Fort Street High School

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Fort Street High School
Fort Street Crest
Latin: Faber est suae quisque fortunae
Every man is the maker of his own fortune
Location
Sydney, NSW, Australia Australia
Coordinates 33°53′24″S 151°9′10″E / 33.89000°S 151.15278°E / -33.89000; 151.15278Coordinates: 33°53′24″S 151°9′10″E / 33.89000°S 151.15278°E / -33.89000; 151.15278
Information
Type Public, Co-educational, Selective, Day school
Established 1849
Principal Roslynne Moxham
Deputy Principals David Osland and
Karen Di Stefano
Enrolment 923[1] (7–12)
Campus Urban (Petersham)
Colour(s) Maroon & White
         
Website

Fort Street High School is a co-educational, academically selective, public high school currently located at Petersham, an inner western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1849, it is the oldest government high school in Australia,[2] and today, it remains a public school operated by the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (DEC). Fort Street High School is renowned for the accomplishments that its graduates have achieved, and as a selective school, it draws students from across metropolitan Sydney and across the multicultural spectrum.

To avoid confusion due to the school's history of separation, amalgamation, and eventually, its relocation; the present school is designated Fort Street High School, Petersham for official government purposes.

The school's motto is Faber est suae quisque fortunae (Latin for "To each craftsman is his own fortune," commonly paraphrased as "Every man is the maker of his own fortune"), a phrase attributed to the ancient Roman Appius Claudius Caecus.

Fort Street High School has a sister school, Suginami Sogo High School, in Tokyo, Japan.[3]

In 2010 The Age reported that Fort Street High School ranked equal fourth among Australian schools based on the number of alumni who had received a top Order of Australia honour.[4]

History[edit]

Creation of the Fort Street Model School[edit]

A cigarette card from c. 1920 showing the crest and colours of Fort Street Boys' High School

The history of public education in Australia began when the Governor of New South Wales Charles FitzRoy established a Board of National Education on 8 January 1848 to implement a national system of education throughout the colony. The board decided to create two model schools, one for boys and one for girls. The site of Fort Street Model School was chosen as the old Military Hospital at Fort Phillip, on Sydney's Observatory Hill.[5] This school was not only intended to educate boys and girls, but also to serve as a model for other schools in the colony. The school's name is derived from the name of a street which ran into the grounds of the hospital and became part of the playground during its reconstruction. The street name is perpetuated in the small street in Petersham that leads to the present school.[5]

Establishment of Fort Street High School[edit]

Fort Street High School in 1872

The school was officially established on 1 September 1849, when the conversion of the building was approved by the government.[5] This original school building is visible today beside the southern approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The establishment of Fort Street School marked the establishment of a non-denominational system of school, where the government undertook the education of its people, separate from religion. The influence of the Fort Street Model School was substantial, forming the basis for education throughout the colonies:

At the same time at the Fort Street National School in Sydney William Wilkins was teaching pupil-teachers how to lead the children of New South Wales out of darkness into the light. He was holding out to them that bright prospect of the day when every locality however remote and every family however humble was supplied with the ameliorating influences of an education, which would teach every man, woman and child in the colony to form the habits of regularity, cleanliness, orderly behaviour, and regard for the rights of both public and private property, as well as the habit of obedience to the law, and respect for duly constituted authority. In Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart his counterparts were preaching the same gospel of humanity marching forward, reaching upward for the light. – Manning Clark, A History of Australia, Vol. 4, The Earth Abideth Forever 1851–1888

Formation of Fort Street Public, Boys' High, and Girls' High Schools[edit]

In 1911, the school was split into one primary and two secondary schools: Fort Street Public School, Fort Street Boys' High School and Fort Street Girls' High School. Due to space limitations at Observatory Hill, in 1916, the Boy's school was moved to the school's present site, on Taverner's Hill, Petersham. The Girls' school remained at Observatory Hill until 1975, when the two schools were amalgamated to form the current co-educational school at Petersham. During that time, its grounds continued to be consumed by the growing city; for example, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which opened in 1932, took most of the playground. Fort Street Public School remains at Observatory Hill.[5]

Recent[edit]

The school celebrated its sesquicentenary in 1999.[5] Its student population is now a diverse one; students come from over 100 suburbs in Sydney, from places as far as Hornsby, the Blue Mountains, Cabramatta, and Canterbury. 539 of the 930 students have one of thirty different languages as their native tongue.[6] Students past and present are referred to as "Fortians".[7]

Ronald Horan was for many years a master at the school. As well as writing foreign language textbooks, he was the author of a history of the school, Fort Street, the School which was later followed by Maroon and Silver.

Campus[edit]

The Wilkins building of the present Fort Street High School

Fort Street High School is currently located on a single campus on Parramatta Road in Petersham, a suburb in the inner-west of Sydney. The school occupies almost the entire street block, and is surrounded by Parramatta Road, Palace Street and Andreas Street.[8]

The Petersham campus centres on the Romanesque Revival main building (formerly known to most staff and students simply as "the old block") now named the Wilkins Building after William Wilkins, who played an instrumental role in the formation of the education system in New South Wales in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The other buildings include the Kilgour building, the Memorial Hall and the newest additions, the Cohen and Rowe buildings, which were completed in 2004.

School facilities include a library, a gymnasium, an oval, tennis courts, basketball courts, cricket practice nets, a canteen, and a performing arts block.

The school recently received funding for noise reduction technology after years of campaigning for insulation. Work on in the school was scheduled to start in mid-2010 and began in the Memorial Hall at the request of the school principal, Roslynne Moxham, to provide a quiet environment for exams being held in the hall including the Higher School Certificate. It was completed in January 2012, with the completion of the Wilkins and Kilgour blocks.[9]

The school's original Observatory Hill campus is now used by the National Trust of Australia.

Curriculum[edit]

Academic[edit]

Fort Street High School teaches all six grades of a standard secondary education in New South Wales, from year 7 to 12. It operates under the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (DET) and is registered and accredited with the New South Wales Board of Studies, and therefore following the mandated curriculum for all years. Administratively, the six grades are divided into three "Stages" of two years each: Stage 4 (years 7 and 8), Stage 5 (years 9 and 10) and Stage 6 (years 11 and 12).[10]

Years 7 to 10 are traditionally regarded as "junior" high school, and officially conclude with attainment of the School Certificate at the end of year 10. Compulsory subjects during these years are English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Physical Education. In addition, Visual Arts, Drama, and Design & Technology are compulsory in years 7 and 8. Additionally, students learn two different languages in years 7 and 8. They may choose from French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and, in addition, Italian in year 8.[10]

Science class at Fort Street High School, 1930

In years 9 and 10, students choose three elective subjects, from amongst Languages (French, German, Chinese, or Japanese), Elective History, Elective Geography (so-called to differentiate them from the compulsory History and Geography course), Performing Arts (Music and Drama), Industrial Technologies (ICT, Woodwork, Electronics, and Food Technology), and Commerce[10]

In Stage 6, or years 11 and 12, students prepare for the Higher School Certificate (HSC), which certifies the completion of high school in New South Wales. In order to satisfy requirements for the HSC, each student must complete at least twelve units of study for the Preliminary course (in year 11) and at least ten units for the HSC (in year 12). The only compulsory subject is English. Students have the option of undertaking Vocational education (VET) courses, which may or may not contribute to their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in the HSC.[10]

Extra-curricular[edit]

Fort Street High also offers sports as part of its formal and co-curricular programs. Year 7 to 10 students experience sports through the Physical Education program, and Years 8 to 11 participate in Zone and knockout sport. Year 12 students are not required to undertake sport but may partake if requested. Students who are not involved in competition undertake in Year 8 skill-based sport, and in Years 9 to 11 recreational sports. Sports offered include hockey, rugby union, aerobics, basketball, ice skating, netball, soccer, cricket, squash, swimming, tennis, fencing (the fencing team being of a notable and, generally, superior status in comparison to many other New South Wales public schools, despite being recreational), baseball, and touch football.[11]

The Instrumental Music Program is the largest co-curricular program in the school involving over 250 students. In 2002, it won the Director-General's School Achievement Award for providing opportunities for students to enrich and expand their expertise as musicians and performers.[12] The large ensembles include the Wind Ensemble, Wind Orchestra, Concert Band, Training Band, Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble

In addition, the extension ensembles include the Stage Band/Jazz Orchestra, Big Band, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, String Ensemble, Chamber Choir and Cello Ensemble.

Other extracurricular activities include Debating (the Year 7 and 8 team was the state champion in 2010[13]), Public Speaking, Mock Trial (Fort Street was the 2009 New South Wales Champions), Tournament of the Minds, Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme,[14] Chess, Robotics, Photography and Knitting.

Student representation[edit]

The student body is represented by the Student Representative Council (SRC). Four male and four female students from each year are elected by their peers at the end of the third term of each year, excepting Year 7 Representatives, who are voted in the beginning of the year. Year 11 students are elected by the SRC members as SRC president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.

The SRC is responsible for the annual Valentine's Day Rose Drive and a Year 7 and 8 welcome dance, and are exploring more active fundraising for charity.[15] Recently, the SRC have been aiming towards fundraising to the local community, such as OASIS, a project run by the Salvation Army in Australia, and White Ribbon Australia, helping to prevent violence against women. Two delegated SRC members sit on the Fort Street High School Council (the oligarchical governing body of the school) and assist in broader decision-making processes.

The SRC also run the biannual Fort Fest, which allows students, as well as other community businesses, to open a store during the Sunday, usually at the beginning of June.[citation needed] It features the Battle of the Bands, a program where community bands compete to win prizes, and stores from student bodies in the school, including the Environment Committee, Student Anti-Racism Network and Amnesty International. In 2010, stores included Nova 96.9, NSW Police and the NSW Fire Department.[16]

Environment Committee[edit]

The Environment Committee is a student body formed in late 2007. The Committee currently has over 20 members ranging from Years 7 to 11, and is led by a President. The Environment Committee works in partnership with other schools in the local area, such as Petersham Public School and Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. In a nod towards the school's heritage, the Committee worked closely with the Observatory Hill Environmental Educational Centre, including the planning of EcoTour 2010.

The Committee's past and present projects include running a Recycling Program run with the assistance of Visy Industries, installing two Water Tanks (each having a 2000L capacity),[17] installing 6 1.5 kW Solar Panels, regenerating plants with indigenous natives along Andreas Street, controlling a worm farm and running the annual Earth Hour. Future projects include a vegetable patch, a herb garden new water bottle refill stations and further recycling of aluminium and plastic. However, the Environment Committee is currently in a debt of $150 after reimbursing all its members after Fort Street Festival.

School traditions[edit]

School assemblies and special events are held at the Memorial Hall

Fort Street utilises a house system. The school is organised into four official Houses, to which each student is assigned. The Houses are named after prominent alumni, two male and two female, and representing different areas of endeavour: Barton, named after Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia; Mawson, named after Douglas Mawson, Antarctic explorer; Kennedy, named after athlete Clarice Kennedy; and Preston, named after artist Margaret Preston.

Since 1899, the school has published the Fortian magazine, the school's annual review and yearbook. The name later came to refer to all students of the schools past and present.[18] An extensive alumni network is maintained through the school's alumni association, the Fortians' Union, formed by the amalgamation of the Old Boys' Union and the Fort Street Old Girls' Union. In addition to maintaining the alumni network, the Union also assists the school and promotes its traditions. It holds an annual dinner each October, with some student reunions held concurrently with this event.[19] The Fortians' Union publishes Faber Est, a monthly newsletter.

An annual Speech Day is held near the beginning of each year at which student achievements are recognised and awards are presented. An address is given by a prominent alumnus or alumna. In the past, Speech Day events have been held at various venues including the school's Memorial Hall and the Sydney Opera House.[18] In recent years, the ceremony has always been held at Sydney Town Hall.

Throughout its history, the various Fort Street schools have had a number of school songs.[20] At present, at assemblies, the simply-named School Song and Gaudeamus igitur are sung at the beginning of assemblies, with Fort Street's Name Rings Around the World sung as the recessional, at its conclusion.

An officially sanctioned student newspaper known as Note Bene ran for several years until enthusiasm for it waned.[citation needed]

The FLOP, an annual student revue performed by outgoing Year 12 students, has been performed for many years, beginning in 1976.[21] It usually involves humorous sketches, often parodying school life and teachers, and, in recent years, the primary medium has been video. Musical pieces, both serious and funny, are often performed. In recent years, various restrictions have been imposed on the FLOP, including a ban on the use of cars in videos, a requirement for videos to not include swearing. Justified as being improperly close to HSC exams, Principal Roslynne Moxham stated in an address to Year 12 2010 and their parents on 27 October 2009[citation needed] that, as of 2010, the FLOP has been permanently cancelled. In line with Fort Street students' long history of being a prominent source of progressive activism in Australia,[22] the decision was fiercely contested by student-led protest groups.

Fort Street community[edit]

Alumni[edit]

Main article: List of Fortians

Fort Street alumni are traditionally called "Fortians". Prominent former students include a Prime Minister of Australia, a Governor-General of Australia, and four justices of the High Court of Australia, the highest number amongst government schools in Australia. Among its graduates are well known celebrities such as Nolene Brown and renowned Christian Apologist, Janet Ellen Trounce (née, Sutton). Fortians have also served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, justices of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Federal Court of Australia and other state and federal courts, Premiers of New South Wales, and Chancellors of the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and other universities.

Fort Street Foundation[edit]

The Foundation was established by some Fortians of the class of 1949. The Foundation provides a means of raising funds for the school via a separate, incorporate entity. The Foundation administers three trust funds: Library and Building (tax deductible) and the Education Fund.

Parents and Citizens Association[edit]

The Parents and Citizens Association, or "P&C", is a forum where parents of students can participate in the governance of the school. Its goals including promoting support for public education, community awareness of the school, participation of parents, interaction with school staff, and general support for the school. The P&C supports improvement of the school's physical environment, communication through the Mecurius newsletter and the school website, and fundraising activities.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ACARA School Profile[dead link], Fort Street High School
  2. ^ Aircraft Noise Levy Collection Amendment Bill 2001: Second Reading[dead link]
  3. ^ "姉妹校関係締結の調印式" (in Japanese). Suginami Sogo High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. [dead link]
  4. ^ Topsfield, Jewel (4 December 2010). "Ties that bind prove a private education has its awards". The Age (Australia). p. 11.  The hard copy article also published a table of the schools which were ranked in the top ten places, as follows: (1st with 19 awards) Scotch College, Melbourne, (2nd with 17 awards) Geelong Grammar School, (3rd with 13 awards) Sydney Boys High School, (equal 4th with 10 awards each) Fort Street High School, Perth Modern School and St Peter's College, Adelaide, (equal 7th with 9 awards each) Melbourne Grammar School, North Sydney Boys High School and The King's School, Parramatta, (equal 10th with 6 awards each) Launceston Grammar School, Melbourne High School, Wesley College, Melbourne and Xavier College.
  5. ^ a b c d e "History". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  6. ^ "Enrolments". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Introduction". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  8. ^ "Contact Us". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  9. ^ "Mecurius November 2011". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Curriculum". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  11. ^ "Sport". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-3 0. 
  12. ^ The Director-General's School Achievement Award – 2002
  13. ^ "Arts Unit Debating Results". Arts Unit. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Duke of Edinburgh Award". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2009-07-30. [dead link]
  15. ^ Fort Street High School – SRC
  16. ^ "Fort Street Festival 2010". Fort Street High School. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  17. ^ Current Projects - Fort Street High School Environmental Council
  18. ^ a b Horan (1999)
  19. ^ Fortians Union – Fort Street High School (retrieved 16 Oct 2007)
  20. ^ Fort Street Songster, Fort Street High School, Petersham, c1985, p. 21
  21. ^ Horan (1990)
  22. ^ Campbell, C. (2005). Changing school loyalties and the middle class: A reflection on the developing fate of state comprehensive high schooling. Australian Educational Researcher, 32(1), 3–24.

Further reading[edit]

  • Horan, Ronald S. (1999). Maroon and Silver – Fort Street Sesquicentenary 1849–1999. Sydney: Honeysett Press. ISBN 0-9587276-2-7. 
  • Morris, Clarice (1980). The School on The Hill. Sydney: Morris Publishing. ISBN 0-9593915-0-9. 
  • Horan, Ronald S. (1990). Fort Street. Sydney: Geographics. ISBN 0-9592229-4-4. 

External links[edit]