Week 12 – Boarding School

In 1969, I was packed off to boarding school at Stella Maris College in Geraldton. Now I was in the big league. There would have been 20-25 girls, as it was a girls only college, in my class, let alone how many there were in the whole school. If St Mary’s was daunting, then this took the cake. Everything was so regimental. We had to line up to go to breakfast, lunch and dinner, to chapel during the week and mass on Sunday’s. 

We had a school uniform, a hounds-tooth patterned, waist dress with a white collar for summer and a tunic for winter until we got a new uniform in my 2nd year there. I bet mum and dad weren’t impressed with that, having just bought the full uniform for me. We wore the uniforms everywhere, plus a hat, stocking and a blazer in winter, although we did have a jumper that we could wear either under the blazer, or instead of, but not at Sunday Mass. In all the years I spent at boarding school there was not one photo of me with my hat. I wonder why? I still dislike hats to this day. This photo shows the new uniform with the winter ‘Tom Bowler” hat.

Stella Maris boarders in winter uniform Back Row: Katie Hose, Janice Cunningham, Janet Garstin, Julie Dawson, Carmel Sears, Pauline Critch Front Row: Jenni Delane, Virginia Pirottina, Nola St John, Bernadette Oxenham, Maree Clune, Grace McAuliffe

I had learnt to play tennis when I was at St Mary’s in Northampton and continued playing into my college years. Never winning anything major, but I did like the game and played it for many years afterwards. Jenni Delane from Koorda and I played in the doubles together. We had fun if nothing else. I also continued to play basketball (netball) and was captain of one of the school teams.

Jenni Delane & Jenny Cripps on the front lawns at Stella Maris College. There are netball & tennis courts in this spot now.

The Interschool Sports Days were a big thing as we would have these against the Geraldton Senior High School and the St Patrick College boys would compete against the boys from the high school. For our own sports carnivals, I was in Green and in 1971 was the team Captain. It’s a coincidence that my grandson’s in Perth are also in green faction at their primary school. 

Peter and Bobbo were both at St Patricks College when I started at Stella Maris, but later it was just Bobbo. He would often come over on the weekend and we would hang out. I think sometimes he used me to meet some girls and bring his mates with him so they could do the same. That was ok, as I used to use him too! There were a few good looking boys over at St Pat’s!!

There was only ever one regret when I left school and that was not saying goodbye to my friends on the last day. It was the end of the school year, and we had to stay back until after the end of year concert. Our bags were all packed and we were able to go home with our parents when it finished that evening. Mum and Dad came up to the college to get my bags and decided that I should get in the car then and there and they took me back to the farm. I wasn’t in anything at the concert. I often wonder if any of the nuns noticed that I had gone missing. No one ever said.


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Week 11 – Big School, Little Girl

Things were changing out at Ogilvie School, there weren’t many students there and the education department had been threatening to shut it down. For most of my time in primary school, I was the only one in my class except for part of Grade 2 and Grade 3. The school had about 20 students when it was busy, then 11 towards the end of Grade 6. Also the school bus run was changing, I was the only one getting on to go to Ogilvie as Peter and Bobbo had gone away to boarding school at St Patrick’s College. So, mum and dad decided to send me into St Mary’s catholic school in Northampton for Grade 7 and 1st Year. Continue reading

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Week 10 – School Days

This weeks blog is conjuring up some interesting memories about my primary school days from Grade 1 in 1961 to Grade 6 in 1966, at Ogilvie Primary School, north east of Northampton in Western Australia. Continue reading

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Week 9 – Family members who have died?

This weeks blog challenge is to remember family members who have died. There have been a few, however there is one in particular who stands out amongst the rest and that is of my grandmother, whom we called Nanna Herbert. Continue reading

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Week 8 – Brothers and Sisters

In my first post about me, I posted that I had three brothers, Garry, Peter & Robin (Bobbo). So this week I’ll tell you a little about them. I never had a sister and it was a case of if you can’t beat them join them. So I grew up to be a bit of a Tom Boy, wearing all their hand me down clothes and playing cowboys and indians with them. Continue reading

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Week 7 – Occupations

This weeks blog is all about occupations, some of it is a bit raw, but if this is to be a life story, then raw it will be. So I’ll begin with my first ever place of employment when I left school in 1971, at Locke’s Furnishers, Marine Terrace, Geraldton. Continue reading

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