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Oral history group, release Number 7.
The Lady Principal, Miss Annie Hughston 1859-1943
Release date 20th August 2015

Authors: Mary Lush, Elisabeth Christensen, Prudence Gill & Elizabeth Roberts
Publisher: Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University

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Annie Hughston: feminist, teacher, owner-principal, businesswoman, adoptive parent; yet invisible

annie in Canada

Annie Hughston 1889. Photo: Hughston family

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In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were several notable entrepreneurial female educationalists including the Irving sisters, and Misses Henderson, Bromby, and Tisdall. But it is only now that we have a biography of one of the most remarkable of them all, Annie Hughston.

Annie, the eldest of five children, was born in Heathcote, Victoria, in 1859. She was educated in her parents' school in Daylesford where she began her teaching career as a Pupil (apprentice) Teacher when aged 13.She subsequently resumed her own education, briefly attending PLC but matriculating from Daylesford.

She had no university education and held only a basic teaching qualification, yet was employed by PLC where she worked with the respected senior mathematics teacher, J.P.Wilson. In 1895 she left the security of PLC to join her two siblings after they opened Camperdown High School.

In 1896 Annie and her brother William opened and were co-principals of 'Fintona Ladies College' in Hawthorn. Annie sold Fintona at the end of 1934.

That a school begun during the deep financial depression of 1890s Victoria was able to survive and to prosper, and to still be an outstanding school over a century later, is in part testament to the business acumen, educationalĀ  philosophies and personal qualities of Annie Hughston.

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