Lines of Flight
Lines of Flight

In 2023 a key milestone of our 130 year anniversary is the launch of our book, Lines of Flight, by Adjunct Professor Erica McWilliam AM. 

They work across the grain of linear-cumulative history, examining how this particular School community has sought both to resist and accommodate pressures for change from within and without. In doing so, the chapters neither laud nor lambast the efforts of those involved. Rather, they scrutinise the impact of war, depression and pandemic, of technology, fashion and protest, on the School community. Taken together, they display much of what has been left out of traditional school histories about the difficulties, disappointments and delights of educating girls.

The book is a radical departure from standard histories of schools. Lines of Flight brings a new visibility to the times and sensibilities in which students have done their learning. In its pages, Melbourne Girls Grammar is investigated as a culturally specific site of tension and contestation played out over the one hundred and thirty years since its founding.

The book’s chapters are thematic, as indicated by their titles.

A Cultural History of MGGS

Chapter headings such as ‘Trim, Taught and Tested’ and ‘Allies, Anglicans and Activists’, provide insight into how the ideas, culture and context of Melbourne are explored. They point to the crucible of educational design and forward thinking that has always been the hallmark of MGGS.

Rather than a sanitised interpretation of how the School came to be, we are invited into the world of the students, who reveal the characters they encountered, and perceptions of their school. The voice of the student is woven through the text with colourful characters such as Valentine Leeper in the 1910s, to our current Middle and Senior Years Grammarians who provide insightful musings such as “I hope that in seventy years that all of the world can come together and become a community like Melbourne Girls Grammar has done to accept everyone’s differences no matter who they are.”

A lively and witty insight is provided that situates readers into the life, the thinking and the strength of the leaders that the girls were exposed to. The thought provoking narrative is infused with vignettes of life at the school, situated within the cultural context of Melbourne, as we are invited into the world of headmistresses, teachers, students and community leaders.



Lines of Flight is not a one-dimensional celebratory narrative about MGGS. Nor is it a hall of fame focussed on specific individuals. Rather, it interrogates personalities, thinking and cultural norms and how the School has boldly taken a stance, responded and defined itself.

Adjunct Professor Erica McWilliam AM
Limited Editions Available Now

We are delighted to offer our community the opportunity to order Limited Editions of Lines of Flight. 

Options available to purchase:

Lines of Flight Hardcover Limited Edition

$130 (including GST)

A limited print run of only 500 copies of this book are available. This navy linen bound book is a true collectors item, and features gold foil detailing, debossing, matt laminate cameo, endpapers, H&T bands, a ribbon marker and a hand made slip case. 

Lines of Flight Paperback Edition

$65 (including GST)

A paperback version of Lines of Flight will also be available for purchase. With a matt laminate drawn on soft cover, this book includes an embossed cover embellished with gold foil and section sewn. 


This book is a celebration of the history of Melbourne Girls Grammar. It identifies the boldness and courage of generations of women who have graced the halls of this remarkable school and gone on to innovate through their dynamism and energy. 

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal

Lines of Flight Book

$65 - $130

Limited Edition Hardcover: A limited print run of only 500 copies of this book are available. This navy linen bound book is a true collectors item, and features gold foil detailing, debossing, matt laminate cameo, endpapers, H&T bands, a ribbon marker and a hand made slip case.

Paperback: Includes a matt laminate drawn on soft cover and hard hit foil cover and is section sewn.

Photo Credits

  • Banner Image: Image of the whole school in front of Merton Hall in 1905.
  1. Ethel Spowers (Australia, b. 1890, d. 1947), Swings 1932, colour linocut, printed on thin ivory laid tissue, 24.2×26.3 cm image, Art Gallery of New South Wales purchased 1976.  Image © AGNSW 144.1976. 
  2. Year 5 Students Paris Hua and Winifred Nicholls playing at Wildfell in 2022.
  3. Whole School in 1894 at Merton Hall. Emily Hensley and Alice Taylor are pictured in the second row.
  4. Whole School in 1904 in front of Merton Hall. 
  5. Portrait of Miss D.J. Ross by Diana Mogensen, Old Grammarian.
  6. Adela Pankhurst giving a speech outside, The Carrington Press Printers, New South Wales, 28 January 1941, National Library of Australia, PIC Row 14/6/2 #PIC/15611/4213, Fairfax Archive of glass plate negatives.