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An Educational Legacy

‘I see her now, entering the main rooms of the old building for roll-call, entering with all the dignity and deliberation the occasion warranted.  But never haughty.’ Eleanor Hinder (a former pupil)
During her time as Headmistress of Maitland Girls’ High School, Jeanette Grossman made the school one of the most respected institutions in the community, and her leadership became part of school legend. In 1914, she was transferred to North Sydney Girls’ High School.

Perhaps due to the small flourish with which Miss Grossman ended her signature, it has been erroneously assumed for some decades that her name was, indeed, Grossmann, an error reinforced by the name plaque donated by the Sydney branch of the Old Girls’ Union in 1935 which marked the renaming of the property in her honour. The name is recorded as ‘Grossman’ in the Royal Australian Historical Society Journal of 1945, and the name of Miss Grossman the property was changed from Grossmann to Grossman House by the National Trust in 2007.

By the 1940s, despite structural changes made in 1918 to increase accommodation and the acquisition of Brough House in 1919 as a hostel for students living outside the immediate area, overcrowding had become serious. In 1939 the school was amalgamated with the Domestic Science School next door, and teachers and staff were poured into over-crowded and cold rooms. Hilma Ellis, a biology teacher from 1946 to 1950 recalls that the present day ‘Dining Room, Store Room and Butler’s Pantry had housed 38 teachers in cramped conditions’. In 1963, Maitland Girls’ High School moved to new, purpose-built premises in East Maitland.

Miss Grossman