The January 1886 Sydney Morning Herald announcement of the impending opening of the Wesleyan Ladies College, Burwood reported that the School would ‘make provision for those who wish to prepare for University honours’. This was only two years after the legal rights of women at the University of Sydney had been secured.
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; commencing MLC School’s enviable tradition of academic excellence.
From its inception, MLC School has valued academic and co-curricular achievements equally and has been a pioneer in all fields of girls’ education:
In 1982, each MLC School student in Year 5W received a Mac as part of the Computer Aided Learning Project at Kent House. 60 Minutes covered the learning project, which was an interesting and exciting innovation and enabled staff to clarify the direction that MLC School would take in terms of technology.
The House system commenced at MLC School in 1942 with the introduction of four Houses whose names were chosen from Aboriginal words commencing with MLCB – Mooramoora, Churunga, Leawarra, Booralee – to reflect the first letters of Methodist Ladies’ College Burwood. The red, green, violet and gold colours of these first four Houses, when combined with the indigo and pale blue of the School colours, create white light, an allusion to the School’s motto ‘Ut filiae lucis ambulate’ – ‘Walk as daughters of the light’. As the School population grew, six new Houses were added in 1992. Five take their names from eminent leaders in the School’s history: Lester, Prescott, Sutton, Wade and Whitley, while Abbeythorpe House takes its name from one of the original homes on the School site which was used as the Junior School from 1924 to 1977.
The MLC School Song, ‘Here In This House’, combines music by Australian composer Lindley Evans, a music teacher at the School during the 1930s, with lyrics by UK Poet Laureate John Masefield. It perfectly expresses MLC School’s tradition of passing on to the generations who follow, a place of beauty, truth and kindness. You can listen to a 1940s recording of the MLC School song here.
For 93 years, from 1886 to 1979, MLC School operated a boarding school. A destructive fire in 1977 led to its closing. The boarders' dining room, which survived the fire, was refurbished and in 1980 the MLC School Chapel held its first service.
MLC School is 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 for so long called Methodist Ladies College Burwood became known officially as MLC School.
Since 1886 some things have remained unchanged; 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; enthusiasm for, and success in, competitive sport; and a drive to set new standards in education for girls and young women.
The founding belief that girls can make great contributions to society has always been, and continues to be, evidenced in the remarkable achievements attained by the women of MLC School.
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