The history of Newcastle Grammar School proudly links back to the earliest days of Anglican education in the city. In 1816, convict Henry Wrensford taught 17 children aged between three and 13 years in a slab hut, on the site of today’s Christ Church Cathedral. Newcastle Boys’ Grammar School opened on the present site in Berkeley House in 1859 and operated until 1902, when it was officially closed. In the early 1900s, a number of educators arrived in Australia from England with ambitions to bring high-quality education for girls – something relatively new at the time. Headmistress Margaret Lawrence was chosen to lead a new school – Newcastle Church of England Girls’ Grammar School – which was officially opened on 22 July 1918 with an enrolment of 56 girls. This date represents the birth of our School and each year we mark Founders’ Day in July as a celebration of our heritage.

Throughout the years, the School has faced many challenges, including a need to be briefly relocated away from the coast during World War II and confronted the threat of closure in 1967. The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle gave control and administration to The Pittwater House Schools in 1976 and it was renamed Newcastle Grammar School. In 1978, boys were once again enrolled.

For boarders in the 1940s, the girls were assigned to one of the four dormitories. There was a live-in Mistress with an adjacent bedroom. Boarders had regular room inspections. The girls had a bath twice a week and washed their hair once a week. There were no showers. After the school day finished, the girls would often play tennis, netball, or swim at the Newcastle Baths. They ate all meals in the dining room, with each girl assigned to a table for a term. A Mistress would sit at the head of each table, and Miss Martin would rotate between the tables, checking on manners and conversation. At that time, ration coupons were still in use, and the girls’ parents had to give the school coupons for butter, sugar and tea.

From Boarding in the 1940s, Spectemur Agendo Winter 2022

The School’s administration was returned to Newcastle in 1992 and it is now governed by Newcastle Grammar School Limited, a non-profit company limited by guarantee. We recognise students, staff and community members of both Newcastle Boys’ Grammar and Newcastle Church of England Girls’ Grammar School as important and cherished members of the NGS family. Newcastle Grammar also retains a highly valued relationship with the Anglican Diocese and the magnificent Christ Church Cathedral across the road from the Hill Campus.

The modern facilities and unparalleled opportunities the School provides today, which will continue to evolve alongside our ambitious Masterplan through to 2043, will ensure Newcastle Grammar School stands tall as the pre-eminent co-educational independent school in the Hunter Region for many more years to come.

To read more about our facilities and plans for the future, click here