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What a year 2020 was shaping up to be in the history of St Margaret’s, celebrating the 125th birthday of the school that has played a significant part in all our lives. As we began the year, the 2020 Executive and Committee of the Old Girls’ Association met and reviewed events to assist the school community to celebrate and reconnect Old Girls in such an important year for the school. However, due to the global pandemic, most of the plans and events could not occur.
However, while the events did not happen, we still connected four times during the year with our online newsletter. This has been a great success, sharing stories of many Old Girls and updating the over 6000 Old Girls of the happenings in the school. Thanks must go to Norma Tucker, Georgina Papworth and Grace Mullins for their work in this space.
Two events were able to be conducted just prior to the COVID restrictions: our inaugural Giving Day and the P&F Women’s Lunch. The Old Girls’ Association was a strong supporter on Giving Day being a matcher of funds. This meant that when someone donated an amount, this was doubled due to the funds provided by the Old Girls’ Association. Our name is proudly displayed on a magnificent donor wall on the deck of the new pool.
Over 600 past and present mothers and Old Girls attended this year’s Women’s Lunch. Master of Ceremonies for this event was Old Girl Mel Buttle (‘99), and it was wonderful to see so many cohorts of Old Girls attend as well as generations of mother/daughter Old Girls.
Another significant role for the Old Girls' Committee is facilitating the OGA Prize voting. Thank you to Sally Thomson and Norma Tucker for organising this vote. 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 and 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. The prize is the only prize that is awarded from a vote by students and staff. Congratulations to this year’s recipient Anna Dunning (20). The OGA Committee wishes Anna all the best for the start of her journey past school and looks forward to welcoming her back to our functions in 2020.
Thank you to all those who have supported and contributed to the OGA this past year. I would particularly like to thank the committee and we look forward to continuing to support the school to enhance the facilities and opportunities that are offered to all students.
Thank you to the OGA Committee for your commitment in 2020, and welcome to the incoming OGA Committee for 2021.
2021 Executive and Committee of the Old Girls’ Association
Patron Sister Gillian SSA
Vice Patron Ros Curtis
President Mrs Nicole Devlin ('90, nee Bender)
Vice President Mrs Sally Thomson ('77, nee Harris)
Treasurer Ms Kimberley Middlemis ('93, nee McKenzie)
Secretary Mrs Norma Tucker ('66, nee Wight)
Committee Member Ms Kelsey Booth ('19)
Committee Member Ms Bianca Christophers ('14)
Committee Member Ms Lilly Devlin (’18)
Committee Member Ms Elizabeth Fowler (‘19)
Committee Member Mrs Jack Garnsworthy ('68, nee Roebuck)
Committee Member Ms Elizabeth Hook (’05)
Committee Member Ms Grace Mullins ('08)
Committee Member Ms Georgina Papworth ('11)
Nicole Devlin (‘90)
2020 will be one to remember - and not just because it is the 125th Anniversary of St Margaret’s. This year tested the resilience of all members of our community. The students showed themselves to be adaptable and strong, able to empathise with others. ‘Fear of missing out’ on some traditions obviously still impacted on everyone; however, every opportunity was seized to focus on the positives. Student leaders were willing to try new approaches as were their teachers. 2020 will be probably always be remembered through a negative lens. However, there were positives for all us.
There have been many silver linings in this time of crisis and there have been many opportunities for students to have a very positive school experience.
It was heartening to see that many people came to understand the important role teachers play in society. Remote or online learning at home reinforced the role of teacher, not just as caretakers of young people in our society, but because of the essential role they play in their education. At the beginning of the pandemic scare, teachers were willing to work at the frontline, face to face with daughters of essential workers, looking after their educational needs while their parents also fulfilled an essential role.
Parents who were at home with their daughters were able to observe teachers in their role and came to understand more about the high quality of teaching at St Margaret’s; the community continually expressed their gratitude for the commitment of the teachers to their daughters’ learning;
The ‘no parent on campus’ arrangement meant that many of our primary students grew in self-management and efficacy. The COVID crisis demonstrated that even the younger students can get to their classrooms all by themselves and carry their bags and musical instruments.
As Principal of the school, I had the opportunity to take a class. Returning to the classroom (albeit online) was a return to where my career began and it was like putting on a comfy pair of pyjamas and I loved it.
The skill level of our teachers in using technology increased exponentially throughout the lockdown period. We all got better at One Note, The POD, Microsoft Teams, PowerPoints and other applications. In addition to this, our parents became more familiar with our parent portal on the POD, as we used it as a major conduit for our communications.
Our students completed fewer assessments than any other group that I have seen in a 30 year career and had the opportunity to learn for the sake of increasing knowledge and understanding rather than just learning to complete the requirements of assessment; what a joyous opportunity.
We all saw each other more regularly via Microsoft Teams or Zoom, and we waved at each other constantly as we said good-bye. There was a lovely sense of friendliness and collegiality as we worked together online; we met pets and other family members – it all built community.
We were able to watch live streamed school events in the comfort of one’s own home.
Parents didn’t have to fight for a park on Parent Teacher Evenings which were now being conducted on Microsoft teams.
After the period of lockdown, many students realised how much they missed school. Other students realised just how much they enjoyed working by themselves; greater self-knowledge is always a positive thing.
Many students engaging in sport without spectators demonstrated greater commitment to the game and competition, not being distracted as they tried to see if parents were watching them or approving the nature of their play. 2020 saw some very positive student performances on the field and courts; we all observed the students as less inhibited without their parents present.
As a school we have a greater level of comfort of conducting meetings and events in different ways; our creativity was both tested and inspired while we reimagined our events. Some of this ‘reimagining’ will continue into our future operations and organisation.
One of the highlights of the year was the formal opening of the new Sports Precinct. We were able to hold a COVID safe plan for the event and the whole school was involved. Taking place in the new Philip Harris Gym, the Governor of Queensland and the Archbishop formally opened and dedicated the precinct. It is a most exciting development on the school campus and a wonderful boost to sport training and Health and PE classes at the school.
Thank you all for your continued interest in St Margaret’s. I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2021.
Per Volar Sunata
We recently spoke with St Margaret’s Archivist and Old Girl Bronwyn Perry.
How long have you been the St Margaret’s AGS Archivist?
The Archive Centre was established in 2005, thanks to generous assistance from the Old Girls’ Association, and I have been the School Archivist since then. Before that, I held the position of Head of the Library for 23 years and was also a student for six years, so I’ve spent many years absorbing the history of St Margaret’s. I also look after the archives of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent in Community House.
What would be the oldest piece of history / information in the archives?
Probably the oldest items are four photographs from 1904/5 taken at Eton High School at Nundah. The first Enrolment Register dates from 1906; unfortunately the older enrolment record from Nundah has not survived so we have no record of the students who attended the school between 1895 and 1905. Another early paper document is the 1908 Annual Report, handwritten by the second Headmistress, Miss Juliet Lyon. We also have a copy of the first school magazine, published in 1910. It was originally called the Eton High School Magazine; the following year the name changed to The Link.
The earliest uniform item is a blazer from 1916, embroidered with a rowing pocket awarded to Emily Gore. Our earliest middy uniform is from 1951 – apart from the starched collar, it looks very similar to what our students wear today.
Some other significant items include:
A silver Eton High School badge. It is at least 110 years old and one of the very few items we have from the early days of the school.
The engraved trowel used by Bishop Le Fanu to lay the Foundation Stone of the first permanent school building (West Wing) in 1927.
The McWhirter Cup for lifesaving. St Margaret’s first won the cup in 1933 and then another 24 times before the competition ceased in 1989. As we were the winning school in the final year, the Cup has remained here.
Thelma Gibson’s (School Captain 1925) World War 2 medals. Thelma served with the Army nursing service in Singapore in 1941 and returned in 1945 to assist with the repatriation of Australian prisoners-of-war.
And the most unusual treasure? A set of ‘jingle bells’ used by the 1951 Kindergarten class for their Christmas concert.
What are some of the challenges you face?
Mostly people think of archives as photographs and documents which are straightforward to file in standard albums and folders. But much of the collection consists of ‘objects’ – uniforms, badges, crockery, banners, trophies, architectural models – all different sizes and shapes. These are a challenge to store appropriately so that they are preserved for the future.
Photographs can be frustrating. Originally the school’s photographs were just put into envelopes or boxes with no identifying information so it’s been a long process trying to verify dates. Names are a bonus!
What sort of cataloguing system do you use? How do you find things?!
We use a searchable database program similar to a library catalogue. The record for each item includes things such as a description, significance, history, the name of the donor / provenance and its location in the archives.
How do you think technology has helped to preserve the school’s history?
Digitising the photo collection has ensured that the photographic history of the school will be preserved for future generations, as well as making it more accessible. There is no need to handle precious original photos once they’ve been scanned. Using photo editing software means we can often produce a copy that is even better than the original. With the help of Old Girl volunteers, all hard copy photographs from 1904 to 2000 have been scanned and we are now tackling slides and negatives. The volunteers have also entered all the records from the first Enrolment Register into a searchable database. Many of the early, and very fragile, documents have also been scanned. A project for the future is to digitise all editions of The Link.
What are the ideal storage / environmental conditions for archived items?
The best conditions for preservation are dust and pest free, consistent temperature and humidity, and low light levels. Where possible, individual items are placed into envelopes or folders and then into boxes, giving another layer of protection.
The Archive Centre has a collection of memorabilia and uniforms on display, and these need to be rotated every few months so they are not damaged by exposure to light and the environment.
How do you handle archived objects / records?
The archivists’ traditional white cotton gloves are good for handling objects but for textiles and paper items, nitrile gloves have a better grip. And gloves give better protection to the archivist’s hands when dealing with crumbling paper and rusting paper clips! Fragile photos and paper documents are stored flat in clear archival enclosures so they can be viewed without having to touch them. Textiles are wrapped or layered with tissue before storing in archive quality boxes.
Is there anything specific that you would like to ‘find’ out there in the St Margaret’s community that you don’t currently have on record.
Top of the list is the missing statue! It was a large statue of a Greek or Roman goddess, placed in the middle of Circular Drive by the Petrie family when they built Mooloomburram in 1886. It disappeared without trace sometime between 1925 and 1930.
A more hopeful quest is to locate photos from the school’s first overseas trip during the 1969/70 school holidays when Sister Jean Marie and Sister Joan escorted a small group of girls to Europe. The 1970 Link has a comprehensive report of the trip, but we don’t have any photos of the adventure.
If you would like to contact Bronwyn Perry, you can do so on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shea Morrison (’96) is co-founder of The Goodnight Co and Collaborative Media Group. Shea and her fellow co-founder, Danielle Knight, both working mums, started The Goodnight Co in 2015 to answer their own questions (and frustrations) about how to balance work and family commitments while nurturing the best versions of themselves and those around them.
Shea says: "As the co-founder of The Goodnight Co, I am on a mission to deliver a better, natural night's sleep for everyone. The brand has identified and developed effective, evidence-based ways to fall asleep, stay asleep and manage inevitable sleep disruptions."
Prior to founding The Goodnight Co and Collaborative Media Group, Shea worked in radio advertising, after graduating from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Business, Advertising and Public Relations. Always entrepreneurial, Shea has gained more than 20 years' experience with fast growth companies, including Austereo and Nova Entertainment.
Asked about her memories from school, Shea says that she really loved her time at St Margaret's, loving "everything about it (except maybe the bloomers under the sports tunic)"! Consistent with the sentiments of many St Margaret's Old Girls, Shea says it is the friendships she made at school which are among her fondest memories.
"I am still great friends with so many girls nearly 25 years later," Shea said.
As to the impact St Margaret's has had on where she is now, Shea says: "I feel that education is critical to making our way in today’s society, and what you put in is what you will get out of it. I am sure the structure and disciplines that I developed at St Margaret’s have helped shape my life in a positive way."
On Tuesday, 6 October 2020, at age 84, Mary passed away. Becoming the first woman to open a pharmacy at the age of 23, Mary was a formidable role model who truly made a difference for women and girls.
Mary was the eldest of three girls. Her parents valued the education of girls, which was unusual for that time. Inspired by her aunt’s independence and autonomy, Mary decided, at the age of 12, that she, too, would be a pharmacist.
Graduating as a pharmacist in 1955 at the age of 19, Mary set her sights on owning her own pharmacy. She achieved this goal in 1959 at the age of just 23 when she opened the Alexandra Pharmacy, on Brisbane’s Wickham Terrace, becoming the first woman to own a pharmacy in the Brisbane central business district.
In addition to her profession and Zonta, Mary was committed to the work of the Red Cross, the Brain Foundation, the Breast Cancer Foundation, the State workplace health and safety committee, the State Confederation of Commerce and Industry, UNIFEM, the Western Suburbs Wildlife Preservation Society and the Johnsonian Literary Club.
Mary joined the Zonta Club of Brisbane in December 1973 at the invitation of now Past International President Leneen Forde. Five years later, she was elected Club President and went on to serve as Area Director, chairman of various district committees, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.
She was elected to the Zonta International Board in 1994 and, for the next eight years, served in successive positions in the hierarchy until she was elected as International President in 2000, the third Australian to be elected to that position – and the second from the Zonta Club of Brisbane.
Mary went on to be named Telstra Business Woman of the Year in 1998 and in 1999, she was appointed to the Queensland Premier’s Council for Women, advising on women’s health and violence against women and children.
One of the eulogies given said the following: "Mary Magee was larger than life: clever and bold and bright. She was extremely accomplished, both professionally and personally. She was a shiny star and many people wanted to be in her orbit."
Mary was a woman of enormous ability, great integrity, high energy and intelligence, a leader who was ahead of her time. She was highly regarded by those who worked with her. Mary will be remembered fondly by all those who had the privilege to know her.
Mary’s contribution to the school magazine The Link, June 1950
LOWER FIVE A FORM ROOM
ON MONDAY MORNING ABOUT HALF-PAST EIGHT
THE FORM ROOM IS IN A TERRIBLE STATE
ALL THE BOOKS LEFT AND EVEN THE BROOM
WITH PAPERS AND RUBBISH ALL OVER THE ROOM
THE DAY GIRLS ARRIVE ABOUT QUARTER TO NINE
AND HAVE LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES TO GET INTO LINE
BUT THE BOARDERS ALL SCURRY AND DO THEIR BIT
WHILE THE DAY GIRLS STROLL IN GET THEIR BOOKS AND SIT
WHEN FIRST BELL GOES, NOTHING IS DONE
AND THE PREFECTS COME ROUND AND MAKE US RUN
ROLL CALL IS THROUGH, AND WE ALL GO IN
BUT THE ROOM STILL LOOKS LIKE A RUBBISH BIN
Mary was a formidable role model who will be forever missed.
May she rest in peace.
Isabelle Lascelles (Maxwell) sadly passed away in November 2019, aged 95. She was a fiercely independent woman who supported girls’ education. Born in Atherton in 1924, Isabelle was one of five children. She was educated and boarded at Blackheath College in Charters Towers and was one of fourteen students to complete her senior in Queensland. Isabelle attended Teachers College in Brisbane in 1941 and moved on to teach at Proserpine State School, then to Glennie in Toowoomba.
She was asked to take up a position at Blackheath, by the headmaster, Dr Mackenzie.
In 1946, Isabelle married John Lascelles, a grazier from Goorganga Station, Proserpine, where she had four children: three sons who attended Churchie and her daughter, Diana, who attended St Margaret’s.
After returning to teaching in the late 1960s, Isabelle was offered a position at St Margaret’s in 1969 and held the position of Head of Primary from the late 1970s through until 1988.
Upon her retirement, she moved from Clayfield up to Palmwoods, where she had a home built on a few acres and continued to live there until her death.
Well-travelled and having led a full life in retirement, Isabelle spoke proudly of St Margaret’s. She was very involved with her family and is survived by two of her sons, her daughter and four grandchildren.
Whilst the Old Girls' Association has not been able to hold many of their much-loved events this year, St Margaret’s has been delighted to run two Professional Women’s Networking breakfasts, albeit reimagined in a COVID-safe format. The Professional Women’s Network has been running since 2012, and the attendance and support of our Old Girls has been incredibly important to the success of the series.
We were delighted, on Thursday 8October, to welcome Caitlin McConnel, a St Margaret’s Old Girl, as our guest speaker. Caitlin McConnel was a boarder from 2003 to 2007 and was recently recognised in St Margaret’s 125th Anniversary Notable Old Girls project. Caitlin was also the guest speaker at the 2019 St Margaret's Speech Night and Prize Giving Ceremony.
Caitlin is currently a Senior Associate in the commercial litigation, restructuring and insolvency and agribusiness and food industry groups at Australian law firm Clayton Utz. In March 2020, Caitlin was recognised as one of the top 50 early-career lawyers in Australia, as an Australasian Lawyer 2020 Rising Star.
Caitlin spoke of her passion for the preservation of agricultural history and the advocacy of issues pertaining to Queensland's agricultural future, which stems from her rural upbringing. Alongside her work as a lawyer, Caitlin is also a sixth-generation grazier, and an historical spokesperson for her family, who live at Cressbrook Station near Toogoolawah. The McConnel family at Cressbrook, the oldest identified family business in Queensland and one of the oldest in Australia, will celebrate 180 years of custodianship in 2021.
Alongside her ‘day job’ as a Senior Lawyer at Clayton Utz, Caitlin is an inaugural Director of the Royal Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) Foundation, a Chairperson of the RNA Future Directions Committee and a Non-Executive Director of the Future Farmers Network.
Caitlin participated in many extra-curricular activities in her time at St Margaret’s, including music (trombone), the 2004 Music Tour to Europe, soccer, softball and athletics. Caitlin was also an avid rower, participating in the rowing exchange to St Margaret's College, Christchurch, in 2005, was a member of the St Margaret's 1st VIII in 2005, 2006 and 2007 (Head of the River Champions in 2005 and 2007), and was Captain of Boats in 2007.
Following graduation, Caitlin volunteered as a rowing coach at St Margaret's (2008 - 2012), whilst also competing in still water rowing at Commercial Rowing Club (2008), and surfboat rowing at Currumbin SLSC (2010 - 2012). In 2012, Caitlin represented Australia in the Queens Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in London as a member of the Australian surfboat rowing contingent, and as official spokesperson.
We thank Caitlin sincerely for continuing her connection to St Margaret’s and for her support of the Professional Women’s Network. If you would like to be kept informed of these events, and don’t currently receive the information, please don’t hesitate to contact the Development Office to ensure you are included in the future.
Whilst the 2020 Past Student Awards were unfortunately cancelled, nominations remain open for next year’s Awards. Please note that nominations received this year will remain valid for 2021.
The Past Student Awards have been established to both recognise the many achievements of St Margaret's Past Students, both professionally and personally. They are also used to celebrate the diverse achievements of Past Students and provide an opportunity to share stories of success. For further information and nomination forms, please follow this link.
Did you know the Flyer is available for viewing online? Follow this link to access the current and archived issues. Please contact the St Margaret's Development and Community Office to update your preferences and let us know if you would prefer to view the Flyer online in future.
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We are currently planning our 2021 Reunion events. Sadly we had to cancel our 2020 reunions due to the COVID pandemic, but we promised that we would do our very best to run these events in 2021 and we are delighted to announce that we will be running both our 2020 and 2021 Milestone Reunions from 23 – 25 July 2021.
10 Year Reunion – Class of 2010 – Friday 23 July 2021
10 Year Reunion – Class of 2011 – Friday 23 July 2021
20 Year Reunion – Class of 2000 – Friday 23 July 2021
20 Year Reunion – Class of 2001 – Friday 23 July 2021
30 Year Reunion - Class of 1990 – Friday 23 July 2021
30 Year Reunion – Class of 1991 – Friday 23 July 2021
40 Year Reunion – Class of 1980 – Saturday 24 July 2021
50 Year Reunion – Class of 1970 – Saturday 24 July 2021
60 Year Reunion – Class of 1960 – Saturday 24 July 2021
40 Year Reunion – Class of 1981 – Sunday 25 July 2021
50 Year Reunion – Class of 1971 – Sunday 25 July 2021
60 Year Reunion – Class of 1961 – Sunday 25 July 2021
VIP 60+ Year Reunion – Monday 26 July 2021
Melbourne Reunion - Friday 29 October 2021
Sydney Reunion -TBA
Save the Date communications will be sent out in January 2021 but please mark these dates in your diary.
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