Falcon College

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Falcon College
Coordinates 20°12′S 28°58′E / 20.20°S 28.97°E / -20.20; 28.97
Type Private, Boarding
Motto Macte nova virtue, puer; sic itur ad astra
(Latin for "Look to your new-found courage, young man, for that is the way to the stars")
Established 1954
Headmaster Mr. R. Querl
Gender Boys
Age 12 to 18
Pupils 400(approx.)
Houses Hervey
George Grey

Falcon College is a private institution of higher learning (high school) for boys aged 12–18 in the southern Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe. It was founded in 1954 near Essexvale, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland,[1] 55 km southeast of Bulawayo on the remains of the Bushtick Mine. The college has graduated a British member of parliament, surgeons and doctors, leaders of industry and commerce, soldiers and educators.

The college has 40 km² of Matabeleland bush, 10 km² approximately is game fenced and houses Quiet Waters game park. The park contains examples of most of Zimbabwe’s plains game species, including zebra, giraffe, kudu, impala, tssessebe, bushbuck and warthog. The campus is surrounded by an electric fence (a reminder of the bush war of pre-1980) and is a small oasis of green in amongst the dry semi-desert Matabeleland conditions. An air strip is nearby.

The school's motto is Sic itur ad astra and the school badge is a representation of a Lanner Falcon designed by the wife of a former Headmaster.

Historical background[edit]

Originally Bushtick Mine, and with 36 boys and a handful of staff, the college was founded on Wednesday 3 February 1954. It was opened by the Governor General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Lord Llewellin, on Saturday 10 April 1954. Much has changed since then but the college has some remains of its founding days.

The original motto was Arduus ad Solem. The newer Motto is: Sic Itur Ad Astra The school motto comes from the words of Publius Vergilius Marote (70-19BC) a classical Roman poet who wrote: “nova virtute, puer; sic itur ad astra” which translates: Look to your new-found courage, young man, for that is the way to the stars.

In the beginning the boys were divided into three colour groups for sport, Whites, Blues and Khakis. Later, the houses were named A,B,C and D and in April 1956, Sir Robert Clarkson Tredgold, Chairman of the Board of Governors, announced that the houses were to be renamed Hervey, Oates, Tredgold and Founders. Founders was so named to commemorate the Founders of the School; Tredgold after Sir Robert Clarkson Tredgold, who was also Chief Justice of Southern Rhodesia; Oates after Frank Oates, explorer and naturalist who travelled extensively in southern central Africa in the 19th century; and Hervey after Hubert Hervey, adventurer, gentleman and soldier, who was killed in the 2nd Matabele war, and who was buried in the Matopos.[2]

Student body[edit]

The college admittance is based on strength of prior education and character of the applicant. Although the vast majority of students are Zimbabwean, others attend from neighboring countries (Zambia, Botswana). Some scholarships are available to deserving students whose particular financial circumstances do not allow for the payment of school fees.

The house system[edit]

The school is based on a house system that is divided into six Houses; Founders, Hervey, Oates, Tredgold, George Grey and Chubb, each comprising the full range of year groups. Each house has a housemaster in charge who lives nearby. Each housemaster has a house Tutor and two assistant tutors, as well as other members of staff, who assist in duties.[citation needed]

There is also a system of prefects with six pupils being appointed the Head of House (one for each house). Under the Head of House, there are five or six house prefects, each of whom is in charge of a year group. Senior boys in the house are also required to take over various responsibilities. Each Head of House is automatically a College Prefect and, therefore, also has a role to play supporting the pupil that is appointed as the Head of School.

The Form One to Form Four year groups live in dormitories, overseen by a prefect whose study/bedroom is attached to the dormitory. Boys in the Upper and Lower Sixth live in their own individual study/bedrooms. Forms One to Four are responsible for cleaning their dormitories, making their beds, taking their clothes to the laundry and helping to keep the house and its surrounds clean. The Lower Sixth clean their own studies while the Upper Sixth have fags drawn from Form 2 to assist them.[citation needed]

The house system has a competitive side since houses compete with each other in activities such as singing, drama and sports. The Lower Sixth boys are involved in the organisation of these inter-house competitions, thus assisting the Upper Sixth. This also gives them training in organisation, assuming responsibility and being leaders. All these skills are needed when they become members of the Upper Sixth.

Boys can either go home, or (with parental permission) to friends or relatives on two Fixture Frees which last from break time on a Friday to dinner time on the following Monday. There is a Mid term Exeat which is a day longer. In addition, there are three floating exeats but these must be spent with parents.

During the bush war, a girls' house was included as a security measure during that period for girls of teachers and those from the local area.[citation needed]


The College provides secondary education from Form I through Upper Sixth. Typically boys look to take their "O" levels at the end of Form IV and their "A" levels in their second Form VI year (Upper Sixth). Results are consistently in the top quartile of all schools in Zimbabwe.

The teaching staff is grouped by academic speciality (science, language, arts etc.). Staff/student ratio is approximately 1:10.


The major sports include cricket (providing many Zimbabwe test level players), rugby, field hockey, football (soccer), basketball, tennis and field athletics. Other sports include water polo, squash and golf (the old Bushtick Mine having the first golf course in then Southern Rhodesia with grass greens).

Other extra-curricular activities[edit]

There are clubs and societies ranging from falconeering to debating forums to theater and the arts.

Head Masters[edit]

  • Frank Cary (1954–55)
  • Ashley Gordon Brooker (1955–59)
  • Hugh Cole (1959–1960)
  • Dougal Turner (1960–1984). Deceased October, 2009.
  • Neil Todd (1984–2000)
  • Gordon Macdonald (2000–2001)
  • Reginald W Querl (2001 to date)

Quiet Waters Conservation Scheme[edit]

The project began in 1986 and was officially opened in 1988. It consists of a Nature Reserve and Wilderness Area which cover 8.1 km². Quiet Waters conserves indigenous fauna and flora, furthers the educational pursuits of the college and serves as a base for conservation education in other schools. It is also used for scientific research and provides recreational facilities for the College community and visitors.

Picnic sites are available for the use of day visitors within the Nature Reserve area, with four chalets which can be rented for overnight stays in the Wilderness area. These facilities are all popular with staff, boys, parents and friends of the College.

Animals which can be seen are kudu, zebra, giraffe, reedbuck, bushbuck, steenbok, tsessebe, impala, klipspringer, bushpig and warthog and the two species of jackal, while there are many smaller mammals which are not so easily seen, such as four species of mongoose.

The educational value of Quiet Waters is enormous, since it is regularly used for practical work in the subjects of geography, environmental science, and biology. Project work is undertaken by members of the Natural History Society and naturalists, while the area is used by educational institutions for fieldwork and outings.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ D. Berens, ed. (1988), A Concise Encyclopedia of Zimbabwe, Gweru: Mambo Press, p. 157 .
  2. ^ a b I.P. Maclaren, ed. (1981), Some Renowned Rhodesian Senior Schools 1892 - 1979, Bulawayo: Books of Zimbabwe, pp. 120–123 .
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Falcon - The Magazine of Falcon College, Zimbabwe, 1996, pp. 60–61,148 .
  4. ^ The Falcon - The Magazine of Falcon College, Zimbabwe, 1982, pp. 39–40 .
  5. ^ The Falcon - The Magazine of Falcon College, Zimbabwe, 1998, pp. 33–35 .
  6. ^ Lacey, Hester. "The Inventory: Anthony Grayling", The Financial Times, June 10, 2011.
  7. ^ a b The Falcon - The Magazine of Falcon College, Zimbabwe, 1990, pp. 80–81 .
  8. ^ Graham Lord (1991), Ghosts of King Solomon's Mines, London: Sinclair-Stevenson .

External links[edit]