Cranbrook School, Sydney

Cranbrook School is an independent, day and boarding school for boys, located in Bellevue Hill and Rose Bay, both eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Founded in 1918 by the Reverend Frederick Thomas Perkins, Cranbrook has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 1,300 students from Pre-school (4 years old) to Year 12 (18 years old), including 97 boarders from Years 7 to 12.

The school is affiliated with the International Coalition of Boys' Schools, 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 Combined Associated Schools (CAS).


Cranbrook School, Sydney

On 1 December 1917, the former private home and vice-regal residence, Cranbrook, was bought at auction by an agent for Samuel Hordern. He was the main financial benefactor of a group of businessmen and churchmen aiming to establish an Anglican boys' school in the Eastern Suburbs. From December 1917 to June 1918, a provisional committee of twelve, comprising the founders and six additional men, prepared for the opening of the new school. They held meetings, ensured building renovations were completed, drew up the first articles of association and appointed the first Headmaster, Rev. F T Perkins. On 6 June 1918, the provisional committee reformed itself as the first council of Cranbrook School and organised the official opening of the school for 22 July 1918.

From the time of its foundation in 1918, Cranbrook School established a tradition of high teaching standards, a comprehensive curriculum and an acknowledgement of the importance of boys' physical and social development and giving individual attention to every boy. As well, boys were expected to contribute their spirit toward the community through participation in social service. Cranbrook also has a strong history of sporting and academic success.



Cranbrook School, Sydney

Cranbrook school is situated over two campuses; the Senior school (Years 7 to 12) are located on the main campus in suburban Bellevue Hill, while the Junior School, for students from Kindergarten to Year 6, is located in nearby Rose Bay.


Current facilities of Cranbrook School include:

  • A gymnasium used for sports, games and physical education (PE) classes. Also used as the venue for fortnightly assemblies and other official school occasions such as the Year 12 Farewell Assembly, Scholars' Assembly and Prefect Induction.
  • Hordern Oval, located outside the Carter Centre on the main campus, is used by boys during PDHPE classes, sport training sessions and rugby, Athletics and cricket fixtures.
  • Dangar Oval is located off the main senior school campus, at the rear of the prep school in Kent Road.
  • A multi-storey weights and fitness centre located under the gymnasium used for training and PDHPE classes.
  • An 8 lane, 25 m indoor heated lap pool located adjoining the weights centre under the gymnasium, used for training by the swimming team, to host the annual Cranbrook swimming carnival, and PDHPE classes.
  • A basketball court located in the Furber building and gymnasium. The Gym features a main court, as well as 4 other side baskets. There is also an outdoor area fitted with basketball hoops, affectionately nicknamed 'the green courts' which are used at recess and lunch by boys in normal school uniform. Boys who bring sports uniform are allowed to practice in the gym.

Rose Bay campus

In 2004, Cranbrook announced plans to build a preparatory and primary school complex (including tennis courts, a gymnasium and a multipurpose hall) on the former Rose Bay Bowling Club site, which the school bought in 2001 for a reported $7 million. The development would involve the demolition of the current Cranbrook-owned prep school Dickens House, and of the Rose Bay Bowling Club buildings. Woollahra Municipal Council and the Land and Environment Court both knocked back the school's original plans, which were met by sometimes vehement objection by local residents. The particular concern of the council was the bowling club's zoning as 'open space', on which building is permitted only in a small number of forms; one of them being as development deemed a 'community facility'. The council argued that it had not intended schools to operate on land zoned as 'open space'. Cranbrook took the case to the Court of Appeal, which ruled unanimously on 19 June 2006 that the school's development was permissible with consent under the Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 1995. Justice Basten, one of the three presiding judges, said that:

After delays in construction, the new Junior campus opened for Term 2, 2012, and was officially opened on the 27 of May, 2012.

Song, motto and crest

Cranbrook School, Sydney

The Cranbrook School motto is Esse Quam Videri and translates from Latin as "to be rather than to seem to be".

The school song is Schola Nostra, or "our school" in Latin. It is sung to the tune of Gaudeamus and the lyrics were written by Mr. F Gale. During school sport matches or when farewelling the year 12 boys, Schola Nostra is often turned into a school cheer.

The school crest incorporates four symbols. The first is the cross that runs through the crest. It is the St George's Cross from the first crusaders and it represents Christianity. The second is the five 5 pointed stars that lie within the cross that represent the Southern Cross. The third is the open book situated in the top left section of the cross representing knowledge. The last symbol is found in the top right corner and is a Roman lamp representing truth.

House system

Cranbrook has a system of houses from year seven to twelve. This system was created in order for boys to socialise better between different year groups, where senior boys would be acting as juniors' mentors within the house. There are currently ten day houses, with about 80 boys each. There are also two boarding houses with around 40 boys each:

Boarding houses

     Rawson House (Red)

Founded in 1931, it was named after the former Governor of New South Wales, Sir Harry Rawson.

     Street House (Green)

Founded in 1957, it was named after the Sir Kenneth Street, a previous President of School Council.

Day houses

The school also has ten day boy houses -

     Chelmsford (White) Founded: 1931 - Named after Governor Lord Chelmsford

     Strickland (Navy) Founded: 1931 - Named after Governor Sir Gerald Strickland

     Davidson (Cambridge Blue) Founded: 1941 - Named after Governor Sir Walter Davidson

     Northcott (Maroon) Founded: 1957 - Named after Governor Sir John Northcott

     Wakehurst (Yellow) Founded: 1960 - Named after Governor Lord Wakehurst

     Woodward (Orange) Founded: 1969 - Named after Governor Sir Eric Woodward

     Hone (Purple) Founded: 1970 - Named after Headmaster Sir Brian Hone (1940â€"1951)

     Cutler (Black) Founded: 1980 - Named after Governor Sir Roden Cutler

     Perkins (Grey) Founded: 1994 - Named after founding Headmaster Rev. Frederick Perkins (1918â€"1932)

     Harvey (Light Green) Founded: 2012 - Named after founding school council chairman Sir John Musgrave Harvey (1918â€"1938)

Each year the houses compete against each other for the Pitt Cup; a trophy which is awarded to the house with the most 'points'. Points are awarded for winning inter-house competitions, number of boys on the 'head's list for effort', and for house achievements.


Every year, the school community elects prefects from boys in Year 12 to serve the school and to enforce the daily routine. There are prefects, head of house prefects, a senior prefect (a duty that is shared between four prefects, each for one term) a second prefect and a head prefect.


Academic results

In 2009, Cranbrook boys studied 34 courses at school for the New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC). The Universities Admission Index (UAI), or rank, of students for university entrance purposes, is not available to schools. But based on the information given to schools, the highest UAI achieved was 99.95 students. With 5 students (3.3%) achieving ATAR 99.95 or above, 28 students (19%) getting an ATAR mark 95 or above,59 students (39%)achieving an ATAR mark 90 or above. There has been a substantial lift in the number of Band 6 (90% and above) results, described as credits in The Sydney Morning Herald Honour Roll merit lists. Cranbrook boys gained 202 merit listings in total (41 more than in 2008 and 63 more than in 2007) including 29 in English (16%) and 46 in Mathematics (31%). Extension 2 English candidates did particularly well; six of the seven students gained merit listings. These figures recorded by the class reinforce Cranbrooks' reputation as one of the highest performing boys non selective schools in NSW.



The school has a proud tradition on the rugby field. Cranbrook has won the Combined Associated Schools (CAS) Plume Shield (for the winner of the CAS rugby competition) 13 times. Premiership-winning teams played in 1930, 1931, 1933, 1943, 1960, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1994 and most recently, 2014. The 1980s could be regarded as the 'glory days' of Cranbrook rugby. As well as collecting three Plume Shields, the 1st XV was CAS runner-up four times. It made the Waratah Shield Final on two occasions and defeated St. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, in 1986 and 1988.

Every year, Cranbrook plays Scots College in rugby in the "Battle of Bellevue Hill." In 2010, they played for the inaugural OASIS Cup, in which Scots won.

Cranbrook commenced playing basketball in 1981 with the team being coached by Robert van Houten, now at St Andrew's. The team was successful coming 2nd in the CAS in its inaugural year. 2006/7 marked Cranbrook's most successful season in its history, losing only one game from their 10 CAS matches. They placed equal top of the CAS ladder alongside Barker College.

The popularity of cricket at Cranbrook has declined in recent years, with the overall number of teams falling since the halcyon days of the 1990s. The last Archer Shield winning team was in 1998. Despite this, Cranbrook has had respectable seasons in recent years, particularly in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009 when the 1st XI placed third or higher.

In 2007, the Cranbrook Athletics squad placed 2nd at the CAS Athletics carnival, a result which had not previously occurred for 47 years.

Also in 2007, the Cranbrook Swimming team placed fifth at the CAS Swimming carnival. This was the first time that this had occurred in 11 years.

The sports that students are able to play in the senior school include; for summer basketball, rowing, cricket, tennis, swimming, diving and water polo. In winter rugby, football, tennis, cross country and athletics. For students in the Junior school their choices for summer are; basketball, cricket, t-ball, softball, swimming. In winter their choices are football or rugby.

In the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Winter sports seasons, the Cranbrook Senior Cross-Country team won the CAS Shield for five consecutive years, the first time the school achieved consecutive victories.

Other Co-curricular activities

Cranbrook offers a range of co-curricular programs, which complement the sporting and academic programs. Through voluntary co-curricular activities the School aims to develop important skills in leadership, performance, creativity, decision-making, cooperation, communication and service. Cranbrook excels comparatively to other boys' school is the arts, including drama. Each year at Cranbrook, students from Years 7â€"12 participate in as many as eight productions. The repertoire ranges from classical plays to contemporary Australian plays and musical comedies. About half of these productions are based at Cranbrook and are performed with local girls' schools: SCEGGS Darlinghurst, Ascham and Kambala. Other productions are based at the girls' schools. In addition there are occasionally evenings of House drama. There is also usually a student-directed production each year.

Annually, there are inter-house competitions of cricket, basketball, chess, debating and theatre sports (a series of drama based games that are held during lunch times over the course of about a week) which all contribute to the pitt cup.

Over 400 students study a musical instrument in the Senior School. Students can play in nine bands or choirs. There is also the student-run (held every two years) "Cranbrook Idol" competition which is popular among the students.

Activities that students are able to do in the senior school include; chess, Crusaders, debating, Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Globe Shakespeare Competition, Photography, Production Crew, Public Speaking, Student Representative Council, Tournament of Minds and Travellers and Explorers Club.

Notable alumni

Alumni of Cranbrook School are known as "Old Cranbrookians" and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the Old Cranbrookians' Association (OCA). For a list of notable Old Cranbrookians', see List of Old Boys of Cranbrook School Sydney.

See also

  • List of non-government schools in New South Wales
  • List of boarding schools
  • Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition


  • "Two magic words give the signal for a 'school in a park' ", 20 June 2006, The Sydney Morning Herald (now archived).

External links

  • Cranbrook School website

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