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News > Have you met? > Have you met Eleanor?

Have you met Eleanor?

Arden's First Principal
19 Sep 2019
Have you met?
Eleanor Linck - First Principal of Arden
Eleanor Linck - First Principal of Arden
Eleanor Linck gazes serenely in this photograph taken while sitting at the steps of the Presbyterian Church at Beecroft. She was the first principal of PLC Beecroft 1922-25 which later became Arden Anglican School. What sort of woman was she?

In pursuit of Eleanor I consulted old school histories, corresponded with PLC Melbourne and Kinross Wolaroi at Orange and spent time sifting through the National Library database, Trove, which lived up to its name as it contained some fascinating details of this interesting woman’s life.

A widow, with one daughter, Brenda, who attended PLC Beecroft, Eleanor Linck was a career woman in an era when most females were tied to domestic duties. First a Principal of PLC Beecroft, then in 1926 a Boarding Mistress at PLC Melbourne and from there to PLC Orange as its Foundation Principal. In 1933 Eleanor set off to Europe with her daughter, who went on to study medicine at Glasgow University. Eleanor’s trail disappears for two years and then surfaces in Prague where she is principal again, this time of a girls’ finishing school.

In 1938 the Nazis roll into Czechoslovakia and Eleanor is right there to witness it all. She writes vividly of personal encounters with “boorish” German women who elbow her off footpaths and of the suffering inflicted on the local population and even fellow teachers in her school. She leaves Prague sometime before 1940, most likely escaping to England, and then she is found again on a ship heading to Australia. It is the first shipload of British child evacuees and Eleanor is one of the accompanying teachers.
Back in Australia Eleanor gives at least two lectures about her Czech experiences with the Nazis which make for very interesting reading. In 1941 she is described as being attached to the staff of the Umpherston Collegiate School in Mt Gambier and there the trail goes cold yet again.

Eleanor is more than the thoughtful and genteel woman of her school portrait. She was an energetic and accomplished educator who did not settle comfortably in one place, rather she sought out new positions and adventures in foreign lands. She must have been spirited and courageous, a woman to be admired. As a School we are very proud to have a such a role model for our students as our Founding Principal.

Please get in touch with me should you be aware of any further information about our Eleanor E:

Gabrielle Ritchie

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