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Boarding has been part of her life since the age of seven, when a young Meg Drury went to a small Boarding School because her family lived on a large property named Booreeyamma which was 18 miles from Mungindi and there was no school bus and 18 miles from town which in those days was considered to be a far trip.

Live in Governesses were used for a period but when the availability to board, at the local convent came up, it was decided to send herself and her siblings into Mungindi to be weekly boarders. From there she went on to board in Sydney at Loreto Convent, Normanhurst.

They are years she remembers fondly, with a smile on her face… from a very young age having to live with a strict routine.

“It was tough on ones so young but that was how it was and I actually don’t remember very many tears. Maybe we were instructed well of the expectations,” says Meg.

(Meg Drury, back row far right, pictured with boarding staff including Courtney Coe, next to Meg. The Tamworthian 2010)

Meg describes herself as a country girl born and bred and after school she returned to the country due to the love of the life and living.  However, those years etched their place in her life and provided the perfect backdrop for her time at Calrossy.

“After I finished school at Loreto I returned to Mungindi and shortly after I received a position at the local hospital as an assistant nurse. 12 months on I returned to Sydney to St Vincent’s Hospital at Darlinghurst to train.”

“In the interim my family had moved to Tamworth to a property in the Moonbi Ranges.

I secured work at the Tamworth Base Hospital for a period of time, then to Barraba for five years and worked at the hospital moving back to Tamworth to work with The Northcott Society with physically disabled children,” Meg explains.

“A Boarding Supervisor position arose at Calrossy. I was interviewed by the then Principal Mr Smart who thought I was too young for the position. (I haven’t been told that since).”

A few years later she reapplied and gained the position of Full time Boarding Supervisor for Year 11 which was then at Simpson House. The Principal at the time was Mr Graham Hilder.

“I remember fondly being interviewed for the position by Mrs Chris Curran (Head of House at Simpson at the time and Miss Eunice Orr who was Head of Boarding.”

Meg says the reason she chose a career in Boarding was that she had a total understanding of what Boarding was about and she knew she had the skills to fill the position, alongside her “love of the country and knowing students from a variety of areas from remote NSW always appealed to me.”

She claims that she nearly knows where every current and past boarding student comes from and can pinpoint it on the map.

Meg has been a committed Calrossy stalwart for many years, commencing her role in 1993. She has literally seen hundreds of Calrossy girl and boy boarders make the school their second home. Not surprisingly she has pretty much seen it all when it comes to boarding life and the ups and downs it can present for students and their families.

Meg has worked in most areas of the Boarding School; Simpson House, Thew House, Ashton House, Sims, First Floor, Health Centre and is now based in the front office. Caring for all years over time, she has a great appreciation for the role of Boarding Schools.

“It is a great privilege; it is not only for students that live remotely but those who are given an opportunity for a better-rounded education.”

Meg says among the great benefits of boarding are learning to be independent from an early age, living with people who are from a diverse range of backgrounds, structure in daily living, opportunities with academic learning and sporting pursuits and making lifetime friends.

Her advice to Boarders is simple.

“Take every opportunity that is given to you’, try new things and experiences, try the hardest you can with your studies and your parents will be very happy with that. Live by the rules that are applied because they are there for a reason, for student safety and wellbeing.”

“Often in life we are sad that we don’t realise school is the best time of our lives and wished we tried harder and enjoyed all aspects.”

In turn the boarding girl and boys have also taught Meg a few lessons over the years.

“Students have taught me to be patient, tolerant, accepting, cranky, happy and organised,” she says.

Those who work alongside her would disagree with the “cranky” and maybe replace it with candid. It is that candour and her “can do” attitude that make Meg a much loved colleague and boarding staff member.

Her advice regarding work is simple, “come to work do your job, give 100% and then go home  satisfied” but the truth is Meg does much more than just her job, she is one of the friendly familiar faces that makes Calrossy a leader in regional boarding.

A typical day for Meg is that there is never a typical day. Each day in boarding presents different challenges and rewards. “A day includes answering emails, booking transport, directing students, advising staff, driving buses, locking up grounds, assisting the Head of Boarding, overseeing student leave… and lock up and clean up.”

It’s not uncommon on any weekend or weekday afternoon for the Boarders bus to clock up 100’s of kilometres, ferrying students around town to sport, work and other commitments. It is never forgotten by the boarding staff that the families are relying on them to support, guide and take care of their most precious possession.

It’s a great privilege and ‘occasionally’ a challenge looking after the next generation of students who will be running the country in the future. Meg says to think that she may have had a small impact on the many students she has cared over the years makes her feel a tad proud.

Calrossy Boarding School is a very special place, providing a wonderful and safe environment for students. It has been able to maintain that individual characteristic that looks at every child independently and cares for their needs.

“Our department does their job very well.”