Waverley College

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Waverley College
WC Crest RGB-Web.png
Waverley College gates.JPG
Waverley College gates, Carrington Road
Waverley, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°53′50″S 151°15′21″E / 33.89722°S 151.25583°E / -33.89722; 151.25583Coordinates: 33°53′50″S 151°15′21″E / 33.89722°S 151.25583°E / -33.89722; 151.25583
Type Independent, day school
Motto Latin: Virtus Sola Nobilitat
(Virtue alone ennobles[4])
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice
Established 1903[1]
Chairman Sam Hardjono[2]
Headmaster Graham Leddie
Chaplain Fr Martin Milani
Staff ~115 (2006)[3]
Years offered 5–12 + Preschool
Gender Single-sex school boys
Enrolment ~1,350[3] (2011)
Colour(s) Royal Blue and Gold

Waverley College is an independent, non-selective[5][6] single-sex Catholic day school in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice. Waverley College has a long and rich history, having celebrated its centenary in 2003. The College, catering caters to approximately 1,400 students from Years 5 to 12 across two campuses.[6] The school grounds are located on Birrell and Henrietta Street in Waverley, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

As part of the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) network, Waverley College strives to uphold the vision of its founder. Edmund Rice was a proponent for leadership in social justice who gave everything he had to the poor.[7] His work is exemplified in Waverley College's social justice initiatives, in which students are encouraged to reach out to people in need, demonstrate compassion and challenge negative thinking. 

In 2016 the College was ranked 125th in the State. Between 2014 and 2016, three students were placed each year on the Premiers All Rounders List in the State for achieving marks over 90% (Band 6s) in every HSC subject.[8]

Students at Waverley College also have the opportunity to join the century-old Waverley College Cadet Unit (WCCU), which provides outdoor adventure, leadership development, military and first aid training. The WCCU celebrated its 100th year in 2011. Among its graduates is General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC, the current Governor General of Australia, who is a frequent special guest at College and Cadet events.


The school was founded in Ireland and then pioneered in Australia in 1903. Waverley College opened with 20 students in 1903, operating from a house in Salisbury Street, ‘Airmount’, until proper facilities could be constructed. A purpose-built school house was finished in 1903 and expanded with an additional two floors by 1919.

In 1938, the school started accepting boarders. The school's boarders came from rural New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Norfolk Island, Nauru, New Caledonia, Saigon and Singapore. The school stopped taking boarders in 1979.[9] Boarding was discontinued in 1979 to make room for more facilities, and the College now has around 1,400 students in the Pre-School, Junior School and High School.

Since 2007, the College has been staffed entirely with lay teachers and led by Edmund Rice Education Australia, now a network of 48 schools across Australia. The College is staffed entirely with lay teachers, including the first lay Headmaster, Ray Paxton, who was appointed in 2010.

Waverley College and WW1

The school has an archivist who documents the history of Waverley College. In 2015, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War (WWI) and the integral role the Waverley community played in serving its country, the College’s archivist produced a book that pays tribute to the service and sacrifice of ex-students in that conflict. The book, In Good Faith: Waverley College and the Great War 1914-1918, documents how the young men of Waverley College were amongst the troops who landed at Gallipoli on the very first Anzac Day and how nearly 200 ex-students volunteered over the course of the war, 19 of whom lost their lives. Between them, they served in every branch of the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF), from the Light Horse to the Flying Corps, as infantry men, doctors, engineers, drivers, stretcher-bearers and artillery experts. Several were decorated for bravery, including Thomas James ‘Bede’ Kenny VC.[10][11] This service and sacrifice continues to be a great source of honour for students today, especially for Waverley College’s army Cadet Unit (WCCU). 

The Waverley College Cadet Unit (WCCU)

The WCCU, established in 1911, continues to provide outdoor education and leadership training for students in Years 8 to 12. Participation in Cadets begins with a compulsory year in Year 8, after which participation is on a voluntary basis. At graduation in Year 12, each senior member of the Cadet Corps is presented with a certificate detailing their achievements as an experienced young leader. This initiative has grown with the College. Past students include Sir Peter Cosgrove who began his leadership training in the Waverley College Cadet Unit.

Sporting tradition

Waverley College has a strong sporting tradition and is a member of the Combined Associated Schools (CAS) of NSW.   The College continues to participate successfully in all combined sporting and cultural activities within the CAS and its own co-curricular sporting program has grown to include football (soccer), AFL, swimming, basketball, volleyball, water polo, tennis, cycling, lawn bowls, cross country, chess and debating.  The College’s alumni include Olympians, Rugby Union players, Waratahs and Wallabies representatives, Commonwealth Games competitors and more. Its sporting facilities are often used by successful sportsmen for training. 

Historic buildings

Waverley College’s rich history is written in its buildings and the passing of time is evident from the different styles of architecture that can be found within the College grounds. Two of the College’s major buildings, the Chapel and the College Hall, date back to the 1950s. The latter, which includes stained-glass window displays dedicated to the armed services, has a vestibular Lady Chapel, focusing on the school’s Marian tradition. 

May Procession

Every year in May, the school hosts an annual May Procession in honour of Our Lady, which is the longest-running Marian procession in Australian history. The procession is made up of students and Old Boys (including Sir Peter Cosgrove), staff, the College Chaplain and the Head of College. They follow the May Procession statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary along Birrell Street to the College's main quadrangle. This is followed by a meaningful ceremony.

Archives & history

As an integral part of the Head of College’s Directorate, the College Archive has a focus on preserving and raising awareness of the school’s history and heritage in image and text. Members of the Waverley College community are encouraged to contribute to the collection. Photographs, film and video, publications, reports, awards, uniform and other items pertinent to the history of the school are welcomed.


The senior school campus, Our Lady's Mount, is located on Birrell Street in Waverley. This campus of the College has a library, science and specialist areas, computer rooms, a large gymnasium, tennis courts, cricket nets, a Technology and Applied Sciences ( TAS) Centre and a Performing Arts Centre to cater for all aspects of music and drama. The school's Olympic-sized swimming pool was used by Ian Thorpe[12] when he was training for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The second campus, Waterford, on Henrietta Street, Waverley, houses the junior school, the pre-school and a theatrette. Playing fields are located at nearby Queens Park.

Two of the senior campus’s major buildings, the Chapel and the College Hall, date back to the 1950s. The latter, which includes stained-glass window displays dedicated to the armed services, has a vestibular Lady Chapel, focusing on the school's Marian tradition. Every year in May, the school hosts an annual May Procession in honour of Our Lady, which is the longest-running Marian procession in Australian history.

The Senior School and Middle School quads were added in 1963 and 1970 respectively. In 1970, an Olympic-sized swimming pool was also built, and in 1980 the school underwent massive renovations in which one of the halls, Ludlow, was transformed into a music centre and a modern gymnasium was built.

In 2003, to celebrate the College centenary, the College built a $6.5 million Performing Arts Centre. The Centre includes a 300-seat proscenium arch theatre with state-of-the-art lighting options; an 80-seat drama studio and a sixty-seat recital room. It was opened on 15 June 2003, by the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir. It has since been named the Brother R. J. Wallace Performing Arts Centre, in honour of the headmaster who oversaw its development. The centenary was also commemorated with a Mass for past and current students and families at the Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park, led by Bishop David Cremin, and the publication of The Crest of the Wave, a history of the school written by Justin Fleming. In the same year, the College refurbished the area surrounding Ludlow Hall, clearing the way for a playground, and in 2007 the school started its million-dollar plan to develop classrooms into the 21st-century facilities that students and teachers enjoy today.

In 2014 the school began a major refurbishment and building plan including construction of a new car park on Carrington Road gates, refurbishment and expansion of the gymnasium and pool house, construction of a new Technological and Applied Studies building, art rooms and eventually library to be concluded in 2016–17.In 2016, Waverley College completed the largest scale construction and refurbishment program in its history. The $23m project resulted in state-of-the-art facilities for the College’s senior campus.  Preliminary work in 2014 saw the relocation of the fourth floor library from the East Wing to occupy the College Hall below the Chapel. 

Major works began in October 2014 on an expanded, high-profile heritage facade for the College on its Carrington Road frontage, including reinstatement of the historic arch over the main gates and extensive restoration of ‘The Grange’ (the last remaining heritage home on the senior campus site). The pool house was also renovated to create a PDHPE Centre with offices, classrooms and changing room facilities.

A re-conceived gymnasium/auditorium was incorporated into the complex, transforming school assemblies and performances with additional retractable seating, able to accommodate 1800 people.  A new stage was built into the southern wall of the gymnasium allowing the gym to be both a sporting venue and assembly hall. To the north, a two-story building houses the Technological and Applied Studies Centre (TAS). 

Topped with six new basketball courts, the TAS building provides students with modern facilities in Hospitality, Food Technology, IT Software and Development, and in Industrial Technology. The entire complex is named The Cosgrove Centre, in honour of one of the College’s alumnus, Sir Peter Cosgrove.


Waverley College one of the original members of the Combined Associated Schools (CAS) in NSW. Other members include Barker College, Cranbrook School, Knox Grammar School, St. Aloysius’ College and Trinity Grammar School. This membership provides students with access to academic and sporting competition.[13]

Waverley College is also affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[14] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), and[15] the Catholic Secondary Schools Association NSW/ACT (CSSA).[16]

Waverley College is a member of the Edmund Rice Education Australia network of 48 schools, which support over 35,000 students in all states and territories of Australia. Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) is the body of schools, entities and offices offering a Catholic education in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice. EREA schools strive to offer a liberating education, based on a gospel spirituality, within an inclusive community committed to justice and solidarity.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni of Waverley College are known as Old Boys or Waverlians, and may elect to join the school's alumni association, the Waverley College Old Boys' Union that was established in December 1908.[17][18] The Union provides past Waverley College students with a means of staying in touch and promoting the interests of Waverley College.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Waverley College, Our Lady's Mount". School Choice, New South Wales. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  2. ^ http://waverley.nsw.edu.au/information/governance/
  3. ^ a b "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Waverley College. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  4. ^ "Waverley College Crest". Waverley College. 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 
  5. ^ http://waverley.nsw.edu.au/take-a-tour-through-waverley-college/
  6. ^ a b http://www.erea.edu.au/our-schools/erea-member-schools/waverley-college-waverley
  7. ^ "Home". www.erea.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-04-17. 
  8. ^ "HSC results 2016: Find out how your school ranked". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Justin (2003). The Crest of the Wave, Waverley College 1903–2003. Allen & Unwin. 
  10. ^ Eberhard, Kim (13 November 2015). In Good Faith: Waverley College and the Great War 1914-1918. Waverley College Old Boys' Union. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Higgins, Matthew (1983). "Kenny, Thomas James Bede (1896–1953)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 9 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 571–572. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  12. ^ "Ian Thorpe". Wikipedia. 2017-04-08. 
  13. ^ "About Us – Combined Associated Schools". Cranbrook School. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  14. ^ "AHISA Schools". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia, New South Wales. April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  15. ^ "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia, New South Wales Branch. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  16. ^ "About Us – Catholic Secondary Schools Association NSW/ACT". Catholic Secondary Schools Association. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  17. ^ "Wavelength" (PDF). Publications. Waverley College. April 2007. pp. 6–10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  18. ^ Notable Alumni, Waverley College

Further reading[edit]

  • Fleming, Justin; Cosgrove, P.; Fleming, J. (2003). The crest of the wave: a history of Waverley College 1903-2003. Australia: Allen & Unwin. 
  • Fleming, Justin (2009). The Wave Rolls On: a History of the Waverley College Old Boys’ Union 1908 to 2008 (1st ed.). Australia: Waverley College Old Boys’ Union. 
  • Eberhard, Kim (2014). In good faith: Waverley College and the Great War 1914-1918. Waverley College Old Boys' Union. 

External links[edit]