Scotch Oakburn College

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Scotch Oakburn College
Launceston, Tasmania
Australia Australia
Coordinates 39°4′33.4″N 125°49′0.5″E / 39.075944°N 125.816806°E / 39.075944; 125.816806Coordinates: 39°4′33.4″N 125°49′0.5″E / 39.075944°N 125.816806°E / 39.075944; 125.816806
Type Independent, Co-educational, Day and Boarding
Motto Latin: Ad Superiora Viam Inveniam
("I will find a way to higher things.")
Denomination Uniting Church
Established 1886 (MLC)
1901 (Scotch)
1979 (Amalgamation)
Chairperson Christine Arnott
Principal Andy Muller
Enrolment ~1,200 (ELC–12)[1]
Colour(s) Maroon, Blue and Gold             
Slogan "Creating the future"

Scotch Oakburn College is an independent, Uniting Church, co-educational, day and boarding school, located in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

Although founded in 1886, the present school was established in 1979 with the amalgamation of the historically boys' Scotch College and girls' Oakburn College (formerly the Methodist Ladies' College, based in East Launceston). The school currently caters for approximately 1,200 students from Early Learning (3 years old) to Year 12 (18 years old), including more than 70 boarders from Years 6 to 12.[1]

Scotch Oakburn is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[2] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[3] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association,[4] and the Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools.

The College is a full member of the Round Square association, an international association spreading across five continents and over 60 schools around the world. Scotch Oakburn College is the only full member of Round Square in Tasmania.[4]



Scotch Oakburn College was created in 1979, through the amalgamation of the Scotch College and Oakburn College (formerly the Methodist Ladies' College). It currently operates as a college of the Uniting Church in Australia, formed in 1977 by the union of many congregations of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and Congregational Union of Australia with the Methodist Church of Australasia.[5]

Methodist Ladies' College[edit]

The Methodist Ladies' College, Launceston, c1906–1930

The Methodist Ladies' College, Launceston (M.L.C) was established on Elphin Road, just east of the city centre, in 1886. The aim of the college was to allow girls the same access to educational facilities as boys. The largest building on campus had been named "Oakburn" upon its construction 25 years earlier. After its first year, it had 88 students. The first Headmaster was Mr G. Thornton-Lewis.[5]

In 1969, M.L.C was renamed "Oakburn College" as the school council felt that 'Ladies' was outdated. The school became co–educational in 1973.[5]

Scotch College[edit]

The Scotch College was established as a non-denominational boys' school, on York Street in the Launceston CBD in 1901. The school went through a number of owners in its first 50 years of existence, eventually being taken over by the Presbyterian Church of Australia in October 1950. In 1917, it moved from its York Street residence to the "Ravenscraig" property on Penquite Road, Newstead, around 10 km east of the city.[5]

By 1972 the College was struggling to survive and it was subsequently decided to introduce co–education.[5]

Church union and amalgamation[edit]

After the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia in 1977, representatives from both colleges joined to discuss an amalgamation. The successful amalgamation process was chaired by local physician Dr John Morris, AO, MBE, who was then Chairman of the Oakburn College Council. 1979 was the inaugural year of Scotch Oakburn College with the Oakburn College Council Chairman becoming the Chairman of the amalgamated college's Council, and the Principal of Scotch College becoming the inaugural Principal of the amalgamated College.

The former Oakburn College campus, on Elphin Road, in 1979 became home to the Matriculation classes (years 11 and 12) and the junior school (years K–5) and boarding house. The same year, the Scotch College campus on Penquite Road became the middle school (years 6 to 10). In 1980, the current set-up was adopted with years 11 and 12 joining the middle school classes at the Penquite Campus, leaving the Elphin Campus with Early Learning to Year 5 and the boarding house.


Years Methodist Ladies' College, later Oakburn College[5]
1886 – 1889 Mr George Thornton Lewis, BA (London)
1890 – 1902 The Rev. Francis J. Nance, MA
1903 – 1941 Miss Mary E.G. Fox, MBE, MA
1941 – 1954 Miss Gwendoline Madder, MA, DipEd, Acting Head 1926 – 1928, 1936
1954 – 1962 The Rev. C.O. Leigh Cook, MA
1963 – 1971 The Rev. C. Leigh Speedy, MSc, BD, DipEd, MACE
1972 – 1976 The Rev. Angas S. Holmes, BA, BD, MRE, DipEd, MACE
1977 – 1978 The Rev. Alan E. Green, BSc, BD, DipEd, MACE
Years Scotch College[5]
1900 – 1901 Mr S. Leslie Brown, MA
1902 – 1914 Mr Andrew Raeburn
1914 – 1924 Mr C. Mitchell Tovell, MSc
1925 – 1950 Mr W.W.V. Briggs, MBE, MA, DipEd, Vice Principal 1951 – 1956
1950 – 1966 The Rev Robert H. Dean, BA, BEd, MACE
1966 – 1971 Mr John T. Sykes, BA (Hons), BEd, MACE, JP
1972 – 1977 Mr Jock P. Herbert, BA DipEd, FRGS, MACE
1978 – 1979 Dr Bruce N. Carter, BA, EdM, EdD, MACE
Years Scotch Oakburn College[5]
1979 – 1985 Dr Bruce N. Carter, AM, BA, EdM, EdD, MACE
1979 – 1981 The Rev Alan E. Green, Associate Principal of Scotch Oakburn College
1986 – 1993 Mr David J. Hone, BA Hons, Cert Ed, MEd, MACE
1994 – 2001 Mr Graeme E. McDonald, BA, DipEd, MEdAdmin, MACE, MACEA
2002 – 2012 Mr Andrew Barr, BEc (Hons), DipEd, MEd, MACEL, MACE
2013 – present Mr Andy Muller, BAppSc, DipEd, GradDipEd, MEd



The younger of the two campuses, the Elphin Campus is the site of the more historic buildings in the school. The campus features a number of beautiful old oak trees which are located at the front of the campus in a garden area. The Elphin Campus is home to the primary school and boarding house. The first building on the land was "Oakburn", constructed by Eliza Thomson in 1861, a year after she was granted the land. This is the most historic building on any of the campuses. In time, "Oakburn" would become the boarding house. The college was later renamed for this building. An extension to this building, the Mary Fox Jubilee Wing, was constructed in 1935 to celebrate the College's jubilee anniversary. Today it is better known to students as the Mary Fox Hall or just the Mary Fox and it houses school assemblies, chapel services and many other events such as school plays, dances and trivia nights.

The stately "Lemana" and "The Stables" are located on the western end of the campus. They include classroom areas for Years 2 to 5. "The Stables", as the name suggests, was formerly the stable area for horses. The primary classroom area is located on the eastern end of the campus, near the Mary Fox Chapel and Hall. This dual-purpose space is the centre of many school community events. Lemana is a grand old house which today houses modern classrooms on the inside but keeps its historic exterior. Lemana recently celebrated its 100th birthday.

The boarding house is home to over 70 students from years 6-12. Students share dormitories in years 7-10 and in years 11 and 12 get their own rooms, subject to availability. The boarding house also has common room areas with televisions and computer facilities for students. During the summer months boarders have access to the swimming pool during their time off. Each school day morning boarders are bussed to the Penquite campus and in turn busses take them back after classes finish.

An Early Learning complex houses pre-school, kindergarten, and after-hours care facilities. This complex was built on the site of the original Methodist Ladies' College/Oakburn College Principal's residence.

The Elphin campus also is home to four tennis courts, a large oval, two multi-purpose courts, a well-equipped gymnasium and a 25m swimming pool. The students from the Penquite campus are ferried by school bus to the Elphin campus for swimming lessons during their physical education classes.


The Penquite Campus is situated on both sides of Penquite Road in Newstead. The main side of the campus or Eastern side features a large, rectangular, grassy field in the centre, with buildings located around the outside of it. The major buildings of the school are named after and in honor of significant people and places in the school's heritage. Over the years these buildings have been upgraded and redeveloped and more buildings have been built to keep up with the schools needs. The campus has a very modern feel today but at the same time its heritage is clearly visible. Directly inside the main entrance to the College lies a large, old oak tree which lies beside the school Chapel, together they give the campus a feeling of its history.

  • "Ravenscraig", named after the original name of the Penquite Road property, refers to the oldest classroom block on the campus. Formerly housing senior staff and administrative offices, this area now includes recently refurbished classrooms and teachers' departmental offices.
  • Briggs House is located on the eastern end of the campus. First constructed in 1954, this building was for boarding students of Scotch College. It is named for long serving headmaster W.V.V. Briggs. Upon amalgamation, the building began to be used for social sciences classrooms, and the kitchen area became the food technology area.
  • The Robert Dean Senior Student Centre (formally known as the Robert Dean Centre, or just Dean Centre to students, was the campus gymnasium; it featured one multi-purpose sports court with a gym/weights area on an upstairs mezzanine floor. The Robert Dean Centre also housed school assemblies weekly) is one of the campus' largest buildings. It is visible in the centre of the campus behind the field and between the John Morris Library and Bruce Carter Administration building. Named after former Scotch College Headmaster, the Reverend Robert Dean, this building was redeveloped and reopened in March 2007, as a state of the art purpose-built study centre for Year 11 and Year 12 Tasmanian Certificate of Education students, including study areas, computing laboratories, classrooms, a fully functioning kitchen and relaxation area. Housed beneath are the Design and Technology, and Art departments.
  • Saint Andrews, named after the patron saint of Scotland, is located on the western side of the campus. The building mainly includes the Japanese and French classrooms, as well as several specialised science laboratories, mathematics classrooms, and computer labs. The tuckshop is located in this area which provides a variety of healthy food options for students at both recess and lunch times.
  • The Health and Physical Education Centre opened in August 2007 features international standard basketball, netball, badminton and volleyball courts, two multi-purpose learning studios, and a weights and ergonomics room.

The Penquite Campus has seen a lot of building development since amalgamation:

  • The John Morris Library, named after the inaugural Chairman of the amalgamated College Council (now the Board of Management) was constructed in the late 1980s.
  • The Bruce Carter Administration Building, named after the inaugural Principal of the amalamated College, replaced the former administration facilities in Ravenscraig in the early 1990s.
  • The Horton Auditorium/Performing Arts Centre, opened in 2003, which includes an auditorium and performing arts facilities. The auditorium is named after the nineteenth century boys' school, Horton College, near Ross in the Tasmanian Midlands, which was the first Methodist College in Australia.
  • The Middle School, which is situated on the opposite side of Penquite Road to the main campus (next to the Heath and Physical Education Centre), opened in early 2009 and features brand new state of the art facilities for students in grades 6 to 8. This side of the campus is connected via a tunnel which extends to the main Penquite facilities.


In 2005, Scotch Oakburn came to an arrangement with the owner of 'Rostrevor', near Fingal, to lease and use a part the property for outdoor education and environmental study purposes. This facility is known as the Valley Campus.

House system[edit]

At the Scotch Oakburn Junior School there are three Houses which students are allocated to in Year 2, they are: Thistle (blue), Willow (maroon) and Oak (yellow). Throughout the year all students compete in a swimming carnival, cross country carnival and athletics carnival gaining points for their house.

The Scotch Oakburn Middle School and Senior School operates under four Houses: Fox (red), Dean (blue), Briggs (green) and Nance (yellow). Throughout the year students compete in a number of competitions to gain points to win the House Shield at the end of the year; these competitions include swimming, cross-country, athletics, debating and singing.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni of the Scotch Oakburn College (and its predecessors) are known as Old Collegians, and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the Scotch Oakburn Old Collegians Association (SOOCA).[5] Some notable Old Collegians include:

  • Alan Stretton - academic and Rhodes Scholar
  • Sir Edgar Coles - former Managing Director of Coles Supermarkets
  • Ben Gray - Head of TPG Capital Asia and prominent investment banker
  • David McEwan AM - Tasmanian woolgrower
  • Susan Rapley - entrepreneur and pastoralist
Entertainment, Media and the Arts
  • David Brill - combat cinematographer
  • Ric Finlay - ABC cricket statistician and author
  • Philip Wolfhagen - Tasmanian artist
Government, Politics and the Law
  • Marcos Ambrose - V8 Supercar champion; NASCAR Driver
  • Mollie Campbell-Smith AM, MBE - national hockey player and education commentator
  • Ian Chesterman - member of the Australian Olympic Committee and Australian Winter Olympic administrator
  • Brent Crosswell - AFL footballer
  • Michael Grenda - Olympic Cycling Gold Medalist
  • Jim Sloman OAM - Chief Operating Officer for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Educational and Financial Report 2006" (PDF). Scotch Oakburn College. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  2. ^ "AHISA Schools: Tasmania". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  3. ^ "JSHAA Tasmania Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  4. ^ a b "Schools: Scotch Oakburn College". Australian Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-05-06. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ABSA" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Scotch Oakburn College History". The History. Scotch Oakburn College. Archived from the original (doc) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-12-17.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "History" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ "The History". Scotch Oakburn College. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 

External links[edit]