Heritage & Tradition
Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School has offered girls a first-class, independent, non-denominational education for over 130 years. We are one of eight original Grammar Schools in Queensland.
IGGS opened its doors in 1892. From our very first day, we have been deeply committed to innovation and excellence.
Ipswich Girls’ Grammar has a history of strong and successful women, some of whom were pioneers in their chosen fields.
Our founding Headmistress Miss Fanny Hunt was the first woman to graduate from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Science. Our first enrolled student, Eleanor Greenham, was the first Queensland-born woman to earn a degree in Medicine. Many others have followed and our School buildings, facilities and resources pay tribute to the dedicated staff and supporters who have inspired us along the way.
We have played a significant role in the education of thousands of inspirational young women who have gone on to pursue successful careers in medicine, law, engineering, information technology, politics, business and more.
Many of our former students have been recipients of prestigious national and international scholarships, academic awards and sports medals.
They have faced their challenges with dignity and established reputations for merit around the globe.
Join us as we retrace our journey from inspired beginning to the esteemed institution we are today.
1890 – 1900
Our journey begins in 1890 when our inaugural Board of Trustees engages George Brockwell Gill to design our first Ipswich Girls’ Grammar building.
On March 10, 1891, the Acting Governor General, Sir Arthur Palmer KCMG lays the foundation stone of what is now known as the Main Administration building, on a 15-acre site in Ipswich. Sir Arthur expresses his admiration of its glorious position saying it is “one superior to any I have seen chosen for such a building, superior to any that I know of in any colony.’
On March 1, 1892, Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School officially opens. Thirty-one girls start their secondary education under the charge of Miss Fanny Hunt. By the end of the year, 48 pupils are on the roll, six of whom are boarders. Our School motto is, and will always remain—Omnia Superat Diligentia—diligence overcomes all.
Building and growth continues throughout our early years. The IGGS Old Girls Association is formed to meet socially and support the School. By the end of 1900, a hospital dormitory, gymnasium, play shed, gatekeeper’s lodge, stables, fences, roads and trees all stand within the School grounds.
As the new century begins, Miss Hunt resigns and Miss Maud Connell is appointed as our new Headmistress. Miss Connell serves four years (1902-1905) followed by Miss Helen White who serves 21 years (1906-1927).
In 1907 the girls request a School badge. The pale blue and white shield bearing the saltire cross and the School’s name is virtually identical to that worn today.
In 1924, our first school uniform is instated. Girls must now wear a navy blue three box pleated tunic over a white, short sleeved blouse in summer and a long sleeved thick blouse in winter with black shoes, a white panama hat on which the school badge is embroidered, and, of course, white gloves.
When Miss White resigns in August 1927, Miss Lillian Armitage is named as her successor (1927-1947). Miss Armitage resigns in 1947 and is succeeded by Miss Katherine Carter (1948-1963).
Our 50th birthday celebrations in 1942 are low key, as although we had weathered The Depression and World War II is having minimal impact, there are food and clothing shortages and ration cards in use.
Six years later our House system is adopted to enable more contact across age levels and promote competition among the Houses in all aspects of School life except in academic results. The Houses are names after four past Headmistresses—Hunt, Connell, White and Armitage. A fifth house, Carter is added as student numbers bloom.
By the end of 1950, the School has grown rapidly to accommodate the ever-increasing student and boarder numbers. We have new classrooms, a new cloakroom, an art studio, music room, tennis courts, new library with reference library and reading room, sports facilities, and boarding facilities. Miss White’s much-love rose garden welcomes visitors at the front of the School.
IGGS celebrates its diamond jubilee in 1952 with a strong sense of purpose and accomplishment.
In 1956, our first Parents and Friends Association is formed and plays an important role in promoting the interests of the School and raising funds for further development and resources.
To address our expanding school population, we embark on an extensive building program that includes a new dining room, kitchen, dormitories, sports oval, swimming pool and classroom block. Our Estelle Cribb Memorial Gates now stand at the front of the school. Our assembly hall, designed by renowned architect Karl Langer, opens in 1964 and is later extended in 1977.
After 17 years as Headmistress, Miss Carter retires in 1964 and is replaced by Miss Thalia Kennedy (1964–1981).
The School celebrates its 75th birthday in 1967 with a major fundraising appeal to raise funds for the next phase of our building program. Plans includes converting the original IGGS building into an Administration block and new classrooms for our Years 8 and 9 students.
Our modern summer uniform—a checked dress with navy jacket—is unveiled in 1973 followed by new winter and sports uniforms.
Miss Kennedy retires at the end of 1981 and our next Headmistress, Mrs Judith Hill (1982-1993), is the first to be referred to as Principal.
Later that year, Level Coordinators are introduced to work closely with the girls to give them the same level of personal care and attention enjoyed by our former students. By 1986, Life Skills lessons are part of the curriculum to nurture the girls’ pastoral care.
In March 1987, our impressive, five-wing boarding area, Cribb House, opens. The House is named after Thomas Bridson Cribb, the first Chairman on our original Board of Trustees.
In 1992, we celebrate one hundred years of Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School. Mrs Hill resigns a year later and Mrs Carolyn Anderson (1993-1999) becomes our next Principal. Under her leadership, new directions and developments begin.
In the late 1990s, we expand to offer primary classes and build the Brockwell Gill Foundation Centre to accommodate our early learners. Additional land is purchased for the development.
When major studies reveal the benefits of a co-educational experience in the formative years, we expand to include young boys from Prep to Year 6. All IGGS girls’ siblings and friends may now share their early learning adventure in our Junior School.
Mrs Anderson departs in 1999 and in her place Miss Susan Just (1999-2004) is appointed our ninth Principal.
By the close of 2000, several new complexes have been added to the grounds including the Marian Walker Sports Complex, John Hancock Centre, Thalia Kennedy Art Studios, Walker Building and our purpose-built Graphics studio.
At the end of 2004 the School farewells Miss Just and Mrs Florence Kearney (2005-2011) becomes our tenth Principal.
Our primary school becomes a separate entity as the Ipswich Junior Grammar School in 2005, though still under the jurisdiction of the IGGS Board of Trustees and Principal.
Months later, a devastating fire destroys the Senior science block and the School embarks on a major building program. Our state-of-the-art five-level Peter Phillips Senior Complex, with an auditorium and conference facilities, and four-level Mavis Parkinson Junior School Centre are constructed and open in 2009. A year later, the School expands again to include a dedicated Early Education Centre for girls and boys from Kindergarten to Pre-Prep.
In 2011, Dr Peter Britton (2011-2022) becomes our first male Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
In 2022, we celebrated 130 years of IGGS. We looked back with respect and admiration to those who have walked the hallowed halls before us, whilst simultaneously looking forward towards a bright and prosperous future.