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Celebrating 120 Years

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Nikki Williams

Director of Enrolments and Communications Cont-tara

Celebrating 120 Years

This year Tara Anglican School for Girls is celebrating 120 years in the life of the school. This is no small feat! What a magnificent thing she has become. She began very small as we all do and due to the love and care for her by generations of women and men, she has grown into the great school that she is today, one of Sydney’s finest Schools. We are a school with a rich tapestry – many people have contributed to her history. Many schools have come and gone in this time, but Tara, has not only survived but thrived.


Celebrating with our Community 

We have so many things to be thankful for – the students who have paved the way, the staff that care for the girls and the community that enriches all our lives. We have the great blessing of magnificent grounds, not many schools have what we have. Tara is a school, grounded in Christian faith which underpins everything we do, especially the values of affirmation, service to others, opportunity and integrity. Tara is a school that has a mission as a Christian school to empower young women to grow and thrive so that they may serve our local, national and global communities. And so many have gone on to do just that! This special milestone is a reason to celebrate and reflect on many years of unforgettable moments.

We now invite you to watch ‘Tara Celebrating 120 Years: Remembering Our Past’:

We turn our attention to the future with our next presentation. Tara is now preparing the next generation of girls who will reap the benefits of an education at this fine school. Tara is a strong community and together we make Tara. It is our students, teachers, staff, Old Girls, past and present parents, Council, and partnerships that give this School its life, its purpose and its joy. This year is no exception in Tara’s journey with many birthday celebrations and events ensuring Tara really is a place of great happiness and fabulous learning. There is such a bright future ahead and we want to share a small piece of this with you now.

We asked students, staff and parents – past, present and future – what Tara means to them and what we found was awe-inspiring in the video ‘Tara Celebrating 120 Years: Looking Towards Our Future’:


120 Gala Dinner Celebration 

The School Community  welcomed almost 500 community members to celebrate at our 120 Gala Dinner on Saturday night at Waterview in Bicentennial Park. We were very honoured to have so many Old Girls, past and current parents, past and current staff as well as guests attend this significant event to celebrate 120 years in the life of our school. We welcomed local politicians, Geoff Lee and Felicity Wilson (Tara Old Girl), as well as Dr Ruth Shatford and Mrs Carol Bowern, our past Principals, to the event. Both women have provided a considerable legacy to this school and have remained great friends to us.

Guests enjoyed canapés, a wonderful three course dinner, an excellent band and other entertainment on the night. They also bid for a wide range of holiday escapes and exciting local activities donated by local businesses, including a giraffe feeding experience, a Bali villa package, lazy afternoons cruising the local waterways, pamper packages as well as musical concerts and private chefs dinners. There were also a range of items available to win as part of the raffle.

Nights like this don’t just happen and we would like to thank the parents who have worked together in partnership with the staff and sponsors ensuring we all have such a wonderful evening.   

All the photos from the night are available here.  

120 Birthday Assembly 

Tara’s 120th Anniversary Celebrations have hit a real high note this week with the school hosting several events to mark the birthday. Year 5 students presented a wonderful and very clever tour through the history of the school, which included costumes and artefacts. The Tara Junior School also performed a musical item which demonstrated their talents in a most accomplished manner. The Boarders provided a parade of uniform items from the School’s past which received a great response. A large cake was cut to the sounds of the school singing Happy Birthday. A picnic with cupcakes followed with Irish Dancing for the whole school on the oval, finished off our special and joyous day.

All the photos from the day are available here.  

Tara Chapel Opening 

On Tuesday 28 February we celebrated a truly historic event in the life of the school, with the opening of the new Tara Chapel. Several special celebration events were held on the day. In attendance were students and their families, Tara Alumni, and past and present staff. The Archbishop of Sydney and President of the Tara School Council the Most Rev Dr Glenn Davies, along with the Bishop of Western Sydney the Rt Rev Ivan Lee, were special guests at the event.

All the photos from the day are available here.  

Our History

A School with 120 years of history is quite significant for Sydney as many schools have come and gone in this time but Tara has thrived. Today, Tara is an Anglican day and boarding school for girls from Early Learning to Year 12. It is a simple statement but it gives no clue to the marvelous story that has led to us being the school we are today.

Tara first opened its doors in 1897, when Miss Mary Elizabeth (Joan) Waugh was operating ‘morning classes’ in Parramatta. Since this time the school has changed from its humble beginnings as a small, ladies’ college, which also educated boys for many years, into a dynamic and vibrant, leading independent school where girls are empowered to achieve and serve in a dynamic world. 

Throughout its history, Tara has been governed by a succession of School Councils and Principals who have led with dedication and purpose. There are many people who have contributed to the Tara story and for this we are truly grateful. Today, Tara is an Anglican school and Christianity is foundational to us and influences everything we do in how we work and our approach to the care and learning for the girls and staff.

Celebrating 120 years of excellence in education is a very exciting milestone for our school. The legacy of Joan Waugh is as vibrant today as it was when she operated from her home “Tara” in George Street. 

As a school, we are committed to offering girls an outstanding education, based on best practice and designed to enable students to achieve academic performance which ranks at the highest levels for junior and senior schools. We are committed to an expectation that each girl will thrive and strive within a supportive learning culture.

 We have a strong academic focus, a comprehensive student wellbeing program and a host of wonderful opportunities for the girls in the co-curricular program. Performing Arts, sport, debating and public speaking, general interest groups, a telescope program, clubs and extra subjects.

There is always a great deal to do and there should be. It is interesting to speculate on what the next 120 years will bring, how our world will change and what the means for the education of Tara young women. Our core purpose will remain: to be a Christian learning community, characterised by excellence, which encourages and empowers girls to achieve and serve in a dynamic world. We treasure our past heritage and look forward to the next 120 years with confidence.

Happy Birthday Tara!


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