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Calrossy pays tribute to early Headmistress, Annie Parr

After being the centre of learning at the William Cowper Campus for Calrossy 7-9 for several years, the multipurpose classroom block has been officially opened and named.

Bishop Rod Chiswell and Calrossy captains, Olivia Coombes and Tom Aitken, had the honour of opening the building and dedicating it to the former Headmistress, Annie Parr.

But who exactly is Annie Parr and why are we recognising her contribution to Calrossy nine decades later?

Annie Parr was the seventh Headmistress of the School, who served Calrossy for 11 years between 1930 to 1940.

Miss Parr is described as a woman who provided strong, Godly and wise leadership, through the difficult years of the Great Depression, years of drought and out the outbreak of World War II. It has been said her strong powerful leadership brought stability to the School and she was ahead of her time, dedicated to empowering young women through education and opportunities. She exemplified this belief by first gaining her Bachelor of Arts and then employing staff at the School who shared her vision and Christian values.

She was an innovator, establishing the House System, introducing the School hymn and the School magazine, The Tamworthian. These were all designed to raise school spirit and a sense of belonging for all students. Miss Parr also introduced the system of bursaries to help capable and deserving children gain access to a quality education. The family of the first recipient, Ella Barwick, have been strong supporters of Calrossy ever since.

During her tenure at the school enrolments more than doubled, partly attributed to her initiative to introduce a separate Kindergarten with a trained Kindergarten teacher. Her dedication to the School was so strong, that she personally paid for  this teacher for seven months, with the School taking five years to repay her. Miss Parr also used her own money to improve the School grounds.

There were also several milestones during her time as Headmistress including, the School coming under the Governance of the Anglican Diocese of Armidale and the purchase of several homes, which are now central to the Brisbane Street Campus such as the current Health Centre and Senior Study Centre.

There is little information about Headmistress Parr before she came to Australia. She worked as a governess for a Romanian Princess and served with the British Voluntary Aid Detachment during World War I.

Calrossy is proud to recognise one the strong leaders from its diverse history.

(from left; Tamworth Regional Council Mayor, Russell Webb; Bishop Rod Chiswell, Principal David Smith, Foundation Chair Karen Madirazza, Board Chair Ian Millican, Ken Anderson MP, Calrossy COO Robert Faithfull).