NEWCASTLE BOYS' HIGH
NBHS Badge
NEWCASTLE HIGH SCHOOL
Newcastle Public School
NEWCASTLE GIRLS' HIGH
NGHS Logo

 

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY of the EVOLUTION of the SCHOOLS
and the DEMISE of NBHS and NGHS

 

Charles SmithCaesar Smith

Before 1906, young Novocastrians had to catch the train daily to Maitland, the only State high school in the Hunter.
From 6 June 1906, however, senior students, both male and female, were able to attend Newcastle High School (NHS), at the top of Tyrrell Street.
Twenty eight enrolled on that day, with Charles Rattray (‘Caesar’) Smith as Headmaster and Mr T Roberts and Miss Louisa Cole as staff.
NHS was the first selective, co-educational, school in Newcastle.

Charles ChrismasDaddy Christmas

On 4 February 1930, with NHS overcrowded, the girls moved into the all new NGHS at Hamilton, under Headmistress Agnes Brewster.
By 1932, NHS was seriously overcrowded, with 700 boys and another 120 in the Annexe at Newcastle Teachers College.
In 1934 the boys were finally able to move in to the new NBHS at Waratah, under Headmaster Charles ("Daddy") Chrismas.
NHS then became Newcastle Junior High School.

Waratah High School
In 1978, the last NBHS student completed year 12 and the name of the school was changed to Waratah High School.

Newcastle High School "Re-Born"
Newcastle High School was ‘reborn’ in 1976, with the amalgamation of the campuses of Hunter Girls High and Newcastle Girls High Schools, as a co-educational, comprehensive, non-selective high school, under Principal Bob Donaldson, and retaining the  classic colours, shield and motto.

 

A SUMMARY of the FORMATION, AIMS and ACHIEVEMENTS of the OBA and ESU

Associations For Past Students - The Boys

The first ‘ex-pupils’ union’ was formed in 1909, when the enrolment in that year was 131. Audrey Armitage writes ‘With the aim of building up a noble tradition of scholarship at Newcastle High, Smith (Headmaster Charles Rattray ‘Caesar’ Smith) formed in 1909 an ex-pupils union whose objects were to maintain the connection of ex-students with their school and the friendships they had formed while at school, and to promote the mutual improvement of members.
The ex-pupils union formed by Smith found that its annual dinner was a social highlight, but this group appears to have disbanded some time after Mr Smith left.
Issues of the Novocastrian in subsequent years saw many heartfelt articles on the need to (re) form the Ex-Students Union. It appears that the main difficulty was that all tertiary education, in those days, whether Teachers’ College or University, had to be taken in Sydney meaning that most former students were no longer in town..
In 1921 it was again decided to form an Ex-Pupils Union. It was decided that the subscription, which was fixed at 5s a year, should include current copies of the school paper, the “Novocastrian,” which the editor  promised to feature news concerning ex-pupils. The constitution was made as simply as possible, and office-bearers elected.
A badge was adopted, of diamond-shaped enamel, in the school colours, with a shield in the centre bearing the letters O.N. (Old Novocastrians). The upper left and the lower right edges of the diamond carried the school motto, “Remis Velisque.” It is not known if the badge ever went beyond the design stage.

It is not known if there were any other attempts at the formation of an ex-students’ association, until the formation of an Old Boys’ Union on 1 June 1954, as reported in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate of 3 June. A Committee was formed with Alwyn Hannaford, School Captain in 1946, elected President. The annual subscription was set at 10/- and a dinner proposed for July. A box of OBU ties, from this group, is now in the Old Boys’ Caesar Smith collection in the Newcastle Museum. It is not known when or why this OBU failed.

On 9 December 1986, in a phone call between Old Boys Dale Kemp and Dick Sanders, it was decided to form the NBHSOBA. It was felt, since the School no longer existed, and all previous ‘Old Boys’ associations had not been sustained, that it was important that the traditions of the school should be carried forward and not forgotten. Also, a single annual dinner, for all years, would be more efficient and effective in meeting that aim, than the current organising of ad hoc reunions.
The Steering Committee of ten met at the Newcastle Police Centre on 7 January 1987. The OBA was launched at the Police & Citizens' Boys' Club on 20 March 1987, where the inaugural committee was elected by the 93 former students and teachers present. Four Sub-committees were agreed on (Membership, Functions, Education, Historical) together with their members and Chairmen. The goals of the Association were agreed on, becoming the basis for the Constitution. Trevor Dunn, School Captain in 1955 was elected as the inaugural President.

Associations For Past Students - The Girls
from Audrey Armitage’s book.
NGHS Logo

In June 1944 Miss Marjorie (‘Madge’) Henson, Headmistress 1943-1944, was made patron of the newly-formed Ex-Students’ Union – a mark of their appreciation of her.
There is no mention of a prior ESU in Audrey Armitage’s book ‘Newcastle High School – The First 75 Years’, so it is assumed that 1944 marked the formation of the first NGHSESU.
Dorothy Payn was the NGHS Headmistress 1952-1953. It was at her suggestion that the NGHS ESU was re-activated in 1952, when she was made Patron. The ESU has functioned continuously since.