The Armidale School

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The Armidale School
TAS crest 2012 small.jpg
Latin: Absque Deo Nihil
Without God, Nothing
Armidale, New South Wales
Australia Australia
Coordinates 30°31′13″S 151°40′26″E / 30.52028°S 151.67389°E / -30.52028; 151.67389Coordinates: 30°31′13″S 151°40′26″E / 30.52028°S 151.67389°E / -30.52028; 151.67389
Type Independent, Single-sex, Day and Boarding
Denomination Anglican
Established 1894[1]
Chairman Sebastian Hempel
Headmaster Murray Guest
Chaplain Rev. Richard Newton
Employees ~53[2]
Enrolment ~620 (T–12)[2]
Colour(s) Navy Blue and Straw
Slogan Explore, Experience, Excel

The Armidale School (TAS) is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school predominantly for boys, located in Armidale, on the New England Tablelands of northern New South Wales, Australia. It is a company limited by guarantee that operates under the Corporations Act.

Founded in 1894 as the New England Proprietary School,[3] The Armidale School has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 620 students, including 200 boarders from Years 6 to 12.[2] TAS is made up of a co-educational Junior School with classes from Transition (4 years old) to Year 5, a Middle School for boys from Years 6 to 8 and a Senior School from Years 9 to 12 (18 years old).[4] In 1993, The Armidale School became the first school in Australia to provide internet access for its students.[5]

The School is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[6] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[7] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[4] and is one of only three Round Square schools in the state of New South Wales.[8] TAS is also the only member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS)[9] located outside of the Sydney metropolitan area.[10]


The Armidale School was founded in 1894 as a boarding school for the sons of the gentry,[5] however the origins of the school can be traced to 1838, when Patrick Grant, a magistrate at Maitland, conceived the idea of a proprietary school for boys in the Hunter Region.[3] This idea was taken over by prominent members of the Church of England in the northern districts of New South Wales, and 500 pounds was obtained from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, as a result of the efforts of the first (and only) Bishop of Australia, William Grant Broughton. In 1840, a site for the school was purchased at Honeysuckle Point, in Newcastle.[3] Nothing more came of the plan until the appointment of William Tyrrell, as the first Bishop of Newcastle in 1846. The property was passed on to Tyrrell, and in 1854 the land was resumed by the Hunter River Railway Company.[3]

By 1877, the school had still not been established, and Bishop Tyrrell began to push the matter further. Subsequently, a plan was drawn up and land selected at Blandford, near Murrurundi. In 1881, it was determined that the plan to build the School at Blandford was unaffordable, and a suggestion was made that it should be built on the New England Tablelands at Armidale. The additional capital required, to the amount of 6,000 pounds, was raised by James Ross, Archdeacon of Armidale, and his leading laymen.[3]

On 5 June 1891, The New England Proprietary School Limited (NEPS) was incorporated with 100 pound shares, offered at 50 pounds each, allowing each shareholder to nominate one pupil for each share purchased. The Directors purchased 20 acres (8 ha) in Armidale in September 1891, adding to the 10 acres (4 ha) obtained in 1889. The foundation stone of the main building was laid on 22 February 1893, by the Governor of N.S.W., the Rt. Hon. Victor Albert George, Earl of Jersey. The Opening Ceremony was performed by the Rt. Rev Arthur Vincent Green, Bishop of Grafton and Armidale on 15 May 1894.[3]

The name of the Company and School, was changed in 1896 to The Armidale School (TAS). Also that year, TAS joined the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (GPS) in Sydney, and has remained a member ever since.[3]

In 1950, the School site was transferred to the Trustees of the Church of England Diocese of Armidale, and was administered by a School Council comprising members from the Diocese, Old Boys and P&F.[3] through to 2009.

On 1 January 2010 the School was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act with the name: The Armidale School.


Period Details[3]
1894 – 1906 Rev W A Fisher, MA (Cantab)
1906 – 1910 Rev A H Reynolds, MA (Cantab)
1910 – 1912 Ven Archdeacon T K Abbott, MA (Oxon)
1913 – 1918 Rev F T Perkins, MA (Sydney)
1918 – 1919 Rev Canon J Forster, BA (Melbourne), ThL.
1919 – 1926 Rev Canon H. K. Archdall, MA (Cantab), ThSoc
1927 – 1934 Rev H Sanger, MA (Cantab)
1936 – 1939 Rev H P Young, MA (Cantab), BLitt
1940 – 1961 G.A. Fisher, B.A., B.Sc. (Queensland), MACE
1962 – 1982 A H Cash, MA (Oxon), DipEd, FACE
1982 – 1986 G C S Andrews, MA (Cantab), DipEd, DipEdAdmin, FRGS, MACE, MIBG
1987 – 1997 K Langford-Smith, BA (Sydney), MA (Western Australia), ACP
1998 – Present Mr Murray L Guest, BA (Sydney), MComm Hons (UNSW), Grad Dip Ed (Sydney)


The Armidale School is situated on a single 18 hectares (44 acres) campus in Armidale, a university city on the New England Tablelands of New South Wales, midway between Sydney and Brisbane.[5] The school features a mix of historic and modern buildings, all of which reflect design elements of the outstanding original building designed by noted architect Sir John Sulman in 1892.

The facilities of the school include a creative arts centre (the Hoskins Centre) with theatre, heated indoor swimming pool, rifle range, cattle stud, chapel, gymnasium, library, music centre, computer rooms,[10] climbing wall, weights room, an indoor cricket centre, several indoor and outdoor basketball courts, seven tennis courts, rugby and soccer fields, and cricket wickets.

TAS dormitory, 1898


TAS currently has five school boarding houses, named Abbott, Croft, Dangar, Tyrrell, and White.[3] The senior boarding houses (Abbott, Croft and Tyrrell) each accommodate up to 50 students, with 10 to 15 boys in each year group. In the lower years boys are accommodated in dormitories, and as they progress through the school are moved into private study/bedrooms.


Co-curricular activities available to TAS students include: Debating and public speaking, drama, band, orchestra, choirs, art, photography, Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, school poll, and the Hereford stud involving participation in local and regional agricultural shows.[10] Theatrical Productions have also been put on in the Hoskins Centre theatre. These performances are often done in combination with other schools. Previous productions include The Pirates of Penzance (2010), Grease (2011), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2012), Les Misérables (2013) and West Side Story (2014).

Community service[edit]

It is an expectation of TAS that all students must commit to at least 20 hours of community service per year, both in the local and wider community. Students may participate in the annual "Pilgrimage of Hope" to Fiji. The pilgrimage involves students working alongside Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, in their service to the "poorest of the poor".[5][11]

TAS boys may also volunteer for service at St Christopher's orphanage in Fiji, where they participate in the upkeep and daily maintenance of the orphanage and establish friendships with the children.[5]


TAS 1st XI Cricket Team, 1895

The Armidale School is one of the nine members of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (GPS)[9] and participates in all GPS sporting competitions as well as several non-GPS or traditional sports. TAS students may participate in a variety of sports including: athletics, basketball, canoeing, cricket, cross country, hockey, rowing, rugby union, rifle shooting, soccer, squash, rowing, swimming, tennis, and touch football. The school also holds a swimming carnival and an athletics carnival once a year.

Outdoor education[edit]

The Armidale School has an outdoor education program, designed to develop a sense of responsibility and self-confidence through activities such as abseiling, whitewater kayaking and bivouacs. Outdoor education activities in which students may participate in, include the following:


The TAS Cadet Unit is part of the Australian Army Cadet Corps, and has been operating at the school for over 100 years. This activity is compulsory for students in years 7 to 9, and is voluntary for years 10 onwards. It involves drill and ceremonial work, and outward bound training. The TAS Cadet band operates for the annual cadet unit passing out parade.


The Pioneers activities program was conceived in the 1980s, and is offered as an alternative to Cadets. The aim of the program is to develop responsibility, self-reliance, and the development of bush skills. Year 10 Pioneers students spend five days in the wilderness.[12]

Rural Fire Service[edit]

This program aims to produce boys who are competent in aspects of bush firefighting, and who take an active role in helping their community by obtaining a Basic Firefighting (BF) and Village Firefighter (VF) qualification. The activity is carried out in conjunction with the Armidale Fire Training Centre and the Rural Fire Service.

Surf Life Saving[edit]

Before boys participate in Surf Life Saving, they are required to demonstrate a high proficiency in swimming and have attained their RLSSA Bronze Medallion. The program is run in conjunction with a coastal Surf Life Saving Club and they are instructed in inshore boat rescue - crewing, patient pick-ups and assessment, related signals, radio, equipment and safety; first aid - CPR; board rescues, tube rescues, patient care, patient carries, etc. This program culminates in an examination for their RLSSA Surf Life Saving Bronze Medallion.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumnus of The Armidale School are commonly referred to as Old Boys and may elect to join the schools' alumni association, the TAS Old Boys Union.[13] Some notable TAS Old Boys include:

Rhodes Scholars
  • James Keith Bain – Company Director; Farmer; Author; Chairman of Merryville Estates Pty Ltd, NatWest Aust. Bank Ltd (1985–91), W. Bain & Co. (1947–87); Sydney Stock Exchange Ltd (1983–87) (also attended The Scots College)[14]
  • Alex Thursby – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Asia Pacific, Europe & America, ANZ Banking Group
Media, entertainment and the arts
Politics, public service and the law
  • James Holbeck – Representative Rugby Union footballer for the ACT Brumbies and Australia
  • Joe Roff – Rugby union footballer for the ACT Brumbies and Australia
  • Richard Tombs – Rugby union footballer for New South Wales and Australia (5 tests at inside and outside centre between 1988–1996)
  • Greg Cornelsen; NSW, Queensland and Wallabies 1973-1982.
  • William Forsythe; Australian Team, K1 Whitewater Slalom 2004-
  • Tom Bedford; Australian Team, K1 Whitewater Downriver 2006-
  • Bruce Taylor; 9 times Australian Gliding Champion 1970-77


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Case Study: Armidale Educational Excellence". Regional Australia - Schooling. Regional Living Australia. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Current Happenings. The Armidale School. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Constable, A.J (July 1987). "The Armidale School: An Introduction" (PDF). School Community. The Armidale School. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  4. ^ a b "The Armidale School". New South Wales. Australian Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Prospectus" (PDF). Publications. The Armidale School. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  6. ^ "AHISA Schools: New South Wales". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  7. ^ "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  8. ^ "Member Schools". Members. Round Square. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  9. ^ a b "AAGPS History". Info. Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  10. ^ a b c "The Armidale School". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  11. ^ "The Schools & Pilgrims". The Schools. Pilgrimage of Hope. October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  12. ^ "Pioneers". Activities. The Armidale School. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  13. ^ "TAS Old Boys Union". School Community. The Armidale School. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-02. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  14. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "BAIN James Keith". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help);
  15. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (2006-11-17). "KIERNAN Ian Bruce Carrick". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help);

Further reading[edit]

  • Graham, J. 1994. A school of their own: The history of the Armidale School. The Armidale School, Armidale, NSW. ISBN 0-646-15857-0.

External links[edit]