Mary Wallace: 1953 Prefect and OGA Stalwart

Edwina Wallace-Smith (10 Millward), along with her brother (William) and her sisters (Lucette and Rose), have a Grandmother who went to Girton Church of England Girls Grammar School in the 1940’s and 50’s. Her name was Mary Wallace and she was a Junior Prefect and then a Senior Prefect in 1953 and a member of Aherne House.

Mary Wallace, front left, with the 1953 Prefects

Later, Mary was President of the Old Girtonians’ Association (OGA) and in particular, she supported the OGA stall at the Girton School fetes for many years, her Christmas pudding and Christmas wreaths were especially popular and always sold out.

Whilst a member of the OGA, Mary was one of the many determined people who helped to resurrect Girton after its closure in 1992. The OGA Committee at the time was a very passionate group who came together and purchased school items that were being auctioned off when the school came into financial difficulty. The items were to become memorabilia that the OGA donated back to the School archives.

For almost fifty years, Mary Wallace was a very passionate member of the OGA and would do almost anything to raise money and help fund the school in all manner of ways.

Mary Wallace’s Aunty (her mother’s sister), Irene Oakley, also attended Girton and her later-to-be sister in law, Elaine Smith, attended the school as a Boarder. With Mary’s grandchildren now attending the school, the family has had near enough to a 100 year association with Girton.

After leaving Girton, Mary married a farmer one hour north of Bendigo. Fast forward a generation and it is that farm in Jarklin that is home to current students, Edwina, William and Lucette Wallace-Smith. Their father now runs the farm with sheep, cattle and crop.

Owing to the farm’s distance from school, Edwina lives in a unit with her siblings and her mother in Bendigo and they go home to the farm as often as they possibly can. While the children study at school, Edwina’s mother, Sarah, is busy studying at LaTrobe University in Bendigo.

Edwina is quick to point out that her Grandpa and her Uncle also live on the farm so her father is not left entirely alone Monday to Friday!

In 1953, the year that Mary Wallace was a Prefect, there were 144 girls at the school including 51 Boarders. This was the era of popular Headmistress, Miss Jean d’Helin, and Mary was able to attend the recent OGA “d’Helin Years” reunion held at the school in 2015. Sadly, Mary passed away the following year. 

In her time at the School, Mary won many prizes including Craft (1949 and 1953), Musical Perception (1949) and Scripture (1950).

The Wallace-Smith family has generously donated a number of items to the OGA for inclusion in the archives, helping to preserve the memory of Mary Wallace who loved her school, and preserving the history of the school for all students.

Some of the items are depicted below.