130 Years of Educating Girls

The history of Walford is an exciting story of vision and dedication to the education of girls.

Lydia Adamson

Walford Anglican School for Girls has an impressive history of educating girls and young women for 130 years! In 1893, Miss Lydia Adamson opened a school in her family home and quickly earned such an enviable reputation for quality teaching that the school had to relocate into purpose-built teaching rooms at Fisher Street, Malvern. Under her astute leadership, and then that of Miss Ellen Benham, who encouraged study of the sciences, the school flourished. That family ethos of early years remains a distinctive characteristic of Walford today. Hundreds of schools opened in those early first decades of Adelaide’s settlement and Walford is one of the few that survived the trials of World Wars and the Depression and continued its growth to become a leading girls’ school in Australia.

Ellen Benham

Miss Ellen Benham was an education pioneer for her time, gaining a Science Degree at the University of Adelaide in 1892. She brought a love of science to her pupils, motivating many to achieve Masters level qualifications in an era where few women studied scientific endeavours. The Walford Science Centre was named in her honour in recognition of not only her own scientific achievements but for her inspiration of scientific greatness in others.

Mabel Jewell Baker

In 1917 Miss Mabel Jewell Baker became the Headmistress of Walford and moved the growing school to its present site. Miss Baker fostered a reputation for sound scholarship and encouraged students in the Arts, Sport and Co-curricular activities. She also introduced the Old Scholars’ Association (1918), the Prefect system, the Parent-Teacher Association and the school motto, Virtute et Veritate (Courage and Truth). At the end of 1955 when Miss Baker retired, Walford had 450 students and a well-established boarding house.

1956 - 2011

Walford was incorporated as a Church of England Girls’ Grammar School in 1956 with Miss Nina Morrison as Headmistress. She was followed by Dr Helen Reid AM (1972-1991) and then Mrs Marilyn Haysom (1992-2004). As the school grew, adjacent properties were acquired and an extensive building program was undertaken.

In 2004 Mrs Helen Trebilcock become the first Head of Walford to use the title of Principal. Mrs Trebilcock had a strong commitment to the education of girls and was respected by her peers for her energetic, inspirational and dedicated approach to her work. Until her retirement she reinforced Walford’s reputation for encouraging the pursuit of excellence in every student.

2012 to 2022

In October 2012, Ms Rebecca Clarke accepted the invitation of the Council of Governors to become the eighth Principal of Walford. Today Walford aims to provide the finest education for girls through rigorous and challenging teaching, an extensive and varied co-curricular program and a supportive Christian environment. Ms Clarke has encouraged many innovations to the curriculum, with a vision to preparing students for a rapidly changing world that will require new skills and abilities. The campus has also developed with outstanding laboratory facilities in the Ellen Benham Science Centre, the Design and Innovation Centre and the new Pavilion at the Parks Playing Field. Ms Clarke is strong leader for girls’ education and the introduction of the mentor program for students provides direction and encouragement for every student to achieve HER BEST.

History of Leadership at Walford

Lydia Adamson

1893 – 1912

Ellen Benham

1912 – 1917

Mabel Jewell Baker OBE

1917 – 1955

Nina Morrison MBE

1956 – 1971

Dr Helen Reid AM

1972 – 1991

Marilyn Haysom

1992 – 2004

Helen Trebilcock

2004 – 2012

Rebecca Clarke

2012 – 2022
Principal - Dr Deborah Netolicky - web

Dr Deborah Netolicky

2023 –