In September 1985, the Yayasan Bali International School, a legal non-profit democratic foundation, wholly paid for and run by the parents and charged by the Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture with educating expatriate children, opened its doors for the first time. The initial roll was eight primary students. The teaching and administrative honours belonged to a Canadian couple, Bill and Gundie Robertson. Ray Gardiner, Kamal Kaul, Jon Zurcher, Barbara Bush, Timothy Watts, Linda O’Brien and Kristina Melcher deserve special recognition for their tireless contributions. The original site of the school was and remains Banjar Taman in Sanur Village, South Bali. Sanur was famous for the high concentration of the Brahmana or priestly caste and a renowned centre of traditional Balinese learning including kekawinan poetry.
By 1992, when Bill Robertson retired, the roll was just over 150 elementary school students from 26 countries. While most came from North America, Europe and Australia, they were joined by a rainbow of passports including Japanese, Korean, Mexican and Peruvian students. It should also be noted that many of the children were dual nationals, often with an Indonesian parent.