I wrote this article that was published in The St Vincent's College Annual at the end of 2003 after I had returned to my Alma Mater as a member of staff. St Vincent's or Vinnies was established in 1958.
After recently reading a history of the College I was reminded of my little article which I located on my hard drive. I am sharing it to my blog in case my descendants may wish to read it in future years as my blog is preserved here on The Australian Web Archive on Trove.
The naughtiest girl again
Returning to my Alma Mater nearly fifty years after my Mother deposited me in the care of the Sisters of Charity, as a five-year old in 1954, has been quite an experience. I am still the naughty girl who left Vinnies in 1965 with a reference from Sister Reparata that stated “With maturity Jill is capable of doing well”. I returned, a gray-haired matron, who has gained physical but not mental maturity. I did leave St. Vincents, however, instilled with strong values that have guided me throughout my life.
|Facade of the College on Victoria Street|
Ghosts from the past leap out to grab me as I turn corners, memories of characters and events are sparked by random comments from colleagues. The School Library, my workplace this year, sits over the site of the grotto where we were photographed as infants and where we climbed and played during breaks. I remember the fuss when an infant mate, Helen, knocked over and smashed the statue of Our Lady and the distress of her father, the local delicatessen owner, who had to pay for an expensive replacement.
|St Vincent's College Infants at The Grotto - 1956|
The arrival of technology has caused a metamorphosis in my infants classrooms, they now house the IT department. The beautiful new primary school where, in 1958, we wore slippers to protect the polished floors is gone, so too is the 1960’s science block where one of the few lay teachers, Mrs. Kennedy, conducted her experiments.
I would definitely be more suited to the style of education at St. Vincents today where students are encouraged to actively participate in class discussions. Although I rarely read a set text and we were not allowed to touch the treasured tomes on the library shelves, I left Vinnies with a love of reading which I have tried to imbue in our students this year. Thankfully our students have a broad range of young adult literature at their disposal whilst I had to make do with Blyton’s “The naughtiest girl” series.
|Boarders - 1965 - we all wore fawn pinafores over our uniforms|
As we arrived and left Vinnies each day we “had to pay a visit” to the College Chapel. Although there was no video surveillance in my time the spies in the adjoining convent always knew if some harried student had overlooked her visit. The College Chapel was the focus of our life with Friday Benediction and regular compulsory Confessions.
|Our entrance to the school with the chapel on the left - woe betide those who didn't pay a visit|
|Posed outside the Chapel on First Communion Day|
|With Leonie, my dancing partner|
As I sat on the stage at the 2003 Speech Day I reflected on my days on the College and realised that “Flow’rs and sunshine” did cheer my pathway at Vinnies or, as Sister Mark would have said, am I “looking at the past through rose-coloured spectacles?”
|St Vincents College - Class of '65|
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