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NEWS > From the Archives > From the Archives - The Jubilarians

From the Archives - The Jubilarians

As the Class of 2021 prepares to finish their schooling, we remember an earlier graduation tradition honouring the Loreto Normanhurst jubilarians.
1979 Jubilarians
1979 Jubilarians

Were you a school jubilarian? Do you remember seeing girls in flower crowns at LN? 

Each year, our School hosts a special function to celebrate our 'golden jubilarians' - alumnae who graduated 50 years prior. An earlier practice of honouring 'jubilarians' recognised graduates who had begun and finished their secondary education with Loreto Normanhurst. 

The tradition was introduced as early as 1917; in that year, two pupils - Dorrie Burke and Dorothea Coffee - were recognised as jubilarians by our early records. At the time of their departure from LN, Dorrie and Dorothea had attended the School for 8 and 5 consecutive years, respectively. 

As the practice entered the 1920's, special evenings were organised for jubilarians at the end of the year. On these occasions, close family members and friends were invited to join the jubilarians as they enjoyed a special dinner together with the Loreto Sisters and entertainment put on by their classmates. In this era, there were generally one to four pupils in each Leaving Class who merited the special title. 

The requisite number of years for jubilarian status changed over time. Many alumnae recall 7 years of consecutive enrolment as the magic number during their own time at LN. However, as we've seen, the earliest jubilarians were recognised for just 5 years of enrolment. Some girls were acknowledged if their schooling had been shared between Loreto Normanhurst and Kirribilli. The evolving cohort structures - from 'Divisions' to 'Forms' and then to 'Years' - and differing ages for leaving school may have had some influence upon these changes.

It does appear that by the mid-20th Century, 7 years of consecutive schooling at LN was the recognised standard. You may have even exceeded this number depending on how many years you attended the Junior School! 

How the occasion was celebrated also evolved over time. Sometimes celebrated on a distinct 'Jubilee Day' or as part of 'Loreto Day', jubilarians were typically adorned with a beautiful crown of flowers. Some girls seem to have received a special gift from the Sisters (typically a Loreto Manual), but the celebrations often involved a concert or cake to honour the lucky few. Other years, photographs of jubilarians show them wearing the Children of Mary cloaks with their crowns. 

Although jubilarian numbers increased within cohorts, by the 1980's this celebration was no longer practiced. 

With the re-opening of the Teresa Ball Primary Centre in 2015, many students from the Class of 2021 will have attended LN for 7 years. Although no flower crowns will be seen, there will be flower petals released as part of one of our newer traditions, known by Normo girls as the Dove Ceremony. We look forward to recognising and celebrating our newest graduates with these special contemporary graduation rituals. 

We would love to hear from you - were you a jubilarian in your year? Maybe you recall some of the celebrations? Leave us a comment or reach out via the 'Share your Story'.  

Regardless if you attended Loreto Normanhurst for some or the entirety of your schooling, we hope you enjoy these images from our archive of previous jubilarians. 

Ms Rachel Vaughan 
Records Manager 

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