HISTORY of the SCHOOLS

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The original "School on the Hill" - established 1906
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Newcastle High School 1906 - 1912

Extract from Novocastrian Magazine - "Since the school has been in operation for little more than six years, its history up to the present date must necessarily be a brief one though it is unique in some respects ... more "
The Newcastle Herald article - "The First 75 years of Newcastle High School from June 5th, 1906" Newcastle Herald

Written Histories of NHS, NGHS, NBHS 1906 - 1978

Written by Elaine Orton, NGHS, 5C 1955 - for the 1956 Centenary Edition of the Nobbys magazine ... more
Written by OBA Committeeman John Birt in 1996 - Early History a different perspective ... more

Timelines NHS / NGHS / NBHS and the demise of NBHS and NGHS

before 1906
About 50 young Novocastrians catch the train daily to Maitland, to the only State high school in the Hunter.
1906
The original school on the hill opened on Tuesday 5 June; Charles Rattray ("Caesar") Smith is Headmaster, with a staff of Mr T Roberts and Miss Louisa Cole; school comprised primary students plus 28 older girls and boys; assembled at 9:00 in Room 2, one of three that formed the school); tables but no chairs, blackboards, chalk, maps . . .
1917
12 October; Captain Clarence Smith Jeffries killed winning his Victoria Cross, in the Battle of Ypres, Belgium.
1919-1924
George Campbell Saxby is Headmaster; "His Majesty"; "The Grey Ghost"; former Captain and Dux of Sydney Boys' High; deeply religious, with a stern moral code; disallowed dancing.
1922-1926
Charlie Goffet attends the "School on the Hill".
1924-1928
Len McRae attends the "School on the Hill".
1925-1926
Frank McMullen is Headmaster; "One of Nature's Gentlemen"; a strong bias towards sport; "exercised a fairly soft discipline on the School".
1926-1931
Robert F (Bob) Harvey is Headmaster; "a grim visage" and "a formidable reputation as a disciplinarian"; unsuccessfully tried to change the school colours; set up a school tuck-shop and banned Mr Tuttle's horse-drawn pie cart from the school grounds; disliked Newcastle intensely - "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"; continually stressed the need for "school spirit"; insisted on the wearing of a school uniform.
1928
Two portables destroyed by a cyclone; contract let for the construction of Newcastle Girls' High School, at a cost of 34,120 pounds ($68,240).
1930
On 4.2.30, with NHS overcrowded, girls moved into the all new NGHS at Hamilton; first Headmistress Agnes Brewster; replaced by influx of Cooks Hill Intermediate High students; NBHS created; The Great Depression; overcrowding in the "archaic architectural anachronism" (Newcastle Morning Herald); Alfred Freeman sets NBHS long jump record of 21 feet 9.5 inches (6.64 m), which still stands.
1931
Silver Anniversary; 820 enrolled (including 120 overflowing to the Hunter Street Technical College).
1932
Country deep in depression, NHS seriously overcrowded, and the promise of a new school at Waratah long overdue; NHS described as "an archaic, architectural anachronism". Enrolment was 700 + 120 in the Annexe at NTC (with its own staff of 5).
1932-1934
Chas A ("Daddy") Chrismas is Headmaster (see Note 1 below).
1933
Move to Waratah commenced during "half-yearlies"; school spartan, noisy.
1934
NBHS starts at Waratah; first Headmaster Charles ("Daddy") Christmas; NHS becomes Newcastle Junior High School.
1935-1944
Norman R Mearns is Headmaster.
1939
David Stewart, Rhodes Scholar, is dux.
1939-1945
World War II; 333 to RAAF, 142 to AIF and 45 to RAN; 51 died; 14 missing; 13 decorated.
1941
F H Beard is Deputy Headmaster.
1942-1975
Charlie Goffet teaches French and coaches athletics.
1945-1947
William Pillans is Headmaster.
1946
Allen Knott, Rhodes Scholar, is dux.
1948-1963
Frank Harold Beard is Headmaster; sex education, SWASSC, CAB, uniforms, "esprit de corps".
1949
Kevan Gosper sets NBHS records, which still stand, in 200 and 400 metres; the wearing of school uniforms now common.
1951, 1952
Don Barnes is the only dual Dux.
1952
World War II Memorial Entrance unveiled by Lieutenant General Ivan Dougherty; F H Beard introduces sex education.
1956
Jubilee Year; the Jubilee Celebration speech was delivered by ex-student and Sydney journalist Oliver Hogue; popular English teacher, Fred Smith, drowns in Newcastle Baths, aged 34.
1957
Wyndham report released (28 October).
1963
F H Beard retires.
1964-1974
L T (Tom) Richardson is Headmaster; sport, Easter church parade; parent-teacher night.
1966
Change to HSC; no Dux.
1966, 1967
M Simpson is the only dual Captain.
1967
First sixth form.
1971
Students' Representative Council set up.
1973
> Announcement that selective schooling is to end <
1974
L T (Tom) Richardson retires.
1975
Charlie Goffet retires.
1975-1976
Vic Webber is Relieving Headmaster.
1975-1978
There is intense construction activity to make the new Waratah High School.
1976
NGHS and Hunter High amalgamated.
First musical record produced by the School, "Red on Blue", featuring jazz band, string quartet and brass band.
1977
First Year 12 (formerly referred to as sixth form).
1978
June; NBHS completes is metamorphosis (by Government decree) to WHS by the removal of the name "Newcastle Boys' High School" from the front of the school, and its replacement with "Waratah High"; this sparks a "sit-in revolt" by Year 12 students.
The last students, who enrolled at NBHS, complete their schooling (with Waratah High School references).
David Wells, the last School Captain, who attended the school from 1973-1978 inclusive, said: "We as students were always being told that we had to start new standards, leaving the old behind and go forward with a deeper interest in Waratah High. They did not realise that we at NBHS wanted to keep up 'our own standards' and work towards our own traditions, something that the governing body did not seem to understand. To be able to finish off the NBHS spirit, just as we had started, was the feeling of the students, which was shown throughout the last years of the old school. Spirit does not end with the change in a school's name; it lives on within all those students whom it touched."
1981                    
Ben and Margaret Timmins (school tuck shop) retire.
Note :                 
The following appeared in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate on Saturday 30 July 1932, under the heading 'The City's Disgrace':
"A gentle reminder that the proposed Newcastle Boys' High School building is still in the 'blue print' stage was given by the Headmaster (Mr C. H. Chrismas) yesterday, when he advised visiting footballers not to judge Newcastle by Hunter Street or by its railway approach. 'Have a good look around,' he said 'but for heaven's sake do not come near my school. It is the only place that is a disgrace to Newcastle.'"

 

Newcastle High School 1906 - 1912

Extract from Novocastrian Magazine - "Since the school has been in operation for little more than six years, its history up to the present date must necessarily be a brief one though it is unique in some respects ... more "
The Newcastle Herald article - "The First 75 years of Newcastle High School from June 5th, 1906" Newcastle Herald

Written Histories of NHS, NGHS, NBHS 1906 - 1978

Written by Elaine Orton, NGHS, 5C 1955 - for the 1956 Centenary Edition of the Nobbys magazine ... more
Written by OBA Committeeman John Birt in 1996 - Early History a different perspective ... more

Timelines NHS / NGHS / NBHS and the demise of NBHS and NGHS

before 1906
About 50 young Novocastrians catch the train daily to Maitland, to the only State high school in the Hunter.
1906
The original school on the hill opened on Tuesday 5 June; Charles Rattray ("Caesar") Smith is Headmaster, with a staff of Mr T Roberts and Miss Louisa Cole; school comprised primary students plus 28 older girls and boys; assembled at 9:00 in Room 2, one of three that formed the school); tables but no chairs, blackboards, chalk, maps . . .
1917
12 October; Captain Clarence Smith Jeffries killed winning his Victoria Cross, in the Battle of Ypres, Belgium.
1919-1924
George Campbell Saxby is Headmaster; "His Majesty"; "The Grey Ghost"; former Captain and Dux of Sydney Boys' High; deeply religious, with a stern moral code; disallowed dancing.
1922-1926
Charlie Goffet attends the "School on the Hill".
1924-1928
Len McRae attends the "School on the Hill".
1925-1926
Frank McMullen is Headmaster; "One of Nature's Gentlemen"; a strong bias towards sport; "exercised a fairly soft discipline on the School".
1926-1931
Robert F (Bob) Harvey is Headmaster; "a grim visage" and "a formidable reputation as a disciplinarian"; unsuccessfully tried to change the school colours; set up a school tuck-shop and banned Mr Tuttle's horse-drawn pie cart from the school grounds; disliked Newcastle intensely - "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"; continually stressed the need for "school spirit"; insisted on the wearing of a school uniform.
1928
Two portables destroyed by a cyclone; contract let for the construction of Newcastle Girls' High School, at a cost of 34,120 pounds ($68,240).
1930
On 4.2.30, with NHS overcrowded, girls moved into the all new NGHS at Hamilton; first Headmistress Agnes Brewster; replaced by influx of Cooks Hill Intermediate High students; NBHS created; The Great Depression; overcrowding in the "archaic architectural anachronism" (Newcastle Morning Herald); Alfred Freeman sets NBHS long jump record of 21 feet 9.5 inches (6.64 m), which still stands.
1931
Silver Anniversary; 820 enrolled (including 120 overflowing to the Hunter Street Technical College).
1932
Country deep in depression, NHS seriously overcrowded, and the promise of a new school at Waratah long overdue; NHS described as "an archaic, architectural anachronism". Enrolment was 700 + 120 in the Annexe at NTC (with its own staff of 5).
1932-1934
Chas A ("Daddy") Chrismas is Headmaster (see Note 1 below).
1933
Move to Waratah commenced during "half-yearlies"; school spartan, noisy.
1934
NBHS starts at Waratah; first Headmaster Charles ("Daddy") Christmas; NHS becomes Newcastle Junior High School.
1935-1944
Norman R Mearns is Headmaster.
1939
David Stewart, Rhodes Scholar, is dux.
1939-1945
World War II; 333 to RAAF, 142 to AIF and 45 to RAN; 51 died; 14 missing; 13 decorated.
1941
F H Beard is Deputy Headmaster.
1942-1975
Charlie Goffet teaches French and coaches athletics.
1945-1947
William Pillans is Headmaster.
1946
Allen Knott, Rhodes Scholar, is dux.
1948-1963
Frank Harold Beard is Headmaster; sex education, SWASSC, CAB, uniforms, "esprit de corps".
1949
Kevan Gosper sets NBHS records, which still stand, in 200 and 400 metres; the wearing of school uniforms now common.
1951, 1952
Don Barnes is the only dual Dux.
1952
World War II Memorial Entrance unveiled by Lieutenant General Ivan Dougherty; F H Beard introduces sex education.
1956
Jubilee Year; the Jubilee Celebration speech was delivered by ex-student and Sydney journalist Oliver Hogue; popular English teacher, Fred Smith, drowns in Newcastle Baths, aged 34.
1957
Wyndham report released (28 October).
1963
F H Beard retires.
1964-1974
L T (Tom) Richardson is Headmaster; sport, Easter church parade; parent-teacher night.
1966
Change to HSC; no Dux.
1966, 1967
M Simpson is the only dual Captain.
1967
First sixth form.
1971
Students' Representative Council set up.
1973
> Announcement that selective schooling is to end <
1974
L T (Tom) Richardson retires.
1975
Charlie Goffet retires.
1975-1976
Vic Webber is Relieving Headmaster.
1975-1978
There is intense construction activity to make the new Waratah High School.
1976
NGHS and Hunter High amalgamated.
First musical record produced by the School, "Red on Blue", featuring jazz band, string quartet and brass band.
1977
First Year 12 (formerly referred to as sixth form).
1978
June; NBHS completes is metamorphosis (by Government decree) to WHS by the removal of the name "Newcastle Boys' High School" from the front of the school, and its replacement with "Waratah High"; this sparks a "sit-in revolt" by Year 12 students.
The last students, who enrolled at NBHS, complete their schooling (with Waratah High School references).
David Wells, the last School Captain, who attended the school from 1973-1978 inclusive, said: "We as students were always being told that we had to start new standards, leaving the old behind and go forward with a deeper interest in Waratah High. They did not realise that we at NBHS wanted to keep up 'our own standards' and work towards our own traditions, something that the governing body did not seem to understand. To be able to finish off the NBHS spirit, just as we had started, was the feeling of the students, which was shown throughout the last years of the old school. Spirit does not end with the change in a school's name; it lives on within all those students whom it touched."
1981                    
Ben and Margaret Timmins (school tuck shop) retire.
Note :                 
The following appeared in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate on Saturday 30 July 1932, under the heading 'The City's Disgrace':
"A gentle reminder that the proposed Newcastle Boys' High School building is still in the 'blue print' stage was given by the Headmaster (Mr C. H. Chrismas) yesterday, when he advised visiting footballers not to judge Newcastle by Hunter Street or by its railway approach. 'Have a good look around,' he said 'but for heaven's sake do not come near my school. It is the only place that is a disgrace to Newcastle.'"