GoldenJubilee-HistoryBook - page 8-9

Mount St Benedict College Golden Jubilee
History Book
9
The Principal and Deputy had straightforward goals.
They wished to instil a love of learning in each child
and to educate each individual to be the best they
could be, at the same time sharing with them the
gift of the love of Christ.
With good humour, Sr Hyacinth’s diary records the
activities and fun of those first months: recorder
lessons, ‘We hope the screeching will soon give way to
peaceful melodies’; sports days; fund raising; tennis
coaching, ‘With practice and perseverance we hope
to see the balls remaining within the precincts of the
court’; an outing to The Sound of Music; the delivery
of a TV and a Pepsi Cola machine, ‘A not unwelcome
sight for thirsty people!’; and mass on Fridays in the
Novitiate’s beautiful chapel.
For the students, the Novitiate and its occupants were
a tantalising mystery. They were forbidden to talk to
postulants, but did, saying, ‘They spoke to us first,’ and
could not resist sneaking forays upstairs to areas out-of-
bounds. Always remembered by the students in later life
was the half hourly ringing of the bell which regulated
the novices’ day.
On rainy days the laundry was opened up for play but
otherwise recreation took place on the tennis courts,
although a complicated regime of gate shutting had to
be followed to ensure the dairy cows stayed where they
should. When two girls were caught carving their initials
into a tree beside the courts there was a major case to
answer. But their defence was simple. We are pioneers,
they said. As pioneers do, they were just leaving their
names there.
On 23 October 1966 Archbishop Carroll formally opened
the new school buildings on behalf of Cardinal Gilroy:
seven classrooms, a science lab, a library, a music room
and a teachers’ room. The girls, in their new uniforms,
lined up along the driveway to welcome him in a guard
of honour. Afterwards, parents were invited to inspect
the rooms but no risks were taken with the freshly
shellacked floors; mothers padded around in stocking
feet having been asked to remove their heels. Later,
when the girls took up residence, they were required
to wear jiffies indoors for the same reasons. Care for
personal possessions was just as strict. Checked aprons
must be worn over uniforms during the day and blazers
were only permitted to be worn to and from school.
Parents pitched in to assist with the transfer of furniture
and the settling in. Planting and watering gardens,
arranging the library, they did whatever they could to
add to the comfort of students. Until the end of term the
Pioneers had the school to themselves but the following
year, and each year thereafter, they were joined by a new
intake of Year 7.
In 1969, the year man walked on the moon and the whole
school gathered in the hall to watch it on TV all day, the
Pioneers sat their Leaving Certificate. Twenty-five of
them went on to do the HSC in 1971. Highly motivated,
friendly and always welcoming to the constant stream
of newcomers, the Pioneers graduated as mature and
confident young women, evidence in themselves of the
school’s success.
In the nicest way, the fledgling
school was intimate and homely; and
this first cohort of students, cheerful and
willing, was always held especially dear.
Novices -1960
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Mount St Benedict College Golden Jubilee
History Book
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