Where We Have Come From

Encouraged by a group of settlers, Mathew Blagden Hale, the first Anglican Bishop of Perth, founded his Collegiate School on 28 June 1858. The little colony was less than 30 years old, with the small population of settlers experiencing considerable difficulties. The School operated under the Bishop’s proprietorship, unsupported by the Church, and began in temporary premises on the sandy track that became St Georges Terrace.

After a short period they established in ‘The Cloisters’, a building that Bishop Hale had adapted for the specific purpose. It attracted a number of boarders and day boys who later became notable citizens. The State’s first Premier, John Forrest, was an early pupil, as was his brother Alexander, a Lord Mayor of Perth. Attorney-General, Stephen Henry Parker attended, along with many members of prominent early settler families, such as the Burges brothers from York. The very first enrolled student, Laurence Eliot, son of the Bunbury government administrator, arrived at the School after a three day and two night ride through the bush, accompanied by Bishop Hale.

The school struggled to survive. Eventually Bishop Hale despairingly relinquished proprietorship in 1864. A Committee of Management took control "to render the School a permanent institution of the Colony" but finally it was forced to close at the beginning of 1872.

Colonel ‘Paddy’ Haynes, to that point an assistant master, advertised a resumption of the Collegiate School as a private venture and it managed to reopen. Then, after the passing of the Legislative Council High School Act in 1876, Haynes was encouraged to walk his 14 boys across St Georges Terrace to join the new High School when it first opened at the beginning of 1878. Haynes was appointed second master under the Headmastership of the Reverend John Garret Bussell.

Although numbers remained low it was felt expedient to acquire several classrooms within the Pensioner Barracks at the top end of St Georges Terrace in the early 1880s. The boarders moved into the old Imperial Military Hospital, located across from the Barracks in George Street.

Up until 1890 school enrolments remained at much the same level as they had been from the outset, but with the appointment of an outstanding personality in Frederick Charles Faulkner as Headmaster in 1890, together with a surge of population associated with gold discoveries at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, enrolments grew rapidly to nearly 100 two years later and the future of the School was assured. During Faulkner's tenure the Public Schools’ Association (PSA) was formed in 1905 with High School (Hale) joining in with Guildford Grammar, Scotch College and Aquinas College (originally Christian Brothers' College).

By 1914, the George Street premises were proving inadequate. The foundations were laid for the first purpose-built site in Havelock Street. In 1923 a new Memorial wing, in memory of the 43 Old Boys killed during the Great War, was added. The first science laboratory for a secondary school in Western Australia was opened and placed in the hands of J.B. (‘Dil’) Newbery. However, the school lost its promised playing fields next to the site when the State’s first observatory was built there. An arrangement was made for the boys to use a field in Kings Park for its sport, next to the Royal Kings Park Tennis Club. Today the area is called Hale Ovals and, fittingly, is a dedicated playground for young children.

By the early 1920s the School population had grown to over 300. Following a proposal by the Chairman of the Old Boys, T.A.L. (‘Taddy’) Davy in 1924 the High School, after much debate and a legislative passage through parliament, changed its name to Hale School in 1929.

Numbers dropped during the economic depression of the 1930s, but as the economy of the nation began to recover in the late 1930s, the eventual need for larger school premises was recognised. Eventually high land to the west of Herdsman Lake was identified and, after tortuous negotiations, it was purchased for 2,260 pounds.

However, plans to develop the new campus and move from Havelock Street came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of World War II. Due to the stringencies associated with post-war economic rehabilitation, it was not until 1961 that the School was able to move to the new premises at Wembley Downs.

A new House system with eight houses and with a strong accent on pastoral care was instituted and is still in place today (with the addition of two new houses in 1993). 

Hale has undergone much transformation and renewal since then, both in terms of its facilities and educational offerings. However, the School motto of 'Duty' has always inspired our boys to strive to do what's right and give back. 

Current Headmaster, Dean Dell'Oro commenced in 2017 and is building on Hale's strong foundations of tradition and excellence to ensure our students are ready for the future that awaits them. Formerly an engineer who changed career paths to pursue his passion for education, Mr Dell'Oro is a Mathematics Teacher and formerly held leadership positions at Geelong Grammar School in Victoria. 

Many things have changed since the School first opened its doors on 28 June 1858 – and yet one central, core aspect has not. Hale School continues the tradition of producing outstanding young citizens, as it has done since Bishop Hale first opened the doors more than 160 years ago.

For a more extensive history of Hale School, please click here or visit the Old Haleian Association website - www.oldhale.com

Hale School Wembley Downs Campus, circa 1960