Proud to be Women : A History of “The Hermitage” Church of England Girls' Grammar School, Geelong (1906-76) by multiple award-winning Melbourne author Melanie Guile, was launched on Saturday 17th May, 2014, at Geelong Grammar School, Corio. The very successful event, hosted by Geelong Grammar, included a warm welcome from Principal, Mr Stephen Meek, the launch by Hermitage Old Girl and internationally recognised food writer, restaurant critic and author, Jill Dupleix, comments from Miss Elizabeth Britten, the last Headmistress of The Hermitage, who wrote the foreword and of course, author Melanie Guile.

Melanie Guile worked closely with The Hermitage Old Girls’ Association (HOGA), which commissioned and coordinated the project and assisted with research and interviews, to capture the history of the School, from its inception at Pakington Street, Newtown, in 1906, to its amalgamation with Geelong Grammar School in 1976. Original documents, photographs and anecdotes vividly illustrate the intimate story about a school which advanced the education of girls in Australia and helped to shape the characters and lives of many young Australian women.

The end result is a beautifully written book packed with photographs covering several generations of girls who attended “The Hermitage”. But it is much more than that. It is also a window into Australian, Victorian and world history and of the changing society of the period, the education of women and their place in society. It also tells the story of the headmistresses who ran the school, their philosophies, its teachers and staff, its founders and board members who planned and oversaw it and, of course, of the generations of girls who passed through it. Far from being a dry, institutional history, it is actually, as Jill Dupleix said when she launched it, “a ripping yarn!”   

Enquires are most welcome, please direct them to: hermitagegirls@gmail.com or phone 03 5273 9338.