Scots College (Sydney)
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Scots College Sydney

The Scots College
Bellevue Hill Scots College 2.JPG
The Scots College, as viewed from Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill

Coordinates33°52?30?S 151°15?11?E / 33.875012°S 151.252961°E / -33.875012; 151.252961Coordinates: 33°52?30?S 151°15?11?E / 33.875012°S 151.252961°E / -33.875012; 151.252961
TypeIndependent single-sex primary and secondary day and boarding school
MottoLatin: Utinam Patribus Nostris Digni Simus
(O that we may be worthy of our forefathers[1])
Established1893; 128 years ago (1893)[2]
  • The Rev Arthur Aspinall
  • The Rev Archibald Gilchrist
  • The Rev William Dill-Macky
ChairmanWayne Richards
PrincipalDr Ian Lambert
ChaplainConrad Nixon
Employeesc. 300[3]
Enrolmentc. 1,800[3] (2007)
Colour(s)Gold and blue
  • Brave Hearts Bold Minds
  • Scots to the fore
  • Raising fine young men since 1893
AthleticsAthletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales

The Scots College is a multi-campus independent Presbyterian single-sex primary and secondary day and boarding school for boys, predominately located in Bellevue Hill, an eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1893 at Brighton-Le-Sands,[1] Scots has a non-selective enrolment policy[4] and currently caters for approximately 1,800 students from Year K to Year 12, including 250 boarders from Year 7 to Year 12.[2] 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),[5] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[6] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[2] the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference,[7] and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).[8]


The college was formed in 1893 by three men, Archibald Gilchrist, William "Fighting Mac" Dill-Macky, and 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".

Arthur Aspinall, who became the first Principal, was minister to the Forbes 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. Lillyan MacDonald of the Church Records and Historical Society (Uniting Church in Australia, NSW Synod) writes:

From Dr Prentis I have learnt that a Forbes influence has pervaded Scots College for more than a century through the sons of Forbes District farming families, especially the related families of Aspinall, Strahorn and Martel.

-- Lillyan MacDonald, Personal communication

The Presbyterian Church was not happy with the proposal to start the school. 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 Aspinall sold the college to the Church for 7,000 pounds and so it became part of the Presbyterian education system in New South Wales.

Original campus at Lady Robinson Beach

The college was originally established at Lady Robinson Beach, now renamed Brighton-Le-Sands, near the shores of Botany Bay. The initial school building was the modified, de-licensed New Brighton Hotel on The Grand Parade, near Bay Street. The renovations to the hotel were done by Arthur Aspinall's brother, Albert Aspinall. The first Principal, the Rev Arthur 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, Rockdale was named in honour of this occasion. There were ten-day students and 25 Boarders.

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, 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. 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 Zealander, continued the growth and expansion of the college. When he retired in 1934 there were 450 enrolled students. Alexander Knox Anderson, also a New Zealander, saw the Depression end only to be followed four years later by World War II. During World War II, Scots and its student body relocated to a purpose built campus at Bathurst, to the west of the Great Dividing Range. 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, Bathurst.


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

Subsequent history

In 1975, a fire gutted the school's Assembly Hall, resulting in a major reconstruction and renovation of school facilities.

In 1988, the school opened its outdoor education campus, "Glengarry", in the Kangaroo Valley. Attending Glengarry is compulsory for all Year 9 boys, who live on site in one of five dormitories for six months. A residential academic and outdoor education team deliver a wide range of carefully developed personal development programs that enhance academic motivation and learning, and emphasise discipline, care, respect and curiosity. The year group is split into two intakes, they attend in terms 1 and 2, and terms 3 and 4 respectively. The Glengarry adventure now finishes with a 'Long Journey Home', which involves the intake to ride, hike and canoe their way back to Sydney from Glengarry.

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

In August 2017, the school was forced to cancel the HSC Trial Physics exam as two CSSA papers were stolen in a late night heist.[9] The culprits are yet to be discovered. A discussion into the event was had on the HSC Discussion Group 2017 Facebook page, under the thread by Joe Connell; a friend of the physics department. That year a number of students were also suspended from the school following unsanctioned "muck-up" day activities.[10]

In March 2018 The Scots College celebrated 125 years of boys' education and opened a new campus, Brighton Preparatory School at Dolls Point, near its original site at Brighton-Le-Sands.[11]


The following individuals have served as Principal of The Scots College:

Ordinal Officeholder Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 The Rev. Arthur Aspinall 1893 1916 22-23 years
2 James Bee 1917 1930 12-13 years
3 Alexander Anderson 1931 1955 3-4 years
4 Allan McLucas 1956 1965 8-9 years
5 Guthrie Wilson 1966 1980 13-14 years
6 Graeme Renney 1981 1993 11-12 years [12]
7 Robert Iles 1994 2006 11-12 years
8 Dr Ian PM Lambert 2007 incumbent 13 years


The Scots College has four campuses: Bellevue Hill, Mansion Road, Brighton (Brighton Le Sands), Glengarry (Kangaroo Valley), Bannockburn (Shoalhaven River).

The Scots College campuses and buildings
Name Years used Classes held
Main building 1899, 1977 Design and Technology, Visual Art, Film and television, Digital Media,
Photography, History, Geography.
John Cunningham Student Center (Oval Building Rebuild) 2021 Unknown
Graeme Clark Centre for Innovation in the Sciences
(Science Building)
2008 Sciences, Sport Sciences, Sport Acceleration, Mathematics
Centenary Centre 1992 Christian Studies, Music
Lang Walker Business Centre 2017 Commerce, Economics, Business Studies, Legal Studies
Ginaghulla Campus 1982, 2009 Languages, English, Year 5 Classrooms, Year 6 Classrooms
Mansion Road Campus 1928, 2009 Year 2 Classrooms, Year 3 Classrooms, Year 4 Classrooms
Horsham House/ELC 1954, 2009 Transition Classrooms, Kindergarten classrooms, Year 1 Classrooms
Brighton Campus 2018 Transition Classrooms, Kindergarten Classrooms, Year 1 Classrooms,
Year 2 Classrooms, Year 3 Classrooms, Year 4 Classrooms
Glengarry 1987 Outdoor Learning (Year 9 Only)
Bannockburn 2018 General Purpose Outdoor Learning/Camp, Geography, Agricultural education
The Main building seen from Victoria Road

Oval houses the Year 12/11 Study Area, the Black Watch Café, the Privy Council Rooms, The College Shop, and the school's two main function rooms (the Founders' 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 Graeme Clark Centre, as well as aerobics room (Bottom Level - the same level as the current pool and weights room) was constructed from early 2007 to late 2008. Classes began on Monday 17 November 2008 and the building was opened on Friday 27 March 2009.

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.

The college was able to fund an altitude training chamber in the high-performance center. Such a device is able to alter the levels of oxygen present during sport training sessions and PD lessons. While providing benefit to the college's leading athletes, the benefit of such equipment for the institution as a whole has been publicly questioned.[13]

Pipes and drums

As a testament to its Scottish heritage, the school has a very well known pipe band: The Scots College Pipes and Drums, 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 Hemisphere.[] 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 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. The Pipes and Drums was recently invited and participated in the 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the 2014 Basel Tattoo and went back to Edinburgh in 2016 to participate again in the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo .


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. Students must play at least one sport in summer and one in winter.

One of the most participated and prestigious sports in the School is Rugby Union. In some years the opens ages bracket has reached down to ten XVs teams. Winning in a total of 11 1st XV premierships in the AAGPS competition, which is the 4th the highest amount of premierships attained out of all the GPS schools.

House system

Like most Australian schools, The Scots College uses 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.

The school's five boarding houses are named Macintyre (Year 7 only), Kirkland, Aspinall, Fairfax and Royle. In addition to the boarding houses, the school has eight-day boy houses: James Bee, Fraser, Anderson, Macky, Bruce, Armstrong, Gilchrist, and Brandt.

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, while 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.[14]


Academia, public service, politics and religious service




See also


  1. ^ a b "History of the College". The College. The Scots College. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "The Scots College". New South Wales Schools. Australian Boarding Schools Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Annual School Report 2006" (PDF). The College. The Scots College. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  4. ^ "The Scots College". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  5. ^ "AHISA Schools: New South Wales". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  6. ^ "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  7. ^ "International Members". HMC Schools. The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Archived from the original on 15 March 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  8. ^ "AAGPS History". Info. Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 2007.
  9. ^ "HSC trial exam papers stolen in late-night break-in at Scots College". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ Prefects from The Scots College have stood down and up to ten students face suspension after muck-up day
  11. ^ "School gates swing open at historic site". Sy. St George & Sutherland Shire Leader. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ The Scots College website Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Home". The Scots College. 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  14. ^ "About Old Boys". Old Boys. The Scots College. 2007. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  15. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography: Norton, Ezra (1897-1967). Retrieved 2 August 2007
  16. ^ "Peter M'Callum Dowding". Appointment of Senior Counsel by the Hon David K Malcolm AC CitWA Chief Justice of Western Australia. Supreme Court of Western Australia. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 2007.
  17. ^ "Archbishop Peter Jensen: Profile". Senior Clergy. Sydney Anglican Network. 2007. Archived from the original on 3 September 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  18. ^ Slattery, T.A (1990). "15 April 1933 - 10 August 1990 Eulogy Tendered by His Worship the Mayor [Dubbo]. Alderman T A Slattery". Service of Thanksgiving and Memorial for the life of Rear Admiral Sir David James Martin KCMG. AO. Register of War Memorials in New South Wales. Retrieved 2007.
  19. ^ Murphy, Damien (1 September 2015). "Canning by-election candidate Andrew Hastie holds Tony Abbott's political future in his hands". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016.

Further reading

  • Andrew, Phillipa A. (1997). Built To Last: the stories of John and Thomas Aspinall and their descendants. Privately Published. ISBN 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. Parramatta: Uniting Church in Australia, NSW Synod.
  • Garrett, J.; Farr, L. W. (1964). Camden College: A Centenary History.
  • Geeves, Phillip; Jervis, J. (1986). Rockdale: its beginning and development (Revised ed.). Historical Society of New South Wales.
  • Joy, William (29 April 1968). How three fighting Scots founded a great school. The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the school; includes photo of Rev Arthur Aspinall and his wife.
  • May, Munro (1961). In Old Aspinall's Day.
  • Prentis, Malcolm. "A Biographical Register of Presbyterian Ministers in NSW, 1866-1885". Church Heritage. 6 (3).
  • Prentis, Malcolm; Sherrington, G. (1994). History of Scots College.
  • Sherington, G.; Prentis, Malcolm (1993). Scots to the Fore: A History of The Scots College Sydney 1893-1993. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger. ISBN 0-86806-500-5.
  • White, C. A. The Challenge of the Years. The Scots College. p. Plate 29.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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