​A proud history spanning more than 125 years.

St Catherine’s School was founded in 1896 when teacher Miss Jeanie Hood opened a school in Templeton Street, Castlemaine, which she named Castlemaine Ladies’ College.

Our School has a wonderful history and many stories that our community is deeply connected to. In 2021 we celebrated our 125 Year Anniversary and invite you to step back in time through some of the many Stories from the Archives that make up life at St Catherine’s.

At the instigation of Henry Langley, the first Anglican Bishop of Bendigo, his daughters Ruth, Aphra and Nona took over the School in 1903. The Langley sisters later changed the School’s name to St Catherine’s Girls’ College, Castlemaine, after the Anglican School at Waverley in Sydney, which Ruth and Nona had attended.

In 1920, the College moved to Williams Road, Windsor with 48 students enrolled, and soon after purchased ‘Kilbride House’ (formerly known as Beaulieu) at 17 Heyington Place Toorak, where the School is located today. The building was renamed Sherren House in recognition of Mrs Ruby Lawrence (nee Sherren), Matron from 1923 to 1946.

In 1948, Barbreck, at 33 Heyington Place, was acquired for use as a Junior School, making possible further extensions to the Secondary School. Student numbers increased to 400. Soon after, Miss Mary Davis was appointed as Principal and Headmistress until 1971.

Increasing enrolments facilitated the purchase of 29 and 31 Heyington Place, and in 1958, 27 Heyington Place was acquired to provide a new boarding house, and later named Campbell House in recognition of Mr J C E Campbell, Chairman of the School Council from 1952-1967.

In 1961 the School had close to 600 students, and 23 Heyington Place was purchased as a residence for the Headmistress. Mrs R Ann Baylis served as Principal from 1971 to 1977, soon after which Miss Dorothy Pizzey was appointed as Principal.


In 1996, the School celebrated its Centenary and commissioned a history, St Catherine’s: A Centenary Celebration, by historians Dr Ian & Mrs Dorothy Hansen. Miss Pizzey announced her retirement from the School in 1997 and Mrs Judy McCowan was appointed. The following year, Illawarra, a superb 1890s mansion adjacent to the School campus was restored by the School as an additional Boarding House through a special leasing arrangement with the National Trust, owners of the property, and in 1999, the School purchased ‘Wiltondale’ at 25 Heyington Place.

Mrs Laraine Sharr served as Principal of the School from 2000 to 2007, during which time the School opened the St Catherine’s Walk, underground Car Park and Piazza at the rear of Sherren House.

From 2007 to 2013 Dr Sylvia Walton AO served as Principal. Under her leadership many of the School’s facilities were enhanced, including the development of the Clock Tower Atrium and the construction of the Marigold Southey Sports & Aquatic Centre.


In 2014 Mrs Michelle Carroll commenced as Principal of St Catherine’s School and has overseen the completion of Ruth Langley Research & Learning Centre incorporating the Nicholas Library, Mary Davis Centre, Edna Holmes Centre for Science and Barbreck Junior School.

St Catherine’s School Heritage Trail

St Catherine’s School’s Heritage Trail honors the amazing history at St Catherine’s with stories of not just our buildings, but the people that have made up our remarkable history.

Visitors to our School are invited to tour our historical campus via our Heritage Trail. Each Heritage Marker includes a QR code which links back to our Digital Heritage Trail to provide a deeper exploration into St Catherine’s history, stories and images.

The Heritage trail was officially launched on Wednesday 8 February, 2023. St Catherine’s School acknowledges the generous support of our St Catherine’s community who made the Heritage Trail possible.

Additional stories will be added to the Heritage Trail each year.

To learn more about St Catherine’s Heritage Trail click here.

St Catherine’s School Archive Requests

St Catherine’s School Archives welcomes donations of archival items that help honour the rich history of the School. To donate to our collection or request access to information from the Archives, please complete this form.

Access is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Access to records held in the Archives is made available subject to conditions, where this is required by law or is necessary to protect the personal privacy of individuals identified in the records.
  2. Information of special commercial or other sensitivity to the School will not be released.
  3. Individual requests for information will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Copies of archival records made available to researchers are not to be further reproduced in any form without the written permission of the Principal.

About St Catherine

St Catherine of Alexandria is the Christian patron saint of young girls and students, nurses and of craftsmen whose work is based on a wheel, such as spinners and millers.

Catherine lived in the Fourth Century, and was persecuted for her religious beliefs. The ‘Catherine Wheel’ is named after the wheel on which she was martyred. St Catherine’s Day is held on 25 November.