History

Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School was established by its founding principals in 1924 and continues to build on a proud history as a leading independent school for girls.

Early History

Strathcona was commenced in 1924 by its founding Principals, Mrs Florence Livingstone and Miss Henrietta Hughes, with a small number of pupils, both boys and girls.

Between 1940 and 1942, the School was leased by Miss Bessie Sweetland until, in late 1942, the Baptist Union purchased Strathcona to be used as a school for girls. Finance was very difficult to obtain, so council members were obliged to do the preparatory work themselves. Concrete paths were laid during Saturday morning working bees and the re-decoration was completed in the evenings over several weeks.

In 1943 Miss Featherstone commenced as Headmistress and served the School for 10 years. Enrolments increased rapidly and, despite stringent building restrictions after World War 2, facilities were expanded providing for up to 200 girls.

Miss Menzies Smith then became Headmistress until 1957 when the Reverend John Morley was appointed Principal. Rev Morley was followed by Mr Lyall in 1973 who retired in 1989 after serving 17 years as Principal of the School.

Mrs Ruth Bunyan retired at the end of 2000 after arriving at Strathcona in 1990 from St Margaret’s School, Berwick, where she had been Deputy Principal. The Contemporary Learning Centre, opened in 2015, is dedicated in part to her.

In 2001, Strathcona appointed Mrs Helen Hughes as Principal, after a successful tenure as Deputy Principal of Pymble Ladies’ College (PLC) in New South Wales. Mrs Hughes was Principal until 2014, during which time she oversaw major building developments at all three Strathcona campuses. Strathcona’s current Principal is Mrs Marise McConaghy, who began in 2015 after being Deputy Principal of Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

The Tennis Four (Kathleen Purvis, Kathleen Kelly, Dulcie Berryman & Frances Halsey), in front of the original Strathcona residence, 1925

Tay Creggan: a first for Year 9 girls in Australia

Strathcona purchased Tay Creggan, the Year 9 campus located in Yarra Street, Hawthorn on the banks of the Yarra River, in November 1969. Officially opened in 1970 it was the first designated campus for Year 9 girls in Australia. Over the years, substantial renovation and extension works have been carried out, including the re-roofing of the entire house, the new jetty which was officially opened in February 1997 and the total renovation and extension of the educational facilities at a cost of $1.3m completed in 1998. The atrium and commercial kitchen were completed in 2000. Installation of underground water tanks and reseeding of the oval took place in 2011, thus ensuring both sustainable water use and a well-maintained sporting area for use by all sections of the School.

Now over 100 years old, Tay Creggan is always adapting to new educational challenges, yet still retains its dignity and sense of history.

Students in front of Tay Creggan, 1980s

Mellor House: a new era for the Junior School

The acquisition of the Mont Calm Nursing Home site in 2001 was a catalyst for change which brought new possibilities to cater for the needs of Strathcona’s Junior School and improve facilities on the main campus for the Senior School.

Senior School: a decade of expansion

Senior Centre & Strathcona Information Resource Centre (SIRC) – 2003

Creative and Performing Arts (CPAC) Building – 2008

Early Learning Centre – 2009

Sporting Facilities – 2009

Featherstone Hall – 2012

Contemporary Learning Centre – 2015

90th Anniversary Celebrations

Twenty-fourteen was a year of celebration for Strathcona as the school community honoured 90 successful years at the forefront of educating young women.