MELBOURNE GIRLS GRAMMAR SCHOOL – Students and Magazine Notes
Gwen and Kitty Kellaway

Gwen and her sister Kitty Kellaway were both students at Melbourne Girls Grammar School.

Gwen started in 1899 in the equivalent of Year 6 and finished in 1905. She was a very strong student and features on the Honours List from 1899 through to her completion of schooling. She won a scholarship to Trinity College and completed her BA and Dip Ed in classics and comparative philology at Melbourne University in 1910. The school magazine records several visits to the school to speak to the girls – each time recording that she was home on furlough from her missionary work in India. There is some description by the girls of her addresses to them recorded below.

Kitty (Annie Katherine) was a student from 1902 (Year 6) to 1908, when she completed her schooling. She was also a very strong student and went on to Melbourne University. In 1910, she won the Exhibition in Logic and Philosophy and in 1913 was awarded her MA. She taught for one year at Melbourne Girls Grammar and then in 1921 moved to Toorak College. By 1926, the magazines record that she visited her sister in India and on her return was teaching at Presbyterian Ladies College, Melbourne. In 1935 she married Rev William Hewlett.

Merton Hall 1907The School Pupils 1904Merton Hall 1909
Melbourne Girls Grammar Melbourne Girls Grammar Melbourne Girls Grammar
Melbourne Girls Grammar School in the early years – courtesy of MGGS Archives

Gwen Kellaway – Excerpts from School Notes (Melbourne Girls Grammar School Magazine)

1923 – School Notes Vol 57 records that Gwen is back on furlough from Travancore, India.

1926 Vol 66 – Kathleen visits Gwen and writes back:
Kathleen Kellaway has been on a visit to Gwen Kellaway, who is a missionary in India. She wrote from Kotagiri:
“The climate is delightful, not unlike an Australian autumn. The people are picturesque, gentle, and courteous though very poor and living in squalor. We picnicked the other day at the edge of the Nilghiri Hills. The scenery was superb – a waterfall, towering mountains. and far-away blue hill beyond hill, plateau beyond plateau.”

Gwen [this is a misprint and should read Kathleen] is now back, and is on the staff of P.L.C.

1929 School Notes Vol 76
Christian Union Notes.
Miss Gwen Kellaway, an Old Grammarian, came to speak to us on Friday, 2nd August, about her work among the people of Southern India. Before she commenced her address, she dressed two of the girls in the clothes that would be worn by a Syrian Christian priest and his wife. The priest′s dress was very simple, and was supposed to be like that worn by St. Thomas in 56 A.D. This simple white dress is worn by all ordained men. The girl′s dress is the dress worn by Christian women. The garment is carefully folded to form an “Alika,” or ‘fold-tail’ at the back. On her head she wears a white veil, which has a gold band woven into it around the edge. Fashions never change; the only alteration for years is that now the sleeves are short.

Miss Kellaway works among the people who live on the narrow coastal plain between Goa and Cape Cormerin. These people speak Malayan. They had a Bible written in Syriac, but could not understand it, and so, if they were to be missionaries among the people of India, they would first have to be taught. In 1816, the Church Mission Society worked with these people. They translated the Bible, and reformed the Syrian Church. Miss Kellaway went out to train the young girls to be missionaries. She told us how the work had been made much easier by the courage of Kahndhana, a native woman, who, by obeying the will of God which was shown to her in visions, broke the custom that the Hindoo women had of not being allowed to visit one another. She worked for years among her neighbours, spreading Christianity, and later she went around visiting the parishes, and she formed the Women′s Missionary Training Association. This Association started the Training Home that Miss Kellaway has been taking charge of. If an uneducated woman as this Hindoo was, by “being obedient” can accomplish so much, what should we be able to do with our education?

1935 School Notes Vol 94
Early this Term we were delighted and interested to hear Miss Kellaway, an Old Girl of whom we are very proud. She has been for many years a missionary in India, working among the heathen people in the South-West Travancore of this great country. Christianity was supposed to have been started there in very early times by St. Thomas. Whether this is legendary or not is hard to say, but the Christian converts there remained inactive for centuries, and it has only been in recent years, through the great mission work that has been done, that it has spread widely and rapidly. It is marvellous. to see how the people, especially the degraded and the outcasts, respond to the teaching of Christ. The women are especially eager to help and to believe, and they have formed societies, which, although small, are helping the work to increase tremendously. When Miss Kellaway first went out to India she taught in a Girls′ School, where the girls were paid 4d. a day to attend school. This idea met with much approval amongst the audience.

Now, however, conditions have greatly changed, and the girls pay fees to help the improvement of education. At present she is at the head of a Girls′ Training College for Missionaries in that part of India which is doing wonderful work in converting the heathen and teaching the young trainees. It is in people like Miss Kellaway, with her charming manner and her soft voice, that one is inspired and brought to the full realisation of the greatness of the mission field in India. M.H., P.VIa.

Ref: Melbourne Girls Grammar School Archives 27 October 2020
My thanks to Melbourne Girls Grammar School Historian and Archives for this information.

Read about Gwen in Australia and India

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Melbourne Girls Grammar Magazine
Last updated November 2020
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