1936 – 1945

Significant events and people from Sancta’s second decade 1936 – 1945

Significant Events  

1937 – The College hosted all the Bishops of NSW to a dinner, presided over by the Coadjutor Archbishop His Grace Dr Gilroy, during the Australasian Synod held in Sydney.

1937 – Several Councillors had high honours bestowed on the: Mr AA Rankin was made a Commander of the British Empire by His Majesty The King, and Miss C Le Plastrier received the Cross of Leo from His Holiness Pope Pius XI.

4 April 1938 – Dr Dora MacMahon (later Dr Dora Bye) joins the Council as its first elected member, filling the vacancy created by the death of Miss C Le Plastrier.

20 June 1938 – Reverend Mother Amelie Salmon RSCJ, Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Rose Bay dies. Mother Salmon was instrumental in founding and organising Sancta Sophia College. In her memory, the Rose Bay Association established the Amelie Salmon Scholarship; the first recipient of this scholarship in 1939 was Alison Stephen. 

24 February 1939 – noted benefactor and supporter of Sancta Sophia College, John Lane Mullins MLC, dies at his home in Elizabeth Bay after a long illness. Among his generous gifts to the College was a significant library of Australiana, widely regarded as one of the best of its kind in Australia. He also established the Jane Lane Mullins Scholarship in 1926, in memory of his late wife. Following his death, his daughters gave hundreds of his books, pictures and the table at which he always sat in his Library to the College.

1939-45 – World War II
• During the war years patriotic fund-raising and involvement in wartime activities were prominent. War Savings Certificates were bought, many student joined organisations for war training and got involved in knitting socks and making camouflage nets.
• Rationing was in effect. The minutes of the House Committee Meeting of Friday 7 May 1943 record “As milk is now rationed and the amount allotted to the College is very little, it has been impossible for students to obtain their usual glasses of milk each day”. (Ref: SSCA House Committee Minutes S0056-08).
• Austerity measures at Sancta Sophia College include foregoing a college magazine from 1939 to 1945. The 1940 Annual Report also notes that “owing to an expression of opinion from the University Authorities condemning merely social activities in war-time, we cancelled the Annual Dance and Re-union Dinner”. (SSCA Annual Reports S0047-01 Box 006).
• Sancta Sophia College accommodated 25 nurses from the US Army Medical Corps, together with Red Cross workers, a dietician and physiotherapist from August 1942 until February 1943.
• The effects of the war on college life were felt in other ways: in 1942 the Psychology Tutor left the College to enlist in the Air Force; the basketball court was planted out with potatoes, and a small “Land Army” formed at the College growing vegetables; due to a lack of waitresses, students had to adapt to serving themselves at dinner.

8 March 1940 – Death of Archbishop Kelly, last of the earliest planners of Sancta Sophia College. Archbishop Dr Norman Gilroy succeeds Archbishop Kelly.

December 1943 –Mother Helen Boydell tenders her resignation, to take effect on 31 December 1943, as Principal of Sancta Sophia College due to ill health; she is succeeded by Mother Juanita (Nita) Macrae. Paying tribute to Mother Boydell’s work as Principal at the Council Meeting of 21 December 1943,, Sir Mark Sheldon said “it was like parting with a dear friend” (SSCA Minutes of Council S0023-01 Box 001).

1943 – Dame Constance D’Arcy elected to the position of Deputy Chancellor of the University of Sydney, the first woman to hold that position.

25 March 1944 – Mother Macrae initiated the Sodality of Our Lady, assisted by Fr. J Golden SJ; seventeen girls attended the first meeting.

Sancta float-Commemoration-Day-c1936

Sancta float-Commemoration-Day-c1936

The gypsy chorus from College magazine 1939

The gypsy chorus from College magazine 1939

Some of the Land Army in the Victory vegetable garden, NE corner of quad c1940

Some of the Land Army in the Victory vegetable garden, NE corner of quad c1940

Sancta's first air-raid warden Patricia Anscombe c1940

Sancta’s first air-raid warden Patricia Anscombe c1940

Lisette Nicolas and Alison Stephen from 1939 College magazine

Lisette Nicolas and Alison Stephen from 1939 College magazine

Sodality 1944

Sodality 1944

Letter to the College Principal re miltary nurses 1942

Letter to the College Principal re miltary nurses 1942

 Contract between the College and United States of America Sep 1942

 

Contract between the College and United States of America Sep 1942

Significant People

Mother Helen Boydell, Second Principal 1931-43.
 

Mother Nita Macrae, Third Principal 1943-57.
 

Mother Mary Arnold (‘Mattie’), acting Principal during Mother Boydell’s leave of absence, Vice Principal.
 

Archbishop Dr Norman Gilroy, who succeeded Archbishop Kelly following the latter’s death in 1940. As Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Gilroy held the position of College Visitor. His involvement with Sancta Sophia pre-dates his elevation to Archbishop, as he served as a member of the College Council from May 1938 to to fill an ecclesiastical vacancy. Upon becoming Archbishop, he resigned from Council.
 

Lady Blanche and Sir Mark Sheldon, long-time supporters and benefactors, and members of the Sancta Sophia College Council since 1930. Having donated £9000 to build the Sheldon (West) Wing in 1928, Lady Sheldon continued to support the College through the donation of everything from rubber mats in the kitchen “to save the cook’s feet”, to a set of silver dish covers for the dining room, and a forty-one piece Crown Derby tea set.
 

Dame Constance D’Arcy, member of first Council of Sancta Sophia College, donor and supporter. Dame Constance served on Council from 1930 until her death in April 1950, including serving as Chairman of Council from 1946. In addition to her work on College Council, Dame Constance was also a member of the University of Sydney Senate from 1919 to 1949 and Deputy Chancellor of the University 1943 – 46, the first woman to be elected to both these roles.
 

Dr Dora Bye (nee MacMahon), elected to Council 1938. Dr Bye was the first elected member of Council, all previous members having been appointed by His Grace, the Archbishop of Sydney. She served on Council for 53 years, until her retirement in 1991.

Four women in garden with St Johns College in background

Four women in garden with St Johns College in background

 
Basketball teams 1944 from College magazine

Basketball teams 1944 from College magazine

Marie Leahy and Maureen O'Neill from 1939 College magazine

Marie Leahy and Maureen O’Neill from 1939 College magazine

Looking through the Rose Walk towards St John's, Wanda Knudson c1940

Looking through the Rose Walk towards St John’s, Wanda Knudson c1940

Te sundial and Barbara from 1944 College magazine

The sundial and Barbara from 1944 College magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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