Meriden, An Anglican School for Girls is an independent, Anglican, day school for girls, in Strathfield, an inner-western suburb of Sydney, Australia.
Founded in 1897 by Mrs Jane Monckton, the school has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 850 students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.
Meriden is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS), the Alliance of Girls Schools Australia, the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), and the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA).
Now an Australian public company (17 March 1997) (ABN 99 000 020 762), Meriden was founded by Jane (Jeannie) Monckton in 1897, at Agnes Street, Strathfield. Monckton had decided to home school her two sons due to a lack of suitable educational facilities for boys in the Strathfield area. Friends and neighbours clamoured to have their children join the two boys under her instruction, and so it was decided to establish Meriden, a school with approximately 19 students and two staff to assist. Boarding facilities were available and fees for tuition were from 1½ guineas ($3.15) to 2 guineas per quarter for the regular curriculum, which included English, French, Latin, Mathematics, Australian History, Music, Needlework and Dancing.
In 1907, Meriden moved to Woodward Avenue, where it was sold to Bertha Turner in 1908. Turner continued at Woodward Ave until larger premises could be found near Santa Sabina College on the Boulevarde, moving again soon after to its current location in the original Redmire Estate, on Redmyre Road. The school expanded in 1914 with the purchase two properties, The Briars, located adjacent to Meriden, and the original site at Redmyre Road.
In 1918, following the 1916 changes to Department of Education requirements, Turner approached the Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School (SCEGGS) in Darlinghurst with the concept of amalgamation. Further negotiations were however prevented due to financial commitments, and the SCEGGS Council suggested that a group of local church people might be interested. The first school uniform and the school logo were introduced in 1921, and in 1922 the Meriden flag was presented by the Old Girls' Union.
As Turner's health deteriorated, there was a suspicion that the school might close, and subsequently a group of local people met to discuss the future of Meriden. It was agreed that a Council should manage the school, and debentures were sold in order to obtain the necessary finance. The original home, Wariora, which was owned by Turner, was not included in this transfer but remained her property. On her death, Wariora was transferred to her brother, who sold it on to the gardener and his wife, who in turn ran it as a boarding house. This property was eventually purchased by Meriden.
After Turner's death, Grace Overy was appointed by the Council as the new Headmistress. In 1927, sports practice was carried out at the cow pastures in the grounds of a ruined mansion named Milroy in Broughton Road, Strathfield. The end of this decade saw a growing and profitable school.
In 1936, extensive additions were made to the school with the erection of Wallis Hall, seating 450 people. The new building, designed by Thomas Pollard Sampson, encased the existing residence that had become the centre of the school with a new red brick facade along Redmyre Road. The additions included an octagonal chapel forming an apsidal end to the main building with quatrefoil stained glass windows. A library, dormitories, bathrooms and classrooms were part of the development. This building, with further additions, is still the main wing of the school.
According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Meriden School was formally registered on 6 March 1929.
In 1942, Meriden temporarily became the home of two schools as the Presbyterian Ladies' College (PLC), from the nearby suburb of Croydon, was occupied by the Royal Australian Air Force for the purpose of establishing a top secret Radar Unit. Meriden offered to accommodate the PLC boarders and the school's singing, domestic science, and physical education classes. In spite of the apparent happy relationship between the two schools, the PLC Principal, Dr Helen Wilkie, recommended that further integration between the two schools should not proceed, and thus at the end of 1942, Meriden indicated that it could no longer house the PLC boarders.
In 1979, as with numerous other schools at the time, Meriden closed its boarding facility due to a steady decline in enrolments.
In 1997, Meriden became an Australia public company with its own board of directors. Although not under the formal organisational structure of the Anglican Church, Meriden emphasises an Anglican ethos. Meriden has been granted exemption from using the designator "Limited" (Ref: Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Document 005320905).
In 2015, a major construction project commenced at Meriden, involving an expansion for enlarged school grounds, the renovation of the school's Turner House wing, the construction of a new two-level sport centre with rooftop courts, and the renovation of the school's Wallis building for an improved library, hall and Year 12 common room.
Meriden's crest was designed by the school's art teacher, Mr Albert Collins, in 1921. The crest features Meriden's motto of Semper fidelis (translated from Latin as "always faithful"), together with a representation of the lilies of Parnassus. In ancient Greece, Mount Parnassus was regarded as the mountain sacred to the muses and the centre of the earth. The muses were said to preside over the realm of learning, with each having a special province, such as poetry, science or history.
Meriden offers an extensive program of extra curricular activities, including:Da Vinci Decathlon
Tournament of Minds
Festival of Speech
Intermediate and Senior Singers
Meriden participates in IGSSA (Independent Girls Schools' Sports Association) where sport teams representing Meriden are formed and play against other private girls schools in Sydney. There is also a Physical Education program which is compulsory for all girls in years 7–10, with 3 PE lessons per fortnight.
Meriden School's original house system was established in 1931 by the headmistress at the time, Miss Overy, who named the houses after English counties. The original four houses were:Warwick (Yellow)
In 2014, two more houses were introduced to meet the need for improved house-based pastoral care. In line with tradition, the new houses were named after English counties that are famous for their universities. The two new houses were:Oxford (Orange)
Each year, students in each house are to vote for their new Year 11 house leaders – the House Captain who is supported by the Service Officer, Arts Officer and Sports Officer. Through the house system, students participate in inter-house competitions in order to gain points for their house. Competitions include the Athletics Carnival, Swimming Carnival, House Choral Competition, House Arts Competition, Inter-house Sport Competition and Inter-house Maths Competition. The house with the most points at the end of the school year is awarded the Wallis Cup.Silma Ihram – education pioneer
Kath Carr (1909–99) – Garden designer
Desmonde Downing (1920–1975) – Stage designer
Barbara Davidson – Printmaker, specialising in etching
Kellie Hoggart – musician, member of Hi-5
Sarah Monahan – actress on Hey Dad..!
Natalie Tran – Vlogger, actress, comedian and writer, known by the handle communitychannel
Nadia Wheatley – writer, journalist
Pamela Clark – Editor of over 300 Cook books and Editorial and Food Director of the Australian Women's Weekly
Dr Katherine Georgouras OAM – Fellow of the University of Sydney Senate from 1979 to 1993 and former Associate Professor in Dermatology at the University of New South Wales
Elizabeth Broderick AO – Lawyer and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner
Jennifer Blackman AO – Retired Judge of the District Court of New South Wales
Bill Sinclair – Lawyer (also attended Trinity)
Elaine Cassidy (1930–2014) – former mayor
Betty Davy OAM (1919–2010) – teacher and activist
Eve Dutton OAM (1928–2014) – former mayor
Danielle LeRay – rhythmic gymnast
Naazmi Johnston – rhythmic gymnast
Jaelle Cohen – Commonwealth Games Rhythmic Gymnast 2014
Meriden's 'brother school' is Trinity Grammar School at Summer Hill, an Anglican day and boarding school for boys.