Morven Garden School

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Morven Garden School was established by the Theosophical Society in Sydney, Australia in 1918.

Educational philosophy

Organization and finances

L. W. Rogers, during his Australian lecture tour of 1918-1919, wrote:

The Theosophical School at Sydney impresses me as one of the really big things in the Australian Section. It is called Morven Garden School. This is its history: At its convention last year the Section subscribed $2500 and put the management in the hands of the executive committee. Two members attended to details. They bought a residence in the suburbs with six acres of wooded grounds and put only professional teachers in charge. That was only a few months ago — about last Easter. But applications came in so fast that new buildings had to be constructed. The money for that, as well as the partial payment made in advance, was raised by adding to the Section’s original $2500, loans from members at five percent interest.

The cost of the new school building was about $4000; of the Boys’ building, about $9000; of new dormitories about $5000; of various other work about $2500. All of this with the original cost represents approximately an investment of $40,000. The school can now accommodate ... about 120 resident pupils and about 80 day pupils. When I left Sydney there were about 40 of the former and 30 of the latter. Probably less than one-half of the whole are children of Theosophists. In age they range from about five to sixteen years.

One of the remarkable things about the school is that the charge for the year for resident pupils is less than $250, if under twelve years of age, and a trifle over $300 if above that age. As living expenses are much higher here than in the United States, it is the more remarkable. In less competent hands one would be inclined to think that altruism might outrun business caution, in making such favorable terms, but the most conspicuous thing about both the school and the Headquarters building is the financial soundness of the enterprise. They are self-sustaining in a way that includes interest charges, and the mortgages were carefully arranged in advance to run over such a long term that the surplus income gradually wears them away and they will automatically disappear. There is no burdensome debt, no appeals for contributions and no uneasiness about the future. It is truly masterly financing![1]

He followed up a few years later with a different attitude:

The school established by the Australian Section T.S. about seven years ago and known as the the Morvin Garden School has not only failed, and been closed, but has left the Australian Section with a "deficit of at least six thousand pounds," or nearly thirty thousand dollars! That's a pretty stiff price to pay for a little experiment in theosophical education. The loss, under the Australian form of organization, will fall personally upon members of the Section... One naturally wonders why such an experiment - and all theosophical schools are necessarily that - was permitted to continue after its impracticability had been fully demonstrated. Why go on a single term after it was clear that the receipts were not meeting expenses...[2]

By June 1926 the school property had been sold.[3]

Later years


  1. L. W. Rogers, “From Mr. Rogers: Cairns, Australia, Sept. 1st, 1918” The Messenger 6.8 (January 1919), 237.
  2. L. W. R[ogers]., "The School Fails" The Messenger 12.4 (September 1924), 53.
  3. Anonymous, "Theosophy Abroad: Australia" The Messenger 14.2 (June 1926), 19.