St Andrew's Cathedral School

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St Andrew's Cathedral School
SACS Landscape RGB.jpg
Sydney, New South Wales
Australia Australia
Coordinates 33°52′25″S 151°12′20″E / 33.87361°S 151.20556°E / -33.87361; 151.20556Coordinates: 33°52′25″S 151°12′20″E / 33.87361°S 151.20556°E / -33.87361; 151.20556
Type Independent, Day school
Motto Latin: Via Crucis Via Lucis
("The Way of the Cross is the Way of Light")
Denomination Anglican
Established 14 July 1885
Founder Dr Alfred Barry, Third Bishop of Sydney
President Rev. Dr Glenn Davies
Chairman The Very Rev. Kanishka Raffel
Principal Dr. John Collier
(Head of School)
Staff ~123 (As of Dec 2008)[1]
Years K12
Gender Coeducational
Enrolment ~1,282 (2018[2])
Colour(s) Blue and white         
Slogan "Passion for learning, Preparing for life"

St Andrew's Cathedral School is an independent, Anglican, co-educational, day school located in the heart of the city of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The school currently caters for approximately 1,100 students from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The school is one of Sydney's oldest, founded in 1885, as a choir school for St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. St Andrew's is legally supervised by the Cathedral Chapter which appoints and approves members of the School Council which was formed in 1979. The Council is responsible for administering the School's policies and formulating its mission and vision as well as appointing successive Heads of School. A boys' school for much of its history, St Andrew's opened its doors to senior girls (Years 10 to 12) in 1999. In 2008, the school became a co-educational school with boys and girls enrolled from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The School is a member of the International Choir Schools' Association,[3] the Independent Schools Association (ISA), the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[4] and the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA).[5]

In 2009, St Andrew's became an IB World School and now offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma as an alternative leaving qualification to the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC).[6]


Bishop Alfred Barry, founder of St Andrew's Cathedral School

St Andrew's Cathedral School was founded by the third Bishop of Sydney, Metropolitan of New South Wales and Primate of Australia Dr Alfred Barry. The school was opened as the St Andrew's Schoolroom on 14 July 1885 in the Old Baptist Church premises in Pitt Street, on the corner of Bathurst and Kent Streets, Sydney. At the school opening, Bishop Barry stated that St Andrew's was established to provide "the choristers with a high-class, free education on Church principles, in addition to a musical training".[7] The school started with 27 boys, of whom 22 were choristers and, although it was later nicknamed the "Choir School", provision was made for non-choristers to attend. Enrolments reached a total of 80 in 1892, but suddenly dropped to about 50 and remained at this number for many years.

St. Andrew's Church in Pitt Street (now Stafford House) was the next home of the school, and remained so from 1892 to 1914, when it was moved to St. Phillip's Parish Hall, Church Hill (No. 1 York Street, Sydney).

The school made several subsequent moves, to the old Deanery (Church House) in 1917 and to the adjacent Worker newspaper printing works building in 1937. In 1961 the Cathedral Chapter and Standing Committee, after years of deliberation, decided to commence Stage One of a vast master plan to redevelop the Cathedral Site. As a result, Stage One of the "New School" was built along Kent Street, from the Bathurst Street corner and adjoining the old "Worker" Building.

St Andrew's Cathedral School students with former headmaster the Rev Canon M C Newth outside St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, c.1944

That building lasted only the eight school years from 1965 to 1972. There followed three-and-a-half years, from 1973 to August 1976, during which it was housed temporarily in the CENEF Building diagonally opposite across Bathurst and Kent Streets.

On Friday, 13 August 1976, St. Andrew's Cathedral School returned to its previous site and occupied the sixth, seventh and eighth floors, and rooftop of the newly constructed St. Andrew's House,[8] where it remains as of 2015. The school has its own entrance off Kent Street and a dedicated lift to levels 6, 7 and 8.

The school commenced outdoor education in 1982 using hired properties. During 1984, the school purchased a 100-acre (0.40 km2) rural property at Penrose, near Moss Vale in the NSW Southern Highlands for its own outdoor education campus.

In 1991, the school established a senior secondary learning centre at 51 Druitt Street, Sydney, in close proximity to St Andrew's House. The Premier of NSW, Nick Greiner, officially opened the Bishop Barry Senior Secondary Centre.

In 1997, the School Council decided that St Andrew's students would be better prepared for post-school work, study and lifestyle choices if the school became co-educational in Years 10, 11 and 12. Accordingly, in Term 1, 1999, the first 76 girls commenced in the Senior College. St Andrew's became the only co-educational school in the City.

Bishop Barry Senior College occupies the lower ground floor, ground floor, and levels 1 to 4

In 1999, the school's Student Business Club formed a working partnership with the Sydney 2000 Paralympics Organising Committee (SPOC) to raise awareness of the Games. The students conducted a range of events over a two-year period that ultimately raised $100,000 to help stage the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.[9]

In 2001, the school negotiated long-term occupancy in St Andrew's House by signing a 120-year lease for its facilities.

The Reverend Canon Melville Cooper Newth OBE, the eleventh and longest-serving Headmaster of St Andrew's Cathedral School (1941-1979), died on 21 October 2004, aged 90.[10] The MC Newth Auditorium (MCNA, BBC) was named in his honour.

The school marked its 120th year in 2005. At the same time, Phillip Heath celebrated his 10-year anniversary as the Head of School. This year also saw the School Council confirm the decision to vacate the Leadership and Enterprise Centre at 495 Kent Street. The main campus remains within the eight-storey St Andrew's House, located at 474 Kent Street.

On 22 September 2006, a new entrance to the school was opened by former Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Reverend Sir Marcus Loane, KBE. This was attended by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, as well as many parents and friends of students. The contemporary entrance is directly opposite the west door to St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney Square. The school's address subsequently changed from 474 Kent Street, Sydney to Sydney Square, Sydney.

In 2008, the school successfully negotiated a lease with the Wentworth Park Stadium Trust to allow the School to use the Wentworth Park sporting fields and stadium. The lease also includes the exclusive use of a three-storey building on the eastern side of the field and change rooms on the western side. These lease arrangements are ongoing.

On 20 November 2008, it was announced that the Head of School, Phillip Heath, was to depart the school to take up the Principalship of Radford College, Canberra, effective from 1 July 2009, after 14 years in the position.

Dr. John Collier, Head of St Paul's Grammar School for 12 years, was announced as his replacement on 4 June 2009, and commenced the position in Term 1, 2010.

Visits by British royalty[edit]

Royals have attended services at the cathedral on numerous occasions, on all of which the school's choristers have sung and had the opportunity of exchanging pleasantries with them:

  • 1920 - 13 June, Edward, Prince of Wales
  • 1927 - May, Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Duchess of York
  • 1945 - 11 March, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
  • 1954 - 7 February, Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl of Wessex
  • 1958 - 23 February, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother
  • 1963 - 3 March, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on 175th Anniversary of the Foundation of Australia by Governor Philip in 1788
  • 1967 - 6 March, Princess Alexandra, on 150th Anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Australia
  • 1970 - 30 March, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, on 200th Anniversary of Capt. James Cook's landing at Botany Bay
  • 1973 - 21 October, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, after opening the Sydney Opera House the previous day
  • 1977 - 13 March, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on their Jubilee anniversary
  • 1977 - 7 September, Charles, Prince of Wales
  • 2006 - 13 March, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, at the Commonwealth Day Observance in St Andrew’s Cathedral[11]

Old Andreans[edit]

The Old Andreans' Association (OAA), which is the alumni organisation of St Andrew's Cathedral School, was established by the school's third Headmaster, the Reverend Percy Simpson, in 1906. The first president of the then Union was the Hon Justice Webb, a judge of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW. He held office for over 40 years. In the past decade, the OAA has become an incorporated entity, and has improved its governance arrangements greatly. It continues to provide a means of maintaining contact between Old Andreans and their school. Other distinguished members of the OAA are Ken Tribe AC, Lt-Gen John Grey AC, Simon Tedeschi, Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, composer John Antill, Julian Hamilton, dual Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page and Paralympic swimmer Matt Levy.


On 1 May 2015, Robert Emmett pleaded guilty to child sex offences committed while a teacher at the school.[12]

Heads of school[edit]

Period Details
1885 – 1892 The Rev A R Rivers
1893 – 1895 The Rev G D Shenton
1895 – 1907 The Rev P J Simpson

Nov 99 - May1900 The Rev C A Brewer

1907 – 1916 The Rev E N Wilton
1916 – 1918 The Rev R E Freeth
1918 – 1920 The Rev C H Lea
1920 – 1929 The Rev M Searcy
1930 – 1934 The Rev L N Sutton
1934 – 1938 The Rev M K Jones
1938 – 1941 The Rev S C S Begbie
1941 – 1979 The Rev Canon M C Newth
1979 – 1995 Dr Allan K Beavis
1995 – 2009 Phillip J Heath
2010 – Dr John Collier


St Andrew’s Cathedral School resides across two dynamic city campuses within close proximity to Town Hall Station, St Andrew's House in Sydney Square and Bishop Barry Centre in Druitt Street.

St Andrew's has a leasing arrangement with St Andrew’s College within the grounds of The University of Sydney and the nearby Wentworth Park Sporting Complex. The school also uses the university's facilities for basketball, swimming, tennis and squash.

St Andrew's also owns a rural property known as Kirrikee[13] at Penrose, in the NSW Southern Highlands for its own outdoor education campsite.


In Term 1, 1999 the school introduced the first girls into the senior college, and 76 girls entered into Years 10, 11 and 12.

During the 2006 Speech Night, the school revealed a plan to introduce full co-educational years from Kindergarten through to Year 12 in 2008.[6] In 2006, the youngest female student was enrolled in Year 8, and graduated with the Class of 2010. During 2007, 10 girls were enrolled into the middle school (Years 7 to 9) and the school introduced twin classes (single-sex classes) in those years for the key subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. All other subjects, including sport, and in all other years of the school, are taught in a co-educational environment. St Andrew's was the first independent school in New South Wales to choose this twinning model in a coeducation environment.[14]

House system[edit]

St Andrew's Cathedral School contains eight houses, each named after an English cathedral or abbey with a choir school. The houses are:

The houses compete for the Dean Pitt Shield, awarded annually.

Gawura campus[edit]

St Andrew's Cathedral School Gawura Campus crest

In a move resonating with Headmaster M C Newth's progressive multi-ethnic policy and introduction of Aboriginal boys into the school as far back as 1965,[15] on 23 April 2007, the school opened a co-educational Kindergarten to Year 6 school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, named "Gawura" (meaning "whale"), located in the Junior School and on the rooftop of St Andrew's House campus. Gawura is Australia's first independent campus for Aboriginal children.[16]

Students at Gawura study Aboriginal language and culture, NSW Board of Education numeracy and literacy skills. All students are sponsored primarily by individual and family donors, corporates and foundations.

Gawura was established in response to the disparity in educational outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. Its aim is to reverse the overwhelming educational disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Sydney. Initially a part of St Andrew's Cathedral School, Gawura became a school in its own right in 2011.[17]

Gawura offers full scholarships to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who live at home with their families. Engagement of the Gawura families, parents and carers is critical to the success of the programme.

With up to 28 students, Gawura is a highly regarded "lighthouse" model for Indigenous education, offering students a supportive, nurturing space where they feel secure and learn at their own skill level, participating in individual numeracy and literacy programmes. They achieve academic milestones daily and grow in their abilities in academic subjects, sport and the arts.

Gawura students have access to their own culture, their own space and to the vast resources of St Andrew's while they form solid friendships with other junior and secondary students. Most of their needs are provided for, including uniforms, textbooks, stationery, music tuition and transport to and from school. This is provided alongside the comprehensive academic support program which encompasses remedial and extension programmes.

At the conclusion of Year 6, Gawura graduates are offered secondary school scholarships at St Andrew's Cathedral School – a natural and seamless transition for both the students and their families.

During the planning stage, the school searched 12 sites in the Redfern area to build the Gawura campus, but, facing opposition from some members of the Redfern community, it was decided the school should be set up within St Andrew's House.


The navy blue uniforms were designed to be similar to those worn by business people in the city, preparing the students for professional employment.

The boys' uniform consists of mid-grey trousers, white shirt (blue for Junior and Middle School), navy school blazer, black shoes and St Andrew's tie. House and sporting ties are also acceptable, and Year 12 students may wear their Year 12 ties.

The girls' uniform (winter) consists of the navy blazer, white shirt (blue with white collar for Junior and Middle School), navy skirt (navy tunic for junior school), navy stockings and black shoes. The summer uniform consists of a white, navy and blue dress, white socks, and black shoes for junior and middle school, and the winter uniform minus the stockings for senior college.

Cathedral choir[edit]

St. Andrew's Cathedral School Choir leaves by train for Melbourne, Central Station, 1954.

The Cathedral Choir can trace its origins to the consecration of St. Andrew's Cathedral in 1868 and this establishes the choir as one of the oldest continuously active choirs in Australia. The choir comprises choristers and choral scholars from St Andrew's Cathedral School as well as a group of men, known as lay clerks, who sing the lower parts.

Through overseas tours and recordings St Andrew's Cathedral Choir has won an international reputation and has accepted invitations to deputise for the resident choirs in such places as St Paul's Cathedral, London, York Minster and many other important centres of Anglican worship. In 2002 the choristers appeared before HM the Queen at a Golden Jubilee concert in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and also made a significant contribution to the ANZAC Day service in Westminster Abbey.

St Andrew's Cathedral choir rehearsing while on tour, at Canterbury Cathedral in 2005

The Cathedral Choir has made several recordings. The latest CDs are Fairest Lord Jesus and Choral Evensong. The latter was produced from a service broadcast throughout Britain on BBC Radio 3 at the time of the Sydney Olympics.

During school terms the choir sings at the morning Sunday service at 10.30am and at Evensong on Thursdays at 5.30pm. The choristers also sing a service of Morning Prayer (Matins) each Wednesday at 8.00am.

Michael Deasey completed a 24-year stint as the School's Master of the Choristers in 2005, and Ross Cobb, from the UK, was appointed as his successor.

To celebrate 140 years of the Cathedral Choir, the choir went on tour to England and Italy in July 2008. The first tour under the direction of Ross Cobb, the 11th organist and choirmaster of St Andrew’s, the choir was invited to sing at services and concerts in some of Europe's most historic and significant buildings, including Wells Cathedral, Dedham and Harwich Parish Churches, Bath Abbey, Bristol Cathedral, All Soul's Langham Place, Christ Church Clifton, the Anglican churches of Venice and Florence, St Paul's Cathedral London and, for the first time, the Basilica of San Marco in Venice.



The school has a compulsory winter sports program. Middle School and Senior College students can choose from over 20 different sports and activities ranging from rugby, netball, football and hockey to fencing, cross-country running, chess and ping pong. In summer, students compete in swimming, athletics, basketball, softball, water polo and cricket in the ISA competition. From 2014, the school also offers dance as a co-curricular activity at the school. The school also participates in a large number of sporting events not only within the school but also against other schools statewide, and occasionally outside the state.

Performing arts[edit]

St Andrew's provides extra-curricular opportunities in music, drama and performing arts.

Alongside its music curriculum, the school supports musical ensembles, student orchestral performances and domestic and international choral tours including to Europe, the USA and Asia. Extra-curricular drama activities include Senior and Middle School drama ensemble productions, an Old Andrean annual play, theatresports and a weekly Year 7 Drama Club. The school has dedicated drama and performance spaces and a Black Box Theatre.

St Andrew's also has a history in musical production. The first whole of school musical was Oliver!, performed in 2001. Since then, a whole school musical production has been produced at least every two years. These have included:

  • West Side Story (2003), performed at Sydney's Footbridge Theatre
  • Godspell (2005), performed in St. Andrew's Cathedral
  • Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance (2006), performed at the Seymour Centre at the University of Sydney
  • Les Misérables (2007), in the Chapter House adjoining St. Andrew's Cathedral
  • Guys and Dolls (2008) performed at the Seymour Centre at the University of Sydney
  • Paris (2009), performed at the Seymour Centre
  • Children of Eden (2011), performed at NIDA’s Parade Theatre
  • Beauty and the Beast (2013), performed at NIDA’s Parade Theatre
  • Peter Pan (2015), performed at Chatswood's Concourse Theatre
  • The Wizard of Oz (2017), performed at NIDA's Parade Theatre

Outdoor education[edit]

St Andrew's offers an outdoor education program that includes year-group-based camping expeditions and outdoor activities. The school owns a property named Kirrikee, south-west of Sydney near Penrose, where the majority of their in-school outdoor education expeditions are conducted.

The school also offers more challenging optional overseas expeditions for older students. These have include walking the Inca Trail, climbing in the Himalayas and building play areas for the children of Indian and African villages. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is offered to all students in Year 9 and above.

Mock trial[edit]

St Andrew's has had considerable success in the Mock Trial Competition, organised and operated by the Law Society of New South Wales, in which both government and independent schools throughout NSW participate. In 2004, the team were runners-up to Mereweather High School. In 2005, the school team of Year 11 students won the competition and then went on to compete in an International Mock Trial Competition against the UK National Mock Trial team, Ysgol Tre-Gib, Cardiff, United Kingdom, and once again was victorious.

Notable alumni[edit]


Entertainment, media and the arts[edit]

Politics, public service and the law[edit]

  • Jim Longley – former NSW Minister for Community Services, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and Minister for the Ageing (1993–1995)
  • Richard Murden – Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly (Lib) (1953–1959)[19]


  • Matt Levy – Australian Paralympian swimmer[20]
  • Rod Macqueen – former Wallabies coach
  • Malcolm Page – two-time Olympic gold medalist in sailing in the men's double-handed dinghy 470 in 2008 and 2012; flag-bearer for the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony[21]
  • Warwick Selvey – Australian shot put and discus champion, Olympic athlete (1960, 1964); won the discus event at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2008 Annual Report to the NSW Board of Studies Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed:24-08-2009)
  2. ^ [1] (accessed:08-02-2018)
  3. ^ Choir Schools' Association Overseas Members Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed: 30-11-2007)
  4. ^ Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia Archived 2 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed: 30-11-2007)
  5. ^ JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members Archived 18 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed: 30-11-2007)
  6. ^ a b St Andrew’s Cathedral School to go fully co-ed Archived 22 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed:20-06-2007)
  7. ^ Old Andreans Association: Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Information > 1885-1939
  8. ^ St Andrew's Cathedral School-History Archived 20 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed:24-06-2007)
  9. ^ St Andrew's Student Business Club "Students on Par" Project (accessed:20-06-2007)
  10. ^ Dedicated cathedral school servant passes away Archived 17 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed:20-06-2007)
  11. ^ Her Majesty heads for cathedral (accessed:20-06-2007)
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kirrikee Archived 13 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ The best of both worlds (accessed: 30 September 2007)
  15. ^ e.g. Christopher Donaldson, M C Newth, Serving a Great Cause, 1980, p. 187
  16. ^ Headmaster aims to inspire with new Indigenous school campus (accessed:21-06-2007)
  17. ^[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Papers of John Antill (1904-1986)". Finding Aids: Manuscripts. National Library of Australia. 2004-08-11. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  19. ^ Parliament of NSW - Mr Richard William MURDEN (accessed:10-08-2007)
  20. ^ Bannister, Laura (7 September 2009). "Water Boys: St Andrew's Victories Make a Splash". St Andrew's Cathedral School. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  21. ^ Australian Olympic Team: Malcolm Page (accessed:05-02-2008)
  22. ^ Newth, M: "Serving a great cause, a pictorial review : covering the history of a unique school with excerpts from the headmaster's diary", page 178. M.C. Newth, 1980

External links[edit]