MSB9159_Bennies Buzz_NOV-2016_hi-res - page 10

I would like to start by saying that my
years at high school here at Mount
St Benedict’s were some of the best
and most memorable years of my
life. I still cherish the friendships
that I made, some of whom were
classmates that I started kindergarten
with (at St Agatha’s) and I am still
goods friends with today over fifty
years later…. I would like to share
some of our memories as ‘The
Pioneers’ as we were affectionately
referred to.
Memories of that first year
When we started secondary school
be clear about one thing there was no
school as you now know it. We started
secondary school in the basement of
the old Novitiate building and to us this
was a very mysterious and intriguing
place…. and where we were forbidden
to ever go up the stairs into the
building under any circumstance. What
happened up those stairs and who were
these veiled women?!
On the first day we all turned up in
our primary school uniforms, some
from St Bernadette’s, Dundas and
some from St Agatha’s, Pennant Hills.
The school uniform had not yet been
decided on. So that was one of the first
tasks for the ‘The Pioneers’, to design
the new uniform. In the end it was a
red bow tie, red gloves, a bowler hat,
red head band that had to be worn no
matter how short your hair was and a
box pleated uniform. The uniform was
the combined colours of blue from St
Agatha’s and red from St Bernadette’s
and of course a school blazer of the
same material. The colour was called
‘Airforce Blue’. We all thought we
looked just so grown up and lady like.
The sports uniform was a pleated white
skirt made using about 4 metres of
material and hundreds of pleats and
knee length. Those who did high jump
wearing this uniform found it prevented
them from soaring to great heights
without knocking off the high jump bar!
We also had a checked pinafore that we
had to wear to protect the uniform.
There was no choice of subjects and no
‘levels’ as they were called then. We did
english, maths, science, social studies
and home science (cooking and sewing)
in one big class group. We had Sister
Christopher and Sister Hyacinth (Sister
Mary Roche) and the Home Science
teacher was Sister Blandina and one
of the mothers came in to help. Oh, we
also had private music lessons with
Sister Carmelita, not that any of us had
much talent!
There was no canteen or sport and our
playground was the tennis courts down
at the back of the Novitiate and the
adjoining paddock which we shared with
the cows. The Novices were allowed to
come down to visit us every so often and
to sometimes play a game of tennis with
us. We had no equipment to speak of just
text books, exercise books and a small
amount of sports equipment ... We had
to make our own fun, and fun we had.
Often we would walk across the
paddocks to see the progress of the
building of the new College as it slowly
took shape. This was the school that
you all would enjoy in years to come.
Memories of the first years after we
moved into the NEW school
Finally the school building was finished
and so in October 1966 we moved from
the basement to our new school. It
was quite sad to leave our basement
classroom and our close friends in the
Novitiate above us. At the same time it
was a great thrill to be the first class
to enter the brand new Catholic high
school for girls.
Reflections of a Bennies ‘Pioneer’
Cathy Ferndale (nee Woods), Class of 1971 and first College Captain, gave the after
dinner address at the Jubilee Ball. Excerpts from her speech are included below,
a highly entertaining speech about the beginnings of the College.
Seven members of ‘The Pioneers’ were present at the Jubilee Ball
(Cathy Ferndale 5th from left)
Class of 1971 Carmel Kelly, Lyndall Perriam, Marilyn Brittliff, Katie Tognetti, Cheryl
Travers, Tess McMahon and Cathy Woods
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Bennies Buzz
Summer 2016
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