleagues and when time permits the odd game of bridge. She and her husband share a love of art, with Judith having sat for both the Archibald and Brisbane Portrait Prizes, with her portrait having been a finalist in the 2018 Archibald.
Judith’s commitment to education led to a dynamic career at a time when fewer opportunities were available for women. She is an inspiration to all of us.
Written by Grace Mullins (’08)
Janette Davie AM has led a remarkable career in a diverse range of commercial, executive and leadership roles in the tourism and travel industry, as well as in the not-for-profit sector. In 2017, in recognition of her services to the tourism industry and the community, Janette was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
After initially starting as a flight attendant, Janette worked her way up the corporate ladder at Qantas, where she was General Manager North America in the late 1980s, before going on to hold a number of senior positions in companies such as Mastercard and the Harvey World Travel Network. Presently, Janette serves as the Chair and Director of Little Wings Ltd, a NSW essential service which supports regional families who have sick children by providing free and safe transportation to and from ongoing treatments at Children’s Hospitals in Sydney and Newcastle. Janette is also a director of Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd, the parent company for the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Member of the Orange F.O.O.D. Committee, Australia’s longest running regional food festival, and a consultant to Orange360, the destination marketing organisation for the Orange region in New South Wales.
We asked Janette about the origins of her interest in regional communities and leadership, and of any particularly fond memories from her time at St Margaret's.
"When I was at St. Margaret's my family had land… a whole fifty acres of it out near Albany Creek. I worked with my father building fences, planting bananas and digging roads. I loved roaming through the bush collecting stuff. Although it was just 18 miles from the Brisbane GPO along a dirt road, with a creek to ford and kangaroos at dusk, it was “the bush” for me, and I was free.
At the other end of the rainbow were my visits to country properties where others at school had been brought up – giant acreages, red dust to the horizon, a dozen light aircraft lined up at the front gate, weekends of picnic race meetings, and that to them was “the bush”. I loved all of it.
As I clocked up more than fifty years of commercial life here and in the US, I realised that if I were to have a go at country life I’d better get on with it! So, as I was about to turn seventy, I found a one hundred year-old cottage on a cattle property in the central west of NSW, I packed my car to the hilt and headed out to Orange! And there, in that beautiful part of Australia, my love of all that country stuff was rekindled in spades.
That few years helped me to look deep into the eyes of those who lead a country life, especially in far out regional areas: the dread of another day without rain; the loss of even one calf, because the mother could not cope with two; and the strength required to get up every day and do virtually the same routine as the day before.Their granddaughters are at St Margaret's and they are the lucky ones!
My passion for those families, particularly those with children who need ongoing specialist medical treatment, led me to the children’s aeromedical charity LittleWings of which I am Chair.I can feel the difference it makes to a family whose small child is required to be at the Sydney Children’s Hospital every week for the next three months, and they live an eight hour drive from Sydney. Then there's Tractor Trek, amazing country guys who restore tractors and raise money for others, and the dozens of other strong, brave and caring people who grow things, sell things and care for others.It’s an amazing community of which to be a teeny part. Those who buy a raffle ticket from you at the check-outs of country IGAs are always the ones who look as if that five dollars is more than they spent on groceries!
So, back to St Margaret’s.
I was one of the lucky girls with post-war parents who believed so strongly that my sisters and I would have a great education regardless of what that took.From them I learned that if I tried really hard, as they both did for the whole of their lives, I too could make a difference.That belief is the driver for me today, as strongly now as it was way back then.
I am grateful that I am a St Margaret’s girl!"
Written by and as told to Georgina Papworth (’11)
We are looking forward to hosting the Past Student Awards Dinner this Saturday 24 April, as we celebrate four inspirational St Margaret's women. The Past Student Awards Dinner is a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow Old Girls, staff and parents, and to hear from this year's amazing award recipients, while enjoying canapes on the terraces, followed by a sit-down dinner and drinks.
Congratulations to the following winners of the 2020 and 2021 Past Student Awards!
Distinguished Past Student Award Winner 2020: Ms Kate Gibson (’96)
Distinguished Past Student Award Winner 2021: Prof Doune McDonald (’76)
Young Past Student of Distinction Award Winner 2020: Dr Mikaela Seymour (’09)
Young Past Student of Distinction Award Winner 2021: Ms Ashley McCarthy-Griffiths (’12)
You can read their stories at this link https://www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au/community/past-students/past-student-awards
SAVE THE DATE
This year we will be hosting both last year's and this year's reunions across the weekend of Friday 23 July and finishing off with the VIP Reunion on Monday 26 July. The OGA Chapel Service and Afternoon Tea (open to all Old Girls) will he held on Sunday 25 July in the afternoon. Tickets will be available shortly.
Are you interested in being a part of the St Margaret's Aspiring Young Women's Network? To learn more about this new initiative exposing students to real-world application of subjects and mentoring opportunities, follow this link (PDF 109.6KB).
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