Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School
|Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School|
|Type||Selective, Single-sex, Public, Day and Boarding|
|Motto||Latin: Ad Aspera Virtus|
(Strength in Adversity)
|Campus||191 hectares (472 acres) (Rural)|
|Colour(s)||Green, Gold and Rust|
Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School is an academically selective, day and boarding, Public high school for boys, located at Calala, a small suburb of Tamworth, in northern New South Wales, Australia. It is the only public agricultural high school for boys in Australia.
Established in 1939, Farrer is one of the few agricultural secondary schools catering for both boarding and day students. The school currently enrols approximately 610 students from Years 7 to 12, including 360 boarders, making it the third largest boarding school in the State. Being a public high School, tuition is free, and the school charges the lowest boarding fees in New South Wales.
While an emphasis is placed on the agricultural curriculum, but a broad curriculum is also on offer for students from rural NSW who do not wish to return to the land or gain employment in an agricultural field. Other areas of emphasis at Farrer include sport and student welfare.
Farrer embodies a conservative culture with a high degree of inclusiveness of Ethnicity and Disabilities. School uniform is compulsory and is traditional in style, including blazer, tie and wide-brimmed hat. The school marches each week as part of the school assembly, and a prefect system is in place, playing an important role in the welfare and supervision of students.
Farrer Memorial High School was founded in 1939 by Sir Addison Craig as an agricultural high school for boarders, particularly those who are isolated and day students from the Tamworth region.
The school was named in memory of William James Farrer (1845–1906), a leading Australian agronomist and wheat breeder, best known for developing the "Federation" breed of wheat. His work led to significant increases in the Australian wheat crop for decades to come, and economic prosperity for the wheat industry.
The school's facilities include computer rooms, TAS workshops, a 200-seat auditorium, Old Boys museum and multiple facilities to teach practical agriculture, such as a 170 hectares (420 acres) farm, horticultural centre and piggery. The dairy cattle, White Suffolk Flock and Angus stud are run as profitable business ventures, turning over in excess of A$140,000 at the Bull Sale in 2005.
The school's sporting facilities include a gymnasium, swimming pool, weights room, tennis courts, basketball courts, football fields and a cricket oval with practice nets. The school also makes use of the city's sporting facilities, including the synthetic hockey surface and athletics track.
Students at Farrer have the opportunity to undertake study in a number of areas from their School Certificate in Years 9 and 10, through to their Higher School Certificate (HSC) in Years 11 and 12. Some of these subject areas on offer include: Industrial Tech Metal, Industrial Tech Wood, Electronics, Information and Software Technology, Art, Music, Drama, Software Design and Development, Beef production, Sheep production, sport science and Journalism.
Agricultural opportunities include Beef cattle, Sheep, Dairy cattle, Wool husbandry, Horticulture, Pig Production, Egg Growing, Dry land and Irrigated cropping.
Agriculture at Farrer is mandatory for years 7 to 10.
In years past, a "sack" was a student in lower years, particularly years 7–10. Such students were at the beck and call of students in higher years, particularly year 12, to labour at menial tasks such as shining boots, fetching food or creating confetti with a paper hole punch. The name "sack" was said to be derived from the idea that younger years were a load to carry, as a sack.
The power was not restricted to year 12. Students of any year higher than another were empowered to issue such commands. For example, a year 8 boy could make demands of a year 7 boy. In this respect, the sack system may differ from the English practice of Fagging.
Failure to comply on the part of a "sack" was often disciplined with corporal punishment from the year 12 students. This punishment commonly took the form of being struck on the backside with a broom, occasionally without pants. Active resistance to the system was met with ongoing intimidation, assault and bullying from many members of the school community, including the principal.
This punishment resulted in the interesting linguistic twist of the word broom being used as a verb. For example, "Tell that sack to get on with it or he's going to get broomed".
The school has now admitted in court that this system existed and that it failed to implement adequate control.
Alumni of Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School are known as Old Boys, and may elect to join the school's alumni association, the Farrer Old Boys' Association. The Old Boys network totals approximately 4000 members across NSW, Australia and the world. Some notable Farrer Old Boys include:
- Allan William Cripps – Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) at Griffith University; Author of 230 published scientific papers
- Michael John Kilborn – Rhodes Scholar (1985)
- Robert Henry Tufrey Smith AM – Chancellor of the University of Ballarat; Emeritus Professor at the University of New England
- Bill Admans – Vice President Broadcast, Technicolor Hollywood; Honored by the Academy Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for contributions to Dolby Laboratories 2012 Emmy® Award for Achievement in Engineering Development of the Dolby Professional Reference Monitor 
- David Rodney Mazitelli – Principal of Mazitelli Pty Ltd; Commissioner, Tourism Western Australia; Board Member, Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre; Board Member, Perth Convention Bureau; Former Chairman of Australian Tourism Export Council; Former Executive Director of the Federal Department for Tourism
- Richard McPhail – Director of Gresham Partners Ltd; Former Director of The Franked Income Fund; Former Associate Director of Rothschild Australia Ltd; Former Treasurer of the Tattersalls Club (Sydney)
- Geoffrey Lee Miller AO – Principal of GCM Strategic Services Pty Limited; Chair of Farmshed Ventures Pty Ltd, and Beeline Technologies Inc. (USA); Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Food Policy Research Institute (Washington, D.C.); Director of Agrilink, Agsystems Pty Ltd, and JEM Bonds Ltd; Chair of Value Added Wheat CRC Ltd
- Entertainment, media and the arts
- Arthur Blanch – Golden Guitar winning Country music singer; Inducted into the Country Music Roll of Renown
- Pixie Jenkins – Musician; Golden Guitar winning fiddler
- Stuart Maunder – Director of Opera Australia
- Medicine and science
- Dr Michael Kilborn – Specialist cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Sydney and now works at a top medical magazine in London
- Politics, public service and the law
Neville West - Australian Walkley Award winning investigative journalist.
- Mark Coulton – Politician; Member for Parkes (National Party); Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Ageing and the Voluntary Sector
- Tony Windsor – Politician; Independent member of the House of Representatives, representing the Division of New England
- Adam Marshall – Member for Northern Tablelands (NSW Government)
- George Barton – Olympic shooter
- Geoff Chapman – Rugby Union player (Wallabies); Horse trainer
- Tom Learoyd-Lahrs – Rugby league player for the Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders
- Matthew Smith – Hockey bronze medallist at the Atlanta Olympics
- Richard Swain – Rugby league player for the Hunter Mariners, Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos and the New Zealand national side
- Alan Tongue – Rugby league player; Former captain of the Canberra Raiders
- Peter Worsley – Paralympic Rifle Shooter (Atlanta, Sydney and Athens)
- Aden Hawke – Professional Mixed Martial Artist and an Australian Young Citizen of the year 2008 Award recipient.
- List of Government schools in New South Wales
- List of selective high schools in New South Wales
- List of boarding schools
- Schools in Tamworth, New South Wales
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