Like many of her generation, O was the first of her family to go to university. She came from a family that did not have much money. She attended Walford Girls’ Grammar on a scholarship and knew from an early age she wanted to go to university. She liked school and had, with one exception, good teachers.
In her Intermediate Certificate year she was awarded a Teachers’ College Scholarship to stay at school for a further two years. Walford had an annual trip to Tasmania for senior students, and O wanted to go. Her parents told her that if she used her Teachers’ College Scholarship money – and took upon herself the risk of having to pay it back if she didn’t end up teaching – she could go. She didn’t hesitate.