11

From the President

2020 has been quite the year for us all. With milestones quietly celebrated at home, events held virtually and finding ways to connect with one another more important than ever, our Old Grammarians have been creative and resilient throughout this time and looked towards what comes next.

For our Year 12 Grammarians, completing their studies at Melbourne Girls Grammar this year, the future is particularly exciting. Some of these young women are 3rd, 4th or 5th generation Grammarians, and we loved hearing about their proud lineage at a school so special to their families.

The OG Committee has continued to find ways to support Old Grammarians finding new and innovative ways to reach out and connect. With virtual reunions and book clubs and as many creative Zooms as possible, the Committee has through this pandemic always kept the interests of all Grammarians front of mind.

Businesses this year have had to adapt to new circumstances, and for two Old Grammarians in rural Victoria overcoming COVID-19 was something they took in their stride.

The End of an Era

Each year, there are Grammarians in Year 12 who are the last of their generation to attend Melbourne Girls Grammar and who have long family connections with the School. This year School Historian, Pip O’Connor asked some of these students to reflect on their departure before they graduate.

Millie Bennetts - Fifth Generation

Belonging to a fifth generation family at Melbourne Girls Grammar brings my sisters and me a great sense of pride. My great, great grandmother, Ella Neuendorf (Priestly, 1912) commenced here in 1910. My great grandmother, Joan Sutherland (Neuendorf, 1933), enjoyed playing sports as a member of St Hilda’s House. Fast forward 110 years later, my sisters and I share the same passion for sport. It has been incredible to learn about the rich history of the School. As I finish my time here, I find myself reflecting upon the memories and I feel grateful to be a part of such a wonderful school community that allows women to grow and flourish, as it has done for my family. Although it saddens me to be leaving MGGS, I feel grateful to have contributed my part in sustaining the School’s heritage.

The End of an Era

Each year, there are Grammarians in Year 12 who are the last of their generation to attend Melbourne Girls Grammar and who have long family connections with the School. This year School Historian, Pip O’Connor asked some of these students to reflect on their departure before they graduate.

Millie Bennetts - Fifth Generation

Belonging to a fifth generation family at Melbourne Girls Grammar brings my sisters and me a great sense of pride. My great, great grandmother, Ella Neuendorf (Priestly, 1912) commenced here in 1910. My great grandmother, Joan Sutherland (Neuendorf, 1933), enjoyed playing sports as a member of St Hilda’s House. Fast forward 110 years later, my sisters and I share the same passion for sport. It has been incredible to learn about the rich history of the School. As I finish my time here, I find myself reflecting upon the memories and I feel grateful to be a part of such a wonderful school community that allows women to grow and flourish, as it has done for my family. Although it saddens me to be leaving MGGS, I feel grateful to have contributed my part in sustaining the School’s heritage.

The End of an Era

Each year, there are Grammarians in Year 12 who are the last of their generation to attend Melbourne Girls Grammar and who have long family connections with the School. This year School Historian, Pip O’Connor asked some of these students to reflect on their departure before they graduate.

Millie Bennetts - Fifth Generation

Belonging to a fifth generation family at Melbourne Girls Grammar brings my sisters and me a great sense of pride. My great, great grandmother, Ella Neuendorf (Priestly, 1912) commenced here in 1910. My great grandmother, Joan Sutherland (Neuendorf, 1933), enjoyed playing sports as a member of St Hilda’s House. Fast forward 110 years later, my sisters and I share the same passion for sport. It has been incredible to learn about the rich history of the School. As I finish my time here, I find myself reflecting upon the memories and I feel grateful to be a part of such a wonderful school community that allows women to grow and flourish, as it has done for my family. Although it saddens me to be leaving MGGS, I feel grateful to have contributed my part in sustaining the School’s heritage.

Sophie Hodge - Fourth Generation

Finishing the fourth generation of our family line at Melbourne Girls Grammar is quite the honour. My sisters, Amy (2015) and Laura (2017), our mother, Katharine Hodge (Creswell, 1982), our grandmother, Rosie Creswell (Dowling, 1956), and our great grandmother, Jessie Dowling (Blanch, 1919) who entered as a six year old in 1909, and I have all pursued our education within these same walls. The Principals’ portraits in the Drawing Room reveal the leadership under which my family has developed over the past 111 years. From the early days of Misses Mary and Edith Morris, Miss Ross, Miss Crone and to Dr Meath today, our school’s leaders have always pushed the limits of female education and my family has had the absolute privilege of being part of this journey. My great grandmother graduated at the time of the Spanish flu and here I am, a century later, graduating as a boarder during another global pandemic! My sisters and I hope that, one day (not quite yet), another generation will be added, making us all constituents of a very special five generation legacy.

Sophie Hodge - Fourth Generation

Finishing the fourth generation of our family line at Melbourne Girls Grammar is quite the honour. My sisters, Amy (2015) and Laura (2017), our mother, Katharine Hodge (Creswell, 1982), our grandmother, Rosie Creswell (Dowling, 1956), and our great grandmother, Jessie Dowling (Blanch, 1919) who entered as a six year old in 1909, and I have all pursued our education within these same walls. The Principals’ portraits in the Drawing Room reveal the leadership under which my family has developed over the past 111 years. From the early days of Misses Mary and Edith Morris, Miss Ross, Miss Crone and to Dr Meath today, our school’s leaders have always pushed the limits of female education and my family has had the absolute privilege of being part of this journey. My great grandmother graduated at the time of the Spanish flu and here I am, a century later, graduating as a boarder during another global pandemic! My sisters and I hope that, one day (not quite yet), another generation will be added, making us all constituents of a very special five generation legacy.

Sophie Hodge - Fourth Generation

Finishing the fourth generation of our family line at Melbourne Girls Grammar is quite the honour. My sisters, Amy (2015) and Laura (2017), our mother, Katharine Hodge (Creswell, 1982), our grandmother, Rosie Creswell (Dowling, 1956), and our great grandmother, Jessie Dowling (Blanch, 1919) who entered as a six year old in 1909, and I have all pursued our education within these same walls. The Principals’ portraits in the Drawing Room reveal the leadership under which my family has developed over the past 111 years. From the early days of Misses Mary and Edith Morris, Miss Ross, Miss Crone and to Dr Meath today, our school’s leaders have always pushed the limits of female education and my family has had the absolute privilege of being part of this journey. My great grandmother graduated at the time of the Spanish flu and here I am, a century later, graduating as a boarder during another global pandemic! My sisters and I hope that, one day (not quite yet), another generation will be added, making us all constituents of a very special five generation legacy.

Olivia Shand - Third Generation

Belonging to a family with a long history at the School has meant so much to me. It has been a great honour to follow in their footsteps. I feel it has brought me so much closer to them through the similar stories we share. I know that it has meant a lot to my grandparents for both their daughters and granddaughters to go here and to see that the culture of the School has not changed in the generations that have passed. As I come to the end of my schooling, I feel the School has prepared me for life outside the red bricks walls and has taught me to be independent and that anything is possible with determination.

Olivia Shand - Third Generation

Belonging to a family with a long history at the School has meant so much to me. It has been a great honour to follow in their footsteps. I feel it has brought me so much closer to them through the similar stories we share. I know that it has meant a lot to my grandparents for both their daughters and granddaughters to go here and to see that the culture of the School has not changed in the generations that have passed. As I come to the end of my schooling, I feel the School has prepared me for life outside the red bricks walls and has taught me to be independent and that anything is possible with determination.

Olivia Shand - Third Generation

Belonging to a family with a long history at the School has meant so much to me. It has been a great honour to follow in their footsteps. I feel it has brought me so much closer to them through the similar stories we share. I know that it has meant a lot to my grandparents for both their daughters and granddaughters to go here and to see that the culture of the School has not changed in the generations that have passed. As I come to the end of my schooling, I feel the School has prepared me for life outside the red bricks walls and has taught me to be independent and that anything is possible with determination.

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Beatrix Chirnside - Third Generation

I am very proud to be a third generation MGGS girl. I grew up listening to my grandmother, Caroline Dowling (Purbrick, 1959), and my mother, Sarah Chirnside (Dowling, 1982) sharing memories of school, and watching them enjoy long term school friendships. Now as I near the end of my time here, I too have strong memories and friendships to share. My grandmother has always maintained a strong connection with the School, being involved with the Old Grammarians and on the School Council. My mother, a strong, independent woman whom I admire immensely, attributes much of her sense of self to the education she received. From my mother’s and grandmother’s experiences, I know I will look back on my schooling with fond memories and much gratitude and will also enjoy ongoing support beyond the red brick walls.  

Beatrix Chirnside - Third Generation

I am very proud to be a third generation MGGS girl. I grew up listening to my grandmother, Caroline Dowling (Purbrick, 1959), and my mother, Sarah Chirnside (Dowling, 1982) sharing memories of school, and watching them enjoy long term school friendships. Now as I near the end of my time here, I too have strong memories and friendships to share. My grandmother has always maintained a strong connection with the School, being involved with the Old Grammarians and on the School Council. My mother, a strong, independent woman whom I admire immensely, attributes much of her sense of self to the education she received. From my mother’s and grandmother’s experiences, I know I will look back on my schooling with fond memories and much gratitude and will also enjoy ongoing support beyond the red brick walls.  

Claudine Knott - Third Generation

As I finish, I become the third member in my direct family line of Old Grammarians. I feel very fortunate to be part of a community that is such a rich and important part of both my personal and societal history. From age three, I eagerly awaited joining the pink House, Hensley, after hearing stories from my mother, Professor Harriet Knott (Hiscock, 1985) who was there when Hensley changed from white to pink. My grandmother, Helen Hiscock (Hadley, 1954), fondly recalls her friendships with the boarders at MGGS, trading vegemite sandwiches for Boston buns at recess. As I observe the strong values of ambition, kindness and passion in the female role models in my life, cultivated during their time at school here, I aspire to follow in their footsteps, fortified by the supportive community of Old Grammarians.

Claudine Knott - Third Generation

As I finish, I become the third member in my direct family line of Old Grammarians. I feel very fortunate to be part of a community that is such a rich and important part of both my personal and societal history. From age three, I eagerly awaited joining the pink House, Hensley, after hearing stories from my mother, Professor Harriet Knott (Hiscock, 1985) who was there when Hensley changed from white to pink. My grandmother, Helen Hiscock (Hadley, 1954), fondly recalls her friendships with the boarders at MGGS, trading vegemite sandwiches for Boston buns at recess. As I observe the strong values of ambition, kindness and passion in the female role models in my life, cultivated during their time at school here, I aspire to follow in their footsteps, fortified by the supportive community of Old Grammarians.

Katelin Bult - Third Generation

I entered the School with the memories of my grandmother, Norma Bult (Bradshaw, 1948), and my great aunts, aunties and cousins. Knowing I was following in their footsteps made me feel more a part of this School, and the shared experiences brought me even closer to my family. We all endured varying difficulties, whether it be a war for my grandmother or a pandemic for me, these have made us appreciate the community we belong to even more. Just as they did, I have cherished my time at MGGS and now, with excitement, I look forward to joining my relatives in becoming an Old Grammarian.

Katelin Bult - Third Generation

I entered the School with the memories of my grandmother, Norma Bult (Bradshaw, 1948), and my great aunts, aunties and cousins. Knowing I was following in their footsteps made me feel more a part of this School, and the shared experiences brought me even closer to my family. We all endured varying difficulties, whether it be a war for my grandmother or a pandemic for me, these have made us appreciate the community we belong to even more. Just as they did, I have cherished my time at MGGS and now, with excitement, I look forward to joining my relatives in becoming an Old Grammarian.

Katelin Bult - Third Generation

I entered the School with the memories of my grandmother, Norma Bult (Bradshaw, 1948), and my great aunts, aunties and cousins. Knowing I was following in their footsteps made me feel more a part of this School, and the shared experiences brought me even closer to my family. We all endured varying difficulties, whether it be a war for my grandmother or a pandemic for me, these have made us appreciate the community we belong to even more. Just as they did, I have cherished my time at MGGS and now, with excitement, I look forward to joining my relatives in becoming an Old Grammarian.

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Katie Bult, Year 12
Norma Bult (Bradshaw), Katie Bult's grandmother in 1945
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Katie Bult, Year 12
Norma Bult (Bradshaw), Katie Bult's grandmother in 1945
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Working Creatively in COVID-19 Times

Learning and working from home became the norm this year. Throughout 2020, the Old Grammarians Committee has continued to meet regularly on Zoom and the AGM was conducted virtually as well. We have aimed to remain connected with a new monthly OG Newsletter featuring events, stories and school news and through a range of community focused activities and virtual events supported through the School's Marketing and Community Engagement (M&CE) office.

We hosted a ‘virtual lunch’ via Zoom, when we welcomed Old Grammarians and MGGS staff for the presentation of the Emily Hensley Award to Natalie Molino (2008). Natalie spoke about her work in nutrition and health which was followed by a very interesting audience Q&A.  

To replace the reunion part of Celebration Day, the M&CE Office optimised our online community platform, MGGS Connect, to facilitate the 10, 20, 30 and 40 year virtual reunions. This has enabled our OGs to share old photos and memories online and has been a successful and creative way for our community to come together and reminisce about their school days during a time of physical distancing.

In May, we launched the Old Grammarians Book Club and the growing group has read a range of books with a focus on female authors and diverse genres. The Book Club hosted its first Sip & Share event via Zoom in September, with members enjoying a discussion about the historical novel Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon. We welcome new readers to the Club, whether occasional or devoted readers. For further information about how to get involved in the Old Grammarians or some of these events, we encourage you to contact the School via community@mggs.vic.edu.au.

Working Creatively in COVID-19 Times

Learning and working from home became the norm this year. Throughout 2020, the Old Grammarians Committee has continued to meet regularly on Zoom and the AGM was conducted virtually as well. We have aimed to remain connected with a new monthly OG Newsletter featuring events, stories and school news and through a range of community focused activities and virtual events supported through the School's Marketing and Community Engagement (M&CE) office.

We hosted a ‘virtual lunch’ via Zoom, when we welcomed Old Grammarians and MGGS staff for the presentation of the Emily Hensley Award to Natalie Molino (2008). Natalie spoke about her work in nutrition and health which was followed by a very interesting audience Q&A.  

To replace the reunion part of Celebration Day, the M&CE Office optimised our online community platform, MGGS Connect, to facilitate the 10, 20, 30 and 40 year virtual reunions. This has enabled our OGs to share old photos and memories online and has been a successful and creative way for our community to come together and reminisce about their school days during a time of physical distancing.

In May, we launched the Old Grammarians Book Club and the growing group has read a range of books with a focus on female authors and diverse genres. The Book Club hosted its first Sip & Share event via Zoom in September, with members enjoying a discussion about the historical novel Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon. We welcome new readers to the Club, whether occasional or devoted readers. For further information about how to get involved in the Old Grammarians or some of these events, we encourage you to contact the School via community@mggs.vic.edu.au.

Working Creatively in COVID-19 Times

Learning and working from home became the norm this year. Throughout 2020, the Old Grammarians Committee has continued to meet regularly on Zoom and the AGM was conducted virtually as well. We have aimed to remain connected with a new monthly OG Newsletter featuring events, stories and school news and through a range of community focused activities and virtual events supported through the School's Marketing and Community Engagement (M&CE) office.

We hosted a ‘virtual lunch’ via Zoom, when we welcomed Old Grammarians and MGGS staff for the presentation of the Emily Hensley Award to Natalie Molino (2008). Natalie spoke about her work in nutrition and health which was followed by a very interesting audience Q&A.  

To replace the reunion part of Celebration Day, the M&CE Office optimised our online community platform, MGGS Connect, to facilitate the 10, 20, 30 and 40 year virtual reunions. This has enabled our OGs to share old photos and memories online and has been a successful and creative way for our community to come together and reminisce about their school days during a time of physical distancing.

In May, we launched the Old Grammarians Book Club and the growing group has read a range of books with a focus on female authors and diverse genres. The Book Club hosted its first Sip & Share event via Zoom in September, with members enjoying a discussion about the historical novel Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon. We welcome new readers to the Club, whether occasional or devoted readers. For further information about how to get involved in the Old Grammarians or some of these events, we encourage you to contact the School via community@mggs.vic.edu.au.

Centenary of the Old Grammarians Scholarship

One hundred years ago, the Old Grammarians Society decided to raise funds for the establishment of a scholarship to assist a girl to attend the School. It is a measure of the strength of our school community that generations of OGs have, over the last 100 years, generously helped so many girls to become members of our school. Since its inception, the scholarship has taken different forms. In its first 40 years, responding to the two world wars, the Scholarship was awarded to the daughter of a deceased or incapacitated serviceman and was often known colloquially as the War Scholarship. From 1961, it was awarded to a daughter of an Old Grammarian and was thereafter known as the Old Grammarians Scholarship. From 2021, the OG Scholarship will be widened to include any girl who has had a relative at the School. We look forward to continuing to support this scholarship, recognising that it has at its heart our desire to offer to others the opportunity for the wonderful education we ourselves have received.

Resignation of Margaret Spring

It is not very often that any committee receives a resignation from a 98 year old!  

Margaret Spring (Colclough, 1939) resigned from our committee in August this year. She has moved from Melbourne to live in assisted care in Point Lonsdale near her daughter Amanda Hoysted (Spring, 1980). In her many years on the OG Committee and on the Parents’ Association before that, Marg was always there to help in every endeavour. In addition, she created and maintained an extensive card system for each school leaver, making every effort to keep up with name and address changes, marriages, births and deaths. These were first digitised in 1988 and then thoroughly checked against existing records again in 2011. Without Marg’s records, so much irretrievable information about our past school community would have been lost.  

Marg’s service to our school was recognised in the naming of the Margaret Spring Seminar Room on campus in 2010 and in the Year 9 Margaret Spring Award for Citizenship and Generosity of Spirit first awarded in 2004. To our committee and to many others, Marg has been an example of ageing gracefully and remaining involved with our community. She has attended our committee meetings until quite recently, complete with the agenda on her iPad. We thank her for all she has done for us and will very much miss her from our Melbourne activities.

Centenary of the Old Grammarians Scholarship

One hundred years ago, the Old Grammarians Society decided to raise funds for the establishment of a scholarship to assist a girl to attend the School. It is a measure of the strength of our school community that generations of OGs have, over the last 100 years, generously helped so many girls to become members of our school. Since its inception, the scholarship has taken different forms. In its first 40 years, responding to the two world wars, the Scholarship was awarded to the daughter of a deceased or incapacitated serviceman and was often known colloquially as the War Scholarship. From 1961, it was awarded to a daughter of an Old Grammarian and was thereafter known as the Old Grammarians Scholarship. From 2021, the OG Scholarship will be widened to include any girl who has had a relative at the School. We look forward to continuing to support this scholarship, recognising that it has at its heart our desire to offer to others the opportunity for the wonderful education we ourselves have received.

Resignation of Margaret Spring

It is not very often that any committee receives a resignation from a 98 year old!  

Margaret Spring (Colclough, 1939) resigned from our committee in August this year. She has moved from Melbourne to live in assisted care in Point Lonsdale near her daughter Amanda Hoysted (Spring, 1980). In her many years on the OG Committee and on the Parents’ Association before that, Marg was always there to help in every endeavour. In addition, she created and maintained an extensive card system for each school leaver, making every effort to keep up with name and address changes, marriages, births and deaths. These were first digitised in 1988 and then thoroughly checked against existing records again in 2011. Without Marg’s records, so much irretrievable information about our past school community would have been lost.  

Marg’s service to our school was recognised in the naming of the Margaret Spring Seminar Room on campus in 2010 and in the Year 9 Margaret Spring Award for Citizenship and Generosity of Spirit first awarded in 2004. To our committee and to many others, Marg has been an example of ageing gracefully and remaining involved with our community. She has attended our committee meetings until quite recently, complete with the agenda on her iPad. We thank her for all she has done for us and will very much miss her from our Melbourne activities.

Centenary of the Old Grammarians Scholarship

One hundred years ago, the Old Grammarians Society decided to raise funds for the establishment of a scholarship to assist a girl to attend the School. It is a measure of the strength of our school community that generations of OGs have, over the last 100 years, generously helped so many girls to become members of our school. Since its inception, the scholarship has taken different forms. In its first 40 years, responding to the two world wars, the Scholarship was awarded to the daughter of a deceased or incapacitated serviceman and was often known colloquially as the War Scholarship. From 1961, it was awarded to a daughter of an Old Grammarian and was thereafter known as the Old Grammarians Scholarship. From 2021, the OG Scholarship will be widened to include any girl who has had a relative at the School. We look forward to continuing to support this scholarship, recognising that it has at its heart our desire to offer to others the opportunity for the wonderful education we ourselves have received.

Resignation of Margaret Spring

It is not very often that any committee receives a resignation from a 98 year old!  

Margaret Spring (Colclough, 1939) resigned from our committee in August this year. She has moved from Melbourne to live in assisted care in Point Lonsdale near her daughter Amanda Hoysted (Spring, 1980). In her many years on the OG Committee and on the Parents’ Association before that, Marg was always there to help in every endeavour. In addition, she created and maintained an extensive card system for each school leaver, making every effort to keep up with name and address changes, marriages, births and deaths. These were first digitised in 1988 and then thoroughly checked against existing records again in 2011. Without Marg’s records, so much irretrievable information about our past school community would have been lost.  

Marg’s service to our school was recognised in the naming of the Margaret Spring Seminar Room on campus in 2010 and in the Year 9 Margaret Spring Award for Citizenship and Generosity of Spirit first awarded in 2004. To our committee and to many others, Marg has been an example of ageing gracefully and remaining involved with our community. She has attended our committee meetings until quite recently, complete with the agenda on her iPad. We thank her for all she has done for us and will very much miss her from our Melbourne activities.

Living and Working Rurally

The wonderful thing about being a part of a community like ours is hearing about broad and diverse stories of our Old Grammarians, and the opportunities they've pursued after school. Whilst our Old Grammarian community spans the globe, we reached out to two inspiring women who are living and working closer to home.

Jenny Gould (1985) and Megan Knapp (1985) are just two OGs who are living and working in rural and regional communities of Australia. We know that women are very much part of these communities whether they be in rural towns or on the land. They are tenacious, multi skilled, adaptable and resilient; they hold their communities together. Coincidently, both Jenny and Megan grew up in South Yarra on the opposite side of Punt Road and both have established their lives in the rural community of Mansfield in the High Country.


Jenny Gould (1985)

Jenny made the move to Mansfield after buying a small property on Lake Eildon, inspired by a snowboarding trip whilst working in a boutique real estate agency in Melbourne. Researching the real estate market in the local district, Jenny identified a gap in the marketing of properties and set about changing the scene with an all-female sales team in her agency, District Property Group.

Jenny said, “My most important learning at Merton Hall was that girls could do anything. This way of thinking did not seem to be too prevalent in Mansfield when we opened just over five years ago, with most ‘girls’ working in administration, retail or hospitality." 

“Now, several of the other local agencies are also run by women; there are many female business owners in town and an active networking group. Most of the people we employed over the past five years had not had much, or even any, experience in real estate, but the majority have excelled in their roles in the business. I try to pinpoint an individual’s skills and passions and tailor each role to the staff member so that everyone is playing to their strengths. The business (and the team) are constantly evolving.”  

After an initial panic reaction, with COVID-19 following on shortly after the bushfire State of Emergency in early 2020, Jenny realised that real estate in regional areas was going to boom with so many people able to work from home and very keen to escape Melbourne. She quickly set processes in place to ensure the safety of her team and customers, and even with Melbourne in lockdown she has been able to achieve record sales, both in volume and prices. Like all of us, Jenny found technology advantageous, but it is human contact, even via video, that is the key to constructing a positive property sale experience. “Most of my current team have all moved to the district from Melbourne, Sydney and even England, so they understand people’s concerns about such a big decision…we can all highly recommend life in the country or at least a weekend retreat!”


Megan Knapp (1985)

After Year 12, Megan turned work experience at GTV-9 into a production role for four years including Hey Hey It’s Saturday. The High Country called and for ten years Megan worked for the Lift Company at Mt Buller becoming the first female snow maker in Victoria. Taking advantage of a Cert IV Hospitality course at the newly built Alpine Institute, Megan fell in love with cooking. Experience in hatted and Michelin Star restaurants here in Australia and overseas led Megan to a six year role as Executive Chef at the Big Group Catering Company in Melbourne.

Megan has since returned to the rural community of Mansfield to run a number of kitchens at Mt Buller and in town. Identifying the need for high quality catering, The Kitchen Door was born in 2006. The Kitchen Door not only provides local employment but sources ingredients from local suppliers and local distributors.

In connecting with her local community, Megan has hosted numerous training programs for disadvantaged youth and special needs students and conducted cooking classes for MACE Mansfield. She has also hosted a local radio program, talking all things food, and been a Finalist Judge for the Murray River Culinary Challenge. Megan has been a huge contributor to the High Country Food and Wine events, including successful fundraisers for the local hospice and the Buy A Bale Ball for drought-stricken farmers. Megan’s social media presence displays her spectacular food photography.

Out of the adversity created by COVID-19 restrictions and losing most of her business, Megan has developed and produced a Heat and Eat range of preprepared meals that she sells through a local supermarket and is soon to deliver to Mt Buller, Benalla and Melbourne. Because of the production load, Megan is moving to a new kitchen in Mansfield that will also host cooking classes and facilitate a safe environment for those with special needs to learn the joys of cooking.

Living and Working Rurally

The wonderful thing about being a part of a community like ours is hearing about broad and diverse stories of our Old Grammarians, and the opportunities they've pursued after school. Whilst our Old Grammarian community spans the globe, we reached out to two inspiring women who are living and working closer to home.

Jenny Gould (1985) and Megan Knapp (1985) are just two OGs who are living and working in rural and regional communities of Australia. We know that women are very much part of these communities whether they be in rural towns or on the land. They are tenacious, multi skilled, adaptable and resilient; they hold their communities together. Coincidently, both Jenny and Megan grew up in South Yarra on the opposite side of Punt Road and both have established their lives in the rural community of Mansfield in the High Country.


Jenny Gould (1985)

Jenny made the move to Mansfield after buying a small property on Lake Eildon, inspired by a snowboarding trip whilst working in a boutique real estate agency in Melbourne. Researching the real estate market in the local district, Jenny identified a gap in the marketing of properties and set about changing the scene with an all-female sales team in her agency, District Property Group.

Jenny said, “My most important learning at Merton Hall was that girls could do anything. This way of thinking did not seem to be too prevalent in Mansfield when we opened just over five years ago, with most ‘girls’ working in administration, retail or hospitality." 

“Now, several of the other local agencies are also run by women; there are many female business owners in town and an active networking group. Most of the people we employed over the past five years had not had much, or even any, experience in real estate, but the majority have excelled in their roles in the business. I try to pinpoint an individual’s skills and passions and tailor each role to the staff member so that everyone is playing to their strengths. The business (and the team) are constantly evolving.”  

After an initial panic reaction, with COVID-19 following on shortly after the bushfire State of Emergency in early 2020, Jenny realised that real estate in regional areas was going to boom with so many people able to work from home and very keen to escape Melbourne. She quickly set processes in place to ensure the safety of her team and customers, and even with Melbourne in lockdown she has been able to achieve record sales, both in volume and prices. Like all of us, Jenny found technology advantageous, but it is human contact, even via video, that is the key to constructing a positive property sale experience. “Most of my current team have all moved to the district from Melbourne, Sydney and even England, so they understand people’s concerns about such a big decision…we can all highly recommend life in the country or at least a weekend retreat!”


Megan Knapp (1985)

After Year 12, Megan turned work experience at GTV-9 into a production role for four years including Hey Hey It’s Saturday. The High Country called and for ten years Megan worked for the Lift Company at Mt Buller becoming the first female snow maker in Victoria. Taking advantage of a Cert IV Hospitality course at the newly built Alpine Institute, Megan fell in love with cooking. Experience in hatted and Michelin Star restaurants here in Australia and overseas led Megan to a six year role as Executive Chef at the Big Group Catering Company in Melbourne.

Megan has since returned to the rural community of Mansfield to run a number of kitchens at Mt Buller and in town. Identifying the need for high quality catering, The Kitchen Door was born in 2006. The Kitchen Door not only provides local employment but sources ingredients from local suppliers and local distributors.

In connecting with her local community, Megan has hosted numerous training programs for disadvantaged youth and special needs students and conducted cooking classes for MACE Mansfield. She has also hosted a local radio program, talking all things food, and been a Finalist Judge for the Murray River Culinary Challenge. Megan has been a huge contributor to the High Country Food and Wine events, including successful fundraisers for the local hospice and the Buy A Bale Ball for drought-stricken farmers. Megan’s social media presence displays her spectacular food photography.

Out of the adversity created by COVID-19 restrictions and losing most of her business, Megan has developed and produced a Heat and Eat range of preprepared meals that she sells through a local supermarket and is soon to deliver to Mt Buller, Benalla and Melbourne. Because of the production load, Megan is moving to a new kitchen in Mansfield that will also host cooking classes and facilitate a safe environment for those with special needs to learn the joys of cooking.

Living and Working Rurally

The wonderful thing about being a part of a community like ours is hearing about broad and diverse stories of our Old Grammarians, and the opportunities they've pursued after school. Whilst our Old Grammarian community spans the globe, we reached out to two inspiring women who are living and working closer to home.

Jenny Gould (1985) and Megan Knapp (1985) are just two OGs who are living and working in rural and regional communities of Australia. We know that women are very much part of these communities whether they be in rural towns or on the land. They are tenacious, multi skilled, adaptable and resilient; they hold their communities together. Coincidently, both Jenny and Megan grew up in South Yarra on the opposite side of Punt Road and both have established their lives in the rural community of Mansfield in the High Country.


Jenny Gould (1985)

Jenny made the move to Mansfield after buying a small property on Lake Eildon, inspired by a snowboarding trip whilst working in a boutique real estate agency in Melbourne. Researching the real estate market in the local district, Jenny identified a gap in the marketing of properties and set about changing the scene with an all-female sales team in her agency, District Property Group.

Jenny said, “My most important learning at Merton Hall was that girls could do anything. This way of thinking did not seem to be too prevalent in Mansfield when we opened just over five years ago, with most ‘girls’ working in administration, retail or hospitality." 

“Now, several of the other local agencies are also run by women; there are many female business owners in town and an active networking group. Most of the people we employed over the past five years had not had much, or even any, experience in real estate, but the majority have excelled in their roles in the business. I try to pinpoint an individual’s skills and passions and tailor each role to the staff member so that everyone is playing to their strengths. The business (and the team) are constantly evolving.”  

After an initial panic reaction, with COVID-19 following on shortly after the bushfire State of Emergency in early 2020, Jenny realised that real estate in regional areas was going to boom with so many people able to work from home and very keen to escape Melbourne. She quickly set processes in place to ensure the safety of her team and customers, and even with Melbourne in lockdown she has been able to achieve record sales, both in volume and prices. Like all of us, Jenny found technology advantageous, but it is human contact, even via video, that is the key to constructing a positive property sale experience. “Most of my current team have all moved to the district from Melbourne, Sydney and even England, so they understand people’s concerns about such a big decision…we can all highly recommend life in the country or at least a weekend retreat!”


Megan Knapp (1985)

After Year 12, Megan turned work experience at GTV-9 into a production role for four years including Hey Hey It’s Saturday. The High Country called and for ten years Megan worked for the Lift Company at Mt Buller becoming the first female snow maker in Victoria. Taking advantage of a Cert IV Hospitality course at the newly built Alpine Institute, Megan fell in love with cooking. Experience in hatted and Michelin Star restaurants here in Australia and overseas led Megan to a six year role as Executive Chef at the Big Group Catering Company in Melbourne.

Megan has since returned to the rural community of Mansfield to run a number of kitchens at Mt Buller and in town. Identifying the need for high quality catering, The Kitchen Door was born in 2006. The Kitchen Door not only provides local employment but sources ingredients from local suppliers and local distributors.

In connecting with her local community, Megan has hosted numerous training programs for disadvantaged youth and special needs students and conducted cooking classes for MACE Mansfield. She has also hosted a local radio program, talking all things food, and been a Finalist Judge for the Murray River Culinary Challenge. Megan has been a huge contributor to the High Country Food and Wine events, including successful fundraisers for the local hospice and the Buy A Bale Ball for drought-stricken farmers. Megan’s social media presence displays her spectacular food photography.

Out of the adversity created by COVID-19 restrictions and losing most of her business, Megan has developed and produced a Heat and Eat range of preprepared meals that she sells through a local supermarket and is soon to deliver to Mt Buller, Benalla and Melbourne. Because of the production load, Megan is moving to a new kitchen in Mansfield that will also host cooking classes and facilitate a safe environment for those with special needs to learn the joys of cooking.

Article written by

Trudie Horsfall (1976)

President, Old Grammarians Society

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