Blue Mountains Grammar School
|Blue Mountains Grammar School|
|Wentworth Falls & Valley Heights, New South Wales, Australia|
|Type||Independent, Anglican, Co-educational, Day school|
|Motto||Latin: Per Ardua Ad Altiora
(Through Hard Work To Higher Achievement)
|Enrolment||940 (Pre-K to 12)|
|Colour(s)||Blue & Gold
Blue Mountains Grammar School (BMGS), established in 1918, is an independent school over two campuses, in Wentworth Falls and Valley Heights, New South Wales, Australia. Classes are run from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 (HSC). The school is an Anglican, co-educational day school. There are approximately 600-700 students currently enrolled over both campuses.
BMGS was founded in 1917 as Blue Mountains Grammar Church of England Boys Grammar School, in Springwood. It was a boarding school and the property was known as "Homedale", located in Springwood in the lower mountains. The Founding Headmaster was E.K. Deane and the first pastoral House formed in the School bears his name. Ken Deane's reasons for founding the school are uncertain, but it is believed that it was developed for the purpose of giving an education to children boarders in the central west and north west of the state. From this grounding Deane built the school into a multi-classroom premises in Springwood, which throughout the 1920s saw successes in student numbers and education initiatives.
By 1930, however, the school faced considerable hurdles to keep going. An obvious decline in numbers occurred between 1930 and 1934, such that membership numbers, approximately 55 in 1929, had declined to 24 in the second term of 1932, Deane struggled to keep the school alive, and in desperation lowered boarding fees to a pound a day, and making ends meet by growing his own food. By 1933 enrolments had grown to 45, but there was a backlog of debt that was built up from the school during that troublesome period.
During the war years, the number of enrolments at the school kept up quite well, given that most parents wanted to send their children out of the Sydney area. This period also meant the end of Ken Deane's long career as headmaster of the school. Deane had seen the school turn from a one-classroom premises to a medium sized school with vibrant sporting, educative and community facilities. His son, John Deane, replaced him in 1945. John was confronted upon his arrival at the school with a burgeoning debt, as all of the schools assets had been laid in Ken Deane's name, with nothing in the bank. The second problem that John faced was staff that had been dismissed or were dismissed by John for violation of school conduct. Another problem was the condition of the school grounds; with a loan from the Bank of New South Wales, John had the windows reglazed, repainted and re-roofed school buildings, forming a revitalised school grounds that helped attract new students.
The move of the school to its current grounds in Wentworth Falls came with the purchase of 'Coorah' in 1951. In May 1951 John Deane wrote a letter to parents stating that the operations of the school would no longer be conducted in Springwood, but at the new site of the school in Wentworth Falls. About 80 students were transferred from the Springwood campus to the Wentworth Fall site.
With a variety of dedicated benefactors, and the commitment of staff, students, and parents to the growth of the school, Blue Mountains Grammar School underwent a period of strategic growth between 1953 and 1960. Now under the leadership of the Reverend Albert Pitt-Owen, it was promised that the school would be returned to sustainable enrolment numbers, but to do so required that Albert had the 'authority as well as responsibility'. 1953-1959 saw a significant period of development with land purchases, building, and a general rise in student numbers. In 1961, after the firm establishment of the Junior School, Albert Pitt-Owen signaled his intention to expand the establishment with a Senior school campus. In 1965 that Senior school moved from its initial location at 'Blue Horizon' to its current location at Coorah, Wentworth Falls.
The school now caters to approximately 600-700 students, and is presided over by the current Headmaster, Trevor Barman. Uncertainty in the face of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 led to a small decline in numbers, but they remain stable.
Teaching at Blue Mountains Grammar is divided into 11 different departments as follows:
Blue Mountains Grammar School offers courses taught at solely at the school, courses taught in conjunction with TAFE known as VET courses (Vocational Education and Training) and courses by correspondence taught with the aid of the school teachers.
- Andrew Denton, Australian comedian and television presenter
- Sue-Ann Post, Australian comedienne and writer
- John Cunningham, Consul General for Barbados and Chairman of Caribbean Airlines
- John Deane, Headmaster of Blue Mountains Grammar School and educator at The Scots College 
- Ben St Lawrence - Australian representative to the 2012 Olympics in Athletics
- Hayden Smith - New York Jets American Football Player and former and USA Rugby player
- Amanda Spratt - Australian road cyclist and 2012 Summer Olympics athlete
- Jack Thompson, Australian actor
- Andrea Oracki - Australian athlete
There are six houses in Blue Mountains Grammar. They are listed in alphabetical order, with their colour and animal (which appears on the house crest) in brackets.
- Deane (blue; phoenix) - After E.K & J Deane (former headmasters)
- Hughes (maroon; griffin) - After Mr Hughes (commitment to BMGS through continued philanthropy)
- Kelley (white; ram) - After Mr W. Kelley (honorary service to BMGS in a range of positions on the School Council and on the Conservatorium Management Committee, a reflection of his great love of music)
- MacLaurin (black; lion) - After the MacLaurin family (benefactors of BMGS).
- Pitt (green; serpent) - After the Pitt family (in 1889, Mr & Mrs Robert Matcham Pitt built "Coorah", which is now the centerpiece of the Senior Campus of BMGS)
- Ziele (red; bull) - pronounced zee-lee - After Dr S. Ziele (a philanthropist with a wide range of charitable interests, as well as a benefactor of BMGS)
- Ken Goodlet, 'Mountain Springtime: A History of Blue Mountains Grammar School', (Wentworth Falls: Blue Mountains Grammar School, 2002): 2.
- Quarterly abstract of non-state schools, State Records Office, Kingswood.
- Ken Goodlet, 'Mountain Springtime: A History of Blue Mountains Grammar School', (Wentworth Falls: Blue Mountains Grammar School, 2002): 33.
- Ken Goodlet, 'Mountain Springtime: A History of Blue Mountains Grammar School', (Wentworth Falls: Blue Mountains Grammar School, 2002): 56.
- Ken Goodlet, 'Mountain Springtime: A History of Blue Mountains Grammar School', (Wentworth Falls: Blue Mountains Grammar School, 2002): 66.
- Ken Goodlet, 'Mountain Springtime: A History of Blue Mountains Grammar School', (Wentworth Falls: Blue Mountains Grammar School, 2002).
- "London 2012 - Ben St Lawrence Athlete Profile". Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "London 2012 - Amanda Spratt Athlete Profile". Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "Oracki claims triathlon crown". Retrieved 11 November 2013.