1895 – 1920


Edith Annesley Badham, SCEGGS’ first headmistress, was born at Louth, Lincolnshire in December 1853, the eldest child of Julia and Charles Badham, future Professor of Classics and Principal of the University of Sydney (1867 – 1884).

Edith spent her early years at school in France, arriving in New South Wales at the age of fourteen and her father from then on supervised her education. It is said she became so proficient in Greek, Latin, French and English Literature that she was able to assist him in his work and corrected public examination papers.  After his death she taught privately until her appointment as the Principal of SCEGGS.

Career at SCEGGS

Early in 1895, Miss Badham was invited to join a Committee appointed by the Church of England Synod to establish an Anglican Girls’ High School. She threw herself into this venture, she was on every subcommittee and was involved with every aspect of the School’s formation.

Miss Badham was appointed by this Committee to be the Head of SCEGGS in 1895 at the age of forty-two. Initially agreeing to be the School’s ‘Lady Principal’ for six months, she stayed till her death, 25 years later.

At SCEGGS we remember Miss Badham as an intellectual, with strength of character and strength as a person; tenacious, a formidable woman; warm and generous; and had a quick mind, great with words and prepared to speak out on the issues of the day.

“Everyone who knows anything about schools knows also that the most desirable asset that any school can have is that quality which is called esprit de corps, tradition or atmosphere; none of the names by which it is known is entirely satisfactory, but the quality itself can always be recognised. We are, even now, not very old as a school, only twenty three years old, and it would have been hard to develop a strong tradition in that time; but we are a Church School, and our tradition goes back for 1900 years.”