History

Newington College was founded in 1863.

Founding the College

Newington College was founded in 1863. It was established as a result of a growing view in the Wesleyan Methodist Church that an institution higher than elementary school was needed in Sydney. Rev John Allen Manton (1807–1864) was its leading advocate and the College’s first president.

Newington House was the former home of colonial merchant and landowner John Blaxland, on the banks of the Parramatta River at Silverwater. The College opened its doors on 16 July 1863 with 16 students aged between seven and sixteen. The College was conceived as ‘…decidedly Wesleyan in its character [but] … open to the sons of parents of all religious denominations.’ The College also functioned as the home for theological training for the Methodist Church in NSW until 1914.

A timeline of Newington College history

1863
  • Decision by Wesleyan Methodist Church to establish a “collegiate institution” in Sydney
  • College inaugurated at Newington House, Silverwater, in July
1864 
  • First recorded cricket match against another school team (from Horton College, Tasmania)
1866
  • College Council established
  • First College athletics meeting
  • First known program of musical, dramatic and recitation performances staged
1867  
  • Australian Rules football played
1868 
  • Black and white colours adopted
1869 
  • First known rugby match (vs University of Sydney)
  • Cadet Unit founded
  • First rifle shooting match (vs Camden College)
1870  
  • First inter-school rugby match (vs The King’s School)
1877 
  • Construction of College at Stanmore commenced

 

 

1880  
  • Move to Stanmore
1883
  • Stanmore Methodist Church dedicated, serving also as College Chapel for next ninety years
1884
  • School magazine, The Newingtonian, first published
  • Fencing Club started
  • First known performance by a school choir
1885
  • Bicycle Club started

 

 

1886
  • First Chemical Laboratory constructed

  • Drum, fife and bugle band started, as part of Cadet Corps

1887
  • A Literary and Debating Society founded

  • First inter-school tennis match

1888
  • A Musical Society founded

1889
  • Prefects first appointed

  • A ‘Modern Form’, distinguished from traditional ‘Classics’, established to prepare boys for business careers

 

 

1890
  • First gymnasium constructed
1891
  • First known performance by a school orchestra
1892
  • GPS sporting competitions start with foundation of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW

1893
  • A Science Club started, along with a small geological museum and zoo

1894
  • First Swimming Bath constructed

1895
  • Old Newingtonians’ Union founded

1896
  • First group of students from Tonga enrolled

 

 

1899
  • First school flag, black and white and bearing the wyvern, hoisted

1905
  • First open scholarships, offered within and outside the College, awarded

1911
  • Compulsory military training for boys introduced by Commonwealth Government, incorporating existing school Cadet units

1912
  • Intermediate Certificate examination introduced

 

 

1913
  • Leaving Certificate examination introduced

  • Jubilee (50th anniversary) celebrations

1914–1918
  • Some 650 former students and staff serve in First World War; 111 known to have died in service

1915
  • Theological Institution for training Methodist ministers moved from Stanmore campus to separate site

1919
  • Influenza pandemic disrupted school year

1921
  • First entry in GPS Rowing, with two IVs
  • Separate Preparatory School classroom building constructed

 

 

1922
  • College wins Head of the River with its first VIII entry

  • College incorporated (Newington College Council Act 1922 (NSW)

  • Three First World War memorials dedicated

1925
  • Robert Glasson Memorial Boatshed constructed at Checkley Street, Abbotsford

1928
  • Parents’ and Friends’ Association founded

1929
  • First known performance by a school jazz band

1931
  • School uniform adopted

 

1932
  • House system introduced, initially with four Houses

  • Earliest known school play performed

1933
  • First College invitational swimming carnival

1934
  • Glasson Pavilion opened

1935
  • Gymnasium reconstructed as the Stewart Spence Gymnasium

1937
  • Cross country races commence as part of House competition

1939
  • A separate preparatory school, Wyvern House, inaugurated

 

1939-1945
  • More than 820 former students and staff serve in Second World War; 61 known to have died in service
1942
  • First female teacher and subject head appointed
1943
  • Air Training Corps flight formed
1952
  • Junior Farmers’ Club started

1953
  • War Memorial Classroom Block completed, followed by Science Block (1955) and Prescott (Manual Arts) Block (1957)

 

1957
  • Preparatory School opened at Killara

1958
  • Golf started as school sport (re-introduced in 2020)
1961
  • Nesbitt Wing opened
1962
  • Wyndham Scheme commenced, leading to School Certificate (1965) and Higher School Certificate (1967)

  • First student representative body established

  • Earliest known school musical performed

 

1963
  • Centenary celebrations

  • Centenary Hall opened

  • Language Laboratory installed

1966
  • Further Science Block constructed
1967
  • Killara Preparatory School moves to present campus at Lindfield
1968
  • Physical Education Centre, incorporating a new gymnasium and an outdoor swimming pool, opened
1969
  • Unofficial basketball competition with five other schools commenced, followed by GPS competition in 1975

1972
  • Lane Block constructed

 

1973
  • Soccer (now Football) commenced as school sport, initially in an independent schools competition

  • Student magazine, John Jones, first published

1974
  • The Newington Foundation established

  • After changes over previous decades, eight Houses established

1975
  • Association of the Arts (now the Creative Arts Association) established

1976
  • Community Corps introduced as an alternative to Cadets

  • Resources Centre (Library, audio-visual and other facilities) constructed

1978
  • Fencing revived as school sport

  • First Founders’ Concert held, initially as part of Founders’ Day activities

 

1982
  • Pastoral care system, incorporating Houses, introduced

1984
  • New College Chapel dedicated; first performance on Knud Smenge organ

1988
  • Arts Centre (Music and Visual Arts) opened

  • GPS Cross Country and Soccer competitions commenced

  • Independent schools’ Water Polo competition inaugurated
1992
  • Newington wins “Eight out of Eight” senior GPS Summer sports competitions

 

1993
  • New Physical Education Centre (now the Taylor Sports Centre), including heated indoor swimming pool, and Space Frame opened

1995
  • New Boatshed opened at Abbotsford

  • John Waterhouse Society inaugurated

1997-1998
  • Major noise attenuation works due to opening of Sydney Airport’s Third Runway

1998
  • Wyvern House Preparatory School moves to present campus at Cambridge Street, Stanmore

  • Edmund Webb House, initially for senior boarders, opened at Cambridge Street

1999
  • Footbridge over busy Stanmore Road opened

2003
  • First biennial Literature Festival held

  • Volleyball introduced, with initially limited GPS competition

2004
  • Newington Challenge program introduced as an alternative to Cadets

 

2007

  • First RockFest competition

2008
  • First cohort of Year 11 students commence International Baccalaureate studies

2009-2010
  • Re-development of Lindfield campus completed, and Don Brown Hall and Music Centre opened

2010
  • Centre for Ethics established

  • Roy Zimmerman Library at Wyvern House opened

2011
  • Technology Centre opened

  • Concordia Gallery opened

2012
  • Cross Fit (now NewFit) program commenced as an alternative to team sport

 

2013

  • Sesquicentenary celebrations

  • AJ Rae Centre and LRD Pyke Centre, along with Sesquicentenary Quadrangle, opened

2016
  • Tupou College Centre for Year 7 and Duckmanton Drama Centre opened

  • Table Tennis competition against with some GPS and CAS schools commenced

2017
  • Entry Forecourt completed

  • Australian Rules (‘AFL’) football revived with an Independent Schools’ competition

2018
  • Early Learning Centre opened

2019
  • Student magazine, Censored, first published

2020
  • Year 12 Study Centre created

  • Response to COVID-19 pandemic, including pivot to online learning and staged return to campus

2021
  • Renewed disruption with COVID Delta outbreak

  • Additional eight Houses announced, with sixteen-House structure to operate from the start of 2022

A Sesquicentenary History

This history of Newington College, commissioned for the 150th anniversary in 2013, stands upon the shoulders of Newington’s past historians. And yet it is a new history, and takes a somewhat different tack from previous histories. The book was authored by Sydney based public historian Dr Stephen Gapps. The book is filled will rare photos, intriguing documents and fascinating stories that chronicle the full 150 years of Newington College.

Newington College: A Sesquicentenary History 1863 - 2013 by Dr Stephen Gapps

About the Author

Dr Stephen Gapps is a Sydney based public historian and museum curator. He has worked extensively as a professional historian on a variety of oral and written history projects ranging from histories of pastoral sheep and cattle stations, to Sydney pubs and deserted gold mining towns and now to the Newington College Sesquicentenary publication. Dr Gapps was the Winner of the NSW Premier’s History Awards 2011 – Community or Regional History, for his book Cabrogal to Fairfield: A history of Fairfield City. Other publications include Front pages that shaped Australia: 100 of the nation’s most influential cover stories and newspaper headlines.

To order a copy, please email alumni@newington.nsw.edu.au

 

art_class_archives

The College Archives

Newington’s archives are our corporate memory, forming the bridge between our past, present and future. The archives are authentic documentary evidence of the work and life of our College and community over more than 150 years.

Read more

Students singing the College song

College Crest and Song

Newington’s school song, ‘Dear Newingtonia’, was first sung at Speech Day on 13 December 1895.

Read more