How School Launched a Brilliant Career

How School Launched a Brilliant Career

Old Grammarian, Professor Sally Walker was featured in The Weekly Times Education section outlining her experience as a scholarship recipient at Melbourne Girls Grammar. An esteemed lawyer and respected university leader, Sally has achieved a great deal since graduating from Melbourne Girls Grammar in 1972. Follow the link to see the article, or read below. 

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It is hard to describe the connection I still feel to MGGS; it is in my DNA.
– Professor Sally Walker (1972)

Melbourne Girls Grammar encourages academic excellence and diversity and supports this with a number of academic, boarding and music scholarships each year. For the first time in 2018, the Melbourne Girls Grammar community is pleased to offer the 125th Anniversary Scholarship. This scholarship provides girls, irrespective of their family’s means or circumstances, access to a world-class education. Scholarship applicants can register online until Saturday 9 February. The scholarship assessment will be held on Saturday 16 February.

Learn more about scholarships


Professor Sally Walker credits success to MGGS

Camille Smith, Thursday 24 January 2019 – The Weekly Times

Esteemed lawyer and respected university leader Professor Sally Walker has achieved much since she graduated from Melbourne Girls Grammar in 1972.

In 2003, Prof Walker was the first woman to be appointed vice-chancellor of Deakin University. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011 for her service to education.

The Coleraine-raised daughter of a farm manager said her outstanding career started with a scholarship to attend MGGS.

“If I had not attended MGGS, my life trajectory would have been very different and much diminished,” Prof Walker said. 

She received a Ruve Cutts Henderson Scholarship to board at MGGS in 1969 and said it was “one of the most fortunate things to have happened to me” — an impressive compliment from a woman who has been honoured by the Queen. The scholarship provided half of the boarding and day fees at the school until she graduated.

“My father managed large farming properties and we moved many times,” she said, remembering her childhood growing up in the Western District. “My parents could not afford to send me to boarding school without the assistance of a scholarship. 

“The main thing that MGGS gave me that I might not otherwise have had was a sense of confidence that I was able to do almost anything I wanted to do.

“It is hard to describe the connection I still feel to MGGS; it is in my DNA. I feel proud of the school’s ongoing achievements and I am always pleased to come across young women who went to MGGS.”

After secondary school, Prof Walker studied law at the University of Melbourne and started her career as a lawyer. She went on to become a High Court judge’s associate and teach law at her alma mater. She then served as vice-chancellor and president of Deakin University, and more recently on the boards of SBS and the University of the South Pacific.

None of this would have been possible, she said, without the strong education and financial support offered by MGGS.

Professor Sally Walker in 1969 as a Year 9 Student.

“MGGS gave me an educational platform to equip me for my career, but just as importantly it gave me the confidence and sense of purpose to undertake these roles. MGGS also reinforced in me the values that have guided my career,” she said.

The location of the girls’ school — just across the Yarra River from Melbourne’s CBD and within easy reach of Melbourne University — offered a “real advantage” in Prof Walker’s opinion.

However, she said the exemplary teachers and the strong relationships she formed in the boarding house were the two things she remembered most.

“When you have been a boarder, you always have a deep relationship with fellow boarders,” she said. “I remain close to several people from my school days.

“I remember my teachers with gratitude and fondness and they still affect my actions and priorities.”