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Hornsby Girls High School

Hornsby Girls High School

Excellence in Girls' Education

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School houses and their history

The house system was developed in 1934. Houses were divided up on the basis of sport so that in inter-house competition there would be a fair division of good players in the various games. House colours were chosen in the same year. Badges were developed in the form of a bar brooch in house colours carrying the name of the house. The school was divided into four houses Coghlan, Scott, Turner and Stephens. In 1939 Brewster House was formed to honour Miss Brewster, a former Headmistress.

The five women were chosen as house patrons because of their outstanding contributions to the fields of medicine, social science, art literature and education. In these fields they were all leaders and therefore their names carry inspiration.


Dr Iza Coghlan was one of the first women medical practitioners in New South Wales. She graduated as a Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery in 1893 and it was for this reason that she was chosen as a "Head" of one of our houses. If we observe how women doctors are so naturally accepted today, we realise what strength of purpose and strong qualities of leadership were needed to enter medicine in the 1890's.


Rose Scott was a great feminist and worker for the welfare of women and children. How fitting that she should be chosen as the "Head" of one of the houses in a girls' school. Miss Rose Scott was President of the Women's Political Education League of NSW and was one of the founders of the Women's Suffragette Movement. She was also a representative of the International Peace Committee. Her work should be an inspiration to us all.


Ethel Stephens was one of the first women artists to achieve success in Australia. She was a fine example of women's increasing participation in society and therefore a worthy "Head" of one of our houses. Ethel was president of the Society of Women Painters for some years and was made a life member. We are very proud to have in our school one of her portraits, "Faith".


Ethel Turner was the first and best known writer of children's stories in New South Wales. Her awareness and understanding of children makes her an obvious choice as "Head" of one of our school houses. "Seven Little Australians" was her first book and probably her best. She also wrote "The Family of Misrule", "The Little Lamkin" and "Stolen Voyage". These and many of her other books were dedicated to the School Library.


The contributions of Agnes Brewster to all aspects of education combined with her dedication to Hornsby Girls High School resulted in the creation of a fifth school house in 1939. Miss Brewster was an enthusiastic and avid botanist. In her lifetime she was honoured on many occasions and for her invaluable contribution to education and science was awarded the Order of the British Empire. This house is no longer in existence.

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