School History

  • 1884-1914
  • Rev PA Strasheim (Acting) 1885

    In September 1884 the Kerkraad of the Dutch Reformed Church, situated on the top of Carr Hill, decided to found a school for girls in Wynberg. Wynberg at this time was a little village on the wagon road from Cape Town. It was situated near the Military camp and surrounded by “Little Chelsea” with its cottages and narrow winding streets.

    The minister of the Dutch Reformed Church at that time lived in the old Pastorie where the boarding house is situated today. The church council decided to build a little school building (where the school library is today) and named the school “Ladies’ Seminary” – it was soon nicknamed the “School in the Bush.”

    Miss M Stewart 1885-1888

    The school was officially opened in 1885 with two teachers – Misses Annie Brink and Nellie Brink – and twenty-seven young boys and girls. The first principal was Miss Margaret Stewart (1885-1888)

    The school motto was chosen in 1890 – and the phrase Honour before Honours means “Personal integrity and character are more important than winning prizes and awards.” The first Standard Ten class matriculated in 1892, and until 1936, the school included pupils from Sub A to Standard Ten. The Cape Education Department took over the running of the school in 1905.

    The first hostel was built in 1885, and was situated where the main hall is today.

    The new school was built in 1900, and had dormitories upstairs. The room now used as a staff workroom and offices for HOD’s used to be a dormitory. Lab 1 was the kitchen, and the library was the dining room. The school at this time was called Girls’ Public School. During this time Physical Education and Sport were introduced into the school. Wynberg was the first girls’ school in South Africa to have a fully qualified Physical Education teacher, Mrs Dolly Rees who studied in London. A gymnasium was erected in 1900, and a hockey field was laid out where the Wellington Quad is today. Activities at school were hockey, cricket and tennis.

    Miss A Halley Chambers 1889-1914
    During Miss A Chambers’ time (1909-1914) as principal, the school hall was built. It is now our Ballet Hall and is the oldest building in the school, dating back to 1891.

  • 1915-1988
  • Miss King 1915-1932

    Under the leadership of Miss King, a new building was made for the junior pupils. The Peninsula Girls’ Schools Games Union was formed and Inter-schools events became a feature of school life. Prefect and House systems were introduced and the school magazine was revived, and has been published every year since 1916.

    Miss EB Hawkins 1933-1947

    In 1936, the Junior School became a separate school, but still wore the same uniform as the High School. School colours were originally brown and gold, but changed to navy and blue, until Miss Hawkins discovered an original silk banner and changed the colours back to brown and gold.

    The land the school was built on originally belonged to Captain Underwood who fought under the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. He named his estate Waterloo. In 1938, a new hostel was built and Miss Hawkins named it Waterloo House. Miss Hawkins asked the 5th Duke of Wellington if she could use his coat of arms as the new school badge. A new gymnasium was built, and opened in 1944, after the other one was damaged in a gale force wind.

    Miss A Currie – 1947-1961

    The classroom which is called Room A today was the only new classroom built during the difficult years after World War 11. In 1958, the new hall as we now know it was opened.

    Miss J Urie – 1962- 1988

    In 1963, the school song was written. In 1965, nine new classrooms were built. In 1968 four new tennis courts were built in Ellerslie Road. In 1969, the swimming pool was built (entirely out of school funds) and in 1970 the hockey field was grassed. The first tuck shop was opened behind the ballet hall, where our present kitchen is today. The 7th Duke of Wellington visited our school in 1969, and the names of our houses are associated with him.

    In 1974, Ballet was introduced as a subject. In 1984, in time for the Centenary celebrations, 17 new classrooms were built on the old hockey field and our school as we know it was complete.

  • 1989-1998
  • 1989-1998 Mrs C Walters 1988-1998

    In the year in which Mrs Walters arrived, a Parent Teacher Association was established for the first time, and matriculants were encouraged to become paid up members of the Wynberg Old Girls’ Union.

    In 1993, the library was completely refurbished: a mezzanine floor put in and the library administrative area extended. A new tuck shop between the hall and what was then the art room was built.

    From 1996-1998, significant technological developments were made: more television sets and video cassette recorders were bought. The new state of the art computer room was opened in 1997, and scanners, a digital camera and a hi-tech digital projector system were purchased, establishing this computer training centre as one of the finest in the country.

    During 1997, the hostel and the hockey clubhouse were renovated. Wynberg became the first South African school to lay an Astroturf. Computer Studies was introduced as an academic subject in 1998, and A-levels courses were offered either as a post matric course or as one which could be studied concurrently with Grades 11 and 12.

  • 1999-current day
  • Mrs S Harding 1999 –

    Mrs Harding officially took over as Principal in 1999 after serving as School Counsellor, Head of Department and Deputy Principal, at various times, since 1977.  Mrs Harding has made significant changes to buildings and policies since taking over as Principal. The computer room, a project Mrs Harding co-ordinated, is one of the most modern, advanced computer centres to be found in any school in South Africa  A strong commitment to every learner being computer literate has seen this centre developed and expanded. Teachers are also catered for in that there are two staff computer workrooms and all HOD’s have computers in their offices.

    The magnificent Art Room, with spectacular mountain views, and a large classroom teaching venue was opened in October 2002. Mrs Harding’s commitment to the welfare of Wynberg girls has always been evident. This was recently realised in two ways: the Life Skills wing and the new rain shelter.  The Life Skills wing is probably the most modern and up-to-date school Life Skills / Counselling Centre in the Western Cape, catering for Life Skills classes, counsellors and the extensive social work and support programme. The students’ welfare was of main concern with extensions to the tuck shop and the building of the rain shelter at the new Aliwal Road entrance, now allowing Wynberg girls to wait for their parents safely inside the school gates and to be protected from the weather.

    The story of our school in the early years is available in our school library.