A symbolic gift to treasure: The OGA Pendant

Significant birthdays are special celebrations for us all. It is no different for organisations and it is important to mark momentous milestones. It was with a significant birthday in mind that in 2018, the Old Girls Association (OGA) Executive Committee decided to commission an iconic piece of jewellery to celebrate their 120th anniversary in 2019.

The Old Girls Association Opal pendant

It has always been the OGA’s goal to enhance the aesthetic within the School while supporting its strategic plans and educational aims. The OGA’s centenary celebration in 1999 saw the commissioning of the stained-glass window. It was placed, in preparation, above the door leading to the Western Wing from the Main Building in 1998. This creative piece was designed by Jennifer Andrews (1973) and created by stained glass artist, Warwick Blair.

1999, OGA Jacaranda Window Designer: Jennifer Andrews (1973) and Creator: Warwick Blair

With the beauty of this window in mind, a more personal and intimate piece was conceived for the 120th anniversary. President, Ms Julie Caton approached one of the Committee members, Ms Michelle Tully (Oswin, 1981), to see if her husband and renowned jeweller, Mr Bruce Tully, would be interested in designing something special which was uniquely Girls Grammar.

2018 design drawings

Many of Mr Tully’s pieces are adorned with beautiful opals, most of which he has mined himself. He suggested incorporating the pattern of the OGA-donated gates that make such a striking statement at the entrance to Rangakarra. His first sketches instantly appealed to the Committee. And so, the minutes of the 17 July 2018 meeting recorded the Committee’s acceptance of the design. Ms Caton took the design to Principal, Ms Jacinda Euler, and by 29 July 2018, Mr Tully was commissioned to produce the first collection of 20 pendants.

2018 design drawings

The finished product was a stunning, handmade sterling silver pendant, featuring a ‘Grammar blue’ Queensland boulder opal at the centre, surrounded by intricate engravings. ‘BGGS’ is stamped on the back. As the pattern of colour is unique in each opal, every pendant is individual, with the dominant blue shining through. The distinctive engraved patterns, inspired by the wrought iron balustrades on the Main (Gailey) Building on Gregory Terrace, and echoed in the OGA-donated Rangakarra gates and the panels at Marrapatta, acknowledge the synergy of the School’s three campuses.

2015, OGA Rangakarra gates

Mr Tully shared that the Indigenous women of Quilpie, where his opals are mostly mined and where his family once owned a property, have traditionally seen the opal as a source of empowerment, and often carry a small sample with them. For others, blue opals also represent confidence, communication, and calmness. This seemed particularly fitting for Grammar girls and women to have as a reminder not only of their time at Girls Grammar and its aspirations for girls’ education but also of the ties that bind us together, creating connections for life. With these thoughts in mind, since 2019, the OGA has gifted a pendant to each Head Girl at the Induction Assembly in February. This was the intent of Ms Caton—that girls elected to this significant and honoured position were recognised ‘by gifting a handcrafted OGA opal pendant’ (J. Caton 08.07.23). The first recipients were 2019 Head Girls, Jessica McLeod and Martina Marrama.

2019 Julie Caton, OGA President, wearing her pendant with Head Girls, Jessica McLeod, and Martina Marrama.

On receiving her pendant in 2023, Head Girl, Louise Campbell said: ‘The pendant is very beautiful. I particularly love the connection to Rangakarra. Opals in ancient times symbolised limitless possibilities and loyalty. To me, the pendant reflects just that! As Head Girls, we don’t just have the support of our House Group, year level, or even the current student body, we also have the support of 150 years of Grammar Women. Being gifted the pendant by the OGA on the day of our induction is also a reminder of the responsibility we have to uphold Grammar traditions and beliefs for both past and future students’ (L. Campbell 04.06.23).

2023, Julie Caton wearing her OGA pendant with Head Girls Anna McAuley and Louise Campbell

Gifting has always been a part of the OGAs DNA; the OGA donates its time and expertise so generously every year. This is reflected in the decision to present one of the first special pendants to the then Chair of the Board of Trustees, Ms Elizabeth Jameson (1982), in December 2019, in recognition of her retirement from the Board, and her exceptional commitment to the School, and perhaps more touchingly, as a past Head Girl.

This pendant, lovingly created for all Grammar women and available from the Parents and Friends Shop or the OGA, has special and lasting significance. It evolved from the creative minds of an OGA Executive Committee committed to serving the Grammar community. It links the Marrapatta and Rangakarra campuses which illustrate the School’s pledge to a broad-based liberal education. It captures our distinctive School colour of royal blue and joyously celebrates the longevity of the Old Girls Association which has served the Grammar community faithfully for 124 years. It is with great excitement we watch and wait for what will celebrate the Association’s 125-year journey.

Ms Julie Caton (Cleghorn, 1981)
OGA President

Ms Pauline Harvey-Short (Short, 1971)
Manager, School History and Culture



Campbell, Louise 04.06.23 email.

Caton, Julie 12.05.23 and 08.07.23 email.

Tully, Bruce 11.07.23 email.

Tully, Michelle 18.07.23 email.