Greer was born in Melbourne, the eldest of three children (two girls and a boy), to South African-born Eric Reginald (Reg) Greer and Margaret (Peggy) Mary Lafrank. [c] Peggy, a milliner, had married Reg in March 1937; he was a newspaper advertising representative who had served as a wartime RAAF officer. Greer was raised in the suburb of Sandringham, near the beach, attending St Columba's Catholic Primary School in Elwood from February 1943, then Sacred Heart Parish School, Sandringham, and Holy Redeemer School, Ripponlea. In 1952 she won a scholarship to Star of the Sea College in Gardenvale, a convent school run by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; a school report called her "a bit of a mad-cap and somewhat erratic in her studies and in her personal responses". She gave up the Catholic faith a year after leaving school, as a result of finding the nuns' arguments for the existence of God unconvincing. According to Greer, her mother had what was probably Asperger syndrome, and as a result they had a difficult relationship. Greer left home because of it when she was 18. In 2012 she said that her brother might have forgiven her for "abandoning" them, but she was not so sure about her sister, "whom I love more than anyone else on earth".