Where are they now?

Jasmyne King-Leeder  (Class of ’61)

I will have lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate Kensington, London UK, for 40 years next year. During this time a steady stream of visitors, tourists, students and scholars have come to view the house daily.

This house was the family home of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), honoured as the greatest female writer of the last century, her sister Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), a painter who has many paintings hanging in The National Gallery, and their father Sir Lesley Stephens, an extraordinary man of his time who was the editor of the first 26 volumes of “The Dictionary of National Biography”.

Prior to its conversion in the late 70s, my apartment living room was originally the main bedroom where the children were born and Virginia’s parents died. She wrote a lot about this room as it affected her a lot in later life. It is the only house or building in London to have three blue plaques on the front façade acknowledging their contribution to British history.

In this small cul-de-sac sitting alongside Kensington Gardens, many famous people have also lived. Number 28 opposite me is where Winston Churchill (1874-1965) lived and died; at number 30 the famous novelist and playwright, Enid Bagnold, (1889-1981) wrote the book “National Velvet” in that house. The movie starred Elizabeth Taylor and started her famous career.

At number 9, lived Lord Robert Baden Powell (1857-1941), the founder and first Chief Scout of the world-wide Boy Scout Movement with his sister Agnes, of the world-wide Girl Guide / Girl Scout Movement. In number 18 Sir Jacob Epstein lived and died (1929-1959) and whose sculptures occupy many rooms in Tate Britain Gallery. Charles Dickens lived for a short time in Hyde Park Gate (possibly number 5) but caught pneumonia here and left calling it a “odious little street”!

Previously to moving into 22 Hyde Park Gate in 1980 I had lived abroad in India and Pakistan, then Istanbul, and four years in Kabul, Afghanistan (1974-1978) leaving just before the Russian invasion as my daughter’s father was a diplomat.

I was brought up on “Borambil Station” between the towns of Condobolin and Forbes NSW. Jackie Pearson was a close classmate then and now and lives two streets away in Queens Gate Gardens. We usually met twice a week at each other’s’ homes and lunch in gastro pubs besides the Thames on Sundays!

 

Jasmyne King-Leeder

Class of ’61


Kirsty Robertson (Class of ‘85)

Extract from Loreto Australia.

  • Loreto Normanhurst past student
  • Appointed Chief Executive Officer, Caritas Australia
  • Caritas Australia is the official international aid agency of the Catholic Church in Australia and is part of Caritas Internationalis, a family of 165 national Catholic relief and development agencies

“For more than 50 years, Caritas Australia has represented so much of the goodness in humanity – a story of love and compassion that our world so desperately needs. As a small child, I put my pocket money into the Project Compassion box and I then went on to start my working life in one of Caritas’ programs, so to be appointed to this role at Caritas Australia feels a little like coming home.” Ms Robertson called it “an incredible honour” to serve with the National Council, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and a community of staff and supporters “who share not just their knowledge, experience or money but their humanity”. “May we together continue to amplify the voice of the poor and walk in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world,” she said.

– Excerpt from Caritas Australia Media Release, 6 August 2019

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