History of Firbank Grammar

The whole school in 1911

In 2019 Firbank celebrated its 110 year anniversary with year long Celebrations. Firbank was established in 1909 as a day and boarding school for girls, by the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Henry Lowther Clarke, when he was left a legacy for ‘educational purposes’.

He purchased the property, Gawsworth, which stretched between Outer and Middle Crescents and established a school for girls. The School was named after his birthplace in Westmorland, England. He gave the School his crest as Archbishop and chose the motto, Vincit qui se vincit (One conquers who conquers oneself).

Enrolments grew under the leadership of Miss Maud Cameron, who was Headmistress for 43 years and further land was purchased, including the Pen-y-bryn Estate in Brighton and Atherstone in Sandringham.  Our Sandringham Campus, originally called Atherstone, was founded in 1896. In 1932, it became a part of Firbank Grammar School and established itself as a fully co-educational Junior school in 1994. Since that year, the number of boys has grown progressively.

Founded on Christian principles, Firbank has always maintained a strong connection with St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Brighton and All Souls Sandringham where formal school services are held.

Girls have a guaranteed pathway to Firbank’s Senior School in Brighton while our Sandringham Campus boys have a guaranteed pathway to our brother school, Brighton Grammar.


The School has an extensive archival collection dating back to its foundation. The collection is conserved and maintained by an archivist. It includes a collection of past uniforms, school memorabilia, an extensive photographic collection, samples of student work and archival footage. The collection has been catalogued for ease of reference and is utilised in the History curriculum.  For the last 100 years, the school has been home to thousands of students from Prep to Year 12, and has gone through considerable changes. It is important that these are documented and records retained.

If you have any items of memorabilia that you wish to donate to the collection please contact the FOGA – foga@firbank.vic.edu.au