Meet our Boarding Community
St Hilda’s School has been offering a caring community life for boarders for more than a century and today, our community comprises 180 girls enrolled from Years 6 to 12. Along with our traditional enrolment of girls from rural Australia, we also have boarders from the Gold Coast and nearby Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Our international boarders and daughters from expatriate families contribute to our school’s diversity and rich cultural fabric. It is our pleasure to introduce you to some of the many people who make up our vibrant boarding community.
Boarder Parents Support Group
The aims of the St Hilda’s Boarder Parent Group (BPSG) are:
- To raise the profile of Boarders within the School
- To raise the profile of St Hilda’s Boarding outside the School
- To encourage communication between Boarding families
- To support the Boarding staff
The BPSG works to enhance boarding facilities for our girls and to address any areas that could be improved through consultation with families and staff. Exchange of ideas aimed at enhancing the happiness and care of boarders comes from the active BPSG. The group meets at social functions, Chapel services and school celebrations throughout the year.
Visit our Parent Groups page to learn more
Meet the Bucknell Family
The Bucknell family live on a cattle station two hours drive north of Mitchell in South Western Queensland. Kristen’s family consists of Mum Jennie, Dad Adrian, an older sister Caitlin and an older brother, Andrew. Living amongst the vast lands of the outback provided many freedoms and challenges in Kristen’s primary years. A multitude of pets including cats, dogs, horses, chooks, sheep and pigs complemented all the less tame animals such as dingoes, kangaroos, snakes and emus that live on the property. Primary school was done through Charleville School of Distance Education and there was great flexibility in every day, even down to when school was done. The family was nearly always together.
Best Part of Boarding
The opportunities that boarding provides are sometimes the hidden aspects such as learning to live with many others, becoming independent and the chance to make life-long friends. The extra-curricular activities that boarders participate in allow the girls to experience so many things they would never get to do at home or do even if they were day students. – Jennie
I think boarding definitely broadens their horizons and helps them realise there’s a bigger world out there. It allows them to see what other opportunities are around and what other kids are doing in various areas of their life that may be completely different to anything they have experienced. – Adrian
Hardest Part of Boarding
I hate missing out on things that my kids are doing. I find it particularly hard because I taught them through Distance Education and where we were once a team in and out of the school room, suddenly I am struggling to even find out what they have been doing each day. As a Mum, I miss them all very much and hang out for holidays but by the same token, I can’t let on how much I am missing them because it makes it harder all around and doesn’t let them grow. – Jennie
Not seeing the kids and you feel the distance in a physical sense as well as a personal sense because they become independent more quickly and you notice that when they come home. – Adrian
Meet the Alexander Family
Lilly Alexander is the oldest of four girls living on a family-run sheep and cattle station in between Aramac, Barcaldine and Longreach. She completed her primary school years through the Longreach School of Distance Education with her Mum as her home tutor, most of the time. Before she left on her boarding school adventure, her favourite activities were horse riding, dancing, swimming and helping with most jobs, as long as they were outside. She used her last holidays before school to refine her driving skills and was very proud to be allowed to take her sisters in the vehicle with her and make sure two of her younger sisters could saddle up themselves as this was a job she usually helped with.
Best Part of Boarding
- Having friends around all the time; sometimes it could be weeks or even months between seeing some class mates from Distance Ed.
- Having everything at or close to the school; dance classes and netball involved a two-hour trip from home.
- Going to the beach with friends, meeting new people from all over the place and doing new things like rowing and gymnastics.
- Having access to qualified and experienced teachers and coaches for a range of interests has been a new experience.
Hardest part of Boarding
- Having friends around all the time; peace and quiet can be hard to find when it is something that was just around every corner at home.
- Running to a clock; the timetable at home depends on the season, the weather and what else was happening around the place. In the beginning, it was even hard just figuring out where to be when, and what to be carrying or wearing. A year in, the hardest bit is keeping it all organised and tidy and doing enough to keep busy without getting too tired.
- Understanding and following instructions from many different adults about all different topics in one day has also been tricky.
- Missing her horses, dogs, old life and good friends that have now scattered all over the state, has been the hardest part of this year for Lilly.
Why St Hilda’s?
It began with a very well organised tour and meeting key staff at the first contact. The impression that boarding is considered an important part of the school shown by small things like consideration of travel plans included in the school calendar for extra-curricular activities. While staff are available, the girls are encouraged to take responsibility for their property, communications, laundry and surrounds, hopefully helping them grow into independent young adults.
The school is large enough to offer a broad range of academic and extra-curricular activities with depth in teams to allow for have-a-go-participation. All this comes with an ethos that hopefully won’t squash a 12-year-old who still is not convinced the decision to send her away from home was the best one.
The distance from the airports is overcome with a door-to-door bus service that is less expensive than some cab fares around Brisbane and what a great place to have to stay for school functions!
As expected, Lilly’s first year has had some ups and downs, she has made some good friends and has a broader social outlook, she has embraced some new interests and is coming to terms with the expectations of her new life. She is looking forward to holidays and spending days with her horses and family; I wonder how long until she starts to ask to see her school friends in the holidays? I am sure she will be excited to see them all again by the end of the holidays.