Inside Australia’s most expensive schools


Australian parents are forking out more than $40,000 a year in some cases to send their children to the nation's most private elite schools.

And with big-ticket features like yoga studios and equestrian centres, some of these institutions resemble ritzy country clubs and spas more than high schools.

On top of their world-class facilities, many boast famous alumni, moulding the minds of politicians, media moguls and business titans through classes that range from psychology to ceramics.

Ignoring the additional costs of uniforms or textbooks, 12 years of tuition at Australia's top private schools can come close to - if not exceed, once a couple of extra-curricular trips to France are thrown in - an eye-watering $500,000.

It's not rare for some parents to "work three jobs to keep their children" enrolled, Association of Independent Schools NSW chief executive Dr Geoff Newcombe told The Daily Telegraph earlier this year.

But are the heated pools, arts studios and the gravitas that comes with saying you attended the same school as the future British monarch worth it? Judge for yourself below.

Geelong Grammar is Australia’s most expensive school.
Geelong Grammar is Australia’s most expensive school.


On the northern outskirts of Geelong and the edge of Corio Bay sits Australia's most expensive private school.

Offering more than 100 co-curricular activities and a wide spectrum of sporting pursuits, visual arts, drama and music programs, the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Prince Charles and Portia de Rossi have strolled the halls of Geelong Grammar School since its establishment in 1855.

State-of-the-art and heritage buildings - housing science labs, libraries and lecture theatres - dot Geelong Grammar's sprawling 245 hectare campus, where sports-mad students can hone their skills at multipurpose indoor courts, a 10-lane indoor swimming pool, the school's dance and yoga studios, or an all-weather tennis and hockey facility with competition-level lighting, among other facilities.

And of course, don't forget your boat - or your pony. The school's prime location on the water's edge is ideal for year-round sailing, while a world-class equestrian centre is perfect for horse enthusiasts.

The school’s prime location on the edge of Corio Bay is ideal for year-round sailing.
The school’s prime location on the edge of Corio Bay is ideal for year-round sailing.


It also boasts a world class equestrian centre.
It also boasts a world class equestrian centre.


Not to be outdone, nestled in Sydney's eastern suburbs you'll find SCEGGS Darlinghurst, an independent single-sex primary and secondary day and boarding school for girls.

Attended by Claudia Karvan, Gillian Armstrong and Roxy Jacenko, access to the SCEGGS's performing arts centre, playhouse and international-standard sports facility will set parents of senior girls back $41,090 a year.

Not only does the school boast co-curricular activities like debating, drama, photography and a range of special interest groups, students can also take their pick from more than 16 different sports - which include everything from volleyball, tennis and gymnastics to yoga and pilates.

SCEGGS Darlinghurst, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
SCEGGS Darlinghurst, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.


In Melbourne's Burwood lies Mount Scopus Memorial College - an independent Modern Orthodox Jewish comprehensive, coeducational primary and secondary school where the performing arts are strongly supported and extensive sporting facilities lie in wait.

Josh Frydenberg, Michael Gudinski and Geoffrey Edelsten are among those who've enjoyed the college's countless offerings and diverse range of opportunities for students of all interests.

Professional coaching is offered to participants across more than 20 sports to ensure they reach their potential, with the college's main Gandel Campus home to a gymnasium, tennis courts and swimming pool, as well as a performing arts centre, multimedia centre, computer rooms and cafeteria.

Students are also encouraged to participate in community service activities, public speaking and school publications - with leadership opportunities offered from early primary onward.


Taking the cake in the Sunshine State is the Brisbane Grammar School - where boys can explore their "special interests" over 30 different clubs and activities, whether it be aviation or lapidary (which, to the unfamiliar, is the engraving, cutting or polishing of stones and gems - a common classroom activity we've all enjoyed, I'm sure).

Tuition for senior boys is a cool $29,450 - but BGS has an impressive campus, parts of which sprawl across Brisbane (and even outside of it), justifying the means to an end.

Brisbane Grammar School takes the cake for Queensland.
Brisbane Grammar School takes the cake for Queensland.

Offering everything from a world-class indoor sports centre - with a swimming pool, basketball courts and weights training gym - that can hold up to 300 spectators to one of Australia's best school-based tennis facilities, BGS also boasts one of Australia's premier rowing facilities, with a dedicated pontoon and state-of-the-art fleet.

One of the school's most remarkable aspects, however, lies an hour and 15 minutes southwest of Brisbane on the shores of Lake Moogerah: an outdoor education property with accommodation, an industrial kitchen, climbing tower and ropes courses.


Over in Western Australia you'll find one of Perth's most prestigious girls' schools - home to a rowing centre, heated 25-metre swimming pool and three-storey, world-first facility with running machines, cushions and meditation music aimed at putting mental health at the centre of the curriculum.

The latter offering is the Presbyterian Ladies College "PLC Lighthouse", which includes a kitchen for lessons on health nutrition, a meditation room for contemplation and a "recharge room" where its female students can take short naps of up to 30 minutes.

Students are also privy to a wide-reaching Australian and international (COVID-permitting) tour program, focusing on academic development, sport, service and cultural immersion.


Last but not least, four kilometres from the Adelaide CBD we have the Walford Anglican School for Girls - where for $27,900 a year, students enjoy modern, well-equipped educational, performing and sporting facilities.

Rowing machines at the Adelaide’s Walford Anglican School for Girls.
Rowing machines at the Adelaide’s Walford Anglican School for Girls.


The school’s exterior, located just four kilometres from the Adelaide CBD.
The school’s exterior, located just four kilometres from the Adelaide CBD.

From netball and hockey to badminton and sailing, students have access to various sporting courts, a movement studio, fitness room and heated swimming pool.

Specialist art, drama and music facilities, meanwhile, enable students to develop their special talents and skills inside a performing arts centre fitted with tiered seating and professional sound, light and staging.

Originally published as Inside Australia's most expensive schools