Mac.Robertson Girls' High School

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The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School
Mac.Robertson GHS' logo – Minerva
Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria
Coordinates 37°50′11″S 144°58′16″E / 37.83639°S 144.97111°E / -37.83639; 144.97111Coordinates: 37°50′11″S 144°58′16″E / 37.83639°S 144.97111°E / -37.83639; 144.97111
Type Public, Single-sex, Selective, Day school
Motto Latin: Potens Sui
(Mastery of self)
Established 1905
Sister school Melbourne High School
Principal Dr Toni Meath
Enrolment ca. 950 (9–12)[1]
Campus Urban

Maroon, Green & Charcoal


The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School (also known simply as Mac.Rob or MGHS) is an academically selective, public high school for gifted students, located in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Entry for Mac.Rob, which is operated by the Victoria Department of Education, is by competitive academic examination. It is unique in its status as a statewide provider for girls in years 9 to 12.[2] The equivalent for boys is its brother school, Melbourne High School. Each year, over 3000 candidates will sit the entrance examination for a total of approximately 960 places (across all four schools).

In 2001, The Sun-Herald ranked The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School sixth in Australia's top ten girls' schools, based on the number of its alumni mentioned in the Who's Who in Australia (a listing of notable Australians).[3][a] The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School has a long tradition of academic excellence with VCE scores propelling the school to be ranked 1st in the State of Victoria for seven consecutive years from 2002 to 2008, inclusive. The school was ranked 3rd in 2009, but reclaimed its No. 1 ranking once again in 2010, 2011 and 2013.[4]

The school provides an educational experience that equips girls for tertiary study and leadership roles in academic, professional and business communities, and develops interests and skills to enhance their personal lives. The school has a prestigious history, tracing its origins to the establishment of the first Victorian state secondary school in 1905. Its many eminent former students provide strong role models and inspiration for current students.


Art Deco architecture at Mac.Robertson

The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School began as Melbourne Continuation School, the first government funded school in the state of Victoria, established in 1905 in Spring Street, Melbourne. In 1912, it was renamed Melbourne High School. Originally a co-educational school, the school was segregated by sexes in 1927, with the boys moving to Melbourne Boys' High School in Forrest Hill, South Yarra, Victoria.

Girls continued to be educated in the school on Spring Street, renamed as Melbourne Girls' High School, until the building was condemned in 1930. The school was housed in the then-vacant Government House until 1933, when they moved to State School No. 1689 in King Street. In 1934, with the help of a donation from Macpherson Robertson, a new building was constructed the north-east corner of Albert Park Reserve. The school opened as the Mac.Robertson Girls' High School on 7 November 1934. The school was used as U.S Army Headquarters in 1942 and later by the R.A.A.F. The students took their classes at Brighton Road State School, Camberwell East Girls' School, and University High School during this period.

The building gained a national trust classification in 1987. It was previously gazetted as an Historic Building in 1982. The school celebrated its centenary year in 2005 with Melbourne High School in a joined assembly. Mac.Rob celebrated by inviting Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks to witness the restarting of the school clock tower (which coincidentally would not start when the time came).

The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School today continues and maintains a tradition of high academic achievement. Each year the school's VCE results are among the highest in the state, topping the statewide VCE results seven years running (2002–2008 inclusive).[citation needed]

Past principals[edit]

Period Principal
1927–1932 Miss C. Montomery
1934–1948 Miss M. Hutton
1949–1955 Miss R. Gainfort
1955–1965 Miss D. Barrett
1966–1971 Miss N. Carr
1972–1984 Miss G. Bowles
1985–1996 Miss G. Blood
1996–2004 Ms L. Boston
2004–2012 Ms Jane Garvey
2013–present Dr Toni Meath

Enrolment and structure[edit]

The school operates in a two sub-school structure. The middle school caters for students in years 9 and 10, whilst the senior school caters for students in years 11 and 12. The school's enrolment across all four year levels totals to approximately 950 to 960 students every year. A quota of 225 year 9 students are selected for enrolment every year through the year 8 entrance examination. The year 10 cohort adds another class of 25 into the year level bringing the total to 250 students. The size of both the year 11 and 12 cohorts vary slightly each year, totalling approximately 260 students each year, including the intake of few students into Year 11 and 12.


In Year Nine, students are offered two electives per semester, with core subjects Maths, English, Science, Physical Education, School Singing compulsory for the entire year. Students have a semester each of Geography and History.

Year Ten students must take the core subjects English, Physical Education, Mathematics, and one language, but are also offered a selection of electives, categorised into Science, Arts/Technology, and Humanities. They choose one elective from each category and may study a Year 11 Units 1/2 subject in preparation for VCE. Electives offered include Women and Madness, Linguistics, Advanced Food and Architecture.

Year Eleven students must complete six subjects at school regardless of any external LOTE. Students can only undertake a maximum of two VCE subjects before Year Twelve providing their GPA from Year Nine and Ten is high enough. Many students choose to take Biology 3/4, Mathematical Methods 3/4 and/or and External LOTE language such as Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese.

Students in Year Twelve generally undertake four to five VCE 3/4 subjects. Even though Year Twelve is a stressful year for students, a student support group, FAM (Friends at Mac.Rob) run many initiatives to boost morale and motivation among students.

School song[edit]

The school song – music by Dr A. E. Floyd, words by Mr W. Kerry, MA. – is sung in Latin at each assembly and at important occasions, such as Speech Night.

His veteribus sub tectis;
Carmen vocibus sescentis
Celebrate viginum
Mistos lusibus labores,
Strenuos dies, lucernas,
Haud ingratum otium.

Operosa, fructuosa,
Vita debet exigi.
Neu praeceptum
Sit infectum
Palladis, potens sui.

Quid si, per iocos et risum,
Occupare dona visum
Juventutis aurea.
Num quid setius explemus
Munus debitum, videmus
Quae subsint certamina.


In these halls where youth rejoices
Let the sound of many voices
Tell in song our daily round:
Exercise, and steady learning,
Active days, and lights late burning,
Leisure hours when joys abound.

Firm in striving, fine in action
Such our life should ever be;
Nor unheeded
go the precept
Pallas gives: "Potens Sui"

What if, 'mid the fun and laughter,
We may seem to follow after
But youth's golden gifts so fair;
What if we fulfil but slowly
Tasks that must be done; yet wholly
We perceive the challenge there.


Extracurricular activities[edit]

Mac.Rob offers a wide range of extracurricular activities for its students. For example: debating, combined school musical and play with Melbourne High, Chess Club, CCC (Chinese Culture Club), Amnesty International, I.T. Committee, Japanese Shinwa Club, Indo Club, French club, German club, Winter Concert, Ballroom Dancing, Peer Support, Links Leader Program, GIV (Girls in Volunteering), GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) and more. This is along with sports such as basketball, badminton, table tennis, cross country, cheerleading, volleyball, hockey, football, soccer, softball, cricket, aerobics, gymnastics, swimming and theatre sports. Students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities and urged to not forgo these in pursuit of studies.

Student leadership[edit]

Student leadership is one of the cornerstones of Mac.Rob life. Students from all year levels attend a number of student leadership forums and conferences arranged by the wider community during the year, and develop their personal and leadership skills through their involvement in these. They include the Victorian Alliance of State Girls’ Conference, the Halogen Youth Leadership Conference, various Vision Generation (World Vision) activities, and the Next Gen Youth Forum, as well as long term programs and projects, such as The Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation: Youth in Philanthropy Project.

Each form group has a form captain, social service representative, environment representative, SRC representative, IT representative and ethos representative. Each role with the exception of ethos receives a badge. As of 2016, only form captains and social service captains are present in each form group. Instead of having a representative in each form, each portfolio (IT, Enviro and Ethos) has a committee selected by the two captains. A meeting is run weekly or fortnightly with the entire committee.

In addition to these roles, there are other more senior leadership opportunities in the school. The school has a School Captain, School Vice Captain, SRC President and Vice-President, elected by the student body. The School captains hold meetings with all the form captains and arrange fun class bonding activities. The Student Representative Council at Mac.Rob is a proud and long-running tradition whereby students can have their voices heard and see their ideas implemented in a concrete way throughout the school. The Council works by having two executives per year level and an executive council of the SRC President and Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary.

There are two music captains who oversee things in the music departments and make sure students are happy and getting everything out of music at Mac.Rob.

Music program[edit]

Mac.Rob offers an extensive music program to suit a range of musical ability and tastes. Instrumental lessons are available, with these taken during class in junior school, while scheduled in free periods in senior school. Ensembles offered at Mac.Rob include the Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Winds, Wind Band (Munchkin ensemble), Chamber Voices, Chorale, Brass ensemble, Cello ensemble, Double-reed ensemble, Clarinet ensemble, Flute ensemble, Stage Band, and four string groups: Chamber strings, Senior strings, String ensemble and Principiante Strings to cater for the differing needs of players.

Music students from Mac.Rob and Melbourne High maintain a close relationship through the many combined events throughout the year. The orchestras sometimes combine together for competitions such as South Street.

The year nine program includes a singing class once a week to go through various repertoire in the school, such as the Latin school song, the English school song, the Welcome Song, Vale and "Gaudeamus igitur" which are all sung at Speech Night at the end of the year.

Each year there is an Autumn, Winter (combined with Melbourne High School) and Spring Concert showcasing the musical ensembles within the school. These ensembles sometimes perform at assembly for the "musical item". In addition to these concerts, there are various soirees for soloists and small groups to perform. The recent summer soiree farewelled a well loved brass teacher (Gonch) with a long history at Mac.Rob.

There are two Music Captains elected through online voting at the end of each year. These captains chair the SMC (Student Music Committee), which consists of concert managers and section leaders who organise concerts and provide a base for students and instrumental teachers to communicate. They also help organise Speech Night and are in charge of musical performances at assembly.

Annual events[edit]

Chorals- An event involving a cast, orchestra, chorus and dancers grouped into houses to put on a performance according to the year's theme.

Music Camp- Caters for two music groups, usually the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Winds.

Combined Musical with MHS- 2016's Musical put on by the two schools was Curtains, one of the first times the show has ever been performed in Australia.

Autumn Concert- The first concert involving many of the ensembles.

Spicks and Specks combined with MHS- a trivia night for students and past students. It is run by the SMC of Mac.Rob and SMEX of Melbourne High. Winter Concert combined with MHS- Mac.Rob and Melbourne High combine their ensembles to provide a combined concert with girls and boys present in each act.

Battle of the Bands combined with MHS- Organised by Mac.Rob's Rock Club to showcase bands of both schools. It is held at Mac.Rob during lunchtime and is entirely student run.

Jazz Night combined with MHS- A chill event organised by the Music Captains of both schools. It is the last combined event the captains organise, with parents, teachers and students all attending the event for good vibes and music.

Combined MHS and MacRob Winter Concert

Spring Concert- The last music concert which is usually run by the current music captains in conjunction with the next year's music captains.

Combined Play with MHS

Speech Night- The event showcases whole school singing accompanied by the student orchestra. It is a grand occasion for the school to recognise student achievements. Songs such as the Latin School Song, the English School Song, the Welcome Song, Vale and Gaudeamus Igitur are all sung at Speech Night at the end of the year.


The four houses and their associated colours are:

Nereids official colour is white, although throughout the years it has come to adopt purple as its secondary colour.

Each house has two captains and two middle school house representatives which help organise events and increase house spirit within the school.

The houses compete in four major competitions, each taking place annually:

Each house has its own primary chant as well as many secondary chants which can be old chants. The house cup is won by tallying up all the points through various events, such as athletics, swimming, house drama, chorals, the fun run. The house cup is announced at Speech Night.

There is a Middle School House Cup and Senior School House Cup run annually combined with Melbourne High School. It is run by the Middle School House representatives and the house captains. During the Middle School House Cup, houses combine with Melbourne High School houses of the same colour. Naiads combines with Forrest, Dryads with Waterloo, Nereids with Como and Oreads with Yarra. The four houses compete against each other in various outdoor and indoor sports to determine the winner of the Middle School House Cup. The Senior School House cup is a lighthearted event between the year twelves of Mac.Rob and Melbourne High. Events include dance and theatre sports where many students of the entire school come to watch. The cup is a way for year twelves to destress and have fun in the midst of high school examinations.

School magazines[edit]


The school's yearbook is called Pallas, with the editors generally being two year 11 students. It showcases many clubs, musical ensembles, leadership teams and sporting teams in the school. There are many subsections of Pallas, including house, sport, L.O.T.E, drama, music and exchanges. Each form group has a group photo included with a list of all their names.


There is also an informal satirical magazine, Ethos, with articles written by students. Editorship shared by a team of year 11 students who are elected by the student body. As of 2015, Ethos has a committee of around 16 people who write and edit articles for the magazine. The magazine was distributed physically before a shift online in 2013. The entire magazine is student run with little teacher involvement. It generally contains funny, weird or strange quotes from teachers or students heard around the school placed on each page. Each magazine has its own theme, with past themes including mystery, red, survival and around the world. Ethos is a very iconic part of the student body. Their *ethos* is to produce something that can makes someone’s day: a tiny beacon of happiness and humour in the midst of exams and assessments.

Notable alumnae[edit]


Overseas exchange[edit]

The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School offers its students various chances to interact with students from different schools in other countries, which involve Japan, Indonesia, Germany, France and China.

Adelaide exchanges[edit]

Every year, an exchange takes place with Adelaide High School over the period of three days. This exchange varies its location every year, alternating between Mac.Rob and Adelaide. The students compete in a variety of different events, such as debating, theatre sports, chess, netball, volleyball and football. The school that wins most events is awarded with the Prefect Cup to keep until the next exchange. The exchange began in 1913.

Within the exchange, the visiting students stay at the homes of the hosting school's students. Each school hosts the event alternatively, with one school hosting one year and the other school the next year.[citation needed]

North Sydney Girls High School exchange[edit]

The North Sydney Girls High School Exchange began in 2008. It is a two-day leadership exchange between Mac.Rob and the The North Sydney Girls High School, with the focus on the sharing of ideas rather than competition. However, there is still some competition with water polo and table tennis played.


Mac.Robertson Girls' High School's 2015 VCE results has been ranked first out of all state secondary government schools in Victoria based on the Median Study Score[9] and Study Score 40+.[10] Median Study Score was 38 and 38.2% all study scores were at or above 40.[11]


  1. PLC Melbourne
  2. SCEGGS Darlinghurst
  3. MLC Melbourne
  4. PLC Sydney
  5. Melbourne Girls Grammar
  6. Mac.Robertson Girls' High School
  7. North Sydney Girls High School
  8. Sydney Girls High School
  9. MLC Sydney
  10. University High School, Melbourne

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2006 Annual Report to the school community" (PDF). Mac.Robertson Girls' High School. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007. 
  2. ^ School profile
  3. ^ Walker, Frank (22 July 2001). "The ties that bind". The Sun-Herald. p. 16. Retrieved 12 September 2007. 
  4. ^ "2009 VCE School Ranking". Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Author, 14, lands publishing deal". The Age. 27 October 2006. Retrieved 24 July 2008. 
  6. ^ Zoe Lehner, LinkedIn
  7. ^ "Macintyre, Martha (1945–)" by Ann Standish, The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia
  8. ^ Fenton, Andrew (25 June 2011). "Greens duo putting family first". The Advertiser ( News Corporation. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "VCE Government Schools Results Ranking - 2015 based on Median Score". Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  10. ^ "VCE Government Schools Results Ranking - 2015 based on Score 40+". Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  11. ^ "Mac.Robertson Girls' High School VCE Results". Retrieved 2016-03-25. 

External links[edit]