Ascham is one of the oldest non-denominational girls’ schools in Sydney, established in 1886. The archives comprise the official records of the School and donations of personal papers, memorabilia and photographs given generously by former students, staff and families.

Ascham’s historical record is rich with artefacts and memories, carefully curated for future generations.

The Octagon

The archives’ office and part of the collection are housed in The Octagon, a Georgian watchtower built in 1832 and the oldest building in Darling Point. The Octagon also has a small teaching museum on the second floor.

The Octagon, along with the rest of the School buildings, stands on land that formed part of the original Glenrock estate first settled by the Smith family in the early 1830s.

The Archives

The archival collection holds the following format-based collections drawn from both the official records of the school and donations received from the school community:

  • Paper records, including: the School Admission Register dating from 1902; Headmistress’ Annual Reports, dating from 1915 (digitised); Council Minutes from Ascham’s incorporation in 1937; Prize lists dating from 1900 (digitised); papers of the Old Girls’ Union, 1915 to present.
  • Publications, including: Charivari, the school magazine, from April 1903 (digitised); Ascham Old Girls’ Magazine (formerly Newsheet), 1943 to present; weekly newsletters and student newspapers.
  • Photographic collection, dating from 1895, in the process of being digitised.
  • Book collection, including: a fine collection of early edition Victorian novels; Miss Margaret Bailey’s personal library; prize books, dating from 1887; books about Ascham and its alumni.
  • Uniform collection, dating from 1920s, with replicas of the first uniform introduced in 1895.
  • Memorabilia and museum artefacts, dating from the 19th century.
  • Cartographic collection, including building plans dating from the 19th century.
  • Audio-visual collection, including film, sound, video and digital recordings.
Research and donations

The Ascham Archives is managed by a professional archivist, Marguerite Gillezeau, who can be contacted by email or by telephone on (02) 8356 7049 regarding donation and general reference enquiries.

Permission to conduct research leading to publication should be sought in writing to the Head of School.

Opening times

The Archives are open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the year.

Ascham School