The King's School, Parramatta

The King's School, Parramatta

Infobox Aust school private
name = The King's School, Parramatta

motto = " _la. Fortiter et Fideliter"
(Latin:"Bravely and Faithfully")cite web|url =|title = Mission Statement and Goals 2003-2007|accessdate = 2007-10-09|year = 2003|format = PDF|work = Headmaster's Welcome|publisher = The King's School|pages = p.2]
established = 1831
type = Independent, Single-sex, Day & Boarding
denomination = Anglican
slogan =
key_people = Dr. Timothy Hawkes (Headmaster)
William Grant Broughton (Founder)
The Reverend Martin Robinson (Chairman)
fees = AU$10,724–20,913 p.a (day)
AU$30,100–36,100 p.a (boarding)cite web|url =|title =Fee Structure for 2007|accessdate = 2007-10-09|year = 2007|format = PDF|work = Enrolments|publisher = The King's School]
city = North Parramatta
state = New South Wales
country = Australia flagicon|Australia
coordinates = coord|33|47|11|S|151|1|22|E|display=inline,title
enrolment = ~1,465 (K–12)cite web|url =|title =Annual Report 2006|accessdate = 2007-10-09|year = 2007|format = PDF|work = About The King's School|publisher = The King's School]
num_employ = ~108
revenue =
colours = Sky blue and white color box|#ADD8E6color box|#FFFFFF
homepage = []

The King's School is a GPS private school. It is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for boys, in North Parramatta. Parramatta is a satellite city west of Sydney, Australia.

Australia's first independent schoolcite web|url =|title =The King's School|accessdate = 2007-10-09|year = 2007|publisher = Private Schools Directory] , The King's School was founded 1831 for 'the benefit of the Children of the Upper Classes of Society in the Colony'. [ Jonestown: The Power and the Myth of Alan Jones By Chris Masters. Published by Allen & Unwin, 2007] This elite-school in the geographical heart of Sydney has approximately 1465 students from kindergarten to Year 12 and approximately 430 boarders from Years 5 to 12,cite web|url =|title =The King's School|accessdate = 2007-10-09|work = New South Wales Schools|publisher = Australian Boarding Schools Association] making it one of the largest boarding schools in Australia.cite web|url =|title =Greetings from the Headmaster|accessdate = 2007-10-09|work = Headmaster's Office|publisher = The King's School]

The school is affiliated with the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference,cite web |url= |title=International Members |accessdate=2008-03-11 |work= HMC Schools |publisher= The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),cite web |url= |title=AHISA Schools: New South Wales |accessdate=2007-10-09 |year =2007 |month =April |work=Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),cite web |url= |title=JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members |accessdate=2007-10-09 |year =2007 |work=Junior School Heads' Association of Australia] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).cite web|url =|title =AAGPS History|accessdate = 2007-10-09|year = 2007|work = Info|publisher = Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales]


In January 1830, the Venerable Archdeacon William Grant Broughton devised a plan for the establishment of grammar schools in New South Wales under the governorship of Sir Ralph Darling. Broughton was a protege of the Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time. The Duke assisted in securing royal patronage, the text of which stated that with the authority of King George IV such schools would be named "The King's Schools". By the time royal sanction was granted, King William IV was king of England. Two schools were opened in 1832: the first in Pitt Street, Sydney, the other in George Street, Parramatta, a major settlement about 25 kilometres inland. The former, opened in January, closed eight months later after the death of its first headmaster, while the Parramatta campus remained open under the stewardship of the Reverend Robert Forrest, who was appointed headmaster in 1831.

According to "The King's School 1831–1981", on opening day, Monday 13 February 1832, there were just three pupils in attendance, all of them day pupils and under ten years of age. However, the accuracy of this official account is disputed since no original register of attendance survives; some sources indicate that there were up to twelve pupils initially enrolled, with an even distribution between day pupils and boarders.cite web |url= |title=A short history of The King's School, Parramatta |accessdate=2007-10-22 |year =1903 |work=Australian Historical Society] Forrest was paid a relatively low salary of £100 per annum, especially since he was required to endure the protracted sea journey from England to Australia, but it was inclusive of a land and housing grant. From fees of £28 and £8 per annum for boarders and day pupils respectively he was expected to maintain boarders and pay the salaries of his assistants, whose fees were £4 per annum for each pupil taught. According to an article in the "Australian Historical Society Journal" in 1903, enrolment reached over 100 pupils before the end of the first year.

By 1839, Forrest's health had deteriorated and he submitted his resignation. Ill-health caused the school to experience a rapid succession of headmasters in the following decade. Reverend William Clarke was appointed headmaster to replace Forrest, and Reverend John Broughton was appointed master in charge of boarders. Two years later Reverend W.W. Simpson (first cousin of Sir James Young Simpson, pioneer of chloroform) became headmaster, but an epidemic of scarlet fever in 1843 forced his reisgnation. Reverend James Walker, a notable botanist and classical scholar, succeeded Simpson, but ill-health resulted in his resignation in December 1847.

In 1848 Forrest returned to the school, which had now had 60 pupils, but he was again forced to resign due to illness in September 1853. In July 1854, the Reverend Thomas Druitt was appointed headmaster and established military drill in April 1855, a compulsory subject overseen by W. Bamford. Druitt had been under the impression that his appointment was permanent and he refused to relinquish his position upon the arrival of his replacement, Reverend Frederick Armitage, in January 1855. It was not until the intervention of Bishop Frederic Barker in May 1855 that Druitt agreed to stand down.

Under the helm of Armitage, the school experienced a protracted period of expansion in facilities and enrolments, due to his significant wealth derived from private interests in English coal mines which allowed him to underwrite many of the improvements personally. The number of pupils rapidly ballooned to nearly 200, 150 of whom were boarders. Pupils studied for seven hours per day in summer and six hours in winter. As well as religious holidays, there were two official school holidays per year, including a mid-winder vacation from 15 June to 15 July, and a mid-summer vacation from 24 December to 31 January. In 1859 Armitage adopted school arms similar to those of The King's School Canterbury in England, which according to "The King's School 1831–1981", was due to the erroneous assumption that the school was named after its English namesake. He applied for leave in 1862 to attend to his ill wife and to obtain a mathematics degree at Cambridge University. He never returned, although by the end of his tenure he had raised the standard and quality of education to a high level.cite encyclopedia| last = Mccormack| first = Terri| encyclopedia = Australian Dictionary of Biography| title = Frederick Armitage (1827-1906)| url =| accessdate = 2008-01-27| edition = Online| year = 1969| publisher = Melbourne University Press| volume = 3| location = Melbourne| pages = p.49] In stark contrast, the acting headmaster appointed prior to Armitage's departure, L.J. Trollope, saw a drastic contraction in the number of pupils to just 10 by June 1864, resulting in the closure of the school. There are varying accounts as to the reasons underpinning the school's rapid and sudden decline, including the school's poor financial situation, the dilapidated buildings and competition from other schools, whilst "The King's School 1831–1981" claims that it was a series of successive rainstorms causing the collapse of the schoolroom roof that forced its closure. Other accounts have blamed Armitage as lacking the discipline to continue as headmaster. The Australian Dictionary of Biography argues that while the departure of Armitage was not ideal, "a headmastership devoid of endowment or guaranteed salary in a colonial school without a council or adequate financial support could hardly have been attractive to a scholarly English gentleman."


The King's School originally rented premises in George Street, Parramatta near the wharves on Parramatta River. The school soon outgrew “Harrisford” House in George Street, and followingsubmission to the Crown it was provided with land and premises a little further upriverin Parramatta, close to Government House. The school remained there for 130 yearsuntil it was vacated in August 1968 when it completed its relocation toGowan Brae, a convert|300|acre|km2|sing=on site in North Parramatta. Established in 1880, Gowan Brae was the family residence and property of James Burns (shipowner), co-founder of Burns Philp and Company. In 1910 Sir James Burns endowed some of the Gowan Brae property to establish the Presbyterian Homes for Children (later Burnside, currently UnitingCare Burnside). Other sections of the property are now owned by the Redeemer Baptist School and Tara Anglican School for Girls, with some still owned by the NSW Synod of the Uniting Church as the Uniting Theological College. Another section was sold for residential development, now known as the suburb of Kingsdene.cite web|url =|title =The King's School|accessdate = 2007-10-09|work = New South Wales|publisher = School Choice]

King's senior school has a library within the Centre for Learning and Leadership, and separate buildings for visual arts, music, science, and industrial design and technology. The majority of academic proceedings occur within the precinct generally known as the "quadrangle" in which there are 20 classrooms, all fully equipped with audio-visual and computer facilities.

Sporting facilities include 15 playing fields used for both cricket and rugby union, 14 tennis courts, five basketball courts, five soccer fields, a 50–metre lap pool, a 25–metre swimming pool, a diving pool, and a gym under which there is a small rifle range. The school also has a rowing facility in Putney, on the Parramatta River. A newly constructed gym—the Sports Centre—was opened on 16 June 2007.

The extensive facilities of the school were subject to political scrutiny during the tenure of Prime Minister John Howard, when the Australian Labor Party criticised Federal grants to wealthy private schools. The controversy reached its apex during the 2004 Federal election in which Mark Latham, Leader of the Opposition, launched a private school "hit list" that would have removed a significant proportion of private-school funding.cite news| first = Mischa| last = Schubert| coauthors = Guerrera, Orietta | title = Labor's private school hit list| url =| work = Election 2004| publisher = "The Age"| location = Melbourne| date = 2004-09-15 | accessdate = 2007-10-19] Latham was defeated at the election.

House system

Senior school

The school has a house system consisting of 14 houses for both day students and boarders. The boarding houses include Gowan Brae, Baker, Bishop Barker, Broughton, Forrest, Hake Harris, Macarthur and Waddy, and the day student houses include Britten, Burkitt, Dalmas, Kurrle, Macquarie and Wickham. The houses are hubs for students' recreational and pastoral activities.

Kurrle and Wickham were created as a result of an expansion in enrolments in 2001, and the remaining Houses have been in existence for several decades. Their names are derived from former Headmasters and Deputy Headmasters, the founder of the school, and the traditional name of the school site.

Preparatory school

The preparatory school has four houses – Stiles, Thomas, Blaxland and Harrison. Blaxland includes both boarders and day students, and boarders are housed within Gowan Brae, which is shared with Year 7 students.

Gowan Brae serves as an intermediate step between primary and secondary schooling, allowing Year 7 students the opportunity to adapt to the unique institutions of the senior school whilst remaining within a common peer group of similar age.


The school uniform is unique among Sydney schools, and is the oldest military uniform still worn in Australia.Citation| last=Hawkes| first=Timothy|publication-date=2007-02-09|year=2007|title=Celebrating 175 Years|periodical=King's Herald|publication-place=Parramatta, NSW|publisher=The King's School|issue= 1| pages=p.1| url=| accessdate=2007-10-09.] It consists of navy–blue trousers with a vertical red stripe, white shirt and a jacket made of a black and white "Salt and pepper" woollen material, in a "Birdseye" pattern. It has red cuffs, and red tabs on each side of the collar. The cuffs and epaulets are each surmounted by a braided red "Lovers' Knot". The uniform reflects the military history of the school, and is similar to the blazers worn at the Battle of Waterloo. The jacket may be modified to denote rank in the cadet corps. All students except the monitors wear one badge on a red tab on the right collar of the jacket. "House Monitors" wear one badge each side, "School Monitors" also wear one badge on each side with blue collar tabs. This is because students of lower rank would have carried rifles over one shoulder, thus damaging the additional badge, whilst monitors would instead be armed with pistols. All the buttons are silver colour.

In Years 11 and 12 students are able to wear a white pinstriped navy-blue blazer or a sky-blue Honours blazer. Both blazers have pockets that may have special stitching commemorating academic or sporting achievements in the form of full or half "colours". Outstanding achievement is rewarded by Honours "colours" and is signified by the sky-blue blazer. The jacket and blazers must be worn with a standard black tie (though this was replaced in 2007 during the 175th anniversary by a navy blue silk tie, with the TKS crest and the number 175 scattered on it), commemorating the death of Queen Victoria.

The preparatory school uniform differs slightly from that of the senior school. Students in kindergarten to Year 2 wear the pinstriped blazer, but with khaki shorts and knee-high black socks. From Years 3 to 6 students wear navy-blue shorts with the vertical red stripe, knee-high black socks and the grey/red blazer.

Cocurricular activities

Co–curricular activities offered by the school include debating, choir, theatre, bands and ensembles, sport, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Senior intellectual clubs (The Twelve Club, The Cartesian Club, the Scipionic Circle) are also active.

The school produces at least one musical and two drama production each year. Current students from the school and Tara Anglican School for Girls. Productions have included "The Pirates of Penzance", "South Pacific", "Guys and Dolls", "Fiddler on the Roof", "My Fair Lady", "The Mikado" and "Grease".

Academic clubs

The headmaster, deputy headmaster and other senior staff host intellectual clubs composed of promising senior students. The most eminent clubs include the "Twelve Club" hosted by headmaster Dr Timothy Hawkes and "The Cartesian Club" hosted by deputy headmaster Peter Rainey. The members of these clubs are usually selected as a result of their success in areas of academics or leadership activities.


The preparatory school competes in the JSHAA and ISDA debating competitions, and the senior school in the GPS and ISDA competitions. The school won the ISDA competition for the first time in 2004, the largest independent schools competition in NSW. In 2004 the school was represented in national and world championship winning representative teams.

Cadet corps

The cadet corps is the oldest and second largest in Australia. All students in Years 8 and 9 are required to undertake cadetships in which they are taught survival techniques, abseiling, shooting, map reading, marching and other skills. Each year a corps camp is held at the Singleton Defence Force Base.

In the 1960s the corps rifle shooting team won the Lord Milner Trophy, a competition open to all cadet corps in the British Commonwealth. The rifle used was the 0.303 calibre Lee Enfield, No 1 mark 3 *.

The cadet corps has an annual passing-out parade , which commemorates the transferral of leadership and colours from the Year 12 cadets to selected Year 11 cadets. It is usually presided over by a high-ranking member of the Australian Defence Force and attracts an audience of thousands.

The King's School Marching Band is a central element of the cadet corps, providing the music to which the cadets march during the parade. The band consists of members of the Senior Concert Band and the Performing Band, and it marches annually at the ANZAC Day Parade in central Sydney.


The school has a music program that caters for a range of musical abilities, held in the Sesquicentenary music block.

In Year 7, boys complete the 100–hour music course set by the NSW Board of Studies, which introduces them to basic rhythm patterns and notation . Year 7 boys participate in a singing program and take a theory exam at the end of the year. Full- and half-period instrumental lessons are offered in piano, pipe organ, oboe, guitar, violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass, tuba, horn, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, flute, clarinet, percussion, voice and bagpipes.

The Performing Band is a wind ensemble that caters for beginning to intermediate musicians studying Grade 4 AMEB and lower; it performs mainly jazz. The Senior Concert Band is a symphonic wind ensemble that performs symphonic music and jazz. The Marching Band includes members of the Senior Concert Band and selected members of the Performing Band. The school has a Junior Strings Ensemble and a Chamber String Orchestra for experienced players. Junior strings is mainly for musicians of Grade 3 AMEB and lower, and the orchestra is for higher grades. There are two piano trios, three stage bands and a guitar ensemble for each year group. The School has a main, non-auditioned choir for boys in the senior school. In the prep school there are two choirs.

The school has two pipe organs: a chapel organ in the Memorial Chapel and a baroque organ in Futter Hall.


Sport is compulsory for all students. In the Senior School students may participate in rugby union, rowing, cricket, basketball, tennis, soccer, swimming, cross country, and if personally selected by the sportsmaster, may represent the school at shooting. In the prep school cricket, rugby union, soccer, teeball, tennis, and softball are available. The school engages in these sports as a member of the GPS competition consisting of seven other schools: St Ignatius' College, St Joseph's College, Sydney High School, Sydney Grammar School, Sydney Church of England Grammar School, Newington College and The Scots College.In rowing the school has won the GPS Head of the River 17 times, including in 2006 and 2007, and the Schoolboy VIII at the National Rowing Championships in 1982, 2001 and 2006. The school won the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in 2001 and the Fawley Challenge Cup in 2006. During the 2007 Head of the River the school refused to allow the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) to test its first eight rowing team, after reports that ASADA had forced students from the Sydney Church of England Grammar School rowing team to strip and give urine samples.cite news| first = Luke | last = McIlveen| coauthors = Dale, Amy| title = School students stripped naked for drug tests| url =,23599,21502257-2,00.html| work = News| publisher = "The Daily Telegraph"| location = Sydney| date = 2007-04-04| accessdate = 2008-03-05 ]

The rugby union 1st XV has won numerous GPS Premierships in recent years, including in 1997-2000, 2002,and 2008 and the 2000 Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament in Japan. The current Australian Wallabies Rugby team contains former students including Stirling Mortlock, Benn Robinson, Dean Mumm, Julian Huxley, Will Caldwell and James Hilgendorf.

The cricket 1st XI recently won the GPS premiership, edging out a strong Sydney Church of England Grammar School side to win by 8 runs in the final round, and capturing its first Premiership in cricket in 41 years.

Notable alumni

Alumni are known as Old Boys. For notable Old Boys see "List of Old Boys of The King's School, Sydney".


See also

* List of non-government schools in New South Wales
*List of boarding schools
* Tudor House School
*New South Wales Rugby Union

External links

* [ The King's School website]
* [ ISDA Debating website]

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