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Davidson High School, (abbreviation DHS) is a school located in Frenchs Forestmarker Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker, Australia, on Mimosa Street. It is a co-educational high school operated by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training with students from years 7 to 12. The school was established in 1972 as a result of the growing population in the Frenchs Forest and Belrose areas.

Davidson High has a prominent history of involvement in the performing arts, in Dance, Drama and Music, and annually produces the "Season of Performing Arts" at the local Glen Street Theatre. In 2004 and 2007, Davidson High entered the New South Wales Rock Eisteddfod Competition with pieces relating to the Iraq war. Both performances came under a lot of media scrutiny, with a similar result.


Davidson High School was originally to be called Sorlie High School after George Sorlie, an idealistic developer of land in the district. However, the residents of the area requested a change of name for the suburb, and consequently the new high school, which was granted. The High School was named after Sir Walter Davidson KCMG, CBE, KStJ, a popular Governor of New South Wales from 1918 until his death in 1923, and to whom the parklands of called Davidson Park were dedicated. This forms the western boundary of the suburb of Davidsonmarker.

A meeting was called on 12 August 1971 at Wakehurst Public School. Representatives of the teaching staff and P.&C. Associations of Frenchs Forest, Wakehurst, Mimosa, and Belrose Public Schools, were advised by representatives of the Education Department of a proposed new school adjoining the grounds of Mimosa School. This new school would be known as Davidson High, with the anticipated completion date of January 1973.

The school's earliest students were housed at Killarney Heights High School from 1972-1973. In early 1973, Year 7 classes were situated in Mimosa Public School and Year 8 classes at Killarney Heights Public School. Requiring students, teachers and parents to travel in between schools. The buildings on the present site, designed by the New South Wales Government Architect, Edward Farmer, were first completed and occupied in September 1973.
The first Crest 1972-1983
Despite the library not being completed until 1976, the school was officially opened in January 1974 by the NSW Minister for Education, Hon. Eric Willis MLA. The ceremony was also attended by Hon. Dick Healey MLA (Member for Davidson 1971-1981), Henry Turner MP, (Member for Bradfield, 1952-1974) and the Principal, William Lambert, who said to the students: "...Davidson High is yours, continue the effort that has been made by so many to develop it. Keep building it, with pride and earnest endeavour."

In October 1997 Davidson High School made a sister School agreement with Morioka Chuo High School in Morioka, Japan. In 1999 Davidson High School was awarded the Director-General's Award for School Achievement.

In 2007 the Davidson Community of Schools was unveiled by the Principal, Rod Cawsey, building closer ties with local primary schools, with the intention to enhance the learning of students in the Davidson community through joint educational programs, combined teacher development and the sharing of resources. The community also consists of Belrose, Kambora, Wakehurst, Mimosa and Terrey Hills Public Schools.

Crest and motto

Davidson Clan Tartan
While at Killarney Heights High School in 1972, the parents of the first students were granted permission by the Lairds of the Clan Davidson to use the crest, shield and tartan of Clan Davidson of Tulloch. The distinctive tartan colours and the stag's head were incorporated in the badge, and are still used as part of the uniform. The Clan Davidson and subsequently Davidson High Motto - 'Sapienter si Sincere' - means 'Wisely if Sincerely' or alternately, 'with wisdom if with sincerity'.

However, during the tenure of the third Principal, Roy Beauman, the motto was changed from the Latin 'Sapienter si Sincere' to English and the words transposed to read 'Sincerely if Wisely'. The ornate shield was removed from the crest and was produced in green, white, navy and brown. A further change occurred during the tenure of Principal John McManus, and the motto was atered on the crest to 'Wisely Sincerely'. The crest underwent further design changes and was enclosed by a different shield, produced in red and navy.


Years Davidson High School
1972–1974 William Lambert, B.A.
1975–1979 Austin Hayes, B.A.
1980–1982 Betty Anderson, B.A.
1983–1987 Roy Beuman, A.S.T.C.
1988–1990 John McManus, B.A.
1991–1992 Grahame Roe, B.A. B.Ed. Dip.Ed.
1992–1996 Roslynne Moxham, M.A.Ed. B.Mus. Ed.A. Mus.A.
1997–2002 Mark Anderson, M.Ed. B.A. Dip.Ed.
2002–2005 Chris Bonnor, AM B.A.(Hons) Dip.Ed. Dip.Soc.Ed.
2006–present Rod Cawsey, M.Ed. B.A. Dip.Teach

Senior staff

Mimosa Street entrance of school
The Principal of Davidson High from 2002-2005 was Chris Bonnor. During that time he was President of the NSW Secondary Principals Council from 2001-2006 and was also a Member of the Australian College of Educators. Previously he had also been Principal of Asquithmarker Boys’ High School from 1991-2000. On 26 January 2007 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for "service to education through significant contributions to the development of educational policy and practice in New South Wales, the promotion of excellence in school leadership, and advocacy for public education."

The current Principal of Davidson High School is Rod Cawsey, who, as Deputy-Principal, took over as Acting Principal from Chris Bonnor in the third quarter of 2005, but did not become officially Principal in his position until 2006.


A House system was formed by staff at Davidson in 1973. The four houses were originally named Mimosa, Blackbutt, Belrose and Waratah, after prominent local plant species. The present house system was introduced by the second Principal, Austin Hayes, and were named after the individual stars of the Southern Cross.The current houses of Davidson High School and their associated colours are Gamma (Yellow), Alpha (Blue), Delta (Green) and Beta (Red).

The houses compete in three sporting carnivals. In the summer season, a Swimming Carnival is held, and in the winter months an Athletic Carnival. There is also a cross-country run held in the autumn.

Performing arts

Davidson High School has a prominent history in the performing arts, dating back to the school's establishment, with three distinct branches: Music, Dance and Drama.

The music program at Davidson comprises of three bands, Concert Band 2 for years 7-10 and Concert Band 1 for Seniors and all capable students, and a Stage Band for all students. The Bands annually perform at the Season of Performing Arts (SOPA) at the Glen Street Theatre, school functions, and at the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod. There are also Instrumental ensembles that deal with smaller groups such as Brass, Clarinet and Saxophone.

The Vocal ensemble, originally formed in 1973, is the oldest musical group in the school and performs throughout the year, including the Season of Performing Arts and the Schools Spectacular.

The School Drama programme consists of ensembles of junior and senior students and of which concentrate on working up performances for the Season of Performing Arts, Drama Nights, and the Regional and State Drama festivals. In recent years the Drama ensemble has done a 'Drama Tour' to local Schools, performing workshops for young students.
The School Library

In Dance, students perform in many styles and groups and in many competitions such as the NSW Rock Eisteddfod Challenge, in which Davidson has been performing since it began in 1980 and is the only remaining original school, and the Season of Performing Arts, with a history going back to the 1980s.

Rock Eisteddfod

The School came under external criticism and media scrutiny when Davidson has entered the 2004 Rock Eisteddfod competition with a performance, named "Bad Night in Baghdad", with a satirical and underlying message about the Iraq war. The dance piece sparked up debate over the alleged "politicisation" of schools and freedom of speech, and was criticised by the then Federal Minister for Education, Dr. Brendan Nelson, who said that the production presented an "extremely biased view" of the war. However, the school and the dance piece were also defended by the Principal of the day, Chris Bonnor, and New South Wales Deputy-Premier and Education Minister, Dr. Andrew Refshauge. Despite this, Davidson went on to take joint first place with Rose Bay Secondary Collegemarker in the grand final and performed at the national competition.

In 2007, Davidson entered a second performance with a similar topic, entitled Bad Knight II, which got the attention of the then Federal Minister for Education, Julie Bishop, who accused the teachers of having "private political agendas" and said that Davidson "interestingly" did the performance around the time of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, where U.S. President George Bush and other foreign leaders would be visiting. The performance was defended by the NSW Minister for Education and Training, John Della Bosca, who accused Bishop of using her supposed concern over the school's performance to criticise the public education system: "I think it's another demonstration of how far out of touch Mrs Bishop and her colleagues in the Howard government are...the concern they have is just another (opportunity) to run down the achievements of young people in public education."


The "Season of Performing Arts" or "SOPA" was established in 1994 as a means of annually showcasing the best of all the performing arts: Music, Dance, and Drama. It is held in term two over two nights at the local Glen Street Theatre.

Student leadership

Davidson High School has a number of leadership opportunities, including Captaincy, Prefecture and Representative positions. All are recognised in various ways, such as badges, blazers, or blues points.At the instigation of the second Principal, Austin Hayes, the first student council was formed in 1976, and the first School Captains were elected in 1975. The Student Representative Council (SRC) comprises of students elected from years 7-11 who are active in the school and have an input into school and student issues.

In senior years there is the Senior Leadership Team, consisting of two School Captains, four School Vice-Captains and the Prefects, who are elected by their year and are ambassadors for the school, directing assemblies and providing leadership for the school and extra-curricular activities.

In addition to this, there are also four House Captains elected for each house: two Junior Captains from year 10 and two Senior Captains from year 12. The House Captains provide leadership and direction for House activities in the School Carnivals and other sporting events.

There are other programs organised for the purpose of developing leadership in students. These include the Flying Squad, who act as peers to Primary Students, going to various schools around the area; and the Peer Mentors from year 10 who support year 7 students through the transition into high school.

Debating and Public Speaking also play a significant role in the school, with previous student involvement in the Premier's Debating Challenge, New South Wales Law Society Mock Trial Competition, the Sydney Morning Herald Public Speaking Competition, Rotarymarker 'Youth Speaks' Competition, and the Rotary Model United Nations Assembly.

Notable alumni

Academics and business

Politics and law


Arts and media


  1. Davidson High School P&C Association, Davidson High School - The First Twenty years (Syd, 1992) ISBN 0-646-08149-7
  2. Davidson High School Honour Roll - Principals

See also

External links

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