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Lux Mea | Summer 2023/24

As Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School celebrates 120 years in 2023, we reflect on the School's history from our beginnings to the present.

1924 - Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

Miss Frances Lowe opened a school on the corner of Marshall Street and Sherwood Road, Ivanhoe, with two pupils.

1903 - The School House

In 1907, the School transferred to Noel Street when enrolments had reached seven students. From 1907 – 1922 the School was known as “Cooerwull”.

1903 - Frances Lowe and her students

A kindergarten, called Girton, was established in St James’ Church hall for both boys and girls. It was run by the School until the early 1960s.

1920 - Girton Kindergarten

Miss Lowe sold the School to the Vestry of St James’ Church in May 1922 and the School became Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School from the beginning of 1923. At that time the School had 98 students and was located in the original school house in Noel Street.

1923 - Athletics Carnival

Miss Doris Walker became Headmistress of Ivanhoe Girls’. Miss Walker oversaw the establishment of new buildings and introduced probationers, a House system and honour boards. She retired in 1963. Walker Hall, now known as the Doris Walker Lecture Theatre, was named in her honour.

Miss Doris Walker, 5th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

The first purpose-built classroom was built near the corner of Upper Heidelberg Road and Noel Street.

1930s - First Purpose Built Classrooms in School

The House system was established with four Houses: Ashby (Red), Oswald (Green), Rotherwood (Blue) and Rowena (Yellow). The names of the Houses were taken from the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

Boarders were reintroduced to Ivanhoe Girls’, and a School Bus was introduced. This bus was one of the first independent school buses in Victoria and catered for girls in the suburbs of Northcote, Preston and Eaglemont.

1935 - Swimming Team

A new Junior School building was officially opened, which created four new classrooms, and provided much-needed room for the growing school.

1945 - Junior School

1945 - Commercial Class

The opening of the Mary Vinnecombe Memorial Library was named in honour of Miss Vinnecombe, who joined the School in 1929 and gave devoted service until her death in 1954. She was the mistress of Oswald House, the Editor of the School Magazine and founded the School reference library.

1956 - Mary Vinnecombe Library

After 33 years as Headmistress, Miss Doris Walker retired. Miss Elizabeth Pike was Headmistress from 1963-1968.

1963 - Miss Elizabeth Pike, 6th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

Under the guidance of Mrs Bonnie Hurry, the director of the Art and Craft Department, Ivanhoe Girls’ became a leading training Centre for Art and Craft teachers. This was a three-year course, and trained teachers in the art of weaving, needlework, mosaic, fabric printing, bookbinding and pottery.

1964 - Art Room

Walker Hall and the new Senior School was opened by the Archbishop of Melbourne in February 1968. This period of expansion continued into the 1970’s with the acquisition of properties on Marshall Street, the conversion of the former Middle School to Junior School, the construction of the Collins Wing, the establishment of the Frances Lowe Library, and the addition of Science laboratories for the Middle School.

1968 - Walker Hall was Opened

The School Representative Council (SRC) was established to provide students with the opportunity to participate in formal meeting procedures and committee process, and that experience when students and staff meet together and learn to work together for the welfare of the whole school.

1970 - First School Representative Council

With the increase in number of students, two more Houses were established: Locksley (White) and York (Purple).

The School celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1973 with a Jubilee pageant.

1973 - Banner for our Golden Jubilee

Miss Isobel Fiddian, Head of Junior School (1948 – 1977), retired. Her influence on the Junior School was profound, including introducing French across Years 2-6.

Miss Isabel Fiddian (right) with Mrs Dorothy Pizzey and Mr Glyn France, 8th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

Mr John Shilliday was Principal from 1977 – 1991.

Mr John Shilliday, 9th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

The Junior School is relocated from the buildings at the top of Noel Street to three redesigned Edwardian houses on Marshall Street, known as Amos, Fiddian and Sharwood.

2009 - Sharwood House

1984 - Debating Team with Greenway Cup

The Foundation Stone for the John Shilliday Physical Education Centre was unveiled in a special ceremony.

1987 - Students at Ceremony to Lay Foundation Stone for John Shilliday Physical Education Centre

Mrs Judy McCowan was Principal from 1991 – 1997.

1992 - School Captain and Deputy with Mrs Judy McCowan, 10th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

Walker Hall was redesigned as a VCE Centre and Senior Library named the Doris Walker Centre.

1993 - New Doris Walker Centre

The Performing Arts Centre is established on the corner of Noel Street and Upper Heidelberg Road. It becomes the Centre for School Assemblies and Musical and Theatrical Performances.

1996 - Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School Performing Arts Centre

Dr Heather Schnagl AM was Principal from 1998 - 2017.

2006 - Senior School Leaders with Dr Heather Schnagl AM, 11th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

St James’ House Early Learning Centre (18 Noel Street) was opened for girls aged three to five years.

2009 - ELC Students Planting Hyacinth's

Hillsley - the former Knox Presbyterian Church was opened at the end of 2001 as the Visual Arts and Hospitality Complex.

2004 - Food Technology Lesson in Hillsley

The new Sports Field opens on Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe, with artificial turf and grounds for various sporting activities.

2005 - Opening of Sports Field

A new school uniform is introduced, featuring a brown and cobalt blue Winter skirt and a Cobalt blue jumper. The new uniform was designed by past student, Jane Lamerton (Class of 1974).

2007 - Launch of the New Ivanhoe Girls' Uniform

2009 - Old Grammarian's Daughters

The Cooerwull Centre was opened by Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Governor-General of Australia. It incorporates a Junior and Senior Library, Staff Centre and Cafe. In 2019 it was extended to include the Principal’s Office, Lounge and Board Room.

2010 - Opening of The Cooerwull Centre with Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO

The redevelopment of Sharwood House and construction of the Atrium creates a multi-use indoor space and new Junior School classrooms. The Junior School Library is moved to The Cooerwull Centre.

2011 - Junior School on the New Tennis Courts

The redevelopment of the Doris Walker Centre is opened by the Governor of Victoria and Prof Kwong Lee Dow with the addition of a Lecture Theatre, new classrooms and refurbished Years 11 and 12 Centres.

2015 - Year 11 celebrating International Women's Day in the new Lecture Theatre

Dr Deborah Priest was Principal from 2018 – 2022.

2019 - Prep's with Dr Deborah Priest, 12th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

The COVID-19 Pandemic interrupts our normal learning and teaching routine in 2020 and 2021. The Victorian Government mandates Offsite Learning and a series of school lockdowns.

2020 - Senior School House Awards during COVID-19 Pandemic

A new school uniform was introduced. The School uniform was designed by renowned designer, Jonathan Ward.

2022 - Launch of the New Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School Uniform

Ms Narelle Umbers commences as Principal of Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School.

2023 - Ms Louisa Scerri, Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School, with School Captain Paige, Vice Captain Saambavi and Ms Narelle Umbers, 13th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School
We look forward to celebrating Cooerwull Day on 24 July 2023, recognizing 125 Years of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School.