Established in 1897, Tara has over 120 years experience in educating young people in the Parramatta and Hills region of Sydney. We are a school that understand girls' social and educational needs through the stages of childhood and adolescence. Tara enjoys excellent resources - including human resources and facilities. We are a proud school with a rich history.
This year Tara Anglican School for Girls is celebrating 120 years in the life of the school.
The name, Tara, recalls the Hill of Tara, in Ireland. Miss Joan Waugh who founded the school in 1897 was of Irish background and her family home, where Miss Waugh conducted her school, was called Tara. Miss Waugh had conducted classes in Roseneath Cottage Parramatta, at The Cedars and at St John's Hall Parramatta before moving the school to her home, Tara, in George Street.
When Miss Waugh died in 1946, the school moved for a time to All Saints' Church Hall in Parramatta and the school came under the guidance of the Church of England Synod. The school grew rapidly and in 1952 a new home was found at Ellangowan for the 142 Junior School boys and girls.
In 1953 the school commenced classes for Senior School students and Junior School pupils at Ellangowan and the school continued to prosper. The Tara parents lobbied for an independent School Council and their dream was realised in 1956 when an internal School Council, with Church leaders as representatives, was established. This is the form of governance which exists to this day.
The school grew very rapidly at Ellangowan and it was time again to find new and larger premises. The Smith Family Hospital for Children with Rheumatic Fever, at Masons Drive North Parrammatta was for sale and negotiations with the Smith Family Board were successful and Tara School had a new home. In Term 3, 1958, 103 Senior School girls commenced at the Masons Drive site with a new Principal, Miss Helen Claridge. Further construction of the Junior School and extensions to the Senior School facilities later commenced in 1969.
"Learning is at the heart of what Tara is about. Tara is an amazing school that has benefited from wise decisions throughout its history. Tara is now preparing the next generation of Tara girls who will reap the benefits of an education at this fine school."
Mrs Susan Middlebrook, Principal
The girls from Tara Junior School moved to the Masons Drive buildings late in 1970 and Tara has continued to develop and expand on this spacious site. Our vibrant history continues today with recent additional construction and buildings including the "wave" structure over the Junior School quadrangle, The Bowern Room which caters for outside school hour functions, Mouleric Field with special turf for hockey and football use and the Tara Telescope which was officially launched in March 2010.
In the latter part of 2009, the Senior Learning Centre was built in the Senior School. This facility gives senior students, particularly Years 11 and 12 girls, the opportunity for independent learning with specialist break out rooms and closer access to teaching staff. This building also proudly displays the Tara Quilt in the Main Reception foyer.
In 2010, Tara started a Pre-Kindergarten class, ELC, Tara's Early Learning Centre is a specialised program for 4 to 5 year old girls in preparation for Kindergarten and features individualised child centred programs with structured learning activities. In 2011, our beautiful new Junior School Library and Technology Centre, built as part of the Building Education Revolution project, was opened. In 2014 Tara launched new Senior School facilities and classrooms. The new colonnade and classrooms provides flexible learning spaces for our young digital citizens who require modern spaces in which to learn. Boarding at Tara is a living and learning environment like no other that provides girls with the opportunity to develop essential life skills, self-awareness and empathy for others. The redesign of Eggleton House in 2014, with a new entrance and foyer, has provided a more secure and stimulating environment for all boarders as well as the supportive and caring staff.
In 2015-2016 the Cottage Garden was established to recognise our proud history of the building site originally known as the Matron's Cottage. The Cottage was also home to several of Tara's past Headmistresses. In 2016 we finished building the Tara Chapel which will underpin the teaching, learning, development and celebration of Christian faith, well being and personal development of our students, staff and community. In 2017 Tara is celebrating its 120th birthday.
The School has never been just a place of buildings primarily but the constant thread through our 120 years and beyond has been a sense of caring and the feeling of being a "home" for the students entrusted to the school's care. If you have been associated with Tara or are a former student, please visit our Old Girls' page. We are always willing to receive donations to our archives and your memorabilia will help broaden the history of our School.
More Tara stories from Old Girls, staff, students and parents.