Historical information

Depicted are eight young women all dressed in white tennis uniforms comprising a knee-length skirt, knitted V-neck jumper with two presumably black stripes, a collared white shirt, white socks and white sneakers. The group is posing for the photograph on a tennis court on the grounds of Ruyton Girls' School. Six of the women are standing up, and two of the women are kneeling in the front row and to the right side. All of the women are holding tennis rackets.

The earliest documented mention of tennis being played by students at Ruyton Girls' School is at least 1905. The February 1910 edition of The Ruytonian notes "the Ruyton Tennis Club have had a very successful year ... again won the Kia-Ora club pennant; this is the third year in succession, and fifth time altogether." Ruyton are recorded as having played intra-school tennis with Aldworth Girls' Grammar School, Lauriston Girls' School, and Strathearne Presbyterian Girls' School.

The third woman from the left in the back row has been identified as Helen Gordon (maiden name Cole).


The record has strong historic significance as it depicts a former notable student, Helen Gordon (maiden name Cole). Helen started at Little Ruyton in Prep 1940 and finished Year 12 in 1952 as School Captain, Bromby Captain, Form Captain for Matric, Tennis Captain, Hockey Captain, Swimming Vice Captain, and an award for Best All-Round Girl. She also played baseball for Victoria. After finishing school, Helen went on to graduate from the University of Melbourne as a physiotherapist in 1956. Her first position at age 19 involved setting up clinics with the Victorian Health Department Poliomyelitis Rural division.

Helen’s strong ties to Ruyton continued when she held the position of President of the Old Ruytonians’ Association from the start of 1966 to the end of 1967.

In 2019, Helen received an Order of Australia Medal for service to community health as a physiotherapist. She was also the recipient of the 2022 Victorian Senior Achiever Award at Parliament House.

Helen passed away in July 2023 at age 88.

The record's significance is further enhanced by its strong provenance, having been produced by Ruyton Girls' School and donated to the Archives by a familial connection.

Physical description

Black and white rectangular photograph printed on matte photographic paper.

Inscriptions & markings

1952. /
Elaine (?) c Alpin /
Elaine Macdonald . /
Sally Backhouse /