Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Kambala School

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Chris McDiven


+61 2 9388 6777


Debra Kelliher


Kambala School

Independent, Single-sex, Day and Boarding

794 New South Head Rd, Rose Bay NSW 2029, Australia

Esto Sol Testis ((Let the Sun be your Witness))

The Scots College, Kincoppa Bay Junior School, Cranbrook School, Sceggs Darlinghu, Ascham School


Kambala video 2015 rose bay

Kambala is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for girls, located on one campus in Rose Bay, an eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1887, Kambala has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 950 students from Pre-school to Year 12, including 95 boarders from Years 7 to 12. Students come to Kambala from the greater metropolitan area, rural New South Wales and overseas.


The school is affiliated with the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (AGSA), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), and is a founding member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).


Kambala was established in 1887 by Louisa Gurney, the daughter of an English clergyman. Gurney conducted her first classes with twelve girls at a terrace house in Woollahra called 'Fernbank'. In 1891, Mlle Augustine Soubeiran, who had assisted in the running of the school and who taught French, became Co-Principal. To accommodate increasing enrolments, the School was moved to a larger property in Bellevue Hill called Kambala, from which the school took its new name.

In 1913, with an enrolment of nearly fifty, the School moved again, to its present site in New South Head Road, Rose Bay. The property was known as "Tivoli", from the original Tivoli Estate, and was previously occupied by Captain William Dumaresq and later by merchant James Robinson Love. The spacious new building was built in 1841, and the notable architect John Horbury Hunt was commissioned to extend it. Today this building houses Kambala's boarders in Years 7 to 10.

In 1926, Kambala became a Church of England Foundation School controlled by an independent council. During Fifi Hawthorne's tenure as Principal, 1933 to 1966, the school grew from 100 pupils to more than 660, and buildings and facilities expanded accordingly.


Kambala is located on a single campus on the rising shore above suburban Rose Bay, overlooking Sydney Harbour. The school is divided into four main areas:

  1. Hampshire House - the Early Learning Centre (creche)
  2. Massie House for students from Preparation (4 year olds) to Year 2;
  3. Junior School for girls in Years 3 to 6; and
  4. Senior School for girls in Years 7 to 12.


Boarding students from Year 6 to Year 10 live in Tivoli, the home of the original Tivoli estate, of which the school was once a part. Frequented by the colonial artist Conrad Martens during the 1840s, extensively renovated by architect John Horbury Hunt in the 1880s, Tivoli features modern dormitory-style living amenities.

Boarders in Years 11 to 12 reside in Fernbank. Opened in 1997, Fernbank provides students with more independent living, social privileges and greater privacy for study.

House system

The House system was introduced at Kambala in 1928, and each student from Years 3 to 12 are allocated to one of the four houses:


Named after Louisa Gurney, Principal of Kambala from 1887 to 1914. Colour: Green.


Named after Fifi Hawthorne, Principal of Kambala from 1933 to 1966. Colour: Black.


Named after Clara Roseby, Principal of Kambala from 1914 to 1927. Colour: Blue.


Named after W.C Wentworth, a Founder of the School when it became a Foundation School in 1926. Colour: Red.

There are several interhouse competitions throughout the year in which houses can earn points towards the Angus Cup at the end of the year. Each house is led by two house captains. Tutor groups are formed according to Houses. Hawthorne recently won the Angus Cup in 2016 .

Notable alumnae

Ex-students of Kambala are known as Old Girls and may elect to join the Kambala Old Girls' Union (KOGU). Some notable Kambala Old Girls include:

  • Jessie Strahorn Aspinall – First female junior resident medical officer at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (1906) (also attended Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney)
  • Claudia Black – Actress, best known for her portrayal of Aeryn Sun and Vala Mal Doran in science fiction television series Farscape and Stargate SG-1
  • Michelle Guthrie – managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Grace Emily Munro – Co-founder of the Country Women's Association
  • Suzanne Gae Williams – Director of Football Federation Australia; Recipient of the Australian Corporation Lawyer of the Year Award 2000
  • June Finlayson – Miss Australia 1956
  • References

    Kambala School Wikipedia

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