Elaine Balfour Ogilvy Memorial Scholarship

29 September 2023

We are thrilled to announce the 2024 Elaine Balfour Ogilvy Memorial Scholarship recipient.

Elaine Balfour Ogilvy Memorial Scholarship
The scholarship was launched in 1944, donated by the Old Scholars’ Association in memory of Liet. Elaine Balfour Ogilvy AANS who lost her life in World War II. Over the years there have been 85 recipients of this scholarship. The scholarship was initially designed as an academic scholarship for a Woodlands student completing their final year of schooling. After the closure of Woodlands in 1998, the scholarship was adjusted to be awarded to a daughter/grand-daughter of a Woodlands old scholar for their final year of schooling at an Anglican school.

Primary School Scholarship
Last year the St Peter’s Woodlands Old Scholars’ Association voted to change the eligibility and to award it to any current SPW Year 5 student for their final year of primary school. This scholarship gives the student a direct subsidy for their Year 6 school fees.

We are pleased that this year we have had more than triple the number of applications, with 19 outstanding candidates up for consideration. Each student is asked to submit a letter of introduction and a resume for evaluation. This is followed by a short interview during which the candidate may show examples of their achievements, enthusiasm and commitment to their school and learning. The interview panel is made up of of the President of the Old Scholar’s committee, members of the Old Scholars’ Association and the School Community Coordinator.

The criteria:

  • Academic effort and achievement
  • Contribution to the school through co-curricular activities – sporting and the arts
  • Volunteering pursuits in the school and wider community
  • Knowledge and understanding of Elaine Balfour Ogilvy and her lasting legacy

Congratulations to Year 5 student Chloe who is the recipient of the 2024 Elaine Balfour Ogilvy Memorial Scholarship!

The Story of Elaine Balfour-Ogilvy
Elaine attended Woodlands Church of England Girl’s Grammar School as a boarder for two years of schooling, 1928-1929. In those two short years, Elaine’s ambition and genteel qualities shone through as she excelled in dramatic and debating societies. She represented the school in hockey as well as proving an excellent swimmer and tennis player. Elaine was also a House Prefect.

Elaine went on to study nursing at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. Soon after Elaine enlisted for the war and embarked for Malaya in January 1941. She was part of the 2/9th Field Ambulance. Malaya was invaded in early December by the Japanese and the decision was made to evacuate the Australian Army nurses. The coastal streamer, the Vyner Brooke, containing the 65 nurses, civilian women, children and wounded soldiers made for an easy target and was bombed. Those who survived and made it to shore found themselves on the Japanese occupied, Bangka Island with no choice but to surrender. The nurses were lined up and marched waist deep into the ocean. Matron Drummond was heard to say, “Chin up girls. I’m proud of you and I love you all” before the machine guns opened fire.

Sister Vivian Bullwinkel was the sole surviving nurse of the massacre. Since 1955 the bravery of those 22 Australian nurses is commemorated with the annual Bangka Strait Memorial Service at the Women’s Memorial Playing Field.

Honouring Elaine
Honouring Elaine’s legacy goes beyond the scholarship. St Peter’s Woodlands believes Elaine’s legacy and her schooling at Woodlands is an important part of our school’s history. As such, our students are told of her story as part of their curriculum. Service is a key value of SPW’s and Elaine’s service and sacrifice is a great example of this. In Year 3 the students learn about the school’s history as part of their History component, which includes Elaine’s story. Her story is revisited in Year 6 where students delve deeper into Elaine’s story with the broader context of Australia’s history when they visit the Australian War Memorial during their Canberra Tour.

Elaine Balfour Ogilvy Memorial
A permanent fixture memorialising Elaine Balfour Ogilvy is also being developed which will be displayed in the Law Smith Building, giving greater access and understanding of her story and the role it plays in our school and its history. We thank Elaine’s niece Eve, for generously contributing her time, knowledge and family photos in developing this project.

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