Lauriston-Girls' School Melbourne Founder Miss Lilian Irving & Miss Margaret Irving

A Melbourne Institution

Lauriston Girls' School was established in 1901 by Margaret and Lilian Irving, daughters of the eminent Victorian educator Professor Martin Howy Irving.

Rapidly acquiring a reputation for academic and sporting excellence, the School outgrew its first home in Erskine Street, Malvern and moved to its present site in Huntingtower Road, Armadale in 1907. Under the stewardship of Miss Elizabeth Kirkhope, the Lauriston-educated successor to the Irving sisters, the School was able to withstand the financial and social pressures which forced the closure of many Independent Schools during the Depression years.

In 1948, Miss Kirkhope successfully managed the transition of the School from private ownership to a non-profit limited guarantee company, whilst protecting the School's non-denominational religious status. Under the leadership of Miss Gladys Davies, another Lauriston educated alumna, the School undertook an ambitious building program during the 1950s and 1960s, to provide students with modern, purpose-built facilities on the Huntingtower Road site.

The campus was further expanded in the 1970s with the purchase of landmark heritage buildings located close to the Armadale campus - 'Blairholme' and 'Montrose' - to house the lower and upper primary grades.

In 1993, Lauriston launched an Australian-first program for its Year 9 students and opened its regional campus ‘Howqua' in the Victorian High Country. For more than 20 years, this innovative program has given Year 9 students the opportunity to participate in a full year of pastoral, academic and outdoor programs designed to help each girl achieve her personal best.

Since its inception, Lauriston graduates have made their mark in multiple fields of endeavour. The School is very proud of its alumnae ('Old Girls') and regularly invites graduates back to talk with our current students. Learn more about our Old Laurstonians' Association here.

School founded

Lauriston Girls’ School was established by Margaret and Lilian Irving. Lauriston Girls’ School was privately owned by the Irving family. The school has always been non-demoninational

1901

The School moves to its present site

Rapidly acquiring a reputation for academic and sporting excellence, the School outgrew its first home in Erskine Street, Malvern and moved to its present site in 38 Huntingtower Road, Armadale in 1907.

1907

100 students on roll

After a decade of educating girls, the school hit its first enrolment milestone, with 100 students on the roll.

1911

Old Girls' Association formed

With a growing group of alumnae, the Old Girls' Association was formed to support these former students and keep them connected with the school.

1914

300 students on roll

In its second decade, Lauriston experienced rapid expansion, tripling its enrolments over the previous decade to 300.

1921

Electric lighting installed

Though the first authentic recording of electric lighting in Melbourne took place in the late 1860s, it took decades for the system to become reliable enough and accessible to homes and businesses across the state.

1925

House system established

The four houses- Andrews, Irving, Kirkhope and Mitchell - were established. Creating a space for competition in extra-curricular activities, the house system brought the older girls into a closer relationship with the younger ones and expanded the number of leadership roles within the school.

1930

Miss Elizabeth Kirkhope appointed Headmistress

Appointed by the school's founders, Margaret and Lilian Irving, Elizabeth Kirkhope guided the school through a period of revitalisation and change.

1933

First meeting of the Parents' Association

At the invitation of the school, a group of seventy parents first came together in 1934 to discuss how they could support the school and build a strong community. The Lauriston Parents' Association to this day continues the great work of this inaugural committee.

1934

Miss Kirkhope purchased Lauriston Girls’ School

Two years after commencing as headmistress, Miss Kirkhope purchased the school from the Irving sisters on terms that provided Margaret and Lilian with a continuing income.

1935

Lauriston Girls’ School became a non profit limited guaranteed company

After nearly fifty years of private ownership, the school was incorporated.

1948

Gladys Davies took responsibility for academic matters within the school

Miss Davies guided the school through a period of building and modernisation. Science and Mathematics were given keen attention.

1956

700 students on roll

1973

Susan St Leon became the first School Council appointed Headmistress

Susan St Leon believed that the longer girls stayed at school the greater the benefit. She worked with both students and parents to create a stronger connection with the school.

1973

920 students on roll

1978

School development

Purchase of Blairholme, Montrose House. Opening of the Kay Irving wing. Irvine courtyard was opened. The Irving Hall, the Mountain Room and the St Leon Library were established

1970s-1980s

Ruth Tideman appointed Headmistress

Under Mrs Tideman's leadership, Lauriston consolidated its reputation for academic excellence, flexibility in providing a balanced education, and ability to graduate multi-skilled girls with the confidence to succeed in life.

1983

The Lauriston Foundation was established

Established for charitable purposes and to provide financial support to the school, the inaugural board comprised Grahme Dixon (President), Ruth Tideman (School Principal), John Calvert-Jones, Claude Ullin, Evelyn Danos and Ian Godwin.

1984

Swimming pool was opened

The construction of the swimming pool formed a key part of a push to expand the range of sporting activities available to students. Today, these water sports include polo, diving and swimming. The pool is also used to teach children essential water safety skills.

1989

First year of International Baccalaureate

A firm believer in developing the 'whole student', Mrs Tideman oversaw the introduction of the International Baccalaureate, a model she believed could offer students a greater challenge than the VCE.

1991

Howqua's inaugural year

The concept of Howqua grew from Outbound Expeditions hosted by the school. While these trips encouraged girls to reach beyond themselves in an unfamiliar environment, Mrs Tideman believed a longer and deeper experience could produce even better results. The site selected was 570 acres in the Howqua Valley, thirty minutes from Mansfield. Topographically interesting, close to the lake and river and bounded on two sides by crown land, it was secluded yet allowed easy access to activities such as skiing and horse riding.

1993

The refectory, Junior Library, Art Centre and Irving Courtyard were opened

1995

The Music School and a refurbished Irving Hall were opened

1999

The Science and Resource Centre and the Lilian Bayley Centre were opened

2000

Meg Hansen appointed School Principal

Appointed in the year 2000, Meg Hansen's tenure as principal saw the curriculum evolve to provide students with the social, intellectual, physical and ethical skills required to flourish in the 21st century.

2000

Extension to Montrose House was opened

2010

Susan Just appointed School Principal

Susan Just has been working as an educator for over 20 years. Beginning her teaching career in government schools in Queensland, Susan went on to gain extensive teaching and leadership experience in the independent school sector in Australia; she has been the Principal of three independent girls’ schools in Queensland and Canberra. As well as being a passionate supporter of resilience and wellbeing programs for girls, Ms Just is an advocate for experiential, hands-on learning. Some of the initiatives Ms Just has overseen include the school's SHINE wellbeing program and the development of the Australia's first FabLearn Lab, a fabrication space that lets girls get hands on with modern technologies.

2010