Woman Westmoreland, Annie (1865 - 1946)


Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne and Deborah Towns, Swinburne University

Annie Westmoreland was a pioneer of the kindergarten movement in Melbourne and a co-founder of the Kindergarten Society, later the Free Kindergarten Union.

Born in England in 1865 she trained in kindergarten teaching in Auckland, New Zealand, before migrating to Victoria. From 1895-1902 she was head of the kindergarten in a privately owned school, Adamsdown, which was run by the family of sisters, Edith, Martha and Elizabeth Bruford. It was the largest girls' school in the Malvern Caulfield area in the early decades of the twentieth century. Westmoreland was one of the earliest practitioners of Froebel's teaching methods in Victoria. In 1899 she gave lectures at the University of Melbourne on kindergarten methods for sub-primary teachers. In 1902 she moved to Ruyton Girls' School, Kew, where she was director/proprietor of the Ruyton Kindergarten Training School. With her sister, Elizabeth, as her assistant she ran a fee paying training school for kindergarten teachers. Her course was for two years. She also taught children, aged three to eight years. In 1908, after the Registration of Teachers and Schools Act (1905) came into force she registered her school as a kindergarten training school. She helped establish the state's second free kindergarten in Collingwood Annie Westmoreland sold her kindergarten to the Ruyton school in 1913 due to her ill health. After the sale of the school, the Westmoreland sisters moved to Healesville where they ran a holiday home for children for many years.

In 1902 Westmoreland co-founded the Kindergarten Society, known from 1908 as the Free Kindergarten Union, an organisation influenced both by the ideals of Froebel and the New Education Movement and Christian philanthropy. She served as the Society's first President and one of her own staff members, Marion Champlin, became the director and later the first supervisor of the Free Kindergarten Union kindergartens. Through her efforts, Westmoreland inspired Kew residents to call a public meeting and form the committee which was responsible for the establishment and administration of the Burnley Free Kindergarten in 1906. The Burnley Free Kindergarten was established in a Presbyterian Church hall in the working-class suburb of Burnley.

Westmoreland continued her association with the Free Kindergarten Union, carrying out charitable work in support of the Union's activities. She died in 1946.

Published Resources


  • Gardiner, Lyndsay, The Free Kindergarten Union of Victoria, 1908-1980, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), Hawthorn, Victoria, 1982. Details
  • Theobald, Marjorie R, Ruyton Remembers, 1878 - 1978, Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 1978. Details
  • Theobald, Marjorie R, Knowing women: origins of women's education in nineteenth-century Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1996. Details

Book Sections

  • Clyde, Margaret, 'The Development of Kindergartens in Australia at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: A Response to Social Pressures and Educational Influences', in Wollons, Roberta Lyn (ed.), Kindergartens and culture: the global diffusion of an idea, Yale University Press, London, England, 2000, p. 107. Details
  • Faragher, Joan, 'Anne Westmoreland 1865 - 1921', in Joan Waters (ed.), With Passion, Perseverance and Practicality: 100 Women Who Influenced Australian Children's Services, 1841-2001, OMEP Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, 2002, pp. 104 - 195. Details

Online Resources

See also