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.
Sydney Girls High School has educated many important women in Australia’s History.
Here are a few pioneers:
Iza is one of the original 39 students from 1883. She is the first woman to graduate in Medicine from the University of Sydney (1896).
She 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)
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)
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)
Yvette Walker (Balla-Gow) (1999)
Olympic water polo
Kristina Mah (2000)
Jessi Miley-Dyer (2003)
World surfing champion
Entertainments and the arts:
Ethel Turner (Class of 1888)
Christina Stead (1921)
Gwen Meredith (1925)
Margaret Fink (Elliot) (1949)
Libby Hathorn (Krahe) (1960)
Patricia Amphlett (1965)
Singer, active in entertainment industry organisations
Justine Clarke (1989)
Actress; Mad Max, Maya the Bee, Home and Away etc.
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)
Florence Mackenzie (Wallace) (1909)
Electrical engineering, instrumental in founding WRANs
Ruby Payne-Scott (1928)
Coral Bell (1939)
Bettina Cass (Solomon) (1957)
Emeritus Professor UNSW, sociologist, women’s rights activist
Dallis Hardwick (1967)
Anna Katzman (1972)
Federal Court judge
Sophie Gee (1991)
Assistant Professor in English Literature at Princeton University
Let’s take a look at some key statistics at Sydney Girls High School, including the number of students, and the school’s performance.