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SWEETMAN, Joan (1919-2013)

SWEETMAN, Joan (1919-2013)

Joan Sweetman was a member of the staff of the Kindergarten and then Campbell House (Junior School) for 32 years and Director for almost 30 of those years before her retirement in 1978. She was born on 21 June, 1919.

Remembered and venerated by generations of Geelong College students, Joan Sweetman left an outstanding legacy among the many students who attended the College Kindergarten and Campbell House. As teacher-in charge of the Kindergarten from 1950-1962 and then Director of Campbell House from 1963 to 1978, her influence on College students was not only profound but long-lived. She witnessed and participated in many of the significant changes through which the Preparatory School evolved. It was Joan Sweetman who graciously welcomed the first three girls to the College in 1974. Throughout her teaching career, she always ensured that the needs of her young charges were at the foremost of care and teaching. The multi-purpose room at the Junior School was named in her honour. After the construction of a new multiprpose facilty in 2005, the 'Joan Sweetnam Room' became used primarily for music tuition.

In February, 1947, Mrs Sweetman, then Miss Chisholm, commenced teaching at the Kindergarten which was then located next to the ‘old’ Preparatory School in Aphrasia St. She had trained as a Primary Teacher at the Melbourne Training College commencing there in 1939. She then taught for several years in Victorian State Schools. During this period she married, to Richard Murray Sweetman.

As early as 1949, the head of the Preparatory School, L J Campbell said of her management of the Kindergarten: ‘Under the able guidance of Mrs Sweetman this important section of the school where, to my mind, the foundations for success or failure in a child’s school life are laid, has continued to run as smoothly as a kindergarten can, and its high degree of proficiency has been well maintained.’ Ian Macmillan, Head of the Preparatory School at the time of her retirement, praised her, reiterating that the College was ‘deeply indebted to Joan Sweetman for her untiring efforts, for her enthusiasm and for the care given to the many boys and the growing number of girls who have passed through Campbell House’ .

Joan died at Geelong on 26 December 2013 aged 94 years.

Sources: 'Ad Astra', September 1978 p3; 'Ad Astra' July 1996 p18; 'Ad Astra', June 2011; 'The Way to the Stars' p104, 111, 132; 'Geelong Advertiser' 28 Dec 2013.
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