'My parents drove us to the front door of a very large house and took my suitcase out of the car. My dad carried the case to the front door and rang the bell. I felt so small and insignificant.’ Pamela Lambert (Tiller ‘72).
Pamela Lambert is describing her arrival as a new boarder at Ruyton in 1969. Her experience was one shared by hundreds of students who both lived and studied at Ruyton from the 1880s. From 1920 to 1971, these boarders were resident in Henty House, and this was the fitting scene of a Boarders’ Reunion last weekend. Some former boarders had previously shared their memories of life in the Boarding House for the Ruyton Heritage Collection. Their recollections show us that they lived in a highly regulated world and a rather Spartan one by today’s standards, but also one where great camaraderie and fun soon overcame any
‘The first night, and many more I cried myself to sleep under the bed sheets so no one could hear me. … We lead a life of bells and drills. A bell woke us up first thing in the morning, a bell for breakfast, a bell for School … a bell for every aspect of the day, even for prayers and bed time.’ Pamela Lambert (Tiller ‘72).
‘When I was eleven I thought sleeping on the balcony was such fun with the possums coming down at night and sitting on the end of our beds.’ Joan Brayshaw (Capp ‘51).
‘I remember … being dared to go out on the roof with the other new girls.’ Wendy Hewitt (McKerrell ‘58).
‘Of course there were midnight feasts. I’m sure Miss Daniell and the Matron had some laughs at how silly we were.’ Janet Lyne (Pilmer ‘51).
‘[I remember] rushing up to the boarding house at lunch time to see if there was any mail on my bed.’ Catherine Hooke (Eccles ‘70).
‘[We were] not allowed to do any knitting or sewing on Sundays.’ Pam Jowett (Friday ‘61).
‘Pelligrinis … had a staff room at the back, which was cleared of staff when Ruyton Boarders plus friends arrived. Espresso coffee and pasta were new to Melbourne in the 1950s. We loved it.’ Helen Scott (‘58).
‘What fun we had!’ Julie Eversteyn (Rolfe ‘73).
Pictured: 1959 Boarding House Prefects.
Ms Cathy Dodson, Archivist