As we commemorate 125 years of St Margaret’s, it is only fitting we honour the diverse and remarkable accomplishments of our past students. Late last year we commenced work on our 125 Notable Old Girls project, building on an endeavour initiated by the Old Girls’ Association in 2014 to celebrate 25 St Margaret’s Old Girls. Throughout the course of our anniversary year, we are adding 100 more past students to the esteemed group, celebrating the lives and careers of our alumni who are and always will be inspirational role models to the current and future generations of our St Margaret’s students.
Many of these women, particularly those who were educated at St Margaret’s during the early years, accomplished extraordinary things for their time. One of these is Louise McDonald who, in the 1920s, studied science at university after graduating from St Margaret’s. She did so during a period when not only was it a great feat for a woman to even study at university, but she studied a field that, even today almost 100 years on, remains largely male dominated. Louise was a pioneer for her time, paving the way for many St Margaret’s students to pursue a career in science.
Then, of course, there was Dr Carrie Shield (1907) who studied medicine in 1913 and became our school’s first doctor while Sal McConnel (1914) followed in her footsteps also studying medicine in 1915. Una Prentice (1931) was the first female law graduate of her cohort at the University of Queensland in 1938 and the first female admitted to the Queensland Bar, while Australian Olympic swimmer Denise Spencer (1947), who competed at two events in the 1948 Olympics, was credited by The Courier Mail for “setting the stage for women like Dawn Fraser, to dominate world swimming”.
It was these early pioneers who paved the way for our later Old Girls in their fields such as Dr Hannah-Gerti Krause (’85) who specialises in the field of urology and gynaecology and has sustained regular, self-funded volunteer medical missions in developing countries throughout Asia and Africa. Kate Gibson (’96) is another Old Girl doing remarkable work in the field of law, as an international lawyer appearing as counsel before the International Criminal Court in The Hague and then there is three-time Olympic swimmer Bronte Barratt OAM (’06).
There are many more stories just like these of St Margaret’s women who have achieved great things for their time, been leaders in their chosen fields, overcome adversity and demonstrated the values of a St Margaret’s girl.
Several of the stories of our 125 Notable past students have already been published on the school’s 125th anniversary website and you can read about the personal and professional journeys of these St Margaret’s women here.
Anyone wishing to nominate a St Margaret’s Old Girl for this project can do so by emailing the nominees name, alumni year and any other relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org.