Past Pupils Association
While we do not have a 1925 record,
we learn from the 1926 Annual School Report that 'The Past Pupils' Association
has been formed on a sound basis and the teaching staff has every reason to be
proud of the loyalty and devotion manifested by this numerous body of past
pupils toward their school'.
||"I'm an All Hallows' Girl"
The Past Pupils Association began in 1925. The feature article from
the Past Pupils Annual Newsletter of 2000, Im an All Hallows Girl
Always gives an outline of the Association over the years.
For many reasons, the year 2000 was recognised as special. For our
Association, it signified our 75th Year. What stories do we share of these
Our first School Magazine, 1933, gives more detail and I quote at some
'The All Hallows' Past Pupils' Association was formed by the late
Rev. Mother Patrick in 1925, its object being to promote the religious, moral,
intellectual, and social welfare of the members; to foster and maintain a spirit
of union and friendship between all Past Pupils; and to give members an
opportunity of taking part in active charity. The foundation office-bearers
were:- President, Mrs. T.R. McKenna; Vice President, Mrs. J. Devoy; Hon.
Secretary, Miss E. Monzel; Hon. Treasurer, Mrs. J. P. Gralton.
The activities of the Association are as follows:
From successive School Magazines, as well as from Minutes of Committee
Meetings and the Annual Newsletter, we discover the popular activities of the
The original Annual Retreat went from Friday evening until Mass on Monday
morning. By the 1960s, there was a weekend Retreat for the younger members,
often at Ave Maria Centre, Coorparoo and a Reflection Day for the older members.
In 1973, an Annual Retreat was still on the Calendar of events. I have not found
mention of the Retreat after that, so perhaps 1973 was the last year in which
one was offered. For many years, the Annual Mass for deceased members was held
around the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, 24 September. In 1976, it was moved to
"the Saturday afternoon nearest to All Hallows' Day". This continues to be its
The Annual Ball was a highlight of the Association's Calendar over many
years. The 1934 Magazine speaking of the Annual 'Dance' said
feature this year was the fact that for the first time at the Association's
Dance there was a debutant, Miss Betty Walsh.
Betty is teaching in the Wowan
district and was unable to attend the Mater Ball, at which most of her friends
made their bow, so it was indeed fortunate that school holidays coincided with
the Association Dance'.
Maybe the Mater Ball became smaller after that, for from 1936, debutantes
featured at our own Ball. The number of debs varied from 11 or 12 in those early
years to an astounding 105 in 1949, from an average of 20 or 30 in the 1950s and
60s, to 53 in 1970, with 'only three this year' in 1978.
In 1934, Betty travelled from Wowan to be at the Dance. Among the 34 debs in
1965, was "Julie Hall who came from Sydney to make her debut at the All Hallows'
Ball." Do you know of more of these 'specials'? No doubt, each deb felt special
in her own way on her night. Whether she was one of the trio in 1978, or one of
the 105 of post-war 1949, and whether the Venue was the Trocadero, the City
Hall, Cloudland, the Bellevue Hotel, the Lennons Convention Hall, the Park Royal
or somewhere else, when the night arrived it held its own memories.
Early Reunions were gatherings of past pupils from any year. At them,
entertainment combined with chatter and refreshments. Travel talks, Dramatic
Society acts, musical items, lively debates, bridge games and more - all helped
to unify the members. One Reunion each year was special. It was the Children's
afternoon, when the next generation was entertained with see-saws, ponies,
magicians or other 'goodies', while their mothers enjoyed afternoon tea and a
chat. The 1992 Magazine reminds us that reunions now are mostly Class or Year
Reunions which are
'great occasions for catching up on old friends and also
of letting the school know just what paths All Hallows' girls have taken since
they left their Alma Mater. Not even the biggest crystal ball
foreseen just where each group would have ended up ten years later.'
These are certainly gaining in popularity with many held each year. We also
know of, but sometimes do not hear reports from, regular Reunions that take
place outside of Brisbane. It is good that the tradition begun in Mackay many
years ago continues in so many towns.
In 1925, Mother Patrick was organising the building of the Mater Children's
Hospital. Therefore, this became the earliest reason for fulfilling the aim -
'to give the members an opportunity to take part in active charity'. A Sewing
Guild which began at that time continued as a separate group until fairly
recently. During the war, the War Effort was supported. Since then, most
fund-raising efforts have been directed towards providing amenities for the
school. This currently includes funding Class Reliability Prizes for Year 12s
and prizes for the Creative Arts Festival. Special projects since 1990 are the
Sr. M. Ronan Fund for students with special financial needs, and the national
Mercy Endeavour Australia project for Sisters of Mercy work with refugees.
Over the decades, some adjustments to activities occurred. In 1983, 'because
of the difficulties under which Committee members have struggled during the past
it was decided to make the Annual Mass and General Meeting the only
activities for 1983.' The future of the Association was considered at that
General Meeting. A special effort was made to have as many as possible attend.
The Report tells us
'The Meeting agreed that the Aims and structures which
had supported the vigorous life of the Association during its first fifty years
were no longer appropriate and that the school's heritage of more than 120 years
offered a clear focus to promote the revitalization of the Association.'
The present Aims of the Association are the result of the (slight) changes
What are the current regular events for the Association? Drinks on the
Terrace in March aims to gather the girls from the most recent decade of past
pupils; a fund-raising function for Mercy Endeavour Australia is usually in
September and the Annual Mass with General Meeting remains near 1 November.
Apart from these, Reunions here and in many other places ensure that All
Hallows' past pupils can link regularly.
As I looked through the archival material for our story, I was amazed (and
amused) by a copy of an article pre-dating our Past Pupils' Association. It was
from the 'Brisbane Courier, 7 August 1900'. It began
ASSOCIATION. ALL HALLOWS.
A pleasing function took place at All
Hallows School on Saturday afternoon, when a reunion of "old girls" was held by
the Sisters. The attendance of past pupils was large, and a very pleasant time
I wonder, if we shouldn't be celebrating our 100th Birthday?
Whatever Birthday it is, I feel that these words from the 1927 Annual School
Report are as true today as ever:
'The Association has done a great deal in
bringing together and uniting with bonds not easily broken many different
generations of girls who have passed through the school, and it is to be hoped
that the union this affected will be productive of great good to all.'
As some of us sang as pupils "May memory recall 'I'm an All Hallows' Girl'
Patricia Sullivan RSM
President: Mrs Noela McMullen 3352
Vice President: Mrs Alison Easton 3841
Treasurer Miss Natalie Rowe 3345
Secretary Sr Anne Hetherington
rsm 3851 3469
School Contact Ms Lenore Thompson