Scotch College, Melbourne

Scotch College is an independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys, located in Hawthorn, an inner-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Scotch College
1 Morrison Street

, ,

Coordinates37°50′3″S 145°1′46″E
TypeIndependent, day and boarding
MottoLatin: Deo Patriae Litteris
(For God, for Country, and for Learning)[1]
Established1851 (1851)[3]
FounderJames Forbes
ChairmanDavid A. Kemp AC
HeadmasterI. Thomas Batty
ChaplainRevs Douglas Campbell, David Assender
HousesBond, Davidson, Eggleston, Field, Fleming, Forbes, Gilray, Lawson, Littlejohn, Monash, Morrison, Selby-Smith
Colour(s)Cardinal, gold and blue

Studies have found that Scotch had more alumni mentioned in Who's Who in Australia (a listing of notable Australians) than any other school.[4][5][6][7] It is one of the wealthiest schools in Australia.[8]

In 2010 The Age reported that Scotch College "has educated more of Australia's most honoured and influential citizens than any other school in the nation", based on research that revealed its alumni had received more top Order of Australia honours than any other school.[9]

The college was established in 1851 as The Melbourne Academy in a house in Spring Street, Melbourne, by James Forbes of the Free Presbyterian Church of Victoria.[10] It is the oldest extant secondary school in Victoria[3][11] and celebrated its sesquicentenary in 2001.

Scotch is a founding member of the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS),[12] and is affiliated with the International Boys' Schools Coalition (IBSC),[13] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[14] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[11] the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria (AISV),[2] and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.[15] The School is a former member of the G20 Schools Group and a current member of the Global Alliance of Leading-Edge Schools.


Scotch College is the oldest surviving secondary school in Victoria. Its foundation was due to the initiative of James Forbes, of the Free Presbyterian Church, who arrived in 1838 as the first settled Christian minister in what became the colony of Victoria in 1851. It is "the outcome of the old Scottish ideal of education", in which church and school were inextricably connected. The school opened on 6 October 1851, under the name of the Melbourne Academy in a small house in Spring Street, with Robert Lawson, a Scot from Edinburgh University, as the first principal. The house was soon outgrown, as was a larger one on the northwest corner of Spring and Little Collins Streets (later the Ulster Family Hotel) and the Church applied to the government for a grant of land. Two acres were reserved for the school on Eastern Hill and substantial new buildings were erected there in 1853. The cost was met partly by a government grant and partly from funds raised by the friends of the school.

Lawson resigned in 1856. Under his successor, Alexander Morrison, the school grew and prospered; it came under the oversight of the newly formed Presbyterian Church of Victoria in 1859. Morrison had been Rector of Hamilton Academy and remained at Scotch for 46 years, during almost all of which time his brother Robert was a master of the college.[16]:2 William Still Littlejohn, who took over the school in 1904, served for 29 years, and his successor, Colin Macdonald Gilray, for 19. So, when the school became the first in Victoria to celebrate its centenary, Gilray was only the fourth principal.

Gilray was succeeded in 1953 by R. Selby Smith, an Old Rugbeian who had served in the Royal Navy during the war and was at the time of his appointment Deputy Director of Education for Warwickshire. Smith resigned in 1964 to become the Foundation Dean of Education at Monash University.

C. O. Healey, who had been Headmaster of Sydney Grammar School since 1951, succeeded Smith. Healey retired in January 1975.

In the following May, P. A. V. Roff, formerly Headmaster of Scotch College, Adelaide, was installed as the seventh principal of the college. Roff's tenure, though a brief seven years, was characterised by an expanding voice for staff in the day-to-day management of the school, the establishment of a Foundation Office at the School under the direction of a Development Officer and the widening of the House System to provide greater depth in pastoral care. His last few years saw the school in dispute over ownership and, for the principal and his school community, it was a time of stress. In 1980 the decision was made to incorporate the school and a new Council was appointed, with representatives from the Presbyterian Church, the Old Scotch Collegians' Association and the community at large.

F. G. Donaldson, a vice principal from Wallace High School (Northern Ireland), with a Ph.D. in atomic physics from Queens University Belfast, succeeded Roff in 1983. Under his principalship there was a significant building program that created new facilities for the education of boys, the development of ICT for administrative and educational purposes, and enhanced pastoral care of students.

I. Tom Batty was appointed as the ninth principal of Scotch and installed into office on 14 July 2008. Prior to his appointment he was Housemaster of Villiers House, Eton College in the UK. The early years of Batty's tenure have seen the introduction of a new House-based pastoral care structure in the Upper School, which began at the start of the 2011 school year.


The School was originally called "The Melbourne Academy", after its location, when it opened in 1851. In its early years it was also known as

  • Mr Lawson's Academy - named after the first principal, Robert Lawson
  • The Grammar School
  • The Scots' College - the college of the Scots
  • The Scotch College - the college that is Scottish

For a while all of these names were used concurrently until in the 1860s the usage settled on "The Scotch College", which was later shortened to be simply "Scotch College".[17]

Coat-of-arms and motto

The School's coat-of-arms (shown above, right) features the following elements:[18]

  • The Burning Bush - the Burning Bush, from the Book of Exodus, is a common symbol used by the Presbyterian Church, representing Christian faith.
  • A white saltire on a blue background - the flag of Scotland (St Andrew's Cross) representing the School's Scottish heritage.
  • The Southern Cross - the Southern Cross constellation is a common symbol for Australia, representing the School's location and home.
  • A crown - representing loyalty to the sovereign and legitimate government.
  • A lymphad or birlin - a Scottish heraldic ship with oars in use, thus rowing into the wind, and representing enterprise and perseverance.
  • A torch - representing the torch of knowledge and learning.

The motto of the School, shown in Scottish heraldic style in a scroll above the coat-of-arms, is Latin: "Deo Patriae Litteris". Its meaning in English is "For God, For Country, For Learning".[18]


F. G. Donaldson AM retired as principal at the conclusion of 2007, having served 25 years, and was succeeded by I. T. Batty who commenced his term in 2008. Batty is only the ninth principal in the school's history.[19]

Period Details
1851 1856 Robert Lawson[10]
1857 1903 Alexander Morrison[20]
1904 1933 William Still Littlejohn[21]
1934 1953 Colin Macdonald Gilray OBE MC[22]
1953 1964 Richard Selby Smith OBE
1965 1974 Colin Oswald Healey OBE TD
1975 1981 Philip Anthony Vere Roff
1983 2007 Francis Gordon Donaldson AM
2008 present Ian Thomas Batty

Governance and denominational affiliation

Scotch is an incorporated body governed by a Council of seventeen members - who are directors - made up of three groups; Five Presbyterian Church of Victoria nominees (Group A), Five persons (usually Old Boys) nominated by the Old Scotch Collegians' Association (Group B), and seven persons nominated by Council from the community at large (Group C), usually with some connection with the School and the Christian church. All appointments are made annually by the Presbyterian Church from the first of December every year.[23]

Chairmen of the Council have included Sir Arthur Robinson, Sir Archibald Glenn, Sir James Balderstone, David Crawford AO Michael B Robinson AO and David A. Kemp AC.

In 1977, most congregations of the Australian Presbyterian Church left the church and joined with the Methodist and Congregationalist churches in Australia to form the Uniting Church in Australia. The Presbyterian Church of Australia continued with the remaining congregations. In the split, Scotch College, Melbourne was allocated to the Presbyterian Church of Australia by the Handley Commission which was appointed to distribute the assets of the churches, which included an even number of representatives from the Uniting Church and the continuing Presbyterian Church as well as independent commissioners. At the time the Scotch Council unsuccessfully appealed this decision.[24]


  • Hawthorn - The school has a single boarding, sporting and academic campus of 27 hectares (67 acres) in suburban Hawthorn.[25] Sporting facilities include ovals and soccer/rugby fields, two synthetic grass hockey/soccer fields, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, an indoor diving pool, three gymnasiums, two weights rooms and three squash courts. As the school is situated on the banks of the Yarra River, the school has rowing and boating facilities located within its grounds.[25]
  • Healesville - The school has 80 hectares (198 acres) of forest with a lodge in the hills at Healesville east of Melbourne, used for Class Retreats, as well as Scout and Cadet camps.[25]
  • Phillip Island - The school has an absolute-beach-front residential seaside property at Cowes on Phillip Island, which is the site of a one-week orientation camp for Year 7 students and other camps.[25]


Scotch has been a boarding school since its foundation.[26] Today the School caters for 160 boarders of whom around 70% are drawn from around Australia and 30% are from overseas.[27] The boarding precinct is on "The Hill" which overlooks the Senior School at the main Hawthorn campus. There are three boarding houses: School House, McMeckan House and Arthur Robinson House. Both School House and McMeckan House were built as the gift of Anthony Mackie, and his brother and sisters, in memory of their uncle Captain James McMeckan.[28] Arthur Robinson House is named after a Chairman of the School Council, Sir Arthur Robinson.[29]


Scotch students study towards the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), which is the main secondary student assessment program in Victoria which ranks students with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for university entrance purposes.

Extra-curricular activities

Some extra-curricular groups and activities at Scotch are:

  • Army Cadet Corps - The Scotch College Cadet Corps was established in 1884, and holds an annual Tattoo. Cadets have weekly activities at the school and participate in camps and bivouacs.[30][31]
  • Pipe Band - The Scotch College Pipes and Drums Band was established in 1946 and is one of the oldest school pipe bands in Australia. It wears the Gordon tartan, and competes at national and international competitions and highland festivals. It performs at school and public events including in the annual ANZAC Day March to the Shrine of Remembrance. It is the current national champion in the Juvenile grade.[32][33] The pipe band performed on stage with Sir Paul McCartney on 5 and 6 December 2017, during his One on One tour. Sir Paul famously autographed the vellum of the bass drum on stage.[34]
  • Military Band - The Military Band performs at school, and in public including in the annual ANZAC Day March to the Shrine of Remembrance and on overseas tours. All members of the band are also members of the Australian Army Cadet Corps.[35]
  • Ist Hawthorn (Scotch College) Scout Group - Scotch has its own Scout Group, established in 1926, that is part of Scouts Australia. The Scout Group meets regularly each Thursday at the school and participate in off-campus activities such as camps.[36]
  • Sports First Aid - A Thursday afternoon service that boys can choose to undertake to gain advanced training in first aid. Members of the service learn valuable skills such as CPR and soft and hard tissue injury management. Members help the Scotch College community by regularly attending Saturday mornings to treat any injuries suffered during sport matches. An annual camp is held at Cowes where boys practice the skills they have learned.[37]
  • Debating - Scotch regularly participates in debating, competing in the Debaters Association of Victoria Schools Competition. Each season, the school hosts the Hawthorn region of the Schools Competition. In 2008 the First Debating Team were the State A Grade runners-up, while the school was also runner up in the State British Parliamentary Debating Competition.[38] Scotch debaters have recently toured the United Kingdom participating in inter-school debating tournaments.[39][40] In 2009, Scotch won the inaugural Monash Viewpoint Economics Debate.[41] In 2010, Scotch made Victorian debating history when it won the A Grade (Year 12), B Grade (Year 11) and C Grade (Year 10) State Grand Finals in the DAV (Debaters Association of Victoria) Debating Competition.[42][43]


Scotch College competes in the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS) league in Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Cricket, Cross Country, Australian Rules Football, Hockey, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Squash, Swimming and Diving, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball and Water Polo. In 2015 the first eight won its sixth consecutive Head of the River, with the School having won eleven out of the previous twelve Heads of the River[44] The school has won the Head of the River event more than any other competing school. As well as claiming the Victorian State title the 2010 first eight was the first interstate school to win the NSW State Championship title in both the Schoolboy 8+ and Men's Under 21 8+ as well as claiming Australian Championship title, with that crew being the most successful Australian schoolboy crew in history. The first eight also represented Australia in the 2013 World Rowing Junior Championships, placing fifth in the A final. In 2017, the 1st VIII went to Henley after a fantastic season winning the head of the river and Australian Championships. They managed to beat Radley in the final to claim the Princess Elizabeth Challenge cup, the first Victorian crew ever to win it and the 3rd Australian crew. Previously it was last won in 2001. This crew is known as the greatest Scotch crew ever.[45]

In addition to the APS competition, Scotch competes in a number of competitions with specific schools, including:

  • Cordner-Eggleston Cup - This Cup is contested each year by the first football teams of Scotch and Melbourne Grammar School. It commemorates the first recorded game of Australian Rules Football, which was played between the two schools on 7 August 1858, which ended in a 1-1 draw and is today commemorated by a statue depicting the game outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[46][47]
  • The Batty Shield - This Shield is contested between the first cricket teams of Scotch and Eton College. The Shield was inaugurated in 2008 after a number of cricket tours between the schools, and is named after the current principal of Scotch who was previously a Housemaster at Eton.[48][49]
  • The Tait Cup - This Cup is contested between the first cricket teams of Scotch and Geelong Grammar School and commemorates the links between the schools back to their first cricket match in 1855.[50]
  • The John Roe Shield - This Shield is contested between the first soccer teams of Scotch and Saint Peter's College, Adelaide.[51]
  • The Colin Bell Trophy - This Trophy is contested between the first Rugby teams of Scotch and Melbourne Grammar which recognises the first schoolboy game of Rugby played in Victoria in 1932.[52]


Alumni of Scotch College are known as Old Boys or Old Collegians, and automatically become members of the School's alumni association, the Old Scotch Collegians' Association (OSCA).[53]

Studies over the years have found that Scotch College had more alumni mentioned in Who's Who in Australia (a listing of notable Australians) than any other school,[4][5][6][7] and its alumni had received more top Order of Australia honours than any other school.[9]

Alumni of Scotch College include

Images of Hawthorn campus

See also


  1. "The School Motto". Deo Patriae Litteris. Scotch College. Archived from the original on 21 December 2006. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  2. "Scotch College". Find a School. Association of Independent Schools of Victoria. 2007. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  3. "Scotch College". Victoria. School Choice. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  4. Walker, Frank (22 July 2001). "The ties that bind". Sunday Life. The Sun-Herald. p. 16. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  5. "Who's Who of School Rankings". Better Education Australia. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  6. Mark Peel and Janet McCalman, Who Went Where in Who's Who 1988: The Schooling of the Australian Elite, Melbourne University History Research Series Number 1, 1992
  7. Ian Hansen, Nor Free Nor Secular: Six Independent Schools in Victoria, a First Sample, Oxford University Press, 1971
  8. Ferrari, Justine. "Richest schools add higher fees to funding pool". The Australian. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  9. Topsfield, Jewel (4 December 2010). "Ties that bind prove a private education has its awards". The Age. p. 11. The hard copy article also published a table of the schools which were ranked in the top ten places, as follows: (1st with 19 awards) Scotch College, Melbourne, (2nd with 17 awards) Geelong Grammar School, (3rd with 13 awards) Sydney Boys High School, (equal 4th with 10 awards each) Fort Street High School, Perth Modern School and St Peter's College, Adelaide, (equal 7th with 9 awards each) Melbourne Grammar School, North Sydney Boys High School and The King's School, Parramatta, (equal 10th with 6 awards each) Launceston Grammar School, Melbourne High School, Wesley College, Melbourne and Xavier College.
  10. "Scotch College at Spring Street". History. Scotch College. Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  11. "Scotch College". Schools - Victoria. Australian Boarding Schools Association. 2008. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  12. "Conclusions and further research" (PDF). Publications. The Australian Political Studies Association. p. 45. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  13. "Scotch College". Member Directory. International Boys' Schools Coalition. 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  14. "JSHAA Victoria Directory of Members". Victoria Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  15. "International Members". HMC Schools. The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Archived from the original on 15 March 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
  16. Pearl, Cyril (1967). Morrison of Peking. Sydney,Australia: Angus & Robertson.
  17. James Mitchell, A Deepening Roar - Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001, Allen & Unwin, 2001, page 6
  18. James Mitchell, A Deepening Roar - Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001, Allen & Unwin, 2001, pages 135-137
  19. Scotch College Website. "Tom Batty appointed as new principal after worldwide search". Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  20. French, E.L (1974). "Morrison, Alexander (1829 - 1903)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 5 (Online ed.). Melbourne, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. pp. 295–297. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  21. Bate, Weston (1986). "Littlejohn, William Still (1859 - 1933)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 10 (Online ed.). Melbourne, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. pp. 122–123. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  22. Serle, Geoffrey (1996). "Gilray, Colin Macdonald (1885 - 1974)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 14 (Online ed.). Melbourne, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. pp. 274–275. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  23. Scotch College Website. "Scotch College Council - How it Works". Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  24. "New Scotch History at the Printer". Great Scot. Scotch College. September 2001. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  25. "Location". Senior School Admission. Scotch College. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  26. James Mitchell, A Deepening Roar - Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001, Allen & Unwin, 2001, page 3
  27. Scotch College Website. "Boarding at Scotch College". Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  28. James Mitchell, A Deepening Roar - Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001, Allen & Unwin, 2001, page 125
  29. James Mitchell, A Deepening Roar - Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001, Allen & Unwin, 2001, page 120
  30. "Great Scot Article" from Scotch College Website. "Stunning Tattoo and Retreat". Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  31. "A deepening roar: Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001", by Jim Mitchell, page 29. Cadets. Retrieved 21 November 2009.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. Scotch College Website. "Scotch College Pipes and Drums - Background and Origin". Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  33. Scotch College Website. "Scotch College Pipes and Drums Auxiliary". Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  35. Scotch College Website. "Scotch College Military Band". Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  36. Scotch College Website. "About Scouts at Scotch College". Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  38. DAV Finals results, 2008.
  39. No debating it - this was a marvellous tour, Great Scot, April 2006.
  40. Debating around England and France, Great Scot, May 2008.
  41. Scotch successful at Monash University’s inaugural Viewpoint Economics debating competition, Great Scot, September 2009
  42. Unanimously, it was debating's annus mirabilis, Great Scot, December 2010.
  43. DAV Schools Competition - Honour Roll
  45. Head of the River (Victoria)
  46. Scotch College Website. "The Cordner-Eggleston Cup". Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  47. AFL Website. "A Time Honoured Rivalry". Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  48. Scotch College Website. "Scotch College Cricket Newsletter" (PDF). Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  49. Eton Cricket Blogspot. "Australia Tour 2008". Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  50. Scotch College Website. "Stylish Debut for Tait Cup Dinner". Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  51. Scotch College Website. "Soccer". Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  52. Scotch College website. "Rugby's 80th Year". Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  53. "Membership". About OSCA. Scotch College. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  54. Ironside, Wallace. "Cade, John Frederick Joseph (1912–1980)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.

Further reading

  • Stuart Gerstman and James Mitchell, Visions of Boyhood - Scotch College in Pictures, Hardie Grant Books, 2007, ISBN 978-1-74066-565-0
  • Stephen Matthews, The Pipes and Drums: Scotch College Melbourne - A History, Scotch College Pipes and Drums Auxiliary, 2007, ISBN 978-0-646-48090-9
  • James Mitchell, A Deepening Roar - Scotch College, Melbourne, 1851-2001, Allen & Unwin, 2001, ISBN 1-86508-576-6
  • Desmond Zwar, The Soul of a School, Macmillan, 1982, ISBN 0-333-33840-5
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.