Guildford Grammar School

Coordinates: 31°53′44″S 115°58′48″E / 31.89556°S 115.98000°E / -31.89556; 115.98000
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Guildford Grammar School
Guildford Grammar School, Terrace Road, in 1932

Coordinates31°53′44″S 115°58′48″E / 31.89556°S 115.98000°E / -31.89556; 115.98000
Former nameThe Church of England Grammar School
Official nameGuildford Grammar School
TypeState Registered Place
Reference no.2470
TypeIndependent co-educational primary and secondary day and boarding school
MottoGo Forward
Religious affiliation(s)Diocese of Perth
Established1896; 128 years ago (1896)[1]
FounderCharles Harper
PrincipalPeter Allen
Enrolment~1,097[2] (2019)
Area80 hectares (198 acres)
Campus typeSuburban
Colour(s)Navy blue and white   
AlumniOld Guildfordians

Guildford Grammar School, informally known as Guildford Grammar, Guildford or GGS, is an independent Anglican coeducational primary and secondary day and boarding school, located in Guildford, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia.

Initially established as a single-sex school for boys, in 2019, the School became co-educational from Kindergarten to Year 6, and in Years 7, 8 and 11 in the Senior School; in Years 9-10 and 12, the School catered for boys only. Since 2019, the School has been fully co-educational. Boarding facilities for Senior School girls were introduced from 2020.[3]

The school is a member of the Public Schools Association and the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia.

The Anglican grammar school traces its origins back to 1896 when it was established by Charles Harper. In 1900, the school moved from the Harper family home to its current site near the banks of the Swan River, approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) from the centre of the City of Perth on 80 hectares (198 acres) of property.[4] The East Guildford campus consists of a senior school for Year 7 to 12, a preparatory school for kindergarten to Year 6, sporting grounds and boarding facilities for 150 students.[5]


Guildford Grammar School traces its foundations to 1896, when Charles Harper, an influential Western Australian, established in the billiard room of his house (Woodbridge House) a school (under the guidance of Frank Bennett, the first headmaster)[6] which was to cater to the educational needs of his children and those from the surrounding district.[7] Harper's vision was to create a school based on the English public school system, whilst also attempting to accommodate the different culture of the modern colonial society.

In 1900, the school moved to its current site.[4] The school was originally called The Church of England Grammar School.[8] Together with Christian Brothers College (Aquinas), The High School (Hale School) and The Alexander Scotch College (Scotch), the school established the Public Schools Association (PSA) in 1905.[6] Initially, the school only had 14 students, but in 1910, with over 100 students, it was taken over by the Trustees of the Church of England. Canon Percy Henn was appointed Headmaster.[4]

In 1914, the Chapel of St Mary and St George was consecrated and, to the east of the senior school, the preparatory school was founded by Henn and Cecil Priestley. It originally took boys only.[9] It is now co-educational and also includes boarders. These boarders are accommodated in the Graham Malcolm Junior Hall of Residence.

Collectable cigarette card featuring the Guildford colours and crest, c. 1920s

In March 1942, the staff and students of the senior school were evacuated to Fairbridge Farm School near Pinjarra for 18 months as a precaution during World War II.[4]

The Guildford Grammar School Foundation was established in 1974, to help guarantee the financial independence of the school and to develop its standing within the Western Australian education system. The board of the foundation aims to establish a large and self-perpetuating capital fund of $30 million. Currently, a portion of the income generated from the foundation's assets funds a bursaries and scholarships program.[6]

In 2019 Guildford Grammar School had 1,097 students, with capacity for 148 boarding students.[10]

Coat of arms[edit]

The dedication of the school chapel to Saint Mary and Saint George took place on 25 March 1914. The dedication was the inspiration for the current coat of arms, which replaced the cross and coronet of the Harper family. The arms consist of the red cross of St George on a white shield below the three fleur de lys of St Mary against a dark blue field. "Go Forward", the school motto which succeeded the Harpers' Coelum ipsum petimus, appears in a scroll under the arms.


Percy Henn, the fourth Headmaster of Guildford Grammar School

The following individuals have served as Principal of Guildford Grammar School:

Ordinal Headmaster Term begin Term end Time in office Notes
1 Frank Bennett 1896 1898 1–2 years
2 Alex Gillespie 1899 1903 3–4 years
3 William Corr 1904 1909 4–5 years
4 Percy Henn 1910 1924 13–14 years
5 Philip Hinckley 1925 1927 1–2 years
6 Robert Freeth 1928 1949 20–21 years
7 Peter Thwaites 1950 1956 5–6 years
8 David Lawe Davies 1957 1978 20–21 years
9 John Moody 1979 1996 16–17 years
10 Kim Walton 1997 2002 4–5 years
11 Robert Zordan 2003 2010 6–7 years
12 Stephen Webber 2011 2019 12–13 years [11]
13 Anne Dunstan 2020 2022 3–4 years [12]
14 Peter Allen 2023 incumbent


Guildford Grammar School grounds in 1933

Guildford Grammar School is located on a 100-acre (40 ha) campus on the banks of the Swan River and stands among trees and lawns. The campus has a number of buildings and sporting facilities necessary for the day to day educational needs of the students. Some of these buildings are of historical significance—including the chapel, which is listed with the Heritage Council of Western Australia. Most of the buildings and sporting fields are named after significant people in the school's foundation and history.

In 2005, the school embarked on a major redevelopment project, named the One Campus Project, the first major project to be undertaken at the school in 15 years. This project includes the redevelopment of the school's playing fields and property bordering the Great Eastern Highway. The project was expected to cost in excess of $5.5 million and included the construction of a new hockey pitch, a second football oval, 12 new acrylic surface tennis courts, a new sports pavilion and the reconstruction of Roberts Oval.


The Federation Gothic-styled school chapel (the Chapel of St Mary and St George), first suggested by headmaster Canon P.U. Henn (after whom Henn's House was named) and funded by Cecil Oliverson, after whom the school gymnasium is named. It is heritage listed and contains a large amount of English Oak wood. It currently houses a Bible (the Windsor Bible) gifted to the school by Queen Elizabeth II as a replacement for the Bible gifted by King George V which was destroyed in a fire in 1980.

Student life[edit]

Guildford offers an extracurricular program for students. The school also has boarding facilities for students who live in rural areas of Western Australia as well as international students. The major components of the program are sports, music, the arts and cadets.

The cadet program at Guildford dates back to 1904. The program is governed by the state and federal arms of the Australian Army Cadet Corps and is supported by the A SQD Tenth Light Horse.

Guildford participates in the national Tournament of Minds competition and has produced 15 teams composed of seven boys from Years 8 to 10 in 2007 and annually produces about 12 teams. Guildford has had success within this competition, regularly going into state finals and making the nationals in 2005, ranking fourth nationally in 2005 and being the top team for maths and engineering in Western Australia.

Academic studies[edit]

1913 school prefects

The school offers a range of academic pursuits for students, and also gives awards such as academic colours, subject awards and the dux award, which are given at an annual presentation night.

Guildford awards several scholarships based on academic merit to students, but under agreed PSA rules no member schools may award sports scholarships. To gain a scholarship a student must take the ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) Co-operative Scholarship Examination, and also submit a portfolio. The shortlisted candidates attend an interview with the headmaster.

D'Arcy Slater Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student entering Year 7 in memory of D'Arcy Slater, a student of the School who died in 1991. The student that receives the award must be a good all-rounder. This scholarship provides all tuition fees for the student.[13]

Council Scholarships, the scholarship is an academic scholarship. Candidates must be under the age of 13 on the first day of January following the examination. This scholarship is tenable for between 25 and 50% of six years' worth of tuition fees.[13]

Harry Campbell Pope Scholarships - Awarded to a number of students entering Year 7 of the Western Australian education system, following an examination and an interview with the Headmaster. These scholarships are worth 25% - 50% of tuition fees for six years.[13]

Calder Crowther Scholarship - Awarded every two years to day student candidates from government schools in the vicinity of Guildford. It is worth 50% of tuition fees from years 7 to 12.[13]

The school also awards Music and Choral scholarships.


When Guildford opened in 1896, it was a day school; boarding was introduced[when?] for years 6–12. There are 130 boarders at the school.

All boarders live in one of the boarding halls of residence with their House-masters, House-mothers and boarding assistants. On weekends, boarders participate in a variety of activities arranged by staff and senior students. Boarders in years 10, 11 and 12 also participate in sport on a Saturday morning.

House system[edit]

Guildford Grammar School has an eight-house system in the senior school. Each house is named in honour of individuals who have had an association with the school and the Western Australian community including: Canon Percy Henn, an influential headmaster of the school, and James Stirling, a man much credited with the settlement of Western Australia. In the junior school, there is a four-house system. Each house, informally known as a quarter, is named after a cardinal point; north, east, south, and west.

The eight senior school houses are Henn's, School, Stirling, Harper, Bennett, St. George's, Woodbridge and Freeth House with each house being divided into six mentor groups with a mentor group for each year (e.g. Stirling Year 10, Henns Year 8 and so on). Each mentor group is overseen by a mentor and Head of House. The members of each house are led by the House Captain (elected each year by the members of the house).[14]

The eight senior school houses compete against each other in three areas; sport (for the Cock House Cup), culture (for the Centenary Cup), and academic (for the John Gladstones' Cup). There is also the Council shield, which is awarded to the house adjudged to have been the most successful in the three competitions.

Performing arts and debating[edit]

Students can learn a music instrument during class time in the senior school. There are ensembles for students to join including the senior choir and guitar ensemble. Music is compulsory for all students from Kindergarten to year 6, with the option of continuing to TEE music in year 12. Senior school students have the opportunity to learn under experienced musicians.

The drama program at the school is based largely around the school production; recent productions include: Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and Amadeus. Heath Ledger, a prominent actor, attended Guildford Grammar School, where he had his first acting experiences, starring in a school production as Peter Pan at age 13.[15][16]

Debating and public speaking are components of the co-curricular program at the school. Guildford Grammar School competes in Western Australian inter-school debating competition, which is run by the Western Australian debating league.


Guildford Grammar School was a founding member of the Public Schools Association (PSA) in 1905, and the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA) in 1968. The school competes in inter-school sports within both organisations.[17]

In 2006, Guildford won none of the PSA sporting competitions, although it has won the following trophies more than five times; Swimming (18), Cricket (15), Athletics (12), Rugby (8), Football (6), and Rowing (Head of the River) (6).[17]

Guildford won the Alcock Cup (Football - 2015) and the Darlot Cup (Cricket - 2018).

PSA premierships[edit]

Guildford Grammar has won the following PSA premierships.[18]

  • Athletics (12) – 1905, 1906, 1907, 1918, 1926, 1930, 1940, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950
  • Basketball (4) – 1981, 1983, 1991, 1993
  • Cricket (16) – 1915, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1946, 1959, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1982, 1986, 2018
  • Cross Country – 1982
  • Football (7) – 1905, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1946, 1958, 2015
  • Golf (6) – 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018
  • Rowing (3) – 1992, 2001, 2013
  • Rugby (8) – 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1994
  • Soccer (2) – 1990, 1994
  • Swimming (18) – 1905, 1916, 1920, 1922, 1951, 1952, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
  • Tennis – 1982
  • Water Polo – 1998


Alumni of Guildford Grammar School are called "Old Guildfordians". Alumni may elect to join the Old Guildfordians Association, formerly the 'Old Boys' Association, an incorporated organisation established in 1905, which represents the former students of the school. The association exists to provide fellowship to former students, parents and staff and to support the school – especially in the provision of scholarships and financial assistance to families in need.[19]

The Old Guildfordians Mundaring Hockey Club is an incorporated men's and women's hockey club based in the Guildford/Mundaring area. The club competes in various grades of the HockeyWA competition, from minkey (junior hockey) to senior's hockey. The club plays its home games at Lilac Hill Park, using the available facilities and clubrooms available. It is not a requirement of the club to have left school; in fact many of the clubs members haven't left school.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guildford Grammar School". Search for School. Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 31 January 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  2. ^ "MySchool". Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Guildford Grammar School". Guildford Grammar School. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Guildford Grammar School. Guildford Grammar School Handbook 2008.
  5. ^ "Guildford Grammar School". Schools. Australian Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  6. ^ a b c White, M. A. (1996) Go forward! (History of school for centenary). Perth, W.A. : Guilford Grammar School, 1996. ISBN 0-9598731-3-9
  7. ^ Merryweather, E. J. (1988) Guildford Grammar School : the first half century : a personal history Perth, W.A : E.J. Merryweather. ISBN 0-7316-3502-7
  8. ^ "Private Schools Association (PSA)". Schools Rugby Tribune. Schools Tribune. 25 March 2013. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Guildford Preparatory School". The West Australian. 3 February 1915. Retrieved 16 February 2024. The Preparatory House for the Guildford Grammar School boys, takes between 6 and 14 years of age
  10. ^ "School profile Guildford Grammar School". MySchool. 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  11. ^ Archived 2 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Perth school's historic principal appointment". The West Australian. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d Scholarships at Guildford Grammar School Archived 3 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine (accessed: 27 February 2015)
  14. ^ "Guildford Grammar School - Houses". Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  15. ^ a b Wills, Dominic (2008). "Heath Ledger Biography". Tiscali TV. US. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2008. The Ledger name was well-known in Perth, the family having run a foundry that provided much of the raw material for the famous Perth to Kalgoorlie Pipeline ... The Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust, named after Heath's great-grandfather, was renowned for granting funds to the area's universities, paying for visiting lecturers and scholarships for gifted students.
  16. ^ a b Savage, Michael (23 January 2008). "Heath Ledger: The Times Obituary". The Times. UK. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  17. ^ a b 102nd Annual PSA Athletics Carnival Handbook
  18. ^ "Records – Public Schools Association". Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Old Guildfordians Official Website". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  20. ^ Hasluck, Alexandra (1983). "Hackett, Deborah Vernon (1887–1965)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  21. ^ "From Tiger cub to big Cat in just 12 months". 22 April 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cardell-Oliver, John (1983) Henn, Percy Umfreville (1865–1955), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, Melbourne University Press. pp 261–262.
  • Cardell-Oliver, J (1985) Canon P.U. Henn and Woodardism in Western Australia: Antipodean Modifications of an Anglican Ideal, Masters Thesis, The University of Western Australia
  • Ellis, Nic (1995) Guildford : the life of the school / photographed by Nic Ellis ; introduction Paul Murray. Fremantle, W.A. : Plantagenet Press, 1995. ISBN 1-875968-10-5 Published for the centenary of Guildford Grammar School.
  • Firkins, Peter For God, King and country : the story of Old Guildfordians who have distinguished themselves in the wars of the 20th century . Perth, W.A. ISBN 0-646-35553-8
  • Canon Percy Henn - obituary - Born in the U.K. and died in Perth on 25 February 1955. West Anglican, Vol 1, no.3 (April 1955), p. 2-3,
  • Hungerford, T.A.G. ed (1996) Tall stories : an anecdotal history of Guildford Grammar School, 1896-1996 .Guildford, W.A.: The School. ISBN 0-9598731-4-7
  • Merryweather, E. J. (1988) Guildford Grammar School : the first half century : a personal history Perth, W.A : E.J. Merryweather. ISBN 0-7316-3502-7
  • Simpson, Paul. Moody : a teacher to the very last. Profile of Guildford Grammar School principal, on his retirement after 36 years in teaching. West Australian 7 December 1996, p. 38-39,41, (West Magazine)
  • White, M. A. (1996) Go forward!' '(History of school for centenary). Perth, W.A. : Guilford Grammar School, 1996. ISBN 0-9598731-3-9
  • Wickham, John (2004) Merging streams : the story of the Cloisters and Guildford Grammar School : a constitutional landscape Bassendean, W.A.. : Advance Press. ISBN 0-9758034-0-9

External links[edit]