“One of the first events which took place after the actual opening of Marsden was a short ceremony at which Bishop Long switched on the electric light. The girls asked if this could be an ‘occasion of ceremony’ so the Bishop agreed to switch on the light on November 17th 1925, thus ‘instantly illuminating the big house’.” Quote from The Story of Marsden School Bathurst, 1925 to 1975 by M. A. Stamp.
It is by pure coincidence that this date is significant, for on November 17, 2018, ex-students and ex-teachers of Marsden School and All Saints’ College will gather together to celebrate the end of an era and say goodbye to the All Saints’ College that we all know so well.
This will be a wonderful opportunity for reflection, nostalgia or to just catch up with old school friends, some probably not seen since that last day of school.
All Saints’ College has evolved and grown over many years. It began as two separate single sex schools: Marsden Church of England Girls’ School, which was established in 1925 and housed in the majestic Rutherford House set high on the hill in Kelso. And All Saints’ College, which was originally established at the Bathurst High School site in 1874 and relocated after World War One to the present site on Eglinton Road.
The war years had an impact on both schools. All Saints’ College was affected in the lead-up to 1914. Costs spiralled, teaching staff were hard to find, and enrolments dropped off. By 1919 the headmaster Mr Stiles resigned and the school closed down. It was reopened in 1923 by the new headmaster Rev. Lindsay Watson who, together with Cameron McLeod, sought to purchase Esrom House and 20 acres on Eglinton Road.
The nearby Rest Hotel was then purchased for additional classrooms and Walmer House on the river was leased for boarders.
With classrooms and boarding facilities now established, all that was left to do was to relocate the chapel. So, in a true labour of love, the chapel was transported, brick by brick, to Eglinton Road from its old site and reconstructed.
A new era for all Saints’ College had begun.
Ted Evans became headmaster in 1948 and it was during his time that student numbers grew from 108 to 315. All in all, there were a number of excellent headmasters over the years, each contributing toward the growth of the college.
It was under the leadership of Dr Tim Wright, who was appointed headmaster in 1993, that a formal Pastoral Care structure was developed within the college timetable. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Evans Block, The Foundation Block and the refurbishment of the science labs.
For those of you who would like to catch up with Dr Wright, he will be our guest on November 17 and will deliver the official welcome.
Marsden School was closed for a few years because of the impact of World War One. Rutherford House became the home of the AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service). The school was reopened in 1948 by the newly appointed headmistress, Eleanor Appel, who was highly regarded as a woman of principle and a progressive educationalist.
Following Miss Appel’s untimely death, Margaret Glover took up the role of headmistress and to many Miss Glover was Marsden.
The two schools came together in 1977 when Marsden was incorporated into All Saints’ College and restructured as a co-educational school.
Much has changed since those early days of the two independent schools. Marsden girls will probably recall the starched white tablecloths, serviette rings and rigid rules of the dining room, the old hot water pipes that snaked their way around the old building which very effectively heated the large halls of Rutherford House, the queue that formed each night as each girl lined up to shake the headmistress’s hand before bed and perhaps the large circular drive that saw the comings and goings of buses, taxis and many family cars ferrying luggage and excited girls at the beginning and end of term.
Boys from the early All Saints’ days may also recall an array of rules and protocol; the tipping of the hat, the opening of doors to allow teachers, women and their elders access to a room before they themselves could enter, the chaperoned dances organised with the girls from Marsden and the comradeship with their fellow students and teachers both in the classroom and on the sporting field.
If you are an ex-student or ex-teacher of All Saints’ College or Marsden School and would like more information about this event, please visit the All Saints’ OBU Facebook page where you can view the official invitation and book in. (RSVPs required by November 1.)
This event is being organised by the committee members of the Old Bathurstians’ Union whose prime objective is to maintain the ties of all ex-students and provide continued support for the school.