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.

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.

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.

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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