CBD031-02.jpg (67926 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Sydney Grammar School


Main building: Edward Hallen; Edmund Blacket; (War Memorial wing) E.A. & T.M. Scott


College Street




Victorian Academic Classical


Sandstone builder R. Cooper


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Sydney Grammar School is historically significant as probably the earliest school surviving in use in the city of Sydney, and as the site on which the University of Sydney began. The site and earlier buildings are associated with people and events involved not only in the development of the school and education in Australia, but also in the foundation and cultural evolution of the Australian nation. The place is aesthetically significant principally for the 1830s building by Hallen, and its classically inspired extensions by Blacket in the 1850s, which form an important element in a major historic streetscape. The social significance of the place derives from its association with the education of several thousand Australians, many distinguished in later life. The place has scientific significance as containing examples of early building materials and techniques.

Site and Main Building: The Sydney College was founded 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 (the Big School room) 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 Grose Farm site was ready for occupation. The site was then sold in 1856 to the Trustees of the new Sydney free Public Grammar School, which had been established and endowed with a building fund by a special Act of Parliament after concern had been expressed by the education community and general public about the poor standard of undergraduates presenting themselves to the University . 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 north wing had a fine double stair which was subsequently removed when the War Memorial wing was built at the northern end in 1953 (architects E A and T M Scott). The retaining wall and railings were built in 1872 along College and Stanley Streets. 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 and an ablutions block (the White House) on Stanley Street, and a former postal sorting office on Yurong Street (the Palladium building).

Special thanks to http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/

Laus Deo
(Praise be to God) 
Headmaster J. T. Vallance 
School type Private 
Established (1825) 1854 
School Song Carmen Sydneiense 
Location Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 
Enrollment 1,840 students K-12 
Clubs and Societies 25 
School Alliance GPS Schools 
Website http://www.sydgram.nsw.edu.au/ 
Sydney Grammar School (colloquially known just as Grammar) is a non-denominational, independent school for boys located in Sydney, Australia founded in 1854. As one of the oldest and most famous schools in Australia, it claims to offer the "classic" or "grammar" type of education thought of as liberal, humane, pre-vocational pedagogy. As well as the high school in Darlinghurst, there are two preparatory schools in St Ives and Edgecliff.

The Sydney Public Free Grammar School opened in 1825 with L. H. Halloran as Head Master. 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 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.

Today Sydney Grammar is a private and perhaps the most selective school in Australia, as measured by the scholarship entry examination results produced by the Australian Council of Educational Research. Currently, it is the most academically proficient private school in NSW as measured by consistent performance in the Higher School Certificate. [1]

At $19,463 per annum (for Forms I - VI, non-boarding ), the school fees are amongst the highest of any secondary school in the country.

Located near the heart of the Sydney Central Business District, SGS is excellently situated with regard to all City amenities. The campus is small in land area, consisting of multi-storey buildings (up to seven floors) in a concrete landscape setting. Sydney Grammar is situated on the southern side of Sydney's Hyde Park, next to the well-known Australian Museum. The grounds extend from College Street to Yurong Street. The school illustrates many different architectural eras; from the grandeur of the colonial era "Big School", dating from the early 19th Century, the Blackett Buildings, which are annexed onto either side of "Big School", the Palladium Building, exhibiting a rather unsightly example of International Style architecture, to the Science Building, featuring the A. B. 'Banjo' Paterson Library, and Stanley Street Buildings, including one cottage, still used as a classroom, dating from 1867.

However the school's extensive sporting facilities, named 'Weigall' after former Headmaster A.B. Weigall, are located in Rushcutter's Bay next to the school's Edgecliff preparatory school. The sporting facilities include tennis courts, cricket pitches and fields for rugby and soccer.

Sydney Grammar's music programme is amongst the best of any secondary-school in Australia. SGS has won the AMEB Music Shield 10 times in the past 11 years and its Music Department is generally recognized to be of excellent quality. Two-thirds of students 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, jazz and 'big band' styles. The School Orchestra has received wide-acclaim and frequently engages in tours across Australia and the World. Grammar's extensive choir-programme involves hundreds of boys, 'Old Boys' and parents, participating every-which-way in its many annual concerts. The school's a capella 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 5 year programme entitled 'Bach: 2010' in which all the known choral cantatas of J.S. Bach will be performed in a series of concerts between 2005 and 2010. Sydney Grammar is one of the only institutions in the world seeking to engage in such an exercise and, with its newly installed Mander Organ in the 'Big School', is well-equipped to do so. [2]

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 'Grammarpalooza' Rock Concert, which included the musical style of an 'Old Boy' band of some-note, Dappled Cities Fly.

Sydney Grammar School is one of eight Sydney schools known collectively as the GPS Schools. GPS sporting events are contested keenly in rugby, football, cricket, tennis, volleyball, cross country, basketball, rowing, athletics, rifle shooting, and debating. SGS also runs a fencing and chess programme, which are very successful in their respective competitions.

Grammar participates in the Tri-Grammar Cup (Cricket) in which Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne Grammar Schools each send their best cricket team to compete for the title, known as the "shield". Sydney Grammar School and Melbourne Grammar School compete for a "bat" in the same competition. The Sydney-Melbourne match dates back to 1876.

Competition in rowing culminates in the Riverview Gold Cup (for Junior Crews) and the Head of the River for Senior Crews. In 2001, a new rowing competition - the Tri-Grammar Series - was begun. A rowing regatta between Sydney Grammar School, Melbourne Grammar and Brisbane Grammar held in each city in rotation. To ensure a friendly atmosphere and spirit, each member of the host crew offers accommodation to their counterpart from a rival crew.

The school's main sport field is Weigall, named after former Headmaster A.B. Weigall. It is located in Rushcutter's Bay, in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. It is routinely used for Saturday sports matches, Physical Education and as a recreational area for Grammar's Edgecliff Preparatory School.

In May 2005, John Vallance, Headmaster of SGS, 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. [3]

Sydney Grammar has a total enrolment of 1840 boys across Years K-12. The main High School campus has an enrolment of 1100 boys in Years 7-12. There are also two primary-level Preparatory Schools: Edgecliff Preparatory in the Eastern Suburbs, which has 300 boys, and St. Ives Preparatory in the Northern Suburbs, which has 440. Each year, approximately two-thirds of the incoming Form I at College St are from the two Preparatory Schools, while the rest are from various other schools across Sydney, Australia and the World.

Dozens of clubs and societies service the extended student body of the school. These include a Student Advisory Council, Chess Club (renowned to be one of the best in NSW, having won the State Senior, Intermediate and Junior divisions in 2002, the first school to have done so in the competition), a Debating club, a Fly fishing club, a Ceramics Club, a Classical Culture Society, a Philosophy Club, a Maths Club, a satirical school newspaper known as 'Tiger', an Anime Society, an Asian Education Club, the oldest Air Force Cadets organisation in Australia, an Army Cadet Corps which pre-dates the existence of the Australian army, an Audio-Visual Team, a Drama Club and a Creative-Writing club. A number of boys also assist in editing the school's almanac, 'The Sydneian'.

Notable Alumni
Former students of the school, known as Old Sydneians include (in their respective fields):

Politics and Law
Sir Edmund Barton, Australia's first Prime Minister. 
General Sir Henry George Chauvel, Army Chief of Staff. 
Nick Cowdery, NSW Director of Public Prosecutions. 
Sir David Griffin, Former Lord Mayor of Sydney. 
William Gummow QC, High Court judge. 
Sir Leslie Herron, 12th Chief Justice of New South Wales. 
Malcolm Mackerras, psephologist. 
Sir Anthony Mason, Chief Justice, High Court. 
Sir William McMahon, Australia's 20th Prime Minister. 
Boyd Morehead, former Premier of Queensland. 
Sir John Hubert Plunkett Murray, Administrator of Papua New Guinea. 
Kim Santow, Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales Court of Appeal, Chancellor of the University of Sydney. 
Sir Kenneth Street, 10th Chief Justice of New South Wales. 
Sir Philip Street, 8th Chief Justice of New South Wales. 
Andrew Tink, shadow Attorney General of New South Wales, State MP for Epping. 
Malcolm Turnbull, Federal Parliament member for the seat of Wentworth and businessman. 

Richard Francis-Bruce, Academy Award-nominated film editor (The Shawshank Redemption 1994), (Seven 1995), (Air Force One 1997). 
Andrew Lesnie, Academy Award-winning cameraman (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2002). 
Baz Luhrmann, film director. 
Julian McMahon, actor and son of Prime Minister McMahon. 
Bud Tingwell, actor. 

Richard Carleton, 60 Minutes reporter. 
Charles Firth, member of The Chaser team. 
Bruce Gyngell, first man on Australian television. 
Mike Kerry, Channel V presenter. 
Richard Kingsmill, broadcaster. 
Dominic Knight, member of The Chaser team. 
Chas Licciardello, member of The Chaser team. 
Hugh McKay, social commentator, former Chairman of Trustees. 
Tim Palmer, veteran ABC journalist. 

Len Ainsworth, Aristocrat Leisure Limited founder. 
David Gonski, Coca-Cola chairman, Australia Council chairman, Chairman of Trustees, Chancellor of the University of New South Wales. 
Wallace King, CEO Leighton Holdings. 

Fred Spofforth, First Test cricketer to take a hat-trick 
Andrew "Boy" Charlton, swimmer. 
Albert Cotter, Australia's 85th Test Cricketer and soldier. 
Stork Hendry, Australia's 116th Test cricketer. 
Alan Walker, Australian rugby player and cricketer 
Sammy Woods, Australia's 54th Test cricketer. 

The Arts
Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor. 
Michael Dransfield, poet. 
Max Dupain, photographer. 
Rob Hirst, drummer, Midnight Oil. 
Mark Kingsmill, drummer, Hoodoo Gurus. 
Joseph Jacobs, preserved fairy-tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs. 
Banjo Paterson, Australia's most notable poet. 

Other Fields
Bryan Gaensler, Young Australian of the Year, 1999, now Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University. 
Dr. Rowan Gillies, president of Médecins Sans Frontières. 
Alistair Mackerras, first 'Old Boy' Head Master of the school. 

SGS has had the most High Court Justices (12) and Rhodes Scholars (26) of any high school in Australia. Also, the current Chancellors of two of Australia's most notable universities - the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales - are Old Sydneians (Kim Santow and David Gonski respectively). Current Attorney General of New South Wales Bob Debus and Shadow Attorney General Andrew Tink were teacher and student at Sydney Grammar, respectively.

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 0198242484), which is cited by a number of other histories of philosophy and of medicine. [4] 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 the Oundle School, Dr. Townsend is now currently Headmaster of the Winchester School, England.

Years Sydney College Sydney Grammar School 
1835-1841 W. T. Cape 
1841-1846 Thomas Henry Braim 
1847-1849 D. Patterson 
1850 Charles Woodward, LLB 
1857-1866 W. J. Stephens, MA 
1867-1912 Albert Bythesea Weigall, CMG, MA 
1913-1920 H. N. P. Sloman, MC, MA 
1920-1923 A. H. S. Lucas, MA, BSc 
1923-1939 H. S. Dettmann, MA, BCL 
1940-1950 F. G. Phillips, MA 
1951-1964 C. O. Healey, OBE, TD, MA 
1965-1968 S. P. T. Houldsworth, MA, DipEd 
1969-1989 A. M. Mackerras, MA 
1989-1999 Dr. Ralph D. Townsend, MA, D.Phil 
1999- Dr. John. T. Vallance, MA, Ph.D.