We Survived

Collected Memories of School Days at PLC Armidale – 1936 to 1964 – Edited by Christine Perrott

This collection of fascinating reminisces captures the school days of those girls who attended the Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) in Armidale, New South Wales during the period 1936 to 1964.

Were their experiences to occur today they would surely cause gasps of horror. Not that there was anything immoral or illegal happening, the standards of accommodation, meals and uniform requirements were simply of their time; a time which included the war and post-war years with its attendant shortages, rationing and family losses.

Despite the strictures, what shines through is the abiding emotional attachment the Old Girls have for their school and the friendships made, as well as the school’s emphasis on encouraging individual strengths and talents, its stress on the belief that women should pursue a career and its complete lack of social snobbery.

There are tales of girls ‘getting up to no good’ and as well as being amusing, these forays into naughtiness indicate that spirit and risk-taking cannot be extinguished, whatever the prevailing conditions. Ultimately it was these very conditions that provided a test of character and resilience. Ask PLC Old Girls of the 1936-1964 period what they think of it all and they’ll laugh, give a shrug and say, as they do in some of the memories within this book, ‘We survived.’

Publisher’s Comment

This fascinating collection of memories from the Old Girls of Presbyterian Ladies College, Armidale, is a snapshot of a time, not too distant in years, yet a quantum leap from the standards of education, accommodation, nourishment and pastoral care enjoyed by the current pupils of the many boarding schools within Australia.

This ‘time-capsule’ should be read as such and above all, one hopes the central takeaway is that despite the conditions, which we may view as austere and even stringent, the past pupils have reflected on the tremendous benefits they were endowed with by their time at the school.

They and the generations that came after them were the recipients of an education that granted not just knowledge, but resilience, confidence, fortitude and most importantly of all, lifelong friendships.
Yes they did indeed survive, but more than that, they thrived and we are happy for them to be able to share their stories.