Our Past

The Bachmaans, ballet teachers, in front of the original IGS building in Randwick, circa 1984.

The original school in Randwick, 1984; ballet was taught by M. Bachmaan, who still works at IGS

International Grammar School was built upon the vision of Professor Reg St Leon to create a school based on bilingual immersion, diversity and acceptance.

IGS opened in 1984 in the Stanley Street premises of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Randwick. The School’s modest enrolment of 44 students ranging from Kindergarten to Year 11 grew to 123 students by the end of that first year — and by first term in 1985, enrolments had grown to 231.

Several years later, having lost the lease at Randwick, the School moved to the former Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory in Riley Street, Surry Hills. The old buildings were converted into a school in the space of just six weeks.

Commemorative Book: The IGS Story; Cover image by Patrick Riviere, 1986

View the School's timeline in this special edition book; cover photo © Patrick Riviere, 1986

The IGS Story: 1984–2014
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With expanding enrolments and the need for specialised high school teaching facilities, additional space was required. From 1990 to 1994, premises in Balmain were employed as a Senior High School, accomodating Years 11 and 12. In 1995, the High School reunited and moved to a temporary site in Mountain Street, Ultimo.

In 1997, IGS moved the whole school to its current premises on the historical site of the Dalgety Wool Store in Kelly Street, Ultimo. The architects sought a spectacular and colourful design that reflects the School's inner-city Sydney location, incorporating the building's historical facade with modern aesthetics.

Additional sites have enabled new learning spaces and opportunities across the full range of school activities.

The adjoining Wright Building in Bay Street opened in 2000 with new primary school classrooms. In 2005, the School opened the Senior Annexe in a converted warehouse building in Mountain Street, very close to the main building.

The Kerrie Murphy Building (KMB) at 1 Macarthur Street (adjacent to the Wright Building) was built through the Building Education Revolution funding and was officially opened in 2011. The KMB provides a Primary School Library, offices for languages staff and multi-purpose areas. In 2015, IGS acquired the property of 77-79 Bay Street for a senior art studio and administration and meeting spaces.

IGS now boasts a student population of 1,200 from Preschool to Year 12.

For more information about our buildings and location, see Our Facilities.


Learning Journeys 30th Anniversary Book

Learning Journeys

Our commemorative book, Learning Journeys — 30 years of International Grammar School 1984–2014, encapsulates the unique history of the School. The award-winning book celebrates the School's 30th anniversary.
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