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Goulburn High School

Goulburn High School

Justice and Tenacity

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The History of Goulburn High School


While there were several early private high schools in Goulburn, it was not before 1882 that any move was made to establish a public high school.

In 1882 the New South Wales Department of Public Instruction instituted a move to establish high schools in certain areas in the state.

In 1883 the Department set in action activities to establish the first public high schools in the state, which were Goulburn, Bathurst and Maitland.

Early in the year the Department advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Goulburn local papers for the respective positions of Headmaster and Headmistress of the proposed high school.

Such an advertisement appeared in the Goulburn Herald of 19th July, 1883, inviting applications for the positions in Goulburn. The respective salaries were 400 pounds for that of Headmaster and 300 pounds for the Headmistress of the Girls' School.

The High School was established in what was then known as Balmoral House in Citizen Street. This building is still in existence; although materially altered both inside and out.

The Southern Daily Argus of 11th September, 1883 reported the appointment of Mr Alfred A Davis, BA of the Melbourne University as Headmaster of the Boys' School and Mrs Margaret Vyner as Headmistress of the Girls' School.

It further mentioned that they would be assisted by an "efficient staff of teachers". The public were informed that the school would commence on 1st October, 1883.

Examinations for admissions would be conducted on 20th September, for admission for the balance of the year. Admissions examination for 1884 would take place on 10th January, 1884.

Three scholarships for both boys and girls would be granted for one year's free education. The attendant conditions were that the candidates be under 14 years of age and that they gained the highest passes in the examination.

Especial conditions were established for people who could not afford the fees provided the students made satisfactory examination passes. The fees set were 2 guineas a quarter.

The examination for admission to the high school embraced wide subjects for those days, i.e. reading, dictation, arithmetic, grammar, Euclid and algebra. Latin was taken by boys and French by girls.


Vintage Goulburn High School

In April 1885, the teachers, Mr Davis and Mrs Vyner, were moved from the school. The new Master and Mistress arrived later the same month- Mr. C A Smith, MA, previously a Master at Sydney High School, and Miss Higgs from the same school, were appointed.

At this stage, the operation of the school took a new form. Mr David Ferguson appointed Headmaster of the Bourke Street Superior Public School on 20th April, 1885, took overall control of the high School.

Later in the year the Minister of Public Instruction released for publication the costs of operating the high school of 898 pounds, 11 shillings and 9 pence. Fees collected amounted to only 137 pounds, 11 shillings and 10 pence. At this period in 1885, the total attendance was 12 boys and 11 girls.

Examinations for admission were held on 18th and 19th January 1886, and the school did open again as advertised on 25th January. The Goulburn Herald of 26th January 1886 reported that only boys sat for the entrance examination and that they both passed. Their names are given as Charles Thompson and William Hill. There does not appear to be any readily available figures of attendance for 1886 but the department of Public Instruction records show that the High School closed in 1886, apparently before the end of the year.

There would have been private secondary schools still operating in Goulburn during this period and during the period the school was closed from 1886 until 1905. In 1905 the Bourke Street Superior Public School was proclaimed a District School when it then provided a two-year secondary course. Bourke Street School continued this secondary course until the re-establishment of the high school in 1913. The high school then was conducted in the Technical College building in Bourke Street with Charles Blumer as the first Headmaster.

The high school continued in the Technical College building until it moved to a brand new building in Goldsmith Street where it is today. This building was opened in 1927. It cost 21,478 pounds and the contractor was J. Burnett. Opening as a third class High School, it was upgraded to second class in the following year, 1928.

Since 1928 the school has undergone many changes. The present A, B, C, D and E blocks have been built and they represent school architecture of their times.