School Founded By Sisters Of The Church
Fifty years ago yesterday the first Sisters of the Church of England landed in Hobart from Kilburn, England. They founded the Collegiate School, in Harrington St., Hobart, in October 1892. The present school, shown above, is situated in Macquarie St.
THheCollegiate School, Hobart, which will hold Jubilee celebrations this week, was the first school opened in Australia by the Sisters of the Church of England, from Kilburn, England. The first band of seven Sisters landed in Hobart 50 years ago yesterday.
The school was opened in the Synod Hall. Harrington St., as an elementary school for girls and infants, on October 3 1892, the anniversary of the birth of the then Bishop of Tasmania (the Rt Rev Dr H. H. Montgomery), who with the then Dean of Hobart (the Very Rev C. L. Dundas) was responsible for the invitation to the Sisters to found an educational institution. Of the original seven Sisters, Sister Phyllis and Sister Hannah remained to found the Collegiate School, this title adopted in 1893. The Sisters opened a small school in the Trinity parish also. Sister Phyllis continued as the principal of the Collegiate School until she relinquished the charge many years ago. but remained to supervise the work of the sisters almost until the time of her death on March 5. 1940. The title “Sister Chips.” bestowed on her by a visiting bishop years ago, aptly signified the many years of devoted work which she had given to education in Tasmania. Sister Dora Beatrice, who succeeded her as principal, joined the teaching staff in 1893 and continued as principal until she was transferred to St. Michael’s School, Melbourne, about 1932. She is visiting Hobart for the jubilee celebrations. Sister Persis followed and Sister Karina, the present principal, succeeded her.
The present premises were acquired from the Hobart Ladies’ College about 1895. It is said the main building as it exists today was built before 1840. The new wing was added to the school in 1933 and contains now the principal class rooms. The sisters’ home was built about 1919.
Two old girls of the school were the first women lawyers admitted to the Tasmanian Bar-Miss Nancy McPhee. now Mrs H. D. Holds, and Miss Helen Dunbar, now Mrs John Cumpston.
Between 1892 and 1899 boys up to 12 years of age were educated at the school, and among them were the three sons of Bishop Montgomery, one of whom is now Commander of the 8th Army in Egypt, the two sons of Dean Dundas, the City Health Officer (Dr C. N. Atkins). Mr V. I. Chambers, and a number of other leading citizens.
The annual school fair, which has been conducted since 1899 has been the means of raising hundreds of pounds for Church work at home and abroad.
In the First World War a number of old girls of the school saw active service with Australian nursing units. Included amongst these was Matron Jean Miles Walker, who was decorated with the Royal Red Cross and died as a result of war service. Her name is at the head of the Australian War Memorial at York Minster, England. In this war old girls are serving in the nursing service. AWAS. WAAAF, Land Army, VAD. as well as in services in England.
The school jubilee committee consisting of parents, friends, and old girls, has made far-sighted plans for school improvements, which include drastic remodelling, and various additions. Although not originally planned as a memorial to Sister Phyllis, it is hoped that the improvements and extensions will provide a worthy tribute to her life and work. It has been decided that as far as possible all subscriptions and donations should be invested in loans or other national funds.
A school corporate communion was held yesterday for pupils to mark the anniversary, and the celebrant was the Dean of Hobart (the Very Rev H. P. Fewtrell). A drill display will be held at the school today, and tomorrow will be school open day. On Thursday there will be an old girls’ buffet tea at the school, and on Saturday there will be corporate communion for old girls at St. David’s Cathedral, followed by breakfast. The school fair will be held in the afternoon, and sports, old girls v. present girls will be conducted. The Dean of Hobart will preach at the festal evensong at St David’s Cathedral on Sunday.