St Margaret's Anglican Girls' School

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St Margaret's Anglican Girls School
St Margarets School crest. Source: (St Margaret's website)
Ascot, Queensland
Australia Australia
Coordinates 27°25′48″S 153°2′57″E / 27.43000°S 153.04917°E / -27.43000; 153.04917Coordinates: 27°25′48″S 153°2′57″E / 27.43000°S 153.04917°E / -27.43000; 153.04917
Type Independent, Day & Boarding
Motto Per Volar Sunata
("Born To Fly Upwards")
'Dante Purgatorio XII 94-96'
Denomination Anglican
Established 1895
Principal Ms Ros Curtis
Grades P–12
Gender Girls
Enrolment ~810
Colour(s) Navy, White and Brown             

St Margaret's Anglican Girls School is a private, Anglican, day and boarding school for girls. The school is located in Ascot, an inner-northern suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. St Margaret's ranks among Queensland's top schools.

Founded in 1895 by the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent,[1] the school ranks among the best in Queensland. St Margaret's Anglican Girls' School has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 810 students from Pre-Preparatory to Year 12,[2] including 170 boarders from Years 7 to 12.[3] St Margaret's has eight Houses: Chaucer, Bede, Herrick, Kendall, Tennyson, Milton, Spenser and Lawson.

St Margaret's is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[4] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[5] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[3] the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia (AGSA),[6] and is a founding member of the Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association (QGSSSA).[7]


In 1895, The Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent opened a boarding School for girls at Nundah, in a former boys’ school, Eton High School.[8][9] The school was on land bounded by Bishop Street, Buckland Road, Wand Street and Olive Street.[10] Sister Emma was the Sister-in-Charge and Miss Isabelle Caine was the Headmistress. In 1907, the School moved to Toorak House in Hamilton, Miss Juliet Lyon (1907–1917) replaced Miss Caine and the School roll had grown to 35 pupils.

As well as the usual lessons, students participated in tennis, rowing, basketball and swimming. Three years later the School moved again to Albion Heights. Its new home was Donatello, built in the 1880s for Patrick Durack. It was renamed St Margaret’s House and the School’s name changed to the Church of England High School. Two years later the School became known as St Margaret’s Church of England Girls’ School and has remained on this site ever since. Donatello is still in use today as Community House for the Sisters.

By 1910 there were 47 boarders and when The University of Queensland opened in 1911, two St Margaret’s girls were among its first students. Miss Lyon resigned in 1917 and was the last lay Headmistress until 1978. It was during Miss Lyon’s time that the School motto, Per Volar Sunata (Born to Fly Upwards), came into being and the distinctive middy uniform was introduced.

Under the leadership of Sister Teresa (1918–25) the School grew rapidly and the adjoining property, Avoca, was acquired in 1918 to provide extra accommodation. It was originally named Mooloomburram when it was built in 1886 by Andrew Petrie. By 1925, Sister Teresa had made St Margaret’s a leading school in Brisbane, with a good record of academic achievement. She introduced the House System, a student representative School Council and the innovative Dalton method of education. Sister Elisabeth (1925–1936) embarked on a building program which saw the construction of many of the buildings still standing today – West Wing with classrooms, dormitories and dining room; the Darnell Art and Music buildings and the swimming pool. These additions were made despite the difficult conditions of the Depression and exemplify the Sisters’ faith in the St Margaret’s of the future. Sister Bernadine (1937–1939) led the School through the difficult and unsettled pre-war years. Sister Mary (1940–1964) guided the School through the years of World War II and the profound changes to School life – closures, reduced enrolments, rationing and shortages.

After the War, her vision resulted in further expansion – a new assembly hall (Eton Hall), extra classrooms and dormitories in East Wing; a gymnasium; the School Chapel; Dalhousie classrooms and a boarders’ recreation block and library. The School continued to grow under the leadership of both Sister Jean-Marie (1965–1970) and Sister Helen (1971–1977), maintaining the SSA’s traditional high standards of education and spiritual growth. The School celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1970 with the opening of Toorak and its library, staff room and science laboratories. In 1977 the Sisters took the decision to appoint a lay Headmistress, while still retaining ownership and guidance of the School. Mrs Margaret Kugleman (1978–1982) was followed by Miss Evelyn Heath (1982–1993), Mrs Mary Hutchings (1993–1995) and Mrs Judith Hill(1995–1996). To accommodate the growing number of students and the diversity in curricular and extra-curricular activities during this time, the Avoca and Jackson Wings were built, providing both general and specialist classrooms.

A separate Primary School building, Chaseley Wing, opened in 1992, to accommodate growing Primary enrolments. Its name is an enduring reminder of the influence of Sister Chaseley Anne who was in charge of the Boarding House from 1979 to 1990.

In 1995, the School's centenary year, the Philip Harris Sports Centre was built to support an extensive range of sporting activities. It is supplemented by outdoor facilities at Windsor Park and a rowing centre at Breakfast Creek, enabling students to participate in a wide range of sporting activities. Cultural pursuits have always been an integral part of life at St Margaret’s. An art room and music block were among the first buildings constructed in the 1930s, thanks to a bequest from the estate of John Darnell, and in 2003 a new Arts Centre was built to further foster students’ creative talents in the visual and performing arts. This Arts Centre supports the school's visual and performing arts program with facilities including three art studios, pottery area, and a display gallery.

Mrs Vicki Waters (1997–2006), Dr Sue Simon (2007–2010) and Mrs Karen Spiller (Acting Principal – 2010) have continued to support the School’s stated values of spirit, faith, integrity, courage, respect and passion. Under their management, and with the guidance of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent, the School has maintained its high academic standards. Ms Ros Curtis, appointed as Principal in 2011, provides the leadership as St Margaret’s pursues a second century of excellence in education based on Christian principles. The School motto, Per Volar Sunata (Born to Fly Upwards), inspires St Margaret’s students to achieve the best in all they do.



The Junior Secondary curriculum (Years 7, 8 and 9) is designed to encourage students to discover their personal interests before entering specialised courses in senior years. All students study a Key Learning Area Program of English, Mathematics, The Arts, Science, Technology, Humanities, Health and Physical Education, Modern Languages and Religious and Values Education.

The Modern Languages offered are Chinese, French, German, and Japanese.

Students in Year 10 choose from a large number of electives to aid their transition into senior studies. Four electives supplement the compulsory subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Health and Physical Education and Religious and Values Education.

In Years 11 and 12 Students select five subjects from eight Key Learning Areas in addition to English, which is studied as a requisite Queensland Studies Authority (QSA). Senior students continue their studies in Religious and Values Education and Health and Physical Education and in addition undertake a course in thinking skills and preparation for the Queensland Core Skills (QCS) test. Students are also offered vocational subjects through the School's Vocational Education and Training (VET) option.

Students in Years 11 and 12 have the option to undertake private study or attend learning support sessions and tutorial sessions one afternoon a week. Students have the opportunity to gain real-world skills by undertaking part-time employment or work experience placements within different industries.

Global Exchange Program[edit]

Students are offered the opportunity to study for a term at one of the overseas schools partnering with St Margaret's. Schools currently participating in the Global Exchange Program:

  • Emma Willard School, Troy, New York State, USA
  • Shawnigan Lake School, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
  • Crofton House School, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • The Licensed Victuallers' School, Ascot, England, UK
  • St Anne's Diocesan College, Hilton, South Africa
  • The Ursulinenschule, Bonn, Germany
  • Konan Girls High, Kobe, Japan
  • St Stephen's College, Stanley, Hong Kong
  • Nga Tawa, Wellington Diocesan School for Girls, Marton, New Zealand
  • St Margaret's College, Christchurch, New Zealand – Rowing Exchange
  • Anglican Church Grammar School, Australia - Sony Camp

Recent results[edit]

In 2013, the St Margaret's Year 12 cohort had 18.4% of students achieving an OP 1-3 (Queensland state average: 10.45%). 40.2% of St Margaret's students achieved an OP 1-6, as compared with 25.28% in the state. 95.4% of St Margaret's students received an OP of 1-15, as compared with 79.2% in the state. 100% of Year 12 boarders received an OP between 1 and 15.

In regards to the Queensland Core Skills Test - 65.4% of St Margaret's students were awarded an A or B.

2013 OP Results OP 1-3 18.4% (State - 10.45%) OP 1-6 40.2% (State - 25.28%) OP 1-15 95.4% (State - 79.2%)

2013 QCS Results A 31.1% B 33.3%

2014 OP Results OP1-3 Carey Cooper, Maddie Brannelly, Bella Shen

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Cultural activities[edit]

St Margaret’s offers students a broad range of cultural ventures, including debating, art workshops, musicals and theatrical events. Activities include: Debating, Duke of Edinburgh, Opti-MINDS, Mooting, smART Club, Sharemarket Game, Theatresports and Public Speaking. These activities are intended to develop organisational skills, independence and personal pride in a fun and creative environment.


The Co-Curricular Music Program offers students a broad range of opportunities through which they can experience music at a variety of levels. Students involve themselves in a number of music ensembles, including Choirs, String Orchestras, Concert Band, Rock Band, Jazz Ensemble, Stage Band, Elayne Jones Percussion Ensemble and Highly Strung as well as many other smaller ensembles. Other music opportunities include performing at school events and at outside community functions, recording music, performing in the school musical, performing in eisteddfods and at festivals, and participating in school music tours, both domestic and international.


Physical development is an important aspect of life at St Margaret’s. Students are offered the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sporting activities through the interschool sporting competitions, Andrews Cup in Primary and QGSSSA (Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sporting Association) in Secondary.

Sports include: Artistic Gymnastics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Cricket, Cross Country, Hockey, Lifesaving, Netball, Rowing, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Touch Football, Volleyball and Water Polo.

Students who excel in their competitive sports are encouraged and supported to pursue their talent at local, state and national competitions.

Recent sporting achievements[edit]

  • 2015: Fifth consecutive victory for the St Margaret's First VIII at the Brisbane Schoolgirls Rowing Association Head of the River Rowing Regatta.
  • 2015: Aggregate Cup Winners at the Brisbane Schoolgirls Rowing Association Head of the River Rowing Regatta.
  • 2015: Second consecutive victory for the Opens Division Netball team in the QGSSSA competition.
  • 2015: Victory for the Senior A Netball team in the QGSSSA competition
  • 2015: Southern Skies Netball competition champions
  • Percentage Cup winners in QGSSSA Swimming, 2006–11, 2013–14
  • 2013: 12th consecutive Percentage Cup victory for Cross Country
  • Overall Champion School trophy winners at the State Lifesaving Championships, 2004-2015
  • 2013: Intermediate and Junior State title champions at the Secondary School Knockout competition for Athletics

School Crest[edit]

The St Margaret’s crest or badge of blue and silver reflects school tradition. Blue represents devotion; silver, purity. In the top right corner of the badge is the Guild Cross, which reinforces the links with The Society of the Sacred Advent. The Anglican faith, on which the School is founded, is reflected in the Bishop's mitre in the lower left corner. A band, symbolising strength and stability supports the initials of the school.

Notable alumnae[edit]

  • Bronte Barratt – Commonwealth and World Record Holder in Swimming[11]
  • Annabelle Chaplain – Chairman of the South East Queensland Water Corporation Limited; Director of Downer EDi Ltd; Director of Coal and Allied Industries Ltd[12]
  • Keri Craig-Lee – Fashion Designer and Retailer for the Keri Craig Label[13]
  • Emily Seebohm – Olympic Gold Medalist and former World Record Holder in Swimming
  • Emma Jackson – Olympic Triathlete
  • Brittany Elmslie – Olympic Gold Medalist in Swimming
  • Sally Kehoe – Olympic Finalist in Rowing
  • Paula Spencer – Commissioner of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission[14]
  • Professor Doune Macdonald – The University of Queensland, Head of the School of Human Movements
  • Dr Vanessa Ratten, Associate Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, LaTrobe University
  • Dr Rosemond Siemon – Author of best-seller, The Mayne Inheritance
  • Justice Michelle May – Family Court of Australia
  • Una Prentice; First woman to graduate from the Faculty of Law at the University of Queensland
  • Daphne Mayo – Sculptor
  • Dr Deborah Mills – Doctor, Author and Businesswoman
  • Dr Ros Taplin – Head of the Department of Sustainable Science, Bond University
  • Fiona Ferguson – News Editor and news presenter, PRIME News
  • Amanda McLeay – Channel 10 Brisbane
  • Sally Bain – Author, Television Personality
  • Rhyll Gardner – General Manager Queensland, St George Bank Ltd
  • Geraldine Turner – Actress
  • Dame Patricia Mackinnon, DBE, CBE – musician; appointed a Dame of the Order of the British Empire for distinguished service in hospital administration
  • Marjorie Johnstone (née Mant)– co-founder of the Johnstone Art Gallery
  • Mel Buttle – Radio Host and Columnist
  • Ella Sheehan Founder of The Global Smile Project Charity

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annual School Report 2007". School Reports. St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Procedures". Enrolments. St Margaret's Anglican Girls' School. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "St Margaret's Anglican Girls School". Schools. Australian Boarding Schools' Association. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Queensland". School Directory. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "JSHAA Queensland Directory of Members". Queensland Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Butler, Jan (2006). "Member Schools". Members. The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "A Brief History". (What is) QGSSSA. Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association. 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ "Current News. By Telegraph and Otherwise". The Queenslander. 12 May 1894. p. 907, col. 4, para. 3. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Opening of the Home of the Good Shepherd, Nundah". The Brisbane Courier. 19 June 1893. p. 5. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Home of the Good Shepherd, Nundah (1893–1901)". Find and Connect. Commonwealth of Australia. 2011. Archived from the original on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Official Site of the 2008 Australian Olympic Team: Athletes: The Team: Bronte Barratt
  12. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "CHAPLAIN (Sally) Annabelle". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd. 
  13. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "CRAIG-LEE Keri". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd. 
  14. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "SPENCER Paula". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd. 

External links[edit]