College History

Founded in Pietermaritzburg in 1877, St Anne’s Diocesan College was established with the active support of the Anglican Church to educate girls in the soundest traditions of academic, cultural and sporting endeavour. Miss Emma Cresswell left a very successful St Mary’s College in Richmond at the end of 1876 to start a new school in Pietermaritzburg, initially known simply as ‘The Manse’, which had an intake of just 40 girls. Towards the end of 1877, the new school was officially, formally named St Anne’s Diocesan College.

In 1904, St Anne’s moved to Hilton Avenue in the little village of Hilton, to take advantage of a more temperate climate, along with space for the school to grow into the vast and spacious establishment that it is today.

2017 - 140th birthday celebrations

On 8 August 2017 St Anne’s celebrated Foundation Day, marking 140 years since the school was founded.

Foundation Day was a wonderful and joyous occasion made possible by the caring and dedicated staff and girls who made up our community. Everyone enjoyed numerous inter-house activities and a celebration day in the beautiful sunshine.

2016 - Laptop Rollout

In January 2016, each Grade 8 girl received a school-issued laptop. This was a carefully considered initiative to enhance the incorporation of electronic devices in support of the academic programme in an increasingly digital world. The St Anne’s student app was also launched the same year, and we formalised our Information Digital Literacy Programme.

2015 - THE SPORTS CENTRE IS OPENED

There was much excitement at the opening and blessing of The Sports Centre on 13 November 2015. The Sports Centre is a state of the art building and was specially designed by Architect Nick Grice to allow for indoor hockey, basketball and netball matches to be played. It also houses the Gym which is open to girls and staff for training.

2007 - SECOND CHAPEL EXTENSION

As the number of students at St Anne’s continued to grow, it became necessary to further extended the Chapel which was originally built in 1911. This latest extension included the addition of the Rose Window created by Ruth and Hunter Nisbet.

2002 - 125TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

St Anne’s celebrated 125 years of educating girls in 2002. The gift of the Old Girls to the College was a life-size bronze statue of a girl, ‘Annie’. She stands at the crossing of the paths on the front lawn and holds a ‘St Anne’s Lily’, an arum.

1982 - THE COMPUTER AGE

In 1982 St Anne’s bought its first and only computer and by 1983, all girls in Forms IV, V and VI had done a brief computer orientation course. It was, however, only in 1985 that the school established its first computer centre boasting eight Apple IIc machines. Each girl received half an hour of practice per week as the whole school was introduced to the computer literacy programme. The computer centre was remodeled in 1990 with the class room adjoining the old, small centre being...

incorporated to form a more spacious facility. Twelve new Archimedes Acorn machines were linked to a network and BBC software that offered excellent educational programs was used.

1977 - CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

The fountain that graces our front lawn was a centenary gift from Michaelhouse, brother school to St Anne’s. Behind it can be seen the tower clock, a gift from Kearsney College. Hilton College presented a beautiful painting of the St Anne’s building by Rowena Bush.

1966 - NEW SCIENCE LABORATORIES WERE OPENED

In this age of science it was significant that the new Lady Warden, Miss Joyce Carew, was herself a scientist. She felt that it was important for the school to offer all sciences to Matric level and she was personally responsible for overseeing the arrival of laboratory equipment. In 1964 she introduced the teaching of some elementary Physics and Chemistry to the junior forms in the College.

1957 - ST ANNE’S IS AWARDED ITS OWN ARMORIAL BEARINGS

St Anne’s was awarded its own armorial bearings in 1957 by the College of Arms in London. Until this date, the school had been incorrectly using arms of the Diocese of Maritzburg granted to Bishop Macrorie. It was agreed that the shield could remain very similar to the one the school had been using in error but an entirely new crest was designed to accompany the shield. An original badge was also designed for the school.

1945 - VICTORY IN EUROPE AND JAPAN

On both VE and VJ day, the whole school assembled in front of the main building whilst Miss Stone, Miss McLean and the heads of the five houses climbed the water tower. The Union Jack and the South African flag were raised whilst the heads of houses formed a guard of honour. A minutes silence was observed followed by the school enthusiastically singing ‘Die Stem’ and ‘God Save the King’. It was everyone’s hope that a great war would never again threaten the...

world and affect the little community of St Anne’s.

1943 - THE WORLD ONCE AGAIN AT WAR

Although school life was not drastically affected by another world war, it did see the arrival of evacuees from countries caught in the upheaval. By 1943, there were girls from England, Portugal, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, India and Kenya. It was difficult for these girls to settle in a strange country with a foreign culture but they were sheltered from the far reaching effects of war in Europe. The St Anne’s Old Girls were most directly affected with many of their husbands and sons...

being away on active service up north. The women themselves were also directly involved in various support services with Old Girls being a part of transport riding, nursing, canteen service, Coastal Defence service and Raid Air Protection.

1930 - Archdeacon Heyward Harris

“In the beginning there was vision and tremendous willingness of service, as well as great optimism, on the part of those pioneers of education…” Archdeacon Heyward Harris, St Anne’s Diocesan College Prize-Giving, September 1935

1930 - TENNIS AT ST ANNE’S

Tennis has always been a popular sport, even from Loop Street days when there was only one tennis court that the whole school shared. The first court was built in Hilton Road in 1905.

1930 - GIRLS TRAVELLED LONG DISTANCES BY TRAIN TO COLLEGE

A charming image of the three Edelsten sisters arriving at the Hilton Avenue Station in 1930.

1929 - ST ANNE’S CELEBRATES ITS JUBILEE YEAR

Despite being celebrated in the wrong year, St Anne’s marked their Jubilee in 1929. Only later was it discovered that the College had started in 1877, not 1879 as thought at the time. This aerial view shows the tennis courts, the Chapel, old Frances Baines (once the Mortimer’s house) and the original College buildings, in a very rural Hilton Road setting.

1926 - THEATRE AT ST ANNE’S

Plays and theatricals have always been popular at St Anne’s, especially in our early days when there was little opportunity to play sport and games. This image of the Macrorie House Play Cast shows that there was stiff competition between the houses even as early 1926.

1926 - THE HOUSE SYSTEM IS INTRODUCED

The introduction of the House system made a great change in the life of the school. The school was divided up into three houses named after founders and benefactors of the school; namely Usherwood, Macrorie and Frances Baines. These new houses were established in the main building in the original boarding areas. There was a narrow staircase at each end of the main building giving access to the different ‘houses’. An inter-house competition was held each year awarding points for...

school work and achievement in sport. Since the introduction of the House system a further three houses (Andrews, Marianne Browne and Mollie Stone) have been introduced and inter-house competitions are still an important part of school life.

1925 - ST ANNE’S HOCKEY TEAM POSE FOR A PHOTO

“And was the famous S.A.D.C ever beaten? Well, a few times, perhaps…”

1921 - SWIMMING POOL

The very first swimming pool was given by an anonymous benefactor and opened in 1921. Since then swimming has been a popular and successful sport and pastime. Only once ever has there been a report of a near incident… The original pool seen in this image is now part of the college water sanitation system.

1919 - RED GIRDLE AWARD ESTABLISHED

Lady Warden at the time, Miss Andrews, explained that the red girdle would be awarded to “all girls who reach a sufficiently good standard of deportment. This includes smartness at drill, quietness in moving about the house, personal neatness, and general good deportment.”

1917 - CRICKET AT ST ANNE’S

Cricket was very popular and continued to be played competitively until 1934.

1912 - COLLEGE CHAPEL

Miss Moore suggested to the College that the Chapel, intended to be built for our school once funds permitted, should be the gift of the girls. A Sale of Work was planned, which raised £300. Ultimately, our Chapel was opened on All Saints Day in 1912… Spot some of the old furniture from the Loop Street Chapel.

1912 - COLLEGE SHOOTING TEAM

St Anne’s College did very well at competitive shooting, which continued as a sport until the start of World War II, when it became impossible to get ammunition.

1911 - THE BAINES’S WATCHING A HOCKEY MATCH

Bishop Baines and his sister, Lady Warden, Frances Baines, watching our girls at a hockey match in 1911 at St Anne’s. This image supports the description of the grounds having little but grass and a few small wattles!

1910 - PROSPECTUS ADVERTISING THE COLLEGE

This is an image of the front page of the St Anne’s Prospectus from 1910. The College offered Religious Knowledge, English language and literature, History, Geography, French, Latin, Elementary Science, Mathematics, Class Drawing and Singing, Needlework, Nature Study (including scientific bee keeping and gardening). A new science room was in the offing… Extras included book-keeping, wood-carving and dancing.

1904 - ST ANNE’S MOVES TO HILTON AVENUE

In 1904 the College moved to the new premises in Hilton Road. It was a tough journey up the hill by train and most of the furniture, books and equipment was moved by the staff during school holidays.

1903 - ST ANNE’S COLLEGE FOUNDATION STONES

Two foundation stones flank the original entrance to the main school building. The original foundation stone was brought from the Loop street campus and laid as part of the special ceremony on August 8th, 1903. This symbolised continuity.

1903 - Foundation Stones

The new foundation stone was laid by the governor, Sir Henry McCallum, at the special ceremony on August 8th, 1903. The service was attended by guests from the Church, Michaelhouse, Hilton College and the staff and girls of St Anne’s.

1900 - CHAPEL ATTIRE

“As it upset St Paul to see women’s hair we had to have our heads covered in Chapel and were doled out (by the veil monitors) with an oblong veil of blue zephyr with tapes so that we could be decent.” Anonymous Old Girl, early 1900’s

1900 - COLLEGE STAFF

St Anne’s staff with Miss Marianne Browne in about 1895. Miss Mary Moore, who played an important role in the move to Hilton Road, is seated to Miss Browne’s right.

1900 - CHAPEL

Psalm 133: 1 – Life for evermore. Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is, brethren, to dwell together in unity… This verse was painted around the walls. Later photos of the room used as a Chapel at the Hilton Road St Anne’s campus showed a lot of the same furniture had moved with the College.

1900 - THE COLLEGE CROWS IN NUMBERS

The entire school posing for a photograph. (Undated.) The school is growing in numbers… The students are standing on the verandah in front of the dining room. Notice the little girls who were part of the school community.

1900 - LOOP STREET

Eliza Jane Usherwood, who had been appointed in Miss Cresswell’s place, purchased the vacated Bishop’s College buildings. She paid for their renovation and donated them to the Church. She also stood surety for the purchase of the new land in Hilton Road in the early 1900’s.

1894 - SPORT

“The opportunities for games were surprisingly inadequate – one tennis court and no hockey, so she never learned to play games.” Written round 1894 about Margaret Ethel Hallowes, nee Johnson

1879 - ST ANNE’S DIOCESAN COLLEGE ENROLLS 15 GIRLS

9 boarders and 6 day scholars were registered in the opening page of the St Anne’s Diocesan College Register on September 8, 1879 in Miss Usherwood’s beautiful copperplate script. This view of St Anne’s is from the gardens. The Chapel windows are visible. The windows above the verandah are dormitory windows.

1877 - ‘THE MANSE’, PIETERMARITZ STREET

“She has over 40 girls in a hired house (the Presbyterian Manse) which is too small, but we cannot find other quarters …” An extract from a letter by Bishop Macrorie. Sometime towards the end of 1877 the new school was named St Anne’s Diocesan College. Miss Cresswell resigned in July, 1879.

1876 - MISS CRESSWELL LEAVES ST MARY’S COLLEGE, RICHMOND

At the end of 1876, Miss Cresswell left a very successful St Mary’s College in Richmond to start a new school in Pietermaritzburg. Initially the new school, what we now know to be St Anne’s Diocesan College, was simply known as ‘The Manse’.