Creating a school for girls’ liberal education

“The future comes not from before to greet us, but streams up from behind.”
Lauristonian editorial, 1935

The School was established by Margaret and Lilian Irving, daughters of the eminent Victorian educator Professor Martin Howy Irving. When the school first opened its doors in 1901, there were 12 students.

Lilian and Margaret Irving were committed to providing an education that would empower young women through academic excellence, sporting involvement and a focus on the importance of living purposeful and fulfilling lives. Despite its small size, Lauriston offered a surprisingly comprehensive curriculum, with students studying English, Literature, Elocution, Science, Maths, French, German, Latin and Scripture, and extra classes in drawing, music, dance and needlework. At the end of 1901, two of the 12 students completed the equivalent of the VCE certificate.

Lauriston soon acquired a reputation for academic and sporting excellence. Enrolments grew rapidly and in 1907 the School moved to its present site in Huntingtower Road, Armadale. Lauriston’s first university graduate was Dorothy Andrews, who obtained her degree from Melbourne University in 1916. The following year two girls obtained university qualifications, and the number of girls completing university study continued to grow.

Kindergarten was introduced and 202 small boys passed through the School (in Kindergarten, and transition [Prep] classes) between 1911 and 1930.

In 1914 the School welcomed 14 boarders, initially housed in private homes. As the number of boarders grew, the students were housed in two separate boarding houses – Mt Wyse and Wykeham Lodge. Boarders eventually moved to a building on the School grounds in the 1930s, but as a result of declining numbers the boarding house was closed

Brocklesby resize

Brocklesby, built 1877 by William Bushby Jones, renamed Lauriston Girls' High School in 1907

 

Mt Wise on Mercer Road resize

Mt Wise on Mercer Road, senior boarding house 1923-1932

Co educational Kindergarten resize

Co-educational Kindergarten 1925

 

 

The Persian Princess resize

The Persian Princess’ was one of the more memorable cantatas performed by Lauriston girls in the 1920s

Inside the open air wooden classrooms resize

Inside the open- air wooden classrooms 1923

 

 

The Lauriston Hockey Team that defeated Ruyton resize

The Lauriston Hockey Team that defeated Ruyton in the first inter-school girls' hockey match played in Melbourne