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


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.


100 students on roll


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


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.


300 students on roll


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Lauriston Girls’ School became a non profit limited guaranteed company


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


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.


700 students on roll


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.


920 students on roll


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


The Music School and a refurbished Irving Hall were opened


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


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.


Extension to Montrose House was opened


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.