Ravenswood School for Girls

Ravenswood School for Girls (often referred to as Ravenswood or Ravo) is an independent, Uniting Church, day and boarding school for Prep - Year 12 girls, situated in Gordon, an Upper North Shore suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Ravenswood School for Girls
Coordinates33°45′33″S 151°9′20″E
TypeIndependent, day and boarding
MottoLatin: Semper ad meliora
(Always towards better things)
DenominationUniting Church[1]
FounderMabel Fidler
ChairGuy Fowler
PrincipalAnne Johnstone[3]
Enrolment~1100 (Prep – Year 12)[5]
Colour(s)Navy blue, gold and red
SloganRavenswood widens her world

Established in 1901 by Mabel Fidler (1871–1960),[6] Ravenswood currently caters for approximately 1100 students from Prep to Year 12, including 20 boarders from Years 10 to 12.[5] The school has been an IB World School since June 2004, and is authorised to offer the IB Diploma Programme.[7]

Ravenswood is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[8] the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA),[9] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association,[10] the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia,[11] and is a member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).[12]


Ravenswood was established with eight students on 28 January 1901 by the first Headmistress, Mabel Fidler, as a non-sectarian private day school for girls, with preparatory classes for boys. The first classes took place in a schoolroom erected on the block adjacent to Fidler's home, "Ravenswood", in Henry Street, Gordon. The school remains on this site.[13]

Fidler retired from Ravenswood in 1925, a year after the school was purchased by the Methodist Ladies' College, Burwood, thus becoming a school of the Methodist Church. Subsequently, the school name was changed to Ravenswood Methodist Ladies' College.[13] At this time, Ravenswood was the largest non-residential, private secondary school in Sydney, with an enrolment of 180, and was highly regarded for the quality of its teaching and its achievements in sport.[6] Ravenswood became a day and boarding school in 1935, with the enrolment of the first two boarders.[13]

The 1960s saw the introduction of the school anthem, Kindle the Flame and a fourth school House, all houses being named by the students after Royal Houses of Britain: Stuart, Tudor, Windsor and York.[13] In 1977, as the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches came together to form the Uniting Church, the school name changed to the current Ravenswood School for Girls. The royal blue and gold uniform was also introduced at this time.[13]

In 2015, the Head Girl of the school used her end-of-term speech to accuse the school of peddling an "unrealistic image of perfection", and providing some students with more opportunities than others because "schools are being run more and more like businesses, where everything becomes financially motivated, where more value is placed on those who provide good publicity or financial benefits."[14] She also alleged that the school had attempted to censor her speech by requiring prior copies.[15] Her parents later sued the Uniting Church, which runs the school, because of disciplinary action taken against their younger daughter.[citation needed]


Period Details[12]
1901–1925 Mabel Fidler, Founder
1926 Ethelwyn Potts
1927–1928 Clarice Ashworth
1928–1931 Francis Craig
1932–1961 Kathleen Crago
1962–1986 Phyllis Evans
1987–1992 Coral Dixon
1993–2004 Lorraine Smith
2005–2015 Vicki Steer
2016–present Anne Johnstone


Mabel Fidler Building, Ravenswood School for Girls by BVN Architecture

Ravenswood is located on its original site, a single campus in suburban Gordon. The school has progressively expanded since 1901, with the acquisition of new properties and the upgrading of facilities.[16]

The school grounds feature quadrangles and courtyards, a multi-purpose complex with heated swimming pool, gymnasium, a "Strength and Conditioning centre" and an Athletics Field. The Ravenswood Centenary Centre includes a Performing Arts theatre, music centre and exhibition areas.[16] Junior School students are catered for within the Junior School centre with a Resource Centre, playground and play equipment area, adventure playground and Assembly Hall.[16]


In Years 11 and 12, students may choose to take either the Higher School Certificate (HSC) course or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Course (IB).[7]



Ravenswood has a tradition of debating,[citation needed] and students are offered opportunities to participate at competitive or social levels. Ravenswood competes in three inter-school debating competitions: the Independent Schools Debating Association (ISDA), the Archdale Debating Competition and the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA). Girls may also participate in House debating.[17]


Primary School students may partake in competitive sport through the Ravenswood's membership of the Independent primary schools Association of Australia (IPSHA). These competitions are usually held on Saturday mornings and include sports such as: Softball, Tennis, Netball, Cricket, Hockey, and Soccer. Secondary School students compete against 28 other similar type schools in the Independent Girls' Schools Sporting Association (IGSSA) competition. These competitions occur on Saturday mornings or in the form of carnivals and include sports such as: Softball, Swimming, Diving, Cricket, Tennis, Hockey, Soccer and Gymnastics. Students who perform well at IPSHA or IGSSA level may be invited to compete in NSW Combined Independent Schools' (CIS) competitions.[17]


It has been nominated for an Employer of Choice for Women classification by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).[18]

Notable alumnae

Media, entertainment and the arts
Medicine and science
  • Grace Cuthbert-Browne, MBE, doctor and Director of Maternal and Baby Welfare in the New South Wales Department of Public Health from 1937 to 1964.[21]
Politics, public service and the law

See also


  1. "Ravenswood". Directory. Sydney's Child. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  2. "Ravenswood School for Girls". School Directory. SchoolSeek. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  3. "New principal starts". North Shore Times. Nationwide News PL. 26 February 2016. p. 29. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  4. "Ravenswood Annual Report 2013". Our Publications. Ravenswood School for Girls. 2007. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  5. "Ravenswood School for Girls". New South Wales. School Choice. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  6. Jacobs, Marjorie (1981). "Fidler, Mabel Maude (1871–1960)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. pp. 492–493. Retrieved 23 April 2007.
  7. "Ravenswood School for Girls". IB World Schools. International Baccalaureate Organization. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  8. "AHISA Schools". New South Wales. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. November 2007. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  9. "IPSHA". New South Wales Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  10. "Ravenswood School for Girls". Schools. Australian Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  11. Butler, Jan (2006). "Member Schools". Members. The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  12. "Heads of New South Wales Independent Girls' Schools". About AHIGS. Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  13. "History of Ravenswood". History & Location. Ravenswood School for Girls. 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  14. "Sydney head girl criticises elite Ravenswood school". BBC News. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  15. Dearden, Lizzie (7 December 2015). "Head girl at top private school lets rip at money-obsessed school in leaving speech". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  16. "Facilities". Explore Ravenswood. Ravenswood School for Girls. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  17. "Co-Curricular Activities". Explore Ravenswood. Ravenswood School for Girls. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  18. "Ravenswood School for Girls" (PDF). Case Studies. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  19. "One-woman show". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 April 2016.
  20. Waterhouse, Kate. "Date with Kate: Tammin Sursok". Sydney Morning Herald.
  21. Browne, Elspeth. Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  22. Rees, Peter (2004). Killing Juanita: a true story of murder and corruption. Crows Nest, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin. p. 15. ISBN 1-86508-684-3. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  23. Lamden, Tim. "Labour's Catherine West: 'I know how to beat Liberal Democrats'". Newham Recorder.
  24. "ConnectWeb - Who's Who Australia". connectweb.com.au.
  25. Theodosiou, Peter (7 May 2015). "Junior Sports Star Tiffany Thomas Kane is a world record holder". North Shore Times. Retrieved 19 December 2016.