St Catherine's School, Waverley

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St Catherine's School
St Catherine's School crest. Source: (St Catherine's website)
Waverley, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°54′15″S 151°15′19″E / 33.90417°S 151.25528°E / -33.90417; 151.25528Coordinates: 33°54′15″S 151°15′19″E / 33.90417°S 151.25528°E / -33.90417; 151.25528
Type Private, day & boarding
Motto Latin: In Christo Thesauri Sapientiae Et Scientiae
("In Christ are the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge")
Denomination Anglican[1]
Established 1856
Founder Jane Sophia Barker
Chairman Rev. Simon Roberts
Headmistress Julie Townsend
Staff ~120[2]
Gender Girls
Enrolment ~1000(K–12)
Colour(s) Yellow, Red and Blue             

St Catherine's School (commonly referred to as St Cath's) is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for girls, located in Waverley, an eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1856 as a school for the daughters of clergy, St Catherine's is the oldest Anglican girls' school in Australia.[3] It is also the oldest independent girls' school in Australia.[4] It is a non-selective school, and currently caters for approximately 1000 girls from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 70 boarders.

The school is affiliated with the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (AGSA),[5] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[6] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[7] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[8] and is a founding member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).[9]

St Catherine's has been reviewed by the Good Schools Guide International.[10]


St Catherine's School traces its origins to 1855, when Mrs Jane Barker, wife of Frederic Barker, second Archbishop of Sydney, decided to establish a school for the daughters of the clergy. Barker and her husband had travelled throughout New South Wales, and realised that the poor stipends of the clergy in country areas meant that their daughters could not benefit from a good education. Within five months, Barker had raised enough money to secure a premises in Point Piper Road (now Jersey Road), Edgecliff, and had hired Ms Loftus to run the St Catherine's Clergy Daughters School. Barker wished for her school to be modelled on Casterton School, the school attended by the Brontë sisters, who were themselves the daughters of a poor clergyman. The Clergy Daughters School was officially opened in its temporary location on 5 March 1856.[3]

Shortly after the school's opening, Barker was able to secure a land grant of 5 acres (2 ha) near Waverley, and began to look towards the creation of a small missionary settlement, including the Clergy Daughters' School, a church, parsonage and a village school. In September 1857, the foundation stone of the new School was laid, and in 1859, the sandstone building which remains the focus of the School today, was completed. Barker continued to be closely involved with the fledgling Clergy Daughters' school until her death in 1876.[3]

When enrolments began to decline during the depression years of 1891–1895, day girls were admitted to the school for the first time. The Principal, Ms Darling, also introduced the first school uniform during this time, in the form of an olive green dress.[3]

In 1933, the house system was introduced. After the Second World War, the swimming pool, a new assembly building and the junior school were added amongst other renovations. A new sports centre was opened in 2002.[3]


House Date Founded Colours
Barker 1933     
Bronte 1933         
Casterton 1933         
Hulme-Moir 1987     
Patterson 2015     
Phillips 2015      Sutherland 1987     

Barker was named after the Bishop and Mrs Barker, Casterton House after the school on which St Catherine's was modelled, and the third House was named Bronte as Charlotte Brontë had mentioned Casterton in Jane Eyre. Hulme-Moir and Sutherland were created in 1987.[11][12]


Headmistress and students, 1945
Period Details[9]
1856 Founder – Mrs Jane Barker
1856 – 1860 Lady Superintendent – Miss Loftus
1860 – 1883 Lady Superintendent – Miss Law
1884 – 1890 Miss Helen Phillips
1891 – 1895 Miss Rebecca Darling
1895 – 1903 Miss Charlotte Fox
1903 – 1934 Miss Ellen Lenthall
1935 – 1947 Mrs Isabel Hall
1948 – 1949 Miss Ella Mitchell
1950 – 1954 Mrs Una Fitzhardinge
1955 – 1987 Miss Faith Patterson, B. Sc. (Hons)
1988 – 2000 Mrs Jo Karaolis
2001 – 2009 Mrs Lynne Stone
2010 – present Dr Julie Townsend


Since 1859, St Catherine's School has been situated on one suburban campus, currently 2 hectares (5 acres) in size and featuring a mix of 19th century and modern buildings, gardens and views to the ocean.[13]

Some notable facilities of the college include the Jo Karaolis Sports Centre, with facilities for netball, tennis, basketball and gymnastics and school functions; the Dame Joan Sutherland Centre for the Performing Arts, featuring a drama theatre, recording studio, dance studio, band room and music practice and teaching areas; computing facilities in the Sutherland Centre; an Independent Learning Centre and Student Meeting Room; swimming pool; Junior School and library; and Year 12 common room and Senior School Library; The Boarding House, uniform shop, deli. After school care facilities are also located on site.[13]

Notable alumnae[edit]

Former students of St Catherine's School are known as "Old Girls" and may elect to join the schools Alumni association, known as the "Old Girls' Union". The Old Girls' Union was established on 11 November 1898 by Miss Charlotte Elizabeth Fox, the Headmistress at the time. At its foundation the aim of the union was to keep past pupils in contact with the school and promote its good, whilst also encouraging younger members to continue furthering their talents after graduation.[14] Some notable Old Girls' of St Catherine's include:

Entertainment, media and the arts
Medicine and science

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "St Catherine's School". Directory. Sydney's Child. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Latest news. St Catherine's School. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "History of the School". History. St Catherine's School. 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  4. ^ "St Catherine's". Integrated Units. Board of Studies NSW. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  5. ^ "Member Schools". Members. The Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia. 2007. Archived from the original on 19 May 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  6. ^ "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". New South Wales Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "AHISA Schools". New South Wales. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. November 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  8. ^ "Schools: St Catherine's School". Australian Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  9. ^ a b "Heads of New South Wales Independent Girls' Schools". AHIGS. The Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Timeline of St Catherine's". History. St Catherine's School. 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  12. ^ "Houses at St Catherine's". St Catherine's School. 
  13. ^ a b "Our Facilities". K-12. St Catherine's School. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  14. ^ "The Old Girls' Union". Our Community. St Catherine's School. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  15. ^ Henry, Margaret (1986). "Mort, Eirene (1879 - 1977)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 10 (Online ed.). Melbourne, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. pp. 596–597. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  16. ^ Green, Jonathan (30 March 2005). "Famous alumni on Latham's hit list". Politics. Crikey. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007. 
  17. ^ "Victoria Baron (OG 2000), make-up artist extraordinaire". Retrieved 2017-02-25. 
  18. ^ "Rachael Coopes wins Helpmann Award". Retrieved 2017-02-25. 
  19. ^ O'Neill, Sally (1996). "Fielding, Una Lucy (1888 - 1969)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 14 (Online ed.). Melbourne, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. pp. 162–163. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  20. ^ "The Bulletin issue 2 2016". St Catherine's, Waverley. Retrieved 2017-02-25. 

External links[edit]