en-us Inspired by Yarra

Abbie Roodenburg (nee Underwood)

YOG 1996


"The Yarra Spirit brings to mind how everyone bonded and encouraged one another."

Over the past 50 years Yarra has inspired students to pursue their passions and interests. Yarra Old Grammarian, Abbie Roodenburg (nee Underwood), remembers the Yarra Spirit, cricket matches on the oval, making lifelong friends and discovering her confidence. 

“One of my earliest memories of Yarra was my first day in Maths class. The teacher asked a question and several children put up their hand to answer,” says Abbie.

“In my old school, nobody did that. If you did well at something, you hid that. But achievement was celebrated at Yarra.” 

Abbie joined the School in Year 10 - one of the first girls to join that year level. 

“The boys in my home group didn’t speak to us for about a week, until one of my friends said, ‘are you guys ever going to speak to us?’ and then we started chatting and became good mates.”

Abbie focused on Maths and Science subjects during her final year. She then went to Monash University to do Science and Law. Today she is a barrister specialising in Criminal Law.

“Every day is different. I might be in court, standing up before a judge making legal submissions, arguing a case in a trial or taking evidence from witnesses. I may be in the city or sometimes I am in country court. I like the diversity of the work and the diversity of the people I meet,” she says.

Abbie’s years at Yarra were important in helping her achieve a career that she enjoys, and the School motto still resonates.

“To me the motto means not focusing on mistakes and what has gone before, but to move forward with a positive frame of mind. Your state of mind is powerful and makes a difference to how your life pans out.”


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