The House System
The House system started at St Mary’s in 1938 with the formation of three Houses. Later Houses were added due to the expansion of the School from Colin St, West Perth to Elliott Road, Karrinyup, and the increase in student numbers. All the Houses were named after prominent Western Australian citizens who had been significant benefactors to the School, had shown leadership and service in the community, and were strong supporters of the Anglican Church.
Riley House was named in 1940 after Bishop Charles Lawrence Riley CBE MA LLB DTh Cambridge 1888 to 1971. Bishop Riley was the founder of the School, being the St Mary’s Church West Perth parish priest who joined the Girls’ Grammar School and the Alexandra High School to form St Mary’s Church of England Girls’ School as a parish school in the St Mary’s Church parish hall. He was the first Principal 1921 to 1923, and Chairman of the Board of Governors 1921 to 1930. He also taught Latin and Divinity. He was later President of the fund-raising committee to move St Mary’s from West Perth to Karrinyup. His two daughters, Molly and Joan, attended St Mary’s. The Riley House colour is dark blue.
Hackett House was named in 1940 after Sir John Winthrop Hackett KCMG BA MA Trinity 1848 to 1916. St Mary’s received an annual bequest of assistance from the estate of Sir John Hackett, which helped considerably with the early development of the School. The recognition of Sir John Hackett’s substantial contribution to the educational and cultural life of the state, most importantly helping to establish the University of Western Australia, the Battye Library and the Western Australian Museum, was a key factor in choosing to name a House after him. The Hackett House colour is yellow.
Wittenoom House was named in 1940 after Frederick (known as Frank) Francis Burdett Wittenoom 1855 to 1939. Frank Wittenoom was a pastoralist, traveller and adventurer, but was also a strong member of the St Mary’s Church West Perth parish. He gave considerably to the early building needs of the school in West Perth, being largely responsible for the classrooms built over the summer of 1921 to 1922 and hall alterations. Wittenoom Hall, which housed the first Kindergarten, was named after him. The Wittenoom House colour is red.
Wardle House was named in 1970 after Sir Thomas Edward Wardle 1912 to 1997. Sir Thomas was the founder and owner of the ‘Tom the Cheap’ grocery stores which became a large and profitable grocery and retail chain. He was Lord Mayor of Perth from 1967 to 1972 and was a prominent member of many boards and fund-raising charities. His daughter Diane, attended St Mary’s. Sir Thomas and his wife, Lady Wardle, were significant benefactors to the capital development of St Mary’s for many years. The Wardle House colour is green.
Craig House was named in 1980 after Mrs Frances Eileen Craig MBE 1896 to 1974. Mrs Craig was an important member of the St Mary’s Board of Governors from 1954 to 1958. She worked to renovate and improve the conditions of the boarding houses used by St Mary’s in West Perth. Her prominence and influence on many community boards and organisations, including the Country Women’s Association and the Save the Children Fund, helped Mrs Craig bring about great change and awareness of the needs of women and children in the community. Her husband, Leslie Craig, was a prominent farmer, businessman and politician, and was instrumental in bringing Hale School from West Perth to Wembley Downs. The Craig House colour is purple.
Lefroy House was named in 1980 after the pioneering Lefroy family of Western Australia. St Mary’s has a strong association with many members of the family, but celebrates two in particular: Mr John Henry Maxwell (known as Maxwell) Lefroy 1865 to 1936 and Sir Anthony Langlois Bruce Lefroy 1881 to 1958. Maxwell Lefroy was a great friend and rendered dedicated service to the Rev’d C.L. Riley, being the Rector’s Warden of St Mary’s Church West Perth. He was also a member of the Board of Governors from 1921 to 1929. Sir Anthony Lefroy was a property owner of expanses of land in the Murchison and was a member of many government and community organisations, including The Red Cross Society and University of Western Australia. Sir Anthony was a strong member of the St Mary’s Church West Perth parish. The Lefroy House colour is light blue.