Illawarra provides a secure, stable and happy family-like environment, in which the girls can flourish and become strong, independent Pangbournians.

Illawarriors are encouraged to give their best to fulfil their potential and the House Values are Honesty, Courtesy and Loyalty.

It is a home from home with all birthdays in the Division marked with cake and brownies. The girls are invited to Mrs John's house for breakfast and snacks on a regular basis, and spend Friday evenings together, watching films and tucking in to homemade pancakes and fresh fruit dipped in chocolate fondue.

  • For Senior Students (Forms 3-6) Boarding Handbook, please click HERE

Every year, the Upper Sixth girls in the Division organise the sale of red carnations for Valentine's Day through the Flowers for Friends initiative to raise money for charity, with recent beneficiaries including The Pink Ribbon Foundation, Teenage Cancer Trust and the Alzheimer's Society.

There is also an annual Illawarra Mothers' Lunch at the beginning of the Michaelmas term, which offers the chance for new and existing mothers to get to know one another.

Illawarra’s two Brother Divisions are Hesperus and Port Jackson with half the girls joining Hesperus and half joining Port Jackson for certain Inter-Divisional competitions.

A popular room in the Division is The Bubble which includes a TV, a stunning view of the acres of grounds of the College's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from its upstairs vantage point and is the social hub of Illawarra.

Girls can play table tennis and take advantage of the 50” TV in the Gunroom [Common Room] and prizes are awarded for having well-tidied rooms for inspections and earning Merits.

The Division’s goals are to be a community with the highest possible academic contribution of each student, to celebrate any success as a House, to create a supportive environment and to maintain, respect and improve the boarding experience.

Illawarra is named after the biggest ship launched by the Devitt and Moore shipping company that first set up Pangbourne as a Nautical training college in 1917 before it took the name Pangbourne College and then later became a co-educational school.

From 1917-1927, Illawarra was the name given to the first term at the College and surrendered its independence as a boys’ division in 1988, before being resurrected into a new girls’ boarding house in 2007 to cater for the growing number of girls joining Pangbourne.

The Division is located next to the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, at the bottom end and right-hand side of the Parade Ground.

Illawarra’s mascot is a Kangaroo, its colour is green and the Division’s emblem is a capital ‘I’. Georgia Francis, who won a silver medal for Great Britain at the 2014 World U23 Rowing Championships, is a former Chief of Illawarra.

Student Opinion

You never feel alone. Everyone is really supportive and the rooms are very nice, very homely and very cosy. There’s a lovely environment in Illawarra.

There are a whole load of activities you can do as a boarder such as the trips on Sunday.

I am involved in the Navy section of the CCF and take piano lessons. I play the piano in Divisional music competitions. There’s a piano in Illawarra and I can play there at any time.

I find it very comfortable in Illawarra. The staff are really supportive and if you ask them any questions, they will help you.

The people who are in the Division make it special. Illawarra is quite a new house, there are two Common Rooms, a Prep Room and a Galley (kitchen) which is used very often.

After Prep sessions, I usually watch a movie. On Wednesdays and Fridays, we have snacks such as hot chocolate and pancakes with everyone together, everyone speaking.

The Music School is open on Sundays, the gym is open most of the time.

In Illawarra, there is always someone to talk to. In Upper Sixth, there are trained peer mentors and they help the Third Form do their prep.

On Sundays, we have a lie-in, brunch and the trips. One of the best trips was to the London Eye.

The best things about boarding at Pangbourne are how comfortable I feel and the facilities here. It’s like another home.

Petra Oslovicova
Former Full-Boarder 

Meet the Team


Mrs Nicky John joined Pangbourne as a Housemistress in September 2011 and lives in the Division with her husband, Gethin, and her son, Ben, while her daughter, Anna, attends the University of Leeds.

Mrs John is a Teacher of Chemistry and Junior Science, runs the Shooting programme at the College and is the Head of the Personal, Social, Health and Citizen Education (PSHCE).

Before arriving at Pangbourne, Mrs John was a Housemistress, Science Teacher and Head of PSHCE at Christ College in Brecon, Wales, having worked for 25 years in IT, variously as a Consultant Freelancer and as a Project and Programme Manager in the insurance and finance industry.

Mrs John – who hails from the Netherlands and is bilingual – is a strong advocate of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, having completed the Gold Award herself and met Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace at a celebration ceremony.

Mrs John's commitment to the DofE programme at Pangbourne sees her help with weekend camping, hiking trips and practice expeditions, and she is also part of the College's Royal Navy CCF section.

Among her hobbies are walking, learning the clarinet, taking part in triathlons, 10km road races and half marathons, and, previously, she has played squash at county level, completed the Three Peaks Challenge for charity and led a World Challenge trip to Vietnam and Laos.

Assistant Housemistress

Miss Liana Smith is the Head of PE and plays a key role in the running of the Division.


Mrs Dawn Grehan has been Illawarra Matron for three years, is always on hand to provide a listening ear and helps with the pastoral care of the girls.

Visiting Tutors

Ms Jenny Clubbe 

Mrs Kate Klymow


Mrs Katrina Oprawko's high standards set the tone for the Division and she is a valued member of the Illawarra team.