Historical information

Ruyton Girls' School has a long tradition of awarding prizes to students at annual "Speech Night" events. Speech Night commenced at Ruyton in 1878; the same year in which the School was founded by Mrs Charlotte Anderson. The Ruytonian December 1944, which recounts events from the last year to date, notes the 1943 Speech Night was the sixty-fifth iteration of the occasion. Previously, students were awarded customary books produced in England which were bound in navy blue leather, with the School's name and motto debossed in gold leaf.

Speech Night at Ruyton is an extraordinary occasion. It is a time when the School gathers to celebrate both the year just lived and the contribution of Year 12 girls to the life of the School. It is a night of stirring student speeches, acknowledgement of student endeavour and excellence and awe-inspiring performances by School choirs and ensembles. Historic publications note Speech Night would typically "open with the distribution of prizes, followed by 13 musical items, a play, French Dialogue and four tableaux."

This particular record is associated with the Speech Night held on 18 December 1950 at the Recreation Hall in Kew, Victoria.


The record has strong historic significance as it was written by a former notable student, Helen Gordon (maiden name Cole). Helen started at Little Ruyton in Prep in 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

A5 size pamphlet printed on cream coloured paper with navy blue ink. Two pages, folded in half.

Inscriptions & markings

RGS008/2024/0014 /