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Penrhos College is rich in history dating back to 1952.

1952 Penrhos College was founded in when Methodist Ladies’ College (MLC) Claremont purchased St Anne’s School in Angelo Street, South Perth.

1952 Inaugural Principal appointed - Mrs Margaret Way, an MLC Claremont Old Girl and St Anne’s parent, agrees to act as Principal. An accountant by profession, Mrs Way’s extraordinary vision and determination steers Penrhos College through its early years. 

1950s The school outgrows its facilities and classrooms and science labs are added in 1955. The initial College crest, of the intertwined letters MLC on a shield, and the school motto, ‘Per Ardua Ad Alta’ (‘Strive for the Heights’), are adopted from MLC Claremont.

1957 Purchase of 20 Onslow Street for the new Junior House. The Onslow Street School remains in the hands of Penrhos College until it is sold in 1972.

1959 ‘South Perth’ is added below the crest at the same time changes are made to the uniform.

1961 MLC South Perth’s first graduating class and the first SAGA magazine is published.

1963 The College name change to Penrhos MLC is approved.

Mrs Way approaches the government about the site in Como. The name change to Penrhos MLC is approved and announced by College Council and becomes effective in 1964. ‘South Perth’ is dropped from the badge. The letters ‘MLC’ and the motto are retained and ‘Penrhos’ is added to surmount the crest.

1966 Land in Como is granted to the College, Cameron, Chisholm & Nicol appointed as architects. Picnic in Pines is held in August where School Captain Miss Boele van Hensbroek and Vice-Captain Miss Torrance raise the school flag as part of the ceremony of settling new land.

1970 – 1971 Work commences on the Como site and the Foundation Stone is laid in July 1970. First regular meeting of Penrhos MLC Council – is held on 13 February 1971. The inaugural Chairman of Penrhos MLC Council is Rev Wilbrey. 

1971 The first classes at Como (Year 10 - 12) are held in February. The first Boarding House, Colwyn, is also opened this year.

1972 Dr Vincent Horner joins Penrhos College and is responsible for establishing the Student Representative Council (SRC) as a way of involving students in the management of the school. Dr Horner oversees the building of the Olympic-sized swimming pool in 1974 through a $3 building levy, paid per child per term. Years 7, 8 and 9 moves to the Como campus.

1974 Junior School moves to Como campus.

1975 The school name is changed to Penrhos College and a completely new crest is designed. The shield is retained, but super-imposed with a Christian cross. One quadrant of the shield bears the red Welsh dragon, indicating the relationship with Penrhos College, Wales. Diagonally opposite is the black swan, the symbol of Western Australia. To maintain a link to MLC Claremont, the Latin motto is loosely translated into English ‘Strive for the Highest’ and is retained.

1975 Penrhos wins its first IGSSA Athletics trophy.

1976 Kobeelya, a girls’ boarding school in Katanning, is taken over by Penrhos College in February. Miss Valrie Mayger joins Kobeelya as Principal in 1978. Kobeelya remains open until June 1986.

1977 The Sports Centre, then named ‘Jubilee Hall’, opens in December.

1981 Rev Alan Green takes up the role of Principal. Rev Green keenly promotes music at Penrhos and, together with Vice-Principal Mrs Betty Harman, also establishes a ‘Language Evening’ to promote languages at the College.

1986 The iconic Margaret Way Courtyard, forming the heart of the Senior School, is completed. The Chapel is also opened and dedicated on 19 September.

1986 Mr Graham Rixon is appointed Principal. Mr Rixon is fondly remembered as the College’s longest-serving Principal to date. Some of his many notable achievements include the 50th anniversary Vision 2000 project and establishing Penrhos College as a technology-rich school.

1987 Mrs Jennifer Robertson is appointed to the new position of Head of Junior School.

1988 Miss Valrie Mayger, former Principal of Kobeelya, is appointed Vice-Principal upon Mrs Harman’s retirement.

1988 The Penrhos College Foundation is established by a group of parents in July, with a view to securing the financial future of the College. Mr Michael Boud is the inaugural President.

1991 The first issue of The Penrhosian magazine is published.

1995 Penrhos College is one of the first Western Australian schools to establish a Middle School, dedicated to the education of girls in Years 7 - 9. Mrs Vicky Sunderland is appointed as the inaugural Head of Middle School.

1995 The Performing Arts Centre (later renamed the Rixon Theatre) opens on 11 March 1995.

1997 The Penrhos swimming team wins its first IGSSA Swimming Carnival.

1997 Signalling a move towards the forefront of technology, student ownership of laptops is introduced in Years 5 and 8.

2000 The Vision 2000 50th Anniversary building program gets underway, including an upgrade and extensions to the Sports Centre, Dining Hall and Boarding House. The Main Administration building also benefits from a facelift and extension.

2008 The College’s long-serving Administrator, Mr Llew Woodford, retires and the Function Centre is named in his honour.

2008 Dr Glenda Parkin joins the College. Dr Parkin made a special contribution, defining the College’s strategic directions and approach to education – encompassing the mind, heart, body and spirit of each girl. The College community is deeply saddened when Dr Parkin is diagnosed with Benson’s syndrome and subsequently retired from her role in 2010.

2009 The impressively rebuilt Menai Boarding House is completed in October, taking the College’s standard of boarding facilities to new heights.

2010 The Middle School ceases as a separate entity, and the College is restructured to a Junior School and Secondary School.

2011 Mrs Meg Melville’s appointment as Principal is warmly received by the College community who have come to know and love her in the role as Head of Senior School, or formerly as a teacher of Economics in 1979.

2011 The Early Learning Centre opens on 18 March, supported by the Federal Government’s ‘Building the Education Revolution’ scheme.

2012 The College celebrates its 60th anniversary. The new uniform is launched in Term 4. The new Colwyn Staff Centre is opened.

2015 The College’s long-serving staff member and Dean of Co-Curricular, Mr Norbert Fandry, retires and the Sports Centre is renamed in his honour.

2016 The new Creative Arts and Design Centre opens in July.

2017 Penrhos College wins the primary and secondary Governor’s School STEM Awards.

2018 Penrhos College releases its ‘Learn Strong – Slaying Stereotypes’ campaign.

2019 Main works for the $10.9m Science Innovation Centre commence.

2019 Penrhos is the first private girls’ school in WA to introduce trousers as a uniform option for girls in Years 4 – 12.

2020 Following Trish Somers’ departure, Wayne Revitt joins the College as Head of Junior School

Principal Meg Melville retires from Penrhos College after 30 years of service.

The College took on the challenge of remote learning for a short period of time during COVID-19 disruptions.

2021 College Council appoints the seventh Principal of Penrhos College, Kalea Haran, who joined the College in January 2021. 

Meg Melville Science Innovation Centre opened Term 1, 2021 with the official naming ceremony on 2 March 2021.  

2022 Penrhos College celebrates 70 years. 

The Boarding Lawn is renamed to Kobeelya Lawn in celebration of the Kobeelya 100-year anniversary.

2023 After two years of conceptualisation and planning, Penrhos College launches its new Strategic Direction, Courage Starts Here.