Welcome to the Candlebark School website

Candlebark is a P-7 school, in other words, going from children’s first year at school through to Year 7 in 2018. We are lucky enough to enjoy what is probably the world’s biggest school campus: more than 1100 acres just north of Melbourne, Australia.

In a lovely setting of native forests, European trees and gardens, from log cabins perched above a creek and waterfall, our students pursue knowledge and wisdom, food and each other, on bikes, scooters, skateboards, and even sometimes on their own feet.

Candlebark is a day school, is co-educational, draws its students mostly from the Macedon Ranges, and operates on a first-name basis.

The school opened in January 2006, under its founding (and current) Principal, author John Marsden. In 2018 it enrols about 174 students, with 30 full-time, part-time and visiting faculty.

In 2011 an Australian television show described us as “the school with no rules, no uniforms, and no bullying”. Sadly, the programme only got one out of three right. We don’t have a uniform. We certainly have rules, and although we aspire to be the only community, society or group in the world without bullying, we have not yet reached that nirvanic state.

It would be more accurate to say that most of the people here are courteous, good-humoured, good-natured, adventurous, lively and tolerant, most of the time.

Strongly influenced by Fitzroy Community School in Melbourne, Candlebark believes that children flourish by experiencing life at close quarters. We regard first-hand experiences as generally superior to second hand experiences. We try to say “Yes” as much as possible – yes to new ideas, yes to experiments, yes to innovations. If the school has a motto, it is “take care, take risks”.

Candlebark will always remain small, and there are waiting lists for most grades. Enquiries are welcome however, and can be made via enquiries@candlebark.info.