MENTONE GIRLS' GRAMMAR SCHOOL HISTORY TIMELINE
1899 A private school conducted by the Misses Simpson was opened at 'Cobbalanna', 100 Como Parade, Mentone and called M.H.S. Mentone High School for Girls or Simpsons' School. Effie Simpson was the first Headmistress and taught with her siste1·s Minnie, Ethel and Daisy.
1906 Miss Ada Murray and Miss Jane Elizabeth Bullow jointly ran the school. 1908 Miss Bullow left and the partnership was dissolved.
Miss Murray took charge of the school.
1913 The school became co-educational with between 30-40 pupils.
Miss Alice Maxwell-Hyslop became Headmistress.
1919 Miss Maxwell-Hyslop retired and the Simpson family, still owners of the property, convened a meeting of parents to form a committee to save the school, with Mr G G Downe as Secretary. Miss Ethel Simpson returned to run the school.
1920 The school moved to a new location in Venice Street when the Parents' Committee arranged for it to be the Mentone Branch of Presbyterian Ladies' College. Miss Evaline Mary Pearson was Headmistress.
1923 The Presbyterian Church Board decided to close the school. At a Public Meeting, debentnre capital was subscribed to form a company; a deposit was paid for the property now the site of St Bede's College.
1924 Mentone Girls' Grammar School (St. Margaret's) was opened in 1924.
Uniform: navy tunic, white blouse, tie, black shoes, stockings.
School Song: The girls of the school were involved with the creation of the School Song and the Music Teacher wrote the music.
School Motto: VERO NIHIL VERIUS 'Nothing is truer than truth'. The position of Head Girl began in 1920, Prefects in 1924.
Introduction of the House System: Grammar & St Margaret's.
1925 School Magazine 'Spindrift' pnblished.
1926 The Mentone Grammar Old Girls' Club held its first meeting.
1927 After Miss Pearson resigned, Miss Bessie Johnston succeeded her as Headmistress during the difficult years of The Depression.
1928 The Old Girls' Club funded the Award of a Rhodes Prize for Citizenship. A School Identity had now been established.
1932 Miss Johnston introduced new curriculum initiatives to provide vocational skills for business employment: Typing and Shorthand.
1935 Miss Jeannie McCowan B.Arts Dip Ed. was appointed Headmistress.
She remained Headmistress until 1955. She was a member of the Headmistresses' Association of Victoria.
1936 Miss McCowan offered to purchase a suitable site for the school, when the owners of the current site foreclosed on the mortgage, and succeeded in buying a property with a frontage to Beach Road. This was the Main (much later, "Old") House.
1937 Miss McCowan purchased another strip of land at the rear of The Main House. Playing fields were added and further extensions for classrooms. The school was recognized as a Day and Boarding School.
Uniform: Navy blue blazer with special pocket & binding, fawn jumper, navy tunic, fawn shirt, tie, brown shoes, stockings, navy velour hat.
Summer Dress, fawn & white check, cream straw hat & band. Sports tunic for all games.
1938 An Infant School was registered in 1938.
Two classrooms were built at the rear of The Main House, playing space and a Lawn tennis court were established. Curriculum: English, French, History, Geography, Maths, General Science, Art, Crafts, Sewing, Physical Culture, Scripture, Latin, Botany. Students were prepared for Intermediate Certificate, Leaving Certificate and Matriculation to the University of Melbourne.
1940 World War 2. All school children were involved in evacuation procedures in the event of enemy attack. Slit trenches were dug in the school grounds and regular practices were held to familiarize staff and girls with procedures with the air-raid shelters. In 1943 enrolment was 132 and in 1944 150 girls. An ex student tells stories of gathering eggs from a chook pen to provide a healthy breakfast for the boarders. The School donated fresh eggs to the Hospital Appeals throughout the war period.
During this time the school was linked to St Augustine's Church of England, Como Parade, Mentone. "Spindrift" publication lapsed.
1940 Kent House created; named in honour of the Duke of Kent who was killed during the War. Youngest brother of King George VI.
1951 The school now had the use of 4 acres of land, 10 classrooms and a boarding house.
1953 Position of Sports Captain established.
1955 Miss Mccowan retired after 21 years as Headmistress. 1956 Miss J Prudence Lewty was appointed as Headmistress:
enrolment 236 pupils. 'Spindrift' re-instated.
1958 A large adjoining house was purchased to provide a Kindergarten and Classrooms.
1960 Additional land was acquired for sporting facilities. The school now covered 9 acres.
1962 The School became affiliated with the Church of England and the Bishop's Mitre was added to the School Crest in 1963.
1966 The Science Laboratories (upstairs section) were dedicated and opened on Saturday, December 10th, 1966. Dedication by the Right Reverend Felix Arnott, Bishop Coadjutor of Melbourne. Opening by Senator The Honourable J.G. Gorton.
1969 Mccowan House created; named in honour of Miss Jeannie McCowan. 1974 A Thanksgiving and Dedication Service was held to commemorate the
Golden Jubilee of the School. The School had completed a successful
building plan. First Form classrooms, a Junior School, Science Block, Kerferd Library and Prudence Lewty Hall, new staff rooms and sixth form Centre had been erected. Miss Lewty retired.
Mr David L Hunt was appointed Principal, the first male to hold this position. The school had 500 pupils. He introduced a new uniform in 1977: Brown Blazer and brown/blue check winter skirt, fawn jumper, fawn stockings, brown shoes. Summer uniform unchanged. Year 12 students required to adopt fawn casual clothes - their choice of style.
1976 The Annette Kellermann Sports Complex & Swimming Pool were constructed.
1977 Fletcher House was opened for Primary classes. School enrolment 600 pupils.
1978 The Middle School was established. A new Kindergarten was opened. 1979 The Founders' Wing for Senior students was opened.
1980 A Board of Studies was established.
1983 The Science Building was extended by walling in the area under the
existing laboratories. This provided 2 new science laboratories, a seminar room and a new computer facility/laboratory preparation room.
1986 The David Hunt Centre was opened, comprising a gymnasium, music school, classroom and specialist facilities. Extensions to the Middle School, the Kerferd Library and Administration were completed. Enrolment : 830 pupils.
1987 Mr Hunt retired and Mrs Janice Douglas was appointed Principal. 1988 Australia's Bicentennial Year was celebrated with special school events.
The satellite project expanded to allow languages to be received directly
from Europe and Japan.
1989 Renovations to The Main House and landscaping of the Prep School area were completed. In 1994 the Principal introduced uniform changes, which were gradually phased in. Senior: blue jacket, blue shirt or skivvy, VCE blue jumper, summer dress blue, white & brown check. Prep-Year 10: Brown blazer, brown jumper, darker fawn shirt, Summer dress blue, white & brown check.
1990 The tennis courts and hockey field were relocated. A second computer facility was created and the building of the Visual Arts Centre began.
1991 Building renovations included the completion of a new Home Economics Centre, an upgraded Canteen and a VCE common room. The Visual Arts Centre was completed in Term 4, providing six large studios on two levels.
1992 A third computer facility was completed. The Simpson Visual Arts Centre was opened by the Honourable Lindsay Thompson, son of Miss Ethel Simpson.
Year 12 students were awarded the new two year Victorian Certificate of Education.
1993 A Community Education Program was established: named the Mentone Centre for Continuing Education.
1994 The School celebrated its 95th Birthday with special School events. The Early Learning Centre for girls & boys opened in February.
1995 A major renovation and upgrading of the Science facilities was completed. Laptop computers were introduced into classrooms. The School launched its policy on the education of the Gifted and Talented.
1997 The Janice Douglas Junior School Building was officially opened by the Premier of Victoria, the Honourable Jeff Kennett on 23 May. Students
commenced classes in the building at the start of Semester 2 in July.
1998 Mrs Janice Douglas retired at the end of 1997. Fletcher House, Founders' Wing and Willow Courtyard refurbished. Ms Jillian de Arango was appointed Principal.
1999 The School Crest was simplified, with the "scrolling/leaves" removed.
Centenary Year celebrations:
Thanksgiving Service at St Paul's Cathedral February 211999 Simpson Heritage Day May 11999
Centenary Ball May 15 1999
Centenary Concert at the Melbourne Concert Hall Speech Night at the Melbourne Town Hall Centenary Rose Garden planting ceremony and Weekend School Reunion.
2000 Mentone Girls' Grammar Old Girls' Club celebrated its 75th anniversary. 2001 The Rose Courtyard was refurbished.
2002 The Master-plan 'Envisioning the Future' was launched. 2003 New uniform launched - It's Red.
2004 Dr J de Arango resigned as Principal.
2005 Mrs Fran Reddan was appointed Principal.
2006 Opening on September 6th of 'Cobbalanna' Senior College by Mrs Noel Waite AO in the presence of direct descendents of the school's founders (including Murray Thompson MP for Sandringham, grandson of Ethel Simpson); built on the original site of The Main House, Beach Road, Mentone.
2007 Re-development of School Website, new Prospectus and Opening of Bay Cafe July 30 2007.
School awarded Commonwealth Government Grant for new stairway balustrades in David Hunt Centre.
2008 International Baccalaureate Formal Process commenced for Junior School.
Refurbishment of the Governors' Courtyard, Kerferd Library and Rose Staff Room.
Dedication Ceremony to mark the re-location of the Centenary Rose Garden and Centenary Time capsule to the Rose Courtyard June 25 2008.
2009 110th Anniversary celebrations.
2010 Re-furbishment of Annette Kellermann Sports & Swimming Complex.
Opening of Kindergarten Centre for Girls, the new Early Learning Centre (ELC), Mentone Parade, Mentone.
Celebration of Founders' Day at St Andrew's Anglican Church, Brighton.
2011 Celebration of Founders' Day at St Andrew's Anglican Church, Brighton on May 19 2011.
New School Bns donated by Parents' Association. Presentation November 18 2011 to School Community, Governors' Courtyard.
2012 Fitness Centre opened in Fletcher House (ground floor).
Creative Learning Centre (CLC) for Years 7 and 8 opened by the Principal, Mrs Fran Reddan, and the School Council President, Mr David Stewart, on Thursday, March 1st
Establishment of the Remarkable Women Series ("Hall of Fame"). Inducted on Wednesday June 27th were the Simpson Sisters, Margaret McLorinan, Annette Kellermann and Nicole Bradtke (nee Provis). Kate Ceberano was the special guest.
2013 Years 9 and 10 Global Learning Centre (GLC) ready for use at the start of Term 1. Official Opening on Tuesday March 19th•
2014 School’s 115th anniversary. School History Project undertaken, resulting in the publication “Mentone Girls' Grammar School, Celebrating 115 Years”.
Governor’s Courtyard relandscaped.
Work commenced on the Wellbeing Centre, adjacent to the gymnasium.
Wellbeing Centre (Stage 1) Official Opening held on Tuesday July 22nd.
Demolition of the Sustainability building begun in December, which will include Junior School playground improvements.
2015 Junior School playground revamped.
Anzac Memorial Garden Bed established in the Willow Courtyard. The small bay tree, which replaced the aged, original willow tree, has been removed, to be replaced by a Lone Pine at the Anzac Day Service on April 24th. Flanders poppies and rosemary have also been planted.
(The Lone Pine will replace the one removed for the construction of the Wellbeing Centre.)
New Library fire escape installed in the First Term break.
Small changes made to the School Crest, to enhance printing.
The Simpson Visual Arts Centre’s Dark Room and Junior Art Room on the ground floor converted in Semester 2 to accommodate the Media Design Studio. Opened December 2015. This allowed for two extra Year 7 classrooms in 2016.
2016 Fletcher House renovated to accommodate the Enterprise Academy.
Stage Two Renovations of the David Hunt Centre (Music Department) began in May.
Cobbalanna’s façade replaced.
2017 Learning Support Centre moved from the Library to a house at 87 Beach Road next to Cobbalanna, the backyard of which was incorporated into the landscaping of the Willow Courtyard. The area vacated in the Library became the Anne Forsell room (3rd location in the Library) for Senior Student study Wellbeing Precinct Stage 2 Launch held on Friday April 28 in the Mind and Body Studio. Sods officially turned. This stage will incorporate a swimming complex and outside sports areas.
Refurbishment of the Jubilee Theatre in November.
Refurbishment of the Willow Year 5 classrooms.
ELC Accreditation exceeded National Quality Standards.
807 enrolments (aim of 800 passed).
Christmas holidays: enhancement of the Science Block and GLC
classrooms; Library Administration areas painted and carpeted.
2018 Uniform – pants and shorts added as optional items.
2019 120th Anniversary celebrations.
New Swimming Complex opened.
Uniform – new style sports polo shirt.
Janice Douglas Junior School refurbished.
Revamped sports fields opened for use.
2020 Natalie Charles was appointed Principal.
Covid19 worldwide pandemic causes campus closure from March
until June. Classes done online.
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