About Howqua: Lauriston's unique Year 9 program

Since 1993 Lauriston's Year 9 students have participated in the unique Howqua program based in the Howqua Valley in Victoria's high country.

For one year, students enjoy two homes. They live on-campus at Howqua for regular periods studying a full academic curriculum, participating in a unique pastoral and outdoor program and enjoying regular visits home, including all school holidays.

The program is designed to build their independence, strength and resilience.

Located three hours' drive north of Melbourne, the Howqua campus is ideally situated near the Howqua River, the Victorian Alps and the gateway towns of Mansfield and Jamieson. The campus is serviced by dedicated facilities including a Health Centre, Dining Area, Performing Arts Centre and Library. Howqua is designed to deliver a structured year long program that allows girls to experience the natural environment across the seasons while learning new skills, teamwork and resourcefulness.

On arrival at Howqua, girls are assigned to a Howqua House. There are 6-12 girls in each House and together they live in a self-contained unit for the duration of the program. The units feature a living/dining area, kitchen, bunk rooms, a gear room, bathroom and a private deck.

The girls self-manage their Houses under the supervision and direction of the dedicated on‑campus Howqua staff and become members of a large and vibrant residential community.

Focus and Philosophy

The Howqua program offers girls challenges and a chance to develop and learn in a unique environment. It provides time and a place to explore and experience life, form friendships and receive positive encouragement in the development of self-worth.

Our focus is on helping our Howqua students:

  • Acquire new skills and discover new talents
  • Experience real teamwork and interdependence with peers and adults
  • Learn to live away from home in a secure environment
  • Come to grips with the basics of living
  • Learn from primary sources
  • Have the opportunity to become increasingly aware of their natural environment
  • Meet a variety of physical, social and academic challenges
  • Develop new friendships which are deeper than is possible in a day school where there are many distractions
  • Take individual and collective responsibility.

While House groups form an important part of the Howqua experience, the program is designed to build teamwork and social skills across the Year 9 cohort. For this reason each girl is a member of many different groups while at Howqua. These groups include academic learning groups, outdoor program groups and dining hall groups.

Technology use on-campus is restricted and apart from iPods and digital cameras, personal devices are not permitted. Girls communicate with their families via letters and have the option to call home if needed. Families also visit the campus throughout the year.

The environment provides a stunning backdrop for learning and development and the Academic Program is comprehensive and reflective of the natural surroundings. Lessons range from art classes held in the outdoor classroom to science classes taught on the banks of the Howqua River. Girls also participate in an extensive Community Service Program where they work closely with the local Jamieson and Mansfield communities.

Freed from social networking, the girls enjoy camping, reading, music, dancing, walking, running, socialising and other organised activities. The Pastoral Program works on fostering deep connections within the student cohort and on developing each girl's strength, independence and resilience.

The Outdoor Program at Howqua is extensive, running for two dedicated days each week. The program includes hiking, mountain biking, rogaining, running, rock climbing, cross country, skiing, snowboarding, horse riding and much more.

At Howqua it is not about being the fastest or the best, it's about each girl being challenged to reach her personal best. Howqua provides the ideal setting to begin planning your daughter's 'anywhere'.