Sydney Boys High School
Sydney Boys High School crest.svg
Sydney Boys High School, as seen from Moore Park West
Cleveland Street, Moore Park, Sydney, New South Wales

Coordinates33°53′32″S 151°13′10″E / 33.89222°S 151.21944°E / -33.89222; 151.21944Coordinates: 33°53′32″S 151°13′10″E / 33.89222°S 151.21944°E / -33.89222; 151.21944
TypeGovernment-funded single-sex academically selective secondary day school
MottoLatin: Veritate et Virtute
(With Truth and Courage)
Established1 October 1883; 138 years ago (1883-10-01)
School districtPort Jackson education area of the Sydney Region
Educational authorityNew South Wales Department of Education
PrincipalKim Jaggar [1]
Enrolment1,215 (2022)
Area34,400 square metres (370,000 sq ft)
Campus typeSuburban
Colour(s)Chocolate brown and sky blue   
AthleticsAthletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales

Sydney Boys High School (”SBHS”), otherwise known as The Sydney High School (“SHS”) or High, is a government-funded single-sex academically selective secondary day school for boys, located at Moore Park, New South Wales, a suburb within the City of Sydney council, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1883 and operated by the New South Wales Department of Education, as a school within the Port Jackson Education Area of the Sydney Region,[2] the school has approximately 1,200 students from Year 7 to Year 12 — a number greater than most, if not all, other selective state schools[3] — and is situated adjacent to its "sister school", Sydney Girls' High School. The school is a member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).[4]Sydney Boys High School is an academically selective high school conducted by the NSW Department of Education.

The school was moved to its current site at Moore Park in 1928. The school is bounded by Moore Park, Anzac Parade, Sydney Girls High School and Cleveland Street.

The school regularly ranks highly among schools in New South Wales in terms of academic achievement, ranking 5th in the state in the 2017 Higher School Certificate,[5] and has produced numerous notable alumni, or "Old Boys".[6]


Although Fort Street High School was established as an elementary school in 1849, Sydney Boys High School was the first state high school in New South Wales and Australia. It was created under Premier Henry Parkes' public education system in the early 1880s, following the Public Instruction Act 1880 (NSW).[7] Whereas Fort Street Model School as it was founded took primary and secondary students neither Sydney Boys nor Sydney Girls High School has ever had a primary education division and are thus the first NSW state high schools founded for the express purpose of secondary education.[8]

Alternatively known as The Sydney High School, due to its being the first state high school, Sydney High School was established as two single-sex schools sharing a single building, with boys and girls on separate floors.[8] The first day of instruction, for 46 boys, was October 1, 1883 and was at a building located in Castlereagh Street in the Sydney central business district, which was designed by Francis Greenway and constructed by convicts.[8] From 1883 to 1892, Sydney Boys occupied the lower floor and entered from the Castlereagh Street side of the building, whereas Sydney Girls occupied the upper floor and entered from the Elizabeth Street side.[8] In 1924, this building would be demolished and both schools would, in 1921, have relocated to Moore Park.[9] Presently, this site is home to the Elizabeth Street store of David Jones.

Second campus of Sydney Boys High School, at Mary Ann Street in Ultimo, in 1927.
Second campus of Sydney Boys High School, at Mary Ann Street in Ultimo, in 1927.

In 1892, the boys' school was relocated to Mary Ann Street in Ultimo.[10]

In 1906, Sydney Boys High School became a member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS or GPS).[11] (The term "public school" here has the meaning as used in the United Kingdom; that is, a private school.) It is the sporting association's only government school member.[12]

In 1928, the school moved to its current location at Moore Park, on the fringe of inner-city Sydney.[13] This site was designed by George McRae, who also designed the Queen Victoria Building.[14] This site was previously the Moore Park Zoo, which was relocated to Mosman as Taronga Zoo.[15]

List of officers

Headmaster President, SHSOBU
Year Name Year Name
1883 J. Waterhouse
1884—1895 J. Coates 1892—1894 J. Coates
1896—1915 J. Waterhouse 1902 A. M. Eedy
1903 P. J. Pratt
1904 C. H. Cooke
1905 O. U Vonwiller
1906 R. C. Frosyth
1907 C. M. Drew
1908 G. C. Saxby
1909 C. A. Fairland
1910 F. A. Todd
1911 P. S. Hunt
1912 G. C. Saxby
1913 A. Bohrsman
1914—1915 A. G. Henderson
1916—1918 R. J. Hinder 1916 W. G. Lewes
1917—1918 E. J. Hooke
1919—1924 C. R. Smith 1919-1920 H. K. Prior
1921—1922 L. F. Watt
1923 W. W. Vick
1924 A. M. Eedy
1925—1933 G. C. Saxby 1925—1927 R. T. McKay
1928 A. M. Eedy
1929 W. J. Cleary
1930—1931 O. A. A. Diethelm
1932 H. F. Halloran
1933—1934 S. A. Smith
1934—1935 F. McMullen
1935—1936 C. G. McDonald
1936—1951 J. H. Killip
1937 G. F. Diamond
1938—1939 J. R. Nield
1940 G. Hardwicke
1941—1942 C. N. Hirst
1943 E. Pye
1944—1946 G. Hardwicke
1947—1948 D. J. Duffy
1949—1950 A. R. Beveridge
1951—1952 K. C. Cameron
1952—1954 G. Barr
1953 P. G. Saywell
1954—1956 A. R. Callaway
1955—1963 K. J. Andrews
1957—1959 D. J. Duffy
1960—1962 A. Ferguson
1963—1964 W. McMurray
1964—1973 M. R. Callaghan
1965—1966 C. E. H. Rubie
1967—1968 A. F. Deer
1969—1970 Sir G. Wallace
1971—1972 K. Torrington
1973—1974 Sir B. Sugerman
1974—1976 G. J. Bradford
1975—1977 S. Livingston
1977—1991 Bob Outterside
1978—1979 E. S. Swinbourne
1980—1981 P. A. Musgrove
1982—1985 B. H. Pyke
1986—1987 J. M. Challen
1988 B. H. Pyke
1989—1990 M. Aikin
1991—1992 R. Mitchell
1992—1999 R. J. Stratford
1993-1998 J. Norrie
1999—2000 N. Scudder
2000 – Present K. A. Jaggar
2001—2004 J. Goddard
2005—2006 M. Livingston
2007—2012 J. Waugh
2013—2014 R. Bowey
2015—2018 P. Almond
2019 — Present P. Harapin

Headmaster was renamed to principal in 1992.

The Sydney High School Old Boys' Union lapsed from 1895 to 1901 due to lack of enrolments.



The Sydney Boys High School Year 7 intake is of around 180 students,[16] but prospective students in higher years may matriculate to the school if vacancies exist.[17] Offers of admission and matriculation into the school in Year 7 are made on the basis of academic merit, as assessed by the Selective High School Placement Test.[16]

In Years 7 to 8, the cohorts consist of 180 students in each year;[16] in Years 9 to 12, however, the cohorts consist of 210 students in each year.[16] The size of these cohorts are described by the 2001 SBHS Enrolment Policy.[16]

Once admitted and matriculated, students are further grouped according to their strengths and/or weaknesses, or to their abilities,[18] such as a weakness in English relative to mathematics or "general ability", as estimated by the Selective High School Placement Test, or a proven proficiency in music, as demonstrated by a formal qualification (e.g., Australian Music Examinations Board grades) in music.[19]

Academic results

Sydney Boys High School, like other academically selective schools and given the nature of its selective admissions criteria, has been historically known and is known for its academic achievement in the Higher School Certificate.

The following table shows the school's rankings relative to other schools in the state. The rankings are based on the percentage of exams sat that resulted in a placing on the Distinguished Achievers List (highest band result) as shown by the NSW Board of Studies (now BOSTES NSW).

Year Ranking[20]
2007 10
2008 7
2009 7
2010 6
2011 4
2012 8
2013 7
2014 6
2015 5
2016 7
2017 5
2018 7
2019 10
2020 10


The curriculum, endorsed by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority, is taught by the following 12 departments:[21]

Grounds, buildings, and facilities

The current Moore Park site hosts the Great Hall, other school buildings, tennis courts, a gymnasium, the Junior Quadrangle, and the Flat, a common low-lying area of land between Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls' High Schools. The school buildings include approximately 60 classrooms, two change rooms, the Junior Library (for Years 7–9), and the Senior Library (for Years 10–12).[22] Nearby to the school are a number of sports facilities, such as the tennis courts opposite to the Sydney Boys and Girls High Schools,[22] located on Cleveland Street, and the facilities at Centennial Park.

Sydney Boys High School is affiliated with other facilities such as the Outterside Centre (the school boatshed located in Abbotsford) and the ANZAC Rifle Range. In addition to this, the school owns a number of vehicles, which it utilises to travel to sporting events, such as the annual The Armidale School versus the High School sporting exchange Armidale and the Head of the River at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.[23]

In addition, SBHS has its own cadet unit, which won the 23 Battalion AFX Trophy in 2012 and 2013.[24][25]

Co- and extracurricular activities

Debating and public speaking

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2013)

It has also achieved notability in debating, having won the Hume Barbour trophy and Karl Cramp trophy 26 times and 14 times respectively, more than any other school.[26][27]

SBHS also competes in the Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition and the GPS debating competition. The SBHS First Grade debating team have won the GPS Debating premiership 19 times, most recently for 4 consecutive years from 2015 to 2018.[28][29]


Sydney Boys High School has a long tradition of sports, in addition to academic scholarship and, stipulating that students must participate in sports until Year 11, offers students a wide range of sports, including:

Sydney Boys High School is the sole state-operated member school of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales[30] since 1906. It therefore competes against other GPS schools in many of the aforementioned sports, including the traditional English public school sports of cricket, rowing, and rugby union. Accordingly, and unusually for a state school, the school possess rowing facilities at the Outterside Centre at Abbotsford, which includes a dormitory, boat sheds, and three pontoons; playing fields at Centennial Park, with the Fairland Pavilion and the McKay Oval, a fenced cricket ground; and, facilities at the ANZAC Rifle Range, which are managed by the Sydney High School Rifle Club.

School traditions

House system

Each student at Sydney Boys High School is placed into one of six houses, and each year is evenly divided into these houses. These houses, named after early Old Boys who have significantly contributed to and served the school, are:

House name Colour Namesake
Eedy (E) Sky blue Arthur Malcolm Eedy, a student in the first intake (1883–1886)[31]
Fairland (F) Red Charles Adam Fairland[32][33][34]
McKay (M) Yellow Robert Thomas McKay[33][34]
Rubie (R) White Cecil Edward Henning "Cec" Rubie, a student (1925–1928) and President of the Old Boys Union (1965–1966)[35]
Saxby (S) Green George Campbell Saxby, a student in the second intake (1884–1887) and the fifth headmaster of the school[36]
Torrington (T) Navy blue

As of late, these houses, as at the Year 7 intake, have been grouped according to the strengths and weaknesses of the students,[37] with an outrider class, English skills enhancement class, music proficiency class, sports proficiency class, and language preference class. In addition to these, an English enrichment group and a general abilities group may also be formed.[37]

Notable actions

Sydney Boys High School has, from time to time, caught the attention of the media and/or the general public. Like other schools, it has seen several (then) minorities matriculate to it and graduate from it, including non-British, non-Irish European minorities, such as Italian Australians, Maltese Australians, and Greek Australians. In 2002, the school had the attention of the media over comments made by Old Boys made in regard to its ethnic composition — mostly East Asian and South Asian.[38]

In 2002, "[Sydney Boys High School] wanted a more sophisticated admissions process, and more freedom to choose its own students."[39] In 2002, it was proposed that, of the 180 Year 7 places, 30 places would be allocated each year on the basis of the Selective Schools Entrance Test (with no extended writing requirement), a detailed curriculum vitae, two school reports, and their achievements in civic, sporting, community, and leadership involvement, similar to the manner by which students are admitted to some private schools.

In 2013, the school was again featured in the media for its proposal to modify its selection criteria.[40] This proposal involved reserving 30 places of the annual Year 7 intake of 180 places for local boys who live within 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) of the school.[41] Connolly stated that "any racial undertones to earlier campaigns were a thing of the past" and that "the benefit for the school this time is about tying it to its local community". The proposal would, in theory, reduce the load on overcrowded local high schools. However, this proposal was rejected, as stated in a Sydney Morning Herald article.[42] and would be a short-term resolution to the problem.[43]

As of the 2012 edition of the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities statistics, more than 80% of the students enrolled at Sydney Boys High School have a language background other than English;[44] however, this is not to suggest that these students and their parents or guardians are all recent immigrants or not proficient in English or, broadly, that the school is not necessarily lacking in diversity.

In recent years,[when?] an increasing number of "sport[s] imports" have been admitted in latter years, to bolster the school's ability to more competitively participate in sports against other members of the AAGPS. This drew allegations of Sydney Boys High School of being unmeritocratic in its selection process.[45] Furthermore, in part due to the English public school nature of the school and the AAGPS, of which the school is a member, claims of nepotism and other favouritism have been levelled against the school. Brothers, sons, and grandsons of students or Old Boys have been allowed to enrol, though they may not have met the rigorous selection criteria.[46] Some old boys, however, argue that where former graduates living in the community have sons and guardians at the school there is greater parental involvement at the school.[46]

One eminent alumnus of the school, James Spigelman, former Chief Justice of New South Wales, said in an address at the school dated 16 February 1999, that:

... Our careers are particular manifestations of the ability of this school, by reason of its tradition of selection on the grounds of academic excellence, to make available opportunities to persons from backgrounds which may otherwise restrict such opportunities. The ability to obtain an education which is pitched at a level appropriate to the capacities of particular students, is the basis for the equality of opportunity, to which I have referred. ...[47]

Notable alumni

Main category: People educated at Sydney Boys High School

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Old Boys of Sydney Boys High School.

Sydney Boys High School has produced numerous prominent alumni, referred to as "Old Boys". Many graduates are active in alumni organisations, such as the Sydney High School Old Boys Union (OBU), the High Club, and High Rugby Friends.

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia (2018-2022), is an alumnus of Sydney Boys High School.

See also


  1. ^ Jaggar, Kim. "Principal's Message". Sydney Boys High School. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Our Schools - Sydney Region Public Schools". Department of Education and Communities.
  3. ^ "2012 Top Public High Schools in Sydney". Better Education. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  4. ^ "AAGPS History". Info. Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2007.
  5. ^ "2017 HSC School Rankings". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  6. ^ Topsfield, Jewel (4 December 2010). "Ties that bind prove a private education has its award". The Age.
  7. ^ Waugh, Joseph W. (2008.) Sydney Boys High School: the foundation years 1883–1891, Sydney High School Old Boys Union, Darlinghurst, Australia.
  8. ^ a b c d "Sydney Boys and Girls High Schools".
  9. ^ "Sydney Girls' High School, Castlereagh Street Side, March 1922". State Library of New South Wales.
  10. ^ Theobald, Marjorie R. (1996.) Knowing Women: Origins of Women's Education in Nineteenth-Century Australia, Cambridge University Press, p. 114.
  11. ^ "Sport - Sydney Boys High School". Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  12. ^ Doherty, Linda (27 November 2003). "Sydney Boys knows how to rock the boat: invite the girls to share your shed". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  13. ^ "History - Sydney Boys High School". Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Today in History - April 4". New South Wales State Records.
  15. ^ Butcher, A. Dunbavin. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 21 January 2018 – via Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Enrolment Policy - Year 7". Sydney Boys High School. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Enrolment Policy - Years 8–12". Sydney Boys High School.
  18. ^ "Ability Grouping". Sydney Boys High School.
  19. ^ "Grouping Policy". Sydney Boys High School.
  20. ^ Ltd, Better Education Pty. "HSC School Ranking - 2020". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Curriculum - Sydney Boys High School". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  22. ^ a b "School Map - Sydney Boys High School". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  23. ^ Arlington, Kim (8 March 2012). "Big wet turns heads up for traditional GPS rowing festival". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  24. ^ "SHS Cadet Unit". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  25. ^ "High Notes, Vol 14 No 31, October 11 2013 - Sydney Boys High School". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  26. ^ Past Winners Year 11 Karl Cramp Debating Challenge
  27. ^ Past Winners Year 11-12 Hume-Barbour Debating Challenge
  28. ^ "GPS Debating". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Past holders of the Rutledge Louat Shield - GPS Debating". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  30. ^ Dart, Jonathan (25 February 2009). "Worst XV: Sydney Boys drops the ball after 100 years of rugby". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  31. ^ Sydney Boys High School. (2008.) High Notes, 9(19).
  32. ^ "History of Lodge, Sydney High School". The Schools Lodge.
  33. ^ a b "History of the Sydney Boys High School Foundation, Inc. Outterside Centre, and Fairland Pavilion".
  34. ^ a b Centennial Parklands. "What's in a Name?"
  35. ^ Sydney Boys High School. (2008.) High Notes, 9(33), p. 2.
  36. ^ Sydney Boys High School. (2008.) High Notes, 9(37).
  37. ^ a b "Grouping Policy: Diagnostic Grouping of Year 7". Sydney Boys High School.
  38. ^ "Put to the test". Sydney Morning Herald. 20 April 2002.
  39. ^ Sheehan, Paul (26 August 2002). "Reversal of fortunes for Sydney Boys High as King's is lost for wordsmiths". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  40. ^ Tovey, Josephine. "Selective students against local intake". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  41. ^ Tovey, Josephine. "Class action for local boys". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  42. ^ Gorman, James (24 April 2013). "Sydney Boys High School could host inner-city students to alleviate overcrowding issues short-term". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  43. ^ Tovey, Josephine (24 May 2013). "Year 7 rethink for Sydney Boys". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  44. ^ Domjen, Briana (4 November 2012). "English second language of selective students at Sydney schools". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  45. ^ Zavos, Spiro (5 September 2008). "In memory of rugby at Sydney Boys High School". The Roar. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  46. ^ a b Noonan, Gerard (6 April 2002). "Good old boys push to keep Sydney High in the family". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  47. ^ "Address by the Honourable JJ Spigelman, Chief Justice of New South Wales". Supreme Court of New South Wales. 16 February 1999. Retrieved 13 July 2013.