On Friday, Somerville House welcomed nearly one hundred Old Girls to the Commemoration Day service, announcing their gift to the School for 2018.
Led by President of the Old Girls’ Association (OGA), Ms Alison Kolb (2004), the gift will be a new bell tower to house the historic School bell.
The bell was gifted by the Old Girls’ Association in 1951 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the OGA. It was purchased by the OGA from the dockyards at South Brisbane, through the collection of ‘no more than five shillings’ donated to the Jubilee Gift Appeal.
Originally hung on the East Wall of A Block, “the bell is a ship’s bell of brass, suitably inscribed, suspended from a bracket and rung from inside the School building – its clear tones can be heard everywhere within the School grounds” (Somerville House Magazine 1952, p45).
However, when the library was built on top of the Music School in the 1970s, the bell was wedged between the two buildings, with few people knowing of its existence.
On 7 September 2007, the bell - which was covered in paint and dirt – was, with much difficulty, removed and polished.
In 2008, the restored bell was kept in Archives and hung outside the kitchen each time it was rung, with the new protocol for bell ringing implemented: on the first day of each term as the girls come out of Assembly; on the last day of each term as the girls come out of Assembly; on Commemoration Day as the Old Girls come out of Assembly; on Valedictory as the girls come out of the final Assembly.
The new bell tower will be constructed in the Mall, and will reference the Clock in The Chambers building in design.
Ms Melinda Zerner (1986) was the Guest Speaker at Commemoration Day, a barrister who had started her career as a nurse.
In her inspirational address, she reminded students not to define themselves by their academic results, and that anything is possible with determination, application, and through building and nurturing relationships with those around us.
Ms Zerner’s full speech can be read here: Melinda Zerner Commemoration Day Address 12 10 18Thank you to the Old Girls for their continued support of the Somerville House Community.