Mary Fox


Methodist Ladies College (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

Mary Elizabeth Gertrude Fox MBE (18771962), headmistress, was born at Ross, the daughter of William Fox, Headmaster of Horton College, 186389. Educated at Launceston's Methodist Ladies' College and the University of Tasmania, where she obtained a Master of Arts, she was appointed Headmistress of the Methodist Ladies' College in 1903, aged 26. She was greatly admired, both as teacher and headmistress dignified, kind, wise and good-humoured, 'strict but fair' and a dedicated Christian. During her extremely successful period as headmistress, 190341, enrolments increased from 33 to over 300, necessitating new buildings.

Always forward-looking, Miss Fox established a kindergarten (1914) and Domestic Science programme (1929), and formed a Tasmanian association of headmasters and headmistresses of independent schools. She greatly encouraged women's sport, particularly cricket and hockey, in both the College and Tasmania generally.

Further reading: V Veale, Women worth remembering, [Launceston, 1991]; C Speedy (ed), From these things unto greater, Launceston, 1971.

Jo Oliver