Presbyterian Ladies College has always been in my mind a special school. Sometimes as a foil: when I referred to Mildred’s College for Christian Ladies and Our Ladies for Perpetual Properness, I had PLC in mind. It’s a weirdly proper school, very privileged and definitely not to everyone’s taste.
Apart from being one of those name schools, I’ve also had strong personal connections to PLC. I’ve known a number of teachers and students who were there, including ex-students of mine with whom I am now very good friends. Hilariously, I did my first teaching rounds at PLC, under the “this is ridiculous” supervision of an ex-student. I later did some relief teaching at PLC, which I enjoyed very much. The girls were beautiful, and the general culture of learning and respect, even in the pedestrian subjects I was allotted, was astonishing and refreshing. The religion was too thick for an atheist like me, but the Ministers were smart and friendly and human: the kind of guys to deliver a freezer (not a freezer-load) of food to a badly sick teacher.
When trying to choose a secondary school for our daughters, PLC was Ying’s and my first and impossible choice. It was our first choice because of the general culture, and specifically because of a phenomenally good mathematics teacher, and because of a phenomenally good, and unbelievably generous, Mandarin teacher. The choice was impossible because of distance and Melbourne traffic; once we ruled out buying a helicopter, we gave up and chose a school closer to home.
But, anyway, the school has changed. The mathematics teacher left a few years ago. Now, the Mandarin teacher has left.
So, good bye to PLC. I will not miss it.