Sally Ingleton completed an Arts Degree and Diploma of Education at Melbourne University from 1973-76. She was in the first intake of women residents at Ormond College in 1973.

I was very excited to go to Melbourne University. It felt like finally my life was beginning. I was free and anything was possible.

I was living in Frankston and did not want to travel every day so I applied to Ormond College which had announced it was going co-ed. I had an interview with Davis McCaughey. He was just a real humanist, very interested in people and curious. He had a very gentle manner and was a very warm person. Moving out of home was a big step and I felt Ormond would be quite a safe place to go.

In my first year I was in McCaughey Court, sharing a quad with three other women. We had our own kitchenette and bathroom. I felt very ‘grown up’ and independent.

One of the great things about college life is the opportunity to meet people across different faculties. I got involved in the Ormond plays and through them became good friends with people in the architecture and town planning faculty, Med students and law students. We all had a lot of fun. 

But women were very much in the minority. I remember feeling a bit like an interloper, a woman in an all-male environment. And looking back, there were spaces that were ‘male spaces’. For example, the billiard room. To go there, you sort of had to be invited. And sometimes when I was late for dinner, the only seat available was on a table full of men. I would dread having to sit down as the boys would often just ignore me! For women, especially in that first year, it was a bit like banging down the doors trying to get those spaces to open up and be more equal in terms of making women feel comfortable and at home in those environments.

There were also quaint rituals such as ‘trickling’. After dinner the boys used to walk around Women’s College in one direction and the girls from Women’s College would walk in the opposite direction. As they were walking, they would chat and then the boys would bring the girls back for port and coffee. I remember doing that a few times in those first few weeks. Women’s rights were very much in the forefront and that tradition just felt ridiculous. I think it petered out fairly quickly.

My best memories of my time at Ormond have to do with the people that I met, the friends I made and the joy of riding my bicycle along the path around the footy ovals and feeling so lucky to be a student at Melbourne University and live right on the door of the university. I feel grateful for the time I spent at Ormond and am still friends with a few of the people from that time.

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