Sydney Girls High School

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Sydney Girls High School
Sghs logo.jpg
Moore Park
Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°53′39″S 151°13′14″E / 33.89417°S 151.22056°E / -33.89417; 151.22056Coordinates: 33°53′39″S 151°13′14″E / 33.89417°S 151.22056°E / -33.89417; 151.22056
Type Single-sex, selective, public, day school
Motto Latin: Labor Omnia Vincit
(Work Conquers All)
Religious affiliation(s) None
Established 1883
Principal Andrea Connell
Years 712[1]
Enrolment ~935 (2007[1])
Campus Urban
Colour(s) Brown and Yellow
Brother School Sydney Boys High School

Sydney Girls High School, is an academically selective public high school for girls located at Moore Park, in Sydney, NSW.

Established in 1883 and operated by the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities, as a school within the Port Jackson Education Area of the Sydney Region,[2] the school has approximately 940 students from Years 7 to 12[1] and is situated adjacent to its "brother school", Sydney Boys High School.

In 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald ranked Sydney Girls High School fourth overall in NSW schools, based on NAPLAN scores.[3] In relation to ATAR results, Sydney Girls High School was ranked third in New South Wales in 2006[citation needed] and 2007;[4] fourth in 2008[5] and 2009;[6] fifth in 2010;[7] sixth in 2011;[8] fourth in 2012;[9] sixth in 2013,[10] fourth in 2014,[11] and third in 2015.[12]


Established as Sydney High School in 1883, the school grounds were originally located on Elizabeth Street in the Sydney central business district,[13] where the David Jones store now stands. At the time, the school building was two storeys, blocked off by a high wall.[13] The ground floor was occupied by male students, while the females occupied the first floor. This was usual in the 1800s.[13]

Because of high levels of noise pollution from transport and other activities, the boys' school moved to a different location, followed by the girls' school, which became Sydney Girls High School.[13] The two adjacent streets, Anzac Parade and Cleveland Street, are both large and busy roads that still make classrooms noisy from time to time.[14][15][16]

In 1921, SGHS moved to the former Sydney Zoo (now Taronga Zoo in Mosman, New South Wales) site, which was formerly known as the "Billy Goat Swamp". It is opposite Moore Park, Fox Studios, and the Sydney Cricket Ground.[13] The new building incorporated many modern features, provided large areas of greenery and was quieter. The bear pit from Sydney Zoo still stands within the schools' "Lowers" grass area, shared with Sydney Boys' "the Flat".[13] SGHS students supported the war effort on the home front in both World War I and World War II by organising care packages and knitting socks and other clothing items for the soldiers on the front.[17]

In April 1999, a severe hailstorm in Sydney caused significant damage to the school grounds, destroying areas of the roof and causing water leakage into many of the classrooms.[18][19][20] This storm also destroyed much of the obsolete computer technology and paved the way for a large base of new technology throughout the school.[17]



The Year 7 intake is of 150 students,[1] but prospective students in higher years may matriculate to the school if vacancies exist.[1] Offers of admission and matriculation into the school in Year 7 are made on the basis of academic merit, as assessed by the Selective High School Placement Test.[1]

In Years 7 to 10, the cohorts consist of 150 students each year;[1] in Years 11 to 12, however, the cohorts consist of 160 students each year.[1]


SGHS teaches the following subjects for the Higher School Certificate:[21]

For some subjects, clubs are formed for extension or to cater to specific interests within the subject. These are Art Club, Astronomy Club, Book Club, Creative Writing Club and Maths Club.[22]

Grounds, buildings, and facilities[edit]

Margaret Varady Rowing Facility[edit]

Since 1987, the SGHS Rowing Club has shared space with the UNSW Rowing Club and operated its rowing activities using the UNSW boatshed at Tarban Creek, near the Tarban Creek Bridge, Gladesville at Huntleys Point, New South Wales. Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir AC, CVO, Governor of NSW formally opened the new boatshed on 28 June 2009.

The SGHS section of the boatshed was named the Margaret Varady Rowing Facility in honour of the contribution made by the former principal Margaret Varady towards schoolgirl rowing,[23] including having been instrumental in securing the land and funding to build the boatshed.[24][25]

Ethel Turner Memorial Library[edit]

The Ethel Turner Memorial Library, named in honour of the novelist Ethel Turner, includes a senior study area and expandable seminar rooms. The media room has a whiteboard and videoconferencing equipment. Within the Library precincts are non-fiction and fiction books, graphic novels, books in foreign languages to assist in LOTE study, and the school Archives.[26]

Co- and extracurricular activities[edit]

Debating and public speaking[edit]

SGHS has an extensive debating tradition, and all students are provided the opportunity to develop their skills through weekly coaching and debating or speaking sessions, both social and competitive.[27] SGHS competes in Combined High Schools (CHS) debating competitions and regularly has social debates with other schools, including its brother school, Sydney Boys High School; Sydney Grammar School; the Scots College; and St. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill.[citation needed]

In both 2004 and 2005, SGHS won the Hume Barbour Trophy for the Premier's Debating Challenge.[28][29] In 2010, SGHS won the Sydney University Senior Debating Cup and the Eastside Debating Competition.[30] In 2012, 2013, and 2015, SGHS won the Karl Cramp Trophy for the Year 11 Premier's Debating Challenge.[31][32] In 2010 and 2014, SGHS students won the Plain English Speaking Award.[32]


Sydney Girls High School has a long tradition of sports, in addition to academic scholarship and offers students a range of extra-curricular sports, including:

These sports are offered both within the school and at an inter-school level. Students compete in the CHS competitions for many of the above sports, including athletics, cross country running, swimming, and rowing. Further sports are offered for within school education, such as zumba, yoga, archery, and quidditch.[22][33] SGHS also holds three sports carnivals each year for Swimming, Cross Country, and Athletics.[34]


 SGHS crew Head of the River 2011
SGHS crew at the Head of the River 2011

The SGHS Rowing Club (SGHSRC) competes in competitions including the Schoolgirl Head of the River, the Riverview Gold Cup and the NSW Combined High Schools Regatta and has had successes in these competitions. The SGHSRC also hosts and competes in its own regatta, the schoolgirl SGHS Regatta, held at Iron Cove in late November each year.[35] Many girls also win NSWCHSSA Blues for their achievements in rowing.[36]

At the inaugural Schoolgirl Head of the River Regatta in 1991, the SGHSRC won the overall point score, as well as winning the races for the eight, the coxless quad scull, the coxless pair, the novice four and the coxed four; with the Senior 1st IV. The eight also won in the 1991 Head of Parramatta.[37] The SGHS eight won the Schoolgirl Head of the River in 1992 and 1994, when it was held at Iron Cove.[38][39]

In 2006 and 2007 the Senior 1st IV won the Schoolgirl Head of the River. In 2011 the Senior 1st IV can second in the Schoolgirl Head of the River.[40] The rowing club also won the overall point score at the 2014 NSW CHS Regatta.[41] In the 2015 Head of Parramatta, the coxed quad sculls won first and second place in the schoolgirl quad race.[42]

Performing arts[edit]

SGHS has several dance groups, drama ensembles, and music groups, and a student-run Technical Company that oversees lighting and sound for school assemblies and performances. Annually, the Year 11 drama class put on a major production, which in 2009 was the Pulitzer-winning play Harvey. The school has an annual musicale and Christmas concert, which showcase the musical and dancing talent of students. SGHS also hosts a biennial musical co-production with Sydney Boys High, which in 2015 was the Tony Award winning Guys and Dolls, featuring Courtney Coates (Ms Sarah), Andrew McNaughton (Sky Masterson), Noah Fowler (Nathan Detroit) and Georgia vella (Ms Adelaide).[43]

With regards to drama, there are junior and senior co-curricular Drama Ensembles, an annual Shakespeare Festival in which students perform Shakespeare excerpts, and a "7/10 Director's Project" where Year 10 Drama students direct 10-minute plays starring Year 7 students.[44] Further, SGHS is a serious contender in the annual Schools Theatresports Competition, their senior team achieving 2nd place and their junior team achieving 3rd place in the 2009 grand finals.

SGHS has a wide range of musical ensembles and bands, including:[45]

Many Year 12 SGHS students are invited to perform at the HSC Showcases onSTAGE and Encore.[46]


To support Oxfam, SGHS hosts an annual charity fundraiser. For each try scored during a touch football game played between Year 11 and Year 12 girls, ten dollars is donated to the charity.

Further, SGHS has been a large contributor to Stewart House, which has recognised the school's efforts with a Roy Reidy Trophy as the top contributor for the 16th year in a row.[30] In 2011 the school was awarded the Norman B Ridge Red Cross Shield for collecting the largest amount of money for the Red Cross Calling.[30] The Year Groups of 8, 9, and 10 each go out in the CBD and collect money for charities, with Year 8 collecting for Jeans for Genes Day, Year 9 collecting for the Cancer Council Daffodil Day, and Year 10 collecting for the Red Cross Calling and Legacy.[47]

SGHS publishes an Imagizine, a compilation of student-submitted poetry, short stories, and artworks; the proceeds from which are donated to the Black Dog Institute. The body behind Imagizine meets every Thursday and is open to all current SGHS students.

SGHS also has Knitting in Company and Environment Group. Knitting in Company is an activity held after school, during which students knit blankets that are then donated to Wrap with Love, a charity that provides blankets to people who are susceptible to hypothermia. Environment Group involves weekly meetings during which students tend to the school's vegetable gardens and discuss environmental issues. The Environment Group is also responsible for promoting the annual Green Day.

The school also has a Social Justice Club that meets weekly and takes on a new social justice project each term - past projects include LGBT rights, mental illness awareness, refugee aid, and global women's rights.

Other opportunities[edit]

Like many Australian schools, SGHS encourages students to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, offering a school-organised hike to Year 9 students for the Expedition component of the award.[48] SGHS also offers the High Resolves Global Leadership program to Year 9 and 10 students.[22] In addition, SGHS participates in numerous academic competitions including the Da Vinci Decathlon and Tournament of Minds.[49] In the 2013 'Race Around the Renaissance' Da Vinci Decathlon, SGHS came first.[50] In the 2015 Tournament of Minds, SGHS won the Maths & Engineering division, and gained honours in the Social Sciences division.[51][52]

With regards to overseas tours, students are often offered the opportunity to travel to China, France, Japan, Germany, and Italy. This is often for LOTE or ancient history study. There is also a student exchange program set up with Beijing Normal High School in China, The Lycée Paul Cézanne in France, and the Konan Girls High School in Japan.[53][54]

There is also a SGHS cadet program at Sydney Boys High School.[55]

School traditions[edit]


Each year, a Year 12 Sydney girl is elected school captain by the student body, excluding those in Year 7. Another four Year 12 Sydney Girls are elected as other members of the executive, in the positions of vice captain, senior prefect, welfare captain, and Student Representative Council (SRC) captain.[56] The SRC is made up of elected representatives from each class from Years 7 to 11. The SRC duties include welcoming school visitors at events, leading and facilitating fundraising events, helping at the school canteen, and organising the annual Junior Dance that is open to SGHS and SBHS students Years 7 to 9.[57] There is also a Leadership Award Program in which students fulfil criteria based on academic achievement, sport participation, co-curricular achievement, and community service. There are bronze, silver, gold, and school medal levels to the Program.[58]

Additionally, there is a Peer Support Program where Year 10 students work with Year 7 students to help them get to know the school and become leaders within the school community.[59] New students are allocated a buddy in their class who provides practical assistance and advice about the school.[60]


As with most Australian schools, SGHS utilises a house system. Students are allocated to a house when they enter the school according to classes and DT groups. There are four different houses under which students compete for the Swimming, Athletics and Cross Country Carnivals:[17]

House name Colour Namesake
Campbell Red Florence Campbell, second headmistress of Sydney Girls
Garvin Blue Lucy Arabella Stocks Garvin, first headmistress of Sydney Girls[61]
Moore Yellow Helena Moore, headmistress 1969-73
Macquarie Green Governor Lachlan Macquarie[62]

With the exception of Macquarie, all of the houses are named after former principals of the school. The houses are created by sorting students in year 7; however, students who have family members who were pupils or former pupils of the school may elect to change houses to the same house.


Years Principal[17]
1883-1918 Lucy Arabella Stocks Garvin
1919-1941 Florence Campbell
1942-1947 Lilian Geer
1948-1954 Lilian McMahon
1955-1960 Lily Preston
1961-1968 Doreen Wayne
1969-1973 Helena Moore
1974-1976 Elizabeth Mattick
1977-1991 Dorothy Shackley
1992-2008 Margaret Varady
2009–present Andrea Connell

Notable alumnae[edit]

Entertainment, media and the arts
Medicine and science
Politics, public service and the law

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "School Profile". Sydney Girls High School. 
  2. ^ "Our Schools - Sydney Region Public Schools". Department of Education and Communities. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Top NSW High Schools HSC 2007". 
  5. ^ "Top NSW High Schools HSC 2008". 
  6. ^ "Top NSW High Schools HSC 2009". 
  7. ^ "Top NSW High Schools HSC 2011". 
  8. ^ "Top NSW High Schools HSC 2011". 
  9. ^ "2012 High School Rankings". Matrix Education. 
  10. ^ "HSC School Ranking - 2013". Better Education. 
  11. ^
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  13. ^ a b c d e f "About Us: History". Sydney Girls High School. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Light rail will run on Devonshire St despite community anger". Transport Sydney. 16 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Manning, Brittney (10 August 2013). "A push for change to Light Rail system". The South Sydney Herald. 
  16. ^ Campion, Vikki (2 September 2013). "First look at plans for Sydney light rail network to relieve crippling traffic congestion in the CBD". The Daily Telegraph. 
  17. ^ a b c d
  18. ^ Stephen Yeo, Roy Leigh, and Ivan Kuhne. (1999.) "The April 1999 Sydney hailstorm", Natural Hazards Quarterly, 5(2).
  19. ^ Yeo, Stephen. "The April 1999 Sydney Hailstorm". Natural Hazards Quarterly. 
  20. ^ "Sydney Hailstorm Damage - 12/05/1999 - URG MOT". NSW Parliament. 
  21. ^ "Curriculum". Sydney Girls High School. 
  22. ^ a b c
  23. ^ "UNSW new boatshed opens". Northern District Times. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 6 Oct 2011. 
  24. ^ "Boatshed". SGHS. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 25 Sep 2011. 
  25. ^ "Governor of NSW Opens UNSW Boatshed". UNSW Sports and Recreation. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 25 Sep 2011. 
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  28. ^ Performing Arts Unit Premier's Debating Challenge for Year 12
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  31. ^ challenge 11&12
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  33. ^ "Sport". Sydney Girls High School. 
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  37. ^ Williams, Daniel (20 December 1991). "Girls steer smooth course from humble start". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. p. 34. 
  38. ^ FitzSimons, Peter (19 March 1994). "Jolly boating weather, without the hay-harvest breeze". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  39. ^ Schoolgirls Head of the River. Combined Independent Schools Sports Council & NSW Rowing Association. 2011. 
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  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Distinguished Old Girls". The History of Sydney Girls High School. Sydney Girls High School. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
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  66. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (17 November 2006). "AMPHLETT, Patricia Thelma". Who's Who in Business Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd. 
  67. ^ "XCOMMUNICATE SYMPOSIUM AND EXHIBITION – Esther Anatolitis". Destination NSW. 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  68. ^ Curthoys, Ann (1979). "Bennett, Agnes Elizabeth Lloyd (1872 - 1960)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 7 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 265–266. Retrieved 17 January 2008. 
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  73. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (17 November 2006). "BASHIR Marie Roslyn, HE Prof.". Who's Who in Business Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd. 
  74. ^ "Dr Emily Crawford". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  75. ^ "The Hon Justice Anna Katzmann - Appointment" (PDF).  (2010 Winter) Bar News: Journal of the NSW Bar Association 129.

External links[edit]