Stories from the Archives

Posted 23 JUN 2017
Memory Bank

St Peter's College was first located in a single schoolroom belonging to the Holy Trinity Church on North Terrace and was opened on 15 July 1847 with only eleven pupils. Each year the School proudly celebrates Founders’ Day in the first week of Term 3. The first Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide, Augustus Short was instrumental in establishing The Collegiate School of St Peter's, Adelaide in the tradition of the great public schools of England.

The School originally began as a commercial venture being the property of 65 shareholders. Shortly after however, the shareholders agreed to forego their claims, and the School was incorporated by an Act of Parliament. These original shareholders are the School’s founders and the continuation of the School is attributed to several benefactors who helped establish the fabric of the School that remains visible today.

To celebrate the School’s 170th anniversary, an exhibition has been created in Athelney House, one of the School’s several heritage buildings. The exhibition celebrates this history by highlighting the significant events, buildings and people through a pictorial timeline which is complemented by several thematic displays featuring artefacts from the School’s archive.

Athelney House was built in 1858 and used as a private residence until it was bought by the School in 1952. The School has used it for many purposes including as an Art Centre and as accommodation for resident staff. It was used as part of a boarding house in the years 1965 to 2002.  Several rooms downstairs are used for the display of historical items. Another room (previously the Housemaster’s study) is now the Archivist’s office.  Many artefacts that have been hidden away for a long period are now out in the open so that people can enjoy the rich history of our School. Some of the items on display include:

A school desk used in the Big School Room in the 1930s

The School Captain’s diary 1951

A photograph of Woodcock and MacDermott Houses in the year they were formed (1937)

The College Cups awarded to John Murray in 1910 and Ian Bruce in 1950

A range of student publications including “The Keys” 1939-1962

The programme for “Treasure Island” produced in the Preparatory School in 1953

A collection of medals put together by former School Secretary Mr LAR Evans that was assembled during the three and a half years (1942-1945) when he was a prisoner of the Japanese after the fall of Singapore

A sleeping bag used by Old Scholar Thomas Bowen in World War I


If you are interested in the history of the oldest school in South Australia and would like to see this outstanding display of the School’s history, you are welcome to email to make an appointment.