Our History - Remarkable girls achievements since 1886

Since 1886...

MLC School began by breaking the traditions of girls' education in New South Wales even as it opened in January 1886. The announcement of the impending opening of the Wesleyan Ladies College, Burwood in the Sydney Morning Herald, spoke of the school 'making provision for those who wish to prepare for university honours.' This was only five years after women had, for the first time, gained admission to The University of Sydney.

MLC School began with a radical recognition that much more could be expected of girls' skills and talents during their school education. Almost immediately these girls from Burwood distinguished themselves as university entrants and graduates, to begin MLC School's enviable tradition of academic excellence.


The initial four House names, chosen in 1942, are Aboriginal words: Mooramoora, 'good spirit'; Leawarra, 'uprising'; Churunga, 'sacred place' and Booralee, 'an ideal to which we must aspire'. Another five Houses take their names from eminent leaders in the school's history: Lester, Prescott, Sutton, Wade and Whitley. Abbeythorpe House takes its name from one of the original homes on the school site, which was for many years the Junior School.

The first four Houses have the colours red, green, violet and gold which when combined with the indigo and pale blue of the school colours, create white light, a reference to the school's motto Ut filiae lucis ambulate – 'Walk as daughters of the light'.

The School Song with music by Australian composer Lindley Evans, who was a teacher at the school during the 1930s, to lyrics by Poet Laureate John Masefield, encapsulates MLC School's traditions of passing to the generations to follow a place of beauty, truth and kindness.


MLC School has a wonderful history as a boarding school from its opening up until 1979. Fire destroyed the boarding area, dining room, offices and some classrooms in 1977.

MLC School is now a school in the Uniting Church in Australia. In June 1977 when the Methodist Church was subsumed into the new union of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches the school Methodist Ladies College Burwood became known officially as MLC School.

Since 1886 some things have been unchanging; the blues of the school's colours adopted from Oxford and Cambridge, the recognition of students' achievements on the annual Speech Night, music excellence at the highest levels of accomplishment in both performance and composition as well as enthusiasm for and success in competitive sport.

This founding belief that girls can make great contributions to society has always been, and continues to be, rewarded in the history of remarkable achievements attained by the women of MLC School.

For more information contact Barbara Hoffman: bhoffman@mlcsyd.nsw.edu.au, 8741 3214.

 Learn about some of our Outstanding Alumni

Moments in MLC School History