Chatham High School (New South Wales)

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Chatham High School
Chatham High School Griffin
Coordinates31°53′46″S 152°28′50″E / 31.8960°S 152.4805°E / -31.8960; 152.4805Coordinates: 31°53′46″S 152°28′50″E / 31.8960°S 152.4805°E / -31.8960; 152.4805
School typeSecondary School
MottoQuality Teaching, Active Learning in a Caring Environment
PrincipalL W Kelsey
Colour(s)Bottle green, grey & white

Chatham High School was the second high school in Taree, New South Wales, Australia having opened its doors on 31 March 1966. It now provides a broad school curriculum as well as cultural and sporting pursuits. Subjects include vocational studies for job training and traditional academic subjects for entry into tertiary education. An alternative timetable for senior students increases access to Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and vocational courses.[1]

Chatham High is a Priority Schools Program funded school (see Supporting Low SES School Communities) supporting the development of literacy and numeracy skills for all students.

A Support Unit provides educational services for students with special needs.[2]


Planning on Chatham High School began in the early 1960s after the public school's P & C Association saw a need for a new local high school when Taree High School became overcrowded. Chatham High School was established in February 1965, with 280 pupils and 14 teachers located at Taree High School. Students first moved into the current location on Thursday, 31 March 1966.

School motto[edit]

The motto of Chatham High School (as depicted on the school crest) is Semper Intrepidi, which is thought to mean 'ever undaunted', 'always intrepid' or 'forever striving'.

School Emblem The Griffin[edit]

The Griffin is a legendary animal with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.The Lion being the king of the beasts and the Eagle the king of the birds. How did such a beast come to be connected to Chatham High School? During the 2 world wars soldiers from the local area being part of the 33rd battalion carried the Griffin as a sign of courage. Griffins guard treasure and priceless artifacts and possessions, i.e. it guards the precious students at the school.

2008 Fire[edit]

On 9 March 2008, a group of youths from the Taree area attempted to set fire to nearby St Clare's High School, a nearby supermarket, and two buildings at Chatham High. Damage inflicted in most of these arson attacks amounted to little more than some singed carpets, melted linoleum and a few broken windows; but at approximately 2:30am the fire took hold in a ground level textiles laboratory in Chatham High's "E Block", resulting in the destruction of the building.[3]

E Block comprised two mathematics staffrooms, a computing staffroom, home economics staffroom and the general staff common room. Classrooms contained within the block also included two computing laboratories, several commercial kitchens, textiles labs, numerous science labs and a number of general teaching spaces used predominantly by the maths faculty. The block also contained storerooms which held practical resources, as well as irreplaceable intellectual material.

Students were asked to remain at home on the following Monday and Tuesday, as both a forensic and arson unit from Sydney were brought up to survey the area and ensure it was fit to be demolished and reconstructed from the ground up.

Within two months, the school had managed to erect several demountable classrooms, intended to temporarily replace those that were burnt down. Construction of a replacement building began in late 2009.

The culprits received a firm slap on the wrist when they were caught.

Original teaching staff (1966)[edit]

  • Principal
    • Mr L.W. Kelsey
  • Deputy Principal
    • Mr K.W. Harrap
  • English
    • Mr A. Piesker
    • Mr K. Proctor
    • Miss B. McBean
  • Maths
    • Mr D. Cameron
    • Mr M. Garland
  • Science
    • Mr A. Browning
    • Mr F. Catt
    • Miss J. Owen
  • Manual Arts
    • Mr D. Bruce
    • Mr J. Letchford
  • Art
    • Mr R. Mellen
  • Music
    • Mr .R Allen
  • Commerce and Social Studies
    • Mrs V. Carr
    • Mr I Finlayson
  • Physical Education
    • Mr D. Ferguson
  • French
    • Miss D. Sproule
  • Librarian
    • Miss R. Toohey
  • Clerical
    • Mrs L. Hardy

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1] NSW Public Schools: Chatham High School
  2. ^ [2] NSW Public Schools: Chatham High School
  3. ^ Manning River Times Archived 16 July 2012 at, "Back to school...for some."