James Ruse Agricultural High School Pioneers Inc.
Gesta Non Verba {Deeds Not Words}
This page was last updated: April 11, 2018
James Ruse Yearbook and Gazette

One of the aims of James Ruse has always been to promote a close student/ teacher relationship and to let the stu­dents know "what is going on at James Ruse". This has been achieved over the years by an Annual Yearbook for the first six years ('59-'64) and the James Ruse Gazette since then. The Yearbooks included reports on school development, activities and special events. A main feature was the literature of the students themselves, and every Year­book featured articles by the Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster, and School Captain. These provided students and parents with a resume of "the year at James Ruse".

The James Ruse Gazette superseded the Yearbooks. It has the advantages of im­mediacy, flexibility and a wider scope. In­volving as they do, regular editorial work and literary creation, they supplement the boys' training in written expression as well as providing a sounding-board for their ideas. An important feature of the Gazettes is the Fifth Column, a forum for school anec­dotes and editorial comments. It also pre­sents school occurrences in a different light. We must thank Miss E. A. Peterson, B.A., Dip. Ed., a former English teacher at the school, for the development and standardisation of the Gazette format. In 1968 "History of a Decade" was re­leased. This was a reflective Yearbook, looking back and surveying the achieve­ments of James Ruse in its first ten years. Its companion volume is this present pub­lication which attempts to review the last twenty years.    
Committee: Mr. P. J. King, Mr. L. H. Sharp,
Greg Anderson, Keith Arblaster, Andrew Doust, Mark Pigot.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
Academic Results

While it could not be claimed that the effectiveness of education can be measured solely by examination results, success in public senior examinations is nevertheless a guide to a student's wider achievements. In other sections of this book you may see evidence of success in these wider areas, such as drama, music, sport, community involvement.

The academic achievements of the school have been a noticeable feature since its be­ginning. In 1961, the first year senior stu­dents were presented for the Leaving Cer­tificate, significant results were obtained in Agriculture. Of 18 candidates, taught by the Headmaster himself, two gained First Class Honours, 11 Second Class Honours, two A passes, and three B passes. As the years have passed these distinctions have been shared among other subjects.

The vocational choice of students from James Ruse was once clearly defined. Of the 18 initial senior students, four entered rural faculties at Sydney University, five went to Agricultural Colleges, two to Armidale Teachers' College to train as Agricul­ture teachers, four were employed by agri­cultural firms, while one enrolled in Wool Science at the Technical College - a total of 16.

In later years, a greater diversity of vocations has become evident. While Agricul­ture and related rural sciences are still prominent among choices, other Science and Mathematics based courses related to students' excellent achievements in these school studies, have also been chosen, e.g. medicine, dentistry, optometry, engineering and science. In addition increasing num­bers of students have also entered law school, and the Humanities, including Art.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
The Student Council

The most innovative feature of James Ruse School democracy is almost certain to be found in the formation and de­velopment of the Student Council. James Ruse was one of the first schools to introduce such a body and it has been in constant operation from the school's earliest years.

The Minutes, which have been kept meticulously since the beginning, reveal a history crammed with discussions, dis­agreements and resolution, but above all with a fellowship of boys striving to serve their school.

The obvious questions asked about a Student Council are "what does it do?", and "do students have any real say?". The role of the Council at James Ruse is summed up in the words of the Headmaster: "Be­cause of its nature it must be a recom­mending body. Usually things are thrashed out in Council and 90 plus per cent of the recommendations put are adopted. Much of the progress of the school has been through suggestions of the Council. We try to give students the opportunity of having their say in the organisation of the school so that they will feel that they are in part, deter- mining the policy of the school."

Many of the physical attributes of the school which now go unheeded are a direct result of an impetus which originally came from a Council Meeting. The range and extent of these can only be realised if one peruses the Minutes of the meetings which now run to several volumes. It is impossible to cover the discussion and work of twenty years in a review article of this nature. Matters large and small are recorded there in all their detail of discussion, some ex­tending over many meetings. But always there is a definite conclusion, usually in the form of a recommendation followed by a later report from the Headmaster that the change has been effected. In the Minutes we can see recorded for discussion such items as buses for sport or a problem with pens, a new farm shed, or the repair of a power point, new tennis courts, or a new heifer, Romney Marsh sheep, or the prob­lem of bee stings, school uniforms, or the lily pond, a shearing shed, or pencil sharp­eners, the building of a rifle range, or a yo-yo problem. These combinations of trivial and major issues all come crowding from the pages of the Council's Minutes, and they show, in fact, not only the definite progress made in long term and immediate matters, but also the point that many stu­dents over the years have learned to work together and have seen a need to respect the beliefs and attitudes of others.

The inaugural meeting of the Student Council was held on 12th October, 1960. The first record of the names of students attending the Council Meeting however, is not supplied until the Minutes of August 1961. There were 12 students present out of a membership of 20. Today's Council is well over three times that number, con­sisting of two representatives from each class, together with senior student executive members and representatives from student bodies who wish to address the Council.

In the early years of the Council, dis­cussions rather than debates seemed to dominate the meetings and naturally enough, the chief concerns were material aspects, vital to a new school lacking so many things. But as the years progressed, a greater emergence of personalities and con­sequent spirited debating are noticed. From the beginning a sense of freedom and spon­taneity is seen as a dominant feature of Council discussions, the only restrictions being that the chair and the Council be properly addressed and that the rights of one's fellows be respected.

The Student Council will continue, its concerns almost certainly as varied as those of the past. One of the most recent recom­mendations looks forward to the completion of the Assembly Hall for which the Annual Appeal will be used to provide necessary equipment for this new project.

The guiding spirit of enlightened and liberal debate, it is expected, will also con­tinue as a tribute to the Headmaster, Mr. Hoskin, in whose mind the idea of the Council was begun, and under whose care­ful policy the general progress of its mem­bers' education has been fostered. No better tribute can be paid to Mr. Hoskin than the continuance of this spirit which he has so effectively nurtured over the years.
From the 1978 School Magazine.

The Cadets at James Ruse

During 1960 the future cadet officers, C.U.O's and N.C.O's underwent training at Singleton camp. In 1961 the James Ruse Agricultural High School Cadet Unit was established with a strength of 98. This was increased to 110 in 1962. The first Officer Commanding the Cadet Unit was Captain M. Coveney and it was due to his efforts that the rifle range was built. Captain Cov­eney resigned from the Education Depart­ment in 1964 and handed the Unit over to Captain C. Myers, who carried on Captain Coveney's great work until the end of 1966 when he transferred to another school. Lt. W. Mills was bandmaster when the Unit was raised in 1961 and under his direction the band had notable successes at band competitions held at Anzac Day marches, Waratah Festival, Annual Camps and Parramatta Foundation Day parades. Lt. Mills transferred to Nowra in 1969.

Many students have enjoyed the chal­lenges and pleasures of the Cadet Unit over the years since its establishment and many boys are still gaining from their present membership. The value of cadet training is very apparent when comparing the maturity and ability of a boy when he joins the Unit and when he leaves. Some of the outstanding cadets who at­tained the rank of Cadet Under Officer are listed below:- 1961 A. Brownhill, R. Henry, R Stanford; 1962 G. Marshall, B. Schmalz, R. Tucker; 1963 G. Marshall, P. Polack, R Tucker.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
Pioneer Senior students
1959 Captain - B. F. Sharpe; Vice-Captain - A. K. Bell.
1960 Captain - A. K. Bell; Vice-Captain - R. A. Henry.
1961 Captain - A. K. Bell; Vice-Captain - R. A. Henry.
1962 Captain - C. P. Denstone; Vice-Captain - I. W. Richardson.
1963 Captain - A. G. Marshall; Vice-Captain - R. J. Tucker; Senior Prefect - P. J. Polack.
From the 1978 School Magazine.
Footnote - from the NSW Association of Agriculture Teachers

Agriculture at James Ruse in 2006.

Agriculture at James Ruse is alive and well. All students study Agriculture from year 7 to the end of year 10. By the end of year 10 students have completed the Preliminary 2U HSC course and one term of the 2U HSC course. Students elect to complete the 2U HSC course in year 11.

This year there are 57 in year 11, 138 in year 10, 131 in year 9, 120 in year 8 and 120 in year 7.

Unfortunately we lost the battle to keep Agriculture compulsory to HSC a few years ago. Another backward step has been the relinquishing of the requirement of new students entering the school at year 11 to do Agriculture.

We now have students who attend a specialist Agricultural High school and never do any Agriculture.

The teaching of agriculture is centered around the 10 ha school farm. We have an Angus stud (six breeders), a prime lamb enterprise (10 first cross ewes), egg layers, broilers, 10 bee hives, peaches, oranges and vegetable plots. We are in the process of putting a hydroponic vegetable growing unit into production with the aim of producing Asian vegetables for the school community. (The student population is 95% of Asian origin. They must have Australian citizenship or permanent residence status to attend the school). We have been concentrating on putting sustainable practices in place on the farm by reducing the amount of cultivation done, reducing stocking rates and using organic fertilizers.

The Agriculture staff are; Ms Katie Graham, Mr Andrew Arnison, Mr Richard Grant, Mrs Gail Roberts and Mr Lisle Brown (Head Teacher Agriculture and TAS).

Students are involved in a number of extra curricular activities that relate to the farm and Agriculture. These include a Rural Youth club, cattle showing group, poultry squad, weather watchers and a Water Watch group.

Where do James Ruse students end up after school? 100% attend university and the favoured courses seem to be medicine, law (often combined degrees with science or something else), actuarial studies, commerce and business. This year 3 gained entry to Veterinary Science and one Resource Economics so there is still some connection to Agriculture.

Many medical students from James Ruse report that Agriculture was the best subject in preparing them for medicine because of it holistic multidisciplinary nature.

Lisle Brown. Head Teacher Agriculture and TAS.
1962 Careers Report - Ex-students

Listed below are the occupations and tertiary studies being followed by students who completed their fifth year in 1961.
  • ALAN BELL: Hawkesbury Agricultural College.
  • IAN BROTHERS: Faculty of Agriculture, Sydney University
  • ARTHUR BROWNHILL: Dalgety and New Zealand Loan Ltd., Hawkesbury Agricultural College, 1963.
  • DAVID CADWALLADER: Massey Ferguson (Aust.) Ltd.
  • BARRY DENIS. Elder Smith and Co. Ltd.
  • ULDIS DZINTARS: Sheep and Wool, Sydney Technical College. Course completed.
  • IAN FOWLER: Pathology, Sydney Technical College.
  • RICHARD HENRY: Hawkesbury Agricultural College.
  • IAN HERFORD: Hawkesbury Agricultural College.
  • CURTIS HILL: Pathology, Sydney Technical College.
  • JOHN HOSKIN: Faculty of Agriculture, Sydney University.
  • PETER JONES: Hawkesbury Agricultural College, 1963.
  • JOHN KAZIS: Sydney Technical College.
  • DENNIS LOUGHHEAD: Arthur Webster Pty. Ltd., Bacteriologists.
  • ADRIAN LYNCH: Faculty of Agriculture, Sydney University.
  • COLIN MEW: Veterinary Science, Sydney University.
  • GEOFFREY PEATTIE: Truck Driver.
  • GEOFFREY ROCHE: Wagga Agricultural College.
  • JAMES SMITH: Wagga Agricultural College.
  • RAY STANFORD: Agriculture Course, Armidale Teachers' College.
  • KEVIN SWANN: Agriculture Course, Armidale Teachers' College.
  • ANTHONY WOLFENDALE: Elder Smith and Co. Ltd.

From the 1962 James Ruse Agricultural High School Year Book