Historical information

Depicted are two formal school portraits of Helen Gordon (Cole) against a flat background. The first image depicts her from the waist up. She is dressed in the official Ruyton uniform, including a beret, light coloured collared shirt with a tie, and wool blazer embroidered on the pocket with Ruyton Girls' School's crest and Helen's student leadership positions. She is looking upwards and away from the camera to her right-hand side, and is smiling softly with teeth. The second photo is a more close-up image of Helen. She is still dressed in the same Ruyton uniform, although her blazer pocket embroidery is not visible. In this image, she is looking straight and away from the camera to her left-hand side, and has a closed smile. In both photographs, Helen's hair is short and sits just above her shoulders with a slight wave.

The photographs are excellent examples of the Ruyton uniform from the time period in which they were taken. The official school uniform has naturally experienced different iterations since the School's founding in 1878. The most recent changes to the Ruyton uniform were made at the end of 2023, which include a move from brown to black school shoes, and a transition from pale yellow collared shirts to white.


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

Two black and white rectangular photographs printed on matte photographic paper.

Inscriptions & markings

RGS011/1952/0002.1 /

RGS011/1952/0002.2 /