Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

Search the Guide

To find information in this Guide please select one of the green coloured options.

To Select a Page Group when displayed, right click and select 'Open'.

Copyright Conditions Apply.

VAN BERGEM, Elizabeth (1901-1996)

VAN BERGEM, Elizabeth (1901-1996)

Mrs E Van Bergem was the Matron of Mackie House from 1955 to 1962.

The following item was published in Pegasus in 1965:
'Mrs. van Bergem has left us. When first we heard that this departure was imminent, it seemed that the very foundations of the House were threatened with removal. But Mrs. van Bergem was a better craftsman than that, and we were to find that she had built up the position of Matron of Mackie House so that it was strong enough to stand, even when she was no longer in control. That is always the last and most difficult test of organizing ability.

When Sister Fergusson was on leave of absence in 1955, Mrs. van Bergem came to Mackie to take over for six months. The House at that time consisted of some seventy boys from Forms II and III, of ages between 13 and 15 years. It was obvious from the start, that our new matron liked boys at that age, and moreover, that they liked her. And when Sister Fergusson decided to go back to nursing and hospital work, it seemed to us the most obvious thing to do was to bring pressure to bear on Mrs. van Bergem to persuade her to change her plans also and to stay on with us. She did; for the next eleven years.

When the House system changed and we had boys from Form III to Form VI the matron's duties also changed, and she felt that her talent for "mothering" became less in demand. I am not sure that this was true as there are many occasions even in a wholly masculine establishment, when the individual male requires the sympathetic understanding which, somehow, only a motherly person can provide. Mrs. van Bergem gave her services unselfishly, and no boy, or master for that matter, ever asked for help in vain. We are grateful and will long remember that kind, generous person now enjoying a well-earned rest in Sydney.'

Elizabeth Van Bergem was interred at Tuncurry Cemetery, NSW (Col D79).

Sources: Pegasus December 1965 p15.
© The Geelong College. Unless otherwise attributed, The Geelong College asserts its creative and commercial rights over all images and text used in this publication. No images or text material may be copied, reproduced or published without the written authorisation of The College.