Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Brisbane Girls Grammar School is an independent, non-denominational, secondary day school for girls, located in Spring Hill, an inner suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School
BGGS Crest.png
Gregory Terrace

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Coordinates27°27′30″S 153°1′11″E / 27.45833°S 153.01972°E / -27.45833; 153.01972Coordinates: 27°27′30″S 153°1′11″E / 27.45833°S 153.01972°E / -27.45833; 153.01972
TypeIndependent, single-sex, day
MottoLatin: Nil Sine Labore
(Nothing without labour)
PrincipalJacinda Euler[2]
EnrolmentApproximately 1370
Colour(s)Royal blue

Founded in 1875, the school is one of eight grammar schools in Queensland that were established under the Grammar Schools Act of 1860. The school originally opened as a branch of the Brisbane Grammar School with fifty students under the direction of a principal, Janet O'Connor.[1]

Brisbane Girls Grammar is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[3] the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia (AGSA),[4] and is a member of the Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association (QGSSSA).[5]

Brisbane Girls Grammar School has approximately 1370 students enrolled in Years 7 to 12.


Brisbane Girls Grammar School was founded in March 1875, six years before women were admitted to universities in Sydney and Melbourne. The school opened as a branch of Brisbane Grammar School with fifty female students under the direction of a lady principal, Janet O'Connor, in premises on George Street, Brisbane. Within six months the school outgrew these premises and subsequently moved to a site on Wickham Terrace.[1]

Main Building, c1910

By July 1882, the school was well established and a decision was made to separate from Brisbane Grammar School, so as to operate independently under the Grammar Schools Act. Plans were also made to move the school to its present location on Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill. In 1884, the Main Building, designed by architect Richard Gailey, was opened to one hundred students.[1]

The school's motto is Nil Sine Labore, Latin for "Nothing Without Labour". It was adopted from the Brisbane Grammar School, which in turn borrowed it from Horace's Second Book of Satires. The school badge is an open book on a shield with the school motto on a ribbon underneath. The open book was also borrowed from Oxford University, where over half of the original staff of Brisbane Grammar School were originally secured.[citation needed]The School colour is royal blue, adopted from the colours of Brisbane Grammar School, which were originally derived as a compromise between the Oxford colour of light blue and the Cambridge colour of dark blue.

In 2007, the $25m, six-level Cherrell Hirst Creative Learning Centre opened, winning several awards including the prestigious Sir Zelman Cowen Award for public architecture in 2008.[6] In 2009 a new 25-metre suspended swimming pool and multi-purpose covered area were completed. The Gehrmann Building, constructed in 1986, was renovated in 2011.

In 2015, the five-storey, $17.4 million Research Learning Centre opened, to coincide with the introduction of Year 7 to the School. Home to a collection of more than 55,000 resources, the Research Learning Centre provides numerous flexible contemporary learning spaces as well as space for individual study.[7]


Brisbane Girls Grammar offers 18 competitive and non-competitive sports. The School is a founding member of the Queensland Girls’ Secondary Schools Sporting Association (QGSSSA) competition, and participates in a range of Brisbane Club associations as well as operating a comprehensive Interhouse programme.

QGSSSA: artistic gymnastics, athletics, badminton, basketball, cricket, cross country, football, hockey, netball, rhythmic gymnastics, softball, swimming, tennis, touch and volleyball. CLUB: Fencing (QFA), Rowing (BRSA) and water polo (BWPI) Lifestyle: Yoga, pilates and rock climbing.

The three core music domains (strings, band and choir) offer more than 900 places for students to pursue their musical talents at their specific level of proficiency. Specialist music staff provide instrumental and vocal tuition in group and private lessons.


Period Details
1875–1876 Janet O'Connor
1877–1878 Sarah Cargill
1878–1881 Mary Mackinlay
1882–1888 Sophia Beanland
1888–1895 Charlotte Pells
1896–1899 Eliza Fewings
1900–1912 Milisent Wilkinson
1913–1914 Mary Atkinson Williams
1914–1915 Jane Walker
1916–1924 Annie Mackay
1925–1952 Kathleen Lilley
1952–1970 Louise Crooks (Louise McDonald from 1957)
1971–1976 Nancy Shaw
1977–2001 Judith Hancock AM
2001–2012 Amanda Bell AM
2013–present Jacinda Euler

House systemEdit

As with most Australian schools, Brisbane Girls Grammar School uses a house system. The House System provides a framework of support for students during their years at the school.[8] The House System originated in 1964, with 10 houses that were amalgamated to five in 1966. In 1973 the House System reverted to Interform Competitions but was reintroduced in 1980. Since then, some of the previously discontinued houses have returned, while new houses have been created. There are currently nine houses, each named after past principals and teachers of the school as well as previous chairmen of the Board of Trustees:

Beanland (Pink)

Named after Sophia Beanland, the former Head Mistress of the school from 1882 to 1889. The house was first established in 1964 when the school had ten Houses, each with approximately fifty students. Beanland House and four other houses were discontinued in 1966, as the system of ten houses was not manageable. Beanland House was reintroduced in 1994.

England (Blue)

Named after John Edwyn England, one of the longest serving trustees of the school. He was a member of the trust for 20 years and was chairman of the board from 1952 to 1961.

Gibson (Purple)

Originally formed in 1964 and lasted until 1973 when the House System was discontinued in favour of a horizontal division based on year groups. Gibson House was officially reconstituted in February 1980 after a gap of seven years and is named in honour of Major John Lockhart Gibson, M.D. one of Brisbane's best-known doctors. Gibson was appointed Vice-Chairman of the School Board of Trustees in 1906. From 1929 until his resignation in 1940, he served as chairman of the board.

Griffith (Red)

Originally established in 1964 and combined with Mackinlay House in 1966 to form a larger Griffith house. It continued in this form until 1973, when the house system was discontinued. Griffith House was officially reconstituted in February 1980 and is named in honour of Sir Samuel Walter Griffith, former Chairman of Trustees, Premier of the Colony of Queensland, Chief Justice of Queensland and the first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

Hirschfeld (Orange)

Named after Konrad Hirschfeld (1904–1987) who served as chairman of the board of Brisbane Girls Grammar School between 1963 and 1976. Hirschfeld was involved in many aspects of the medical profession and also had an enduring passion and commitment to education. Hirschfeld House was formed in 1980 in recognition of his services to education and the school.

Lilley (Green)

One of nine houses established in 1964. Lilley House was named after Sir Charles Lilley, the former Premier and Chief Justice of Queensland, and the founder of Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Particularly influential in the educational arena, Sir Charles Lilley had a substantial influence on the Education Act 1875 and was responsible for the introduction of free education in Queensland in 1870.

Mackay (White)

Started in 1998 and named after Margaret Annie Mackay, a pupil at the school in its early days. She became a teacher at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and was appointed Head Mistress in 1916. She retired in 1924.

O'Connor (Maroon)

Named after Brisbane Girls' Grammar School's first Headmistress, Janet O'Connor. From 1875 to 1877, O'Connor led the fledgeling school which was then located on George Street. O'Connor House was established in 1964 and was discontinued in 1966. In 1990, it was re-established and adopted maroon as its colour.

Woolcock (Yellow)

First established in 1964 and named after John Laskey Woolcock in recognition of his contribution to the School and to education in general. In 1966, Woolcock and O'Connor Houses combined, keeping the name Woolcock. In 1973 the House was discontinued but was re-established in 1980.[9]

Campuses and facilitiesEdit

In addition to the main school site at Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill, the school has a Sports Campus in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket and an outdoor education campus, Marrapatta, in the Mary Valley.

Brisbane Campus, Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill

Since 1884, Brisbane Girls Grammar has continually developed their main campus. Recent building projects include the Cherrel Hirst Creative Learning Centre, opened in 2007 to house music, drama, computer technology and art facilities, and a 25-metre suspended swimming pool in 2009.[10] In 2015, to coincide with the introduction of Year 7, the school developed the Research Learning Centre.

Marrapatta Memorial Outdoor Education Centre

The school operates a dedicated Outdoor education Centre in the Mary Valley at Imbil, approximately 2 hours drive north of Brisbane.

Rangakarra Recreational and Environmental Education Centre

In 2013, Brisbane Girls Grammar School acquired a 13-hectare site in Fig Tree Pocket, which comprises two playing fields and three ovals. It is 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the CBD and is the home ground for sports such as hockey, cricket and touch. The campus is also used to teach environmental sciences, with school groups working with local organisations to rehabilitate areas of ecological significance. The site was officially named Rangakarra Recreational and Environmental Education Centre on 23 May 2015 and the Main Field was renamed the Daphne Welch (1949) Oval in honour of past student and sporting legend Daphne Pirie (Welch) MBE, AO.

Notable alumnaeEdit

  • Minna Atherton – Australian Competitive Swimmer and 100m Backstroke World Record Holder [11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "A Brief History". School Profile. Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Our Principal". Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  3. ^ "AHISA Schools". Queensland. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. November 2007. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  4. ^ Butler, Jan (2006). "Member Schools". Members. The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  5. ^ "(What is) QGSSSA". QGSSSA. SportingPulse. 2005. Archived from the original on 10 February 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  6. ^ "sir zelman cowen award for public architecture". ArchitectureAU. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Historical Timeline". Brisbane Girls Grammar School. 1 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  8. ^ Student Care | Brisbane Girls Grammar School ( Archived 13 May 2013[Date mismatch] at the Wayback Machine)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2005.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Campuses | Brisbane Girls Grammar School ( Archived 13 May 2013[Date mismatch] at the Wayback Machine)
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Betty Churcher – Interview Transcript tape 1". Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Queensland Australian of the Year 2013 Award winners announced". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Melbourne, The University of. "Lahey, May – Biographical entry – Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens". Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Barbara Leggett". Gastroenterological Society of Queensland. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Professor Barbara Leggett". QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  20. ^
  21. ^,exact,Gloria%20Logan%201927-2005
  22. ^
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  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^

External linksEdit