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Abbotsleigh School for Girls (commonly referred to as Abbotsleigh) is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for girls, located in Wahroongamarker, on the upper North Shore of Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker, Australia.

Established in 1885 at North Sydneymarker, the school has a selective enrolment policy from Year 5 upwards and currently caters for approximately 1,370 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 250 boarders from Years 7 to 12.

Abbotsleigh is a member of the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia (AGSA), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), and a founding member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).


Advertisement for Abbotsleigh, 1899
Abbotsleigh was founded in 1885 in a small terrace house in North Sydneymarker. The school then moved to Parramattamarker, first to Honiton House, and then to more spacious premises at the corner of Church and Marsden streets, a site now covered by a car park. The school proved successful in Parramatta, and in 1895 Miss Marian Clarke left 80 pupils behind to set out for a year in Englandmarker for family reasons. The school declined during her absence, and on her return only a small number of boarders remained.

Abbotsleigh's final move was to its current location at Wahroonga in 1898, where the school's founder, Miss Marian Clarke, purchased land and built her new school. It is here that Abbotsleigh became the first girls' school in Sydney to have a sports field.

Isy this is for you if you managed to find this clue:I went to the junior school.from yoursecret santa


Betty Archdale (1907–2000), Abbotsleigh's sixth Headmistress (1958–1970)


Marian Clarke Building, Abbotsleigh (Elevation)
The senior and junior schools cater for 1300 students in total from Kindergarten to Year 12 (Higher School Certificate). In the senior school, there is a Design and Technology Centre, a Senior Studies Centre, a Music Centre, A DRAMA CENTRE, a Science Centre, a gymnasium, and an indoor swimming pool, and two sporting fields. A new librarynamed the Abbotsleigh Research Centre (ARC) was built and officially opened on April 2, 2006. The ARC contains the Library Teaching Room (LTR) – a computer room, laptops that can be used on tables around the ARC, and three seminar rooms. There are over 40,000 books, over 4,000 videos and DVDsand approximately 70 Periodical titles. The ARC has won awards for its unique interior design.In addition to this a new canteen was built over the spring holidays in 2008 to join with the Saturday morning sport canteen, which provides healthy food for the students, as well as hot chocolates for students and coffees for the staff. It was named "The Beehive" through a competition where Miss Erica Timmins won.The Junior School is at a separate campus and has a courtyard including a human chessboard. There are two sets of play equipment and a relatively large oval, which is now the site of the ELC. There is underground parking, with two new tennis courts above.The new Early Learning Centre will be completed by 2010, making the school available to students from age 0 to 18. The Early Learning Centre will include both boys and girls from 0 to 5.Five year old girls may enter a transition class from Pre-school to Kindergarten. This centre will be built on the location of the bush and encroaching on the lower oval. Also the school is building a Kindergarten to Year 2 centre on the two tennis courts above the underground carpark. The school hopes this will be a successful venture.

Motto and crest

The Abbotsleigh motto, Tempus Celerius Radio Fugit, may be translatedfrom Latinas "Time Flies Faster than the Weaver's Shuttle". As the shuttleflies a pattern is woven; the shuttle of time also weaves a pattern of which the threads are people, buildings and events. The motto was given to the school by Miss Marian Clarke, whose family crestwas a weaver's shuttle surrounded by the motto, Tempus fugit radio celerit. The school used this form until 1924, when it decided that the ungrammatical Latin should be changed to the present word order, which has been used ever since.

The 1934 edition of The Weaverexplains the symbolismof the school crest: "the lion for the strength in God, lillies for purity and fishas the symbol of Christianitythrough baptism."

Associated schools

Abbotsleigh has a number of international sister schools and exchange agreements with other institutes, including the École Alsacienne in Parismarker, Francemarker, Ohtani High School, Japanmarker, Miamimarker's Palmer Trinity School, Queenswood Schoolmarker in Hertfordshiremarker, Englandmarker, and Ridley Collegemarker in Ontariomarker, Canadamarker.Girls have the opportunity to host an incoming exchange student or, in Years 9 and 10, to attend one or more of these schools on exchange for a period of one or two terms.


Abbotsleigh offers an extensive range of subjects. In Year 8, students choose broad subjects to study for Years 9 and 10. Students must study Maths, English, Science, PDHPE, Australian History/Geography, and Christian Studies. They may then choose three elective subjects from: Commerce, Elective History, Elective Geography, Design and Technology, Music, Drama, Visual Arts, Photography and Digital Media, Japanese, French, German, and Latin.

In the Upper School, students have an even wider range of subjects to choose from, which tend to be more specific. In Year 11 these include: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, English (Standard, Advanced, Extension 1), Mathematics (General, 2-unit, 3-unit), Economics, Modern History, Ancient History, Music (1 and 2), Latin, French, Japanese, German, PDHPE, and Design and Technology. In Year 12, students may pick up extra units such as Extension 2 English and/or Mathematics, and extension language subjects. It is compulsory to complete twelve units for the Higher School Certificate(HSC) at Abbotsleigh, even if students have already completed units due to accelerated courses (Chemistry/Mathematics/Music). Furthermore, students may not do more than fourteen units in Years 11 and 12.


The school conducts a number of extracurricular activities, including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, drama and musical performances, chess, debating, mock trials, public speaking, skiing, jewellery making, sports, dressmaking, film club, SRC, charity and service groups such as Amnesty International, Interactand World Vision, equestrian, and cattle breeding for competition in the Sydney Royal Easter Show.There is also a dance program of considerable size at the school, with over 500 girls from Kindergarten to Year 11 participating in several types of dance such as street, tapand contemporary.


The school competes in many Independent Girls' Schools Sporting Association(IGSSA) sports including, softball, tennis, swimming, basketball, soccer, athletics, cross country, hockey, netball, waterpolo, touch football, and cricket. Abbotsleigh provides much of the sport equipment including tennis racquets, balls, skipping ropes, hockey sticks, rugby balls, golf sets, etc. It is compulsory for Abbotsleigh girls to do PE once a week to enhance their physical activity until Year 11.


With its close neighbour Knox Grammar Schoolmarker, Abbotsleigh has an orchestra named KAYO (Knox/Abbotsleigh Youth Orchestra).Through KAYO, students may choose to participate in musical tours around the world.Abbotsleigh also has several bands and string groups including the Orchestra, Windyco, Jazz Ensemble and numerous string quartets. From Year 7 onwards girls are invited to participate in vocal groups, for example the Vocal Ensemble, the Chapel Choir and the Chamber Choir. Also available are the Gospel Choir and Years 7 to 12 Choir, which invite anyone to join without an audition.Abbotsleigh's main ensembles are the orchestra and concert band which are involved in the Yamaha Festivals. The more junior ensembles are the string ensemble and wind ensemble which are mainly for girls from Years 7 to 9 and for girls who are not highly accomplished musicians but are willing to commit to an ensemble.

House system

The House Systemwas introduced by Miss Everett. The Weaverfor May 1931 explains: "Points are awarded for work, conduct and sport and a shield will be presented annually to the winning House. "The "Malloch Shield", given the following year by Mr A Malloch, was won for the first time by Sturt.

In the Junior School there are five houses:
  • Blaxland (blue) Named after Gregory Blaxland (1778–1853), an Australian explorer.
  • Lawson (green) Named after William Lawson (1774–1850), an Australian explorer.
  • Macquarie (red) Named after Lachlan Macquarie (1771–1824), the Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821.
  • Sturt (yellow) Named after Charles Sturt (1795–1869), an Australian explorer.
  • Wentworth (purple) Named after William Wentworth (1790–1872), an Australian explorer, statesman and lawyer.

In the Senior School there are eight houses:

The House System has been modified over time to reflect the changing needs of the School, and its increased enrolment. One of the most significant changes occurred in the late 1960s under then Headmistress Betty Archdale. Senior School Houses had previously been named after well-known male Australian poets, and Archdale introduced new house names recognising accomplished Australian women. This was the basis for the Senior School Houses in use today. Houses now compete for the House Choir banner and the Spirit Cup, as well as the Sports Cup, which Wright always seems to win.Since 2008 girls have organised get-to-know-each-other events and House Days where students of the same house assemble at lunch time and have a large "house picnic".

isy this is for you :


Abbotsleigh has offered boarding since its establishment, and currently caters for boarding students from the greater metropolitan area, rural New South Wales and overseas. The school currently has five boarding houses:
  • Hirst Opened in 1980 and 1985. Catering for Year 12 boarders. Now replaced by the newly opened Wheeldon House.
  • Lynton Opened in 1969. Catering for Year 7 boarders.
  • McCredie Opened in 1990. Catering for Year 9 to 10 boarders.
  • Vindin Opened in 1931. Catetring for Year 8 to 9 boarders.
  • Wheeldon Opened in 2008. Catering for Year 11 to 12 boarders
There are currently approximately 250 boarders at Abbotsleigh from Years 7 to 12. Boarders make up about one-sixth of the senior school population.

Notable alumnae


Entertainment, media and the arts

Medicine and science

Politics, public service and the law


See also


External links

Period Details
1885 – 1913 Miss Marian Clarke
1913 – 1924 Miss Margaret Murray
1924 – 1930 Miss Dorothea Poole
1931 – 1954 Miss G Gordon Everett
1954 – 1957 Miss Ruth Hirst
1958 – 1970 Miss HE Archdale
1970 – 1987 Miss Kathleen McCredie
1988 – 1996 Mrs Diane C Nicholls
1996 – 2004 Mrs Judith Wheeldon
2005 – 2009 Mrs Judith Poole

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