Our School History

Historic Timeline


1899 - Mentone High School for girls was opened by the Simpson sisters, Effie, Minnie, Ethel and Daisy at "Cobbalanna", Como Parade, Mentone with Effie Simpson as the first Headmistress.

1906 - Miss Ada Murray and Miss Jane Elizabeth Bullow jointly began running the school.

1908-1913 - Miss Ada Murray took charge of the School.


1913 - The school became co-educational with between 30-40 pupils. Miss Alice Maxwell-Hyslop became Headmistress.

1919 - Miss Maxwell-Hyslop retired and Miss Ethel Simpson returned to the School as Headmistress.

1920 - Miss Evaline Mary Pearson became Headmistress. The school moved to a new location in Venice Street when the Parents’ Committee arranged for it to be the Mentone Branch of Presbyterian Ladies’ College.


1923 - The Presbyterian Church Board decided to close the school. At a Public Meeting, debenture capital was subscribed to form a company; a deposit was paid for the property now the site of St Bede’s College.

1924 - The school was reopened and renamed Mentone Girls' Grammar School (St. Margaret's). The students, along with their Music Teacher, wrote the school song. Our school motto was also created, VERO NIHIL VERIUS ‘Nothing is truer than truth’. The House groups Grammar and St Margaret's were the first to be formed.

1925 - The School Magazine ‘Spindrift’ was first published.

1926 - The Old Girls’ Club held its first meeting.

1927-1936 - Miss Bessie Johnston became Headmistress during the difficult years of The Depression.


1932 - Miss Johnston introduced new curriculum initiatives to provide vocational skills for business employment: Typing and Shorthand.

1935-1955 - Miss Jeannie McCowan made an indelible impact during her 20 years as Headmistress.

1936 - When the owners of the current site foreclosed on the mortgage, Miss McCowan offered to purchase a suitable site for the school. She made a visionary move to purchase a property with Beach Road frontage.

1937 - Playing fields were added to the campus and the school was recognised as a Day School as well as a Boarding School.

1938 - An Infant School was registered. Miss McCowan made a bold move to begin training girls for matriculation to University - something that was unheard of at the time. World War 2 broke out.

1940 - All school children were involved in evacuation procedures in case of the event of an enemy attack. Slit trenches were dug in the school grounds and regular practices were held to familiarise staff and girls with the air-raid shelters. Students gathered eggs from a chook pen to provide a healthy breakfast for the boarders and the School donated fresh eggs to the Hospital Appeals throughout the war period. During this time the school was linked to St Augustine’s Church of England, Como Parade, Mentone. Kent House was created; named in honour of the Duke of Kent.


1951 - The position of Sports Captain was created.

1956-1974 - Miss J Prudence Lewty advanced the School further during her reign as Headmistress.

1958 - A large adjoining house was purchased to provide a Kindergarten and Classrooms.

1960 - Additional land was acquired for sporting facilities. The school covered nine acres.


1962 - The School became affiliated with the Church of England, and the bishop's mitre was added to the crest.

1966 - The Science Laboratories were opened by Senator The Honourable J.G. Gorton.

1969 - McCowan House created; named in honour of Miss Jeannie McCowan.


1974 - A Thanksgiving and Dedication Service was held to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the School. The School completed a successful building plan of a Junior School, Science Block, Kerferd Library and Prudence Lewty Hall.

1974-1987 - Mr David Hunt was appointed as the first male Principal of the School.

1976 - The Annette Kellermann Sports Complex & Swimming Pool were constructed.


1986 - The David Hunt Centre was opened, comprising a gymnasium, music school, classroom and specialist facilities.

1987-1997 - Mrs Janice Douglas was appointed Principal.

1988 - Australia’s Bicentennial Year was celebrated with special school events. The satellite project expanded to allow languages to be received directly from Europe and Japan.


1992 - The Simpson Visual Arts Centre was opened by the Honourable Lindsay Thompson, son of Miss Ethel Simpson. Year 12 students were awarded the new two year Victorian Certificate of Education.

1994 - The Early Learning Centre for girls and boys opened in February.

1995 - Laptop computers were introduced into classrooms.

1997 - The Janice Douglas Junior School was officially opened by the Premier of Victoria, the Honourable Jeff Kennett.

1998 - Ms Jillian de Araugo was appointed Principal.

1999 - Centenary Year – celebrated throughout the year at a variety of functions including a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, the Centenary Concert at the Melbourne Concert Hall and Speech Night at the Melbourne Town Hall.

2000 - Mentone Girls' Grammar School Old Girls' Club celebrated its 75th Anniversary.


2001 - The rose courtyard was refurbished.

2003 - Our iconic red uniform was launched.

2005-Present - Mrs Fran Reddan was appointed Principal.

2006 - The award winning Cobbalanna VCE Centre was opened on the site of the original Cobbalanna School House.

2007 - Bay Café was opened.

2009 - 110 Anniversary year included many celebrations and the introduction of an annual Founders' Day event.

2010 - Opening of the new Early Learning Centre (ELC)


2011 - State of the art Early Learning Centre opened across from the Junior School at 20 Mentone Parade.

2011 - Formal sister school agreements signed with Yamanashi Eiwa Girls' School in Japan and Huaxia Girls' School in Beijing, China.

2012 - Year 7 & 8 Creative Learning Centre opened with the introduction of 1:1 iPad technology and a new Media Design Suite for TV and film production, industrial and web design.

2012 - Establishment of the Remarkable Women Series, honouring Mentone Old Girls who have made their mark personally or professionally on the local, national or world stage.

2013 - Year 9 & 10 Global Learning Centre opened in conjunction with the new Food and Nutrition Centre.

2014 - School’s 115th anniversary year. Wellbeing Centre opened. We became the first school in the world to be accredited with a CIS International Certification, and became an ASIC MoneySmart School.

2015 - Media Design Suite opened and new Junior School playground unveiled. Anzac Memorial Garden Bed established in the Willow Courtyard.

2016 - Enterprise Academy is officially opened by Creel Price, founder of Club Kidpreneur. The School is now one of only 10 Club Kidpreneur Hero Schools. Cobalanna's facade is replaced.

2017 - Our Jubilee Theatre receives a renovation with the latest in technology while large areas of the school are re-painted and modernised. Our new Wellbeing Precinct containing an Aquatic Centre with 25m pool, Learn to Swim pool and diving boards along with three outdoor netball / basketball courts and 12 tennis courts / hockey pitch commences construction.

2018 - Our Aquatic Centre continues development with the opening scheduled for January 2019. Cobbalanna refurbishments along with the Junior School renovations commence in Term 4 of 2018 with completion over the summer break.

2019 - Our amazing new Wellbeing Precinct will open!