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Roxburgh Ladies Seminary

This private educational institution was established in 1838 by Nichola Anne Cooke. Arriving in Melbourne from Van Diemen's Land in August 1838, Cooke had taken up a position as governess to John Batman's daughters. Following the loss of her mother and three sisters in the sinking of the schooner Yarra Yarra in Bass Strait, Cooke established a school at a property rented from John Batman at the northwest corner of Flinders and Swanston streets. On the site of today's Young & Jackson Hotel, the building was known as Roxburgh Cottage. By May 1839 the school had 15 pupils, two of John Batman's daughters being her earliest boarders. Despite the rapid demise of private schools, Nichola Cooke operated Roxburgh Ladies Seminary until 1851, eventually returning to Ireland, where she died in 1867.

Liz Rushen