Lavinia Clarke Wallace was born on 22 Jul 1870 in Dundee, Scotland, the eldest child of Alex Wallace and his wife Lavinia Butchart. She sailed for Melbourne with her mother and brother Andrew on the Agamemnon on 6 Aug 1872. The family moved to Launceston in 1875. Lavinia was educated at Broadland House from about 1883 and won the prize for French in 1885. She was also musical, being able to play brass instruments, the pianoforte and violin. She was a soprano singer in the Exhibition Choir in 1891-92. Lavinia taught in Launceston before moving back to Melbourne where, in 1897, she opened her own school, St Andrew's College, at Brighton Beach. It was a co-educational primary school with an emphasis on music and French. The school was sold in 1916 and was renamed St Leonard's College after the local Presbyterian Church. See The Examiner 15 Jul 2006, p. 40.