Sydney Grammar School

Sydney Grammar School

Infobox Aust school private
name = Sydney Grammar School

motto = "Laus Deo" (Latin:"Praise be to God")
established = 1857cite web|url =|title = Sydney Grammar School|accessdate = 2007-10-25|year = 2007|work = New South Wales |publisher = School Choice]
type = Independent, Single-sex, Selective, Day school
denomination = Non-denominational
slogan =
key_people = Dr J.T Vallance (Headmaster) Laurence Hynes Halloran (Founder) Mr David Gonski AC (Chairman)
fees = AU$14,067–22,491 p.acite web|url = |title = Statement of Fees 2008 |accessdate = 2008-01-28 |year = 2008|work = Enrolment |publisher = Sydney Grammar School]
city = Darlinghurst, Edgecliff & St Ives
state = New South Wales
country = Australia
coordinates = coord|33|52|29|S|151|12|47|E|display=inline,title
enrolment = ~1,830 (K–12)cite web|url =|title = 2006 Annual Report|accessdate = 2007-10-25|year = 2007|format = PDF|work = Annual Reports|publisher = Sydney Grammar School]
num_employ =~181 Fact|date=September 2008
revenue =
colours = Black and Gold color box|#000000color box|#FFCC00
homepage = []

Sydney Grammar School (colloquially known as Grammar)cite web|url =|title = Headmaster's Introduction|accessdate = 2007-10-25|last = Vallance |first = J.T.|year = 2007|work = College St|publisher = Sydney Grammar School|quote = If you think you might like to come to Grammar] is an independent, secular, selective, day school for boys, located in Darlinghurst, Edgecliff and St Ives, all suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Incorporated in 1854 by an Act of Parliamentcite web |url= |title=Sydney Grammar School Act 1854 |accessdate=2007-10-25 |date=1995-05-10 |work=New South Wales Consolidated Acts|publisher=AustLII] and opened in 1857, the school claims to offer a "classical" or "grammar school" education thought of as liberal, humane, pre-vocational pedagogy.

Sydney Grammar School currently has an enrolment of approximately 1,830 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, over three campuses. The two preparatory schools (K to 6), are located at Edgecliff in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, and St Ives, on the Upper North Shore.cite web |url= |title=Sydney Grammar School |accessdate=2007-10-25 |date=1995-05-10 |work=Participating schools|publisher=North Shore Independent Schools] The historic College Street campus caters for students from Forms I to VI (Years 7 to 12), and is situated in Darlinghurst, close to the Sydney central business district.cite web|url =|title =Sydney Grammar School|accessdate = 2007-10-25|work = Directory|publisher = Sydney's Child]

The school is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),cite web |url= |title=AHISA Schools |accessdate=2007-10-25 |year =2007 |month =April |work=New South Wales|publisher=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=2007-10-25|year =2007 |work=New South Wales Branch|publisher=Junior School Heads' Association of Australia] the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference,cite web |url=|title=HMC Schools: International Members|accessdate=2007-10-25|year =2007 |work=HMC Schools|publisher=Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference] 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 = 2007-10-11|year = 2007|work = Info|publisher = Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales]

In 2001, "The Sun-Herald" ranked Sydney Grammar School tenth in Australia's top ten boys' schools, based on the number of its alumni mentioned in the "Who's Who in Australia" (a listing of notable Australians).cite news| first = Frank| last = Walker| title = The ties that bind| url =| work = Sunday Life| publisher = The Sun-Herald| page = 16| date = 2001-07-22| accessdate = 2007-09-12] Ref_label|a|a|none



The Sydney Public Free Grammar School opened in 1825 with Laurence Hynes Halloran (1765–1831) as Head Master. Halloran, who had operated a private school in Exeter, England, had fled England in 1796 due to debts and after being accused of immorality. Also, it had been claimed by Henry Hobhouse, under-secretary of state there, that his degrees (in Divinity) were self-awarded; however, no authority saw fit to pursue the claim formally, nor was any sworn evidence ever presented to render this a just charge.

In 1830 Sydney College was founded. Sir Francis Forbes, Chief Justice, became President of the College and laid the foundation stone of the present building in College Street on 26 January 1830. In 1835, Sydney College opened in this building with W.T. Cape as Head Master. In 1842 he resigned and was succeeded by T.H. Braim. In 1850 Sydney College was closed.

In 1854, Sydney Grammar School (SGS) was incorporated by an Act of Parliament and acquired the land and building in College Street which had been temporarily occupied by the newly-founded University of Sydney in 1852. It was opened on 3 August 1857, specifically as a feeder school for the University.

The preamble of the Sydney Grammar School Act 1854 states that:

It is deemed expedient for the better advancement of religion and morality and the promotion of useful knowledge to establish in Sydney a public school for conferring on all classes and denominations of Her Majesty’s subjects resident in the Colony of New South Wales without any distinction whatsoever the advantages of a regular and liberal course of education.cite web|url =|title =Sydney Grammar School Act 1854 (Private Act)|accessdate = 2007-10-25|work = NSW legislation |publisher = Parliamentary Counsel's Office]
The Act provides that the Trustees of the School shall consist of twelve persons, of whom six shall be persons holding the following offices respectively:
*The Honourable the Attorney-General of New South Wales
*The Honourable the President of the New South Wales Legislative Council
*The Honourable the Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
*The Chancellor of the University of Sydney
*The Principal Professor of Classics of the University of Sydney
*The Senior Professor of Mathematics of the University of Sydney

The Act also provides that the Governor of New South Wales shall be the official Visitor of the School.

Site history

Sydney Grammar School is the oldest school still in use in the City of Sydney, and is also historically significant as the site on which the University of Sydney began. The School also holds scientific significance as containing examples of early building materials and techniques in pre-Federation Australia.cite web|url=|title= Sydney Grammar School|accessdate= 2008-03-11|year= 2004|work= Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District|publisher= Sydney Architecture]

The site was founded as The Sydney College in 1830, and the following year began operations in a new building in Hyde Park designed by Edward Hallen. It consisted of a single large room (now known as "Big School") with basement rooms beneath. Sydney College continued despite financial difficulties until 1853, when it was taken over by the fledgling University of Sydney until such time as the present Grose Farm site was ready for occupation. The site was then sold in 1856 to the Trustees of the newly incorporated Sydney Grammar School, which had been established and endowed with a building fund by Act of Parliament. Edmund Blacket was commissioned to design extensions to the south and north of the Hallen building, which were completed in 1856 and 1857 respectively. The "Big School" building became central to the Colonial Architect, James Barnet's vision for the cultural focus of Sydney Town.cite web|url=|title= History |accessdate= 2008-03-12 |year= 2003 |work= SGS Archives|publisher= Sydney Grammar School] The War Memorial wing, named for its position behind Big School's monument to the Great War, was built at the northern end of Big School in 1953 by the Scott brothers, at the cost of its double stair case. In 1876, the main building was extended to the east by Mansfield Brothers, and this extension was itself extended to the north and south in 1899 by John W Manson. The Science classrooms on Stanley Street were built in 1889-90. Other early buildings on the site, now demolished, included the Sergeant's Lodge, an ablutions block (known as the "White House") on Stanley Street, and a former postal sorting office on Yurong Street (now the Palladium building).


Sydney Grammar is a private, selective school.cite news| first = Anna| last = Patty| title = Lessons in choice| url =| work = News and Features| publisher = "The Sydney Morning Herald" | location = Sydney| page = 14| date = 2007-07-30| accessdate = 2008-03-11] Each year up to 18 full scholarships are offered to boys who show academic promise and who perform well in the scholarship examination. Currently, it is regarded as the most academically proficient private school in NSW and performs consistently well in the Higher School Certificate.cite news| first = Linda| last = Doherty | coauthors = Norrie, Justin and Burke, Kelly| title = State school blitz of top HSC spots| url = | publisher = The Sydney Morning Herald| date = 2005-12-17| accessdate = 2007-09-11]

At AUD$22,491 per annum (for Forms I - VI, non-boarding ), the tuition fees are among the highest of any secondary day school in the country.Fact|date=January 2008

Sydney Grammar is located near the centre of the Sydney Central Business District. The campus is compact and consists of multi-storey buildings (of up to seven floors) in a concrete landscape setting. Sydney Grammar is situated on the eastern side of Sydney's Hyde Park, next to the Australian Museum, and extends from College Street to Yurong Street. The designs of the School's buildings illustrate many different architectural eras: "Big School" (dating from the early 19th century colonial era), the Blacket buildings (annexed onto either side of "Big School" and completed in the 1850s), the original Science building (1891), the Science laboratory block (1960s), the Palladium building (an example of 1970s Modernist architecture), the Stanley Street building and Alastair Mackerras Theatre (1980s), and the A. B. 'Banjo' Paterson Library (1990s).

Weigall, the School's sportsground (named after former Headmaster Albert Bythesea Weigall), is located at Rushcutters Bay next to the Edgecliff Preparatory School and includes tennis courts, cricket nets and three fields for cricket, rugby and football. It is routinely used for Saturday sports matches, Physical Education and as a recreational area for Grammar's Edgecliff Preparatory School next door. There is also a large gymnasium at College Street and full rowing facilities at the School's boatshed at Gladesville.

In May 2005, Headmaster John Vallance announced that the School would lead a consortium to purchase 30 Alma St Paddington, known as White City, from Tennis New South Wales, thus extending the Weigall grounds substantially.cite news| first = Tim| last = Dick| title = Match point in tennis centre sale| url = | publisher = The Sydney Morning Herald| date = 2005-05-24| accessdate = 2007-09-11] In 2006, development applications to subdivide the White City tennis courts (numbered DA 20/2006 and DA 302/2006) were lodged with Woollahra Council to develop the site to accommodate more tennis and basketball courts; these were subsequently passed.

On the 14th of June 2008 the new field now known as Weigall 4 was opened with a range of guests including Mr Frank Lowy, President of Football Federation Australia.


The current Headmaster of Sydney Grammar School is Dr John T. Vallance. Dr Vallance attended St John's College, Cambridge and was later a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge at which time he wrote "The Lost Theory of Asclepiades of Bithynia" (ISBN 0-19-824248-4), which is cited by a number of other histories of philosophy and of medicine.cite web|url= |title= The Lost Theory of Asclepiades of Bithynia (Hardcover)|accessdate= 2008-01-28 |year= 2008|work= Books|publisher= ] Dr Vallance is also the author of the entries on medicine and anthropology in the "Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd edition)".

Dr Vallance succeeded Dr Ralph Townsend in his role as Headmaster. After a period at Oundle School, Dr Townsend is now Headmaster of Winchester College, England.


Sydney Grammar has a total enrolment of 1,830 boys across Years K to 12. In Term Three of 2006, the main high School campus had an enrolment of 1,109 boys in Forms I–VI (Years 7–12). There are also two Preparatory Schools, one at St. Ives in the Northern Suburbs (440 boys) and the other at Edgecliff in the Eastern Suburbs (300 boys). Each year, approximately two-thirds of the incoming Form I at College Street are from the two Preparatory Schools, while the rest are drawn from schools in Sydney, from interstate and overseas.


Sydney Grammar offers a liberal, pre-vocational type education, and this is reflected in its academic structure and subject choices. The academic departments are:
*Design and Technology
*Modern Languages (Asian and European)
*Physical Education
*Visual Arts.

Subjects offered for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) include English Standard, English Advanced, English Extension 1, English Extension 2, Mathematics, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, Geography, Modern History, Ancient History, History Extension, Economics, Latin, Latin Extension, Classical Greek, Classical Greek Extension, French Continuers, French Extension, Italian Continuers, Italian Extension, German Continuers, German Extension, Chinese Continuers, Chinese Extension, Japanese Beginners, Music 1 and 2, Music Extension, Visual Art and PDHPE.
Sanskrit, Design and Technology and Special Academic Courses are offered as non-HSC subjects.



Sydney Grammar's music programme is arguably amongst the best of any secondary school in Australia.Fact|date=October 2007 SGS has won the AMEB Music Shield ten times in the past eleven years. Two-thirds of pupils in the School play a musical instrument or are involved with music in some way. SGS boasts scores of musical groups in mostly classical, chamber and jazz styles. The School Orchestra has received wide acclaim and frequently engages in both national and international tours. Grammar's choir programme involves hundreds of students, Old Boys, and parents, participating in its many annual concerts. The School's senior a cappella group is known as The Grammarphones and is composed of the best tenors, basses and baritones in the senior years.

Recently, SGS has embarked upon a five year programme entitled "Bach: 2010", in which all the known choral cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach will be performed in a series of concerts between 2005 and 2010.cite web|url=|title= Sydney Grammar School|year = 2005|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |year= 2003|work= Conference Program - Sydney|publisher= Organ Historical Trust of Australia] Sydney Grammar is one of the few institutions in the world seeking to engage in such an exercise and, is aided by its newly installed Mander Organ in the Big School.cite web|url=|title= Sydney Grammar School|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |year= 2003|work= Portfolio|publisher= Mander Organs]

Under the current Head Master, an organic Rock-&-Roll movement has emerged and is currently thriving. The end of 2004 saw the consummation of years of practice in the first "Grammarpalooza" Rock Concert, which included the musical style of Old Boy band, "Dappled Cities Fly".


Sydney Grammar School is a member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW (GPS). GPS sporting events are contested in rugby union, football, cricket, tennis, volleyball, cross country, basketball, rowing, swimming, athletics, rifle shooting, and debating. The School also competes in fencing and chess competitions.

Grammar participates in the annual Tri-Grammar competitions, a series of cricket and rowing competitions between the Firsts teams of Sydney Grammar School, Melbourne Grammar School and Brisbane Grammar School. Sydney and Melbourne Grammar School also compete for "The Bat" in the same competition. The Sydney-Melbourne match dates back to 1876, and in 1976, to mark the centenary of this rivalry, a "Bat" was struck, with the winner of the annual match taking possession.

Competition in rowing culminates in the Riverview Gold Cup for Junior Crews and the Head of the River for Senior Crews.


The school has numerous clubs and societies for students. Notable examples include:
*Air Force Cadetscite web|url=|title= Clubs and Societies|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |work= College Street|publisher= Sydney Grammar School] (Established in 1942cite web|url=|title= A brief history of 306 Squadron|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |work= About 306 Squadron |publisher= Australian Air Force Cadets] )
*Army Cadet Corps (Founded in 1871 by School Headmaster Albert Bythesea Weigall, the Corps is one of the oldest military units in the nation, even predating the Australian Army.cite web|url=|title=Weigall, Albert Bythesea (1840 - 1912) |author=J. B. Windeyer |work=Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 6 |publisher= MUP |year=1976|pages=pp 375–376 |accessdate=2007-08-12] )
*Creative Writing Club, run by notable author John Hughes

A number of boys also assist in editing the School's yearly almanac, "The Sydneian", over 400 editions of which have been produced since 1875.

Notable alumni

Alumnus of Sydney Grammar School are commonly referred to as Old Boys or Old Sydneians,cite web|url =|title = Old Sydneians' Union|accessdate = 2007-10-25|year = 2007|work = College St|publisher = Sydney Grammar School] and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the Old Sydneians' Union (OSU).cite web|url =|title = Old Sydneians' Union|accessdate = 2007-10-25|year = 2007|work = Welcome|publisher = OSU Sydney Grammar School Old Sydneians' Union] cite web|url =|title = Membership|accessdate = 2007-10-25|work = Membership|publisher = OSU Sydney Grammar School Old Sydneians' Union]

In 2001, "The Sun-Herald" ranked Sydney Grammar School tenth in Australia's top ten boys' schools, based on the number of its alumni mentioned in the "Who's Who in Australia" (a listing of notable Australians).Ref_label|a|a|none Amongst these men are Sir Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia (1901–1903),cite web|url=|title= Edmund Barton|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |work= Player Profile|publisher= cricinfoaustralia] Sir William McMahon, 20th Prime Minister of Australia (1971–1972), [cite web|url=|title= William McMahon|accessdate= 2008-03-11|work= Fast Facts - Australia's Prime Ministers|publisher= National Archives of Australia] Bruce Gyngell, first person to appear on Australian television,cite web|url=|title= GYNGELL, BRUCE|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |work= Archives|publisher= The Museum of Broadcast Communications] and Andrew "Boy" Charlton, an Olympic gold medallist swimmer.cite web|url=|title= Andrew "Boy" Charlton - An Australian Legend|accessdate= 2008-03-11 |date= 2006-09-01 |work= Dive into spring|publisher= Sydney Media]


* Who's Who of boys' school rankings: 1.Scotch College, Melbourne, 2.Melbourne Grammar School, 3.Melbourne High School, 4.Geelong Grammar School, 5.Sydney Boys High School, 6.Wesley College, 7.Shore, 8.Fort Street High School, 9.North Sydney Boys High School, 10.Sydney Grammar School


Further reading

* Sheldon, J.S 1997. "The Big School Room at Sydney Grammar School with an Account of the Decline & Fall of Sydney College". Sydney Grammar School Press, Sydney, NSW. ISBN 0-646-30507-7.
* Turney, C. 1989. "Grammar: A History of Sydney Grammar School 1819 - 1988". Allen & Unwin with Sydney Grammar School, Sydney, NSW. ISBN 0-04-910115-3.

See also

* List of non-government schools in New South Wales
* GPS Schools

External links

* [ Sydney Grammar School website]
* [ The Old Sydneians Union]
* [ The Sydneian Bach Choir]

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