Fabulous Day at the Somerville House Birthday Lunch - Meet our Bursary Recipient

What a fabulous day was had by all at our annual Somerville House Birthday Lunch hosted by the OGA on Saturday 9th October, 2021.  

L to R Jennifer Whybird (Class of 1996), Jess Wintraaken (Class of 1997), Jacey Ting (Class of 2002), Jeannine Lam, Petrina Gilmore (SH Foundation), Jane Seaborne (Bird, Class of 1990) and Peta Tilse (Mandikos, Class of 1990)

It was so lovely to see such a fantastic representation from all of our Somerville House community including the Somerville House Leadership Team, Somerville House Foundation, parents, PMSA and Old Girls from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. We express our heartfelt thanks to all for your support in helping us to celebrate the Old Girls' Association's 120th Birthday. 

Liz Washington President, welcomed all with special thanks to major sponsors "Wine Direct" and "Bruce Robinson Diamonds". Wine Direct are passionate supporters of female education and women's career development. In addition to providing a fabulous selection of wines enjoyed at the lunch, Wine Direct is proud to provide a special fundraising opportunity for the OGA, with excellent wine packages at an exceptional price point and a donation back to the OGA for all package purchases.  To view this offer CLICK HERE

Bruce Robinson Diamonds has strong links to Somerville House as a family, with Bruce's daughter Lisa Duncan (Robinson, Class of 1986) and the long standing relationships with the Somerville House community. Bruce's son Cameron operates the family boutique in New Farm, that specialises in bespoke, hand crafted jewellery and investment grade precious gems. He generously donated a stunning, 14ct yellow gold necklace featuring London Blue Topaz for our Grand Raffle Draw. Please check out their website HERE

It was a truly special treat to welcome Valmai Pidgeon AM (Class of 1944 and a long serving OGA Treasurer and Committee Member) to the lunch. Valmai had the honour of cutting the 120 Birthday cake. 

Barbara Duhig (Willers, Class of 1955) the OGA's longest serving Committee Member said Grace. 

This year the OGA launched the Isabel Bauer OGA Bursary in memory of a legendary old girl and our longest serving OGA President. The $5,000 Bursary is awarded to an Old Girl to help support the further development of her career. The assessment panel was delighted by the high calibre of applications and the OGA would like to not only acknowledge their efforts in applying but encourage them to re-apply next year, or in the future. Before announcing the inaugural recipient, Liz Washington introduced a special and emotional video tribute to Isabel Bauer, recorded in late 2019, outlining her love for Somerville House and the Old Girls' Association. Rebecca Bauer (Class of 1988) and Miriam Musgrave (Bauer, Class of 1990) thanked the OGA Committee and OGA Community, the Principal and School Community (Foundation and P&F), for their support and how Isabel was humbled and amazed by the wonderful letters, cards, emails and sentiments before her passing in July, 2020. They said the Isabel Bauer OGA Bursary to support the career of an Old Girl was exactly what Isabel stood for - choice, independence and equity. 

We are delighted to announce the inaugural recipient of the Isabel Bauer OGA Bursary for 2021 .....................

Elizabeth Lewis (Class of 2004)

Elizabeth graduated from Somerville House in 2004 and completed her Bachelor of Music (Performance) majoring in Classical Voice from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in 2008, before immediately commencing and completing her Master of Music Studies, also at the Conservatorium in 2010. Following these studies, she joined the Opera Queensland Studio as a principal artist and later the Victorian Opera Developing Artist Program. During her time with the Victorian Opera, Elizabeth also completed a Master of Opera from the University of Melbourne. In 2017, Elizabeth relocated to the United States where she worked with several arts organisations for four years, returning to Australia this July. While the majority of Elizabeth's studies and professional experience have been in front of the curtain, she is passionate about the stewardship of the arts in Australia and working behind the scenes to create new Australian content examining the Australian experience for Australian audiences. With this in mind, Elizabeth is currently completing a third Masters degree and will complete her Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management from Colorado State University in 2022.

At the end of 2019, Elizabeth began a project of interviewing Australian Army nurses who had been stationed at the Vung Tau Base during the Vietnam War. She had hoped to turn their incredible and inspiring stories into the text of a song cycle for Soprano and small ensemble. However, after being put in touch with world-renowned composer Brenton Broadstock AM, he encouraged her to turn her poetry into the libretto for a contemporary opera about the Nurses. Over the course of 2020 Elizabeth and Brenton have worked on refining the opera and composed some beautiful music which illuminates the beautiful stories and experiences of the women, and the men they worked alongside. With the aid of the Isabel Bauer OGA Bursary, the goal is to mount a concert production of the opera in 2022. 

Elizabeth was extremely humble in accepting the honour of being the first recipient of the Bursary. We look forward to hearing more from Elizabeth as she pursues this incredible opportunity. 

Principal Kim Kiepe gave an update of the masterplan and the Heritage Heart Project showcasing a video of the planned refurbishment for Somerville House including Somerfields.  AlfreshCo catering once again provided exceptional quality in their canapes, alternate main course options and dessert cake.

The afternoon wrapped up with all raffle prizes drawn including the Grand Draw featuring the necklace donated by Bruce Robinson Diamonds.  The winner of our Grand Draw was Petrina Gilmore (Somerville House Foundation), who purchased her tickets online before the day.  Petrina was delighted with her success and can be seen wearing the necklace below standing next to Gaye Pitman (OGA Committee).  

A vote of thanks for all who contributed to the success of the day was given by Beverley Folliott (Gardam, Class of 1959).  This included but was not limited to our major sponsors, dedicated OGA Committee and our wonderful Somerville House Old Girl and School Community. We are incredibly grateful for the support across generations.




See complete photo gallery HERE.

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