SGHS Old Girls’ celebrates a century

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Some of the former pupils from the original Southland Girls' High School in Conon St, Invercargill. Photo: Supplied

THIS year marks 100 years of Southland Girls’ High School’s Old Girls’ Association and to celebrate, its members are presenting a sizeable donation to the school.

They plan to present a cheque at the school’s prizegiving ceremony next month, a contribution towards the upgrade of the school’s library.

Old Girls’ Association president Anne McCracken said they wanted to keep the amount of the donation under wraps so it would be a surprise when it was announced at the prize giving.

Mrs McCracken said the aim of the Old Girls’ Association was to support Southland Girls’ High School (SGHS) and maintain former pupils’ bonds and sense of belonging with the school.

Southland Girls’ High School principal Yvonne Browning (left) and Old Girls’ Association president Anne McCracken at a dinner to celebrate 100 years of the association in May. Photo: Supplied

It was about showing respect to the school, their former teachers and principals, and helping to make it a “school of importance”, she said.

When SGHS opened in 1879, it was in Conon St, Invercargill, the third public girls’ school in New Zealand at the time.

The school then moved to the corner of Forth and Ness Sts in 1907, and then again to its present location on Tweed St in 1948 due to the need to expand.

Volunteer school archivist and Old Girl Barbara Clark said there had been a SGHS Old Girls’ Association in the late 19th century, but it was disbanded.

The Old Girls’ Association was reformed in 1919 following the end of World War 1 and the “devastation” of the 1918 flu epidemic, she said.

“It was a time of resurrecting ideas.”

SGHS’ Old Girls’ Association has about 100 members, with branches in Southland, Otago, Timaru, Queenstown and Wellington.

The organisation celebrated the association’s 100th anniversary with a dinner in May.

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