Mercurius issue 13 – September 2019 - 16 Sep 2019
Principal’s report

Principal’s report

Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers,

More HSC major works
I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Year 12 Visual Arts Bodies of Work showcase evening last week to see the final results of what the Year 12 students have been preparing for their HSC practical submissions. The various art works on display were of a very high standard and all students deserve praise for the time, effort and creativity that has gone into their works. I would also like to acknowledge Ms Rebecca Cameron and Ms Helen Thompson the two Year 12 Visual Arts teachers this year for their dedication to each of their students and the projects they created throughout the course of the year.
Last Friday evening I also attended a showcase of the English Extension 2 projects. I would like to thank Ms Fiona Schubert for hosting this event and have only the highest praise for Lucy Bailey, Niamh Elliott-Brennan, Aarohi Tanawade, Betty Chen and Reina lee who showcased their major works which were of outstanding quality.

Year 7 and 9 student NAPLAN packages should arrive at school from 16th September. Once these have arrived they will be distributed to students to take home for their parents.

Fort Street Amnesty Committee
Last Friday during lunch in the school hall, the Amnesty group hosted an event in which students had the opportunity to view a screening of ‘The Final Quarter’, Ian Darling’s moving documentary about Adam Goodes. Money raised selling hot chocolate, popcorn and other sweet treats will all go to the not for profit organisation Amnesty International. This followed an assembly earlier that day in which students spoke of what they have been doing as active members of this school committee.

Fort Street Vocal Ensemble and Chamber Choirs
On Sunday, I was extremely proud to attend a concert at the Sydney Town Hall to experience performances by the Sydney Male Choir together with the Fort Street Vocal Ensemble and Fort Street Chamber Choir. The performances were entertaining and it was an absolute delight to watch the interaction of Fortians with the Sydney Male Choir. The young love of music blended with the men and their love of music was priceless. We are blessed to have such wonderful musical directors as Alex Pringle and Matt Manchester and I would like to once again thank them for their leadership and direction of our talented students.

SRC Elections
Elections for the 7-9 and 11 student representative council took place this Friday during year meetings. Year 10 will hold their elections this Tuesday. I have been working with the SRC and Mr Galvin (SRC Coordinator) to evaluate the existing positions in the SRC and to broaden the voting system.

Love Bites
On Friday 13th September all Year 10 participated in a wellbeing program called ‘LoveBites’.

Major School Projects
After years of speculation the Library refurbishment is finally underway. The library has been temporarily relocated to the top level of the Wilkins building. Although we have taken over three classrooms for the library relocation the reduced space will mean that some services are limited. I appreciate the patience that students have shown during the relocation phase and hope that most services will be up and running next week. It will certainly be worth the short term inconvenience when we can finally enjoy the end result of the refurbishment.
The new robotics room is on schedule to be completed by the time student’s return to school in Term 4 and the Kitchen teaching and learning space is on track to be completed by the end of this year.
The tennis court conversion to futsal courts should be completed next week and I must again thank the P&C for their generous funding of this project.
The school gate to the carpark has been out of action all term but has finally been repaired after a delivery truck ran into it.

Bhuvan Senthil – Year 11and Ethan The Tinh Nguyen – Year 9, for achieving 2019 Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Student Achievement at the Community of languages School. These students were awarded their awards at a presentation held on the evening of Monday 9th September at UNSW. Bhuvan received his award for his studies in Tamil and Ethan received his awards for his studies in Vietnamese.
Lucy Bailey and Georgio Hawi – Year 12, for being awarded 2019 University of Sydney Leadership Awards. Lucy and George have both been invited to a morning tea at the University of Sydney in November.
Staff Member of the Week – Mr Joel Morrison(Deputy Principal) and Mr Jonathan Glover(English) were the recipients of our staff trophy in weeks 7 and 8 respectively. Joel was nominated for being a great role model to all, for encouraging students to do well, being patient and understanding but firm when needed. Joel was recognised also for his professionalism and enthusiasm whilst relieving as Principal. Jonathan was nominated for his work and commitment to public speaking, debating and sport. Congratulations to both these staff members.

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award

Congratulations to Nicholas Mok of Year 12 who was presented with his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award certificate at a ceremony at Town Hall by His Royal Highness Prince Edward, who is touring Australia to celebrate 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Australia.

Nicholas was also interviewed by Sky News:

Nicholas talks about the benefits of the award generally, and in particular about the residential project he did – the Great Barrier Reef excursion organised by FSHS as part of HSC Geography.

Nicholas attended a reception at Government House, together with award participants and leaders from 18 other organisations offering the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program. He was accompanied by the FSHS Duke of Edinburgh Award staff coordinators together with three members of the Duke of Edinburgh student leadership team Madeleine, Angelica and Kabilan, all of Year 10.  They were able to chat to Prince Edward about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program at Fort St High, and also mingled with the Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley and an ex-Governor of NSW Dame Marie Bashir.

Quantum Computing excursion

Quantum Computing excursion

On the 4th of September 6 people travelled to UNSW to visit the Centre for Quantum Computing and Communications Technology, directed by Australian of the Year Michelle SImmons. We were invited to tour the world leaders in quantum information systems and in silicon quantum computer science.
For the first 2 hours of the day, we toured a variety of their labs where the researchers prepared silicon for phosphorus doping, carried out the various chemical processes to physically create the quantum computer, cooled the computers to temperatures many magnitudes colder than outer space, and studied the behaviour of quantum systems.
After the tour of the facilities concluded, we got to experience many hands-on activities to help understand the various physics and chemistry underlying quantum mechanics. We started with a quantum entanglement Virtual Reality game with the Oculus Rift, a VR headset. In true Fort Street fashion after a few minutes, having completed the activity, we found a way to play whatever game we wanted on the VR headset. However, one of them was too busy playing Beat Saber to turn down the volume and had music blaring out of his headsets, and that combined with the vigorous hand movements and a large grin it was pretty obvious he was not completing the activity.

After the enlightening VR experience, we breezed through a number of other activities, involving:
A demonstration involving superconductors, levitation and möbius strips
Liquid nitrogen experiments
Semiconductor surface preparation chemistry and a race to clean model silicon chips

We finished the day with a Q&A session with some of the researchers and Michelle Simmons. They talked to us about their path to quantum computing and what inspired them to work in science. We learnt that computer programming is a key skill that everyone should learn, going forward into the age of technology. They finished off the Q&A with a question to the audience about the two fundamental principles of quantum computing. Everyone was too polite to answer and missed out on getting a signed copy of the leading quantum computing textbook.
It was great to see the forefront of new ideas and technologies. We would like to thank Ms Eastment for taking us to UNSW and supervising us while we were there.

Xavier Cooney, Thomas Cannane and Yash Agarwal

Chinese Language and Culture Day

Chinese Language and Culture Day

Our Year 9 Chinese class performed on stage at China Day.  They sang a popular modern love song.  Students from around the State came together to forms a concert at Hurstville Civic Centre.

Recently our Chinese Language and Culture Day took place in the School Hall and Chinese classes.  There were many traditional handicrafts and arts to experience.  The lions danced frenetically around quadrangles as the drums sounded loudly!



Australian Olympic Change Maker Program

Australian Olympic Change Maker Program

On 10/09/19, Tim Sydorenko (swimmer) and Yerin Kim (golfer) participated in the Australian Olympic Change Maker Program at the University of Sydney. The program brings together students in year 10-12 who demonstrates the Olympic spirit through leadership and drives positive change in their communities. The program provided students with the unique and inspiring opportunity to listen and engage in a conversation with a panel of Australian olympians (Brooke Hansen OAM, Steve Hooker OAM, Josh Katz, Hayden Smith, Anneliese Rubie and Katie Mactier) throughout the day.

We would like to thank the school for nominating us as it was inspiring learning experience.

Yerin Kim

RoboCup Internationals

RoboCup Internationals

From the 2nd to the 8th of July Cristina Koprinski, Gabriel Thien and Xavier Cooney represented Australia at RoboCup Internationals. The team placed 22nd, and we competed in the Rescue Line Division where the robot navigates a line course, avoids various obstacles and rescues victims from a spill. The most points were acquired in the spill zone, where the robot had to locate and lift up silver balls (victims) onto an evacuation platform. The size of the spill and number of victims of the spill are unknown, and the robot must achieve this task autonomously.

In addition to the competition, the team was able to collaborate with teams from other countries. During the last two days of the competition, we took part in the Super Team Challenge, where we had to re-program and re-build our robot to accomplish a completely new task. Along with the Slovakian and Slovenian teams, we were tasked with building two robots such that one transports victims into a safe zone, and the other evacuates these victims. From this experience, we were able to learn new building and programming techniques from the International community, which we found extremely beneficial in developing our skills.

The competition was intense – where most teams had one year to complete the task, our team only had six weeks. Throughout the competition the most important skill the team learnt was to be adaptive. We experienced some electrical failures at the competition, and as a result of this we had to devise innovative solutions to solve the problem – often under a tight time pressure. Our robot design also taught us that often the best solutions are the ones that are thoroughly planned out, modular in design and with much thought on the fundamentals of the problem.

Throughout the competition we were further able to:


  • Develop our CAD skills. We fully designed our robot on Fusion 360 before the manufacturing phase began. Due to our time constraints, we learnt new techniques to make this process more efficient.


  • Learn new algorithms. On the software side of the project, we created our own simulation (coded in Python) to test the robot while it was being built. This simulation mimicked the line follow environment and allowed us to fine tune our PID (proportional integral derivative) controller. Our mentor, Kris Choy, mentioned that the majority of these concepts, like PID, directly relate to topics in third and fourth year university. We were very surprised when we heard this as we self-taught these algorithms to ourselves through research. This is one of the things that we love about Robotics – it gives us the opportunity to extend our knowledge often to a university level.


  • Computer/robot vision. Using computer vision in the competition was something that we had never tried before and that we were excited to try out. We learnt about image recognition and algorithms to assist us with this such as the Hough Transformation, used for circle detection, and found the concepts a bit challenging. Image recognition was the main software challenge we faced, as we had to devise ways to detect the circular reflective balls reliably. We used the OpenMV camera which we found extremely reliable in this process. As opposed to other cameras which only supported hue recognition, the OpenMV supports a grayscale feature which was critical in distinguishing silver and black balls.

However, without the support of our sponsors, we would have been unable to have this experience. A special mention to WiseTech Global who supported the team financially and is a global logistics software company that believes in empowering high school students to expand their computer science, software and mechatronics engineering capabilities. We would also like to thank the ongoing support of the Fort Street High School Foundation, and we are extremely grateful for the support of Fortians in our community in encouraging the next generation to pursue their passions.

Our robot further relied on a custom printed circuit board and PCBWay prototyped and fabricated our PCBs to an exceptional standard. We also needed to laser cut custom parts for our robot out of aluminium and steel (such as the custom gearing for our claw mechanism), and Laser Wizard graciously provided their plasma cutting services for our need. The team visited their manufacturing facilities to learn about the unique processes involved in precision manufacturing of metal components. We hope to maintain a good relationship with such industry sponsors as students can experiment with a more diverse range of materials and develop advanced robots.

These skills and experiences are priceless and we believe that they are highly beneficial to the future of FSHS Robotics. We plan to return to the club and share the knowledge we gained from the competition to enhance the learning experience for the next generation of innovators. The proposed plans for the future of FSHS Robotics involves:

  • Yearly STEM events
  • EduTech National Conference Sydney
      • An exhibition and conference held by the primary, secondary, tertiary and corporate education sectors to share and exhibit new technologies.
      • This is a fantastic opportunity for STEM students to enhance their networking skills as well as develop presentation skills to showcase their work in robotics to NSW and Australia.
    • Human Robot Friendship Ball Rhodes
      • An exhibition of the latest technologies in robotics and the roles education authorities play in them. We believe that it is important for students to attend these events as it introduces students to what a career in technology may look like.
  • Senior member mentorship classes
    • We believe in sharing our knowledge to all members of robotics. Senior students (in years 10 – 12) are encouraged to host and teach classes based on their cumulative experience in robotics.
    • This is aimed at providing students with a more rigorous understanding of the competition requirements, as well in applying programming and electronics skills taught at school and by the students.
    • Courses to be run include:
      • Software Programming, Algorithms and Debugging Techniques
      • Robotic Systems and Software Implementation
      • Strategy
      • Robot Design & Mechanics
      • CAD & CAM (Manufacturing)
      • Electronics & Circuitry
      • Project and time management


We further were interviewed by the Australian Computer Society about why Robotics is important to us and what we enjoy about the competition. Here is the link to the video:

Cristina Koprinski and Gabriel Thien

Seven Bridges Walk

Seven Bridges Walk

The Year 8 Charity Committee is supporting the Cancer Council through the Seven Bridges Walk again this year, and it is a great honour to get to participate in this long tradition. The Seven Bridges Walk is a 28km walking event in Sydney and it is organised by the Cancer Council to raise awareness about the effects of cancer and also to fundraise for cancer research. Please help us in our efforts to support the Cancer Council and to create a cancer-free future by donating to and help us reach our goal of $20,000!

Thank you for your support!

Year 8 Charity Committee.



The early bird charge of $70 ends at midnight on Monday 30 September -read more about Early Bird applications here

SRS applications also close on Monday 30 September and school applicant ratings for 2019 close at midnight on Wednesday 9 October.  Read more about the Schools Recommendations Schemes here


ATARs this year will be released at 1pm on Tuesday 17 December – the same day as HSC results.

This is so students will have all the information they need on the day to make their future study decisions and have more time to finalise their preferences for December Round 2 (read ‘Offer rounds for Year 12 students’ below).

UAC is once again operating its ATAR Enquiry Centre for students who have queries about the calculation of their ATAR.

Tuesday 17 December, 12pm–8pm
Wednesday 18 December, 8.30am–4.30pm
Thursday 19 December, 8.30am–4.30pm
Friday 20 December, 8.30am–4.30pm

Students should download and print their ATAR Advice Notices when ATARs are released in December. Students only have free access until February; after that they will be charged for a digital or printed copy.

Read more about the ATAR here


The most important offer rounds for Year 12 students are:

December Round 2 – Monday 23 December 2019
January Round 1 – Friday 10 January 2020.
Not all courses will be offered in December Round 2, and applicants should check UAC’s website for details of excluded courses before they finalise their course preferences.

Students whose results are not available in time for December Round 2 can be assured that they will not be disadvantaged – universities will still have places available to make offers to all courses in January.

Read more about offers here


Sport Update

Sport Update

Year 7 Gala Day

The Northern Suburbs Zone Year 7 Gala Day is coming up and our year 10 coaches have been putting their year 7 teams through their paces. Pictured below is one of our girls Oz Tag teams training before school on the oval.

Girls CricketNSW Big Bash Gala Day

Pictured below are students across year 7 and 8 training under the guidance of our year 9 boys for the upcoming cricket gala day. Fort Street has entered 3 teams in the competition which will be held at Petersham Park in Week 10.

Instrumental Music Program

Instrumental Music Program

Chamber Choir and Vocal Ensemble in Concert
On Sunday 8thSeptember Chamber Choir and Vocal Ensemble, directed by Alex Pringle, performed in a joint concert with the Sydney Male Choir, at the Sydney Town Hall. The event was a huge success, attended by an audience of over nine hundred. Both Chamber Choir and Vocal Ensembleperformed brilliantly in their solo items, and were joined by the Sydney Male Choirto sing Tippet’s Spirituals, and Take Me Home Country Road. The finale of the concert had much of the audience singing along. The concert was a great testament to the power of community music-making, and the love of singing shared by Fort Street and Sydney Male Choir, and the IMP has been overwhelmed by emails from audience members, congratulating the students on their fantastic performances.
Sydney Male Choir made a sizeable donation to the school following Sunday’s concert, which will fund bursaries for IMP members who require financial assistance in 2020.

Hire instrument servicing 
This is a friendly reminder that hire instruments must be serviced annually (this is a requirement of hiring that all hirers agree to when completing the hire form). The IMP will be monitoring instrument servicing and upkeep to ensure instruments are kept in good condition so that can be used by future IMP members.
If your hire instrument hasn’t been serviced in the past 12 months please attend to this ASAP. There is a list of recommended instrument service and repair businesses, in the IMP Membership Handbook. In some cases you may need to book in for a service (especially at peak times such as school holidays).

Tour 2021
The IMP will be touring to Spain and Portugal in 2021.
Students who will be in Years 10-12 in 2021 are eligible to attend. In limited circumstances students who will be in Year 9 in 2021 may be invited to join the tour, subject to availability of places and the instrument needs of tour ensembles.
Interested parents and students should attend an information meeting on Monday 23 Septemberin the Hall. Geoff Hayes from Hayes Travel Enterprises will present the proposed itinerary, and Mr Manchester will talk about touring in general, and some of the school requirements, and to answer any questions you may have. It is very important that families and students who are interested in this tour attend the information evening.

If you would like a taste of what an IMP tour has to offer, check out the 2018 Tour Blog:​

P&C News

P&C News

Second hand Uniform Sale – Wednesday 23 October

The P&C’s second hand uniform stall runs once per term before school from 7.45-8.45 am in front of the school office.
Parents and students are welcome to come and grab a bargain. Price guide: shirts, skirts, shorts, IMP (music program) and sports uniform items all $5 each, jumpers $20, trousers $10, winter jackets $40. Cash only, please bring your small change, condition of clothes as found, no change rooms, no refunds. The second hand uniform stall relies on uniform donations from the school community. You can do your bit to recycle our uniforms and save landfill. If you have clean washed uniforms to donate, please take them to the school library and they will be placed in the donations bin. All proceeds to your P&C. If you are a parent who would like to volunteer on the stall please contact Sally at Thank you to everyone who has donated and to our volunteers, our front office and library staff for supporting the stall.

Fort Street P&C 2020

We are calling for expressions of interest for positions on the P&C for 2020. A number of our office bearers are leaving this year as their child at the school completes the HSC. We are inviting any and all parents who are interested to take this opportunity to have a guiding role in the P&C. We are in particular need of people with skills in communication and administration and/or who just really want to be involved. We also really want to encourage parents who may not want a role but would like to be a general member to come along to the next meeting and see what happens.

Entertainment Books

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P&C General Meeting Dates

13th November 2019 (AGM)

11th December 2019

The Archibald Prize Challenge – can you help?

The Archibald Prize Challenge – can you help?

The Archibald Prize was the first major prize for portraiture in Australian art. From its beginning The Archibald Prize has provoked controversy, while recording the changing face of Australian society. Numerous legal battles and much debate have focused on the evolving definitions of portraiture.

Soon to be celebrating 100 years, it was first awarded in 1921 after the receipt of a bequest from J. F. Archibald, and the Archibald quickly became a prize eagerly sought by artists. Not only because of the money it offered and the public exposure it generated, but because it also gave portrait artists an opportunity to have their work shown in a major gallery. Every year many enter (even from this archivist!) in the hope to be one of the fifty artists chosen.

Fort Street has been well represented in the final Archibald Prize section in the past. The portraits that we know of include:
– Finalist for 1926 – Norman Carter’s portrait of Fort Street principal, A J Kilgour (Fort Street Archives Collection).
– Finalist for 1948 – Henry Aloysius Hanke’s portrait of Fortian (c.1890s), His Honour Judge Perdriau (unknown location).
– Finalist for 1973 – Vaike Liibus’ portrait of Fortian (1914), The Hon Sir Percy Spender (Fort Street Archives Collection).

The Challenge – The Fort Street Archives is attempting to assist the Art Gallery of New South Wales with any information related to past finalists in preparation of The Archibald Prize’s celebration of its 100th birthday in 2021. To mark the occasion, the AGNSW will present ‘Archie 100’, a national touring exhibition exploring the history of the Prize in its centenary year.

Do you have information about or images of any Fort Street connections to the Archibald Prize finalists over the years? The AGNSW does not know the current location of many of these works, most of which will be in private collections, and they are hoping to discover other information, including images and details of the sitters. This includes images or whereabouts of Hanke’s portrait of His Honour Judge Perdriau.

Are you able to help? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Iain Wallace – School Archivist

1989 30th reunion

1989 30th reunion

Attention 1989 Leavers – 30 Year Reunion

Saturday November 30th, 7pm till late at the Glebe Hotel, 63 Bay Street Glebe.

Tickets are $30 through trybooking, search fort street to find the event, or via the following link:

You can also join the Facebook group called – Fort Street High School 1989.

Please spread the word to others you are in touch with.