In 1887, Sister Fanny, together with Novices Anna and Margaret (who took their vows soon after they arrived), were sent out to Pietermaritzburg from England to look after and educate orphans. Within months, they were running the St Cross Orphanage in Loop Street and had named their little community ‘The Society of St John the Divine’.

As the orphanage expanded, the Sisters decided to build a boarding facility to accommodate children who wished to attend school in the town. Thus, in 1894, the foundation stone to the convent in Burger Street was laid where the present medical centre now exists. Numbers continued to grow and the building next to the convent was acquired for older girls and was named ‘St John’s School’ in 1897. The following year, this building became a school for girls from kindergarten to Matric.

In 1913, a new site was selected in Scottsville to create more space for playing fields, more accommodation for boarders and better school buildings. Thus began the development of the school we know today. The original school building, opened in 1915, is now part of the Junior School, with the Junior Resource Centre being the original School Hall.


In the lead up to our 125th birthday, we launched a monthly video series highlighting each decade in our special school’s history. Take a look!