Robert Lewis Stevenson at Sancta Sophia

Image of Robert Lewis Stevenson and Roslyn Jolly

On 9 July Sancta Sophia College will host drinks to coincide with the biannual international meeting of the Robert Louis Stevenson Society, which is being held in Australia for the first time.

The guest speaker is Robert Louis Stevenson world expert Associate Professor Roslyn Jolly (pictured), who will talk about Stevenson’s recently discovered manuscript poem, Birthday Wishes To A Lady, held in the Sancta archives.

There is an intriguing story behind this manuscript, which has been authenticated as Stevenson’s hand writing. The poem was originally published in a children’s paper called Young Australia. This has been verified in a letter from Josephine Fotheringhame dated 2 July 1926, which the college also owns. The donor, John Lane Mullins MLA, presented Sancta with both the poem and the letter in the 1930s or thereabouts. What is still unknown is how and why Lane Mullins had the poem in his possession: was it a gift from Stevenson or did he buy it?

Alumni are warmly invited to attend the event at the college, 8 Missenden Road, Camperdown from 5.30–7pm. Cost is $25.
Sancta is also embarking on a series of three talks this year, by women engaged in different fields. The first was given in May by Misha Schubert, a former national political editor of The Sunday Age and now Director of Communications for Recognise, the campaign for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The second talk will be in August by Dr Anne Rogerson, the Charles Tesoriero Lecturer in Latin and frequent presenter on the Self-Improvement Wednesdays on ABC702. She will be followed in October by Susannah Fullerton, author, lecturer, literary tour leader and President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.