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The Scots College is an independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys, located in Bellevue Hillmarker, an eastern suburb of Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker, Australia.

Established in 1893 at Brighton-Le-Sandsmarker, Scots has a selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 1600 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 240 boarders from Years 4 to 12. Students attend Scots from all regions of the greater metropolitan area and New South Wales country regions.

The college is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).


The college was formed in 1893 by three men, the Reverend Dr Archibald Gilchrist (formerly a solicitor), the Reverend Dr Wiliam Marcus "Dill" (Fighting Mac) Macky and the Reverend Arthur Aspinall. Gilchrist devised the school motto of "Utinam Patribus Nostris Digni Simus", which may be translated from Latin as "O that we may be worthy of our forefathers".
The Reverend Arthur Aspinall, who became the first Principal, was minister to the Forbesmarker Parish from 1874 to 1887. An educated man himself, with a love of learning, he saw the need to educate the sons of the pastoralists of the area. His dream was for a boarding school in Sydney to which these very isolated farming families could send their children. Ms Lillyan MacDonald of the Church Records and Historical Society (Uniting Church in Australia, NSW Synod) writes:

The Presbyterian Church was not happy with the proposal to start the school. Mr Aspinall became the guarantor, advancing the capital required, while the possibility of starting the school was still a matter of bitter contention within the Church hierarchy. Thus Scots opened as a private enterprise. Once the school was established and functioning, the Church Assembly saw no reason to continue to oppose the idea of the school. In 1906 Mr Aspinall sold the college to the Church for seven thousand pounds and so it became part of the Presbyterian education system in New South Wales.

Lady Robinson's Beach

The college was originally established at Lady Robinson Beach, now renamed Brighton-Le-Sandsmarker, near the shores of Botany Baymarker. The initial school building was the modified, de-licenced New Brighton Hotel on The Grand Parade, near Bay Street. The renovations to the hotel were done by Mr Aspinall's brother, Albert Aspinall. The first Principal, the Rev Aspinall, remained in this position until his retirement in 1913. The school was officially opened 28 January 1893 by the Governor of New South Wales, the Right Honourable Victor Albert George, Earl of Jersey. Villiers Street, Rockdalemarker was named in honour of this occasion. There were 25 boarders and ten day students.

The period when the school opened was a time of depression. The first few years for the school were difficult. There were 55 boys enrolled at the school when, in 1895, (soon after a racecourse had opened nearby) the school moved to its current location in Bellevue Hill.

Early days at Bellevue Hill

The school occupied St Killians, the former home of Judge Josephson. Before he retired Mr Aspinall had added new buildings to the school and developed playing fields. The school was still surrounded by many areas of bushland which caught fire on hot summer days. Lessons would be cancelled so that the students could assist in the fire-fighting. Mr Aspinall was a stern Principal who dealt harshly with misdemeanours. Often his acerbic tongue and brilliant use of words produced ridicule more intimidating than any of his physical punishments. But he was also capable of empathy. Some promising students were educated for free when economic constraints within a family seemed likely to result in a student being withdrawn from the school.

1914 to 1955

James Bee, a New Zealandermarker, continued the growth and expansion of the college. When he retired in 1934 there were 450 enrolled students. This is quite remarkable considering that the 1930s Great Depression was not yet over.

Alexander Knox Anderson saw the Depression end only to be followed four years later by World War II. During World War II, the school and its student body relocated to a purpose-built campus at Bathurstmarker, to the west of the Great Dividing Rangemarker. This was due to the proximity of the Bellevue Hill campus to the coast, and the fear of Japanese naval bombardment, a fear justified in May 1942 with the Japanese mini-sub attack on Sydney Harbour.

The Bathurst campus remained part of the school for a short period after the war, before splintering off and becoming the independent The Scots School, Bathurstmarker.


The 75th Anniversary celebrations were held 3-10 May. The 1200 students at the College and past students had much to celebrate for many former students had achieved success. In 1968 Dr Robert Naumann was Professor of Nuclear Physics at Princeton Universitymarker in the United States of Americamarker. The Guest-of-Honour at the celebrations, the oldest known student in 1968, was Dr Ed Spark, a Dental Surgeon who had attended the school in 1894 at Lady Robinson Beach.

Subsequent history

Scots College
In 1975, a fire gutted most of the school's Main Building, resulting in a major reconstruction and renovation of school facilities.

In 1988, the school opened its outdoor education campus, 'Glengarry', in the Kangaroo Valleymarker. Attending Glengarry is compulsory for all Year 9 boys, who live on-site in one of four dorms for six months. The year group is split into two intakes, that attend in terms 1 and 2, and terms 3 and 4 respectively.

Glengarry has faced controversy due to its potentially hazardous outdoor curriculum. It has had a total of two fatalities, both occurring to Scots College students during Parent/Son hikes.

Most of the Council members are elected by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in New South Wales.


Period Details
1892–1913 Rev Arthur Aspinall
1914–1934 James Bee
1935–1955 Alexander Knox Anderson
1955–1967 A. E. McLucas
1967–c.1979 Guthrie Wilson
c.1979–1993 Graeme Renney
1993–2006 Dr Robert Iles
2007–Present Dr Ian Lambert


Scots Main 1939
The campus consists of three ovals (Kirkland Oval; Fairfax Oval, which is used primarily by the Pipes and Drums as a parade ground, and Scots Main), four general class buildings and due to new classrooms to the Prep there are now 12 portable classrooms, five boarding houses, a 25 m Swimming pool, a gymnasium, grandstands, tennis courts, basketball courts (indoor and outdoor) and the school amphitheatre.

The general class buildings are the Centenary Centre (Music, Religious Studies,and economics/business), the Graeme Clarke Centre (Science, PDHPE and Mathematics), Scots Main Design and Technology, Visual Arts, The Stevenson Building (Stevenson Library, History and Geography) and The Ginagulla Centre Languages,(English,

The Stevenson Building also houses the Year 12 Common room, the Black Watch Tuckshop-Cafe, the Prefects' Room, the College Shop, and the school's two main function rooms (the Founders' Room and the Old Boys' Union Room). Scots Main houses the Auditorium and main school administration, whilst the Centenary Centre contains the school's primary Lecture room, the Coote Theatre and various music facilities and musical instruments.

The college quadrangle finished reconstruction in 2007 to provide additional change rooms and wheelchair accessible facilities such as an elevator for the Main Building, as well as vastly improving the aesthetics of the College 'quad'.

A new Mathematics/Science building, named the Greame Clark Centre, as well as aerobics room (Bottom Level - same level as the current pool and weights room) constructed from early 2007 to late 2008, classes began on Monday the 17th of November 2008 and the building was opened on Friday the 27th of March.

In 2007 the new "Ginahgulla" classrooms were completed. These classrooms house years five and six located at the Senior campus, Victoria Rd. The upper floors were renovated in 2008 and became new Languages and English classrooms.

Pipes and drums

As a testament to its Scottish heritage, the school has a well-known pipe band: The Scots College Pipes & Drums Band, established in 1900. The original band consisted of five members - boys who had joined the cadets as pipers. There are now over 230 boys in the band, making it the largest in the Southern Hemispheremarker. In 1931 the band was granted permission to wear the tartan of the Black Watch regiment. The band's royal patron was formerly the Queen Mother. Traditionally, the Scots Pipes and Drums Band leads the annual ANZAC Day parade through Sydney. At the 2006 Australian Pipe band Championships, the Drum Corps won the Juvenile Drum Corp title, and the band as a whole earned a respectable third place. These results were then followed up by a successful run at the 2008 Australian Pipe Band Championships, where the band won both the Juvenile and Grade 4 title. These are the best results the band has seen in its long and prosperous history.


Sport has traditionally played a large role in the college and is an important part of the curriculum. The college competes in the AAGPS competition and has had notable success across a number of sports. Scots GPS premierships occurred in the following years:
  • Athletics (Senior): 1894, 1936, 1947, 1948, 1952, 1958, 1959, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1975
  • Athletics (Junior): 1932, 1933, 1935 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1971
  • Basketball (1sts): 1985, 1986, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004
  • Basketball (2nds): 1999 and 2000
  • Cricket (1sts): 1943(u), 1945 (u), 1948, 1953, 1957, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1984 and 1989
  • Cricket (2nds): 1947, 1948, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1982, 1988, 1991 and 1996
  • Rugby union (1sts): 1948, 1949, 1959, 1978, 1987 and 1993
  • Rugby Union (2nds): 1904, 1911, 1958, 1976 and 1979
  • Rowing (1st VIII): 1946, 1962, 1965 and 1979
  • Rowing (1st IV): 1946, 1971 and 1978
  • Rowing (2nd IV): 1933, 1961, 1978 and 1986
  • Rowing (3rd IV): 1961, 1962 and 1977
  • Rowing (4th IV): 1946, 1965 and 1977
  • Swimming (Senior): 2002 and 2004
  • Swimming (Intermediate): 2002 and 2003
  • Swimming (Junior): 2002 and 2008
  • Cross Country (Intermediate): 2008
  • Cross Country (Junior): 1996, 1997 and 1998
  • Rifle Shooting (1sts): 1938, 1939, 1980, 1981 and 1983
  • Rifle Shooting (2nds): 1948, 1971, 1983, 1985 and 1986

Scots.NET and Scoogle

In 2000, Scots introduced Scots.NET, a set of dynamically controlled sites allowing students to access resources and research materials online, on the college's latest twin ISDN connection.

Scots.NET now also incorporates all day-to-day school administration functions, including rolls, detentions, homework merits and demerits, behavioural reports, school report releases, discipline records, subject selection, student timetables, assessment marks, attendance records, subject resources, SCOOGLE (an advanced subject forum server based on a combination of Open Source course management technologies, allowing students and teachers to communicate easily online and transfer documents and information), and software not usually available at home. In addition to student accounts, Scots.NET also features parental accounts. These allow students' parents to gain access to school publications (such as the The Clansman newsletter, which has recently ceased to appear in any but electronic form; academic and pastoral reports; assessment marks; academic documentation; school publications; and so forth. A feature of Scots.NET is that students and parents are able to access Scots.NET from any computer with internet access.

As part of this shift towards electronic learning, Scots has digital projectors, speaker systems and DVD/VCR systems in the majority of its classrooms and halls, in order to better facilitate media presentations by staff and students.

In 2006 Scoogle, a more upgraded version of Scots.NET became available and was trialed in some courses primarily as a homework receive/upload system. In 2007 was taken down from the internet and Scoogle was fully integrated and being used in every course for assessment information, task uploads, study resources, a basic instant messenger for teacher-student communications which did not fully materialise, and also still having all the older features of the outdated Scots.NET under the new system.

House system

Scots College
As with most Australian schools, The Scots College utilises a house system. Scots has 13 student houses, of which 5 are boarding houses. Each year the houses participate in multiple academic and sporting competitions, spread across the school year, and are awarded points according to their placings. This point system determines the winner of the House Championship each year (announced at a final assembly). The day boy houses contain between 90 and 95 students each, whilst the boarding houses have between 50 and 65 apiece.

Boarding houses

The school's five boarding houses are named Macintyre, Kirkland, Aspinall, Fairfax and Royle.

Macintyre House is located by the Macintyre tennis courts and contains the College clinic. The house contains all the Year 7 boarders who go to other boarding houses after Year 7 and does not compete in any house competitions.

Kirkland House is located next to the gym, and its jersey blue and white.Motto: Strength of character through character and good sense.

Aspinall House is located between the Chapel and the dining hall, its house jersey is mostly white with a little dark green and it is named after former principle Arthur Aspinall. Motto: Honour before honours.

Fairfax house is situated on the hill above Kirkland oval and the Ginagulla classrooms. Because it is on a hill the boys in the house sometimes call it "The House on the Hill". Motto: Steadfast and United.

Royle house is located across the road from Macintyre house and the Macintyre tennis courts, and its house jerseymarker is dark green and blue. Motto: Not merely for ourselves.

Day houses

In addition to the boarding houses, the school has 8 day boy houses- James Bee, Fraser, Anderson, Macky, Bruce, Armstrong, Gilchrist and Brandt. They are listed here by age:
  • James Bee House is one of the two oldest day boy houses, formed in 1936 and named after Mr. James Bee, headmaster for twenty years (1914-1934). The house badge is based on his initials. In recent years, James Bee has consistently come second to Gilchrist House, with the exception of 2002 in which it secured the House Championship over its traditional rival. James Bee House has "Red Nose Day" as its charity and has raised around $80000 for this worthwhile charity over the last 8 years. Colours: Black. Motto: Opera Optima ("Best Effort").
  • Armstrong House was formed in Mid-1936 as a day boy house. It is named after Dr. G. Armstrong, a founding College Councillor and Deputy College Chairman. Its crest is the College's rampant lion and the letter A in gold on a red background. Colours: Red and Gold. Motto: Striving for Excellence.
  • Anderson House was formed in 1947, and named after Mr. A.K. Anderson, Headmaster from 1935 to 1955. The crest is based on the New South Wales floral emblem, the Waratah. Colours: Yellow, Red and White. Motto: Truth, Courage, Compassion.
  • Brandt House was also formed in 1947. It is named for Rev. D.F. Brandt, Chairman of the College Council from 1927 to 1936. The house crest displays four sections displaying a castle, the lion rampant, an open book and the house initials. Colours: Royal Blue. Motto: "Fortune favours the brave". Charity: Cancer Council of Australia
  • Gilchrist House was formed in 1986. It was named after the Rev. Dr. A. Gilchrist, one of the most influential College Founders. In recent years, Gilchrist has been consistent winner of the House Championship (excepting a 2002 victory to James Bee and a 2000 victory to Bruce). The badge and motto are based on those of the Gilchrist Clan. Colours: Red, Green and White. Motto: Fortis et Fidus ("Brave and Faithful") Charity: Diabetes Australia
  • Bruce House was formed in 1986 and named after Rev. Dr. D. Bruce (Chairman of the College Council from 1902 to 1905. The house selected a new badge in 1991, based on the belt that traditionally surrounds Scottish clan badges with the College's rampant lion in the centre. Colours: Royal Blue and White. Motto: Strength and Unity. Charity: Red kite
  • Fraser House was also formed in 1986. It was named after Mr H.J. Fraser, Chairman of the College Council from 1969 to 1977. The crest and motto are based on those of the Fraser clan, with the buck's head in the centre. Colours: Light Green and White. Motto: Je Suis Pret ("I'm Ready!") Charity: Bandaged Bear Day
  • Macky House, like Bruce, Fraser and Gilchrist, was founded in 1986. It was named after Rev. Dr. W.M.D. Macky, one of the founders and the first Chairman of the College Council (1893-1901). The open book and sword-bearing arm of the crest are based on the house motto. Colours: Blue, Green and White. Motto: With Strong Arm and Mind. Charity: Jeans for Genes Day

Notable alumni

Old Boys' Union Logo
Former students of The Scots College are known as Old Boys, or alternatively Old Scotsmen, and may elect to join the school's alumni association, The Scots College Old Boys' Union (OBU). The OBU was formed in 1900, and today supports the school with financial assistance, whilst working to facilitate communication and interaction between the College and its Old Boys through events and activities, such as alumni and sporting reunions. Reunions are also held in various states of Australia and overseas.

Amongst the schools notable alumni are Dr. Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Admiral Sir David James Martin AO, former Governor of New South Wales, Hon. Peter McCallum Dowding S.C., former Premier of Western Australia, and Graeme Milbourne Clark AC AO, pioneer of the multiple-channel cochlear implant , as well as Dr Charlie Teo; a prominent neurosurgeon who operates in Prince Of Wales Hospital, Sydney. It has also had many contributions to Australia's sporting teams; Bryan Weir and Terrence Alfred are both Old Boys who have represented Australia in Rowing, David Brockoff is a most notable ex-wallabies rugby player, who has both coached and played amongst winning wallaby teams.

Associated schools

There are currently only three other Presbyterian schools in New South Wales:

Scots Collegemarker in Wellingtonmarker, New Zealand was founded as a 'brother' school to The Scots College.

See also


  1. College sued after boy drowned | The Daily Telegraph
  2. The Scots College website
  3. and "Scots to the Fore" a history of The Scots College (authors: Sherington and Prentis)

Further reading

  • Sherington, G. and Prentis, M. 1993. Scots to the Fore: A History of The Scots College Sydney 1893-1993.. Hale & Iremonger, Sydney. ISBN 0868065005.
  • Andrew, Phillipa A (1997) Built To Last: the stories of John and Thomas Aspinall and their descendants. Privately Published.
ISBN/ISSN 0 646 34463 3: available in the library of The Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney, State Library of New South Wales and in the library of The Scots College.
  • Church Records and Historical Society (Uniting Church of Australia, NSW Synod), Parramattamarker
  • Garrett, J and Farr, L W (1964) Camden College: A Centenary History
  • Geeves, Phillip and Jervis, J (1986) Rockdale: its beginning and development Revised Edition
  • Historical Society of New South Wales
  • Joy, William (29 April 1968) Daily Telegraph, Sydney: "How three fighting Scots founded a great school" (commemorating the 75th anniversary of the school)-includes photo of Rev Aspinall and his wife
  • Munro May (1961) In Old Aspinall's Day
  • Prentis, Malcolm A Biographical Register of Presbyterian Ministers in NSW, 1866-1885, Church Heritage Vol 6 No3
  • Prentis, M and Sherrington, G (1994) History of Scots College
  • White, C A The Challenge of the Years Plate 29 "The Scots College"

External links

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