The Beginnings of Sydney Tech - 1902-1913
One of the reforms advocated by the 1903 Royal Commission into NSW Education was the establishment of classes providing courses which would involve technical subjects. As a result, Continuation classes for pupils whose interest lay in technical subjects commenced at the Sydney Technical College.
In April 1911, these Continuation classes were given the status of a high school and Sydney Technical High was established. Originally the school was co-educational with 113 boys and 15 girls. In February 1913 the girls were transferred to Fort Street Girls' High and to the lamentation of generations of Tech students the school became for boys only.
The Three Sites
Since 1911, Tech High has been located at three different sites.
Ultimo House - 1911-1925
Ultimo House was the "country" home of Dr. John Harris, Surgeon of the N.S.W. Corps.
The house and associated property was bought by the Government in 1899 and used by Technical Education for many years before being used by Sydney Tech High from 1911 to 1924.
This historic photograph was taken on the occasion of the first Empire Day Celebration, 24th May, 1911. The School, which was co-educational from 1911 to April, 1913, was assembled before Ultimo House - one of the Technical college buildings used by our School. The Superintendent of Technical Education, Mr. J. Turner, is on the right of the photograph, and Mr. Williams, the first Headmaster, on the left. Other members of staff are standing in the back row of the assembly.
Albion Street, Paddington - 1925-1956
In 1925, with an enrolment of 421, Sydney Tech High was transferred to Albion Street, Paddington.
It was still, however, necessary for some senior students to attend classes at Sydney Technical College as well as East Sydney Technical College.
The old Albion Street buildings were inadequate from the outset, so new state-of-the-art facilities were promised. In 1928 the Department of education bought land at Bexley for the new school but it took another twenty-eight years before construction and occupation.
Forest Road, Bexley - 1956-present
Eventually a new building was completed and occupied at Bexley in September 1956. The official opening of the new school buildings was performed on 2nd August, 1958. The school consisted of four units: the administration block, general classrooms, manual training block and the auditorium and gymnasium.
The auditorium was described at the time as "one of the finest in the Department of Education. It possesses a modern stage with appropriate lighting and sound and a sloping floor to enable uninterrupted vision. Designed on the lines of a theatre, it is used not only for school assemblies but also for the presentation of drama and music." The auditorium has been remained an excellent facility with modern lighting, sound and audio-visual equipment and an art gallery.
New facilities have been added and old ones renovated to ensure the school is kept up-to-date at the forefront of education as a lighthouse government school for boys.
Over the past sixty years or so the school has become fully academically selective with students entering through a common statewide test for year seven and drawn from all over Sydney. Although the name "Sydney Technical High School" has remained as an historical connection to the foundation of the school in Sydney Technical College, it by no means reflects the nature of the school today. The technical focus was long ago replaced by the pursuit of excellence in all fields of endeavour, academic being foremost.