Macrorie House

Macrorie House was named after Bishop Macrorie, who was involved with St Anne’s from its inception in 1877. Miss Emma Rice Cresswell, who had been Headmistress of St Mary’s School in Richmond, set up a new school at the old Presbyterian ‘Manse’ in Pietermaritz Street under the Dean’s patronage and within Bishop Macrorie’s diocese.

The school was called St Anne’s Diocesan College for Girls, Maritzburg and the Bishop was declared “the Visitor” of the school. With the resignation of Miss Cresswell, Archdeacon Usherwood’s sister, Miss Eliza Jane Usherwood, was appointed Lady Warden by Bishop Macrorie in 1879.

In 1926, St Anne’s decided to introduce the House system and the school was divided up into three, according to dormitories in the main building – Macrorie, Usherwood, and Frances Baines.

The Red and ‘Baby’ dormitories became ‘Macrorie East’ and ‘Macrorie West’, and the new Macrorie House was allocated the colour gold. It had a house-room with an armchair, table, and bench decorated with old gold curtains and cushions. The House system proved to be hugely successful, providing a base for competition both on and off the sports fields that our girls still enjoy today.

The first Housemistress of Macrorie was Miss Semple, and the first Head of House was Lillias Goss. When the girls of Frances Baines moved out of the main building in 1930, the accommodation was shared by Macrorie and Usherwood houses.

During 1964 and 1965, the girls of St Anne’s took part in various fundraising activities to bring an American Field Scholar to St Anne’s for a year. Macrorie sold school photographs taken by Nita Permuy.

In 1975, Usherwood moved to their new premises and Macrorie spread out over the entire top floor of the main building.

By 1996, the main building which housed the administration downstairs and Macrorie House upstairs had become a cause for concern. The administration offices needed more space, a counsellor’s room was urgently required, and the staff lounge and dining room were far from adequate. As far as Macrorie House was concerned, the Housemistress had little privacy as her quarters were right at the centre of the house. The facilities for the girls also needed an upgrade, and a good deal of renovation was required. Several plans of action were considered. It was decided that the old squash court would be demolished, and a new wing of Macrorie would be built in its place. When the old squash court was demolished, a small packet – a sort of ‘time capsule’ – was found; obviously planted there by the builder. One of the items was an old Southern Rhodesian state lottery ticket – not the winning one! In June 1997, the new upstairs passage was named McQuade Walk after the Headmaster at the time. Bill and Deidre McQuade cut a ribbon to open it.

2004 marked a major upgrade of the dormitories in Macrorie. All Grade 12’s are now housed in single rooms with study facilities, Grade 11’s are in double rooms with study facilities, and Grade 10’s have a study area within the house.

The Other Houses