Our timeline from when we were founded on 8 February 1916.
Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble opens its doors with 60 girls, 20 of whom were boarders. The new College is jointly controlled by the same Council as Presbyterian Ladies’ College Croydon and under the supervision and care of the same Principal, Dr John Marden.
The College dining room is officially opened by Principal Dr John Marden. At this time there are 63 boarders and 94 day students.
Grey House on Pymble Avenue is purchased by the College as a residence for Principal Dr John Marden.
Black watch tartan is adopted as the official uniform fabric.
Official opening and dedication of Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble.
Mr Robert Vicars becomes a member of the College Council until 1945. His five daughters and two granddaughters attended the College.
Dr John Marden retires as Principal of Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble.
Miss G. Gordon Everett, MA is appointed as Principal.
The first issue of The Magazine of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble is published.
Miss Nancy Jobson MBE, MA is appointed as Principal.
Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble enters the Tildesley Tennis Shield Tournament for the first time.
The school song is introduced, written by then-student Margot Hentze (1926). The song is set to the tune of Hearts of Oak by Dr Boyd. Up until this time, the school song had been shared with Croydon.
The School Song
This is Pymble College which we hold so dear
And all of us honour, respect and revere.
Our wish is its glory, our pride is its fame
And ever we strive to keep clear its good name.
Both in work and in sport
High ideals are sought;
‘All’ ultimo lavoro’
That is our motto,
The maxim for which we have fought
And have wrought
Our colours are scarlet and navy and white
And under their shadow are fair play and right.
Dr Marden, of yore, was our founder and friend,
His mem’ry we’ll cherish right unto the end.
The future of Pymble need cause us no fears;
‘Twill grow ever greater and live through the years,
And new girls will follow, in unending chain,
And Youth be renewed again and again.
The first swimming pool is opened by His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Stonehaven. At that time there were no fences or dressing sheds. This original swimming pool served the growing school well for many years and was replaced in 1983 by the Jeanette Buckham Centre for Physical Education.
Goodlet House is officially opened by Mr R. W. Gillespie. The house was named after Colonel Goodlet, one of the founders of Croydon College and a member of the Site Selecting Committee for Pymble. Marden and Lang Houses had already been completed in 1916.
The College motto “All’Ultimo Lavoro” and badge is first recorded in the Magazine of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble.
The first badge, used from 1916 to 1929, bore a crest with the words Presbyterian Ladies’ College Sydney. From 1930 the wording changed to Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble and in 1977 it became Pymble Ladies’ College Sydney after the school was awarded to the Uniting Church in Australia.
The official opening of the John Marden Memorial Gates, built as a fitting tribute to the founding Principal Dr John Marden who passed away on 29 October 1924. Mr J. H Beatson, member of the College Council, cut the cords of red and white.
Dr S Marden, son of Dr John Marden, donates a prize in memory of his father. The Marden Prize is still the highest prize awarded annually at Speech Night for Dr Marden’s “idea of gracious womanhood”.
The Presbyterian Ladies’ College of Croydon and Pymble separates and becomes governed by separate councils. The Ex-Students Union is also formed with the first President (known then as convener) Mollie Jeffrey (Vicars 1917).
Mr JHS Angus donates the Angus Cup. Boarding houses Marden, Lang and Goodlet compete for the Cup each year and it is awarded to the House winning the highest aggregate marks in sport, singing, drama and essay writing.
The first issue of the Pymble Ex-Students magazine is published. The magazine was published annually until November 1989 when the ESU committee decided members would be better informed by a smaller broadsheet, published quarterly.
Lang House closes to boarders as numbers fall to 148 day girls and 69 boarders, owing to the Depression. Boarders were accommodated in Marden and Goodlet Houses with 10 boarders at the Principal’s residence, Grey House.
Kindergarten is opened in the Lang House common room with 14 pupils, including two boys.
Miss Grace Mackintosh, MA is appointed as the new Principal after Miss Jobson’s resignation earlier that year.
Introduction of the College Prayer by Miss Mackintosh:
Almighty and Everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being, who has created us for Thyself so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee, grant unto us purity of heart and strength of purpose so that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing Thy will and no weakness from doing it. In Thy Light may we see light clearly and in Thy Service find perfect freedom, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord Amen.
Lang House reopens. In 1936 there were 115 boarders in residence.
Miss Dorothy I. Knox, AM, OBE, MA, FACE is appointed as Principal succeeding Miss Grace Mackintosh, MA.
The Coronation of George VI and his wife Elizabeth as king and queen of the British Empire and Commonwealth takes place at Westminster Abbey, London. On 30 July Pymble girls plant a Queensland black bean tree on the flagstaff lawn (now known as Flagpole Lawn) to commemorate the coronation. Every girl is presented with a Coronation Medal, a gift from the School Council.
The opening of Gillespie-McIllrath House by Dr Wallace, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney. It was the first endowed building for the College and contained seven new classrooms as well as a private residence for the Principal.
A system of merit certificates is introduced. First, Second and Third Class Certificates according to examination marks for the year. Only First Class Certificates were presented on Speech Day. The system was discontinued in 1968.
A Maypole Fair is held to raise funds for a chapel.
Pymble wins the Eklund Cup for Lifesaving.
The College holds an Armistice Day Service celebration.
The science block opens (later named Vicars House). The Hon. W.J. McKell, Premier of NSW, opened the building with Principal Miss Knox, which included shower rooms and a dark room for photography as well as four science classrooms.
The outbreak of World War II did not have an immediate effect on the College but steps were taken to protect the school. When Japanese submarines threatened Sydney harbour, students and staff took shelter on the night of 7 June 1942 beneath the Colonnade where an air raid shelter had been set up.
Owing to severe drought the swimming pool is closed for the term.
The first Song Festival is held in place of the Dempster Cup.
Robert Gillespie passes away. He will be remembered for his love of the College.
The Giant Stride is introduced and is particularly popular with girls from Ingleholme and those who came through from Junior School. Metal hand pieces hung down from the central maypole by a loose chain. To get a grip, the upper or lower rung must be held with one hand and the chain with the other.
A visit from Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester whose husband HRH the Duke of Gloucester was Governor-General of Australia from 1944 to 1947. After lunch at the Principal’s residence the Duchess received a tour of the school and greeted students along the Colonnade.
Uniform requirements from mid-1930s to 1950s.
A jacaranda tree is planted on Gloucester Lawn to commemorate the visit of HRH the Duchess of Gloucester on 22 November 1946. To this day the tree is still rich in its purple blooms.
A tree-planting in celebration of Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh.
The school is full, with an average of 720 pupils of whom 176 are boarders. There are no vacancies until 1953.
Muriel Upton receives not only the Marden Prize but is also Head Prefect and Dux. She also led the Award for Best All Round Girl, Best at Work, and Sport but was ineligible for these as she had won the Marden Prize! One of the highest achieving pupils in Pymble history.
Joan Hammond visits the College and sings for the girls. The concert is an outstanding success.
Queen Elizabeth II opens the third session of the 37th Parliament of NSW. 20 Pymble girls are invited to see the opening of State Parliament.
A contract to build the Chapel is signed. Fundraising had been ongoing since the mid-1920s and another £25,000 is needed
Miss Grace Mackintosh, MA, former Principal from 1933 to 1936, dies in Scotland.
Classrooms are opened for parents for the first time during state-wide Education Week. The lectures are well attended by mothers in the afternoon with a high percentage of fathers attending the evening talk on “The Problems of Being a Father”.
The Foundation Stone of the Chapel is laid by Governor of NSW, Lieutenant-General Sir John Northcott. He was piped to the steps by the Knox Grammar Pipe Band and the Prefects formed a Guard of Honour.
Ex-student Elizabeth Evatt gains first place in the Honours list for the Faculty of Law, receiving the University Medal Prize, the John George Dalley Prize and the Monahan Scholarship. She went on to become first Chief Judge of the Family Court of Australia.
The College celebrates its 40th anniversary. A plaque made from the College Bronze Medallion had passed through the hands of a representative from each graduating year since 1916, ending with the 1956 Head Prefect, Robyn Williams.
Almost three thousand people gather when the Moderator General, Right Reverend F. W. Rolland opens and dedicates the War Memorial Chapel. The Chapel was built by F. & C. Turton and designed by architects J. Aubrey Kerr and Peter Kerr who ensured the style was in keeping with the original buildings.
The first Commemoration Day Service is held by the Ex-Students in the Chapel, renewing friendships among many who had been scattered for years.
A commemorative book is published giving a brief history of the College. Funds from the sale of the book go towards the Chapel Fund.
Winifred Ross (Allworth) is the first to marry in the new Chapel.
Principal Miss Knox is awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education and for being an outstanding educationalist. The whole school celebrates her award on the Queen’s Birthday holiday.
‘Ingleholme’, Boomerang St, Turramurra, is purchased from Lady McIlrath. The former home of the Chairman Sir Martin McIlrath, along with three acres of land, is to be used for a new Junior School.
The school purchases its first filtration system for the swimming pool, funded by the RW Gillespie Trust. The first swimming carnival with the new filtration system was held in March 1960. “Every graceful stroke of swimmers could be clearly watched”.
A property known as ‘Ingleholme’ in Turramurra is opened as Presbyterian Ladies’ College Preparatory School for Girls with Miss Janet Pettit as the Mistress-In-Charge. There are 69 girls ranging in age from four to nine years. The girls would move up to the Main School at Pymble when they reached the age of 11.
The official opening of the Roland Love Gates. The ceremony is performed by Mrs Roland Love and her son, Mr Alan Love. The gates were originally part of the Royal Exchange Assurance Building in O’Connell Street, Sydney.
It is the first year the Junior School has a separate swimming carnival.
Dorothy Knox House opens with 11 classrooms for teaching biology and chemistry, including several laboratories. The Council named the building in honour of Miss Knox who was in her 27th year as Principal.
Miss Nancy Jobson, OBE, MA, Principal of the College from 1922 to 1933, passes away.
The Leaving Certificate is replaced by the School Certificate as part of Wyndham Scheme changes. Senior School now lasts for six years.
Miss Mina Wylie, Olympic swimming champion and Pymble swimming coach for 40 years, retires.
The College celebrates its 50th Miss Dorothy Knox also celebrates 30 years as Principal at the College. When she commenced, there were 339 students. By 1966 there were 1,280.
Miss Knox is quoted as saying, “Since the foundation of Pymble 6,600 girls have passed through the school, and 1075 are here at present with another 221 at Ingleholme. You all have a great tradition to pass on to those who follow. It is worth keeping. We have a tradition of academic distinctions, good sportsmanship and, above all, friendliness and courteous behaviour. These are all qualities of which your predecessors were proud and hope that you will carry on attitudes established and nurtured over the years. May the next fifty years of Pymble be ever more joyous and prosperous.”
Miss Knox retires and Miss Jeanette Buckham, AM, BA, Dip.Ed, FACE is appointed Principal after her position as Principal of PLC Goulburn.
The dedication of the Rose Window in the Chapel, designed and executed by David Saunders and donated by the Ex-Students to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the College.
The Rose Window
Presented by the Ex-Students’ Union
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the College in 1966
Dedicated 30th July 1967
The dedication of the Lewis Pipe organ in the Chapel. The organ was purchased by the College from a deconsecrated church, modified and installed in the Chapel.
Miss Janet Pettit retires after 38 years of service, 13 of them at Ingleholme, the College’s Preparatory School in Turramurra
The opening of the Isabel McKinney Harrison Library. Isabel was a distinguished hockey player, Dux of the School, Head Prefect and winner of the Marden Prize. The library was funded by a Commonwealth grant.
Mr George Ferguson announces his retirement from the College Council, which he joined in 1957. He had the unique distinction of being the father of a student at Pymble for 31 years.
Much loved staff member Miss Drummond retires after 30 years of service.
Mr John Reid becomes Chairman of Council following the retirement of Mr George Ferguson in 1974.
The first parents group is formed and becomes known as The Family Group. They organise the first function for parents, ‘The Icebreaker’, on 27 February 1976. This is now an annual event for parents on Gloucester Lawn.
The College celebrates its 60th anniversary. Miss Buckham gives a huge birthday party lunch which is described as “the event of the year”. To commemorate the day, six redwood trees are planted in honour of the six principals.
Gillespie-McIllrath House, including the Principal’s residence, is destroyed by fire.
Inglehome, the College’s Preparatory School in Turramurra closes and the pupils are transferred to the main school at Pymble.
Presbyterian Ladies College Pymble is awarded to the Uniting Church in Australia. Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga had always been regarded as a ‘brother’ school and it was decided a month earlier that it should go to the Uniting Church. Many families had children attending both schools so the link formed an important traditional association from which both schools benefit.
The three-light window, named ‘The Getting of Wisdom’, is dedicated by Reverend Graham Hardy, MA, BD, STM, LRAM, Moderator of the Uniting Church in NSW. It commemorates Miss Jeanette Buckham’s 25th year as Principal.
Our new Junior School building is opened by the Governor-General the Right Hon. Sir Zelman Cowen. The new building enabled the Primary School to centre most of its activities in one place, under the leadership of Miss Rosalie Ramsay who had been its Mistress-in-Charge since 1974.
Jobson House is opened to provide accommodation for 32 boarders.
The Jeanette Buckham Centre for Physical Education is opened by Professor Dame Leonie Kramer, DBE in conjunction with Speech Day. This new facility was so named “in recognition of the Principal’s untiring efforts in the promotion of healthy minds in healthy bodies in PLC”.
The first Jacaranda Day service is held 40 years after the jacaranda tree was planted to commemorate a visit from the Duchess of Gloucester. Jacaranda Day was an initiative by Mrs R. Ram, a science teacher at the College, to celebrate the existence of beauty in a changing world.
Each year in November the whole school assembles on Gloucester Lawn around the purple blossomed jacaranda tree for a service of thanksgiving.
Principal Miss Buckham celebrates her 60th birthday. An avenue of 60 trees is planted to honour her special day.
A historic occasion as 2,300 students and staff gather in the Gloucester Quadrangle for a whole school photograph. Principal Miss Buckham goes up in a cherry picker.
Miss Jeanette Buckham retires and Mrs Gillian Moore is appointed as her successor. Mrs Gillian Moore, AO, MA, Dip.Ed, TC, MACE, MACEA has her induction service on 8 May 1989.
The last issue of the Pymble Ex-Students Magazine is published. A quarterly broadsheet was introduced then ESU news became part of the College Magazine.
The College takes part in the first Tournament of the Minds challenge in creative problem solving.
Pymble places first in every division in swimming, athletics and gymnastics in the IGSSA competitions.
Pymble appoints its first full-time resident Chaplain, Reverend Don Tallent.
The James Kelso Sports Field and Pavilion is officially opened by Liane Tooth, B.Ed., OAM (1979). An exhibition match is played between the Pymble First Eleven Hockey Team and the IGSSA Representative Team.
The College celebrates its 75th anniversary. A book titled This is Pymble College is published to pay tribute to the 75 years since the opening of Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pymble. The book is written by Margaret Coleman (1945) and launched by Dame Joan Hammond (1928).
Pymbulletin is published in colour for the first time and is mailed to students and ex-students.
Over 5,000 visitors share in celebrations at the Anniversary Open Day.
On Commemoration Day, the Ex-Students’ Union (ESU) gift the College with a newly completed sign at the entrance via the Marden Gates.
Principal Mrs Moore presents six “Pymble Lady Camellias” to Taronga Zoo, also celebrating its 75th Anniversary.
The opening of the David McFarlane Centre.
The official opening and dedication of the David Blackwell Music School.
A celebration of 75 years of boarding at the College. The first meal was served in the boarders’ dining room on 1 March 1917. Prior to this the boarders ate in the Marden House Common Room, at times with Dr and Mrs Marden.
David Blackwell retires as College Chair after 28 years of service, five as chairman.
HRH the Duke of Gloucester visits the College, officially naming the Gloucester Quadrangle. The cantata A Special Inheritance by Colin Brumby and Thomas Shapcott is commissioned for the College.
Dedication of the Robert Macarthur Commemorative Window in the Chapel, celebrating his contribution to the College and the Church.
The College celebrates its 80th birthday, with foundation pupil Bonnie Coleman as special guest and her daughter Margaret Coleman (1945).
Pymble wins the Tildesley Tennis Shield Tournament for the first time in the 77-year history of the event.
Ex-Student Dame Joan Hammond dies. A great sportswoman and singer, Joan represented Australia at golf and performed as an acclaimed singer across the globe.
1,373 Pymble girls are involved in IGSSA sport. 108 are named as IGSSA representatives and 25 are selected for CAS.
The opening of the Mollie Dive Field, named after a distinguished ex-student who excelled at both hockey and cricket for Pymble and for Australia.
Sydney Olympic Games. USA Olympic gymnasts reside and train at the College.
The first round of laptop computers are purchased for staff and students.
New HSC examinations are introduced.
Miss Jeanette Buckham, Principal from 1968 to 1989, dies.
Pymble wins the Archdale Debating Shield for the fifth consecutive year.
Pymble achieves 61 Bronze Awards, 18 Silver Awards and six Gold Awards in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The opening of the Conde Library in the Secondary School, named in recognition of Mr John Conde AO. The former Gillespie-McIllrath House is extended with a new wing that blends with the original building and heritage architecture.
Pymble girls top the state in HSC Physics, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science and Agriculture.
The official opening of the Liane Tooth Field. Liane Tooth (1979) OAM was the first female hockey player to represent Australia in four Olympic Games.
The Ex-Student’s Union celebrates its 75th birthday.
The official opening of the Gillian Moore Centre for Performing Arts (GMCPA), situated north of the David Blackwell Music School. The auditorium has a 750-seat capacity and orchestra pit that can accommodate over 25 players.
The College celebrates its 90th birthday.
Mrs Vicki Waters commences as Principal.
Mrs Gillian Moore retires after 18 years of dedicated service to the College.
Angela Cummine (1999) is awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, the first Pymble girl to receive such an honour.
Pymble creates history by being the first school in IGSSA to win the triple in basketball. We also win the Head of the River point score for the tenth successive year.
The Leadership and Performance Scholarship for Indigenous Students is established.
For charity, girls knit 1,500 jumpers, swim 82 kilometres for the World Swim Against Malaria, and male staff sport moustaches for the 30 days of Movember.
Pymble is named as one of the top five boarding schools beyond the UK, the only girls’ school and the only Australian school on the list.
The School House system is expanded to create a stronger sense of spirit, identity and participation along with increased leadership opportunities. Ingleholme, Thomas, Wylie, Bennett, Hammond were added to the original Houses existing Marden, Goodlet and Lang.
Mrs Evonne Goolagong Cawley, ex-student, becomes patron of the Indigenous Education Program.
Quentin Bryce, AC is Guest of Honour at the Senior School Speech Night.
There is a change of College structure with the introduction of five separate schools: Preparatory School, Junior School, Middle School, Upper School and Senior School. Each School has its own distinct precinct within the campus and a Head and Deputy Head of School.
The opening of the Senior School Centre, the Kate Mason Building. The building incorporates flexible educational facilities, cutting-edge information technology, a 260-seat lecture theatre, video-conferencing facilities and space for students to study and connect with each other.
Building commences on a significant capital works project known as the Centenary Precinct. The Centenary Precinct is planned to open in February 2016 as part of Pymble’s centenary celebrations.