Mercurius issue 1 – January 2020 - 19 Jan 2020
Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report

The year ended with sad farewells to a number of staff at Fort Street including Ms Sally Baker (Mathematics), Ms Sharon Lam (Head Teacher Mathematics), Ms Penny Schlam (English), Mr Giorgio Speranza (PDHPE) and Ms Genevieve Flynn (Visual Arts). There are also a number of staff taking significant leave this year including Mr Brian Webb (Term 1), Ms Clare Cotton and Ms Fiona Schubert.

In 2020 we welcome a number of new staff to the Fort including David Manuell who commences his permanent appointment to Fort Street in the CAPA faculty teaching Visual Arts, three new English teachers Rosa Brown, Will Longford and Derek Patulny and Simon Vaughan joining the PDHPE faculty for the year. Ning Cui will also join the Maths faculty and Katie Keophilaphet will replace Mr Webb in Science for Term 1.

HSC Results
On Wednesday 18th December staff enjoyed a morning tea with the 2019 Year 12 Fortians who returned to celebrate their outstanding HSC results. In summary:

17 students achieved a result in the highest band in 10 or more units of courses

Fort Street was ranked 19th school in NSW

Mali Woods ranked 4th in the State for the Investigating Science Course

Felicity Charls ranked 6th in the State for the Accelerated Maths Course

Gemma Hinton ranked 6th in the State for the PDHPE Course

125 students were listed as ‘Distinguished Achievers’ having achieved a mark of 90 or above in specific subjects.

4 Music students nominated for Encore – Luca Tropea, Patrick Vastani, Patrick Wu and Michelle Wang

2 Visual Arts students nominated for Art Express – Ashley Challinor and Hazel Duwenbeck

1 Drama student nominated for On Stage – Julien Parry


Please check the school website for a full list of the distinguished achievers this year.


Valid Science Test – Year 10
Valid results for Year 10 this year were once again outstanding. 28 263 students completed VALID across NSW in 2019. Congratulations to:

Xavier Cooney placed equal 3rd place

Jonathan Dang placed equal 5th place

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Fortians and their families the very best over the January holidays and hope that all students and staff are enjoying a well-deserved break. I look forward to catching up with everyone again in 2020. Staff will be returning to school on Tuesday January 28th. Year 7 students and Year 10 Peer Support leaders return to school on Wednesday January 29th with all other students returning on Thursday January 30th. Year 11 students will be on camp on the first two days of school – 30th and 31st January.


V for Victory History Dance

V for Victory History Dance

The Year 9 History course ends with the end of World War II and what better way to celebrate than to reenact a V for Victory dance in the Hall.    The students organised a fantastic band for the day, Ms Schubert sang beautifully a standard of the time and Mr Fisher and a group of Year 10 students demonstrated the popular dances of the time. Students dressed in costume, there was dancing competition and everyone enjoyed a fantastic lunch and cakes.

There were awards for categories such as best dressed, best dancers, best table and best cake.

Thank you to Mr Galvin, Mr de Bres, Ms Wark, Mr Bailey, Ms Maling, Mr Fisher, Mr O’Neill and Ms Schubert for their contributions on the day.

Particular thanks to the student band- Asher, Cadence, Jordan, Pingting, Hannah, Caleb, Sascha. Elliot, Tijana, Jason, Micky, Emma, Oliver, Sachin, Harvey and Carla.


Gingerbread Fun

Gingerbread Fun

The Year 8 and 10 German classes got in the festive spirit last week, constructing and decorating gingerbread houses and trains.  A little too much sugar was consumed but we had lots of fun!

We wish you all Frohe Weihnachten and einen guten Rutsch!


Kristina Reynolds – Languages

7F History – Calligraphy Lesson

7F History – Calligraphy Lesson

Last semester, our class studied Ancient China. We  learned a multitude of things about the First Emperor, life in Imperial China, and the different dynasties. On Thursday 12th of December, our teacher Mr de Bres invited Languages intern teacher Miss Yu to teach us about calligraphy. She taught us how to correctly hold a brush when doing calligraphy, how to write specific characters and the use of paper and jars. For example, when holding a brush to do calligraphy, you must hold it upright instead of on an angle. Miss Yu also taught us about the history of calligraphy and how writing styles have changed over the years. Ancient Chinese calligraphy was based on pictures and over time mistakes were made which changed the way of writing. This writing style became the way we write today. We also learned that the Chinese made paper out of rice and that making paper was no easy process, making the cost high. Finally, Ms Yu taught us that when writing characters you must stick to a specific stroke order, making Chinese calligraphy even more interesting. Overall, our calligraphy lesson with Ms Yu was illuminating and calming.

Minh-Nhu Chung 7F

Year 8 Japanese visit Nihongo Tanken Centre

Year 8 Japanese visit Nihongo Tanken Centre

Mr Gillespie and Ms Salisbury accompanied Year 8 Japanese to the Nihongo Tanken Centre in early December. You can see that the teachers enjoyed dressing up in traditional attire! Competitive games reinforced students’ knowledge of vocabulary while demonstrations and activities strengthened their cultural awareness. Everyone very much enjoyed obento, tasty Japanese style lunch boxes .

Mark Backhouse (Head Teacher, Languages)

Macquarie University Leaders and Achievers Scholarships

Congratulations to Rachel and Bonnie who will be studying Psychology (Honours) and  B Ling&Lang Sc/B Mktg&Media, who have been awarded Macquarie University Leaders and Achievers Scholarships for 2020

The scholarships are worth $50,000 and $25,000 respectively and have been awarded based on their Year 11 (2018) school marks, leadership qualities and extra-curricular activities in their school and/or community.

This is a fantastic achievement as they were two of only a handful selected from the thousands of Leaders and Achievers applications received from all over NSW.

In recognition of the scholarship, Rachel (pictured) attended an exclusive scholarship welcome event in late November.

Yerin Kim – Bonville Champions Trophy

Yerin Kim – Bonville Champions Trophy

Congratulations to Yerin Kim who won the Bonville Champions Trophy (Dec 4-6) which is an end of year junior tournament in NSW.  Yerin finished with a total of 1 under par for 4 rounds.

‘In the Girls Division, Kim capped off a stellar year, claiming the first and last JNJG Majors of the year. After winning the A.C.T Week of Golf back in January, Kim started the final major with a huge eight shot final round lead. But Kim found the water off the first tee. A double bogey forced the 17 year old to quickly re-focus, doing just that with birdies on the third and fourth. Another four back nine birdies, including that final one on 18, stamped a dominant mark on the event to record the biggest ever winning margin’.

(courtesy of Jack Newton Junior Golf)

The Street Cup (Jnr Basketball and Futsal Championships)

The Street Cup (Jnr Basketball and Futsal Championships)

Fort Street hosted the inaugural Street Cup recently which consisted of Y7/8 boys and girls basketball and futsal competitions. Fort Street had multiple teams in all competitions and were victorious in the boys and girls futsal as well as girls basketball divisions, with one of our boys basketball teams finishing runners up. Fort Street welcomed both Tempe and Marsden High Schools for this years Street Cup and hope to welcome these schools and some more for next years edition. Well done to all students who participated and a special thank you to our student referees, Riley Vaile, Asha Read-Box, Marley Donald, Maleeka Prabhakar, Ella Easton, Alyssa Koit, Allegra Caleo and Austen Koit as well as the Y10 basketball coaches.

Randev Uppal – Sport Coordinator


Summer holiday and casual working

Summer holiday and casual working

Around this time of the year many Fortians work in summer holiday and casual positions.  Some students are working for the first time.

Parents and students can check in with this website:​ which has some very useful tips and advice about starting a new job, the first day at work, young people’s rights at work and responsibilities.

Kylie Salisbury (Careers)

From the Archives – 45th Handover Anniversary

From the Archives – 45th Handover Anniversary

In December we commemorated the 45th Anniversary of the ‘Handover of the Keys’. It was this week in 1974 when the principal for Fort Street Girls School, Ms Evelyn Rowe, handed over the keys of the school to the new custodians of the historic Observatory Hill buildings to the National Trust Australia (NSW). Although a sad time for many, leaving their dearly loved school site, it was also a positive move to safeguard the nationally significant buildings from developers at the time.

The Fort Street Archives team commemorated the event in conjunction with the launch of the new Fort Street Tours app. Fort Street Archives was successful in gaining a grant through the 2018/19 Inner West Council Community History and Heritage Grants program. This funding was used to establish a free heritage tour app to communicate the history and heritage of Fort Street. The new app, found on the Apple App Store and Google Play, creates an easily accessible digital environment to protect, preserve and communicate nationally significant history and contributing to the national memory.

The Fort Street Tours app has three downloadable tours available. One is for the historical spaces of the current Petersham site. Another one is of the many Honour Boards dating back to 1890. The final one is of the Observatory Hill site – this was achieved due to the work done by one of our volunteers, Sandra Funnel (Class of 1961) who received her Premier’s Volunteer Recognition Award, and our partners at the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

At this week’s Handover Anniversary we heard about the ongoing partnership with the National Trust Australia (NSW), the Fort Street legacy, current school accomplishments and the Fort Street Archives achievements. As in 1974, there was a re-enactment of (left to right) the CEO then President of the National Trust being handed the keys to the school by the Principal. Fast forward to 2019, pictured left to right is Debbie Mills, CEO of the National Trust (NSW); Neil Wykes OAM, President and Treasurer of the National Trust (NSW); and Juliette McMurray, Principal, Fort Street High School.

The new Fort Street Tours App is available at the App Store and on Google Play. Download Fort Street Tours for Apple HERE or for Google Play HERE

Iain Wallace – School Archivist









Donated sitar

Thank you to 1968 Fortian Allen Blewitt who donated a sitar to the school.  The Music Faculty teach a unit in Indian Music so this addition is very welcome!



Congratulations and best of luck in their future endeavours to all Fort Street High School HSC students.

The P&C would like to sincerely thank all those parents, carers and citizens who helped the P&C in 2019 by either supporting our events, paying the P&C contribution, donating goods or time, or all of the above.
This year we plan to focus on community engagement and fundraising. Our Fundraising Committee have been working hard planning for Fort Fest on August 30th and a number of other initiatives are in the pipeline.
We would be delighted to hear from any parents or carers who have experience in applying for grants and would like to help the P&C in this area and we would also be grateful to have someone savvy with social media to think about joining us and helping with promoting our activities.
See the P&C page for contact details.

As you know the P&C donated over $200,000 in 2019 to the school and we would like to continue to help the school to give our children the best facilities we can next year.
Getting involved with your P&C in however big or small a way you can in 2020 will be greatly appreciated and we’re looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our first meeting on Feb 12th.

Wishing you all a very happy and safe holidays.

Fort Street High School P&C Executive