With events around the School this week marking Bastille Day it seems appropriate to remember one of Ruyton’s early French teachers, Madame Augustine Liet.
Born in France in 1859 as Marie Augustine Saboureau, she arrived in Melbourne in 1878 to be with her intended husband, a French teacher, Monsieur Augustin Liet. Early in their marriage Monsieur Liet suffered from health problems, and Madame Liet took up the role as the main family breadwinner teaching at several of Melbourne’s early independent Schools including Ruyton, Lauriston, Clyde and Merton Hall. She worked at Ruyton for 35 years, arriving every Wednesday `valiantly in all weathers, and always … severely neat …’
A correspondent in the 1928 Ruytonian said of Madame Liet, `There was never so wayward a maiden who, under Madame’s compelling glance, did not bend over her book and assume (at least) an interest in the subject in hand. Under Madame’s guidance, gaps were cleared in the forests of ignorance we called our mind, allowing here and there a ray of knowledge to penetrate.’