History Pages
James Ruse Agricultural High School Pioneers Inc.

This page was last updated: April 11, 2018
Milestones in the Development of James Ruse Agricultural High School
Much of the article below was taken from the Program of the Official Opening held in1962, but that document did not include 1949, 1956, 1957, 1958:-

  • In September the NSW Department of Education purchased a property and house in Felton Rd. Carlingford for the purposes of Agricultural Education.

  • In the latter part of the year, the Agriculture classes walked from the Rickard St site of Carlingford District Rural School, to the Felton Rd annex site.
  • Mr. Charles Mullavey became the "Master in Charge" of the annex.

  • First enrolement of first year pupils at the Felton Rd site. These pupils enrolled on the understanding that the school would become a full high school, meaning they could sit for the Leaving Certificate in 1961.
  • A competition within the school produced the design for the new school crest. This crest (apart from the change of name to "James Ruse" and the later addition of a crown) continues to this day.

  • The Felton Rd site became known as the Carlingford Junior Agriculture High School. Mr Harry Frater was no longer the Headmaster of this new school. Mr. Charles Mullavey continued as "Teacher in Charge" - effectively the Headmaster.
  • School blazers were introduced displaying the school crest.
  • At some point the property to the north of the main school site was purchased for the establishment of  the school farm.

  • School established as Carlingford Agricultural High with Mr. J. C. Hoskin, B.Sc.Agr., as Principal, and Mr. C. Mullavey, B.V.Sc., as Deputy Principal.
  • Initial enrolment was 318 students from 1st to 3rd Years.
  • The 2nd (sic - the 2nd year pupils of 1959 had not attended Carlingford District Rural School. They enrolled as 1st year pupils at Carlingford Junior Agricultural High School in 1958 - see chart above) and 3rd Year students had begun as students of Carlingford District Rural School, first at the original site in Rickard Street and, from August 1956, at the present site as an annex (sic - the 3rd year pupils of 1959 never attended school at the Rickard St. site. They enrolled as 1st year pupils at the Felton Rd site in 1957 and went on to be the first pupils of James Ruse Agricultural High School to sit of the Leaving Certificate).
  • Mr. Mullavey was Master-in-Charge.
  • Name of school changed to James Ruse Agricultural High.
  • The school oval, commenced in 1958, was completed and grassed.
  • Glasshouse completed.
  • Prefect system commenced.
  • Byron Sharpe first School Captain.
  • School Houses established- Felton, Frater, Jones and Mullavey.
  • Orchard area planted.
  • First Farm Caretaker appointed, Mr. E. S. Adams.
  • First edition of School Year Book - Editor, Mr. K. Best.
  • First Annual Athletics Carnival. (This may have been the first held on the Felton Rd Site. But there had been earlier carnivals.)

  • Mr. C. Mullavey appointed to Inspectorial Staff.
  • Mr. A. G. Cameron, B.Sc., Dip. Ed., Deputy Principal.
  • Mr. R. A. Anderson, B.A., M.Ed., first Subject Master.
  • Alan Bell, School Captain.
  • First country tours to Upper Hunter and Bathurst areas by 4th Year students.
  • First Annual Play Day.
  • School Cadet Unit established, Mr. M. Coveney O.C.
  • Annual appeal for building of tennis courts.
  • School Council formed to advise Principal on aspects of school management and development.
  • Weekly Hobby Period commenced to develop interests not catered for in the normal courses.
  • Term Church Services begun.

  • Alan Bell again School Captain.
  • New buildings completed, including four classrooms, a Biology laboratory, and Sheep and Wool, Agriculture and History Rooms.
  • Tennis courts completed.
  • Ground improvements, including roads, parking areas, path­ways and general landscaping completed.
  • Farm area fenced.
  • Poultry unit completed and stocked.
  • Annual appeal for livestock units.
  • School enters Cramp Debating Competition.
  • Cricket practice wicket completed.
  • School enters Lennox Zone for sporting competitions.
  • First Annual Reciprocal Visit with Yanco Agricultural High.
  • First Annual Farewell Dinner-Dance to departing 5th Year students.
  • Eighteen candidates successful at Leaving Certificate Exam.
  • Adrian Lynch gains 2nd place in the State List in Agriculture.
  • First Annual Visit of 1st XV to H.M.A.S. Cresswell.

  • School officially classified as a High School (??).
  • Shearing Shed completed in association with Cyclone Company.
  • Four ex-students enter rural faculties at Sydney University.
  • Two ex-students commence training at Armidale Teachers' College as teachers of Agriculture.
  • The GOOD Shield available for competitions between James Ruse and Yanco Agricultural Highs.
  • Colin Denston School Captain.
  • School competes in all grades in cricket and Rugby Union in Lennox Zone.
  • Initial Romney Marsh flock obtained.
  • Annual appeal for Scientific Equipment and Recreation.

James Ruse –
The Man We Honour

The name of the school was chosen to honour the contribution of James Ruse to Australian agriculture.

Ruse, originally a native of Cornwall, arrived with the First Fleet as a convict. He was one of the few of the original settlers with any knowledge of agriculture.

At a time when the colony was facing the threat of starvation, he obtained from Governor Phillip the first land grant in Australia, and became the first person to support himself and his family from the products of the Australian soil, setting an example for others to follow, and disproving the opinion, then current in the colony, "that a man could not live in this country". By his industry and perserverance, he justly earned the title of our first farmer.

Ruse's first farm, known as the Experiment Farm, sit­uated on the banks of the Parramatta River at Rosehill, was sold in 1793 to Surgeon Harris.

In 1794, Ruse was again playing the role of pioneer, helping to open up the Hawkes­bury district. From then on, he held land in various parts of the settlement, at Bankstown, Windsor and Riverstone.

Ruse spent his declining years in the Campbelltown district where he died on September 5th, 1837, aged 77 years.

He was buried in the St. John's Cemetery at Campbelltown, where his grave can still be seen, marked by a headstone bearing a rather quaint inscription.

Wikipedia has been edited

In 1949 the main part of the present school site was purchased by the NSW Government for the purpose of Agricultural Education[1]. The school that commenced on this site in 1956 was an annex of Carlingford District Rural School with Charles Mullavey as the Master in Charge. At that time the school consisted of a wooden five room classroom block, a small staffroom and male only ablution facilities. By the start of 1958 the school was independent of Carlingford District Rural School and was called the "Carlingford Junior Agricultural High School" (the Junior part of the name reflected the fact that students at that time could only undertake the first three years of their secondary education at the school).

In 1959 the name of the school was changed to "Carlingford Agricultural High School" (to reflect its new full high school status - although there were no actual Fourth and Fifth Year classes at that time). The first Headmaster, James C. Hoskin, and his Deputy Headmaster, Charles Mullavey, commenced duties at the start of that year and in April, the name of the school changed again - this time to "James Ruse Agricultural High School".

When James Hoskin was studying Agricultural History in University, he had been interested in James Ruse due to his significance in the early development of agriculture in Australia, and also because "both Ruse and I [Hoskin] are of Cornish extraction".[2] Mr Hoskin questioned the name of the school (Carlingford Agricultural High School) as the school was not serving just the Carlingford area (in fact there were only a small number of students from Carlingford). In April 1959 Mr. Hoskin put forward a proposal to the then New South Wales Department of Education outlining two new names for the school: Sydney Agricultural High School and Ruse Agricultural High School; eventually, the Department agreed to a modification of the latter.

Hoskin soon became synonymous with the school, as he served as headmaster until his retirement at age of 65 in 1978. During this time, the school became established as one of the few public schools that were selective; initially because of its agricultural speciality, then for its reputation as a quality school. For his efforts, Hoskin was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Australia for Services to Education in 1990.

The first group of students to complete the full five years of secondary education at the new high school sat for the Leaving Certificate in 1961. Most of these boys were part of the initial enrolement of 1st Year pupils at the Felton Rd. site, in 1957. James Ruse AHS was originally a boys only school, but gradually became co-educational after an initial intake of 24 female students into Year 11 in 1977.

Since the mid 1990s, James Ruse has undergone an extensive building works program funded by both parents of students and the State and Federal Governments. 1997 saw the completion of Stage 1 of this program (encompassing a new Library block and English classrooms which replaced the old Anderson building, a new block containing Art and HSIE classrooms, the integration of the existing Powe block and the former library into a science block, and the installation of an elevator in the Perrau block to improve wheelchair accessibility).

In 2000, Stage 2 of the program began with the first building (a 180 seat lecture theatre) completed in early 2001. The Schofield block became part of the program in 2002 after the building was damaged by arson. During the next two years the old Technology Block and the Francis block were demolished due to a white ant infestation, with both blocks being rebuilt and refurnished in 2004. The final stage of the works were underway at the time of the departure of Principal Michael Quinlan, who retired in 2006 after having been Principal since 1992[3].

Gesta Non Verba Deeds not words