What a wonderful year it has been in Archives helping the school to celebrate 120 years of Loreto Normanhurst education. 2017 began with a Celebration of the Eucharist which acknowledged the laying of the Foundation Stone on 28 February 1897. It began with a beautiful selection of photographs of the sisters who have been a part of our community since 1897. As the service continued, the important aspects of our history were highlighted, using photographs from the School Archives which were greatly enjoyed by all. Thank you to Sr Frances Browne IBVM for assisting me to put this historical account together.

Sr Frances has continued to be a highly valued member of the school community. She has completed research on Mother Clare Birrane in addition to working on profiles of numerous other Sisters including Maureen Saunders IBVM and Anne Anderson IBVM among others. In Term 3, Archives had the privilege of a Work and Welcome employee, Rachel Chand. Rachel’s friendly smile and contribution to completing Archives work during Term 3 was greatly appreciated.

A significant amount of time has been spent this year in completing research, mostly relating to 120 anniversary celebrations. This has included a range of projects, from selecting photographs for the whole school anniversary Eucharist, to a history of technology at Loreto Normanhurst along with a photo story of the uniforms that have been worn by students at Normanhurst over the years. Further research  into the old Loreto Junior School has also been completed, utilising school registers to compile a list of ‘old boys’ who attended the original Loreto Primary School. In addition to this, enquiries often come into Archives from the broader Loreto community, such as the relatives of ex-students hoping to confirm the period of attendance for their mother, aunt or grandmother at Normanhurst. Notes in diaries and registers kept by the Sisters, as well as yearbooks, are marvellous sources of information about the years gone by. Time and again, work completed in the School Archives serves to reinforce the links between past and present, further strengthening the Loreto community.

A highlight of the year has most definitely been the preparation for the 120 Pavilion which will be a key feature of this Sunday’s Spring Fair. It has been a joint project between Archives, the Development Office and of course PAL who have had overarching organisation of the Fair. The 120 Pavilion will be well worth a visit as it will give a rare opportunity to view the objects from our history which have been cared for over many years. There will be a diverse archival collection on display, including items belonging to the Sisters, a photo display, some very old newspaper clippings, items from the boarding school, old report cards and certificates, a small selection of current trophies and much more. There will also be additional uniforms that have not  been displayed before as the archival collection of old Normanhurst uniforms has expanded this year. There will even be a couple of fabulous videos on display both dating from the 1960s which we are very fortunate to have.

The photos shown below were used at the 120 Eucharist earlier this year. Enjoy taking a short journey through highlights of the fascinating history of our school. Included is an early shot of Pennant Hills Road, the whole school in 1901, photos of girls enjoying the beautiful bush grounds, the Reception Room when it was in use as a study, a boarding dormitory and the Grotto in the 1920s. What treasures await your viewing pleasure this Sunday at the Spring Fair!


Ms Rowena Curtis