As is typical of this time of year, this week has once again been very busy. In this week’s article, I would like to make mention of two groups that play significant roles in our community. Each of these groups will be gathering on site this week, making it timely to highlight their significance in our community.
For seven decades, the P&F has played an important role in the School. Formed on 30th October, 1951, The Rockhampton Girls Grammar School Parents and Friends Association has given 70 years of service to our students and families. Over the years, they have donated funds towards capital projects, hosted functions and engaged in special projects.
In The Wider View, author Betty Cosgrove provides a chapter on the history of the P&F (quotes provided in inverted commas). The chapter covers three key areas of the P&F’s service to the School:
Fundraising including organizing raffles, hosting public concerts showcasing Girls Grammar students or organizing school fetes and other events on the School’s oval.
Hosting of events including morning teas and social functions, aiming to afford parents the opportunity for “combined social activity and visits to the School”.
Holding regular monthly P&F meetings which supported parents to meet with teachers in “an informal atmosphere”.
The School has appreciated the P&F’s contributions to each of these key areas as well as their generosity of service and dedication to the building of community.
Every girl who has walked through the gates has greatly benefited from the funds raised by the P&F, which have contributed to the construction of capital works, including the swimming pool in 1958. Other donations have included AV equipment, kitchen equipment, lockers, library books, garden seats, computers, printers, a kiln and sports equipment as well as sound and lighting for McKeague Hall. Today, the School continues to benefit from funds raised by the P&F, most recently in the form of a donation made towards the refurbishment of the pool swimming changerooms, which is scheduled for 2021.
Next year, the P&F is also hosting a coffee morning meet and greet once each term, continuing the tradition of providing a relaxed and informal atmosphere for parents to come into the School and meet with other parents and staff. Other social events are also planned, including a Trivia Night and a Long Lunch, both in Semester 1. We are hopeful that our community will support these events, the proceeds of which will directly benefit the girls through the provision of equipment and resources.
This afternoon we will be acknowledging the P&F’s important role over the years in the running of the school’s uniform shop. Initially a volunteer service, the P&F introduced a clothing and book exchange in 1972, designed for “the economic benefit of parents”. In 1977 it opened as the Clothing Shop, operating on the last Friday of each month. By the late 1980s, the School “opened the shop on a commercial basis”, selling “school and sports uniforms, boarder requirements and school accessories”. We would like to thank all those volunteers and staff who, over the last 43 years, have provided the care, knowledge and advice to “[outfit] schoolgirls of all shapes and sizes”.
I look forward to building on the rich traditions and generous service of those individuals who have dedicated themselves to service to the P&F. All parents are warmly welcomed to join the P&F and I encourage current and past parents to participate in next year’s meetings and events.
Old Girls’ Association
This Friday evening, the Old Girls’ Association will be hosting their annual Christmas Party, their final event for 2020. This event, together with the pending graduation of another cohort of Year 12s, makes it timely to reflect on the generous dedication and service the Old Girls Association has given to Girls Grammar over the years.
Commencing in 1894, the Old Pupils’ Club aimed to “establish a means of communication between past and present pupils and one another to facilitate the interchange of news and ideas and to enable those no longer in the School to keep in touch with the course of events”. This was followed by The Rockhampton Girls Grammar School Old Girls’ Club, which was established in August 1913, coinciding with the enrolment of the School’s first second generation of pupils, “all daughters of girls who had enrolled in 1892”.
Social gatherings, including dances and balls, afternoon teas, tennis matches and card afternoon teas provided good opportunities for Old Girls to socialize with each other and to remain connected with the School. Today, the Old Girls’ Association has branches across Queensland, including Rockhampton, Mackay, Biloela and Brisbane, and members enjoy opportunities to connect and catch up.
Prior to the introduction of the P&F, the Old Girls were dedicated fundraisers for the School, hosting the School’s annual concert, fetes and other events which provided funds for capital works. When Women’s College opened at University of Queensland in 1915, the Old Girls established a college fund to donate moneys to support students to afford the costs associated with attending university. In its first year, over one third of the 21 students were past students of Girls Grammar.
The Old Girls have also provided an invaluable role in updating the community on the successes and achievements of past students. The “Girls Grammar School Magazine” has been replaced today by Chit Chat magazine as well as the organisation’s Facebook page, both of which continue the tradition of communicating news and updates to members. Reading the modern documents, it is clear that pride in the achievements of past students remains strong.
The efforts of the Old Girls have always benefited the School. Old Girls volunteer time every week to work in the School, documenting the rich and important history of the School. Others are active in supporting current students through forums such as presenting speeches to students or volunteering their time to mentor students in our new STEM mentoring program.
Next year, as part of our refurbishment of Paterson House, we will be transforming the hallway that links Reception with the Museum into an Old Girls’ Hall of Fame. We are grateful to the Old Girls’ Association for the donation of funds towards this refurbishment and look forward to celebrating and showcasing the achievements of so many of the inspirational women who have entered Girls Grammar’s gates.
In their interactions with each other and with the School, our Old Girls show their strong bonds of friendship, their devotion to the School and their enduring school spirit. I look forward to attending the Christmas function, to meeting more of our past students and to hearing their memories of their time as students at the School.