History

“No matter which way we have walked since leaving school, it is almost impossible to deny the old friendships from our St Cuthbert’s days, and the sense of familiarity we still share with girls we may not have seen for 10, 20, or 30 years.”

Lisa Bates, “President’s Report: Old Girls’ Association,” College Ties, April 2010

The roots of the Old Girls’ Association go back to an impressive 1917. By this time, several girls had left the school and current students, knowing they would soon become past pupils, approached Principal Miss Isobel Macdonald about forming an Old Girls’ Association. At her invitation, a meeting consisting of staff, Old Girls, and VI Form students was held in July 1917. There was agreement to the formation of the St Cuthbert’s Old Girls’ Association. One of the students, Beryl Jones, notes, “There was much discussion on eligibility for membership, subscriptions, and activities. The beginning of a Constitution was laid down. A committee was then elected with Miss Macdonald as President.”

A day for reconnecting with the school was an important idea emerging from discussions. It was agreed that St Cuthbert’s Day, March 20, was the perfect choice. Every year, the reunion is held on the closest day to St Cuthbert’s Day. On this day, Old Girls can attend the Old Girls’ Association AGM and the reunion and view the school.

On March 20, 1918, the first Old Girls’ Reunion was held at the school. Beryl Jones writes, “The rain came down with a will and the proposed garden party and tennis tournament had to be cancelled. However, everyone met in the hall, where they were welcomed by Miss Macdonald. A programme of music was followed by afternoon tea, served by the present girls.” The rest of the afternoon was spent dancing to the string band.

In 1920, Miss Macdonald retired from her position as president and Beryl Jones took on the role as elected Old Girls’ Association president. Beryl Jones writes, “Each successive president, with her committee, has made her special contribution in keeping the spirit alive, in building it up to its present membership…and in maintaining a high standard of community service, especially during the war years.”

In the 1920s, former pupils held an annual dance, which turned into the Debutante Ball for many decades. Its current iteration is the Graduation Ball, held in December.

The Waikato Old Girls established a branch in 1933 and now there are other Old Girls’ branches around the world who meet regularly.
In 1994, the Association decided to hold annual year-group reunions so Old Girls can meet their peers every ten years and the Old Girls’ Committee organises regular events to connect our Old Girls’ community.

The annual Coffee & Dessert evening is another event that welcomes Old Girls back to the school, in this case, those with daughters who have recently started at St Cuthbert’s.

Fundraising and acts of service continue to be an important element of the Old Girls’ Association, and the school is a living reminder of the support of the Old Girls over the many years. The Old Girls’ Association has made significant donations to Clouston Hall, the Old Girls’ Chapel, the Centennial Centre for Wellbeing, funded one of the houses at Kahunui, purchased a new chapel organ in 2018 and contributed to many other projects.

The Association also funds six scholarships for study at the school, as well as supports our Old Girls professional development through the Violet Wood Advanced Study Grant which supports postgraduate work.

The Presidential Chain is a reminder of all the links over time that make up the Old Girls’ Association leadership. Donated in 1938 by Myrta Vialoux, who had been president in 1923, the Presidential Chain is worn at the AGM. Each medallion is engraved with each president’s name, maiden name, and dates of office. 

Past Presidents

The Old Girls’ Association is very lucky to have had some very talented and inspirational Old Girls at its helm. Please see below for a full list of the Old Girls’ Association’s Presidents.
Penelope Peebles 2018-2019
Nicky Pennington 2017
Fiona Geary 2015-2016
Leigh Melville (Parton) 2013-2014
Georgina Harrison (Robinson) 2011-2012
Lisa Bates 2009-2010
Nicola Bason (Playle) 2008
Rachel White (Walsh) 2007
Charlotte Hellaby 2005-2006
Philippa Lumsden (Colebrook) 2003-2004
Sarah Hallwright (Lichtenstein) 2002
Josephine Green (Macky) 2000-2001
Anne Coney (Tattersfield) 1999
Shona Caughey (Seddon) 1997-1998
Joanne Wills (Hughes) 1995-1996
Rosemary Harris (Alison) 1993-1994
Margaret Flexman (Grieve) 1991-1992
Suellen Crabb (Cunningham) 1989-1990
Annabelle Valentine (Garlick) 1987-1988
Sue Bailey (Collins) 1985-1986
Barbara Goodare (Donald) 1983-1984
Beverley Parkinson (Pearce) 1981-1982
Helen Craddock (Stewart) 1979-1980
Elizabeth Caughey (Sheaf) 1977-1978
Barbara Ashby (Grierson) 1975-1976
Marie Tattersfield (Wallace) 1973-1974
Marie Taylor (Lindberg) 1971-1972
Betty Barclay (Wilson) 1969-1970
Mavis Ingram (Wallace) 1967-1968
Paddy Walker (Halliday) 1965-1966
Heather Campbell (Murray) 1963-1964
Ella Phillips (Fletcher) 1961-1962
Margaret Macdonald (Whittome) 1959-1960
Dorothy Garlick (Winstone) 1957-1958
Vivienne Benton (Paque) 1955-1956
Mary Harvey (Davis) 1953-1954
Gladys Thomas (Grayson) 1951-1952
Gwen Spence (Hooper) 1950
Ruth Owen 1947-1949
Margaret McKenzie (Harbutt) 1940-1946
Romsey Campbell (Weir) 1939
Maida Newton (Seabrook) 1938
Gwen Spence (Hooper) 1936-1937
Phyllis Couldrey (Gash) 1934-1935
Pearl Moore (Crum) 1933
Valma Williams (Roulston) 1932
Tory Johnson 1931
Lowrie Pople (Palethorpe) 1929-1930
Helen Watson (Asser) 1928
Kathleen Stevenson (Leighton) 1926-1927
Madeline Towle (Gorton) 1924-1925
Myrta Vialoux (Clay) 1923
Beryl Jones (Knight) 1920-1922
Miss I J Macdonald 1917-1919