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From the President

As remote learning unfolded, we watched with admiration the leadership of our Principal, Dr Toni Meath, and her Executive Team as they steered the School through new and challenging territory. From the Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre to Year 12, classes were swiftly moved online.

We saw dedication from the teaching and support staff, ensuring that the whole School Community could stay connected and thrive with remote learning.

Many of us have been in caretaker mode, looking out for immediate and extended family, neighbours, colleagues and local communities. It was a challenging summer and it is with steely resolve that we are now living through a worldwide pandemic. We certainly want to acknowledge those Old Grammarians both here in Australia and around the world, who are at the coalface of working with COVID-19 – the nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and government health specialists. Their selfless work is so important to our community.

OG News

Like everyone else, we have had to put on hold our events for the time being. The OGS Committee is working closely with the Community Office to ensure that as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to organise some of the annual events that our community enjoys.

Read news from some of our Old Grammarian branches here.

If you haven’t already created your profile on MGGS Connect, please consider doing so as a way to stay connected with each other and with the School.

DJ Ross Window Appeal

In 2019, the Old Grammarians Society Committee commissioned a chapel window to commemorate the life and service of Dorothy Jean Ross, Principal from 1939 – 1955. This continues the tradition of commissioning dedicated windows of the School’s principals for the Chapel of St Luke.

We are very grateful for the support of donations for this project, particularly the generosity of those OGs who were students during Miss Ross’s time. Please click here to read more about the Appeal and view some photos of the completed window. 

OG News

Like everyone else, we have had to put on hold our events for the time being. The OGS Committee is working closely with the Community Office to ensure that as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to organise some of the annual events that our community enjoys.

Read news from some of our Old Grammarian branches here.

If you haven’t already created your profile on MGGS Connect, please consider doing so as a way to stay connected with each other and with the School.

DJ Ross Window Appeal

In 2019, the Old Grammarians Society Committee commissioned a chapel window to commemorate the life and service of Dorothy Jean Ross, Principal from 1939 – 1955. This continues the tradition of commissioning dedicated windows of the School’s principals for the Chapel of St Luke.

We are very grateful for the support of donations for this project, particularly the generosity of those OGs who were students during Miss Ross’s time. Please click here to read more about the Appeal and view some photos of the completed window. 

OG News

Like everyone else, we have had to put on hold our events for the time being. The OGS Committee is working closely with the Community Office to ensure that as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to organise some of the annual events that our community enjoys.

Read news from some of our Old Grammarian branches here.

If you haven’t already created your profile on MGGS Connect, please consider doing so as a way to stay connected with each other and with the School.

DJ Ross Window Appeal

In 2019, the Old Grammarians Society Committee commissioned a chapel window to commemorate the life and service of Dorothy Jean Ross, Principal from 1939 – 1955. This continues the tradition of commissioning dedicated windows of the School’s principals for the Chapel of St Luke.

We are very grateful for the support of donations for this project, particularly the generosity of those OGs who were students during Miss Ross’s time. Please click here to read more about the Appeal and view some photos of the completed window. 

Gilman Jones Scholarship

This annual scholarship was established by the Old Grammarians in 1942 to honour the memory of Kathleen Gilman Jones, Headmistress from 1916-1938. The 2019 award has been shared equally between the two students who attained ATAR study scores of 99.85, Bahaar (Gaia Charan) Bahaar and Rachel Chen.

Bahaar combined an excellent academic record with outstanding achievements outside the classroom, particularly in her role as Captain of Community Action and Service. She participated in many co-curricular activities for which she received House Colours and a Gold Field Award.

Rachel’s outstanding results were combined with her position as Captain of Music. She also gave generously of her time and energy at school and House level and was awarded a Gold Field Award in 2018 and House Colours. Both Bahaar and Rachel have commenced a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University.

We congratulate them on these outstanding school records and wish them both much success in the future.

Gilman Jones Scholarship

This annual scholarship was established by the Old Grammarians in 1942 to honour the memory of Kathleen Gilman Jones, Headmistress from 1916-1938. The 2019 award has been shared equally between the two students who attained ATAR study scores of 99.85, Bahaar (Gaia Charan) Bahaar and Rachel Chen.

Bahaar combined an excellent academic record with outstanding achievements outside the classroom, particularly in her role as Captain of Community Action and Service. She participated in many co-curricular activities for which she received House Colours and a Gold Field Award.

Rachel’s outstanding results were combined with her position as Captain of Music. She also gave generously of her time and energy at school and House level and was awarded a Gold Field Award in 2018 and House Colours. Both Bahaar and Rachel have commenced a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University.

We congratulate them on these outstanding school records and wish them both much success in the future.

Gilman Jones Scholarship

This annual scholarship was established by the Old Grammarians in 1942 to honour the memory of Kathleen Gilman Jones, Headmistress from 1916-1938. The 2019 award has been shared equally between the two students who attained ATAR study scores of 99.85, Bahaar (Gaia Charan) Bahaar and Rachel Chen.

Bahaar combined an excellent academic record with outstanding achievements outside the classroom, particularly in her role as Captain of Community Action and Service. She participated in many co-curricular activities for which she received House Colours and a Gold Field Award.

Rachel’s outstanding results were combined with her position as Captain of Music. She also gave generously of her time and energy at school and House level and was awarded a Gold Field Award in 2018 and House Colours. Both Bahaar and Rachel have commenced a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University.

We congratulate them on these outstanding school records and wish them both much success in the future.

International Women's Day 2020

The annual International Women’s Day Breakfast was celebrated on 6 March. Guest speaker Camilla Bachet (2001) the inaugural Emily Hensley Awardee, spoke to a combined audience of students, parents, staff and OGs.

She discussed her career as one of the few women in her chosen field of engineering, as well as her experiences as a humanitarian engineer on missions in Bangladesh and Nepal. “Choose a career path that allows you to do the things you enjoy”, was the advice she gave to the audience. Many described her address and her career as inspiring.

International Women's Day 2020

The annual International Women’s Day Breakfast was celebrated on 6 March. Guest speaker Camilla Bachet (2001) the inaugural Emily Hensley Awardee, spoke to a combined audience of students, parents, staff and OGs.

She discussed her career as one of the few women in her chosen field of engineering, as well as her experiences as a humanitarian engineer on missions in Bangladesh and Nepal. “Choose a career path that allows you to do the things you enjoy”, was the advice she gave to the audience. Many described her address and her career as inspiring.

International Women's Day 2020

The annual International Women’s Day Breakfast was celebrated on 6 March. Guest speaker Camilla Bachet (2001) the inaugural Emily Hensley Awardee, spoke to a combined audience of students, parents, staff and OGs.

She discussed her career as one of the few women in her chosen field of engineering, as well as her experiences as a humanitarian engineer on missions in Bangladesh and Nepal. “Choose a career path that allows you to do the things you enjoy”, was the advice she gave to the audience. Many described her address and her career as inspiring.

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Emily Hensley Award 2019 

The Emily Hensley Award Selection Committee was, again, very impressed with the quality and diversity of applications received. Natalie Molino (2008) was chosen as the 2019 Emily Hensley Award recipient. Natalie was an avid skier and rower at school, and Mungo House Captain. She pursued her passion for food sustainability and health, studying a Bachelor of Biomedicine and a Master of Public Health at the University of Melbourne believing in the power of food to inspire positive change. At 27 years old, Natalie co-launched the Sandro Demaio Foundation and today is its Executive Director. The Foundation’s aim is to transform our food system to create a healthier and more equitable future. Natalie has shown courage in working on unpopular issues such as obesity and diet-related diseases. She has spent time in Oslo working on sustainable food policies with the United Nations and with the Norwegian Government. Her colleague and school friend, Jessica Renzella (2008), says “Natalie is an inspiring human. She works every day for the advancement of all.” Congratulations Natalie.

Emily Hensley Award 2019 

The Emily Hensley Award Selection Committee was, again, very impressed with the quality and diversity of applications received. Natalie Molino (2008) was chosen as the 2019 Emily Hensley Award recipient. Natalie was an avid skier and rower at school, and Mungo House Captain. She pursued her passion for food sustainability and health, studying a Bachelor of Biomedicine and a Master of Public Health at the University of Melbourne believing in the power of food to inspire positive change. At 27 years old, Natalie co-launched the Sandro Demaio Foundation and today is its Executive Director. The Foundation’s aim is to transform our food system to create a healthier and more equitable future. Natalie has shown courage in working on unpopular issues such as obesity and diet-related diseases. She has spent time in Oslo working on sustainable food policies with the United Nations and with the Norwegian Government. Her colleague and school friend, Jessica Renzella (2008), says “Natalie is an inspiring human. She works every day for the advancement of all.” Congratulations Natalie.

Prue Venables (1970)

We congratulate ceramicist Prue Venables on her appointment as the 9th ADC Living Treasure, Master of Australian Craft. Prue’s pathway started with a BSc (Honours) Zoology, University of Melbourne, followed by a Harrow Diploma of Studio Pottery, London and then a MA Fine Ceramics, RMIT. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society Arts, UK, and a Member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

This Award is a wonderful honour and a fitting recognition of her achievements in the world of ceramics. A book on her life and work was published as part of her award.

Prue Venables (1970)

We congratulate ceramicist Prue Venables on her appointment as the 9th ADC Living Treasure, Master of Australian Craft. Prue’s pathway started with a BSc (Honours) Zoology, University of Melbourne, followed by a Harrow Diploma of Studio Pottery, London and then a MA Fine Ceramics, RMIT. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society Arts, UK, and a Member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

This Award is a wonderful honour and a fitting recognition of her achievements in the world of ceramics. A book on her life and work was published as part of her award.

Old Grammarian Experiences during the Pandemic

Throughout Australia and indeed the world, our Old Grammarians have experienced the effects of COVID-19. We always love to hear news of Old Grammarians, and enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about how they have fared, and the lives they now lead.

These quotes gathered from their time in isolation show the broad range of experiences we’ve had during this time. Use the arrows on the left and right hand sides below to read about the diverse experiences of our Old Grammarians.

Old Grammarian Experiences during the Pandemic

Throughout Australia and indeed the world, our Old Grammarians have experienced the effects of COVID-19. We always love to hear news of Old Grammarians, and enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about how they have fared, and the lives they now lead.

These quotes gathered from their time in isolation show the broad range of experiences we’ve had during this time. Use the arrows on the left and right hand sides below to read about the diverse experiences of our Old Grammarians.

Old Grammarian Experiences during the Pandemic

Throughout Australia and indeed the world, our Old Grammarians have experienced the effects of COVID-19. We always love to hear news of Old Grammarians, and enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about how they have fared, and the lives they now lead.

These quotes gathered from their time in isolation show the broad range of experiences we’ve had during this time. Use the arrows on the left and right hand sides below to read about the diverse experiences of our Old Grammarians.

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Ben and I run Texas Angus in Northern NSW, usually selling around 250 bulls across Australia. As a result of COVID-19, we are currently home schooling our three teenage children since their Queensland boarding schools are closed. Our business and life has been more affected by Australia’s worst drought in history, than by COVID-19. The pandemic, however, the pandemic has presented new challenges. Juggling three children with online learning and heading into our busiest time - the bull selling season - has seen exponential internet data usage and connection issues. The pandemic has changed how we sell our 160 bulls at auction this year, incorporating an online selling platform to accommodate buyers who cannot physically come on the day. Hopefully, schools will reopen soon as neither Ben nor I are cut out for teaching and we both have a new-found appreciation for teachers!

Wendy Mayne (Lees, 1989)

I am a pilot with Qantas Airways on the B737, and I have never seen our industry affected like this before. Not even SARS or 9/11 changed the flying world this much. Over 90% of our pilots have been stood down with more to come. We are working on a skeleton crew and relying on flying dictated by the government for only essential travellers. This has just recently been revised to be about 2% of our usual workload. The skies are quiet, and airports are virtually empty except for a large presence from the Federal Police and Border Security who meet all aircraft arrivals. Customs style forms and declarations for self isolation are signed and witnessed. Before you leave the airport, you are briefed as to an imminent check up from the Police over the following 14 days.

Skye Talbot (Campbell, 1995)

2018-19 drought conditions have been very difficult for farming in our area. Many farming enterprises desperately needed their water entitlements to be fulfilled, however, the available water flowed passed the farms to South Australia. Much of this precious resource, if not utilised while flowing south, ended up out to sea. Recently, some autumn rain has fallen, building hope for the forthcoming season. Now 2020 has brought coronavirus to our shores, although in the Deniliquin area we are blessed because to date there have been no confirmed cases. Our local community is encouraged to ‘stay home’ except for essentials needs, and to follow social distancing rules. We miss our families and friends spread near and far, but we are grateful for where we live, surrounded by beautiful green paddocks with animals grazing and birds singing. May the rain continue to fall and us all remain healthy.

Belinda Whittakers (Park, 1965)

Veterinarians are well versed in biosecurity and the need for regular, thorough hand washing. Working with camels in the Middle East gave me some insight with the presence of MERS, a camel disease caused by another coronavirus. Veterinary services are regarded as essential, to ensure livestock, companion animals and wildlife continue to get the care they need. The need for farm visits continues, but animal handling and treatment is severely hampered by the necessary requirement of social distancing. These are difficult times for all. We must all wash our hands well and regularly! Control of this disease is a team effort. Good luck OGs! We’re all going to need it!

Jane Vaughan (1983)

I had started a new degree at Melbourne University, moving to live at Ormond College; it was the culmination of dreams and hard work. I was disappointed to come home prematurely, leaving what was set to be a great year. Home is our farm 40km out of Deniliquin and it is here that I am isolating with my two younger brothers and my parents. I feel lucky that COVID-19 has not significantly impacted our family in terms of income. Whilst I feel fortunate for the space and freedom I have on the property, I am facing constraints regarding internet connectivity and speed that make it harder for me to access learning materials. Having been at boarding school since I was 13, it has been nice to spend time on the farm, playing with my new puppy and cooking.

Isabelle Dudley (2018)

We’re lucky the development industry is not directly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, but we know that cascading effects are likely to cause a general market decline over time. Last week we [Tomkinson Group] asked our staff to consider going back to half time and half pay to make the work and the cash flow last long enough to ride out the crisis. For me the COVID-19 silver lining has been a company-wide collective agreement to temporary contract amendments, and for me that is more fulfilling than any dividends or profit. We have all thrown our lot in together and we will come out the other side better for it – not necessarily wealthier, but better.

Andrea Tomkinson (1983)

While my heart and prayers are with those people all around the world, I do feel lucky to work from home and play my part in the situation. Working in a health company, I feel obligated to be proactive in managing what rests in my hands and to look after the health of my colleagues, families and the community. We see how life can be vulnerable, but we also see the power behind all of us as global citizens.

Sally Shen (2012)

Sometime before 6.45am in the pre-dawn light, I awaken, nudge myself to arise and then pull on my non-too glamorous clothes and head out the door, down the paddock and through the gate to walk the horse trails. There is not a soul about at this hour. I reconnect with nature and feel so thankful that I live where I do in Tasmania, in these strange times of isolation, with space around me and glorious fresh unpolluted air. It is a time for reflection and gratitude for the life I have lived, together with my husband, having raised two beautiful children who are now each raising their own two children. Sadly, I can’t see them at the moment but I am grateful for the technology that allows us to communicate with them.

Robyn Jerram (Callow, 1965)

I live with my family on our 8000 hectare mixed farming enterprise near West Wyalong, NSW. In an average year we produce dry cereals such as wheat, barley and canola, and Merino sheep and Hereford cattle. Unfortunately it’s been a few years since we’ve enjoyed even an average year given the drought. So far, 2020 is looking far more promising thanks to some wonderful rain events. The pandemic is not having too much of an effect on us as farming is an essential service and it’s business as usual. We have plenty of space to self isolate in! The only real impact has been remote learning for our girls (Alexandra, 9 and Georgina, 7) but they seem to have adjusted to this with minimal disruption. To date, we have not had any cases in our local shire so we hope it stays that way.

Emily Patton (Ebstein, 1991)

2020 has been tough and we will never forget this in our lifetime. Because home and heritage are important, after graduating from Hong Kong Polytechnic University I moved back to Taiwan and started my tea branding business ’LIL & TEA’ in 2018, which has been a hard, though exciting, challenge. Before COVID-19, each day I would spend time exercising before work. Then, I would invite potential customers and business partners for ‘tea-tasting’ or visit tea stores. In this critical time, we are making good use of technologies – arranging online meetings to connect with business partners, releasing seasonal promotions and optimising our online marketing strategies. “Every coin has two sides”, and so much of our happiness depends on the perspectives we choose to look at the world. Life is always challenging and tough! Spreading positivity and having a healthy lifestyle is important.

Lily Lee (2011)

Embracing the reclusion, I’ve been reading books, writing, playing with our indoor cats, editing fairytales for an anthology, and turning a portico into a walk-through terrarium of moss and fern. I’m learning to identify native bush bees by sight and sound, while cultivating bee-loving flowers. Soon I’ll be restoring our antique dollhouse and designing a model train-set with adjoining puppet theatre. Finally, I’m aiming to make my music more digitally accessible, since most of my albums have fallen out of print, and I no longer tour. Solitude is a chance to weave all these threads (indoor-outdoor, cyber-tangible) into a multimedia fairyland.

Louisa John-Krol (1983)

Lauchie and I manage a 1000 hectare intensive mixed enterprise property near Cressy in Tasmania. We produce 11 enterprises and this reduces risk as when one is down the other usually isn’t. COVID-19 changed all this with every agribusiness enterprise potentially under threat. For us, border closures and supply chain risks were of great concern, particularly the risk of processors closing. The threat appeared at the end of our harvest which was a relief, but we watched the looming freight issues closely. We reduced our stock numbers immediately and continue to manage our risk profile closely. As a farming family, we feel privileged in a ‘lockdown situation’ to live and work where we do. Farming always has an element of isolation, we can run our business day to day and our children have plenty of space, so life continues as normal for now.

Sarah Cole (Wallace, 1995)

With the birth of our first child our experience of self isolation has been a relatively positive one. With little to do it's safe to say it has been a productive 'nesting period'! There is some uncertainty of when our baby will get to meet his grandparents, aunties and uncles. Except for this small issue we feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be safe and healthy. We are moved by the challenges of the greater community and only hope everyone can resume their life with friends and family as soon as it is safe.

Grace Byrnes (2006)

Our family, like most, are working remotely in our isolation bubble. For us, this looks like one full time worker, one part time worker and a 20 month old in a townhouse, with lots of playdough and baking activities! The experience, whilst trying at times, has actually been fantastic for my husband and daughter’s bonding, and we have been spending a lot more time on FaceTime calls with my husband’s family in England which they love. It’s definitely made me make more effort with my friends who live further away, and we’re starting a weekly cooking competition where we are given a list of ingredients we need to buy, and then on Sunday night we all jump on a Zoom call and are given the recipe for the night, and an hour to cook it! The winner is the person who makes the dish look most like the picture. And amongst all of this, I am happily nesting in preparation for our second baby, due end of September, a nice silver lining to everything!

Lilli Fender (2008)

February and early March were a period of frantic activity, as we tried to predict what we would need to keep our veterinary team safe. My husband and I are vets, but although I’m an equine vet, I have been helping with some management at Southpaws, which is Charles's veterinary specialty hospital in Moorabbin. We transitioned to a clientless veterinary hospital quite early on. When an animal is referred, the history is taken over the phone or via Zoom. The animal is then collected and examined sans owner. Decisions are made with the owner (remotely) regarding possible treatment options. Other changes have been the extra cleaning in an already scrupulously clean hospital including handles, doorknobs, computers and iPads. Our wonderful team appear to be coping really well, but don’t forget to give your veterinarian some love during these hard times. We’re working hard to ensure our furry mates are okay and can continue to help us through this period.

Kate Savage (1982)

As a first year science student at Melbourne University, transitioning to online learning, although challenging, has overall been a positive experience. The University has gone to great lengths to ensure our connection with the work and the community around us. Nightly Zooms with friends are a regular occurrence with online games such as Uno, Pictionary and even Club Penguin which has had a major resurgence since I was 10! Home has been an adjustment with everyone there, but we have been making the most of the time together, including themed nights. We’ve had a PowerPoint party night, film character Friday, tradie Tuesday and some good old game nights with puzzles and charades. I am lucky to be healthy and in a stable position at home, so am trying to channel all my energy into the positives.

Lexi Kelsall (2019)
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Like everyone else, we have had to put on hold our events for the time being. The OGS Committee is working closely with the Community Office to ensure that as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to welcome you to celebrate our milestones together again.

Like everyone else, we have had to put on hold our events for the time being. The OGS Committee is working closely with the Community Office to ensure that as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to welcome you to celebrate our milestones together again.

Like everyone else, we have had to put on hold our events for the time being. The OGS Committee is working closely with the Community Office to ensure that as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to welcome you to celebrate our milestones together again.

Article written by

Trudie Horsfall (1976)

President, Old Grammarians Society

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