This year I would like to track the history of Glennie through the decades. There is such a rich tradition in the school, which started from its inception with a donation of £1,627 from Archdeacon Glennie to allow the purchase of 12½ acres of land in Herries Street, to start a school.
As we know, the school started in 1908, so in this and subsequent snippets I’ll pinpoint some of the highlights from the year of the 9s through the decades. Although starting with 1909, the story may jump about through the decades, to tie in with current events. The traditions, visions and beliefs we hold so dearly today do have their roots in our past.
When it opened in 1908, the school had an enrolment of 5 boarders, 20-25 day girls and five staff members. By 1909 the enrolment numbers had increased to the extent that a second house, “Murtong” was rented. This house was in Wallace Street, and in its grounds was a large hall which could be used for two classrooms. To cope with the increase in boarder numbers, a new dormitory wing was added to “St Albans”, the original house. Two houses behind Russell Street were added, and this highlighted the need for the construction of a new school. Life was very different indeed:
“In the paddock at St Alban’s, we slept in an unlined, corrugated iron building! There were eight curtained cubicles, a room for one teacher and a bathroom! At 5.00am a man lit a fire in an ordinary copper outside, and at 5.40 I took a large enamel jug, filled it with hot water from the copper for my bath! At 6.00am I ‘practised’ with numb hands!”
In the very first Glennie Gazette produced in 1909 the editorial states:
“The main object of the school is to train each pupil individually not only to cultivate her particular tastes and talents to the best advantage, but also to make her realise the responsibility which life entails on all of us, and the importance of character in its influence on those around.”
It was also decided that to make the girls take their study more seriously, they were not advised which exam subject they would be sitting on any given day. They only discovered the subject on which they were to be examined when they entered the exam room and opened the exam paper in front of them. Luckily this practice has ceased!