Reconnecting on Radio – reaching out to our Alumni

A chance connection on the radio leads  to a Loreto reunion

In August, Ms Mary Anne de Mattia, a member of Loreto Normanhurst teaching staff, caught the end of a radio broadcast in which a caller named Yvonne shared her recollections of what happened when peace was declared in the Pacific 75 years ago. Yvonne mentioned on air that she was a student of Loreto Normanhurst at the time. It was with great enthusiasm that the Development Team dove into databases and archives in search of this special alumna, and we were delighted to eventually reconnect with Yvonne Quarrell. 

Now aged 90, Yvonne started as a boarder here in 1945 when she was 15 and finished three years later in 1948. She said that she was “touched and delighted that a Loreto Normanhurst teacher heard her phone call to the radio.”

Yvonne shared that when they heard that peace was declared in the Pacific, the Loreto Sisters gathered the girls together to sing in a full celebration of thanksgiving. She said the students sang “the Te Deum… in Latin… the whole way through!”

After school, Yvonne married a man who had been stationed in Borneo during the war (he was 9 years older) and they went on to have 6 children. Her daughters attended Loreto Kirribilli and her granddaughters attended Loreto Mandeville Hall, thereby forming three generations of Loreto women.

Yvonne’s husband died 31 years ago, and she is still closely linked to the many friends she made at Loreto. She even lives in a retirement home with some of the Loreto sisters who still offer liturgies, although lately, have been kept apart due to quarantine and strict social distancing.

Yvonne was very interested about what was happening at her “deeply cherished school filled with so many fond memories.” She shared that she always attended the Golden Jubilarian event and will miss us this year.  She sent her  best wishes to the staff and students at Loreto Normanhurst –  particularly the Year 12 students who remain in her prayers as they finish this year.

We found the audio recording of Yvonne on the radio, which we have shared with Yvonne’s family and are pleased to share with you here also.

Click here to listen to Yvonne’s radio call, which begins at approximately 1:18:00 in the audio file. 

It is our role and our privilege as the Development and Community Engagement teams to reconnect with past students and families, and to expand this diverse and dynamic international community of which we are all a part. This  encounter with Yvonne is a perfect demonstration of how  our school, administration and alumni communities are so closely interlinked!

We are certain that many of our alumni have their own stories to tell of major milestones and memories from their school days. Please feel welcome to get in touch with us to share these memories at


Community Engagement Team