Fairholme College

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Fairholme College, Toowoomba
Fairholme Crest.png
Fairholme College entrance.jpg
Latin: Ardens Sed Virens
Burning yet Flourishing[1]
Toowoomba, Queensland
Coordinates 27°33′21″S 151°58′41″E / 27.5557°S 151.9780°E / -27.5557; 151.9780Coordinates: 27°33′21″S 151°58′41″E / 27.5557°S 151.9780°E / -27.5557; 151.9780
Type Independent, Day and Boarding
Denomination Presbyterian
Established 1908
Chairman I.C. Andersen
Principal L. Evans
Chaplain Richard Jessup
Gender Girls
Enrolment ~845 (P–12)[2]
Colour(s) Navy, Black and Gold             
Slogan "Faith in her Future"

Fairholme College is an independent, day and boarding school for girls, located in Toowoomba, one of Australia's largest provincial cities, in South East Queensland, Australia.

Established as Spreydon College in 1908 by sisters Elizabeth, Jessie and Margaret Thomson, the college has a non-selective enrolment policy, and currently caters for approximately 845 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 240 boarders in Years 5 to 12.[2] It is the only school associated with the Presbyterian Church of Queensland that is not owned by the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association (PMSA), and is one of a small number of Presbyterian schools in Australia.[3]

Fairholme is a member of the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia (AGSA),[4] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[5] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[6] and the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA).[7]


Pupils and staff of Spreydon College, ca.1914

In 1907, sisters Elizabeth, Jessie and Margaret Thomson, all former teachers of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne,[8] moved to Toowoomba, with the idea of establishing a girls' school conducted according to the standards of the Secondary Teachers' Association of Victoria. They leased 'Spreydon', a property with over an acre of land on the corner of Warra and Rome Streets at Newtown, West Toowoomba,[9] and on 4 February 1908,[3] opened the privately owned Spreydon College, a Christian boarding and day school for girls.[9] Commencing with a roll of 20 boarders and "quite a number of day girls",[8] the school offered classes from Kindergarten to "Sydney Senior Standard". The Spreydon building housed the Principal and boarders' quarters, while a school room, Kindergarten and tennis court were established facing Rome Street.[9]

The sisters soon sought the patronage of the Presbyterian Church in Brisbane, and this was granted in May 1909.[8] The school proved popular, and steady growth in students numbers necessitated the construction of new dormitories early in 1911, with the school's boarding population nearing 16 out of the 60 pupils enrolled.[9]

The Thomson's established their school along the lines of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, ensuring that all teachers were specialists, that students achieved high academic standards, and that girls were active in sporting interests and displaying good manners and Christian standards. However, at the end of 1914, financial difficulties forced the sisters to resign and return to Melbourne, prompting the Convenor of the Presbyterian Church in Queensland, the Rev. James Gibson, to give an undertaking that the Church would assume ownership of the school.[9] A private company, The Presbyterian Ladies College Limited, was established, and Spreydon College was subsequently renamed and reopened in January 1915 as "The Presbyterian Ladies' College, Toowoomba" (P.L.C). The Church also appointed Ms Amy Carson as Principal that same year.[8][9]

Fairholme College, Toowoomba, 1932

P.L.C flourished under Carson's leadership, and the Spreydon property soon proved too small. Mrs Margaret Ann Cameron, the owner of the Fairholme Homestead on the Range in East Toowoomba, soon expressed to the Church her desire to establish a girls' school, having previously taught her daughters and other children in Glen Innes, New South Wales during the 1860s. Cameron passed ownership of her property to the Presbyterian Church, and under a new constitution, Ms Carson, together with the College board, opened the Presbyterian Girls' College, Toowoomba in the Fairholme property with 59 students. The relocation of the school was achieved over two stages: the primary departments moved in July 1917, and the rest of the school in January 1918.[8] The motto which was used at The Presbyterian Ladies College Limited, Ardens sed Virens ("Burning yet Flourishing") was adopted for use at Fairholme.[3]

The Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches were united in June 1977, to be known as The Uniting Church in Australia. St. Stephen's Church, of which the school was closely related, formed part of this movement and it was therefore presumed that Fairholme would become a College of the Uniting Church. Queensland's Presbyterian schools such as The Scots PGC College, Somerville House, Clayfield College and Brisbane Boys' College, either became Uniting or became part of the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association network, while Fairholme remained with the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. Subsequently, it is the only College in Queensland owned by the Presbyterian Church, and it remains one of a very small number throughout Australia, with the only other girls schools being the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale; the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney; and the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne.[3]

Cameron Homestead, 2014

In March 1978, the name of the College was changed from "Presbyterian Girls' College, Fairholme, Toowoomba" to "Fairholme College, a College of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland". It had however been known as Fairholme since its inception.[3]


Period Details[3]
1917–1919 Miss Amy Carson
1920–1921 Miss Nancy Jobson
1922–1940 Miss Daisy Culpin
1940–1948 Miss Jean Tassie
1949–1951 The Revd. Norman Joughin
1952–1953 Revd. Richard Crawford
1954–1968 Miss Nancy Shaw
1969–1972 Miss Pamela Harris
1973–1974 Mr. Robert Clinch
1975–1979 Mrs Belle Gillies
1980–1994 Mr. Allan Faragher
1994–2009 Mr. Stan Klan
2009–present Mrs Linda Evans

House system[edit]

As with most Australian schools, Fairholme utilises a house system. The houses of the College are:

  • Black House (Black) – Named after benefactor W.R Black.
  • Cameron House (Gold) – Named after the original owner of the property "Fairholme", Mrs Anne Cameron.
  • Powell House (Green) – Named after benefactor Ray Powell.
  • Stephens House (Blue) – Named after benefactor, S.G Stephens.[3]

Notable alumnae[edit]

Alumni of Fairholme College are known as Old Girls and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the Fairholme Old Girls' Association (F.O.G.A.).[10] Some notable Fairholme Old Girls include:


Entertainment, media and the arts

Politics, public service and the law


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fairholme College". Education. ourToowoomba.com. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b "2008 Annual Report of Fairholme College" (PDF). Publications. Fairholme College. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "A Brief History of Fairholme College". Introducing Fairholme. Fairholme College. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  4. ^ Butler, Jan (2006). "Member Schools". Members. The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  5. ^ "JSHAA Queensland Directory of Members". Queensland Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  6. ^ "Queensland". School Directory. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  7. ^ "Fairholme College". Schools - Queensland. Australian Boarding Schools Association. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Focus on Fairholme" (PDF). Publications. Fairholme College. April 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Oak Lodge and Spreydon (entry 16075 )". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  10. ^ "Fairholme Old Girls Asn. (FOGA)". Current Information. Fairholme College. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  11. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "BOYDELL Mary". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help);
  12. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "MARTYN Laurel". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help);
  13. ^ "Libby's kinky, dark role all the talk in theatre circles" by Tara Miko, The Toowoomba Chronicle, 3 July 2013
  14. ^ Norton, Julie (2002-07-20). "Ruth had the fans glued to the wireless". News And Features (The Sydney Morning Herald). p. 40. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  15. ^ a b Green, Jonathan (2005-03-30). "Famous alumni on Latham's hit list". Politics (Crikey). Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  16. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "KINGHAM Fleur Yvette, Her Hon. Judge". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help);
  17. ^ "Focus on Fairholme" (PDF). Publications. Fairholme College. VOLUME 1 2012. Retrieved 2014-05-22.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]