A Family Affair / 3 Generations

When Samantha Kleiman commenced her Camberwell Girls journey in 2010, she had a few former pupils on hand to guide her. As Samantha walked through the gates and up the driveway to the Fig Tree, she was following in the well-trodden footsteps of two ­generations of her own family.

Not only did her mother Carolyn (nee Burnie) attend, graduating in 1983, but so too did her grandmother Beverley Burnie (nee Geeshoun: Class of 1950 ) and great-­aunt Shirley Hiah (nee Geeshoun: Class of 1949).

A conversation with this family reveals that even though their schooling was decades apart, one thing is for certain… the special Camberwell Girls culture has remained the same.

All four women agree that the size makes Camberwell Girls just perfect for forging fantastic friendships. “Camberwell is not too small and not too big… it’s just right,” says Carolyn. “The School was so small and friendly,” says Beverley. Shirley adds. “Everybody got to know each other.”

Samantha who graduated this year, whole-heartedly agrees. “Being able to walk around the School and know nearly all the students and staff is unique, and something you can only find at certain schools. Not only have I made great friends with the girls in my year level – I’ve made friendships across all year levels and that’s something I will really cherish,” she says.

Nowadays, Beverley, Shirley and Carolyn all value the ongoing connections, something that Samantha will soon start to experience. “I enjoy the continued meetings at the Old Grammarians’ Association functions and reunions,”
says Shirley. “One of the greatest things about Camberwell Girls is without a doubt the friendships. I’m still close friends with some of my classmates. The sense of community is very special,” says Carolyn.

All members of Schofield – House activities were a highlight for this family. Samantha even goes as far as saying that it is what she has loved the most. “The spirit that shines through in all Houses is remarkable and something I’ll especially miss,” she says.

Shirley loved spending her lunch breaks playing the piano, while Beverley’s tradition was to eat her lunch on the seats facing the tennis courts before playing a quick game.

Carolyn says she spent her breaks on the oval. “My group would always lay on the grass and just chill.”  In the warmer months, the oval is where you’ll find most of the current senior students today.

The School has evolved in many ways. There are new buildings, subjects, programs and facilities but the generations of women before Samantha are all grateful that the School’s Moreton Bay Fig Tree has remained. “I have enjoyed watching the School expand around the Fig Tree and I’m so glad that it is still here,” says Shirley. Beverley says it wouldn’t be Camberwell without “seeing the old Fig Tree at the top of the drive”.

Whilst it will be some time until the next generation in this family becomes a Camberwell Girls student, one thing is for sure, the School looks forward to its continued association with all four women at upcoming community events.

At Camberwell Girls, when we say your education is for life… we mean it!