Some of you may know these women who inspire us across the generations. We call them our alumni. It is our pleasure to introduce you to their inspiring pathways.

When the young women who graduate from St Mary’s College venture out into the world to find their place, they become a part of our history and story throughout their alumni journey, wherever it may take them.

Our alumni have forged a collection of unique paths in different fields and endeavours, such as news media, medicine, technology, science, the defence force, engineering, agriculture, national and international sporting, education and motherhood.

Each is making a worthwhile contribution as they inspire upcoming generations.

Discover their stories below.

“The school’s strong work ethic has really helped me get to where I am today. During my time at St Mary’s, the teachers placed a huge importance on always trying to achieve your best, and I truly believe I can credit St Mary’s for my relentless work ethic and ‘never give up’ attitude. I absolutely adored all of my teachers at St Mary’s College. They were so supportive and encouraging.”
Lucy Breaden (Class of 2006).

Inspiring alumni of St Mary's College

Aileen Murphy

Class of 1912

In 1912 Aileen Murphy, who was barely fifteen years of age presented herself as a candidate in the Senior Public Examination.

She passed with much credit and achieved Matriculation. It was her first appearance in Senior Public and for one so young it was a very creditable one.

This means that at just 15 years of age, the age now of a Year 9 student, Aileen obtained her Matriculation in one year, a remarkable achievement at any period in history.

It is known that Aileen went on to study Medicine in a male-dominated field which was most unusual for a woman at that time. Not only that, she continued in her profession to become a wellknown specialist.

Anne Foale

Class of 1974

Anne completed a BA at UTAS followed by a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship at the Tasmanian College of Education in Hobart.  She taught for a few years as a Teacher Librarian in the Dept of Education.

After the birth of her second child she took three years leave, during which time she set up a Family-Based Child care in her home under the auspice of the Kingborough Council providing the first such option for the lower Channel area.

Anne returned from leave and went back to full-time work but this time with Catholic Education. She moved from Teacher Librarianship into Secondary teaching at St James College and then held the position of Religious Education Coordinator for Sacred Heart College, Newtown for 11 years, moved onto Deputy Principal at MacKillop College and then ten years as Principal at St James Catholic College.

During this time of establishing her career in education she studied to complete a Graduate diploma of Teaching [Religious Education] and a Masters of Educational Leadership both through Australian catholic University.

Anne has also been actively involved with ACEL (Australian Catholic Principals Association) for about 20 years, with many of those years spent as a member of the local branch executive in one or another role and six years spent as A National Director and 7 years as the Tasmanian Branch President.

Brittanie McCarthy

Class of 2018

Just six days after completing her Bachelor of Media degree at the University of Tasmania in 2021, Brittanie McCarthy found her calling as a Communications Officer with the St Mary’s College Community Relations department.

The former Prefect brings a creative and contemporary approach to her part-time position at SMC, which she is balancing with postgraduate study.

Britt is currently working on her Masters in Strategic Communications, which she plans to complete at the end of 2023.

When reflecting back on her time as a student at St Mary’s, Brittanie credits the College’s welcoming atmosphere for allowing her to thrive and discover the subjects that she could pursue at university. In particular, Brittanie’s History and English teachers encouraged her to complete these subjects to the best of her abilities which, in turn, helped spark her interest in media. Brittanie enjoyed connecting with her classmates and is grateful for the rapport she built with teachers over the years that created a fun and inviting learning environment each day.

Brittanie was elected a Prefect in her final year, which happened to be the College’s 150th anniversary. Brittanie’s Prefect role was created specifically for the anniversary year, which meant that she had a unique opportunity to be involved the planning and execution stages of all the events that were held to mark the historic milestone.

Holly Andrée

Class of 2017

Since hanging up her green blazer for the last time in 2017, former Head Prefect Holly Andrée has been busy juggling the demands of full-time study with work and other commitments, but she still makes time to get outdoors and explore the natural wonders of her home state.

Having just stepped into her third year of a Bachelor of Natural Environment and Wilderness Studies, majoring in Human Geography at the University of Tasmania. Once she completes this degree, she intends to stay at the university for another two years to complete her master’s in planning.

Holly has always had an inherent passion for our natural world, which she shared was definitely nurtured at St Mary’s College. Through the various classes she has studied thus far at university, her passion has broadened to encompass the people and systems that influence our world, with a specific focus on how we can change certain systems to contribute to a more equitable society.

Once she completes her master’s, she intends to (hopefully) work as an urban/town planner specialising in greenspaces and creating sustainable urban and peri-urban liveability.

Imogen Barry-Murphy

Class of 2018

Imogen Barry-Murphy started her career journey with a simple enquiry at a University of Tasmania careers evening for Year 12 students in 2018, which quickly developed into an interstate university scholarship. Representing Tasmania well, Imogen received a Bond University Excellence Scholarship and studied a two-year accelerated Bachelor of Architecture Studies.

Now having finished her degree, Imogen is inspiring future design students in the way she made her mark on the future of architecture by achieving top of the class for Design Communications, earning her an invitation to the Executive Dean’s Awards.

How did her pathway start? At the beginning of Year 7 Imogen heard about the Housing and Design class and was intrigued and elected to study this in Year 10. She planned ahead and looked at related classes, also completing Graphic Design in Year 9-12 and Housing and Design in Year 12.

Now she has graduated, Imogen hopes to receive an internship to work within one of the Australian industries and would like to focus on small housing design and simple, affordable housing based on the climates.

Jaclyn Thurley

Class of 2006

Jaclyn Thurley is the founder and principal of The Pelvic Studio, a Hobart-based physiotherapy practice with expertise in pelvic health for both men and women. She is a physiotherapist that has specific expertise in pelvic health, referring to herself as a ‘pelvic physiotherapist’. A pelvic physio is someone with specific training and expertise in treating conditions in and around the pelvis. In simple terms, they treat anything below the waist and above the thighs. Think things like lower back/pelvic girdle/hip pain, abdominal rehabilitation, and anything to do with the pelvic floor, such as bladder and bowel issues.

During Year 10 at St Mary’s College, Jaclyn decided to be an AFL physio. She had a dream to be one of those physios running out on the football ground, tending to players’ injuries. To get into physiotherapy you had to have a TCE score of more than 96 points. So, she put my head down, tail up for Years 10, 11 and 12 and studied hard! Jaclyn was accepted into Melbourne’s La Trobe University and decided not to have a gap year and instead, go straight from Year 12 into a physiotherapy undergraduate degree.

When she was in her fourth year of university, Jaclyn selected women’s pelvic floor health as an elective subject and just loved it! She threw the idea of being an AFL physio out the window and set her sights on becoming a pelvic physio. Jaclyn’s dream to open her own practice came true in 2020 and her studio is located in Salamanca, Battery Point. Their clientele mainly consists of pregnant and postnatal women, males and females with pelvic pain (such as endometriosis), and men before and after prostate surgery.

Lucy Cooper

Class of 2012

Lucy Cooper’s workday is a little different to that of most people. From the crack of dawn, you’ll find her on a farm somewhere in rural Tasmania. This is where the first female wool buyer in the state, who started with a traineeship with Roberts Rural Co is making leaps and bounds in Tasmania’s wool selling landscape.

As a Sheep and Wool Advisor with Roberts Rural Co, Lucy works with owners state-wide to discuss and outline the benefits of their wool and navigate the best price for the wool export sales.

She is also supporting the livestock assessments and wellbeing while analysing how their environment and living impacts the wool and is lucky to be shadowing existing wool and sheep advisors. Lucy is passionate about getting more young people and women involved in the agriculture sector.

Margaret Gard

Class of 1911

Margaret Gard was born in New South Wales in 1892. When she was 10 years old, her father, an engine driver, moved the family to Hobart.

Margaret began school in 1903. There was always a very strong leaning throughout the history of the school towards musical performances and participation in competitions and there is every probability that Margaret’s gift of singing was encouraged and celebrated.

According to newspaper reports from the time, Margaret came to the attention of some prominent Hobart citizens as a singer in the cathedral choir. Her patrons included the Tasmanian Premier Sir John Evans and Monsignor Gilleran of St Mary’s Cathedral. They used their influence to establish the Margaret Gard Committee, raising funds to send her to Europe to further her singing education.

With the generous financial assistance of her sponsors, Margaret left Hobart in 1911 to study at the Royal Conservatory of London. In 1914 she won a scholarship to remain at the Conservatory until her debut as a mezzo-soprano in Paris in 1917.

Whilst working in Italy, Margaret met and married a set designer, Giovani Grandi, with whom she had a daughter Patricia.

Now performing as Margherita Grandi, she made her debut in Milan in 1932, singing Verdi’s Aida.

Margaret made her professional debut in London in 1939 singing Verdi’s Lady Macbeth. She was regularly engaged by the Royal Opera House from 1947-50.

In the 1948 movie The Red Shoes, Margaret’s singing voice is heard.

Molly Payne

Class of 2012

On leaving school Molly spent a year volunteering in Vanuatu, which led to her family helping Molly set up The Open Door Foundation.

Molly returned to Tasmania to complete an Economics/Science Degree, while her family and Elizabeth College continued her work in Vanuatu. Molly managed to squeeze in a 3-month stint as a volunteer in South Africa in 2015.

After her graduation from UTAS in 2017, the Presentation Sisters of Tasmania sent Molly to New York for four months as a representative of the International Presentation Association to join their Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. Now back in Hobart, Molly is studying National Disaster Management at Charles Darwin University, her vision being to join an NGO or UN agency in this work. At the same time, she continues her UN work and works with the Wesley Mission Life Force on suicide Prevention in rural Tasmania as well as Colony 47 as a Homeless Youth Coach. Her Foundation in Vanuatu continues to gather momentum.

Molly is now the Justice Contact member for the Tasmanian Presentation Congregation. Her role is to represent the Sisters on the Presentation Society Justice Contact group which is also a member group of the International Presentation Association’s Action for Justice.

Nicole Shanny

Class of 1994

Nicole (Nicki) Shanny commenced at St Mary’s College in 1985 in Year 3. A committed student who led an active school life, Nicki was elected Prefect in Year 12; she played the clarinet in the Concert Band and Jazz Band, dipped her toes in school sports (netball, in particular) and was a long-time member of Vinnies.

Nicki was also a dedicated member of College House and felt she benefitted greatly from being taught by ‘so many wonderful, genuine, invested, kind and dedicated teachers’, and was inspired by them to become a teacher herself. In fact, when she had her own children, Freya (who is currently in Year 9 at St Mary’s) and Joe (a Year 7 student at St Virgil’s College), she enrolled them at the College so that they too could experience the community, guidance and enduring friendships which marked her own education.

Nicki studied teaching at the University of Tasmania, and during her final year in 1999, she was invited by the Principal of St Mary’s College at the time, Mrs Ann Stanfield, to cover for a term during which a teacher was away. Her first year after graduation saw Nicki teaching at Immaculate Heart, followed by an appointment at Dominic College, where she worked until 2013.

In 2014, Nicki came home to St Mary’s College, where she has taught ever since.

 

Olivia Eade

Class of 2018

Olivia Eade is a medical student at the University of Tasmania’s Rural Clinical School based in Burnie, on the state’s north west coast.

A naturally inquisitive person, Olivia has always nurtured a strong interest in science. After gaining experience in administering first aid through her surf lifesaving endeavours, Olivia was drawn to the idea of pursuing a career pathway that was exciting, stimulating and hands-on. She soon discovered that a career in medicine was the perfect fit for her, allowing her to combine her two passions – learning and looking after patients.

Now in her fourth year of medical school, Olivia has had the opportunity to apply her knowledge and skills through a variety of clinical placements across the north west coast in hospitals including the Northwest Regional in Burnie and Mersey in Latrobe, as well as in the primary care setting.

Ultimately, Olivia’s goal is to graduate from medicine and further her education and training locally as a rural intern. Eventually, the aspiring medic would like to work as a general practitioner or gynaecologist, although she finds that her areas of interest and career aspirations change often as she continues learning about different fields.

On top of the demands of her course, Olivia has faced the added challenge of studying during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition from school to university can already be difficult, with new routines, responsibilities and a heavier study load, but in Olivia’s case (and that of many of her peers), she also had to contend with the disruption to learning due to COVID-19. The major lockdown of 2020 saw all teaching and learning move online, however Olivia took these changes in her stride and even gained a new appreciation for her health and wellbeing in the process.

Patsy Biscoe AM

Class of 1961

To a generation of children and parents in the 1970s and 80s, Patsy was a household name as she rose to fame as a singer of nursery rhymes and songs for Australian children. The hugely successful television programs, Fat Cat and Friends and Here’s Humphrey owed their success to Patsy’s talent.

Patsy commenced her studies in Medicine, took advantage of her singing scholarship and performed at various jazz clubs. A car accident left her with serious injuries including to her eyesight, forcing her to interrupt her studies and to find other directions.

Rising as far as a finalist in the talent quest show Bandstand, Patsy was signed to her first LP (long playing) record in Sydney in 1969. A move to Adelaide and performing in Here’s Humphrey brought her to the attention of producer John Evans, who saw in her huge potential as a performer singing children’s songs in a distinctly and authentic Australian way.

In the early 1970s, heavily pregnant with her first child, Patsy recorded her first children’s record, 50 Favourite Nursery Rhymes, which became a Platinum Record, the first ever to be awarded in South Australia. It was the start of a stellar singing and performing career, culminating in the production of over 10 albums of nursery rhymes, children’s songs and bed time songs. Here’s Humphrey was to become one of Australia’s longest running shows and made Patsy popular here and overseas.

Rachael Nolan

Class of 1997

A keen interest in the Sciences, and particularly the environment, lead Rachael to enrol in the Environmental Science program at Melbourne’s Monash University. After four years of study, she completed her degree with Honours with a double major in Geography and Biology.

After travelling for a while, Rachael took a position as an Environmental Consultant with a private consultancy, carrying out environmental impact assessments. Several years later, she applied for a scholarship to complete a PhD at Melbourne University. Her successful application led to a four-year funded study and a very timely thesis on forests and bushfires, with a focus on the impact of the Victorian Black Saturday 2009 fires on Melbourne’s water catchments.

She remained in academia and decided to continue applied research. Her scholarly articles are widely published, and she is highly sought after for her opinions and comments, especially in the wake of Australia’s catastrophic summer bushfires of 2020.

For several years now, Rachael has worked from the Western Sydney University, through funding from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Sandra Taglieri

Class of 1983

Sandra was educated at St Mary’s College from 1978-83, after which she completed a combined Economics/Law degree at UTAS.

After wide experience in the law, Sandra became a partner in Phillips Taglieri in 1995. She practised widely in commercial, criminal and family law, as well as civil litigation: from this sprang her strong interest in personal injury and worker’s compensation litigation. When changes were made to the Worker’s Compensation legislation in Tasmania, Sandra used her advocacy skills in briefing both Houses of Parliament and was very influential in having the laws changed to better serve the vulnerable people involved. In 2009 Sandra retired from partnership and established herself as a barrister.

In 2018 Sandra accepted the invitation to become Senior Counsel (previously known as Queen’s Counsel) and became only one of three women to have achieved this appointment to date in Tasmania. She saw this as an opportunity to model to other women, the possibilities achievable in the law. Sandra has always been heavily involved in various law committees, boards and alliances.

In 2021 Sandra was appointed to the Federal Circuit Court. Her appointment is a great gain for all Tasmanian women. Her understanding of the experience of women accessing the law and in the operation of the law will be an enormous asset to the Court.

Shelley Macleod

Class of 1975

Shelley Macleod is celebrating her retirement after 20 years of dedicated service to St Mary’s College. A much-loved teacher and a great ambassador for language, Shelley taught Chinese in the Senior School and Japanese across Prep to Year 12. She also spent some time abroad teaching English in China and Japan (post pandemic!).

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Shelley’s daughter, Millie Macleod (class of 2013) studied Japanese and Italian at St Mary’s before going on to study Chinese and Danish at Melbourne’s Monash University, where she completed a Bachelor of Global Studies in 2017.

For Shelley, teaching was not a career she had originally considered. In fact, it was her desire to re-enrol at university as a postgraduate student to study languages that ultimately led her back to SMC in a teaching capacity. After first graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Japanese and Indonesian, she travelled to Aomori in the north of Japan where she worked in education for two years. It was upon her return to Hobart that Shelley decided that education and teaching languages was ‘where she wanted to be’ and so, went on to complete a Bachelor of Education at the University of Tasmania.

Shelley has many fond memories of her teaching career at the College, including the school trips to Japan and China, the student exchange programs established with sister cities in Japan and China, and the friendships formed with her former colleagues in the Languages department.

In 2020, Shelley received the Supervising Teacher of the Year Award from the University of Tasmania in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the university’s education program. From 2016 to 2021, Shelley mentored 11 preservice teachers, with whom she worked closely through collaboration, observations and discussion.

Shewit Belay

Class of 2014

A graduate doctor who is working towards her Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Shewit Belay is also a talented writer, singer and actress who recently made her stage debut in the Melbourne season of Hamilton.

After completing Year 12 at St Mary’s College, Shewit moved to Townsville to pursue her medical studies at St James Cook University. She spent four years in Townsville, followed by 18 months in Mackay and then another five months in the Torres Strait for her final rotation as a student.

In 2021, Shewit started working as a junior doctor at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, which she described as ‘a challenging but fulfilling experience, especially in the time of COVID-19’. It was at this time that Shewit also began studying for her Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Juggling work and study has certainly kept Shewit busy, but she has enjoyed the opportunity to broaden her skills and knowledge in her chosen field.

Shewit credits her science teachers at St Mary’s College for instilling in her a lifelong passion for STEM and for creating a learning environment that empowered her to engage with these subjects. Her family is also a significant source of inspiration and she acknowledges that arriving in Australia as a refugee helped fuel her determination to exceed the expectations placed on her ‘simply because I am a refugee’.

A proud Eritrean, Shewit hopes to return to East Africa to work in the future and continue the legacy of her late uncle, Dr Semere Fre, a graduate of the Addis Ababa University School of Medicine. For now though, she is focused on completing her Masters and building a successful career in medicine while pursuing her passion for musical theatre.

Veronica Harris

Class of 1988

Veronica Harris’ journey with St Mary’s College started at the tender age of seven, when she commenced Year 1 in 1977. Fast forward 11 years and on completion of Year 12, Veronica enrolled at the University of Tasmania. By the age of 20, she had graduated with a Bachelor of Education.

In no time at all, Veronica had secured a teaching position in Year 2 at John Paull II School at Rokeby, where she remained for nine years. From there, she moved to St Paul’s, Bridgewater, and then to St Cuthbert’s, Lindisfarne.

During her time at St Cuthbert’s, Veronica also worked at several other schools in the area of Special Learning Needs coordination.

In 2014, Veronica took up a teaching job at St Mary’s College with the Lantern department, which provides both learning support and extension programs to facilitate appropriate ways for students to engaged with the curriculum and aspects of College life on the same basis as others. She was appointed to Acting Lantern Coordinator later that year, before taking the reins as Lantern Coordinator of the Junior School.

After taking a year’s leave in 2017 to teach high-needs students at the Southern Support School, Veronica returned to St Mary’s in the following year, taking up a position as secondary teaching, teaching HaSS and Religion.

Over a long and fruitful career to date, Veronica has taught from Kindergarten to Year 10 and would like to teach Religion in Years 11 and 12 to complete the circle.

Zoe Lovell

Class of 2013

A multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer based in Hobart, Zoe Lovell studies the human form and how, through movement and body language, it is used as a tool to communicate. Zoe’s primary interest lies in portraiture, with her design practice providing services including identity and publication design.

Following a Bachelor of Visual Communication in 2016 from the University of Tasmania, Zoe completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours in 2017. As part of this, she created five publications that observed the experiences of women in everyday life. In 2018, she was an artist in residence at the University of Tasmania, where she spent her time assisting the Head of Studio in the third-year Visual Communications class. In early 2019, Zoe undertook her second residency at the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery, focusing on the change in my environment during the weeklong stay. Since graduating from university, she has focused more on fine arts practice.

In October 2019 Zoe presented her first solo exhibition, Conversations with the Human Form, at the Top Gallery in the Salamanca Arts Centre, while also working on a number of freelance design projects for local and interstate clients in drawings, paintings and ceramics. Her favourite piece from the exhibition, A Conversation ‘sequence’ is a large drawing featuring a sequence of hand gestures floating in space.

Zoe’s aim for the future is to work on oil painting and build up a portfolio. She wants to work towards getting an artist’s residence overseas, in Europe.

 

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Some of the above profiles are sourced from the wonderful collection in our 150 Faces of St Mary’s College book, which features stories of 150 notable members of our St Mary’s College community from 1868-2018. These profiles were researched and written by the Heritage Officer, Marg Rootes in celebration of our 150th anniversary.

All recent profiles were current at the time they were written. We look forward to adding to these as our alumni take their next steps in their personal and professional journeys. There will be more to come soon!

If you would like to share your story or know an alumni member with an inspiring tale, we’d love to hear from you. Please email communications@smc.tas.edu.au.

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