Unley High School
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|Unley High School|
|Netherby, South Australia
|Motto||The Utmost For The Highest|
|Colour(s)||light and dark blue|
Unley High School, located in Netherby, is one of the largest public high schools in South Australia. In recent years the number of students enrolled typically ranges from 1,100 to 1,300, but in the early 1960s the school had a peak enrolment of 2,000 students.
The school currently has 30 international students enrolled, and has a history of enrolling such students from the 1960s. Unley has a long history of teaching foreign languages; in the beginning Latin, then French, German and for a period Indonesian. Today, Chinese is strong; Unley has sister schools in China. The school has a lot of multicultural students, the majority of which come from China, Greece, Italy and Lebanon.
Unley High School was founded in 1910 as one of the first group of public high schools to be established following Adelaide High School in 1908. Initially it was under the control of the Headmaster of the Unley Primary School, and had its first home as part of that school in the suburb of Unley.
In 1915 the school was granted independence from Unley Primary and its first headmaster was appointed. This was Ben Gates who remained at the school until 1940. It was during his headmastership that the school became renowned for its discipline and high academic standards. An early link was forged with the Australian rules football club, Sturt. The colours of the school, light and dark blue, were also the colours of the football club.
During its first decade the school was shifted south to new buildings in Kyre Avenue, Mitcham. There were problems which developed quite rapidly with this site, especially in relation to adequate sports grounds. Complicated negotiations eventually saw control of a block of land and a cottage passed to a trust associated with the school. This remains an open space, now used by Mitcham Girls High School, on Belair Road. The "memorial gates" celebrating the acquisition of this land were opened in 1936.
Following the setbacks of the Great Depression, which included the introduction of fees for students to attend the high school, student numbers gradually rose to their early 1930s high point. (1931: 956 students, 1934: 638, 1939: 869) Unley High had been a coeducational school from the beginning, but in fact, most classes were taught in single sex groups. This pattern would only change in the late 60s and early 70s.
World War II saw continuing privations in the school. It had been a constant pattern from the beginning: class sizes that were too large, and inadequate and too few teaching spaces. During the war, as had occurred in World War I students were engaged in fund raising, and girls especially, in knitting for the troops. In some of the darkest days of World War II the Parents and Citizens Association was founded and had its first meetings. There had been a School Council with community representatives appointed by the South Australian government since 1916, but now there was a chance for parents to have a much more active role in contributing to the school.
The baby boom of the 1950s saw an enrolment crisis for the school in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Over two thousand students by 1960 was too many. The South Australian government had begun began building new schools, Blackwood, Marion and Daws Road high schools from the mid 1950s. That helped relieve the pressure. Despite this the Kyre Avenue site was quite inadequate. Land at Netherby, part of the old Peter Waite bequest for agricultural education was finally made available for a new Unley High School. Temporary wooden buildings went up, to be occupied by girls from 1957. The move was largely carried out using their labour as desks chair and books were carried to the new campus. Then came the new permanent building in 1961. The school gradually shifted from the campus at Kyre Avenue, Mitcham to the campus at Netherby.
With another secondary school, Mitcham Girls Technical High, beginning to occupy the Kyre Avenue site, a decision was taken in 1965 to shift aall students to the Netherby campus. One of Unley High's most significant teachers, Jim Giles, was temporarily in charge of the school. It was his decision. Though very large class sizes were endured for some time, the baby boom was passing through the school. By 1970 the school reached the size it roughly maintained thereafter, enrolling between 1,100 and 1,300 students.
There is a published history of the school by Craig Campbell, Unley High School: One hundred years of public education, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2010. (There is an earlier version published in 1985 which covers the early years of the school history in a more detailed narrative.)
Unley High School operates an extensive sporting program, both for after-school sport and weekend sport. It participates in South Australian Secondary Schools' Sports Associations programs and also in the Independent Schools' Sporting Association for cricket, hockey and football. It is a member of the Heads of Rowing Schools and has a strong Rowing Club.
The Environment Group helps to increase the sustainability of the school, while decreasing the negative impact it has on the earth because of energy consumption, water usage and waste. Recent achievements include the purchase of a 24,000-litre rainwater tank to replace the water used in the hand basins and showers in the Life Be In It Gym, the purchase of solar panels on the roof of the school, a water grant to replace all the toilets in the school with dual-flush toilets, and an intensive recycling program.
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- Michael Atkinson – the 46th Attorney-General of South Australia, the 34th Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly, and the Labor Member for Croydon
- John Bannon AO – 39th Premier of South Australia and Labor Member for Ross Smith
- Keith Briggs - mathematician
- Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup - a songwriter, musician, music producer and Chief Executive Officer of the Jimmy Little Foundation
- Dean Brown AO – 41st Premier of South Australia and Liberal Member for Finniss
- Mark Butler – Federal Labor Member for Port Adelaide
- Leon Carmen – author
- Tom Casey – member of both houses of South Australian Parliament
- Tom Daly – current professional basketball player with the Adelaide 36ers
- Oscar Forman – current professional basketball player with the Wollongong Hawks
- Julia Gillard – a former Prime Minister of Australia
- Simon Goodwin – a former Australian rules football player and captain of the Adelaide Crows
- Malcolm Greenslade – a former Australian rules football player
- John Halbert MBE – a former Australian rules football player who played with Sturt in the SANFL
- Cliff Hawkins AM – realtor
- Elliott Johnston QC (1918–2011) – a former Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia and Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
- Linda Kirk – a former Labor Senator for South Australia
- Bruce Lander - South Australia’s first Independent Commissioner Against Corruption
- Paul Lewis – a former Australian hockey player
- Sir John "Jack" McLeay KCMG MM – the 13th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives and Liberal Member for Boothby
- Hedley Marston (1900–1965) – CSIRO biochemist and early researcher into the effects of the British nuclear tests at Maralinga
- Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE – an Aboriginal Australian retired public administrator and Australian of the Year in 1984 and 1990
- Sir Mark Oliphant AC KBE FRS FAA (1901–2000) – a physicist, humanitarian and former Governor of South Australia
- Amanda Rishworth – Federal Labor Member for Kingston
- Dr. Don Russell – a former Australian Ambassador to the United States
- Reverend Sir Keith Seaman KCVO OBE – a former Governor of South Australia
- Jeffrey Smart AO (1921–2013) – an internationally acclaimed cityscape painter
- Joseph Garnett Wood (1900–1959) – a botanist and former president of the Royal Society of South Australia
- Kelly Vincent – a playwright, actress and politician, elected in 2010 to the South Australian Legislative Council representing the Dignity for Disability party
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- TOM DALY - BASKETBALL
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