In March 1915 a school for young ladies opened at 4 Elizabeth Street, Launceston. The property had housed several schools for young gents and young ladies since the 1850s.
In 1884 it was purchased by Miss JC Hogg who conducted a school there. By 1914 the site was vacant, but Miss Hogg desired to have a school in her building, so she persuaded Miss Doris Wilkinson, daughter of the Reverend CG Wilkinson of the Church Grammar School, to establish a new school – the Launceston Church of England Girls’ Grammar School.
This school was structured under the auspices of the Church of England (Anglican) and was nurtured by the clergy of St John’s Church.
Miss Wilkinson opened her school with a modest enrolment, wrote the first school magazine herself, designed a school badge and chose ‘colours’ and a motto “I Serve”.
The badge was a bishop’s mitre with tails in silver with the motto below. The uniform consisted of a white blouse under a black ‘gym-style’ tunic, black stockings and shoes. Later a black wide-brimmed hat was added.
Noel Margaret Baird, Jean Annear, Ruth Baker and Ida Lois Birchall were among the first intake of pupils. Due to the troubled financial times of the Great War enrolments were low but sufficient. Classes were from Kindergarten to Grade VI (6).
Prefects were appointed each year to keep the older girls interested. The school library was of great interest to everyone.
Teachers were Miss Wilkinson assisted in the first year by a bevy of part-time and visiting people, among whom were Mr GF Hopkins, class singing; Miss Giblin, French; Miss Bradshaw, music and Miss C Mosey, a certificated kindergarten teacher. Miss Kate Perrin, MA was the Bursar. Joan and Joyce Wilkinson also assisted.
Other subjects included English in all its branches, mathematics, plain and fancy needlework, elocution, and sports like netball, tennis and hockey.
At the end of the war Launceston was swept into the depression years and the Launceston Girls’ Grammar School suffered badly having changed its headmistress twice.
The school closed in late 1922 having educated over 243 pupils including eight boys. With the closure the girls remaining went on to other schools – the Ladies’ College in Elphin Road; Broadland House, Lyttleton Street; or went home, married and had a family.
Ida Birchall studied in Melbourne and came back to Tasmania as a doctor. Other surnames on the enrolment list were Boatwright, Burrows and Bungey, Coogan, Coulter and Crabtree, and Miss Wilkinson’s sisters.