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Scotch College, Perth

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Scotch College
Scotch College, Perth Logo.svg
Latin: Sicut Patribus Sit Deus Nobis
("May God be with us as He was with our forefathers")
Swanbourne, WA, Australia Australia
Coordinates 31°58′52″S 115°46′23″E Coordinates: 31°58′52″S 115°46′23″E
Type Independent, Single-sex, Day and Boarding
Denomination Uniting Church
Established 1897
Chairman Richard Goyder
Headmaster Dr Alec O’Connell
Staff ~100
Enrolment ~1,170
Colour(s) Maroon, Blue and Gold             

Scotch College (informally known as Scotch or SC), is an Australian independent school for boys, situated in Swanbourne, Western Australia, Australia. The school is a member of the Public Schools Association (PSA) and is now a Uniting Church school, although it was founded in 1897 by the Presbyterian Church of Australia. The school has undertaken the International Baccalaureate's Primary Years and Middle Years programmes since 2003. Recently offered the Diploma Program for 2010 Year 11's as an option, the school will continue to run the State education [WACE] course.

Scotch has two large campus in Swanbourne and Claremont. It also has an outdoor education centre in Dwellingup. The campus in Swanbourne consists of a senior school for Years 8 to 12 and the campus in Claremont consists of junior school for Year 1 to 5 and middle school for Year 6 to 7. Also located on the Claremont campus are sports grounds, and boarding facilities for 140 students.



Rev. David Ross, a founder of Scotch College

Scotch College owes its foundations to a conversation at an 1896 dinner party, where the parent of a 12 year old boy, Mrs Jane Alexander, wife of Hon. William Alexander, MLC, complained that there was an absence of a Presbyterian school for boys in Perth. She offered Rev. David Ross, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Western Australia, £500 to establish Scotch College. The announcement of the college came on Monday 4 January 1897, in the form of an advertisement. The advertisement included the first location of the school, Shearer Memorial Hall, which is now the Perth Trades Hall. When founded, the school was originally named The Alexander Scotch College. The school would later shorten its name to Scotch College in 1908 for banking purposes.

In 1905, the College became a founding school of the Public Schools Association, showing it to be by that time a well regarded independent school, and entitling it to take part in the most competitive schoolboy sporting competition in Western Australia.

World War One to World War Two

Alexander Scotch College 1904

During World War I, 475 boys enlisted to defend the empire as part of the Allied forces. This number represented over 50% of all Scotch alumni at the time. A roll of honour is present in Collegians House, the current administration building, featuring the names of all past Scotch College boys who had volunteered to fight.

In 1939, the Head Masters' Conference approached the Commonwealth Government for financial assistance due to low staff salaries, the standard of the school's science facilities and the lack of money the school possessed. When gifts of money to the school became tax deductible in 1954 (provided donations were for the purpose of either repaying debt on buildings or helping to fund new building projects), people found they had more incentive to donate to schools. This led to Scotch, among other schools around Australia, beginning fundraising appeals within the school community.

Collectable cigarette card featuring the Scotch colours and crest, c.1920s.

Post War

Even before donations were made tax deductible, an appeal to fund a memorial for past boys who served in the Second World War raised £9,000 by 1950. When the school's council, the town in which Scotch resides in, inquired about the cost for a memorial hall to sit 650 people, they were shocked to discover it would cost around £30,000. A fete organised in 1953 raised £2,500. Another fete was arranged and appeals to both past students and parents increased the total raised to £17,500. Despite lack of funds, David Brisbane, a council member since 1945, laid the foundation stone for the hall in early 1957. Although donations to schools over £1 had been tax-deductible since 1954, it was not until January 1957 that the Taxation Department informed the school that all donations towards the new Scotch College Building Fund would be tax-deductible. The appeal committee launched a major appeal raising £23,000 for the Memorial Hall.

The Memorial Hall was opened by Sir Charles Gairdner, Governor of Western Australia at the time, on 19 October 1957, the same year as the school's Diamond Jubilee. The opening led to a further £30,000 in promised donations, although the actual amount received was below this figure. Eventually the cost of the hall led to the school having to be provided a £25,000 overdraft from the ASB Bank; this led to an increase in school fees. The total cost of the Memorial Hall was £48,864 and the appeal raised £45,700. Gordon Gooch, who has a sports pavilion at the school named after him, met the shortfall.

1970 to 1990

In 1971, after observing the May 1968 French riots, a group of year 12 boys organised a "schoolboy strike" on the regulations of hair length, after the issue had been simmering for several months. The strike involved 60 boys refusing to return to class after the lunch bell, despite threat of expulsion, which led the headmaster to arrange an assembly for all boys after having a psycho. The ringleader of the strike, Lord Cary Kallis informed the Nine Network newsroom to announce the strike. However, Kallis informed several boys which led to news of the strike quickly spreading around the school. After being threatened by a teacher with expulsion, Kallis quickly called Channel Nine again, pretending to be a teacher, by saying "The strike has been cancelled and the boys have been disciplined". As mentioned above, the strike still went ahead.

Collegians House, the administration building.

In 1984, Scotch acquired Moray, the school's outdoor education centre where students would be able to attend camps. This was purchased after the school had considered, for over a decade, the possibility of acquiring a site for a school camp. The Parents' Association gave support to the project and the school purchased the 164-acre (0.66 km2) property through a mortgagee sale for $220,000. It was named Moray after a province in Scotland where Clan Murray originated (the Moray camp site is adjacent to the Murray River).

The Scotch College foundation was established in 1986, when Judge Robert Keall was chairman of the college. The foundation raised $1.1 million within six months to partly fund a new Physical Education Centre. Robert Keall opened the $2.25 million centre on 29 March 1988.

Recent years

In 2007 the school built the Dickinson Centre, named after Scotch's previous headmaster, the late WR Dickinson, for assemblies and other functions. In June 2009 the school opened a Science, Design and Technology building next to the school Chapel. Designed by Taylor Robinson architects, the new facility marks the completion of the first stage of the school's Master Plan.

A memorial service was held for the late WR Dickinson, the fifth Headmaster of Scotch College, at 3pm on 10 May 2006. A pavilion was erected on the Scotch playing fields, and the School and Pipe Band formed a guard of honour for the Dickinson family members and the funeral cortege as they arrived.


Position Period Name
Headmaster 1897 – 1904 Mr John Sharpe MA
Headmaster 1904 – 1945 Mr P C Anderson CBE
Acting Headmaster 1945 – 1947 Mr G G Campbell
Headmaster 1947 – 1968 Dr G Maxwell Keys
Headmaster 1969 – 1971 Mr D H Prest
Headmaster 1972 – 1997 Mr W R Dickinson
Headmaster 1998 – 2010 Revd Andrew Syme
Acting Headmaster January – June 2011 Mr Peter Freitag
Headmaster June/July 2011 – Present Dr Alec O’Connell


Scotch offers a wide range of subjects in its academic curriculum. All students in Years 8 to 10 study one language other than English — either French or Indonesian — through the International Baccalaureate's Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP also requires students in years 9 and 10 to do a year-long personal project. For this project, boys can choose a topic of their choice, provided that the topic relates to the Areas of Interaction.

Scotch awards several scholarships based on academic merit to students, but under agreed PSA rules no member schools may award sports scholarships. Entrance scholarships at Scotch are based on the results of scholarship examinations. In year 11 there is a scholarship open to sons of former alumni (P.C. Anderson Memorial Old Boy's Scholarship). To be considered boys must have several references and nominations from the staff and are required to sit an interview and submit a copy of their resume.

Middle School Structure

In 2003, the school changed the Years 8 to 10 learning structure, after the school became an International Baccalaureate certified school. Students in these years study two languages, a math, a science, an arts, a technology, a humanities and Physical Education subject.

Boys working in the Media Studio

Boys in Years 9 and 10 have the option of choosing which technology and arts classes they take for either the year or semester. There are two art classes; 2D and 3D art. The former comprises drawing and painting; the latter, pottery and other sculpture art. Drama is another class identified as an art by the MYP, and students learn many techniques, including improvisation and comedy. Music is also an art class and students can create their own music on computer programs like Super Duper Music Looper.

For technology classes there are several options. In metal work, boys will build many different metallic objects, including cricket stumps. Wood work has boys making objects out of wood. In recent years boys have made tiny CO2 powered dragsters. The 'understanding technology' class is popular, as students create electronics and dancing robots. In recent years, the technology department has talked about wanting students to create a solar powered car. The main reason this has not been undertaken is because of cost. Information Systems and 3D modelling are two different subjects. Boys are taught in the computer lab and use the computers to create architectural designs and databases.

In Year 10, students have the option of doing media studies and/or business and enterprise. Media studies has boys create their own movie and critically analyse feature films in the form of essays. In business and enterprise, students will create their own share portfolio on the Australian Stock Exchange website. This is an imaginary game however and no real money is involved.

In Years 9 and 10, boys do a personal project, as part of their MYP education. This starts midway through Year 9 and finishes a year later, midway through Year 10. However, parents and boys have been very critical of the personal project as boys are required to hold meetings discussing their progress during class time. They are also critical of the fact that only the essay at the end of the project is marked, not the project itself.

A similar structure was introduced to the junior school when they joined the IB Primary Years Programme, becoming the only school in the Western Australia certified to teach the programme.

Senior School Curriculum

As Scotch does not offer the IB Diploma Programme to senior students, students in Years 11 and 12 have the option of undertaking either Tertiary Entrance Exam subjects or wholly School-assessed subjects; students select these subjects in Year 10. Many choose to sit the Tertiary Entrance Exam so they can attend university to further their education. The top student for each subject is awarded a prize on speech night, and the Year 12 student who finishes top of their year is awarded Dux.

Every two years, the school has a tour to France for French language students in Years 11 and 12. These tours run for around two weeks and allow boys to stay with a French family, giving them the chance to experience native French.

Scotch students have been consistently gaining high marks in their TEE exams. This was continued in 2004 with two students awarded General Exhibitions as well as three boys receiving Certificates of Distinction. A further eleven boys were awarded Certificates of Excellence. A total of ten Scotch boys were given Tertiary Entrance Ranks (TERs) of 99 or above and 29 boys received TERs of 95 or above.

In 2005, a Scotch graduate received the Beazley Medal, which is awarded to the top student in the state, for his TEE results. As in 2004, two students were awarded General Exhibitions. Subject Exhibitions were awarded to three students for 5 overall subjects. Eleven boys received Certificates of Excellence and six boys were awarded Certificates of Distinction for eleven subjects overall. A total of nine TERs above 99 were received while 30 boys received a TER of 95 or higher.

Scotch student life

Scotch offers a comprehensive extracurricular activities program for students. The school also has boarding facilities for students who live in rural areas of Western Australia, as well as international students. The major components of the program are sport, music, the Arts and Community and Service. Students in Years 10–12 may participate in FESA Cadet programs. Activities offered: Cadets, Chess, Debating, Instep, UNYA, Duke of Edinburgh, SMARTS, Prometheans, Drama, Music and Pipe Band.


All boarding students are members of Keys House, one of the ten houses at Scotch.All of the boarders live in residential houses, including the new Keys House block, which was finished in 2001, with their house head, who lives on site. Boarders' meals are served in the Dining hall, which is in close proximity to all boarding facilities. Boarders also have 24 hour access to medical services. In 2006, international students were required to pay an extra $5,700 in lieu of Government Subsidies and extra administration costs.

On weekends boarders will often do a variety of activities that staff arrange. They also use the nearby Indian Ocean as well as Challenge Stadium and Subiaco Oval. Boarders in Years 10, 11 and 12 will also participate in sport on a Saturday morning.

A boarding tradition at Scotch is walking the entire Bibbulmun Track. Boys walk sections of the track each year. This is not a compulsory event, however. In 2005, the Year 12 boarders gave a presentation about the walk. The Archbishop of Perth was present and gave a memorable speech.


In the junior school and Years 8, 9 and 10 in the senior school, students will camp for several days, depending on their age, at Moray near Dwellingup. Moray, close to the Murray River, is set in Australian bush. Moray allows students to camp either outside, under swags, or inside cabins. Students here will learn about safety, the ecosystems and how native Aborigines lived in the area. They will also learn how to be more independent by cooking their own food and setting up their own swag. Students will also do activities on the Murray River such as kayaking or canoeing, climbing an outdoor rock wall, climbing a telephone pole, and doing a suspended ropes course.

The Cadets also use Moray for a weekend camp. The cadets do activities, like navigation designed to improve self confidence like the rock wall or the leap of faith were cadets jump from a telephone pole and try and grab a plastic wire. They are suspended from falling using a wire. One night over the weekend the cadets do a "night stalker" game where the senior cadets try and prevent the junior cadets from reaching a certain point.

House system

The pastoral care system is based on a House structure which deals with all matters relating to a student's well-being or curriculum needs. Each student is placed in a House Tutorial Group that is overseen by a House Tutor for each of the ten Houses. Most House Tutorial Groups have three students from each year level in that house. A House contains students from Years 8 to 12. Each House is led by one Head of House. The members of each House are led by a House Captain, appointed by the Head of House and the students in the house. The Houses meet on a regular basis.

The House Tutor and Heads of House work as a team to monitor the academic and personal progress of each student in the House Tutorial Group and House. Generally, the House Tutor is the first and main point of contact between the parent and the School. For more serious issues a Head of House is usually contacted.

Students are either put in a randomly selected house or into the house of any alumni they are related to. Houses compete against each other in sports such as inter-house athletics and academic contests like debating. Students march to assembly on Friday mornings in their house and are marked on their performance by the cadets.

The house that wins the most points over all inter-house competitions is awarded the staff trophy. This includes the larger inter-house events like athletics, cross-country and swimming as well as some smaller competitions like lightning chess and indoor soccer.

For Year 8 and 9 Students in winter, they also have Middle School house games, in which a house can participate in three out of the four possible choices of Hockey, Football, Soccer and Touch Rugby, this usually takes place in weeks where there are byes in the Public Schools Association (PSA) sports competition. Due to the large size of Keys House, for MS games they are separated into Keys 1 and Keys 2, in order for everyone to compete.


Scotch College teams regularly compete in the PSA sports competitions. The students of the college play or compete in association football, athletics, Australian rules football, badminton, basketball, chess, cricket, cross country, golf, field hockey, rowing (see Head of the River), rugby union, sailing, surfing, swimming, tennis, water polo and volleyball.

The Gooch Pavilion on the sports fields.

In 2011, Scotch won the sought after Alcock Shield for PSA athletics, alongside the Dickinson Shield in water polo, the Blackwood Cup in basketball, and the Corr Cup in tennis (for the second time in a row.) Alongside this, the sailing team won the Western Australian State Championships for sailing. So far 2012 has proved to be a successful year in sport for the college, again winning the tennis and basketball, and also the Darlot Cup in cricket. The school also managed runner-up in water polo, and both the Head of the River and the CA Hamer Cup for rowing.

Sport is compulsory for all students in the high school; teams usually train twice a week. Matches are held on a Thursday for the junior school, Friday for Years 8 and 9, and Saturday for Years 10 to 12.

Occasionally, tours are arranged for sports teams. Recent tours included the Australian rules football team visiting Melbourne, and a hockey tour of South Africa. The most recent tour was the rugby union tour of France in April 2006. Athletics, cross country and swimming are all major inter-house games and almost every student competes.


Scotch offers students an opportunity to participate in the annual school production. Recent productions include Bugsy Malone, Grease, A Clockwork Orange, Blood Brothers, Holes (play), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mad Forest, Babe the Sheep Pig, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Great Expectations.

Street dance is another extracurricular activity being offered at Scotch. It is an urban-based dance program in which students choreograph dance routines and perform them in concerts. The school regularly competes at the annual ACHPER dance festival, and has performed well in this festival in recent years, leading to an invitation to participate in the more prestigious ACHPER Gala Night.

Scotch has two poetry prizes awarded each year; the Raven Senior Poetry Prize for Years 11 and 12 and the Raven Junior Poetry Prize for Years 8, 9 and 10. The winning piece along with several other pieces of student poetry and art are published in the annual school publication, Reporter. Raven prize winners are presented an awarded on speech night. There are also two annual prose prizes; the Raven Senior Prose Prize and the Raven Junior Prose Prize. Like the poetry prizes, the winning pieces are published in Reporter and the writer presented with an award on speech night.


Scotch gives students the chance to learn instruments during class time in the senior school. Students may also join the pipe band if their playing skills and marching skills are of a high standard. The pipe band traditionally lead the school in marching.

In recent years there have been several pipe band and music tours. In April 2006, the pipe band toured the United States. The band played in the Virginia International Tattoo in that period It was the pipe band's fourth international tour and its second time participating in an International Tattoo of that magnitude. The first was the Nova Scotia Tattoo in 2000.

All students in the senior school are eligible to play in the school's bands. The school's music bands are the Dixieland Band (Horns and Brass), String Orchestra, Big Band 1 (guitar, drums, brass), Big Band 2 (guitar, drums, brass), Big Band 3 (guitar, drums, brass), Middle School Concert Band (Years 6 to 10), Chamber Strings, Concert Band (brass and drums), Wind Ensemble (with Presbyterian Ladies' College), Vocal Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble.

The school offers several music scholarships for students in Years 7 or 8. These scholarships are in Voice, Cello, Trumpet, Violin and Trombone.

The school song is God of Our Fathers which is to the tune of Highland Cathedral. The song is sung at the first and last assembly each term and the music is performed by two pipers and a snare drummer from the pipeband, along with a small brass support band.


Scotch College, like most Australian independent schools, requires students to wear full school uniform at all times. There are currently two school uniforms - a summer and a winter.

In summer, a khaki collared short-sleeved shirt is worn with light green shorts, house tie, green Scotch socks and black lace-up shoes. On the left breast pocket, above the school badge, a house braid is worn. In the junior school a Scotch coloured braid is worn whilst in Years 8 to 11 the braid is their house colour; Year 12 students wear both braids.

In winter a white long-sleeved collared shirt is worn, along with house tie, black belt, grey trousers, grey socks, black lace up shoes and a maroon blazer. Year 12s wear a striped blazer. A grey Scotch jumper may be worn over the shirt in both summer and winter uniforms.

In October 2005, students voted on a whether to keep the summer uniform or to change it. The results of this election have not yet been released. One of questions on the ballot was if students wanted to wear ties. It is believed many students said no to wearing ties.

The school may have fund raising "free dress" days where boys may wear what they choose to school if they donate $2 or a wristy to a designated charity. Some free dress days have included "pretty in pink" and "football Friday" themes, with competitions at lunch break for best dress.

Senior School students have two ties - a house tie and a school tie. On most days, students wear the appropriate house tie. On special occasions, such as speech night, the school tie is worn. House ties contain the respective house tartans.

Students may also earn a colours tie or an honours tie. Colours ties are awarded to students who perform in an extra-curriculum activity such as making a firsts team. An honours ties are rare and are only awarded when a student performs very well and gives some voluntary service to the sport. The academic equal to an honours tie is an academic tie which is awarded to students who earn five academic excellence awards, with at least two being in Year 11 or 12. These three ties may only be worn on a Friday.

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