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In May 1969, the Japanese Society of Sydney founded the first Japanese School in Australia to provide the children of Japanese expatriates with Japanese primary school education. The original school was located in a church site in Lindfield, starting with a single classroom with 33 students. It was the first overseas Japanese School in a developed country. In 1971, the school relocated to the current site in Terrey Hills to accommodate the rapidly growing number of enrolments. 

Up until 1975 SJIS offered one stream of education for students in Year 1 to Year 9 which was the Japanese Government Curriculum, predominately catering for Japanese families. But in 1975 the school recognised a need on the Northern Beaches for a culturally based private primary school.

In 1975, SJIS established a second stream of education, the Australian Curriculum for students in Kindergarten through to Year 6.

The school purchased the adjoining 5 acres of land in 1984 for further expansion. Since then, further developments have continued. A 200 metre running track was completed in 1993. Three years later, a new double storey building complex was built for administration and additional classrooms. The International Division started a Kindergarten grade in 1997.

The International Division of SJIS is unique in its approach to cultural understanding and language learning. Very few schools in the world are able to match us in terms of the balanced blend of two distinct cultures and language studies.
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