College History

Pymble Ladies’ College is a school of the Uniting Church in Australia. Originally Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble, the school was founded on 8 February 1916 as a branch of Presbyterian Ladies’ College Croydon.

It opened with 60 girls, 20 of whom were boarders. Marden and Lang Houses had already been completed, as had the Colonnade building and Main Hall. The founding Principal was Dr John Marden, MA, LLD.

> View our centenary timeline (1916-2016)

On 31 July 1919, the College was dedicated as the property of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales “for the higher education of girls and their moral and religious upbringing”. Each year Commemoration Day is celebrated with a Chapel Service.

Following Dr Marden’s retirement in 1920, Miss G Gordon Everett, MA, was appointed Principal, followed by Miss Nancy Jobson, MBE, MA, in 1922 and Miss Grace Mackintosh, MA, in 1933. Goodlet House, named after Colonel Goodlet, one of the founders of Croydon and a member of the Site Selecting Committee for Pymble, was officially opened in 1926.

On 1 July 1936, an era which would span some 31 years, began with the appointment of Miss Dorothy Knox, AM, OBE, MA, FACE, as Principal. Enrolment was now 339, of whom 116 were boarders. On 27 April 1956, the PLC Pymble War Memorial Chapel was opened. The first morning Chapel service was held on 30 April. Enrolment was now 897, of whom 175 were boarders. The Chapel did not receive the majority of its beautiful stained glass windows until almost 40 years after it was opened. The most notable windows are the ‘Getting of Wisdom’ window, located behind the Communion table, and the ‘Robert MacArthur Commemorative Windows’ located in the gallery behind the pipe organ, both designed by David Saunders. Other windows designed by Pel Fesq have been progressively developed with the kind donations of Pymble families.

In 1959, the property known as ‘Ingleholme’, Turramurra, was purchased by the Council to establish a second Preparatory and Junior School. In 1960, Ingleholme opened with 69 girls. Miss Janet Pettit was appointed Mistress-in-Charge.

In 1963, Dorothy Knox House was officially opened. Miss Knox retired in 1967, having seen the College grow enormously during her 31 years as Principal. In her last year, the new Vicars House was opened.

Miss Jeanette Buckham, AM, BA, DipEd, FACE, was appointed Principal in 1968 and became the second Principal to stay longer than 20 years. During Miss Buckham’s period as Principal, the College saw the building of the Ferguson Building, the John Reid Building for the Junior School, the Isabel McKinney Harrison Library and the Jeanette Buckham Physical Education Centre. The College not only grew in student numbers but also in the variety of opportunities available to Pymble girls.

After the establishment of the Uniting Church in Australia in 1977, which saw the coming together of the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Congregational Church, PLC Pymble became Pymble Ladies’ College. During this time, Ingleholme was sold.

Miss Jeanette Buckham was honoured in 1989 when she became a member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM). Miss Buckham retired in March 1989 and was succeeded by Mrs Gillian Moore, MA, DipEd, TC, MACE, MACEL.

Mrs Moore’s time as Principal saw an ambitious building program undertaken and, as a result, the David Blackwell Music School was opened in 1992, extensions to the Jeanette Buckham Physical Education Centre were opened in 1992 and the Science Centre opened in 1994. Extensions to the John Reid Building for the Junior School were also completed in 1994. In 1998, a Year 12 Common Room and a synthetic surface hockey field were completed. In 1999, the Technology and Applied Studies Centre was opened. In 2000, a new purpose0built Preparatory School was opened. In 2001, the Conde Library and Isabel McKinney Harrison Centre were opened. In 2004, the Liane Tooth Field was opened. The Gillian Moore Centre for Performing Arts was opened in September 2005.

Mrs Gillian Moore was honoured in 2007 when she became an officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO). Mrs Moore retired in September 2007 and was succeeded by Mrs Vicki L Waters, MSchM, B Ed, DipT, MACE, MACEL, MAICD.

In the absence of established College values, Mrs Waters’ four personal values of care, courage, integrity and respect were adopted by the College community until our strategic process identified five values that have remained unchallenged: care, courage, integrity, respect and responsibility. The values serve to build and sustain a positive, compassionate, respectful and learning culture, which is reflected in everyday activities.

Mrs Waters led the development of the College’s first strategic intent plan (2009–2012) and, in December 2012, launched the current strategic intent document, Towards 2020 – Striving for the Highest.  Collaborative in process, our community’s voice is embedded in both of these documents.

On Saturday 29 January 2011, the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, officially opened the Senior School Centre – Kate Mason Building. This magnificent building provides a specialist learning environment dedicated to the unique developmental and educational requirements of students in Years 11 and 12, preparing them for life beyond Pymble.

In a fitting commemoration of our College’s 100-year celebrations in 2016, Pymble commenced a significant new capital works project in June 2014. Known as the Centenary Precinct, it established a new aquatic and fitness centre and learn-to-swim pool, redevelop Mollie Dive Field to provide extensive underground parking and provide a Centenary Walkway to acknowledge 100 years of Pymble girls.

Pymble is currently implementing its strategic vision, Towards 2020 – Striving for the Highest. Our four signposts of Personalised Education, People and Culture, Community and Sustainability continue to guide us in the delivery of an education that is universally acknowledged for its outstanding quality in providing exceptional opportunities for our girls and young women.