Dear St Aidan's Community
It is with a heavy heart, that we share the news of the passing of past Principal of St Aidan’s, Miss Marjorie Neil (1980-1991). Miss Neil passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by her nieces and nephews.
Miss Neil, an Arts graduate from the University of Queensland with a degree in Education, had been the Deputy Headmistress at St Hilda's prior to commencing as Principal at St Aidan’s in 1980. Her first introduction to St Aidan's students had occurred while watching a ball games competition where St Aidan's had won but disqualified themselves when they realised they had played with one fewer team member than required. Miss Neil was highly impressed by such 'tremendous values' and St Aidan's reputation as a genuinely caring school was embedded in her memory.
When the position of Headmistress became available, she applied and was warmly welcomed to St Aidan's. Miss Neil found that with St Aidan's being a small school it had the advantage of catering to the individual needs of the students.
At the time, conditions for teachers were less than ideal – no superannuation, no sick leave provision; there was the need for a management structure to accommodate these and other issues. Miss Neil’s first year as Headmistress was a time of staff consolidation and preparation for some updating of the school's infrastructure.
A shyer personality with a keen sense of humour and highly organised, Miss Neil led St Aidan's for 12 years. Her greatest challenges were 'to find the spark in each child, and to provide a range of educational programmes to develop this spark, to uphold the Sisters' ethos. She was particularly concerned to develop all students, the non-academic and the academic students alike, for success in later life.
Under Miss Neil's leadership, the first classroom of computers was installed at St Aidan’s. A testament to her years of hard work and foresight is the Christine Hartland Centre (formerly the Performing Arts Complex) which was fondly dubbed the 'Marj Mahal' by students, staff and parents alike.
Miss Neil was very strict but earned the respect of both students and staff in all positions.
Marjorie celebrated her 80th birthday in February, this year. She was in regular contact with the School in recent years and we were delighted that she could join us in 2019 for our 90th birthday celebrations at our Ascension Day Service, in St John’s Cathedral.
Please join us in keeping Marjorie, and her family, in your thoughts and prayers.