Our School - Our History


Milkwood Steiner School's Founding Story

The Early Days

Since 1996, Steiner-inspired playgroups for young children and families have operated in Darwin and Litchfield. The response to playgroups was very strong with over 40 families participating. In 1999 several playgroup families formed and incorporated the Darwin Steiner Association (DSA) to enable the development of a Steiner Kindergarten and school. The DSA grew into a diverse, enterprising and highly motivated group of around 60 members. The primary focus of the DSA was the development of Milkwood Steiner School. The DSA published regular newsletters, created a library, supported craft and study groups (Waldorf Learning Group), held public and private seminars, fundraising events, founded the Milkwood Nightcliff market stall, and supported seasonal and cultural festivals as well as Steiner-inspired playgroups. Prior to the school opening, the DSA changed its name to MSSA. Some of the initiatives continue but a number of activities are not part of the school calendar or MSSA activity, including some playgroups and seasonal festivals. 


Opening the School

Milkwood Steiner School opened its doors in January 2004 in the converted Nightcliff Scout Hall in Bauhinia Street, Nightcliff. In the first year Milkwood started with 26 students ranging in age from 4 to 8 years old with a Kindergarten and a combined Class 1, 2, 3. We began with two wonderful Steiner teachers, Wendy Watt and Di Johnson. Each following year we expanded by one class year level and so in 2007 we were proud to have grown to Class Six. In February 2007 we moved to 3 Cecil Cook Avenue, Marrara. Here the children were blessed with two enormous trees in which to climb and play. Milkwood has now grown enabling us to offer specialist subjects including craft, nature studies and outdoor education, music ensemble and private music tuition. At the end of 2009 with the assistance of BER and BGA funding we built four tropically inspired classrooms with wide shady verandas on our current leased premises at Boulter Rd Berrimah. We also hold a lease on the neighbouring natural bush block which extends our play area. We continue to wait to be granted land from the government to grow the school grounds. Milkwood Steiner School Association would like to thank past and present members (Darwin Steiner Association) and all those who have nurtured the growth of Milkwood Steiner School with their encouragement, support and contribution.


Naming of Milkwood Steiner

Milkwood Steiner School was named after a beautiful Milkwood tree growing in Knuckey Lagoon Recreation Reserve. It became very special to the children who attended the Steiner inspired playgroups and the Waldorf Learning Group held there in 2001. Early in its life, this tree began growing horizontal to the ground, resulting in a magical and safe leafy place for children to play and be. From the first moment, the Milkwood tree drew the children to it. From the highest perches came the sounds of childrens voices and laughter and lilting recorder tunes. Great billowing, cloth 'green ant nests' were built in the lower branches. The children whispered to it and hugged it every day. In times of confusion and sadness, children found solace in its broad, curly limbs. There was great excitement when it flowered and tender new green leaves emerged. The Milkwood became their 'Crinkum, Crankum Tree'; a beautiful story written by Margaret Mahy and told over and over while sitting in and under it. We warm to the symbolism of the Milkwood tree as one of nature's gifts which has strength and resilience and medicinal uses and a representation of this tree is now part of our logo.