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