Wilderness School

Wilderness School

Infobox Aust school private
name = The Wilderness School

motto = " _la. Semper Verus"
"Always True"
established = 1884
type = Independent, Single-sex, Day and Boarding
denomination = Non-denominational
slogan =
key_people = Mrs. Jane Danvers (Principal)
fees =
city = Medindie
state = South Australia
country = Australia flagicon|Australia
enrolment = ~640 (R–12)
num_employ =
revenue =
colours = Brown and Blue color box|#964B00color box|#87CEEB
homepage = [http://www.wilderness.com.au/ www.wilderness.com.au]
Wilderness School is an independent, non-denominational Christian, day and boarding school for girls, located in Medindie, an inner northern suburb of Adelaide, South Australia.

Established by the Brown sisters in 1884, Wilderness is a Reception to Year 12 school, and also caters for Year 13. The school currently enrols approximately 640 students, including up to 65 boarders. In 2003, "The Australian" declared The Wilderness School one of the ten highest achieving schools in Australia. [http://www.wilderness.com.au/notices/best10schools.pdf The Australian- Wilderness School award] (accessed:26-06-2007)]

Wilderness School is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),cite web |url=http://www.ahisa.com.au/Display.aspx?tabid=3243& |title=School Directory|accessdate=2008-05-21 |year =2008 |work=South Australia |publisher=Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),cite web |url=http://www.jshaa.asn.au/southaustralia/directory/index.asp |title=JSHAA South Australian Directory of Members |accessdate=2008-05-21 |year =2008 |work=South Australia Branch|publisher=Junior School Heads' Association of Australia] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association,cite web |url=http://www.boarding.org.au/site/school_detail.cfm?schID=175 |title=Wilderness School |accessdate=2008-05-21 |year =2008 |work=Schools|publisher=Australian Boarding Schools' Association] and the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia (AGSA).cite web|url = http://www.agsa.org.au/members.php?PageID=11&Alpha=W|title = Member Schools|accessdate = 2008-05-21 |last = Butler|first = Jan|year = 2006|work = Members|publisher = The Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia]


Wilderness School was established by Margaret Hamilton Brown in 1884. Her sister Mamie, then aged five, was considered too delicate to walk to the local State school, and so it was decided that she should be educated at home by Margaret, a trained teacher. Subsequently, the school opened in their home at Mann Terrace, North Adelaide, with three girls and one boy as its foundation students.cite web|url= http://www.wilderness.com.au/flexipage.aspx?PageId=384|title= School History|accessdate= 2007-06-26 |year= 2007 |work= About Wilderness|publisher= Wilderness School]

The school moved to a site on Northcote Terrace in 1885, and in 1893, having outgrown that building, moved to its present location at 30 Northcote Terrace, Medindie. At this stage, both boys and girls attended the school, however boys left when they turned eight or nine and were old enough to enrol at boys' private schools. By 1895, there were 62 students enrolled, and 83 by 1900, with the first boarder arriving in approximately 1893.

As the school continued to grow, the younger Brown sisters also became involved. Margaret was Headmistress, Wynnie ran the Kindergarten, Annie took on the role of housekeeper and the care of the boarders, and Mamie, the first pupil, joined the teaching staff in 1898. The school subsequently became known as "The Misses Brown's School", although its correct name was The Medindie School and Kindergarten. In 1918, the name was changed to "The Wilderness", partly because of the wilderness-like grounds, and partly because the idea of "Forty years in the Wilderness" had a ring about it.

The school badge was introduced during the First World War, a gold lion rampant and the motto "Semper Verus", translated from Latin as "Always True". With the badge also came the first stages of a school uniform, a brown blazer for tennis team members, and by 1926, a uniform was being worn throughout the school.

By the late 1930s, Wilderness was thriving, having survived the effects of the Depression and taken on a large number of girls from other private schools, which had been forced to close as a result of those years. The Second World War brought some changes to the school routines, with black-out arrangements for the boarders, trenches in the school grounds, air-raid drill and the enrollment of English girls that had been sent out to relatives in Adelaide.

As the Brown sisters grew older, they became concerned about the future of the school, and in 1948 they subsequently transferred ownership of the school to a Company and Council of Governors. Mamie, who had gradually taken over as Headmistress from Margaret, retained her position as Headmistress until her retirement in 1951. 1949 saw the acknowledgement of the Browns' services to education in South Australia, with Margaret awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She died in 1952, 69 years after the establishment of her school. Mamie Brown, the last surviving Brown sister, died at the end of 1969.


In 2000, Wilderness changed its uniform, and became one of the first traditional private schools in Adelaide to allow girls to wear pants instead of the traditional winter skirt.


Wilderness maintains the sporting grounds at Park 6 on Robe Terrace, for use as hockey, lacrosse and soccer fields. Other sporting facilities include a gymnasium which was completed in 2005, and a boatshed at the South Australian Rowing Association complex at West Lakes for rowing.

House system

The Wilderness School has five houses, through which all girl's partake in intra-school activities:
*Amaryllis (Pink)
*Antholiza (Blue)
*Carob (Green)
*Cedar (Purple)
*Sparaxis (Gold)

Notable alumni

*Dr. Rosemary Brooks – Principal of St. Ann's College, University of Adelaide (also attended Reading Memorial High School)cite encyclopedia| editor = Suzannah Pearce| encyclopedia = Who's Who in Australia Live!| title = BROOKS Rosemary Helen Simon| accessdate = 2008-02-10| date = 2006-11-17| year = 2007| publisher = Crown Content Pty Ltd| location = North Melbourne, Vic]
*Annabelle Crabbe – Political columnist with "The Age"cite news| first = Jonathan| last = Green | title = Famous alumni on Latham's hit list| url = http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20060614-Famous-alumni-on-Lathams-hit-list.html| work = Politics| publisher = Crikey| date = 2005-03-30| accessdate = 2007-08-06]
*Ally Fowler – Actress
*Posie Graeme-Evans – Novelist; Producer; Director of Drama, Nine Network; Co-creator of "Hi-5" and "McLeod's Daughters" (also attended The Fahan School)cite encyclopedia| editor = Suzannah Pearce| encyclopedia = Who's Who in Australia Live!| title = GRAEME-EVANS Posie| accessdate = 2007-09-17| date = 2006-11-17| year = 2007| publisher = Crown Content Pty Ltd| location = North Melbourne, Vic]


ee also

*List of schools in South Australia
*List of boarding schools

External links

* [http://www.wilderness.com.au/ Wilderness School Website]

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