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News > Alumni > NGS Connections – Porter Family

NGS Connections – Porter Family

The Porter Family are now a third generational family at NGS – Jenny joining in 1957 and later sending all four of her daughters to the School. Youngest daughter Lou has now enrolled her son Sambo.
Lou Porter, front row, second from the right, with the graduating Class of 1990.
Lou Porter, front row, second from the right, with the graduating Class of 1990.

When Sambo Smith’s mum, Louise Porter, and grandmother, Jenny Porter, attended the Mother’s Day celebrations last year, they were in familiar territory. Sambo, now in Year 6, is the third generation of the family to attend Newcastle Grammar School.

Jenny joined NGS in 1957 when she was in Year 7, at a time when it was a girls-only school, and there was a prefect at the gate each day checking students were in full uniform – including blazers, hats and gloves.

She remembers morning prayers in Horbury Hunt Hall, trying to sneak into the boarders’ line to get hot cocoa for morning tea and great friendships forged in the grassy area known as the “cow pasture”.

“I still have friends I keep in touch with from NGS and we have a lot of laughs about the things that went on at school,” Jenny said.

She gained her Intermediate Certificate and finished school in Year 11, then studied nursing and later married husband Dr Bill Porter, an ophthalmologist.

By the time their four girls – Cathy, Jackie, Susie and Louise (Lou) – joined NGS, it was co-educational.

During the girls’ years at the School, Jenny was a dedicated member of the NGS parents committee and spent many hours organising social events, including regular family barbecues which gave the fathers a chance to meet one another, and lavish Christmas dinners for parents, where the girls served the meals.

Cathy, the eldest of the four girls, was School Captain and graduated Dux in 1985. She is now a doctor specialising in cosmetic procedures, while Jackie graduated in 1986 and works in hospitality, managing a hotel in Melbourne.

Susie Porter (Class of 1988) is a familiar face to many, having become one of Australia’s most acclaimed actors of both stage and screen, starring in iconic films including Two Hands, Paradise Road and Little Fish, and TV series Underbelly, Puberty Blues and Wentworth.

Lou, who graduated in 1990, began an Arts degree, took a break then went back to study nursing. After time spent living in Sydney, she returned to Newcastle where she works as a nurse in a day surgery.

She said she and husband Steve were keen for their son Sambo to attend NGS because of the wide ranging opportunities it offers students. He started in 2020 in Year 4 and loves it.

“There are such good opportunities for him to learn different things, from music (he plays drums) to learning a language for the first time, and he has made really good friends,” Lou said.

Both Lou and her mum Jenny are enjoying the opportunity to return to their former School to celebrate events like the Mother’s Day Morning Tea with Sambo.

“I was thrilled that Sammy [Sambo] was going to Newcastle Grammar, and I was most impressed to see the men serving the ladies at the morning tea,” Jenny said. “That wouldn’t have happened in my day.”

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