Mac.Robertson Girls' High School video
Running time 3.42
Filmed and edited by Jo Clyne, 2015
Contact History Teachers' Association of VictoriaCopyright
History Teachers' Association of Victoria Royal Historical Society of Victoria
Dr Toni Meath, Principal of Mac.Robertson Girls' High School speaks about MacRobertson's role in establishing the school.
DR. TONI MEATH:
Our school began in 1905 as the Continuation School. It was the first school in Victoria, government school, to extend beyond year eight. It was a co-educational school and it was set up as an entry to, basically to the Faculty of Education for the University of Melbourne.
In 1927, the principal of the day decided that boys needed to be educated separate from girls, and so there was a new school built on Forest Hill in South Yarra and he symbolically marched the boys up to that school. The Continuation School at that stage was called Melbourne High School and was in Spring Street in the old Surgeons’ building, and he left the girls behind in the building, which was crumbling and deteriorating. And so our school became Melbourne Girls High School, but we were actually homeless for multiple years, we, our school went from Government House to other locations.
Until in 1933, Sir Macpherson Robertson, in a very munificent gift to Victoria included in that gift £40,000 for the establishment specifically for a girls’ school. They looked for a site for this school and they identified where we are geographically now as the site. There was a competition for the building, and we are one of the very first Art Deco buildings in Melbourne and Sir Macpherson Robertson funded that. As a philanthropic gift it’s amazing, because the girls would not have school today if he hadn’t have contributed that money. So in honour of that gift the school was named Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School, fondly known as MacRob. And in the very first week of September we have MacRob week and we celebrate everything MacRob, from tying chocolates to the bannisters of the staircases, to people dressing up like Macpherson Robertson, to doing quizzes etc.
Today MacRob is quite a curious school and it’s interesting that our alumni are spread geographically all over the world and there’s an eccentricity to our students. And I think this reflects Macpherson Robertson as well – that sense of comfort in one’s own skin, entrepreneurial self, and ability to see the world with bright eyes. Our motto at MacRob is “Potens Sui” (mastery of self) and Macpherson Robertson showed great mastery of self, and our values and guiding vision of the school also reflect the kind of life that I, in my understanding Macpherson Robertson led.
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Story education resources
Education MacRobertson's Confectionery Factory - Education Kit
The MacRobertson's Confectionery Factory education kit has been designed for grades 2 and 3 and looks at themes such as 'the past in the present' and 'community history'.
Key themes include:
1. Historical buildings and monuments
2. Victorian industry and the workforce
3. Technology and transport
4. Advertising and design
5. Local history
Teachers and students use the kit in conjunction with the MacRobertson videos, images and stories available on Culture Victoria to complete a range of activities aligning with key historical skills such as:
1. Distinguishing between the past, present and future
2. Posing questions about the past using sources provided
3. Exploring a range of sources about the past
4. Identifying and comparing features of objects from the past and present
5. Exploring a point of view
6. Developing a narrative about the past
7. Using a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written, role play) and digital technologies