Toorak College 150 Year Video

At Toorak College, as we honour 150 years of empowering and educating students, we are excited to share our reflection video. This 150 year video is a snapshot of the journey that has brought us to here and takes a look back at our very proud history and what makes our story such a special one.

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For 150 years, Toorak College has empowered students to make their mark on the world. Our aim is to foster academic and personal growth, inspiring curiosity and a passion for learning. We equip students with the tools they need to thrive and lead, as they confidently step into their future.

As we move forward into the next chapter of our story, we remain dedicated to igniting the spark within each student and instilling in them the confidence to shine brightly in a world that eagerly awaits their contributions.

150 Year Community Celebrations

As we step into our 150th year at Toorak College, we have developed a timeline of exciting events happening throughout the year to commemorate 150 years of empowering and educating our students.

EVENT TIMELINE
16 February150 Summer Festival
20 April150 Gala Ball
May150 years special Elephant publication
June150 year commemorative video
August'A Red Ribbon Runs Though It' Book launch and Tour of Toorak experience
SeptemberGrand Opening of the Community and Arts Precinct
18 SeptemberFounders Day Assembly and 150 Performance Event
October150 edition of Speech Night

New School Song

In celebration of our 150 years, at the end of 2023 we launched the additional new school song 'Brick by Brick' which was co-written and composed by renowned musician Ed Fairlie and Collegian Amalia Foy, graduating class of 2019. Brick by Brick features themes and lyrics by current students, staff and Collegians, alongside some of the original poetry from the first day the school set foot in Mt Eliza.

Brick by Brick

Click here to see the launch of the new school song, 'Brick by Brick' 2023 Senior School Speech Night. This new school song celebrates the change that led us here. From the day we set foot on the new site in Mt Eliza to how we feel about our school today.

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Trailblazers through the decades

In honour of our 150-year rich heritage, we embark on a journey through time to discover the incredible legacy of Toorak College.

We take a look into past alumni, each with their unique stories and unforgettable moments from their time here and how life for women has changed throughout the decades.

Early 1900s

In the early 1900s, we saw some incredibly talented Toorak College collegians and trailblazers make history. What we know today as the notoriously famous 'Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree' song was written by Marion Sinclair, Toorak College Class of 1906.

Vera Scantlebury (sister of Dorothy Wardle) was Head Girl in 1905 and 1906 (class of 1906). She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1914 with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery, becoming the first Toorak College student to graduate from medicine
at the University of Melbourne. She founded the Infant Welfare Centres in Victoria. In 1938 Vera was awarded an OBE for distinguished services to preventative medicine.

1920s

Breaking barriers and establishing new world records, Toorak Collegian Freda Thompson, Class of 1922, was the first woman to make the voyage from England to Australia after gaining her private pilot's licence.

1950s

The 1950s saw the establishment of a dedicated Junior School named 'Wardle House' after the extremely passionate Miss Dorothy Wardle. This was the beginning of significant change monumental moment, where young students entered the gates of Toorak College as children, flourishing and developing throughout their schooling journey, leaving as confident and independent young women.

1960s

For over almost sixty years, the much-loved Mary Herring Hall housed performances, rehearsals, classes, assemblies and exams, playing a key role in Toorak’s school life.

1990s - Early 2000s

The 1990s and early 2000s saw a shift toward greater equality for women. We saw collegians making scientific breakthroughs and major sporting achievements.

A trailblazer in sport, Jane Robinson, Toorak College Class of 1987, started her love for sport with running. While on her usual route, Jane detoured to investigate the Rowing Sheds at Princess Bridge, thus sparking a newfound love for Rowing. Within three years of commencing her Rowing career, she had been selected in the 1996 Australian Olympic Team, going on to compete in three Olympic games and becoming the only woman ever to be in World Champion Four, Eight, and Quad Rowing Events.

Developing world-class stem-cell therapies, Sharon Ricardo, Toorak College Class of 1984, established her own laboratory at Monash University, focused on the development of new stem cell therapies to promote organ repair. Sharon's research has been internationally recognized, receiving many awards, and has been published in more than seventy medical journals. Her research has resulted in enabling the development of new therapies to promote organ growth in premature babies.

2000s

The 2000s saw years of development within our school. In 2001, Bardon House opened, in 2004 the aquatic centre opened, in 2007 the Junior School welcomed development, allowing for more classrooms and the expansion of the ELC. In 2019, the Swift Science and Technology centre was built, providing students with state-of-the-art facilities for digital technology, coding, science, and STEM fields of study.

In 2023, building commenced on our new Community & Arts Precinct, replacing the iconic Mary Herring Hall and providing students with a space where significant moments are created. We look forward to the grand opening in September 2024.

As we journey through the remarkable history of Toorak College, we discover that women's careers, equality, and passions have evolved, building on the foundation laid by these remarkable alumni. From Marion Sinclair to Jane Robinson and Sharon Ricardo, these trailblazers have shown us the power of determination and a thirst for knowledge, forging new paths for generations to come.

Toorak College stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of women, as we continue to inspire, empower, and shape the leaders of tomorrow, just as we have for the past 150 years.

Digital Archives

Click on the link below to visit the Toorak College digital archives collection. Discover materials stretching right back to the very first days of Toorak College, through to this very year. Here, you can view over 10,000 named and dated photographs, as well as every edition of the Elizabethan and Elephant Magazine ever published.

These photographs and magazines have been sourced over decades by the volunteer members of the Toorak College Archives committee - proudly established and led for many years by Collegian Mrs Elizabeth Beischer (Young, TC’52). In 2020, through the generosity of Collegian Ms Christine Friday (TC’64), this vast collection of resources were able to be digitised, bringing the stories of Toorak College to life for all our community members.

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