Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Geelong College has provided boarding facilities for boys from its inception until the present. Boarding for girls formally commenced in 1976 when fourteen girls ranging in age from 11 to 17 were accommodated in the main school block in bed-studies, under the supervision of a married housemaster and a matron, who was also a trained nurse. However, there was a female boarder at the College in 1975.

Sally Carruthers was in the first group of girls who entered the Senior School in 1975. Sally's true pioneering spirit was tested in the middle of 1975 when her parents went away and arranged that she would board at the College. Sally said that she thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to see her boyfriend more frequently, as he lived near the College, however this was not to be the case. She was housed in a section of the old Hospital Wing in the main school block, and thus became the first female boarder. She was placed under Sister Healey's protection. At the time she thought the temporary rules devised for the school's only girl boarder must have been borrowed from Pentridge Prison. 'But I enjoyed being a part of those changing,' said Sally.

Virginia Cook, one of the boarders who commenced in 1976, reported in
Pegasus of that year, that the first excursions for the female boarders included a trip to Portsea in first term and several trips to the Pancake Parlour, ‘' 'throwing all diets to the wind and weight to the waistline’.

In 1977, the girls moved from the main school block into the newly built units at Mossgiel. Mossgiel was made up of seven stand-alone units, each of which accommodated six to eight students with a shared lounge area and kitchen facilities. Years 11 and 12 girls had their own rooms, and sometimes their own bathroom within the unit, and younger girls shared a double room. As the numbers of girls in boarding increased, boys were also accommodated in separate units at Mossgiel. It was not until eleven years after girls first began boarding at the College that they finally achieved the numbers to fill Mossgiel without the help of the boys. In 1987, 45 girls were boarding in Mossgiel and all the boys were housed in Mackie. The year 1995, brought numerous changes for the girls' boarding house. The closing of Morongo Girls' College meant a rush of enrolments, and for the first time the girls' boarding house existed on two campuses, with the Year 9 girls being situated at Lester Square on the corner of Talbot and Noble Streets, and the remaining girls at Mossgiel. Lester Square was closed to boarders in 1996, returning to private rental accommodation.

Sources: Ad Astra August 2001 pp 6-7.
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