Erika Allen

CURATING ten student memories for every decade of Gippsland Grammar’s existence is a poignant way to commemorate the school’s centenary this year.

These recollections have been compiled in the book, Memories; stories of 100 years from Gippsland Grammar, by historian and old scholar Ann Andrew.

Mrs Andrew’s “long association” with Gippsland Grammar began in 1954 when she entered kindergarten at the St Anne’s Church of England Girls’ Grammar School (CEGGS).

She was a pupil there for nine years.

Like many Gippsland Grammar alumni, she affectionately recalls the simple pleasures of primary school.

“I do remember fondly”, Mrs Andrew said, “we used to have spelling bees and mental arithmetic competitions. Lots of competitions and tests.”

“We didn’t have the sort of high-end things (computers) they have today, we just enjoyed the simple things that we did.”

Beyond the curriculum, Mrs Andrew, much like the former students who shared their stories for the book, reflected on the teachers who imbued school with meaning.

She specifically highlighted the impact of Miss Lorna Sparrow, the former Headmistress of St Anne’s CEGGS, who is renowned for her dedicated and compassionate leadership.

Miss Sparrow is commemorated through a scholarship and the naming of a hall on the St Anne’s campus in her honour.

“She was just such an outstanding person, and so many memories reflected on her leadership, and the impact she made on their lives,” she said.

Lorna Sparrow was the Headmistress of St Anne’s CEGGS between 1944 and 1975.

In her tenure, she saw the amalgamation of nascent Gippsland Grammar School for boys and her beloved St Anne’s CEGGS in 1971, becoming the co-educational school St Anne’s and Gippsland Grammar.

Mrs Andrew also witnessed this transformative time as a librarian at St Anne’s, a position she held between 1971 and 1975.

An avid custodian of community history, Mrs Andrew was asked to produce a complete history of the school in 1996, qualifying her for the difficult task that preparing the new book, Memories has been.

“I set about trying to make contact with 100 people and it was definitely not easy”, she said.

Mrs Andrew found herself at the mercy of email no-replies and the voicemails of countless cold calls.

She said, “I had to resort to finding mothers or family members and there was really no rhyme or reason for who I chose.”

Nonetheless, the results of Mrs Andrew’s dedication have resulted in an array of memories and stories; the dawn and development of computer technology, running amok at school camps, and the fondness children hold for extracurricular activities like sports and signing in choirs are some of the fond memories included.

The book will be released tomorrow (Saturday, February 24) at the St Anne’s Campus as part of a full weekend of centenary celebrations.

Memories will be released alongside Wheelbarrow’s Birthday, a book comprised of 12 stories adapted from those in Memories, but adapted for children.

The celebrations begin with a Gala evening tonight from 7pm at the Maffco Brewery.

On Sunday (February 25), students that attended Gippsland Grammar School for boys between 1960 and 1970 will be welcomed back at a barbecue in the Garnsey Campus’ Neil Forrest.

Mrs Andrew anticipates large crowds will come to commemorate the centenary.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday because there’s people I haven’t seen since we were at school,” she said.

Memories and Wheelbarrow’s Birthday are available to purchase at the school campuses.