A spot of tea anyone? St Andrew’s long Ladies Circle tradition

St Andrew's College students put on a show for the Ladies Circle's 60th jubilee celebration. From left to right: Lily Welsford (Year 10), Danielle Smith (Year 12), Madeline Bailey (Year 10), Catelin Riordan (Year 10) and Hana Pearce (Year 12).

In 1958 a group of mothers, grandmothers, and teachers at St Andrew’s College gathered for a tea party.

Sixty years later, the tradition is still going. The Ladies Circle social group meet often to chat over tea and fundraise for projects at the school.

Member Alison Ballantyne said the group was ‘overjoyed’ to celebrate its diamond jubilee.

“It’s such a simple idea and yet a lovely idea,” she said.

Said Mrs Ballantyne: “You get those friendships when you’ve got your children at school and you get friendly with other mothers,” she said.

“Then it all fades off, the kids leave school and what do you do next? The kids usually stay friends but quite often the mothers drift away and that’s the end of it. So it’s lovely to keep it going.”

Mrs Ballantyne said she joined the group after teaching at the school. “When I started teaching at St Andrew’s there were only five women in the senior staff.”

“It was a lot of fun. The men had to learn about, you know, ladies loos and ladies worrying about their make-up and things like that.”

The Ladies Circle has fundraised for various projects at the school over the past 60 years, including raising $10,000 for the rebuild of the Centennial Chapel. “A lot of them, the grandmothers, are widowed, so it’s pretty wonderful that they dig around, and every dollar counts.”

She said the group’s members looked out for each other.

“We all have a telephone list, so even though nowadays it’s popular to email, we telephone. Everybody can look out for each other and find out if everybody is well or if anybody needs a hand or some help. It’s a great network of caring for each other.”

The diamond jubilee was celebrated with a tea party and a performance from a group of students about what the first ever Ladies Circle meeting would have looked like.

“They came in with their furs and their gloves and their hats, they just looked gorgeous. They all looked like they’d just stepped out of 1950s Vogue.”

St Andrew’s College students put on a show for the Ladies Circle’s 60th jubilee celebration.

St Andrew’s College students put on a show for the Ladies Circle’s 60th jubilee celebration.