Adelaide High School

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Coordinates: 34°55′33″S 138°35′12″E / 34.92577°S 138.58661°E / -34.92577; 138.58661

Adelaide High School
Adelaide High School COA.svg
Adelaide, South Australia
Type Public
Motto Non scholae sed vitae
(Not only for school, but for life)
Established 1908
Enrolment 1454[1]
Campus Urban
Adelaide High School, viewed from near the corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue

Adelaide High School is a coeducational state high school situated on the corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue in the Adelaide Parklands. It was the first government highschool in South Australia.[2] It currently has an enrollment of approximately 1,400 students.


In 1879, John Anderson Hartley, Catherine Helen Spence and others created the Advanced School for Girls in Grote Street, Adelaide. It was the first public secondary school in South Australia. The school was combined with the Adelaide Continuation School, and on 8 April 1908 the name was changed to Adelaide High School. This was the same year the South Australian state high school system was launched.[3] Adelaide High School was officially opened on 24 September 1908 by the premier of South Australia, Thomas Price. It was the first secondary school in the Commonwealth of Australia.[4]

In 1927, it had an enrolment of 1,067 students, making it the largest school of its kind in the Commonwealth. By 1929, due to increasing enrollments, the school occupied two sites; one site was at Grote Street and the other was at Currie Street (now part of the Remand Centre). Due to the increasing enrolments, it was decided that a new building was required for Adelaide High School. The current site of the school on West Terrace was originally set aside for an army barracks in 1849, but in 1859 an observatory was built instead, which then became the Bureau of Meteorology in 1939.

Based on an award-winning 1940 design, a new building was erected on the site from 1947 to 1951. This became Adelaide Boys High School while Adelaide Girls High School remained in the buildings in Grote Street. An application was made to have the building listed as a Historic Building on the Australian Register of the National Estate. The nomination was on the basis of the building's "Art Modern" style and significance in Adelaide education. It had not led to the building's listing on the register as of 2007.[5] The original Grote Street school buildings were listed on the register as a Historic site in 1980. As of 2007, the buildings were used as a centre for the performing arts.[6] The buildings were considered to be among the Nationally Significant 20th-Century Buildings in South Australia.[7]

In 1977, due to decreasing enrollments at both the Boys and the Girls schools, amalgamation began with Adelaide High School operating on two campuses - one on Grote Street and one on West Terrace. This arrangement ended in 1979, when all students were on the West Terrace site. In 1979, Adelaide High School became South Australia's Special Interest Language School, with students able to study up to seven languages: French, German, Latin, Modern Greek, Chinese, Spanish and Italian. Latin ceased to be offered in 2004 and was replaced by Japanese.

Adelaide is part of the longest-running sporting exchanges with Melbourne High School and Mac.Robertson Girls' High School, both in Melbourne.


Adelaide High School is especially known for being a Special Interest Language School. It offers its students seven different languages to study: Modern Greek, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish and German.[8] The school is also a Centre for the Hearing Impaired and an Associate School for Students of High Intellectual Potential. It was a selected entry for students in its special interest cricket and rowing programs.


Adelaide High School is a Special Interest Language School and currently a sister school to Asahi High School in Osaka, Japan; IIS Quintino Sella in Biella, Italy, Heriburg Gymnasium in Coesfeld, Nord Rhein Westfalen, Germany, Lycée Saint Sauveur in Redon, Brittany, France, IES La Sisla in Sonsecas, Spain, Jinan Foreign Language School in Jinan, China, the 7th High School of Corfu, Greece and Greensward College in Essex, UK. Sister school visits, both inbound and outbound, take place regularly.


Facilities that students have access to include a resource centre, gymnasium, weights room, tennis, basketball and netball courts, performing arts centre, science labs and lecture theatres. The school also has a boatshed on the bank of the River Torrens which, holds the school's many rowing boats and where the school’s rowing crews train. It also has a shared rowing facility at West Lakes with Unley High School and Norwood Morialta High School.


The school has four "house" teams which students represent in sporting events within the school. The houses took their names from past principals of the school.The house names are: Adey (Red), Macghey (Blue), Morriss (Green), and West (Yellow). Sporting events include swimming, carnival, and sports day.

Adelaide High School has a range of girls and boys sporting teams and offers special interest sporting programmes including cricket and rowing. They participate in games and regattas throughout the year which lead up to the main events. The 5 Highs Cricket Carnival and Rowing event Head of the River. Other sporting trips have the volleyball teams travelling to the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup in Melbourne, in December.

Since 1913, Adelaide High has taken part in a sporting exchange with Mac.Robertson Girls' High School and since 1910, Melbourne High School is the longest-running sporting exchange in the state. It is known as the Prefect's Cup.[9] It is held in early Term 3 and each year they swap, as the boys go to Melbourne and the girls go to Adelaide. There are competitions in many sports such as: Australian rules foctball, soccer, tennis, rowing, basketball, netball, softball, chess, debating, theatre sports, volleyball, cross country athletics, badminton, table tennis and hockey. Sports previously played against Melbourne included lacrosse, baseball and field hockey. Adelaide High School currently holds the Prefect's Cup after their most recent controversial win in 2017.

Head Master / Principal

Name Years Ref(s)
William Adey 1908–1920 [10]
Reginald A. West 1920–1948 [11]
C.M. Ward 1948
A. E. Dinning 1949–1954
Wybert M. C. Symonds 1954–1962
A. H. Campbell 1963–1968
W. J. Bentley 1969–1977
Colin H. Brideson OAM 1978–1987 [12]
Peter Sanderson 1988–1997
Stephen Dowdy 1998–2011
Anita Zocchi 2011–2017 [13]
Michael Gurr 2017–2017
Cezanne Green 2017–

Notable staff and students

Further reading

  • Adelaide High School Council (1983). Adelaide High School: 75th anniversary, 1908-1983 souvenir book. ISBN 0-9593880-2-8. OCLC 220259206


  1. ^[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Peddie, Clare. (29 July 2008). "History lesson", The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia. p29.
  3. ^ Kwan, Elizabeth (1987). Living in South Australia, a social history (Volume 1, from before 1836 to 1914 ed.). Adelaide: South Australian Government Printer. pp. 145–175. ISBN 0-7243-6493-5. 
  4. ^ Government of South Australia (2008). Adelaide High turns 100. Archived from the original on 25 July 2005. Retrieved on 12 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Adelaide High School, West Tce, Adelaide, SA (Place ID 16566)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  6. ^ "Adelaide Girls High School (Advanced School for Girls) (former), 101 Grote St, Adelaide, SA, Australia (Place ID 6430)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  7. ^ 120 notable buildings - Australian Institute of Architects Accessed 8 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Adelaide High School 2010, year 8 curriculum" (PDF). Retrieved 9 May 2010. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Adelaide High School (2007). Melbourne / Mac.Rob Exchange Program. Retrieved on 25 September 2015.
  10. ^ Condon, Brian (2006). Adey, William James (1874 - 1956). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Online Edition. Retrieved on 16 November 2008.
  11. ^ Pash, J.H. (2006). West, Reginald Arthur (1883 - 1964). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Online Edition. Retrieved on 16 November 2008.
  12. ^ Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia (2008). Medal of the Order of Australia: Mr Colin Herbert Brideson Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Page 21. Retrieved on 16 November 2008.
  13. ^ "International Women's Day - leading South Australian women to watch". Adelaide Now. The Advertiser. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  14. ^ Gunn, John, "Anderson, Sir Donald George (Don) (1917–1975)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian National University, archived from the original on 2 February 2015 
  15. ^ Bolkus, Nick (14 November 2007). "Don Dunstan Foundation: Don Dunstan Oral History Project: Nick Bolkus" (PDF) (Interview). Interview with George Lewkowicz. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "The Rhodes Scholarship, South Australia" (PDF). The University of Adelaide. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  17. ^ Dowie, John (2001). Lock-Weir, Tracey, ed. John Dowie: A Life in the Round. Wakefield Press. p. 82. ISBN 1862545448. 
  18. ^ Harry, Michael. "Sia Sensation" (PDF). The Adelaide Advertiser: 24–26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 November 2010. 
  19. ^ Hayward, Anthony (8 June 1999). "Obituary: Anne Haddy". The Independent. 
  20. ^ "S.A. Woman Brilliant Scientist". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 95, (29,386). South Australia. 17 December 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  21. ^ a b c d ""Old Girls" Will Honor Their Headmaster". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 97, (29,900). South Australia. 13 August 1954. p. 15. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  22. ^ Henschke, Bob (June 2012), Letter to the Editor: Adelaide High School Old Scholars Association (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2016 
  23. ^ "Girl Wins Tennyson Medal". The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 13 January 1940. p. 22. Retrieved 21 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  24. ^ Tom Koutsantonis MP, SA Government, archived from the original on 5 March 2016 
  25. ^ WELCOME CEREMONIAL SITTING FOR THE HONOURABLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE B.R. MARTIN: Transcript of proceedings (PDF), Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, 2 February 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2012, Your Honour was educated at Adelaide High School 
  26. ^ Cockburn, Stewart; Ellyard, David (1981). Oliphant, the Life and Times of Sir Mark Oliphant. Adelaide: Axiom Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-9594164-0-4. 

External links

  • Adelaide High School Virtual Tour
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