Wesley College Melbourne Australia
Wesley College Melbourne

Three generations of Elsternwick Wesley College

Posted 2 August 2017

Three generations of Elsternwick Wesley College

Looking back on the history of Wesley College Elsternwick, we are reminded of the remarkable journey of this unique campus. From its humble beginnings as Methodist Ladies College, through to the Cato College years and its eventual merger with Wesley College in late 1988, the Elsternwick campus has come a long way.

While much has changed over the years, the unique character of Wesley’s Elsternwick campus has remained largely unchanged. The intimate learning environment of the campus has supported many generations of students in a close-knit community, while providing access to the programs, facilities and resources of the wider Wesley College.

The Strutt/ Sowden family have proudly seen three generations of their family educated at the Elsternwick campus.

Matriarch of the family, Celeste Sowden, began what has become a long-standing family tradition, when she started at Methodist Ladies College Elsternwick in 1944, in Grade 3. As Celeste recalls, ‘In those days, the learning process was highly rigorous. The teaching was doctrinaire and the mantra was discipline through respect. We were told that we were women of strength and integrity, and that we would achieve.’

Considering the students of today, Celeste advises, ‘The past is another country. Kids today must forge their own path in their own time and at their own pace. At Wesley, they have a head start.’

Daughter, Annie Strutt followed in her mother’s footsteps when she started school at Cato College in 1979, in Year 7. As Annie confides, ‘Back then it had a good name for being a smaller, inclusive school. I think today is the same – The community view Wesley as nurturing, caring and tolerant, while also progressive in its teaching.’

Continuing the family tradition of attending Wesley College Elsternwick, third generation members of the Strutt/Sowden family, Alistair and Elizabeth Strutt, are current students, having both started at Year 7 in 2014 and 2017 respectively.  A fourth generation of this family may join the Elsternwick campus in years to come.

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