Barbara Chisholm


“Above all, I want to carry on the great work of religious training for which this school has been noted. I have left mention of it till last because it is the most important part of our work. If girls can go out from SCEGGS realising that it is ‘people’ not ‘things’ that matter, which count, they will give and find happiness in service.” Miss Chisholm’s Distribution Day Speech, 1947.

Originally from New Zealand, Barbara Chisholm completed her B.A. at Canterbury University College in 1939 and had previously been Senior Mistress at the Waikato Diocesan School.

Career at SCEGGS
At just 32 years of age, Miss Chisholm was appointed Head of School in 1947, bringing with her a much needed vitality and enthusiasm.

During her career, Barbara Chisholm strove to continue SCEGGS’ traditions while making major changes to the run down and inadequate physical fabric of the school including

  • The Yellow Building (1951- refurbished in 2001 and renamed The Old Girls' Building)
  • The School Swimming Pool (since demolished for the Centenary Sports Hall)
  • A new Assembly Hall (1966 - The Barbara Chisholm Assembly Hall),
  • The purchase and refurbishment of Wilkinson House as boarders’ accommodation (1962 - refurbished in 2002 as a Senior Studies Centre),
  • A new Science block (1967)
  • A new Library (1970).
  • Moving the Primary School to Begbie Terraces on Bourke St, Darlinghurst (1973)

By the time she left in 1977, Miss Chisholm had also seen the school through perhaps its greatest challenge - the financial crisis and subsequent Save SCEGGS campaign of 1976 - which saw the SCEGGS community come together to raise $1.5 million to keep the doors open.

Other past and present Heads of School

Jenny Allum, 1996 - present
Diana Bowman, 1978-1995
Barbara Chisholm, 1947-1977
Dorothy Wilkinson, 1921-1947
Edith Badham, 1895-1920