Thursday, March 12, 2009

Granny and Aunt Mim at The Hermitage in Geelong

At the Hermitage in Geelong on February 20, 1911, Granny recalled seeing the first Bristol Box Kite aeroplane to fly in Australia, a black speck that first appeared over the You Yangs. All the girls raced upstairs and watched it from the verandah. Thence they had a clear view as it flew over Geelong, and landed on the new Geelong Racecourse and Showgrounds in Breakwater Road, East Geelong. The pilot that day was the New Zealander J. J. Hammond; he flew the forty-two miles from Altona Bay in just a fraction more than fifty-five minutes.

The girls might have been watching from this very spot, and at around that same date or not too far off. Standing from left to right, they are Phil Brown (the future Mrs. Murray Jones); Granny; Monica Murray Angas (of the South Australian Angases); and Grannys younger sister Emily (Aunt Mim). The other two girls in front are as yet unidentified, but they certainly seem good eggs.

The Hermitage (Geelong Church of England Girls’ Grammar School) was established in 1906 at the initiative of the Most Reverend Henry Lowther Clarke, successor to Field Flowers Goe as Bishop (and subsequently, from 1905, Archbishop) of Melbourne and Leonard H. Lindon, the headmaster of Geelong Grammar School at Corio. The Hermitage, a large house in Newtown that was originally built in 1859/60 for the Armytage family, was bought by the archdiocese for £6,000, and another £6,000 spent on electric wiring, furniture, and other improvements. The first headmistress was Miss Elsie Morres, and Granny was head girl in 1911-12.

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