Memories of the 50s

My memories of San Clemente were happy ones. There were many times shared with girls that are still my friends.

At San Clemente young ladies wore hats and gloves even when riding their bikes to school. We were encouraged to have great pride in our school and the St Patrick’s Day march in Maitland was a time to show it. We practised marching for weeks up and down Havelock Street to the beat of Sister Helen’s garbage tin. We all tried to make the squad and if you got out of step you were quickly out.

After years of wearing navy blue uniforms in the heat of Maitland it was decided to change to sport uniforms for the march, which were green tunics which touched the floor when kneeling, bloomers with elastic in the legs and home-made sports hats, all starched. If it rained the hats drooped and we weren’t very attractive returning home. Day pupils wore white blouses and boarders wore blue and some of the elderly nuns would check your blouse colour to see if you were in the right place at the right time.

Sport was encouraged by Sister Giovonni, who would pin up her habit and teach us Netball. Tennis was 7/6 a term and was taught by Mrs Sone, friends tell me my mother got good value when I hit a good shot now.

In all my years at San Clemente, I never went upstairs or beyond the three classrooms we used. Sister Raphael our Religion teacher would take us into the Chapel to pray for our misguided selves. Because it was a strictly girls only school, even the St. Dominic’s School Dance was girls only.

It was quite an adjustment for me to come back and see the school and convent opened up and to enrol my son in the first intake of boys at San Clemente.

Mrs Helen Elliott (nee Ferry)