Celebrating a centenary of the written word

As St Catherine’s celebrates 125 years of history, one hundred years ago in 1921 a new and significant tradition began with the first St Catherine’s Magazine, which was the annual magazine, recording School activities and announcements. It, also coincided with the move to Toorak.

The first magazine consisting of 12 pages begins the Editorial with:

St Catherine’s Magazine has appeared at last! We have heard so much of it, we began to wonder if it was all “a castle in the air”, and would melt into space before we had time even to glance at it. But here it is, and we can actually turn over its pages. Here is our motto! “Mil Magnum Nisi Bonum.” What does it mean. Do you understand it girls! To love the highest and the best, and never to be satisfied with anything less.

Look at our colours. Are they not the very best colours in the world. They are to a girl at St Catherine’s. There is the blue – God’s heaven above us; the yellow – God’s sunlight dispersing all the shadows. Are they not emblematic? High ideals carried out in the joyousness of service.”

The Magazine also announces the formation of the Old Girls Association (SCOGA) updating the community about some old girls:

We are going to initiate an Old Girls’ Association. We need a good secretary – one who is enthusiastic for her old school and has time for correspondence…Marjorie Beckingsale is pursuing her musical studies at the Conservatorium. Sybil Taylor has only six months to complete the Pharmacy Course. We were glad to see Boo Randall back in Australia. She has had a beautiful time since she left St Catherine’s – first at school in England, then at school in Paris, from there to California to visit her brother, who has an excellent position there.”

A poem titled “Miss Langley’s Heaven of a school” is very much like the school we know today listing the dream of a basketball court all chalked out and ready, a hockey field and a library that would hold ‘bout a million books and “The Assembly hall would come first in good looks.”

As a historical document it includes an amazing array of historical events including the Principal’s Annual Report; calendars of the year; Valete and Salvete lists; team photographs; clubs and societies; artwork and original contributions of stories and poetry by students, with sections for SCOGA about old girls news and sporting auxiliaries.

Ms Melissa Campbell


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