Adelaide High School

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Coordinates: 34°55′33″S 138°35′12″E / 34.92577°S 138.58661°E / -34.92577; 138.58661

Adelaide High School
Adelaide High School COA.svg
Non scholae sed vitae
(Not only for school, but for life)
Adelaide, South Australia
Type Public
Established 1908
Principal Anita Zocchi
Enrolment 1216[1]
Campus Urban
Adelaide High School, viewed from near the corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue.

Adelaide High School is a coeducational state high school situated on the corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue in the Adelaide Parklands. It is the first government high school in South Australia.[2] It now has an enrolment of approximately 1,200+ students.


In 1879 John Anderson Hartley, Catherine Helen Spence and others created the Advanced School for Girls in Grote Street, Adelaide; the first public secondary school in South Australia. The school combined with the Adelaide Continuation School on April 8, 1908 and the name was changed to Adelaide High School, the same year the South Australian state high school system was launched.[3] Adelaide High School was officially opened on 24 September 1908 by the premier of South Australia Thomas Price. It was the first secondary school in the Commonwealth of Australia.[4]

In 1927 it had an enrolment of 1,067, making it the largest school of its kind in the Commonwealth. By 1929, due to increasing enrolments, the school occupied two sites - one at Grote Street and another at Currie Street (now part of the Remand Centre). Due to the increasing enrolments, it was decided a new building was required for Adelaide High School. The current site of the school on West Terrace was originally set aside for an army barracks in 1849, but an Observatory was built instead in 1859. This became the Bureau of Meteorology in 1939.

Based on an award winning 1940 design, a new building was erected on the site from 1947 to 1951. This became Adelaide Boys High School while Adelaide Girls High School remained in the buildings in Grote Street. An application was made to have the building listed as a Historic Building on the Australian Register of the National Estate. The nomination was on the basis of the building's "Art Modern" style and significance in Adelaide education, but had not led to the building's listing on the register as of 2007.[5] The original Grote Street school buildings were listed on the register as Historic in 1980. As of 2007 they were used as a centre for the performing arts.[6] The building is considered to be among the nationally significant 20th-century buildings in South Australia.[7]

In 1977, due to decreasing enrollments at both the Boys and the Girls schools, amalgamation began with Adelaide High School operating on two campuses - one in Grote Street and one on West Terrace. This arrangement ended in 1979 when all students were on the West Terrace site. In 1979, Adelaide High School became South Australia's Special Interest Language School with students able to study any of seven languages: French, German, Latin, Modern Greek, Chinese, Spanish and Italian. Latin ceased to be offered in 2004 and was replaced by Japanese.

Adelaide is part of the longest-running sporting exchanges with Melbourne High School and Mac.Robertson Girls' High School, both in Melbourne. It competes for the Prefects Cup with both schools.

Head Master / Principal[edit]

Name Years
William Adey[8] 1908–1920
Reginald A. West[9] 1920–1948
C.M. Ward 1948
A. E. Dinning 1949–1954
Wybert M. C. Symonds 1954–1962
A. H. Campbell 1963–1968
W. J. Bentley 1969–1977
Colin H. Brideson OAM[10] 1978–1987
Peter Sanderson 1988–1997
Stephen Dowdy 1998–2011
Anita Zocchi 2011–current


Adelaide High School is especially known for being a Special Interest Language School. It offers its students seven different languages to study: Modern Greek, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish and German.[11] The school is also a Centre for the Hearing Impaired, an Associate School for Students of High Intellectual Potential and has selected entry for students in its special interest cricket and rowing programs.


Adelaide High School is a Special Interest Language School. Adelaide High School is currently a sister school to Asahi High School in Osaka, Japan; IIS Quintino Sella in Biella, Italy; Heriburg Gymnasium in Coesfeld, Nord Rhein Westfalen, Germany: Lycée Saint Sauveur in Redon, Brittany, France, IES La Sisla in Sonsecas, Spain; Jinan Foreign Language School in Jinan, China; the 7th High School of Corfu, Greece and Greensward College in Essex, UK; . Sister school visits, both inbound and outbound, take place regularly with most sister schools.


The school has four House teams which students represent in sporting events in the school. The Houses take the names of past principals of the school. The house names are, Adey (Red), Macghey (Blue), Morriss (Green), and West (Yellow). Sporting events include the school swimming carnival and sports day.

Adelaide High School has a range of girls and boys sporting teams and offers special interest sporting programmes in Cricket and Rowing. They participate in games / regattas throughout the year in the lead up to the main events; for cricket the 5 Highs Cricket Carnival and rowing the annual Head of the River. Other sporting trips are for the volleyball teams travelling to the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup in Melbourne in December.

Adelaide High has taken part in a sporting exchange with Mac.Robertson Girls' High School since 1913 and Melbourne High School since 1910 and it is the longest-running sporting exchange in the state, known as the Prefects Cup.[12] It is held in early Term 3 and one year the boys are in the Melbourne and the girls are in Adelaide and then the next year they swap. There are competitions in sports such as: Australian Rules football, soccer, tennis, rowing, basketball, netball, softball, chess, debating, theatre sports, volleyball, cross country or athletics, badminton, table tennis,and hockey. Sports previously played against Melbourne were lacrosse, baseball and field hockey. Melbourne High School currently holds the Prefect Cup after its most recent win in 2014.


Facilities that students at the school have access to include a resource centre, gymnasium, weights room, tennis, basketball and netball courts, performing arts centre, science labs and lecture theatres. The school also has a boatshed on the bank of the River Torrens which holds the school's many rowing boats and where the school’s rowing crews train. It also has a shared rowing facility with Unley High School and Norwood Morialta High School at West Lakes.

Notable staff and students[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Peddie, Clare. (29 July 2008). "History lesson", The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia. p29.
  3. ^ Kwan, Elizabeth (1987). Living in South Australia, a social history (Volume 1, from before 1836 to 1914 ed.). Adelaide: South Australian Government Printer. pp. 145–175. ISBN 0-7243-6493-5. 
  4. ^ Government of South Australia (2008). Adelaide High turns 100. Archived from the original on 25 July 2005. Retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Adelaide High School, West Tce, Adelaide, SA (Place ID 16566)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  6. ^ "Adelaide Girls High School (Advanced School for Girls) (former), 101 Grote St, Adelaide, SA, Australia (Place ID 6430)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  7. ^ 120 notable buildings - Australian Institute of Architects Accessed 8 May 2014.
  8. ^ Condon, Brian (2006). Adey, William James (1874 - 1956). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Online Edition. Retrieved on 16 November 2008.
  9. ^ Pash, J.H. (2006). West, Reginald Arthur (1883 - 1964). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Online Edition. Retrieved on 16 November 2008.
  10. ^ Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia (2008). Medal of the Order of Australia: Mr Colin Herbert Brideson. Page 21. Retrieved on 16 November 2008.
  11. ^ "Adelaide High School 2010, year 8 curriculum" (PDF). Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Adelaide High School (2007). Melbourne / Mac.Rob Exchange Program. Retrieved on 25 September 2015.
  13. ^ Gunn, John, "Anderson, Sir Donald George (Don) (1917–1975)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian National University, archived from the original on 2 February 2014 
  14. ^ Bolkus, Nick (14 November 2007). Don Dunstan Foundation: Don Dunstan Oral History Project: Nick Bolkus (PDF). Interview with George Lewkowicz. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Rhodes Scholarship, South Australia" (PDF). The University of Adelaide. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Dowie, John (2001). Lock-Weir, Tracey, ed. John Dowie: A Life in the Round. Wakefield Press. p. 82. ISBN 1862545448. 
  17. ^ Harry, Michael. "Sia Sensation" (PDF). The Adelaide Advertiser: 24–26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 November 2010. 
  18. ^ Hayward, Anthony (8 June 1999). "Obituary: Anne Haddy". The Independent. 
  19. ^ "S.A. Woman Brilliant Scientist". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 95, (29,386). South Australia. 17 December 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  20. ^ a b c d ""Old Girls" Will Honor Their Headmaster". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 97, (29,900). South Australia. 13 August 1954. p. 15. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  21. ^ Henschke, Bob (June 2012), Letter to the Editor: Adelaide High School Old Scholars Association (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2016 
  22. ^ "Girl Wins Tennyson Medal". The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 13 January 1940. p. 22. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  23. ^ Tom Koutsantonis MP, SA Government, archived from the original on 5 March 2016 
  24. ^ WELCOME CEREMONIAL SITTING FOR THE HONOURABLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE B.R. MARTIN: Transcript of proceedings (PDF), Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, 2 February 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2012, Your Honour was educated at Adelaide High School 
  25. ^ Cockburn, Stewart; Ellyard, David (1981). Oliphant, the Life and Times of Sir Mark Oliphant. Adelaide: Axiom Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-9594164-0-4. 

External links[edit]