1918 - 1927
The First World War ends. In the ensuing post-war depression, St Mary’s College fights for its very survival.
Miss Holmes-Orr has faced challenge after challenge with stoicism and true grit, but her financial burdens seem insurmountable. Ageing and worn out, she begins to pin her hopes on the newly established Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg taking over St Mary’s and turning it into a Church school.
The school’s numbers continue to dwindle and the Diocese does not see its way clear to taking on the burden.
The infamous Rand Revolt takes place, and is violently crushed by the authorities. The mining magnate Sir Julius Jeppe lives near St Mary’s and Miss Holmes-Orr, fearful for her boarders, flies a white flag on the school building.
The school faces imminent collapse, with only 13 pupils remaining.
Finally, the Sisters of St Margaret, an order from East Grinstead in England, agree to take charge and the school now falls under the patronage of the Anglican Diocese.
The Sisters of St Margaret, particularly Sister Geraldine, who is the headmistress for much of the time, win the love of the pupils and staff.
The school is renamed St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls.
St Mary’s has only 13 pupils in 1923, and faces imminent collapse