MLC celebrated its 135th birthday on Founders' Day, Tuesday 14 February 2017.
As per tradition, students enjoyed walking through the historic Krome Gates on the corner of Barkers and Glenferrie Roads, each receiving a commemorative 135 years lapel pin from Diana Vernon, Principal.
As part of the celebration, student ambassadors wore various MLC uniforms from years gone by, including one from 1912. This provided an interesting insight into the uniform changes from its turn-of-the-century dress code to its current, modern uniform. The energetic sounds of the MLC Marching Band also added to the festive atmosphere.
Students, families, and members of the public were invited to walk through the College’s landmark Tiddeman House. Built in 1882 at the College’s inception, it has been recently refurbished in a complementary union between its history and modern facilities.
The building, which also contains the Boarding House, additionally houses the Museum and other historical rooms. Students were keen to see the vast array of photographs, awards and memorabilia that the College Archives have collected, and hear about the formation of the College from Judy Donnelly, MLC’s Archivist.
The inception of the College came from The Wesleyan Methodist Conference of Victoria and Tasmania, who formed a committee to establish a school that provided the same educational opportunities for girls as that already provided for boys. The College opening in 1882 came at a time where women were only just allowed admission to the University of Melbourne, and attitudes towards women’s education were changing for the better.
“MLC has celebrated a rich history since its beginnings in 1882 as a ‘modern school of the first order’,” says Ms Vernon. “I am tremendously proud that the College’s dedication in providing girls with a world-class, forward-thinking education has continued so strongly for 135 years. We fondly reflect on how the learning environment has changed over time, and celebrate the long list of achievements that our students have made across sport, the arts, philanthropy, academia, and that the College itself has made through interventions and innovations in teaching practices.”
Some of the significant achievements include:
- In 1990, MLC was the first school in the world to introduce a 1:1 laptop program to enhance student learning. Skills taught included touch typing and operating Windows DOS; nowadays, students learn coding, 3D design and have access to a range of online learning tools and resources.
- 1991 saw the MLC Marshmead campus open in East Gippsland, a remote educational experience for Year 9s. Students spend a term at Marshmead in what is often described as a “life-changing learning experience” and a highlight of their MLC schooling. The program celebrated its 25th birthday in 2016.
- Established in 1904, the MLC Old Collegians’ Club is one of the oldest girls’ alumnae associations in Australia with over 35,000 alumnae living in more than 48 countries around the world.
- In 1890 a swimming pool was built, thought to be one of the first Australian girls’ schools to have such a facility. These days, the renowned MLC Aquatics Club has more than 800 members.
- Whilst first established as a Methodist school by the Wesleyan Methodists, MLC has always warmly welcomed students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. In the 1940s, MLC saw a greater influx of Asian students and the then-Principal, Rev Dr Wood began offering scripture classes for Jewish students.
- Twenty-one MLC Old Collegians nursed at the Front in WWI, and many subsequent alumnae served as military nurses in major conflicts including WW2 and Vietnam.