Saturday, September 24, 2016

A visit to Fort Street High School

Robin is the archivist for Fort Street High School which is the oldest government high school in Australia. She invited us to visit and of course we went. 

All of us went to school and we all remember that new buildings were added over time as enrollments grew. Some of those buildings were not exactly architectural gems and Fort Street is no exception. This is the side entrance. 

The front of the Wilkins Building that faces Paramatta Road.

Trees in the front yard.

Frederick Bridges was a former head master of the school.

Mural on the building next to the school. Despite what you might think, students did not have a hand in creating this mural.

You might remember in my blog about the Botanic Gardens I showed a photo of a statue that had been one of a group of statues that had been hidden in WWII and subsequently dispersed when the land for the statue garden was needed for the Cahill Expressway. This is another of the statues and its name is Meleager. It would be fun to track down the other statues and then have an annual event where you have to visit all the statues.

He used to be in much better condition but he was damaged about thirty years ago as part of the student prank gone wrong. Here is more about the original statue.

The hall where school assemblies are held. The dial on my camera had moved to the sepia position.

Drinking trough. Even in my day at school they had troughs like this. The taps are positioned so that the water acts like a fountain. In Maryborough when I first went to school, the taps faced down and you had to stick your head down into the trough. Eventually somebody got the bright idea of facing them up and it worked so much better.

One of Robin's cupboards.

The archives room.

Back to colour and loads of cups and prizes.

Every school probably has loads of these.

Bust of A J  Kilgour who was a particularly successful head master.

Old school photo. All at the beginning of their lives and now all dead.

Unknown origin for the golf club. Possibly used in the destruction of Meleager?

Somebody's classroom workbook.

Inside the cover of the book.

Commemorative tea cups.

Sign from the girls' school at Observatory Hill.

Gavel. Hopefully it was not used in the Meleager massacre.

A brass rubbing from Shakespeare's grave.

More about Clarice Kennedy. These are her cups and medals and she was quite an athlete.

I liked the pattern of the seat legs. 

Honour caps for achievement.  

Old encyclopedias in the Library. They are not much use any more but it's tough to throw out old books like these.

Sir Percy Spender by Vaike Lakeman who had several portraits hung at the Archibald competitions. Spender had a particularly distinguished career.

Curious drawing of old Melbourne. Why it is in a Sydney school is beyond me.

This donation box was used to raise money in WWI.

Brutalist architecture at the school. What sort of architect proposes this for a school? 

Personally, I think the high schools in Maryborough were much superior architecturally. Here is a history of the Maryborough High Schools and oddly enough there is a photo of my high school class (1964, page 15) in the document. I'm in the 2nd back row, third from the left. My older sister Anne is in the photo just above it in the document. I don't know why they were chosen.

Robin took us to the top floor to see the view over Sydney. The school has been busy installing solar panels.

The school has always attracted the brightest students in the state and many of them went on to very distinguished careers. Obviously you would be proud if you went to that school. We asked Robin if she would have liked to have gone there instead of North East High School and the answer was definitely yes. I was lucky. In my time, Maryborough Boys High School was a great school to attend and I mostly had really good teachers.

It was a very interesting visit, particularly to see the archives.


  1. Ray, may I use your photo of the old fountain from Fort Street Girls' High to include on the Lost Fort Street Facebook page please?