Our Remarkable Women

Because of the special environment and teaching we provide, our girls go on to become remarkable women. Meet some of them below:

  • Carryn Vincec

    Carryn Vincec (2004 Leaver) was always a standout at Perth College; she was the PC athletics squad Captain and also the School’s first and only Beazley Medal winner. Since graduating, Carryn has travelled, earned a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce, and is now an Associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. 

    What years did you attend Perth College?

    I attended Perth College from 2000 to 2004 (Years 8 to 12).

    Do you have any special memories from your time at PC?

    There's so many to choose from, but athletics carnivals would have to be a highlight, particularly my ones as Bedford House Captain and the PC athletics squad Captain. Our Year 10 netball trip to New Zealand was another highlight, with a suspiciously merry Mrs White singing karaoke over the bus microphone after dinner. Productions were also a great experience, particularly the 2002 Centenary Pageant, in which our Year 10 class dressed as flappers and performed the Charleston.

    What is special about Perth College?

    I'm sure everyone says this, but the friends you make at PC really do last for life. Even though I now live in London, I'm still in touch with quite a few PC girls – in fact, only a few weeks ago I met up with Liz (Nguyen) Gray and Duska (Van Nellestijn) Rosario in Paris! On the night of our 10-Year Reunion last year, we also had an unofficial London reunion with around 10 of us from my year who are now based in London all getting together for dinner and drinks.

    What career field have you entered into?

    I'm now an intellectual property lawyer for an international law firm in London, specialising in transactional and commercial IP matters. I came over here four years ago to start on the firm's graduate programme, and have been loving it here ever since.

    What have you been up to since graduating?

    After graduating, I did a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. I also spent a semester on exchange at the University of McGill in Montreal, Canada. Leaving Australia on a 40 degree day and landing in minus 30 degrees and metres of snow did (for a moment) make me question my decision, but it was an amazing experience both academically and culturally. I also took the following semester off to travel and did a ski season at Fernie in Canada. After university, I worked for a short time in Perth before making the big move to London.

    What accomplishment are you most proud of since leaving Perth College?

    As a PC graduate I had so many amazing opportunities available to me, so I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community. While at university, as part of a student organisation known as Students In Free Enterprise (now Enactus), we developed and implemented community projects with the aim of using business skills to help disadvantaged communities. For example, I ran a project working with at-risk youths at a local artists' studio, teaching seminars and workshops aimed at improving their confidence and employability, and spent a summer in Ghana assisting an orphanage with its financial management in order to help it become self-sustainable.  I have also continued this into my professional career; my firm actively encourages its lawyers to do pro bono work, and I work regularly with a domestic violence charity and give volunteer legal advice at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

    What skills did you develop at PC that has helped you succeed?

    I'm not sure if it's still around, but when I was at PC, the catchphrase was about being ‘confident, competent and caring’ young women.  Although it seemed a bit abstract at the time, looking back on my 10 years since graduating, I really believe if you leave PC with those qualities, you will be well-placed to succeed in whatever you want to achieve in life.

    What advice do you have for other Perth College girls wanting to follow a similar path?

    If you are interested in pursuing a career in law, I would recommend doing as many summer clerkships and work experience opportunities as you can, at different types of firms.  The law is so varied, and it's easy to follow the crowd into only applying for the big commercial firms, but the more firms you try, the more you will get a sense of which is the right (and wrong) fit for you. Also, I don't believe many people in my generation see themselves being at one firm or company for their entire career, so remember that where you start your career is almost certainly not where you will end it – don’t be afraid to move and try new things.

    What is your favourite weekend activity?

    One of the best things about living in London is the opportunity to pop over to Europe for the weekend.  There are so many expats living in London who are keen to travel as much as possible and it's really easy to meet travel buddies. My friends and I manage to get out of London around once a month; I'm writing this from the Greek Islands!

    If you had just $10 in your wallet, what would you spend it on?

    Well, $10 is only around £5 at today's exchange rate, so that would probably be spent on a nice cold beer from Camden Town Brewery, a local London craft brewery that I invested in through a crowdfunding opportunity!

  • Cleo Telford


    What years did you attend Perth College?

    Prep through to Year 12 (1996 to 2008).

    Do you have any special memories from your time at PC?

    As bad as it sounds, some of the memories I’m most fond of were from when friends and I would fool around in class. The challenge was to not get caught which, of course, did happen.

    I really did love learning, so a lot of good memories came from simply being in the classroom and tackling the material we were covering. I will always be grateful that Perth College bent the rules and allowed me to do three Science subjects in my final year. I went on to do my Science degree and the grounding I received served me well.

    What is special about Perth College and what skills did you develop at PC that helped you succeed?

    Perth College not only gave me an excellent education, it also taught me numerous skills and gave me a great foundation upon which to build my career and life. The nurturing atmosphere is very much a part of the School and it never wavered in all my time there. The qualities Perth College brought out in me, like the desire for knowledge and a continual questioning of what is going on, have been invaluable for my career.

    What career field have you entered into?

    Maritime Warfare Officer (MWO) in the Royal Australian Navy. An MWO is the Commanding Officer’s representative, and is responsible for the control and safety of naval vessels at sea and alongside (in port). It’s a very dynamic role that sees you continuously challenged and handling different situations on a daily basis.

    What have you been up to since graduating?

    Once I finished school my parents and I moved from Perth to Melbourne. Not long after this, at the beginning of 2009, I joined the Navy as an MWO and undertook basic training at HMAS Creswell, which is about three hours south of Sydney. Graduating from my basic officer training, I was awarded the Rear Admiral Hammond Memorial Sword for self-discipline, resolution, undeviating application and influence among peers.

    At the end of 2009 I started my MWO qualification training, which involved a four to six month sea training phase. I drew the lucky straw and got a trip with a ship that took me from Singapore across the equator north to Japan and back to Sydney. One of the strongest memories I’ll have in my life is when I visited the Hiroshima Peace Museum. I’ll never forget how I felt after reading about what happened and seeing the photos of the aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bomb; it was a very strong and moving experience.

    January 2010 was the beginning of my time at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra. ADFA is a combination between a university and military training academy for the Navy, Army and Air Force. Three years later, in December 2012, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science and was awarded the RSL Sword of Service prize.

    In early 2013, I spent some months based out of Darwin onboard the Armidale-class patrol boats and was involved with Operation Resolute. This is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests. Since mid-2013, I have been back at HMAS Watson completing the final stage of my MWO training (it takes a little while). I’m currently studying the warfare sphere of my job, which is very exciting and fast-paced. In just a few weeks, I will be leaving Sydney and will begin the next chapter of my journey for which I am currently awaiting my posting.

    What is your favourite weekend activity?

    Honestly, I spend quite a bit of my time during the week when I’m ashore (there isn’t really weekends when you’re at sea) working under time constraints, so on the weekend I love doing nothing. I usually sleep in, read my book and don’t make plans ahead of time; I prefer to just see what happens and go from there.

    If you had just $10 in your wallet, what would you spend it on?

    There’s a café near me that does an amazing espresso milkshake for $6, so I would spend my last $10 on one of them and a newspaper. I’d then go and find a spot in the park and enjoy the sunshine and milkshake and see what’s going on in the world.

  • Bree Ludlow

     

    What years did you attend Perth College? 

    1988 to 1995.

    Do you have any special memories from your time at PC? 

    Too many to list! I remember the day Bishop Kay had her twin baby boys. I remember the first time we won the interschool swimming carnival in 1992. I also have very fond memories of being a part of the debating team, playing netball (badly), and participating in drama productions.

    What is special about Perth College? 

    The PC community. We are not just a school but a large community comprising students, Old Girls, staff, past staff, parents, parents of Old Girls, Council members and past Council members.  The relationships formed at PC often last forever and I am blessed to have a group of friends I made at PC who are like family to me.

    What career field have you entered into? 

    Law. I started out doing an Arts degree with a view to majoring in English Literature but gave up before the end of the first year and spent the following year doing very tedious data entry and administration work while I found the motivation and drive to study Law. I loved studying Law and graduated with Honours.  I have spent the last 15 years working in large firms specialising in dispute resolution. I really enjoy being able to work for large companies as well as helping normal, everyday people when they need legal assistance.

    What have you been up to since graduating? 

    Well, I still haven’t managed to leave PC – apart from the couple of years I lived in Sydney following my graduation from university.  I have been a member of the OGA since 2005, a member of Council from 2008 to 2016, and a member of the Foundation Board for 4 years. Apart from my career and PC, I am the proud mother of my three children; Adelaide (aged six), Genevieve (four) and Julian (one).

    What skills did you develop at PC that helped you succeed? 

    Persistence, determination, courage, empathy and belief in myself.

    What is your favourite weekend activity? 

    We meet with our neighbours and their kids in the park across the road from our house at the end of the day most Fridays. It is a lovely way to start the weekend. I also really enjoy cooking. No matter how busy I am I make time to shop, prepare and cook the family’s meals for the coming week.

    If you had just $10 in your wallet, what would you spend it on? 

    Probably three Kinder Surprise eggs.
     
  • Henrietta Farrell


    What years did you attend Perth College?

    I started in 1985 (Year 5) and finished in 1992 (Year 12).

    Do you have any special memories from your time at PC?

    The key memory I have was the ongoing support of the teachers and the sense of community the School provided.  It was also a big moment in 1992 when the swim team was victorious in the ‘inters’ - it had been a VERY long time between wins for PC and it was great that it coincided with the School’s 90th anniversary.

    What is special about Perth College?

    I spent the majority of my school life at PC so this is a tricky one to answer but eight years at PC equipped me well for life.

    What career field have you entered into?

    I completed a Bachelor of Commerce, with a double major in Marketing and Public Relations, at Curtin University. Since then I have been working in the sports marketing industry in Australia and the UK.

    What have you been up to since graduating?

    It's somewhat ironic that I have pursued a career in the sports industry, as I was probably one of the least sporty people at school.  I've been fortunate to work on some well-known projects including the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, the Queen's Club Tennis Championships and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Returning home to Perth, I'm now part of the team delivering the new Perth Stadium on the Burswood Peninsula.

    What skills did you develop at PC that have helped you succeed?

    The belief that you can achieve anything you want to with hard work and determination.

    What is your favourite weekend activity?

    During my school years I spent most of my time outside of school hours riding horses, which didn't leave much time for any other sporting pursuits.  When I moved away from Perth, I took up running and completed a few marathons when I was in London.  Now I'm back in Perth, I'm taking advantage of the fantastic outdoor lifestyle and triathlons are a current focus. Most weekends are spent cycling or running, generally followed by a big brunch.

    If you had just $10 in your wallet, what would you spend it on?

    A visit to the beach.

  • Kate Leeming


    What Years/Year Levels did you attend Perth College?

    I was a boarder from 1980 to 1984 (Years 8 to 12).

    Do you have any special memories from your time at PC?

    My schedule was pretty hectic and because I was a boarder, some of my special highlights are of the outings we did. One of these was a one-off caving excursion at Margaret River. Not only was it an opportunity to explore some of the magnificent limestone caves – abseiling down ropes, crawling through small, pitch dark spaces, navigating by torchlight and walking through the magnificent forest – it was also a time for developing stronger bonds away from the classroom and sporting field. I felt that as a group we shared in something very special that will endure for a lifetime.

    What is special about Perth College?

    Perth College was essentially my life for five of my most formative years and has had a significant role in shaping who I am. The more I see of the world, the more I appreciate the excellent grounding and the caring environment the PC community provided.

    What career field have you entered into?

    I graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Diploma of Education and worked as a Physical and Health Education Teacher for a year. When I left for the UK, initially to play hockey on a UWA Hockey Club tour, the plan was to base myself there for a couple of years and travel. I could not have predicted the career path I have carved out since then as an explorer/adventurer and as a real tennis professional. My tertiary qualifications have proved very useful for careers as an athlete, coach and educator, but I have also developed many more skills as a writer, presenter, organiser/manager, and now filmmaker.

    What have you been up to since graduating?

    As an expedition cyclist I have cycled a distance equivalent to twice around the world at the equator and I’m considered one of the top 10 Australasian women explorers of all time. My major expeditions containing world-firsts include:

    Trans-Siberian cycle expedition – a 13,400km, five-month journey from St Petersburg to Vladivostok in aid of the children of Chernobyl. This was an opportunity to experience firsthand the ‘new Russia’ emerging from 70 years of communism (1993).

    Great Australian cycle expedition – a 25,000km journey through Australia, 7,000km of which were off-road on remote desert tracks. The most difficult section was the 1,800km Canning Stock Route, which involved crossing almost 1000 sand dunes in extreme heat. The expedition was an official activity for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and I created a special education programme to complement the journey (2004 to 2005).

    Breaking the Cycle in Africa – 22,000km from Africa’s most westerly tip in Senegal to its most easterly landmark in Puntland, Somalia. Cycling an unbroken line through 20 countries over 10 months, I explored the causes and effects of extreme poverty focusing on what is being done to give a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘hand out’.  In partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, I created an innovative education programme involving students mostly from Victoria, but also from other parts of Australia and around the world. This was also an official activity for UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2010).

    Breaking the Cycle South Pole – will involve the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent, a journey of 1,850km which will take about 45 days in temperatures as low as -40C and over altitudes of 3,000m. I will be raising funds for AIDS in Africa as a response to one of the issues I learned so much about during my African expedition. There are potentially several stakeholders, including UNESCO, to contribute to an education programme that will be about leadership with a focus on the environment, social responsibility and science. BBC World News has indicated it would be prepared to broadcast a series of up to six parts (80 million weekly viewers). This expedition will only be possible if I can find the sponsorship funds soon (all systems are in place and technology is being developed) (2015 to 2016).

    Books and documentary films:

    NJINGA – book published in October 2014. My first feature-length documentary, also entitled NJINGA, has so far won Best Documentary and Best Cinematography and was runner-up for Best Director at the Action on Film International Film Festival in Los Angeles on 30 August 2014. A TV series is also in the pipeline and work will start on this before the end of the year.  NJINGA is the story of the Breaking the Cycle in Africa expedition. Here’s a link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcbZUgDZkxM

    Out There and Back, published in 2007, is the story of my Great Australian cycle expedition.

    I am also a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (UK) and a member of The Explorers’ Club (New York).

    Real Tennis: After my 1993 Trans-Siberian cycle expedition I discovered the game of real tennis while working at the Harbour Club in London. I became a professional two years later and have remained in the top five women in the world since then (when not on expedition), despite having incurred a serious knee injury which has led to eight operations and has plagued my playing career ever since. I have won five Australian Open singles titles and many doubles titles.

    I currently work as a part-time senior professional at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club. Prior to returning to Australia I worked as a professional at The Oratory School, Hardwick House and Cambridge in the UK and Fontainebleau in France.

    To find out more please visit my websitewww.KateLeeming.com.

    What skills did you develop at PC that have helped you succeed?

    Perth College provided many opportunities to try different activities. On the sporting field I learned to be an all-rounder and to succeed as I did it was mostly about dedication, hard work, adaptability and the ability to focus. I was often given leadership roles because I led by example and fair play – with plenty of encouragement from the School.

    As a boarder I learned to mix and get along with a wide range of personalities, but also learned to be independent. I was a strong student academically but because of the effort I put in on the sporting field, I learned to manage my studies well enough to get to where I wanted to go (UWA) and keep on top of my game. My best subjects at school were Geography, Human Biology and English, so those interests have only developed since then, especially my story-telling voice.

    My time at Perth College proved to be a great foundation for what I have gone on to do. For me it has been about taking those interests and passions and exploring them to try to find my full potential and to be able to contribute the maximum.  Each journey opens my eyes a little more as to what is really possible.

    What is your favourite weekend activity?

    I rarely seem to have a free weekend these days because I am juggling work (as a real tennis professional) and all my other activities, but if I do I like to escape – a bike ride in the country, a walk along the nearby Yarra River or a lazy Saturday afternoon backyard party.

    If you had just $10 in your wallet, what would you spend it on?

    Sharing a flat white and a long chat with a friend.

  • Mary Nenke


    What years did you attend Perth College?

    Year 7 to 12 (1959 to 1964)

    Do you have any special memories from your time at PC?

    There are many memories but the ones that stand out include:

    • Sliding down the bannisters in the intermediate school – a new adventure in my first year at Perth College
    • The ‘dungeon’ at dance lessons with Guildford Grammar, where our best clothes hung, including tulle petticoats waiting for the final bell of the day.
    • Dance lessons, where the boys and girls lined up on either side of the Guildford gym and we girls waited nervously to be chosen as a partner, hopefully to someone who met the approval of our peers 

    Miss Strempel was my favourite teacher. She allowed me to miss steps in mathematical solutions and always expected my highest performance. Miss Hardwick was probably my least favourite teacher as I did not excel at sport, particularly hockey. One day there were insufficient hockey girls and she forced me to play. When the ball came hurtling towards me I jumped instead of stopping the ball!

    The smell of rotten egg gas from the Chemistry laboratory will always be remembered as will buying ‘toffee tiddlers’ at Mercer’s corner store to suck on the bus on the way home. When outside of school grounds we were forbidden to eat and it was a must to wear our gloves and hats!

    What is special about Perth College?

    I love the ethos of Perth College. It is holistic and creates a positive atmosphere to grow in capacity and confidence. Most of all, it encourages girls to care about others.

    What career field have you entered into?

    The most important field I have entered into is motherhood. It is the only area in which I cannot be replaced and sadly one of the most undervalued careers in our society. It is my reason for doing all that I do in business and community.

    What have you been up to since graduating?

    On graduating I worked in my parents’ new general store south of Mandurah. Within 12 months I became a Bank Officer at the Bank of New South Wales.  At 21, I married and became ‘a farmer’s wife’! Thanks to being valued by my husband, Michael, and his father I soon became a ‘farmer’, rousing at shearing time, classing wool, feeding sheep and helping with lambing. With a strong banking background, I soon took on the farm accounts and book keeping.

    At 23, I became a mother of our first son, Paul, followed over the next 13 years by our daughter, Ann, sons Derek and Ian and daughters Catherine and Suzanne (class of 2001).

    In 1980 I became one of the first WA accredited teachers of Billings Method Natural Family Planning and taught women about their fertility for nearly 20 years. I still teach sex education. During the 1990s I became an accredited Gymnastics teacher and taught students at Lake Grace and Dumbleyung for six years. During this time I was also accepted into Murdoch University to study teaching. I became our two youngest daughters’ teacher, choosing to home school them until their high school years.

    With the ‘recession we had to have’ in 1991, we diversified our farming operations and started Cambinata Yabbies, catching, purging and marketing yabbies for restaurants in Perth, and two years later began exporting.  In 1994 we built our first licensed ‘export establishment’ including technology that had never been used in the yabby industry, and in 2001 we won our first export award.

    Other highlights: 

    • 2000 – Won the inaugural RIRDC Rural Women’s award
    • 2003 – Led the family’s conversion of our shearing shed into a function centre and organised our first Cambinata Extravaganza
    • 2006 – Gained a Food Processing in Regional Australia grant to build an export kitchen, ablutions, store rooms, cool room and walk-in freezer adjacent to the shearing shed
    • 2007 – Named an ‘Australian Export Hero’, won the WA Citizen of the Year award for regional development, and became a member of Western Australia’s 100 Local Champions
    • 2008 – Featured as one of four Australian women in the federal Office for Women’s Ms Entrepreneur film, shown on Qantas flights and Channel 7’s Today Tonight
    • 2011 – Inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame
    • 2013 – Won a Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund grant to construct eight cottages on our farming property; won an RAS Rural Community Achiever award
    • 2014 – Became the inaugural President of Farming Champions Inc and was a member of the winning team in a national debate arguing in the affirmative that ‘foreign investment in agricultural land and infrastructure should be strictly limited’

    What skills did you develop at PC that have helped you succeed?

    A faith in God, a desire to achieve to the best of my ability, strong mathematical skills and an ability to clearly express myself.

    What is your favourite weekend activity?

    I love Sundays, starting the day with church and then sharing an old-fashioned Sunday lunch with family.

    If you had just $10 in your wallet, what would you spend it on?

    Fresh fruit – whatever is in season.