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Tara was founded in 1897 in Parramatta by Mary Elizabeth (Joan) Waugh.



Driven by a strong desire for the education of the children of the Parramatta district, Miss Waugh conducted morning lessons to sub-primary and primary aged boys and girls. The School was known as ‘Miss Waugh’s School’ and later as ‘Tara’, the same name as Miss Waugh’s grand family residence which also served as a home for the School and for a small number of boarders. Given Miss Waugh’s Irish roots, the School’s name is connected to the famous Hill of Tara in Ireland. In those early years, Tara experienced several relocations, however, by the mid-1920s, a more permanent home was found at the Northwood property on Hassall Street. Here, Miss Waugh continued her teaching of young boys and girls for the next twenty years.


Following Miss Waugh’s death in 1946, Tara parents and the Rector of All Saint’s Church in Parramatta, the Reverend Edward Walker, moved the School to All Saint’s Church Hall. In the following year, Tara came under the governance of the Council for the Promotion of Sydney Church of England Diocesan Schools. Due to an increase in student numbers, the School was relocated to the Ellangowan property and Mrs Nancy Katherine Buck was appointed Headmistress. At Ellangowan, the first secondary classes were offered and in 1955 a decision by the newly formed Tara House Committee saw the cessation of enrolment for boys. Tara had officially become a School for girls only. 

Becoming an Independent Church of England School

Tara experienced its most significant step forward to becoming an independent Church of England School when on the 15 October 1956 an ordinance creating a separate internal council for Tara was passed by the Standing Committee of Synod of the Diocese of Sydney. Then in 1958, the Tara Council approved the purchase of the Smith Family Hospital for Children with Rheumatic Fever property at Mount Arcadia, the School’s current location at Masons Drive in North Parramatta. The Reverend E.D.O. Crawford and Mrs Elizabeth Hake, both members of the School Council, were most instrumental in the purchase of this property. A new Headmistress, Miss Helen Winifred Gore Claridge was appointed in 1959 taking over from Mrs Buck and on 1 August of that same year Tara’s Senior School was officially opened at Masons Drive. Tara’s Junior School remained at Ellangowan until it was officially opened at Masons Drive on 14 November 1970. 


For 126 years, Tara, through the combined efforts of its Headmistresses and Principals, Council members, staff and parents, has evolved into a vibrant School community based on Anglican tradition and values. Tara’s diverse locations within the Parramatta district have added a rich complexity and a wealth of interest and variety to its history as well as to the broader history of The Cradle City of Australia, Parramatta. 


Tara Archives preserves the personal, corporate and social records of the School. A diverse range of items form our Collection and include photographs, ecclesiastical objects and vestments, uniforms, sporting trophies and plaques and School publications. Enquiries regarding items in our collection, donations or requests for loans can be directed to our Archivist.

Phone: (02) 8838 2604