Our history

Shelford Girls’ Grammar was opened as Shelford Girls’ School in 1898 by Miss Emily Dixon, who taught the first four pupils from a small house on Glen Eira Road, opposite St Mary’s Church. The name Shelford had significant meaning to Emily Dixon as her family were from Shelford, just outside Cambridge in England.

Around 1900, Miss Dixon moved the school to an address on Seymour Road and Miss Dora Blundell joined her as an assistant. When Miss Dixon retired in 1905, Miss Blundell, supported by her sister Miss Fanny Blundell, assumed the role of Headmistress and moved Shelford Girls’ School to their home at 77 Allison Road, Elsternwick.

It was the Blundell sisters' retirement in 1921 that brought Shelford to its current address at 3 Hood Crescent, Caulfield, when it was renamed Shelford Church of England Girls’ Grammar School. Persuaded by Dean HT Langley, the Vicar at St Mary’s Church, Miss Blundell gave the name of the school and her pupils to the Church. Under guidance from Dean Langley, the Church purchased the historical mansion Helenslea (built in 1863) to house Shelford for £4,000. Major renovations were completed in 1922, and during that period students were temporarily taught from the St Mary's Jubilee Church Hall, which still stands today.

Shelford was officially brought to Helenslea at the commencement of 1923, and has remained at the premises ever since. Whilst the Junior and Senior School students have always been accommodated at Hood Crescent, during the 1920s–1940s the younger infants were taught from St Margaret’s Hall in Ripley Grove, near the Caulfield Town Hall. These children were housed onsite at our Early Learning Centre (ELC).

About 30 years ago Shelford changed its name to Shelford Girls’ Grammar.

Shelford Girls’ Grammar has a proud history of excellence in girls’ education. In the 124 years since Emily Dixon taught her first pupils, nearly 5,000 children have passed through our school. Despite this large number of alumni, our school community has remained small and our culture caring. With the flux of decades and generations, Helenslea sits centrally and endures.

Helenslea today:

Helenslea in 1937:

1923 Dedication ceremony: