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

1896 Castlemaine Ladies’ College

1896 School Prospectus

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.

1897 – Annual Report Miss Jeanie Hood

Miss Hoods Pupils

Our college year has passed quietly and uneventfully and although we have as yet no great successes to report, we can conscientiously say that the work throughout the school has been thorough and in some cases even brilliant.

1927 – The Girl and the School

St Catherine's Magazine - Author Unknown

What are the things that bring honour to a School, that build up its reputation? There is the impress of the Head, the influence of her or his character and government. There is the work of the Staff, their teaching and class management, their interest in and sym­pathy with their pupils. There is the setting of the school’s life, the beauty and convenience of its buildings and grounds. There are the girls and boys themselves, who form the com­munity while they are there, who leave a tradition when they go out into the wider world.

1931 – Annual Report

A Little Dullness Will Do Them No Harm

There is such little time to be carefree. Remember, we are training these girls for life, the life of womanhood and perhaps motherhood let them keep their spring and buoyancy, they will lose it all too soon if we are not careful.

1936 – Report from the Headmistress

Miss Edna Holmes

On the intellectual side, we think that much more could be done for most girls if the present system of university examinations were altered or modified. We are forced to consider first and foremost, not our own special requirements, but a syllabus imposed from outside.

1942 – Warburton

Reflecting on Warburton

In 1942 as the Second World War actions edged closer to Australian soil, the St Catherine’s School site was vacated and became a training base for the WAAAF. On the 10 March 1942 the Australian Government took over the campus grounds and within two weeks the entire School population (280 girls) relocated to Warburton.

1943 – Miss Sophie Borland

1943 Annual Report - Miss Sophie Borland

If we agree that education means more than the mere accumulation of facts, and must concern itself with training for citizenship, for life in a free community, then we begin to realise that all educational planning must be two-fold.

1954 – The Royal Visit

Unknown Author

The outer grounds of the Melbourne Cricket Ground were packed, and we, thirty-two St Catherine’s girls, were to be found some­where amongst seventeen thousand school children, for you see this was, our day, the day that we had longed for since the Queen landed in Australia.

1956 – Margaret Woodlock off To The Olympic Games

Mr John Steven

On 10th November Margaret will be leaving school to live for a time at the Olym­pic Village; and although we will be sorry to see her go, we wish her the best of luck for the Games, and hope that she will not be training too seriously to have a wonderful time.

1960 – St Catherine’s News Boarding Notes

Jayne Stuart

This year has been one of adjustment. It is amazing that a school with such a short history should have founded so many worthwhile traditions. This is particularly so in the Boarding House. Prayers are such a tradition, and the daily hymn and collect continue to be a satisfaction to all girls.

1979 – Mathematics at St Catherine’s

St Catherine's News - December 1979

The battle between girls and Mathematics has been a vital element in the history of the war women have waged for their own liberation. In their fight for equality, women have realised that the mastery of Mathematics has been essential if they are to enter the male-dominated professions.

1982 – The challenge of the computer

St Catherine's News

St Catherine’s has taken on the challenge of the rapid­ly growing technological age with the purchase earlier this year of a Spectrum mini­ computer package.

1987 – Barbreck Extensions Opened

St Catherine's News

The new Barbreck extensions were officially opened on December 1. The Principal, Miss Dorothy Pizzey, Junior Headmistress, Miss Anne Smith, and members of the School Council welcomed parents and friends to a cocktail party under the new awning, otherwise known as “The Tent”.

1993 – Science can be fun and feminine

Caroline Smith - Science Teacher

An appreciation of science also develops our ability to make informed rational judgments and to think critically and logically and enables us to understand better the major issues which confront us in our technologically based society.

1996 – Centenary Trip: Back to Castlemaine

St Catherine's News

On Thursday 25 May, Anzac Day, almost the whole of St Catherine’s went to Castlemaine, one way or another: by steam train from Spencer Street, by car … and a journalist or two by the Channel Nine helicopter, which flew above the train after Sunbury Station.

2000 – This is Tomorrow Calling

St Catherine's News

In the future, classrooms will allow information technology to be used as naturally as we use electricity and telephones. The classroom of the future will free students and teachers from the constraints of wires and cables, desks in rows, harsh lighting and bulky desk top computers. There will be flexible spaces where students move from a round-table discussion, to internet research, to preparing and delivering a multi – media presentation.

2014 – Annual Magazine

Mrs Michelle Carroll

In my first year as Principal, I have been continually impressed by the diversity of talent, inquisitiveness, ambition and humanity that defines the St Catherine’s girl.

2015 – Captains’ Address, Speech Night

Nicola Sitch ('15)

We often speak about the intimacy of St Catherine’s. But, I am hooked on its strength. And, as I stand in the School Hall tonight, addressing the School for what will be my final time – I feel its strength more than ever. It is this unpronounced, resounding feminine force. A quiet understanding that we are all here, on the same team – as happy for each other as we are for ourselves.

2020 – Annual Magazine

Mrs Michelle Carroll

At various times this year, we were burdened by significant confusion, fear and change. However, it was often the ‘routine’ of the School day, the familiarity of a timetable, a teacher’s reassuring voice and the connection with subject matter that so often settled and calmed children and teenagers in our care.

2021- A History of Barbreck

Mr John Steven

An excerpt from the 125 Celebration Service, Thursday 4 February 2021

Our memories as young people leave an indelible mark. That’s what Barbreck is to those who travelled through its corridors – a warm embrace, a familiar smell, a comforting reassurance.


2021 – A History of The Clocktower

Mr John Steven

An excerpt from the 125 Celebration Service, Thursday 4 February 2021

One of the earliest contributions of SCOGA was the donation of the Clocktower and Middle School Quadrangle, as Australia emerged from the Great Depression in 1934. It was officially opened on St Catherine’s Day in 1934.

2021 – A History of Sherren House

Mr John Steven

An excerpt from the 125 Celebration Service, Thursday 4 February 2021

Sherren House has wrapped its arms around our students for nearly 100 years and has become more than just a name to us.

2021 – A History of Warburton

Mr John Steven

An excerpt from the 125 Celebration Service, Thursday 4 February 2021

With the war coming closer to Australia in 1942, the Toorak site of the School was taken over by the Australian Government. The School was required to vacate within a fortnight to become a training base for the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force. The WAAAF was the first and largest of the wartime Australian women’s services.

2021 – Appreciation and Thanks for 2021

Michelle Carroll

This year, it has been a privilege to witness the growth and development of each St Catherine’s girl and our children in the ELC. Whilst lockdowns have dampened our activities and paused some pursuits, I trust all students have experienced the opportunity to discover their individual passions, interests and talents in the classroom, whether online or on campus.

2022 – On Top of the World

Michelle Carroll

Melbourne’s St Catherine’s School First VIII Rowing Crew are now World Champions after taking out the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy at the famous Henley Royal Regatta in the UK.