Sydney Girls High School | High School Guide

In this High School Guide, we will examine one of NSW's top schools, Sydney Girls High School, including it's history, entrance requirements, transferring details, co-curricular activities and more!

Written by:
Matrix Education

Are you interested in studying at Sydney Girls High School? In this article, we will take a look at the school’s history, alumni, and the subjects and co-curricular activities that are offered.

All of our information is sourced from the NSW Department of Education website: Sydney Girls High School.


What’s in the Sydney Girls High School Guide?

This guide aims to provide information for parents and students so they can make an informed decision about applying for Sydney Girls High School.

This guide includes additional articles discussing:

  • Admission requirements and process
  • Applying to Sydney Girls for Year 7 admission
  • How to enrol at Sydney Girls in Year 8-11
  • Student Life at Sydney Girls
  • Success Secrets from Sydney Girls Students and Alumni


In this overview, we will discuss:



Sydney Girls High School has consistently ranked in the top 13 NSW schools based on HSC performance. They are an academically selective girls’ high school.

The majority of students are admitted to the school in Year 7 through the Selective High School Test. A smaller number of students are admitted from Year 8 to Year 11 through a direct application to the school.



Sydney Girls High School was first established in 1883 to prepare female students to enter University of Sydney. Before this, female weren’t encouraged to enter Universities.

The school first opened in a 2-storey Francis Greenway building (now David Jones) with 39 girl students admitted through an examination. The girls occupied the top floor, whereas the boys occupied the lower floor.

However, since there was an increase in enrolments, the boys moved to Mary Ann Street in Ultimo, allowing the girls to occupy the whole building in 1892.

After 3 decades, the school was growing and there was significant traffic noise. So, when Sydney Zoo moved from Billy Goat Swamp (now Moore Park) to Taronga in 1916, the government renovated the old zoo’s site into a school for the girls.

They moved into the new school in 1921.

Now, Sydney Girls High School and Sydney Boys High School occupy this space near Moore Park.


The ‘old’ Sydney Girls High School in 1898 before they moved to Billy Goat Swamp (now Moore Park)



Famous Alumni

Sydney Girls High School has educated many important women in Australia’s History.

Here are a few pioneers:

Iza CoghlanIza is one of the original 39 students from 1883.  She is the first woman to graduate in Medicine from the University of Sydney (1896).
Ada EvansShe was the first female law graduate in Australia. She was admitted to the school without the Dean’s knowledge since he was on leave. So, the Dean attempted to convince her to complete a “less arduous course”. However, she persevered and graduated in 1902. Despite completing her degree, she wasn’t allowed to practise as a barrister until 1921 when the Women’s Legal Status Act came into place.




Here are some other prominent alumni:

Public service and social rights:

Mildred Muscio (Fry) (Class of 1897)Women’s rights
Fanny Austin (1901)Charity work with sick children
Mildred Brunton (Hoy) (1920)Equal pay for women
Dame Marie Bashir (1947)Adolescent mental health; first female governor of NSW
Eva Cox (Hauser) (1954)Writer, feminist, sociologist, social commentator and activist
Robin Dunster (1960)Second in command of Salvation Army worldwide
Lee Rhiannon (Brown) (1969)Senator for Greens Party in NSW and Federal Parliaments



Thelma Coyne-Long (Coyne) (Class of 1935)Tennis champion
Pat Norton (1937)Olympic swimmer 1936 Berlin games (17 years old); gold medal for 100 metres Backstroke
Julie Speight (1984)Olympic cyclist; first woman to represent Australia; 1988 Seoul Olympics (5th place)
Tracey Brook (1988)Olympic ice skater
Jane Saville (1992)Olympic walker
Yvette Walker (Balla-Gow) (1999)Olympic water polo
Kristina Mah (2000)Karate champion
Jessi Miley-Dyer (2003)World surfing champion


Entertainments and the arts:

Ethel Turner (Class of 1888)Children’s author
Christina Stead (1921)Author
Gwen Meredith (1925)Playwright
Margaret Fink (Elliot) (1949)Film producer
Libby Hathorn (Krahe) (1960)Children’s author
Patricia Amphlett (1965)Singer, active in entertainment industry organisations
Justine Clarke (1989)Actress; Mad Max, Maya the Bee, Home and Away etc.


Intellectual domain:

Iza Coghlan (Class of 1888)One of the two first women graduates in medicine
Agnes Bennett (1890)Medicine; war service
Ada Evans (1890)First female barrister in NSW
Elsie Dalyell (1897)Medicine
Florence Mackenzie (Wallace) (1909)Electrical engineering, instrumental in founding WRANs
Ruby Payne-Scott (1928)Radiophysics;
Coral Bell (1939)International relations
Bettina Cass (Solomon) (1957)Emeritus Professor UNSW, sociologist, women’s rights activist
Dallis Hardwick (1967)Metallurgist
Anna Katzman (1972)Federal Court judge
Sophie Gee (1991)Assistant Professor in English Literature at Princeton University




Key Stats

Let’s take a look at some key statistics at Sydney Girls High School, including the number of students, and the school’s performance.


Student profile

YearTotal number of studentsFemalesMales


HSC performance

YearRankB6/E4 ResultsUnique B6/E4 studentsState ranksSuccess Rate (%)

Note: If you want to learn more about what high school rankings, including what Unique B6/E4 students and success rates mean, check out our Beginner’s Guide to High School Rankings.


HSC Subjects Offered

Accelerated subjects

Faculty Subject
Accelerated by 2 years (complete HSC in Year 10)Information Process and Technology (IPT)


Non-accelerated subjects

  • Maths Adv
  • Maths Ext 1
  • Maths Ext 2
  • English Adv
  • English Ext 1
  • English Ext 2
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Science Extension
Creative and Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Drama
  • Music 1
  • Music 2
  • Music Extension
Human Society and its Environment (HSIE)
  • Ancient History
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • History Ext
  • Chinese Continuers
  • French Continuers
  • French Ext
  • Japanese Continuers
  • Japanese Ext
  • Latin Continuers
  • Latin Ext
  • Textiles and Design
  • Engineering Studies
  • Visual Design (1 Unit completed in Year 11)


What’s next?

Now that you know a little bit about Sydney Girls, do you want to attend it? Well, in the next article, we go through the entrance requirements for Sydney Girls High School! Read now. 


Written by Matrix Education

Matrix is Sydney's No.1 High School Tuition provider. Come read our blog regularly for study hacks, subject breakdowns, and all the other academic insights you need.

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