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Fairholme College is an independent, day and boarding school for girls, located in Toowoombamarker, one of Australia's largest provincial cities, in South East Queenslandmarker, Australia.

Established as Spreydon College in 1908 by sisters Elizabeth, Jessie and Margaret Thomson, the college has a non-selective enrolment policy, and currently caters for approximately 845 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 240 boarders in Years 5 to 12. It is the only school associated with the Presbyterian Church of Queensland that is not owned by the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association (PMSA), and is one of a small number of Presbyterian schools in Australia.

Fairholme 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), and the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA).


Pupils and staff of Spreydon College, ca.1914
In 1907, sisters Elizabeth, Jessie and Margaret Thomson, all former teachers of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbournemarker, moved to Toowoomba, with the idea of establishing a girls' school conducted according to the standards of the Secondary Teachers' Association of Victoria. They leased 'Spreydon', a property with over an acre of land on the corner of Warra and Rome Streets at Newtown, West Toowoomba, and on 4 February 1908, opened the privately owned Spreydon College, a Christian boarding and day school for girls. Commencing with a roll of 20 boarders and "quite a number of day girls", the school offered classes from Kindergarten to "Sydneymarker Senior Standard". The Spreydon building housed the Principal and boarders' quarters, while a school room, Kindergarten and tennis court were established facing Rome Street.

The sisters soon sought the patronage of the Presbyterian Church in Brisbanemarker, and this was granted in May 1909. The school proved popular, and steady growth in students numbers necessitated the construction of new dormitories early in 1911, with the school's boarding population nearing 16 out of the 60 pupils enrolled.
Fairholme College, Toowoomba, 1932
The Thomson's established their school along the lines of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, ensuring that all teachers were specialists, that students achieved high academic standards, and that girls were active in sporting interests and displaying good manners and Christian standards. However, at the end of 1914, financial difficulties forced the sisters to resign and return to Melbourne, prompting the Convenor of the Presbyterian Church in Queensland, the Rev. James Gibson, to give an undertaking that the Church would assume ownership of the school. A private company, The Presbyterian Ladies College Limited, was established, and Spreydon College was subsequently renamed and reopened in January 1915 as "The Presbyterian Ladies' College, Toowoomba" (P.L.C). The Church also appointed Ms Amy Carson as Principal that same year.

P.L.C flourished under Carson's leadership, and the Spreydon property soon proved too small. Mrs Margaret Ann Cameron, the owner of the Fairholme Homestead on the Range in East Toowoomba, soon expressed to the Church her desire to establish a girls' school, having previously taught her daughters and other children in Glen Innesmarker, New South Walesmarker during the 1860s. Cameron passed ownership of her property to the Presbyterian Church, and under a new constitution, Ms Carson, together with the College board, opened the Presbyterian Girls' College, Toowoomba in the Fairholme property with 59 students. The relocation of the school was achieved over two stages: the primary departments moved in July 1917, and the rest of the school in January 1918. The motto which was used at The Presbyterian Ladies College Limited, Ardens sed Virens ("Burning yet Flourishing") was adopted for use at Fairholme.

The Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches were united in June 1977, to be known as The Uniting Church in Australia. St. Stephen's Church, of which the school was closely related, formed part of this movement and it was therefore presumed that Fairholme would become a College of the Uniting Church. Queensland's Presbyterian schools such as The Scots PGC Collegemarker, Somerville Housemarker, Clayfield Collegemarker and Brisbane Boys' Collegemarker, either became Uniting or became part of the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association network, while Fairholme remained with the Presbyterian Church of Queensland. Subsequently, it is the only College in Queensland owned by the Presbyterian Church, and it remains one of a very small number throughout Australia, with the only other girls schools being the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidalemarker; the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydneymarker; and the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne.

In March 1978, the name of the College was changed from "Presbyterian Girls' College, Fairholme, Toowoomba" to "Fairholme College, a College of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland". It had however been known as Fairholme since its inception.


Period Details
1917–1919 Miss Amy Carson
1920–1921 Miss Nancy Jobson
1922–1940 Miss Daisy Culpin
1940–1948 Miss Jean Tassie
1949–1951 The Revd. Norman Joughin
1952–1953 Revd. Richard Crawford
1954–1968 Miss Nancy Shaw
1969–1972 Miss Pamela Harris
1973–1974 Mr. Robert Clinch
1975–1979 Mrs Belle Gillies
1980–1994 Mr. Allan Faragher
1994–2009 Mr. Stan Klan
2009–present Mrs Linda Evans

House system

As with most Australian schools, Fairholme utilises a house system. The houses of the College are:
  • Black House (Black and Gold) – Named after benefactor W.R Black.
  • Cameron House (Yellow and Blue) – Named after the original owner of the property "Fairholme", Mrs Anne Cameron.
  • Powell House (Green and Burgundy) – Named after benefactor Ray Powell.
  • Stephens House (Blue and Black) – Named after benefactor, S.G Stephens.

Notable alumnae

Alumni of Fairholme College are known as Old Girls and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the Fairholme Old Girls' Association (F.O.G.A.). Some notable Fairholme Old Girls include:


Entertainment, media and the arts

  • Frances Betty Provan – Naval officer and businesswoman (also attended The Glennie School)

Politics, public service and the law
  • Her Hon. Judge Fleur Yvette Kingham – Judge of the District Court of Queensland; Former Deputy President of the Land and Resources Tribunal (QLD)


See also


External links

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