Celebrating our Centenary in 2020

Imagine you are at the corner of Burke and Canterbury Roads on 11 February 1920. At that particular time there might have been some sheep being driven along Burke Road. There certainly wasn’t a church on the corner but there was a church hall and the first Vicar of St Mark’s Church, the Reverend Hubert Brooksbank has been advised to build the hall before the church knowing there was a need for Anglican schools in this region. On 11 February 1920, 8 children; 5 little boys and 3 little girls, none over 8 years of age rather nervously entered St Mark’s Hall and I think there was an equally nervous teacher, Miss Dorothy Collier.

~ Rosemary Barkley, author of ‘In Deeds Not Years’


It is important to acknowledge significant milestones in our lives. The year 2020 marks a major milestone for our fine school. Camberwell Girls Grammar School will celebrate its 100th Birthday.

Whilst our school has changed remarkably since 1920, we remain faithful to the inspiration and courage of our Founders. In 1927 the school moved to our Torrington Street site and was formally named, St Mark’s Church of England Girls’ Grammar School. This new name signified our transition to a girls school.  Throughout our history, we have been known by six names with the change in the late 1990’s culminating to the name of our school today –  Camberwell Girls Grammar School (CGGS).

Each decade has provided opportunities and challenges for CGGS. The dedication and collective efforts of parents, staff and council members have ensured that the school, not only survived, but grew through the difficult first decades. These included the Depression and changing attitudes towards girls’ education. After almost 100 years, the school has adapted and strengthened in response to societal and educational changes. We have been ambitious in the education of girls and the development of the school.

The vision of our school and commitment from our leaders and the school council has ensured that CGGS is recognised as one of Victoria’s leading schools. A school that is fully committed to supporting young women in becoming equal partners in shaping lives, shaping society and shaping the future. In the forward of our 90 year history book, ‘In Deeds Not Years’, former student and Deputy Principal, Miss June Close wrote:

Our School has indeed been partly shaped by society’s expectations and by Victoria’s educational policies and theories of learning. However those in charge ensured that the School stood firmly against the swamping secular materialism. As a result Camberwell held fast to that Christian ethic that underpins the School Motto, paraphrased as useful Christian Service.

The early decades of the 21st Century provide a different social landscape to that of the early years, yet these principles remain relevant. We are committed to service and educational excellence, within the context of the development of the whole person. There are many dimensions to the growth of an individual and the world needs citizens who live and lead with heart and mind.

I am delighted to annouce that in our Centenary year, we will honour our past, look forward to the future and celebrate many wonderful occasions with our extensive CGGS community.

The five rings in our Centenary year logo represent the 5 school values that CGGS is built on, Integrity, Commitment, Respect, Hope and Courage.

There will be opportunities for all to connect with the school in this special year. A dedicated Centenary Committee are working to finalise the 2020 celebrations which will include:

> A special welcome at the beginning of the school year

> A Founders’ Day Service at St Paul’s Cathedral

> Celebration of our relationship with St Mark’s Church

> Launch of the Centenary History Book

> A Garden Party for old grammarians

> A Centenary Gala Celebration

> Launching a new initiative to continue to celebrate the ‘Inspiring Women of CGGS’

> A celebration of music and performing arts event

> A year-long project that reflects our tradition and deep commitment to social justice and service learning

> Launching a Capital Campaign for a key building initiative

We would welcome anyone who is interested in assisting with the coordinating and planning of these events to please make contact with Jane Harris, our Director of Advancement, via email at for further information.

I look forward to sharing more details about our celebrations over the forthcoming months.


With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody