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Calrossy... our Light and Life

More than 200 community members came along to watch the Premiere of Calrossy... Our Light and Life on Friday, September 15.

It was a fantastic night with plenty of catch ups and conversations by a wonderful mix of past and present Students, Parents, Staff and Board.

The documentary, Directed by Daniel Raffaele and edited by Craig Wilson, showcases Calrossy history in an authentic and inspiring way while also showcasing the depth of the School archives.

This event was a fundraiser for the Mary England (Melville 43) and Ruth Munro Scholarships with a cheque for $37,000 presented from the Calrossy Foundation. A huge congratulations to all involved.

In case you missed it, The Northern Daily Leader's, Emma Downey and Gareth Gardner, caught up with some of the people behind the movie last week. We've included that story below for anyone interested and thank the NDL for their interest in our School's history.

Tamworth school celebrates the role of 'iconic' Calrossy House

This year marks 100 years of Calrossy Anglican School on Brisbane Street, and a centenary of education from the iconic Calrossy House which is considered the heart of the school.

To mark this historic milestone, the school's archivist Catriona White said a 45-minute documentary, Calrossy ...Our light and life has been made to provide a look behind the bricks of the historic building that is Calrossy House.

"The documentary is a story of change, resilience, friendship and success, told by the people who were there every step of the way, from the early days in 1923 when the then Tamworth Church of England Girls School relocated to the Brisbane Street Campus, to the amalgamation of William Cowper School with Calrossy to become co-educational Calrossy Anglican School."

"The centenary and the history of the house provided a great opportunity to make the documentary, which offers untold insights and recollections, recounts details from past principals and alumni, and delves deep into the school's archives."

"This is the true story of Calrossy's diverse history, dedication to education excellence and the community through good and difficult times," she said.

Mrs White said Calrossy House was built in 1878 by a local solicitor, John Patterson, as a single story dwelling and extended with an upper story in 1896.

"The house was designed by prominent Hunter Valley architect John Pender, who also designed the Dominican Convent Building on Marius Street in 1880, now home to Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music," she said.

Mr Patterson's eldest daughter, Charlotte Calrossy Patterson, established Tamworth's first girls' school, Lyndfield College in 1906, which operated until 1917. After its closure the Anglican Church felt the need for a suitable educational facility for girls in Tamworth, so opened the Tamworth Church of England Girls School in 1919, with classes operating out of St John's Church Hall.

Mrs White said the school was very successful, and soon required a bigger premises.

"By then the Calrossy family had moved on, so when the house came up for sale the Anglican Church, with support from the Armidale archdiocese, bought the building with a view to relocating the school."

The Tamworth Church of England Girls School moved to Calrossy House and began classes in 1923, officially adopting the name Calrossy in 1969.

Mrs White said Calrossy had always been a hostel school for students living away from home, drawn from across the district.

"The school has constantly evolved to meet new challenges and changes in education, as evidenced by the development of new school campuses and the amalgamation with William Cowper School which led to the introduction of boys to the school community," she said.

"We're now heading into a stable period in the school's story, so it was a good opportunity to reflect on the last 100 years, and all the change and benefits.

"We've survived - if you are not willing to change with the times, you won't survive."

Mrs White said the school's extensive archival material was the key to making the documentary possible, with drawings, plans, and photos.

She said Calrossy had written histories to mark 21 years, 40, 75 and 100 years, which also provided material for the documentary to call on.

The documentary will premier at the Capitol Theatre on Friday, September 15, from 5pm.

Emma Downey