Allison Dunn (Norton)

1942 Collegian

Allison Dunn (Norton): centre

With my mother having been an MLC 'old girl' and a teacher there, I was enrolled at MLC for 10 years, completing my leaving in 1942.

Around the age of 12 I was bullied. It was very unpleasant. As soon as I got on the school premises a group of girls would pounce on me, taunt me, even throw my homework over the cliff. It was frightening and I was very unhappy and nervous.

It only stopped when I fell ill with glandular fever and had a lot of time off. When I returned the ringleader had left.

From these early experiences of being bullied, I understood how important and helpful it was to have somebody to be able to talk to. This influenced my decision to study psychology and, later, to establish the counselling service at the College.

I completed my Bachelor of Arts and went on to lecture at Kindergarten Teachers' College and teach at PLC until I married in 1949. We then had four children in the space of six years.

In 1965 I approached MLC to set up the counselling service, an idea I had researched and had seen happening overseas.

The principal, Walter Shepherd, was both receptive and forward-thinking, and I was charged with developing the first counselling service at an independent school in WA.

One of the first requirements was to establish and run the MLC Scholarship Programme. The biggest aspect of my work, however, was providing career guidance. This involved a huge amount of research and gathering information about university and technical college courses, and the many kinds of careers available.

My aim was to open up every employment possibility from which girls could choose from. I wanted girls to open their minds beyond traditional areas of work.

Seeing the first MLC girl to enrol in engineering at UWA was a real achievement!

On MLC: I formed friendships that have lasted over 70 years and have fond memories of some of my teachers – my French teacher, Miss Lynda Colliver and the headmistress, Miss Gertrude Walton, in particular. I loved being involved in the sporting teams – both playing as well as coaching and barracking for the girls in other teams.