Redlands House Preschool
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Following Miss Liggins’ death in 1910, Miss Arnold sold Redlands to Miss G A Roseby who became the new owner and Principal for the next thirty-four years until her retirement in late 1945. Miss Roseby was a graduate from the University of Sydney with a teaching qualification from the University of London. In a mere fifteen years, the school numbers grew from 83 students to 400, making it one of the largest independent girls’ schools in Australia. Miss Roseby extended the school grounds and bought neighbouring land and houses and built Liggins House, opened in 1923. The curriculum expanded and the school’s reputation for academic excellence, originality and innovation was established.
Miss Roseby continued to encourage the performing arts, Miss Liggins’ particular passion, and also introduced debating, inter-school sport and the annual swimming carnival within her first year as Principal. She also brought the Preparatory School onto the Redlands’ site in 1912 and housed it a newly acquired property next door to Redlands called The Vines. The school from World War I onwards produced a large number of university graduates in Arts, Science, Architecture and Medicine, with Marie Cotton becoming the first woman University medallist in Dentistry at the University of Sydney. Other girls entered the business world, or became journalists, nurses and teachers, while still others followed successful careers as writers, artists and performers. Several became distinguished sportswomen, including Alison Hattersley, the first woman to be awarded a triple Blue at the University of Sydney.
An Old Girl from this era reflected,
‘When you think that most private girls’ schools had churches behind them while Miss Roseby had no one, you can only conclude that she must have been a financial genius to guide the school the First World War, the flu epidemic in 1919, the Depression in the thirties and then the Second World War. It really is beyond belief.’
Miss Roseby relied on the support of her family, particularly her younger sister, Mabel, known to all as ‘Miss May’ who remained her Deputy Principal until their joint retirement in 1945. Miss May, also a graduate of Sydney University was a passionate advocate of women’s rights, a geologist and amateur photographer. She possessed the intrepid Roseby spirit and with other staff members took the students on numerous ambitious exploratory excursions and camps, particularly following the introduction of the Guide Movement to Australia in the early 1920s. Miss Roseby’s other two sisters, Beatrice (Mrs McLaren) and Mary, also trained teachers, worked at Redlands during her first decade as Principal, Beatrice as the school’s administrator and Mary as an art teacher. Beatrice gave up her job after her marriage, although her two children, David and Molly attended and lived at Redlands during the 1930s. Mary left Australia to pursue her art and teaching career in London where she was visited by many subsequent generations of former Redlands’ students.
The Depression and War years had a financial impact on the School. Redlands House was demolished in 1936 and the enrolment of boarders and boys were both discontinued during the early 1940s.
Main photo: Senior School in front of Redlands House 1931