The Essington School Darwin opened as a Montessori Preschool at the beginning of 1990. The school took its name from the pioneering efforts of the first Northern Territory settlers at Port Essington at the Coburg Peninsula.
The school originated in 1983 when a group of Darwin parents got together with a view to forming a play group for children.The group was to embrace the education philosophy of Italian educationist, Dr. Maria Montessori.
On January 30, 1990, the expanded play group, and the Darwin Montessori Society, opened Darwin’s first non-denominational, private primary school – The Essington School. This was in leased facilities at the Greek community-owned Pan Hellenic cultural centre in Nightcliff, now known as The Greek School.
Dr. Grahame Webb, a well known Darwin identity and world-renowned crocodile expert, was the founding President of the Association at the time.
The new Essington School was officially opened in this year, 1990, by Mrs Margaret Muirhead, wife of the then NT Administrator. Wendy Darwin, who was a teacher at the school in its first fourteen years, remembers initiating a Montessori playgroup on Fridays and “before too long we had two sessions running”. She recalled Dr Vicki Mathews’ visit from the United States to oversee her completion of her Montessori Practical Exams 1 and 2.
Two years after moving into the Greek School in late 1991 the school moved into its current facilities in Chapman Rd, Nightcliff in what was previously the Rapid Creek Primary School. The Rapid Creek Primary School was one of three Government primary schools closed down at the time as the population of Darwin had not returned to pre-Cyclone Tracy levels.
In 1997, the school received formal registration to proceed into secondary schooling.
In 1998, the new secondary building for the Middle School, the Webb Site, was officially opened by Dr Grahame Webb.
Ten years later The Essington School Darwin had grown to a stage where it was a Kindergarten to Year 10 school from the beginning of 2000.
The School has always seen itself extending to Year 12 and in 2011 the School proposes establishing a Senior College for Years 11 and 12 at the nearby Charles Darwin University.