Newcastle Grammar School

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Newcastle Grammar School
Newcastle Grammar School logo
Hunter Region
Newcastle, New South Wales, 2300, Australia
Coordinates 32°55′47″S 151°46′50″E / 32.92972°S 151.78056°E / -32.92972; 151.78056Coordinates: 32°55′47″S 151°46′50″E / 32.92972°S 151.78056°E / -32.92972; 151.78056
Type Independent, Co-educational, Day school
Motto Latin: Spectemur Agendo
(Let us be judged by our actions)
Established 1859[1]
Status Open
Chairman Keith Lynch
Head of school Erica Thomas
Teaching staff >90
Years offered Pre-school – Year 12
Enrolment >740
  • Park (Pre-school to Year 4)
  • Hill (Year 5 to Year 12)
Campus type Urban
Colour(s) Blue & Burgundy
Slogan "Towards a Brighter Future"
Entrance to Newcastle Grammar School at Hill Campus.jpg
Entrance to Newcastle Grammar School at Hill Campus
Newcastle Grammar School Hill Campus - Middle School.jpg
Newcastle Grammar School Hill Campus

Newcastle Grammar School is an independent, co-educational, non-selective, non-denominational, Anglican-affiliated day school in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1859 as the Newcastle Boys' Grammar School,[1] the school has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for slightly over 800 students from Pre-school to Year 12.[2] Students attend Newcastle Grammar School from all over the Hunter Region, with a small contingent from country New South Wales and overseas.

Newcastle Grammar is affiliated with the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle,[3] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[4] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[5] the Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales (AISNSW)[6] and Hunter Region Independent Schools (HRIS).


Established in 1859, Newcastle Grammar has links to the earliest days of Anglican education in the city,[citation needed] beginning in 1816 when convict Henry Wrensford taught thirty-eight children in a small room in Christ Church, on the site of today's Cathedral. Newcastle Boys' Grammar School opened on the present site in 1859, the same year that the school's current administration building, Berkeley House, was opened. The school operated until 1902.[vague]

Newcastle Church of England Girls' Grammar School was officially opened on 22 July 1918 with an enrolment of 56 girls. It was relocated to Morpeth for the period 7 June 1942 until some time in 1943, due to the Second World War. The control and administration of the school was given to the Pittwater House Schools in 1976, and Pittwater House administered it until the end of 1991. In this time, enrolments grew from 170 students to 600. In 1978, boys were once again enrolled at the school.[7]

At the beginning of 1992, the school's senior administration was returned to Newcastle, and the school is now operated by Newcastle Grammar School Limited, a non-profit company limited by guarantee. Newcastle Grammar School maintains strong links with the Anglican Church.[according to whom?]


Newcastle Grammar School comprises three campuses.

Park Campus – Cooks Hill (Pre-School – Year 4)[edit]

Located 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Hill Campus, the Junior School at Park Campus features a library, music room and computer rooms. The Sandi Warren Performance Centre is used for musical and dramatic productions, assemblies, physical education lessons, lectures and dinners.

Hill Campus – The Hill (Years 5 – 12)[edit]

In late 2005, following approval from the Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Grammar School embarked on a $10.5 million building project. Named Holland House, Stage I opened in 2007 with Technological and Applied Studies facilities, computer laboratories and spaces for the Service and Adventure Training Unit, Maintenance and English, History and Drama departments.

Stage II opened in August 2007, and Holland Building was officially opened in February 2008. Stage II features facilities for Drama, Physical Education, Library, Visual Arts Centre, change rooms, a second stage of computer laboratories, a Year 12 common room, staff common room, general classrooms and a student terrace.

Cooks Hill Sports and Fitness Centre (Sporting Complex)[edit]

Cooks Hill Sports and Fitness Centre was purchased by the school in 2000. It is a 10,000 square metre facility with indoor sports courts for basketball, soccer, netball, cricket and beach volleyball, and a fully equipped gym.[8]

Christ Church Cathedral[edit]

Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, New South Wales

The neighbouring Christ Church Cathedral[9] serves as the chapel for students at the Hill Campus, in addition to being a venue for events such as periodic eucharists, dedication and induction of student leaders, Founders Day, the Year 12 Valedictory, ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and Carol Services.

Heads of school[edit]

Headmaster/Headmistress Duration
E K Yeatman 1859–unknown
HS Millard
M E Lawrance 1918–1932
Z E Martin 1933–1951
M Roberts 1952–1959
E Heath 1960–1964
L Thompson 1965–1967
K Stewart 1968–1976
R H Morgan (Executive Principal) 1977–1991
D Lloyd 1977
A Coombes 1978–1985
B L Charlton 1986–1988
A Green 1989–2014
E Thomas 2014 - present


Newcastle Grammar School is a medium-sized school with over 800 students spread over two city campuses. It consistently performs well in external examinations, including the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. According to the recently launched My School website, at the primary level Newcastle Grammar was ranked 32nd in the State overall. At the secondary level Newcastle Grammar was ranked 41st in the State overall, 48th in the State in Writing and 34th in the State in Reading .[10]

It offers Academic Scholarships for students entering Years 5 to 11, Music Scholarships for students entering Years 5, 7 and 11 and Visual Arts scholarships for students entering Years 9 and 11. Scholarships come in the form of remission of school fees and the provision of academic scholarships are based on financial need and examination results administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research, reviewed on an annual basis. In practice, however, a student will retain their scholarship for the duration of their education at the school. To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Newcastle Church of England Girls' Grammar School and the 150th anniversary of the founding of Newcastle Boys' Grammar School, it was decided that a number of Anniversary Scholarships would be offered to students entering Year 4 at Newcastle Grammar School in 2009, with selection criteria based on academic merit and all-round achievement. In 2010, it was announced that the school would be offering a number of 'Building Foundations' Scholarships for students entering Year 3 or Year 4 in 2011, to celebrate recent improvements in school buildings.[11]

In the 2010 Higher School Certificate, Newcastle Grammar School was ranked 55th in the State, and the top non-selective school in the Hunter Region. 50% of students received an ATAR over 88, and 92% of students received an ATAR over 60. 1 student obtained an ATAR of 99.45. One student was nominated for ENCORE, two students' artworks were selected for ArtExpress and three students were nominated for the DesignTech Exhibition in 2011. One student came first in the State in Music 1, and one student came third in the State in Geography. Newcastle Grammar School had 98 mentions on the Distinguished Achievers' List.

In the 2009 Higher School Certificate, Newcastle Grammar School was ranked 46th in the State, and the top non-selective school in the Hunter Region. 45% of students received an ATAR over 90, and 93% of students received an ATAR over 60. Four students obtained an ATAR over 99, with the top ATAR of 99.65. Seven students were on the All-Round Achievers' List (over 90% in 10 or more units), one student was selected to perform at ENCORE, two students' artworks were selected for ArtExpress and one student selected to perform at Callback. One student came eleventh in the State in Ancient History. Newcastle Grammar School had 126 mentions on the Distinguished Achievers' List.

In late 2007, Newcastle Grammar School, in collaboration with World Vision Australia, embarked on a three-year fundraising scheme to raise $150,000 in order to fund the construction of a school in Farkwa, Tanzania, comprising three boarding houses (two for girls and one for boys). Funds have been raised by various means, including sponsorships, donations, raffles, barbecues, sale of t-shirts, recycling old and unused mobile phones, a film night and dinners.[12] Fundraising was successfully concluded in late 2010. A cultural exchange group consisting of two teachers and eight students travelled to Farkwa in January 2010.[13]

Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities[edit]

Students are required to take part in a variety of co-curricular activities, including Musical Groups, Debating, Drama Productions, Tournament of Minds, Mock Trial, Camping, Young Achievers, Lions Youth of the Year Quest, Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, Service and Adventure Training Unit and various team sports. Students are involved in community service and support charities in their work. Students are expected to participate in a minimum of one co-curricular activity from Years 5 to 12.[14]

Public speaking and debating[edit]

Middle School students can participate in inter-house debating in Years 6, 7 and 8, culminating in the finals on Founders' Day. Senior School students can also participate in inter-house debating in either the Junior Debating Competition (Years 9 and 10) or the Senior Debating Competition (Years 11 and 12).

An annual school tradition is the fielding of a team of Year 10 or 11 students to debate against the Newcastle Rotary Club. In 2007, a team of Year 11 students opposed the Newcastle Rotary Club to debate the topic A bee in the bonnet is better than a chip on the shoulder, and were adjudicated by the New South Wales Minister for Tourism, the Hunter, Science and Medical Research and Women, Jodi McKay.

At the representative level, students participate in HRIS (Hunter Region Independent Schools) Debating and Chapman Cup HICES (Head of Independent Co-Educational Schools) Debating, debating various independent schools in the Hunter Region and New South Wales, including Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College, Lakes Anglican Grammar School, Central Coast Grammar School, Hunter Valley Grammar School, Arden Anglican School and International Grammar School.

For the first time in 2008, Newcastle Grammar School students sponsored by Newcastle Sunrise Rotary Club, participated in a Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) Debate, hosted by Muswellbrook Rotary Club.

In addition, in 2008, two students for the junior division and two students in the senior division, participated in the Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition, opposing schools including St. Paul's High School, Merewether High School and St Francis Xavier College. In 2009, the school fielded three students for the competition, with one gaining second place and progressing to the Regional Round of the competition.[15]

Other public speaking competitions in which students have been involved in recent years include the Lions Youth of the Year Quest and Sydney Morning Herald Plain English Speaking competitions. In 2008, a Newcastle Grammar School student reached the state finals of the Sydney Morning Herald Plain Speaking Competition, while in 2009 at the regional finals, the only students to be awarded High Distinctions by the adjudicators were from Newcastle Grammar School.[16]

In 2009, Newcastle Grammar School hosted the Newcastle round of The United Nations Youth Association of NSW Junior Public Speaking Competition.[17] In March 2010, Newcastle Grammar School hosted the UNYA (United Nations Youth Association) public speaking competition, The Perez de Cuellar Shield, one of NSW's premier senior school debating competitions modelled on sessions from the United Nations Security Council.[18]


Music is encouraged from an early age and students are given opportunities to try different instruments and styles of music. Music is a compulsory part of the classroom curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 8, and is offered as an elective subject from Years 9 to 12. An annual camp is held away from the school for all students (Years 7–12) who are part of a music group or choir. This gives them an enjoyable opportunity to devote time to making music. There are opportunities to perform at functions both in and outside the School, including the Newcastle Show and at Christ Church Cathedral. The senior and junior jazz bands, Brass Razoo and Bamboozle are made up of musicians from Years 7 to 12. In 2007, Brass Razoo competed in the Aurora Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand, and were the only competitors to win a Gold Award. In 2008, the Newcastle Grammar School Chamber Ensemble travelled to China, participating in four school exchanges and two public concerts, as well as touring local sights. In 2011, a group of forty students traveled to China and performed at numerous schools and venues including Hong Kong Disneyland. The tour was in lieu of the Japan Tour due to the Japan Earthquake. In 2009, a cellist with the Newcastle Grammar School String Orchestra was admitted into the prestigious Australian Youth Orchestra.

Junior School students are all involved in class music lessons for thirty minutes every week. Choirs from the Junior School perform regularly at major school calendar events. Variety Night is an evening featuring music items from all students at Junior School. End of term assemblies, an Easter breakfast, Founders' Day and Grandparents' Day all provide opportunities for students to perform.

As part of the middle school curriculum, all students in Year 5 and 6 have weekly music lessons and are involved in a Wind and Brass programme where they have an opportunity to try an instrument for a year. Keyboard classes are offered as part of the curriculum to all Year 7 students. In Year 8, the practical component entails learning the guitar.

Students from Year 10 produce an annual musical. Many different productions have been performed over the years, including: Guys and Dolls, Cabaret, His Majesty's Pleasure, Little Shop of Horrors, The Pyjama Game, Fame, Noye's Fludde, Pippin, Sweeney Todd and Les Misérables.[19]

Private tuition, including instrumental, voice, or speech and drama, is available to all students enrolled at the school. Private tuition is also available for piano, clarinet, flute, french horn, guitar, oboe, percussion, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and tuba. Voice tuition and musicianship classes are also available.


Sports offered as co-curricular activities by the school include aerobics, hockey, soccer, futsal, touch football, cricket, basketball, netball, tennis, surfing and rowing. Dance was introduced as an extra-curricular activity in 2010.

Service and Adventure Training Unit[edit]

Newcastle Grammar School has an Australian Army Cadet Unit, the Newcastle Grammar School Service and Adventure Training Unit (SATU). SATU is offered as a co-curricular activity for both male and female students from Year 7 Term 4 to Year 12.

The Service and Adventure Training Unit seeks to foster in its members qualities including leadership, discipline, teamwork, initiative, independence, adventure, community service, proficiency in outdoor pursuits and an awareness of the organisation and training methods of the Australian Army.

Regular bivouacs are conducted, including two compulsory weekend camps and a compulsory five-day Annual Camp. At the bivouacs and annual camps, activities include living in the field, navigation activities, abseiling, first aid and radio operating procedures, initiative exercises, use of army facilities such as the Singleton School of Infantry, visits to RAAF Williamtown and administrative practice such as Headquarters and Q-Store duties. Through membership of the SATU, members may also be able to fulfill some of the requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Notable events that the Service and Adventure Training Unit are involved include ANZAC Day ceremonies and the Passing Out Parade on Founders Day, when Year 12 cadets are farewelled as they conclude their formal association with the Cadet Unit and prepare for their Higher School Certificate examinations, and the school has an opportunity to observe a military parade.

In 2008, students from Ancient History, Modern History and the Service and Adventure Training Unit travelled through Italy, Belgium and France during the school holidays, participating in a series of commemorative marches and services. This notably included being involved in Australia's First ANZAC Dawn Service in France, at Villers-Bretonneux. In 2010, a History study group travelled during the Easter break through Greece, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. In June to July next year, a group, including members of the SATU, will be travelling to Papua New Guinea to trek the Kokoda Track.


Robotics was recently[when?] introduced as an extra-curricular program at Newcastle Grammar School. In December 2010, a team of 10 students travelled to Macquarie University to participate in the 2010 National Robotics Challenge. Out of 54 participating teams, the school came 34th.

Recent achievements[edit]

Notable extracurricular and co-curricular achievements of Newcastle Grammarians in recent years include the following:[20]

  • In 2005, two Newcastle Grammarians delivered the Addresses at the City of Newcastle ANZAC Day United Commemoration Service. In 2006, again two Newcastle Grammarians delivered Addresses at the City of Newcastle ANZAC Day United Commemoration Service.[21] In addition, the School's Service and Adventure Training Unit regularly features at the City of Newcastle's ANZAC Day Dawn Service and ANZAC Day Parade.
  • Newcastle Grammar School has a good record with the Lions Youth of the Year Quest Competition. The School Vice-Captain in 2004 was a Lions Youth of the Year Quest Club Level and Public Speaking Winner. The School Captain in 2007 became a Regional Level Finalist and was both the Public Speaking and Overall Winner at Club Level. In 2009, of two students fielded by the school, one came second in the Charlestown Region final and the other won the Newcastle Region final, thereby progressing to the Newcastle District final.[22]
  • In 2007, the Newcastle Grammar School Senior Cadet of the Service and Adventure Training Unit was additionally appointed Senior Cadet in the Hunter Army Cadet Battalion.
  • A Newcastle Grammarian won the UNSW Faculty of Law Essay Competition in 2007.[23]
  • In 2008, a student was awarded third place in the Colin Doyle Mathematics Competition, a competition for young mathematicians from the Central Coast to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.[24]
  • In 2008, two Year 11 Geography Students from Newcastle Grammar School were winners in the Future Leaders Climate Writing Competition, with their essays to be published in a book which will be available in all libraries at all Secondary Schools throughout Australia.[25]
  • In 2008, two teams from Newcastle Grammar School competed in the Chapman Cup HICES Debating Finals. Both teams were successful, with the junior team finishing first in their division and the senior team finishing second.[26] In 2009, the HICES Open Debating Team for Newcastle Grammar School will be competing on 10 September in the State Finals against The Kinross Wolaroi School.[27]
  • In 2008, a Year 5 student was selected as a finalist in the National Trust Schools Writing Competition.
  • In 2009, Year 12 Chemistry students will be competing in the National Final of the National Titration Competition, after having participated in the Newcastle and Hunter Region National Titration Competition, and gaining second, third, fifth, seventh and eight places.[28]
  • Including 2009, for the past three years, Newcastle Grammar School has fielded students to the National Youth Science Forum, held at Australian National University in Canberra.[29]
  • In 2009, a Year 12 student was placed eighth in the finals of the boys' discus throw at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Athletics, held in Brixen, Italy.[30]
  • In 2008, the NGS rowing team won their first national medal at the Australian Rowing Championships, in the Under 17 Mens Coxed Quad winning a silver medal.
  • In 2009, the rowing team attended the Australian Rowing Championships, this time taking out 2 championships, the Under 17 men's Coxed Quad in record time, the Under 17 Men's Single Scull, winning gold and also won a silver medal in the Schoolboy Coxed Quad.
  • Again in 2010, The NGS rowing team travelled to the Australian Rowing Championships and broke the record in the Schoolboy Coxed Quad Scull.
  • In 2011, the rowing team won the Under 17 Coxed Quad Scull again at the Australian National Rowing Championships.


The Senior Leadership Body consists of two school captains (one male, one female), two school vice-captains (one male, one female) and two senior prefects (one male, one female). It is traditional for the school captains to deliver keynote speeches at Speech Day and the Year 12 Graduation, and carry the cross and banner at the Hill Campus ANZAC Day Service and prefect induction. The middle school is led by two "Stewart Council" leaders (one male, one female). A male and female representative are elected to each of Years 5, 6, 7 and 8, who, together with the house captains and Stewart Council leaders form the Stewart Council leadership body. These leaders meet on a fortnightly basis to discuss the organisation of activities pertaining to the middle school. Captains are appointed for Tyrrell, Shortland, Macquarie and Hunter houses in both the middle and senior schools to facilitate various house activities throughout the year, particularly the swimming and athletics carnivals. House vice-captains are elected early in Year 11 to assist the house captains. Once the house captains depart the school in October, the house vice-captains assume the leadership responsibilities of the house for the remainder of the year. To assist the house vice-captains, four house leaders (2 male, 2 female) are elected from Year 10 in Term 4. Prefects are appointed by the headmaster, in consultation with senior students and staff.

There are also leadership opportunities in the music department, as ensemble leaders for Brass Razoo, Wind Orchestra, String Orchestra, Senior Choir, Chapel Choir and Britten Choir. Two to four senior musicians are appointed to represent the music department in their final year. The Service and Adventure Training Unit also offers those involved various leadership opportunities. The leading student of the SATU is appointed as the Senior Cadet in Year 12. In addition, captains are appointed by the masters/mistresses of the relevant sporting groups in the school, including athletics, swimming, rowing, hockey, touch football and netball.

House system[edit]

Upon entry to the School, each student is allocated, according to age and gender, or family tradition, to one of the four houses:

Houses form the basis for sporting and cultural competitions or interactions within the school, including:

  • debating
  • music festival
  • cross country (years 2–12)
  • swimming carnivals
  • athletics carnivals.

The house system also facilitates the pastoral care programme of the senior school. Students in each house are placed in a single-sex, mixed age group led by one a mentor teacher, and they remain with this group throughout their senior school years. Mentor groups meet twice each week and also sit together in assembly and chapel service. The mentor teacher and house patron work together to encourage and support each student in the House, and the house patron and student leaders are responsible for organising sporting teams for inter-house competitions as well as fund-raising activities, and various inter-house events. Each house is responsible for organising one themed chapel service annually, and sponsoring an activity for the Spring Fair.

Notable former students[edit]

Ex-students of Newcastle Grammar School may elect to become life members of Newcastle Grammar School's alumni association, the Newcastle Old Grammarians' Association (NOGA). NOGA presently[when?] has about 2500 members.

Notable former students include:

Suicide incident and alleged culture of bullying[edit]

Newcastle Grammar School received newspaper coverage in October 2012 after a 15-year-old former student committed suicide. His family alleged that there was a culture of bullying at the school and a lack of pastoral support, and they said this had led to the boy's death.[31] The school Headmaster Alan Green said that the school works extremely hard at resolving bullying and relationship issues, but may not always find out about such issues, especially when they involve incidents that happen outside of the school itself.[31]

In February 2013, the bullying issue again became prominent following additional allegations of a culture of tolerating bullying that were raised by current and former teachers and students.[32] The school headmaster acknowledged that there was bullying at the school and that concerns about bullying had been raised in a recent survey, but said there was bullying at every school and denied that the school had a culture of tolerating bullying.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Newcastle Grammar School". School Choice. Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 2008-03-12. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). News & Events. Newcastle Grammar School. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  3. ^ "Directory of Anglican Schools & Independent Schools with Anglican Affiliation" (PDF). News South Wales. NSW Provincial Commission on Christian Education. March 2007. p. 16. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  4. ^ "New South Wales". School Directory. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-12. [dead link]
  5. ^ "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". New South Wales Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  6. ^ "Hunter Region". NSW Independent Schools by Region. Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  7. ^ Newcastle Grammar School – Our History
  8. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Christ Church Cathedral – Welcome". Anglican Church of Australia. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  10. ^ "Top 50 Secondary Schools – Overall" (PDF). Sydney Morning Herald. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  11. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 2 June 2010
  12. ^ "Grammar students raise $100 000 to help Africa". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  13. ^ "Spectemur Agendo". 
  14. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Co-curricular Activities 2004
  15. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 8 April 2009
  16. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 20 May 2009
  17. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 12 August 2009
  18. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 24 February 2010
  19. ^ "Les Miserables opens"
  20. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Successes in 2007
  21. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 28 May 2006
  22. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 11 March 2009
  23. ^ UNSW Faculty of Law Essay Competition 2007
  24. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 30 January 2008
  25. ^ "Future Leaders". Future Leaders Publications. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 9 September 2009
  28. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 24 June 2009
  29. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 17 October 2007
  30. ^ Newcastle Grammar School Newsletter 22 July 2009
  31. ^ a b
  32. ^ a b

External links[edit]