Queenwood School for Girls

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Queenwood crest. Source: www.queenwood.nsw.edu.au (Queenwood website)
Mosman, New South Wales
Australia Australia
Coordinates 33°49′26″S 151°14′55″E / 33.82389°S 151.24861°E / -33.82389; 151.24861Coordinates: 33°49′26″S 151°14′55″E / 33.82389°S 151.24861°E / -33.82389; 151.24861
Type Independent, Day school
Motto Latin: Per Aspera Ad Astra
(Through Struggles to the Stars)
Denomination Non-denominational[1]
Established 1925
Founders Grace Lawrance and Beatrice Rennie
Chair Thomas Dery AO
Principal Elizabeth Stone
Employees ~81[2]
Years K12
Gender Girls
Enrolment ~800 (2007[3])
Colour(s) Red, Grey and White

Queenwood is an independent, non-denominational, day school, based upon Christian values, located in the suburb of Mosman, on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1925 by Miss Grace Lawrence (Wenona alumnae) and named after the Queenwood Ladies' College in East Sussex, Queenwood has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 1000 students from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The school is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[4] the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia,[5] and is a member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).[6]


The first five students enrolled at Queenwood, 1925

Queenwood was established by Grace Lawrance, assisted by Beatrice Rennie, as a private, independent, day and boarding school for girls, on 21 September 1925.

The two women had met in 1918, at the Glennie Memorial School in Toowoomba, Queensland, where Lawrance was Principal, and Rennie first assistant-mistress. They travelled to England in 1921, where they visited many of the best girls' schools. Both women resigned from the Glennie in 1925, with the intention of founding a school in Sydney. They chose a large, old house at 47 Mandalong Road, Mosman. Their entrepreneurial courage was remarkable since neither enjoyed perfect health.[7]

The school was named "Queenwood" after the now defunct Queenwood Ladies' College at Eastbourne, in East Sussex, on the south coast of England, which had been founded by Miss Lawrance's mother in 1871, and which was similarly located on a hill overlooking the sea. The site at Mandalong Road was chosen because of its view over Balmoral Beach and its northeasterly aspect. As Queenwood grew, the school expanded to a second site at Mandalong Road.[8]

By 1926, Queenwood was a registered secondary school, and three years later Miss Rennie was teaching, running the school and caring for her ailing co-Principal. In 1932, a combination of the Depression, Lawrance's death in November, and Rennie's illnesses, meant that Violet Maude Medway often assisted in managing the school. The two women became co-Principals in 1942. Queenwood prospered despite the Depression and Second World War, and by 1950, Rennie was president of the New South Wales branch of the Headmistresses' Association of Australia.[7] The school phased out its boarding program in the 1950s.[9]

In 1962, Rennie retired as co-Principal but the school remained her home as she worked in the library and helped with the students, as far as her health permitted. In 1966, the school became a non-profit private company, named Queenwood School for Girls Ltd.[7]

The Junior School moved to the Medway Centre at Queen Street, Mosman in 1990, and later the Visual Arts Department moved to a separate site on The Esplanade at Balmoral Beach.[8]

Queenwood School for Girls is now no longer a boarding school.


Period Details
1925 – 1931 Miss Grace Lawrance, Founder
1931 – 1961 Miss Beatrice Rennie, Co-Principal with Miss Violet Medway 1942–1961
1942 – 1982 Miss Violet Medway, Co-Principal with Miss Beatrice Rennie 1942–1961
1982 – 1987 Mrs Alison Stalley
1987 – 1996 Mrs Judith Wheeldon
1996 – 2008 Mrs Kem Bray[8]
2008 – 2013 Mr James Harpur
2014 – Present Ms Elizabeth Stone


Queenwood has four campuses,[10] each located in suburban Mosman. The site at 47 Mandalong Road on which Queenwood was founded, was completely redeveloped in 2002/03 and became operational in Term 4 of 2003.[11] This campus caters for the Senior School (Years 7 to 12), and houses most of the academic activities of the School, including classrooms, integrated technology, a 600-seat tiered Auditorium, an underground car park, library, and music and drama facilities. In 2009/10 the Lawrance Campus at 44 Mandalong Road was completely redeveloped and opened for use in Term 3, 2010. The building has a 25m pool, a learn to swim pool, a 110-seat lecture theatre and numerous class rooms and science labs.[12]


Queenwood is registered and accredited with the New South Wales Board of Studies, and therefore follows the mandated curriculum for all years. It offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and the Higher School Certificate in Years 11 and 12.

Junior School[edit]

In the Junior School, the curriculum is based on the six primary Key Learning Areas of English, Mathematics, Human Society and its Environment, including languages other than English, Science and Technology, Creative and Practical Arts, and Physical Education, Personal Development and Health.[13]

Senior School[edit]

Years 7 to 10 students are offered a range of curriculum choices. In Year 7, the school follows a mandatory pattern of subject choices. Year 8 students are introduced to six new subjects from which they select two for further study. In Year 9, whilst the mandated core subjects must be completed, students choose three electives which may include those studied in Year 8 or may consist of new subjects or a combination of both. In Year 11, students are prepared for either the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or the International Baccalaureate (IB), depending on their preference.[1] Those choosing to complete the HSC must study at least ten units including: at least two units of English; at least one unit from the Key Learning Area Group 1 of Science, Mathematics and Technological and Applied Studies; and at least one unit from the Key Learning Area Group 2 of Languages Other Than English, Human Society and its Environment, Creative Arts, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.[14]

House system[edit]

As with most Australian schools, Queenwood utilises a house system through which students may participate in intra-school competitions and activities. The school currently has three houses:

  • Queen
  • Wood
  • School

The Motto[edit]

The motto is, 'Per Aspera ad Astra', or 'through struggles to the stars.' (Extended by Miss Rennie to be: 'it is only by struggling to overcome difficulties that we can hope ever to reach our highest ideals.') As taken as an extract from 'Queenwood: The First Sixty Years', Miss Rennie says, '"Per Aspera" precedes "Ad Astra" and so it is that strength and courage are necessary, for the highest and best are not attained without struggle. Self-control, self-discipline are necessary with strength, to stand up for the right and courage to stick with one's convictions.'

Notable alumnae[edit]

Alumni of Queenwood are known as Old Girls and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the Queenwood Old Girls' Association (QOGA).[15] Some notable 'Old Girls' of Queenwood include:

Queenwood Old Girls' Association Logo
Entertainment, media and the arts
Politics, public service and the law

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Queenwood School for Girls". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  2. ^ Queenwood School Annual Report 2005 (accessed:25-05-2007)
  3. ^ "Queenwood School for Girls". New South Wales. Internet Schools Directory. Archived from the original on 3 February 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  4. ^ "New South Wales". AHISA Schools. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  5. ^ Butler, Jan (2006). "Member Schools". Members. The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  6. ^ "Heads of New South Wales Independent Girls' Schools". About AHIGS. The Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools. 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  7. ^ a b c Curnow, Jill (2002). "Rennie, Beatrice Lilias (1893 - 1971)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 16 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 77–78. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  8. ^ a b c "History". About Queenwood. Queenwood School for Girls. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  9. ^ "Archives". History. Queenwood School for Girls. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  10. ^ "Aims". Philosophy. Queenwood School for Girls. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  11. ^ "Building for the future". Parents Current. Queenwood School for Girls. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  12. ^ "Curriculum". Queenwood School for Girls. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  13. ^ "Program". Junior. Queenwood School for Girls. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  14. ^ "Program". Senior. Queenwood School for Girls. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  15. ^ "Queenwood Old Girls Association". Old Girls. Queenwood School for Girls. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  16. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "NICHOLLS Jane". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.
  17. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "McPHEE Anna". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.
  18. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "VARDON (Sue) Suzanne Sharon". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.

External links[edit]