Heather Carr (1973)

First female member of the GC

50 years have passed since I entered the hallowed halls of Queen’s College, and its enduring influence has been a constant theme in my life since then. Queen’s opened up many possibilities that a country girl raised in the 1950s and ‘60s had never dreamt of.

My parents delivered me to Queen’s at the start of my second year studying Physical Education. Jack Clarke met me and showed me to my room, and then introduced me to a group meeting after dinner. The meeting consisted of one Gippsland boy, Geelong boys and a couple of Melbourne lads, and that was the exciting first day of my three years at Queen’s. 

When I think of phone duty in 1973 – which involved answering the phones and then yelling a person’s name in the quad – I am certain that many things have changed significantly, but I know from the experiences of my niece Jacqui Lloyd (2005) that the spirit of Queen’s remains strong.

In those three years, I played a lot of sport, studied (usually much more than most of my cohort), went to balls, celebrated lots of 21sts, and took part in fun activities. These included chasing a group of Ormond people who tried to steal Bentley Still the goat, and watching cars being waterbombed from the tower as they were re-directed into the drive by boys in their science lab coats, until police sirens could be heard coming up Swanston Street.

I was proud to be elected to the GC in 1973, taking a leading part in setting guidelines for equality around women’s and men’s sporting celebrations. I was part of the Queen’s women’s team which won the intercollegiate cup in 1974, and was chosen as a valedictorian in 1975 (after which I received a dunking in the rowing pool). My memories of Queen’s also include the kindness shown by Joy Parnaby remembering that I preferred black tea and no sugar in the second year of afternoon tea at The Lodge, and Elaine Clarke playing her piano, with her beautiful music wafting around the Quad.

I have taught generations of girls’ modern history in Sydney, encouraging them to work hard and to think critically about the world. In my professional career, I have had a long stint as an HSC marker and judge. I’ve adjudicated at international public speaking and debating championships for a decade.

Despite living in Sydney for more than 40 years, I have always enjoyed and valued the strong and continuing support from my Queen’s friends, most particularly after a catastrophic bicycling accident when my son was only three and a half months old. A family holiday coinciding with Russell (1972) and Michelle (nee Dreyfuss) Ball (1974) and their children at Lindeman Island was memorable as that was the first mini triathlon I participated in after my accident. Visits to and from ‘Pud’ Carolyn Graham (1973) over the years have been constant as we have both navigated the ups and downs of life.

Return to 50 Years of Women in Residence