OoS - Interact Necklace

The Presidential Gold History Necklace BGGS Interact Club 1970 – 2018

The Girls Grammar Interact Club’s Pre sidential Gold History Necklace, framed and displayed in the Elizabeth Jameson Research Learning Centre, is an icon of traditions past when dignitaries and elected leaders wore ceremonial chains and robes on formal occasions. Like the Brisbane Lord Mayo r’s ceremonial chains, which carry the names of every Brisbane mayor dating back to the 1800s, the Presidential Gold History Necklace is an historic object that captures Girls Grammar’s commitment to service. Every badge is a reminder of a rich history of community spirit, initiative and social conscience. Interact or ‘International Action’ was a 1960s’ initiative of Rotary International which sought to offer an opportunity for young people to be involved in service in their communities. The first Interact Club to be formed in Rotary District 9600 was that of the Brisbane Grammar School in 1964, sponsored by the Windsor Rotary Club. In 1970, the

Windsor Club chartered the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Interact Club which quickly became one of the most committed Clubs within the District. (Magarry, 2002) BGGS Interact President became an esteemed leadership role and early presidents were members of the Student Council. ‘Service above Self’ was the motivating motto for Rotary International and thus for the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Interact Club (1970 – 2018). The first report of the Club’s activities appeared in the 1972 School Magazine; membership was open to all IV and V Formers with Barbara Durie was the first Club president. In the early years, the commitment to community service was paramount, particularly evident in the C lub’s work at Xavier Home, Montrose Home, and with the Sporting Wheelies. Interact members of the 1970s and 80s were dedicated environmentalists, participating in tree planting days, recycling school waste and Keep Australia Beautiful. In 1979, the two clubs (BGGS and BGS) created a park on the site of what is now the RLC Forecourt, to further enhance the green space of the campuses. (Pollock, 1974) (Hawes, 1979) Community service always took precedence over fundraising as club members focused more on interacting with young people of differing cultures and abilities. Parties, swimming marathons, door knock appeals, picnics, charity concerts, and visits to hospitals kept the members active and involved. Interact extended its community relations off-campus often holding events with other Interact clubs, hosting several Interact district conferences and participating in the International Rotary exchange program. In her occasional address at the Interact 40 Year Anniversary dinner, Sarah-Jane St-Clair (1995 president) recalled a disastrous charity concert, ‘Acts on Show’, where the Grammar Girls arrived for a night of revelling to music, dance and theatre sports, while the BGS boys had invited their grandparents for a ‘school’ concert! (St-Clair, 2010) Interact supported Rotary programs such as Interplast and ROMAC; ‘Donations in Kind’, by donating books, food, and clothing to overseas Rotary projects; and the Rotary ShelterBox – President, Anna Redmond and club members actually pitched a tent at a school assembly and unpacked a ShelterBox to demonstrate the merits of the cause. (Redmond, 2007) At its peak in 2001, more than 200 students signed up to become members of the Club. (Brimson, 2001) Over time, specific charities previously supported by Interact, gained their own momentum and the service structure changed. The last president on the History Necklace was Isobel Prior, the 2012 president. Interact’s Presidential Gold History Necklace was mounted in a history box as part of the 40 Year commemorations in 2010. The 2010 president, Giullietta Avenia, and the executive organised a celebration dinner. Many past presidents were re-united with their badges at this highly successful anniversary dinner.

Past presidents, Lucy Fraser (2008), Rebecca Conoplia (1991) and Sarah-Jane St-Clair (1995) with 2010 president, Guilietta Avenia, and Vice- President, Briar Bracey, with the newly framed Interact Club’s Presidential Gold History Necklace.

Included in the history box is the lesser known medal and sash: the Paul Harris Fellow medallion. This was presented by Brier Thomas to Interact co-ordinator, Ms Rachel Christopherson, at a School assembly in 2010, in recognition of her contribution to the development of the Club. (Avenia, 2010)When Ms Christopherson began as the co-ordinator in 2007, the History Chain was still kept in its Proud ’ s Jewellers box. Now, the Presidential Gold History Necklace and Paul Harris Fellow medallion are proudly displayed in the Beanland Memorial Library for all to appreciate and represent Grammar’s tradition of service.

Rachael Christopherson Head of Beanland House Interact Club Co-ordinator 2007 - 2011

1991 president, Rebecca Conoplia wearing the History Necklace as she ‘hands over’ the leadership to incoming president, Ingrid Hadgraft.

BGGS Magazine 1991 p74

Ms Julie Caton (nee Cleghorn) president and Dr Susan Wilson, secretary (1981) at the Interact 40 Year Anniversary Dinner.

The 2011 Interact Club; president, Eliza Weder and Interact members with the Rotary flag.

Ms Rachael Christopherson recieves the Paul Harris Fellow medallion from longstanding Rotarian, Mr Brier Thomas in 2010.

Interact Presidential Gold History necklace detail

Interact Presidential Gold History necklace detail

References Avenia, G. (2010). Interact. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine .

Brimson, H. (2001). Interact Club. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , p. 186.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School. (1972). Interact Club. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , p. 54.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School. (2010, May). Sarah-Jane St-Clair Biographical details. Interact 40 year Anniversary Dinner . Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Christopherson, R. (2010). Co-Curricular Programme Annual Feedback 2010. Brisbane.

Clair, S.-J. S. (1995). Interact. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , p. 104.

Cleghorn, J. (1981). Interact Report, 1981. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , p. 26.

Conoplia, R. (1991). Interact. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , pp. 73, 74.

Fraser, L. (2008). Interact. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine .

Hawes, L. (1979). Interact Report. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , p. 21.

Magarry, R. (2002). A History of the Rotary Club of Windsor District 9600 1958 - 2002. Rotary International, Club Historian. Brisbane: Windsor Club.

Pollock, S. (1974). Interact Club Report. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine , p. 6.

Redmond, A. (2007). Interact Report. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine .

St-Clair, S.-J. (2010, May 26). Occassional Address. The Interact Club 40 year Anniversay Dinner . Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Thompson, S. (1975). Interact Report. Brisbane Girls Grammar School magazine .

Watkins), L. A. (2010, May 3). Letter to the 2010 Interact president. Letter . Burwood Heights, Victoria, Australia.

Weder, E. (2011). Interact. Brisbane Girls Grammar School Magazine .

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