One of the most prominent of the gritty moments in KRB’s history is the years of WWII. The school pushed through the tough times, helped by the sister’s selfless devotion to the RSCJ and the schools and their infectious spirit of joy and determination.
In 1935, in the spanish civil war, Kincoppal and Rose Bay weren’t threatened, but other sacred heart schools across the world were. War in other parts of the world did not stop the determination and persistence of the RSCJ sisters, as they continued to found more sacred heart schools across the world. As Australia began to be in more danger, many parents started to withdraw their daughters from the school. Some of the girls began to realise the harsh reality of unemployment when the school took in a family of 7, who had no home, food or water. The students realised that they were very privileged, and cared for each family member as best as they could. This helped develop a sense of belonging for the family, and taught the students empathy and to hope.
Even as WWII developed, school life continued normally, but with extra precautions. Air raid shelters were set up in the stone basement, and the drills were something of an adventure to the girls. As the news of Pearl Harbour was heard, both Kincoppal and Rose Bay realised they were in extremely exposed positions on the harbour. Before the end of the month, two different hotels were thought to be suitable as evacuation sites for the two different schools, but both propositions fell through. A guest house in bowral was thought to be suited for the junior school only, which would become a boarding school and later was joined by years 7 & 8.
The students in 1942 thoroughly enjoyed their time in the country, but there were many problems for the people in charge. While Rose Bay had moved back to Sydney at the end of 1942, the students of Kincoppal were required to stay at bundanoon through 1943. But the sisters pushed through the hard times to make it as pleasant as possible for the students. They grew strawberries and vegetables, went on long walks, losing track of time and going home in the dark and playing sports.
These tough times taught the girls what Madeleine Sophie hoped to impart: awareness of being loved, freedom to be oneself and a happy collaboration between work and play. By the end of 1943, the tide of war began to turn, and in the beginning of 1944, Kincoppal resumed classes.