School History

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Sunday, 10 June 2012 11:20:07 




 SCHOOL BADGE: suggestions for designs of a school badge were submitted by pupils and also by Mr. Lyons, a teacher at the school in 1959. These designs were adapted to several badge shapes suggested by Angus & Coote until the badge was decided upon.

The rotary wheel represents the wheel of industry. The surrounding stars indicate the principle," through hard work to the stars"

SCHOOL MOTTO: The school motto "Praestemus" (Let us excel) was suggested to Mr. Johnston by Mr. M. S. Canon, headmaster of East Hills Boys' High.

SCHOOL PLEDGE: "The future is a challenge; Let us build our lives with power and purpose. Let us excel" This is the school pledge as composed in 1961 by Mr. B Carlin, a teacher in the English History Department.


Some History of Canterbury District

Some History of St George District

The word Kingsgrove. On the 14th August 1804 Hannah Laycock received a grant of 500 acres at Bulanaming (the original name of Kingsgrove) from Governor King and on his land she subsequently built a farm which she called King's Grove Farm, probably named in appreciation of her grant of land from the Governor. 

Although the school is in the district of Kingsgrove, the land in which it stands was not part of the original grant Hannah Laycock received. On the 24th October 1809, John Miller was given a prior grant by Colonel Paterson for a quit rent of 2/- after five years.

Governor Macquarie fully legalized the prior grant an official Crown grant on January the 1st, 1810, which was witnessed by his secretary, Antill and James Meehan. The conditions of this grant were that 19 acres must be cultivated within five years, and that some of its timber must be available for government use. Evidently, John Miller complied with the conditions because he retained the land until 1827, when 90 acres were sold to James Oatley for £13. There is street nearby the school in his name, probably bequeathed the land to his heir Frederick Oatley. Records relating to Frederick Oatley's getting the land are doubtful, and conjecture plays a major role in the above conclusion of inheritance.

Frederick Oatley, who owned considerable amounts of land in other parts of Sydney at various stages, mortgaged the land to Rev Schofield for a short time. He also was involved in other leases and mortgages such as those to Chard (grew vegetables), Sly, & Murphy until 1842, when he sold 20 acres of that part of the school land which is furthest away from Kingsgrove Rd, to a Mr. Flood. Murphy later bought the land bounded by Kingsgrove Rd and St Albans Rd and although much of Murphy's land was later subdivided, a subsequent beneficiary under his estate, Esther Evaline Murphy, owned the land at the time of resumption in 1947.

Some of Flood's land (that at the end of St Albans Rd furthest from Kingsgrove Rd) was sold to A. H. Andrews, who made many improvements. These included, at 1st October, 1926, a cottage, stables, shed, & dairy. When some of Andrew's land was resumed in 1947, this cottage, built about 1870 was incorporated in the proposed resumptions. An appeal was made, however, that the cottage be preserved because Mrs. A. H. Andrews, the second wife of Mr. Andrews, had lived there for so many years and so the resumption was deferred until Mrs. Andrews died in August 1959. At this date it was felt that no further grounds for appeal existed and the cottage was subsequently demolished in the 1961-1962 vacation. The first Mrs. Andrews died in 1919 and Mr. Andrews later remarried. The children of the second Mrs. Andrews included a son who is the father of Stephen Andrews a pupil in 5th form 1964. (Stephen was reported deceased at reunion in 1984) the dairy existed when the school was built owned by the Andrews family and delivered milk to the school by Mr. A. H. Andrews, the son of the original Mr. A H. Andrews and his first wife.

Much of the subdivision took place during the years 1850-1946 and far too complex to write more detail. It would be suffice to say that more that 12 blocks of land were resumed to build the school.

Whilst discussing subdivision it might be worthwhile noting two rather interesting land negotiations. Firstly, landholder Oscar Talbot Herington, whose property was resumed, moved his house across the street from the school grounds and now it stands on the corner of Richland Street (John Herington was a pupil in 1959-63) a grandson of the family or maybe G/ grandson.

At one stage during the early years the land was used as Church, the St Albans Church of England. The church, the foundation stone was laid on 8th October 1888 and was situated on the corner of Rolestone Avenue was formerly known as Church Lane. Mr. Jones, of "Moorefields" sold the land to the church for £220. The work was completed in three months and was dedicated and licensed to Bishop Barry. This brick building provided much better accommodation than that of the first old slab building of the early days, and the coach house of Mr. Homer which was used for two years from 1886. When Sharp St (now Kingsgrove Rd) was no longer a main road from Burwood to Hurstville, the new church of St Albans was built on Canterbury Rd and remaining connection with the old church is the street which bears its name. The old church and its surroundings were sold to A. H. Andrews about 1908. the church building was used as a barn up till about 1930, when it was demolished.

In 1906 at the corner of St Albans Rd and Kingsgrove Rd an interesting auction under a big marquee tent when large blocks of land were sold. The trend for residential housing was very strong but the Education Department stepped and moved or demolished the houses to make way for Kingsgrove North Infants School.

This school was occupied firstly in 1951 and many of the pioneering pupils were amongst the pupils who entered the High School in 1959. Miss MacDonald was the first Headmistress of the Infants School. A more compelling need of high School was urgently needed so the commencement to the High School was commenced.

School Being Built

A New School Opens 

The needs for a new school were realized in the 1950, when Canterbury, Wiley Park and Punchbowl schools were overcrowded. The Education Department already owned land at along side Kingsgrove Primary School the site of the old Ferguson's Nursery and could not be taken over till 1958 too late for construction of a new school.. So a decision was made to take the site of Kingsgrove North Infant’s school and the 61 students were sent to surrounding schools.

Stage1, consisting of blocks "B" & "C' was constructed by Monier Builders Ltd at the cost of £189,153. This was to be completed in time for the beginning of 1959 school year. The Manual Arts block, also included in Stage 1 was not begun until 28th February.

Early Difficulties

Rain, Riot, and Rubles seemed to be the only 3 R's that Kingsgrove North's' First day Wednesday 28th January 1959 could promise.

The first day consisted entirely of First Year students. Foul weather had converted the unpaved quadrangle to be a quagmire. Mr. Johnston, Headmaster was faced with the problem of addressing the parents of 715 pupils and no adequate shelter to do so. 

He finally decided to take half of the parents to a completed classroom whilst the other half waited in the canteen shelter. Soon Mr. Johnston was informed that a newspaper reporter wished to see him in connection with a supposed riot in the school-how innocently those riotous pupils and parents crowded together in the canteen shelter.

The rest of the day passed quite uneventfully. Teachers and pupils cavorted their way across the quadrangle by the only dry means possible-slabs concrete and narrow wooden planks. They balanced with amazing skills on slippery stairs without banisters; a teacher later slipped and broke an ankle as a result of this unconventional and a hazardous means of passage. Mud was added to the mess of masonry and rubble littering the playground.

The difficulties in the beginning were innumerable. On the 21st April the school was connected with electricity the cable had been cut by vandals and anew one had to be imported. Home Economics pupils did cooking on gas stoves. The canteen also used gas and used an old kerosene fridge lent by a teacher Mr. Bathe and a parent of a student Evan. The teachers depended on a builder's copper to get their hot water.

Inadequate cleaning facilities made normally routine tasks difficult. Until July 7th the school was without a cleaner, and Mr. Johnston frequently spent his weekends disposing of rubbish, a job made considerably worse by the absence of garbage bins, which finally arrived late February.

"B", "C" "D" and "F" the old Infant's block were the only completed buildings. Room 22 was used as a Music room and 21 as an Art room. Whilst the Headmaster and the Deputy stored themselves in the storeroom come office of block "F" The first phone was placed in the store room. The Manual arts Block was non-existent. There were no car parks Mr. Hunter's (Deputy Headmaster) brand new car was accidentally sprayed with bitumen.

Conditions in the classrooms were far from pleasant during the initial months. Vibratory rollers, steam rollers and cranes were at work in the quadrangle while teachers competed with pneumatic drills directly outside the classrooms. Only 6 rooms were furnished, so pupils sat on planks supported by oil drums until the rest of the furniture arrived three weeks later. Textbooks were also unavailable for sometime.

Before the horn system was installed in the school, a cow bell was rung to denote periods. This meant the bell boy, subject to the whims and fancies of his teachers would run round every block in the school so that the bell could be heard. The result, one 65 minutes period by a 15 minute period.

Extensions of Buildings 

Since its beginnings in 1959 the school went through many changes.  20th March 1959, work was begun by Monier Builders on what was called Stage 11, which included blocks "A" & "E". these were occupied in August  1959 at the cost of  £96,238/3/6, but could not be used immediately because of the inadequate cleaning facilities.

One interesting point about teaching music at this time was that, as a huge crane swung the concrete slabs of Block "E" into position, those doing music lessons had to evacuate because of the danger of a slab falling. The pupils would then return until the next slab was passing by. Science pupils also had their thrills with Miss Turnbull in charge when a man-hole in the floor and two plumber arose who had entered during Recess.

The next building in he school, began in 1961, when the Assembly Hall by contractor A. M. McNamara at the cost of £41,444 completed in March 1962 accommodating 900 pupils. The first school function was a dance and the first official, the Investiture of Prefects.

A block for partially-seeing pupils was the next erected and completed in 1962 by A. M. Weston Pty Ltd, a t the cost of £15,120/1/11. These rooms were occupied in 22nd May. This single sorted brick structure combined the most advanced techniques in design for these type of classrooms all over the world. These, and the the original buildings, make up the school as it is is today, covering then six acres, including playing fields- a far cry from the few, unfinished building of early 1959.

1st Year, 1959.

Kingsgrove North was probably the most unique in its first two years as it consisted of two schools in one. T had been impossible to gain possession of the land at Kingsgrove South in time to build what later to be was called Kingsgrove High School. This school later opened in buildings in Hurstville, moving to its new buildings at the corner of Stoney Creek Rd and Kingsgrove Rd in January 1961. Meanwhile the pupils who had been sent to the North stayed on and completed their schooling in the North.

Two schools in one presented a great number of problems the North had classes graded from "NA" -"NH" and the South "SA"- "SH". This however, left one mixed class known as "NX" and later "NS". It was not till late 1961 that the Education Department confirmed that the South pupils who had so resented as "Boarders" would be able to complete their schooling at Kingsgrove North as recognized members.

In the meantime the P&C had been working under the assumption that equipment and funds would have been divided when the schools separated. A formula was worked out as to how this should be done. It seemed at one stage the school piano would be sliced in two to make everyone "Happy Little Vegemites"

Selection of School Uniforms and Names 

During 1958 Mr. Johnston was approached by many advisors with suggestions for school uniforms. When the school opened and group of eight women formed a committee with the guidance of David Jones to decide upon appropriate uniforms for the two schools. 

Grey was chosen for both schools boys & girls. Maroon blue and gold for the North and royal blue sky blue and scarlet for the South. Grey being safe in case schools were later merged then the cost would be reduced. David Jones supplied the uniforms and it was a great day when the pupils arrived in the new school uniforms. Some of the South students continued to wear the South colours in their 4th & 5th years.

During this time a school name was being discussed. Kingsgrove North, after the original infants school. Homer, Belgrove, St Albans, Bennalong, Governor King, Kingsmore, Earlwood, Wolli and Clempton Park. They chose the Kingsgrove north name to make it easier for the mail to go to the correct Post Office.


Headmaster: Mr. Johnston, Deputy: Mr. Hunter.

English History: Mr. Creevey (in charge the first Term), Mr. R. Ryan the replaced Mr. Creevey, Miss. B. Bradbury, Mrs.  C. Elstub replaced by Mrs. Wilkinson in September, Mrs. P. Sturgess, Mrs. E. Whiteside, also taught Latin.

Mathematics- Science: Mr. E. Bathe in charge, Mr. D. Bailey, Miss. K. Durack, Miss J. Hayden, went in September, Mr. P. Pillans Science, Miss J Turnbull Science, Mr. R. Agnew, Mr. K. Van Ralte, & Mrs. D. McNamara came in September.

Commerce:   Mr. Saxby.

Languages: Miss I. Prenter, Miss. A. Jenkins, Mr. M. McMahon also taught English.

General Activities:  Mr. Roach, Mr. D. Lyons.

Art: Mr. D. Oxley.

Manual Arts: Mr. W. Wellham, in charge, Mr. N. R. Allen, Mr. W. Davis, Mr. B. Hamilton.

Home Science: Miss N. Allan, Miss A Buffet,, Mrs. L. Cheleski.

Music: Miss M Smith.

Physical Education: Mr. J. Noakes taught boys and girls.

During the first year quite a number of  staff changes took place. Mr. D. Bailey replaced by Mr. Dekker, who resigned a short time later and Miss Southwell replaced him.

When she resigned in August,  Mr. Agnew replaced her. This explains whey there was 120 teachers over the the first three years. This must be why I did so miserably at Maths?? Poor excuse!!

In 1961 the first subject masters were appointed to the school: Mr J. Moloney English History, Mr. D. Kerr, Science, Mr. J. Robson, Mathematics, Mr. D. Lewis, Commercial, Mr. J. Oliver, Manual Arts, Mr. F. Byrnes was appointed Modern Languages-Classic Master in 1962, and7 Mrs. E. C. Byrne was appointed Special Mistress.

In 1963 the original Deputy Headmaster Mr. R. Hunter transferred to Crows Nest Boys' High School, being replaced by Mr. C. Marshall, of Maroubra Bay High School.

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