History and Archives | Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

History and Archives

Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School was established by Miss Frances Lowe in July 1903 as “Cooerwull”, a private school. The School was first located in the house on the corner of Marshall Street and Sherwood Road (opposite the present Junior School).

Frances Lowe was a progressive educationalist. She encouraged her girls to study science, offered three languages and was a pioneer in new educational techniques.

1903 - Frances Lowe with the first pupils of Cooerwull School

Timeline of Ivanhoe Girls’ history

  • 1903 - Frances Lowe established “Cooerwull”. By the end of the year, the School had six pupils. Ivanhoe at that time was semi-rural and one family from St Kilda sent their children to Cooerwull for the ‘sake of the fresh country air’.
  • 1907 – The School moved to its current location when Miss Lowe purchased an old Victorian house called “Hillsley” on the current site of the School gymnasium.
  • 1920 – Frances Lowe took over “Girton” kindergarten for boys and girls and ran it until the 1960s.
  • 1922 – The School was sold to the Vestry of St James’.
  • 1923 – The School became Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School.
  • 1929 – The first new School building was constructed in 1929 at the corner of Noel Street and Upper Heidelberg Road.
  • 1970s - The School gradually acquired more property as numbers of students increased and there was a major period of expansion.
  • 1981 – The Junior School was relocated to its current site in three Edwardian houses in Marshall Street.
  • 1995 – The Performing Arts Centre was built.
  • 1998 – St James’ House Early Learning Centre was opened for girls aged three to five.
  • 2001 – Hillsley, the former Knox Presbyterian Church was opened as the new Visual Arts and Health and Hospitality Complex.
  • 2010 – The Cooerwull Centre was opened by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • 2011 – Sharwood House was reopened after extensive renovations.
  • 2015 – The Doris Walker Centre was redesigned to house the VCE Student Centres, state-of-the-art Lecture Theatre and flexible general purpose learning spaces.
  • 2017 – Dr Heather Schnagl AM retires after 20 years as Principal.
  • 2018 – Dr Deborah Priest commences as the 12th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School. 

1924 - The School


1930s - The School House                                            Current Administration Building at 123 Marshall Street

Principals of the School

  • Miss Frances Lowe 1903 - 1922
  • Miss Agnes Bevington 1923 - 1926
  • Miss Katherine Bedford 1927
  • Miss Sydney Knox 1928
  • Miss Doris Walker 1929 - 1963
  • Miss Elizabeth Pike 1963 - 1968
  • Miss Marian Beers 1969 - 1970
  • Mr Glyn France 1971 - 1977
  • Mr John Shilliday 1977 - 1990
  • Mrs Judith McCowan 1991 - 1997
  • Dr Heather Schnagl AM 1998 - 2017
  • Dr Deborah Priest 2018 - current

School Crest and Motto

The School crest incorporates the Anglican mitre in common with other Anglican schools. The School motto is Lux Mea Christus, “Christ My Light”. The crest also incorporates a lamp to reflect this motto.

Our Archives

The Ivanhoe Girls' Archives contain an impressive range of interesting historical items and artefacts. These include:

  • administrative documents including minutes of meetings and correspondence
  • curriculum documentation
  • student work and prizes
  • School publications including the Golden Mitre and Ivanhoe Girls’ News
  • photographs, slides and negatives dating back to 1903
  • audio visual material
  • School uniforms and badges
  • trophies and honour boards 
  • artworks.

​We are constantly adding to the collection and would be grateful for any donations of historical items. Please contact the School Archivist, E: archives@ivanhoegirls.vic.edu.au 

Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

123 Marshall Street
Ivanhoe Victoria 3079

Telephone: + 61 3 9490 6222
Facsimile: + 61 3 9490 6200
Email: iggs@ivanhoegirls.vic.edu.au
ABN 77 004 098 748