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News & Media > Community > Jocelyn Maughan OAM (1955) remembers Rev and Mrs Lew's dog 'Josephine'

Jocelyn Maughan OAM (1955) remembers Rev and Mrs Lew's dog 'Josephine'

In 1953, when Jocelyn Maughan (1955) was in the equivalent of Year 9, she drew a picture of Josephine, the cocker spaniel belonging to Rev and Mrs Lew and their three daughters.
20 Feb 2023
Josephine by Jocelyn Maughan (1955)
Josephine by Jocelyn Maughan (1955)

“I remember doing this drawing sitting on the Principal’s Lawn. I asked someone to hold Josephine steady for me. I was 14 and would have been in what is now known as Year 9 and I drew directly from life as I still do today.”

“In this drawing I used black waterproof Indian ink in a small bottle with a dip steel pen nib in a pen holder. It may have been what was known then as a ‘mapping pen’ which one could easily purchase from the stationery counter at Woolworths in Burwood. (Incidentally, we were not allowed to shop in Woolworths in our MLC School uniforms.)”

“I am now 84 and I still enjoy doing portraits of dogs, and people, from life.”

Jocelyn’s portrait of Josephine was published in the 1953 Excelsior. She also received a lovely letter from Mrs Lew, who wrote as if the letter was from Josephine, inviting Jocelyn and a friend to morning tea.

The letter reads:

“Dear Jocelyn,

How very kind of you to draw that lovely picture of me. You will never know just how happy it has made me, because lately folk are saying that I am far too fat. Now by looking at my picture I know that I am just what a cocker spaniel should be.

Today is my birthday, and as it is my very first birthday, my mother said I can have a few friends in for a drink. I would very much like you to come and bring a friend.

I think recess is a little early today, but I will be expecting you when you get out about 11am.

Again thanking you, and hoping you can come to my party.

Love from Josephine.”

Mrs Sylvia Lew was the wife of Rev Robert Lew who was the MLC School Principal from 1948 to 1959. Their three daughters were all students at the School: Yvonne (Class of 1941), Helen (Class of 1945) and Vivienne (Class of 1949). The family lived at MLC School in the Tower for the 11 years that Rev Lew was our Principal.

Sylvia Lew was enthusiastically involved in the life of MLC School in a number of capacities. She was the (Honorary) Boarding House Superintendent, caring for the Boarders and supervising the Boarding staff. For many years, Old Girls returning to the School would speak of “Mrs Lew’s wonderful and supportive relationship with all the girls under her care.”

Most significantly, as a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium, Mrs Lew formed the Boarders’ Choir. This Choir performed at the School’s first carol service – a joint initiative of Headmistress Dr Wade and Mrs Lew – which took place in early December 1950 and was held thereafter every two years. Over time the Choir performed at Old Girl weddings, concerts, church services throughout Sydney and at Sunday afternoon recitals. In May 1952, the Boarders’ Choir received wider exposure when they were recorded and broadcast on the radio by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (the ABC).

In 2003, to recognise her significant contribution to MLC School, an official ceremony was held to name the auditorium in the Music Centre the Sylvia Lew Music Auditorium “for her enormous contribution to the musical life of the students through her initiation, development and training of the Boarders’ Choir.”

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