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autumn 2016

Building a new Future

I was delighted to officiate at the opening of the Margaret

McRae Centre on Monday 22 February 2016 with Mr Peter

Kanat, President of the Ruyton Foundation. School

Co-Captains, Rose Adams and Jane Karopoulos, facilitated

this event in great style. Ms Sonja Horbelt, Co-ordinator of

Contemporary Music Studies, wrote and arranged a musical

item specifically for the opening, entitled


The item

was performed by the Percussion Ensemble and the Stage

Band, supported by two Old Ruytonians, Freya Solomon

from 2014 on first trumpet and Chantal Mitvalsky, who left

Ruyton in 2000, on vocals. This Centre, like the building that

previously occupied this site, is named in honour of former

Headmistress Miss Margaret McRae, who led the Ruyton

community with distinction from 1962 to 1985, having joined

the staff in 1957 as a Social Studies and History Teacher. She

was respected for her forward-thinking leadership and her

focus on innovation in education, often encouraging staff to

adopt new practices in the classroom as well as encouraging

Ruyton girls to aim high. It is her innovative approach and

belief in striving for personal best that we will continue to

celebrate and recognise in this building for years to come.

It is her legacy to Ruyton, carried on by those who have

followed her.

The impressive new Margaret McRae Centre is the result

of a successful collaboration between an extensive team

of people including our girls, the staff, the architects

and builders, and our donors. Through a consultation

process we have ensured that the design specifically meets

the needs of girls and provides flexible learning spaces that

enable a variety of learning and teaching approaches. With

purpose-built facilities to cater for Year 7 and Year 8, Science,

Individual Learning, Performing Arts studios, as well as a

large Events and Performance space, the building design

has delivered so much for our community.

There are many people to thank in a project this large:

I thank Mr Tim Hogg, who chaired the Project Control Group,

a sub group of the Board, for his wisdom and guidance.

Thanks, too,  go to our former Business Manager,

Mr Peter Sharples, and to our current Business Manager,

Mrs Leanne Smith, for their overall management of the

project. We are particularly grateful to the architects, Woods

Bagot, to McCorkell, the builders, for their expertise and to

Ochre Landscape, who assisted us with the soft landscaping,

always such an important aspect of Ruyton. As a result of this

expert collaboration we have completed the project within

budget at a cost of $15,000,000.

Thank you to the Ruyton Foundation for their support and

particular thanks to each donor who has partnered with us

to make this possible. We also thank Ms Linda Douglas,

our current and 13th Principal. Like Miss McRae, we recognise

Linda as forward-thinking with a clear focus on providing

powerful learning opportunities for our girls to achieve their

personal best through quality teaching, innovative thinking

and flexible learning environments. With this in mind it is no

surprise that, as I announced at Speech Night 2015, the Board

was unanimous in its decision to extend Linda’s contract.

We look forward to many more successful years ahead under

Linda’s inspiring leadership.

Ms Kathryn Watt,

President of the Board


A Champion of Girls’


It is with great sadness that we note the

passing of Mr John Bate, OAM, (8.11.1926-

11.2.2016) at the beginning of this year.

He was a former Chair of the Ruyton

Board, a philanthropist and a champion

of girls’ education. John was a past

parent, a member of the Board (1966-

1991) and Chair (1978-1991), a Foundation

Member and a special friend to Ruyton.

Collaborating with four Principals, he

was a true guardian of the spirit of

Ruyton. He provided wise counsel and

was ever generous with his time, talents

and resources. In 1992 the John Bate

Physical Education Centre was opened,

and named in his honour.

As the Ruyton Reporter Winter

Edition 1992 said,

‘Designed to

complement the architecture of

historic Henty House, the new Centre

caters for the needs of a diverse and

challenging curriculum, which teaches

every girl the value of physical fitness.

Team sports such as Netball,

Volleyball, Basketball and Tennis; plus

dances, gymnastics and aerobic

sessions are among the various

activities which will be accommodated

in the new complex.’

John and

Elizabeth (Lizzie) had four children,

Wendy (’75), Jack, Robyn (’80) and

Peter. We extend our deepest

condolences to the Bate family. John’s

presence, enthusiasm and community

spirit will be greatly missed but we

are proud to uphold his legacy.


Wendy Hewitt

The Ruyton community notes the

death of Wendy Hewitt (‘58). Wendy

served as President of the ORA and

on the School Board. An honorary

life member of the ORA, Wendy’s

active support and significant

contribution to the School was

outstanding. The Ruyton community

extends its sympathies to Neil,

Caroline (‘89), Sarah (‘92), Andrew

and their families.


We are here

To make a difference


To live the Now

Find the way

To move forward

The way

To where and how

It’s the time

To be empowered

It’s the moment

To discover all there is

Building a new future

We are here to lead the way/Now

Community Matters