The Armidale School

The Armidale School (abbreviated as TAS) is an independent Anglican co-educational early learning, primary and secondary day and boarding school, located in Armidale, on the New England Tablelands of northern New South Wales, Australia. Administration of the schools is formalised as a company limited by guarantee that operates under the Corporations Act.

The Armidale School
The main building of The Armidale School, designed by Sir John Sulman in 1892
The Armidale School
Location in New South Wales

Coordinates30°31′13″S 151°40′26″E
Former nameNew England Proprietary School
TypeIndependent co-educational early learning, primary and secondary day and boarding school
MottoLatin: Absque Deo Nihil
(Without God, Nothing)
Established1894 (1894)[1]
Educational authorityNew South Wales Department of Education
ChairmanSebastian Hempel
ChaplainRev. Richard Newton
GradesEarly learning; K12
Enrolment~620 (2016[3])
Campus typeRegional
Colour(s)Navy blue and straw         
SloganExplore, Experience, Excel
AthleticsAthletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales

Founded in 1894 as the New England Proprietary School,[4] The Armidale School has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 640 students, including 250 boarders from Years 6 to 12.[2] TAS has classes of students in Transition (4 years old), Junior School for children in Kindergarten to Year 5 which offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, a Middle School for those in Years 6 to 8 (offering the IB Middle Years Programme) and a Senior School from Years 9 to 12 (18 years old).[5] In 1993, The Armidale School became the first school in Australia to provide internet access for its students.[6]

The School is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[7] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[8] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[5] and is one of only three Round Square schools in the state of New South Wales.[9] TAS is also the only member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS)[10] located outside of the Sydney metropolitan area.[11]


The Armidale School was founded in 1894 as a boarding school for the sons of the gentry,[6] however the origins of the school can be traced to 1838, when Patrick Grant, a magistrate at Maitland, conceived the idea of a proprietary school for boys in the Hunter Region.[4] This idea was taken over by prominent members of the Church of England in the northern districts of New South Wales, and 500 pounds was obtained from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, as a result of the efforts of the first (and only) Bishop of Australia, William Grant Broughton. In 1840, a site for the school was purchased at Honeysuckle Point, in Newcastle.[4] Nothing more came of the plan until the appointment of William Tyrrell, as the first Bishop of Newcastle in 1846. The property was passed on to Tyrrell, and in 1854 the land was resumed by the Hunter River Railway Company.[4]

By 1877, the school had still not been established, and Bishop Tyrrell began to push the matter further. Subsequently, a plan was drawn up and land selected at Blandford, near Murrurundi. In 1881, it was determined that the plan to build the School at Blandford was unaffordable, and a suggestion was made that it should be built on the New England Tablelands at Armidale. The additional capital required, to the amount of 6,000 pounds, was raised by James Ross, Archdeacon of Armidale, and his leading laymen.[4]

On 5 June 1891, The New England Proprietary School Limited (NEPS) was incorporated with 100 pound shares, offered at 50 pounds each, allowing each shareholder to nominate one pupil for each share purchased. The Directors purchased 20 acres (8 ha) in Armidale in September 1891, adding to the 10 acres (4 ha) obtained in 1889. The foundation stone of the main building, designed by noted architect Sir John Sulman, was laid on 22 February 1893, by the Governor of N.S.W., the Rt. Hon. Victor Albert George, Earl of Jersey. The Opening Ceremony was performed by the Rt. Rev Arthur Vincent Green, Bishop of Grafton and Armidale on 15 May 1894.[4]

The name of the company and School was changed in 1896 to The Armidale School (TAS). Also that year, TAS joined the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (GPS) in Sydney, and has remained a member ever since.[4]

In 1950, the School site was transferred to the Trustees of the Church of England Diocese of Armidale, and was administered by a School Council comprising members from the Diocese, Old Boys' Union and P&F.[4] through to 2009.

On 1 January 2010 the School was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act with the name: The Armidale School.

In March 2015, the School announced it would commence full co-education, and began taking enrolments for Year 12 students, who would begin tuition in October 2015, and for Year 6-11 students, to begin tuition in 2016.[12] This expanded upon an already co-educational Junior School, and was announced following a nine-week consultation process.[13] The school started 2016 with 53 girls, including 14 boarders.[14]


Period Details[4]
1894 – 1906 Rev W A Fisher, MA (Cantab)
1906 – 1910 Rev A H Reynolds, MA (Cantab)
1910 – 1912 Ven Archdeacon T K Abbott, MA (Oxon)
1913 – 1918 Rev F T Perkins, MA (Sydney)
1918 – 1919 Rev Canon J Forster, BA (Melbourne), ThL.
1919 – 1926 Rev Canon H. K. Archdall, MA (Cantab), ThSoc
1927 – 1934 Rev H Sanger, MA (Cantab)
1936 – 1939 Rev H P Young, MA (Cantab), BLitt
1940 – 1961 G.A. Fisher, B.A., B.Sc. (Queensland), MACE
1962 – 1982 A H Cash, MA (Oxon), DipEd, FACE
1982 – 1986 G C S Andrews, MA (Cantab), DipEd, DipEdAdmin, FRGS, MACE, MIBG
1987 – 1997 K Langford-Smith, BA (Sydney), MA (Western Australia), ACP
1998 – 2019 Mr Murray L Guest, BA (Sydney), MComm Hons (UNSW), Grad Dip Ed (Sydney)


The Armidale School is situated on a single 18 hectares (44 acres) campus in Armidale, a university city on the New England Tablelands of New South Wales, midway between Sydney and Brisbane.[6] The school features a mix of historic and modern buildings, all of which reflect design elements of the outstanding original building designed by noted architect Sir John Sulman in 1892. Other notable buildings are the 1902 Chapel, designed by Cyril Blacket, and the War Memorial Assembly Hall, which features three magnificent stained glass windows designed by Napier Waller.

The facilities of the school include the Michael Hoskins Creative Arts Centre, which incorporates a 240-seat performing arts theatre, drama classrooms and visual arts studios. The centre is used by various local and visiting performing arts organisations including as the 'home' of the Armidale Drama & Music Society. Other facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, rifle range, cattle stud, chapel, gymnasium, library, music centre, computer rooms,[11] climbing wall, weights room, an indoor cricket centre, several indoor and outdoor basketball courts, seven tennis courts, rugby and soccer fields, and cricket wickets.


TAS currently has six school boarding houses, named Abbott, Croft, Dangar, Tyrrell, and White, and an as yet unnamed 64-bed girls' boarding house which opened its doors in 2018.[4] The senior boys' boarding houses (Abbott, Croft and Tyrrell) each accommodate up to 60 students, with 10 to 15 boys in each year group. In the lower years boys are accommodated in dormitories, and as they progress through the school are moved into private study/bedrooms. Middle School boys are accommodated in White House, whilst Middle School girl boarders will soon reside in Dangar House, the school's original primary school.[15]

Co-curricular Activities

Co-curricular activities available to TAS students include: Debating and public speaking, drama, band, orchestra, choirs, art, photography, Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and a school Poll Hereford stud which exhibits cattle at local and regional agricultural shows.[11] Annual theatrical productions are staged in the School's Hoskins Centre theatre; previous productions include Les Misérables (2013), West Side Story (2014), Once Upon a Mattress (2015) and Bye Bye Birdie (2016).[16]

Community service

It is an expectation of TAS that all students must commit to at least 20 hours of community service per year, both in the local and wider community.

Year 8 students may volunteer for a service trip to St Christopher's orphanage in Fiji, where they participate in the upkeep and daily maintenance of the orphanage and establish friendships with the children.[6] A similar Christian service trip is offered to Year 10 and 11 students to Thailand, assisting at the McKean Leprosy Rehabilitation Centre and the Agape AIDS Orphanage near Chang Mai. Other service offerings have included a visit to helping indigenous boys and girls at Yipirinya School in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Locally, senior TAS students have for more than a decade participated in a lunchtime reading and play program with the neighbouring Minimbah Primary School, an independent school in east Armidale with a predominantly Indigenous student enrolment. Other student-led initiatives include donating blood to the NSW Red Cross Blood Bank and support raising awareness for mental health most recently through not-for-profit social agency, Batyr.


The Armidale School is one of the nine members of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (GPS)[10] and participates in some GPS sporting competitions as well as several non-GPS or traditional sports. TAS students may participate in a variety of sports including: athletics, basketball, canoeing, cricket, cross country, hockey, netball, rowing, rugby union, rifle shooting, soccer, squash, rowing, swimming, tennis, triathlon and water polo.

In April each year, the school hosts more than 40 school and club teams at the TAS Rugby Carnival, the largest primary-aged rugby carnival in Australia.

The school also holds a swimming carnival and an athletics carnival once a year, with students participating in inter-house competition. Boarding students compete for either Abbott, Croft or Tyrrell house, whilst day students are members of Broughton, Green or Ross houses. Broughton was originally a boarding house; Green and Ross were inaugurated in 1983 by Prince Edward, during a private visit to the school. Inter-house competitions are also held for debating, public speaking, and the creative arts.

Leadership, Service & Adventure

The Armidale School has a leadership, service and adventure program which has an emphasis on outdoor education and is designed to develop a sense of responsibility and self-confidence through activities such as abseiling, whitewater kayaking and bivouacs. Outdoor education activities in which students may participate in, include the following:


Founded in 1898 and one of the longest-running cadet units in Australia, the TAS Cadet Unit is part of the Australian Army Cadet Corps. This activity is compulsory for students in Years 8 to 10, and is voluntary for Years 11 onwards. It involves drill and ceremonial work, and Outward Bound training. A Ceremonial Guard provides a catafalque party each year at ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services in Armidale and at school, and the TAS Cadet band operates for the annual cadet unit passing out parade.

Rural Fire Service

In 1970 TAS became the first school in NSW to offer bush firefighter training, originally as part of the service component for the school's Duke of Edinburgh Award. The school's RFS program aims to produce students who are competent in aspects of bush firefighting, and who take an active role in helping their community by obtaining a Bush Firefighting (BF) qualification. The activity is carried out in conjunction with the Dumaresq Brigade of the NSW Rural Fire Service New England Zone and at the RFS' Armidale Fire Training Centre.[17]

Surf Life Saving

Surf life saving commenced at TAS in 1967, as a service component for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme introduced at the school earlier that year. For the first few years, the boys did their training at Nambucca Heads, and during the 1990s, with Yamba SLSC. Currently the relationship is with Sawtell SLSC,[18] where students spend several days during the year and then an intensive week of training and assessment in November. Students are instructed in inshore boat rescue - crewing, patient pick-ups and assessment, related signals, radio, equipment and safety; first aid - CPR; board rescues, tube rescues, patient care, patient carries, etc. This program culminates in an examination for their RLSSA Surf Life Saving Bronze Medallion.


As part of the school's adventure program a number of expeditions have taken place including 5 treks of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, the Sea to Summit cycle ride from Pambula to the peak of Mount Kosciuszko, and to Antarctica.


The TAS Triple Crown was instigated in 2014 as an award given to those students who complete three adventure events during their time at the school - the 2 km Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim, the 14 km City to Surf footrace in Sydney, and the 111 km overnight Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. Those who complete the three in the one year are awarded the Gold Triple Crown.

Round Square

TAS is a member of Round Square,[19] an international organisation of more than 140 schools worldwide which subscribes to the philosophy of Kurt Hahn (1886-1974), a renowned educationalist, who founded the idea of experiential education through such initiatives as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and Outward Bound. The philosophy is based on five pillars or IDEALS: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service. The Round Square network affords member schools the opportunity to arrange local and international student and teacher exchanges on a regular basis between their schools. Students and staff also have the opportunity to participate in local and international community service projects and conferences.

Notable alumni

Alumnus of The Armidale School are referred to generally as Old Armidalians, Old Boys or Old Girls (following the introduction of co-education in 2015) and may elect to join the schools' alumni association, the Old Armidalians' Union (formerly TAS Old Boys' Union).[20] Some notable Old Armidalians include:

Rhodes scholar
Media, entertainment and the arts
Politics, public service and the law

See also


  1. "Case Study: Armidale Educational Excellence". Regional Australia - Schooling. Regional Living Australia. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  2. "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Current Happenings. The Armidale School. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  3. "Annual Report 2016" (PDF). Current Happenings. The Armidale School. 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  4. Constable, A.J (July 1987). "The Armidale School: An Introduction" (PDF). School Community. The Armidale School. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  5. "The Armidale School". New South Wales. Australian Boarding Schools' Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  6. "Prospectus" (PDF). Publications. The Armidale School. 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  7. "AHISA Schools: New South Wales". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  8. "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  9. "Member Schools". Members. Round Square. 2007. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  10. "AAGPS History". Info. Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2007.
  11. "The Armidale School". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  12. Thomas, Kerrin. "Historic day as first girls start HSC at The Armidale School". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  13. McOwan, Johannah. "The Armidale School goes co-ed". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  14. Media, Fairfax Regional (28 January 2016). "Girls join the fold in TAS first". The Northern Daily Leader. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  15. "Dangar House – Girls' Boarding | TAS". Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  16. "Drama | TAS". Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  17. "Outback :: RM Williams". Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  18. "Sawtell SLSC and fine TAS traditions are strictly old school". Coffs Coast Advocate. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  19. "Round Square".
  20. "Old Armidalians' Union". School Community. The Armidale School. 2007. Archived from the original on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  21. "Robertson-Cuninghame, Robert, Clarence (1924 - )". New South Wales Regional Electronic Archives. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  22. Pearce, Suzannah, ed. (2007). Who’s Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.
  23. "Alex Buzo i(88 works by) (a.k.a. Alexander John Buzo)". University of Queensland. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  24. "Taylor, Sir Patrick Gordon (1896–1966)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 25 June 2017.

Further reading

  • Graham, J. 1994. A school of their own: The history of the Armidale School. The Armidale School, Armidale, NSW. ISBN 0-646-15857-0.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.