Mercurius issue 3 – March 2021 - 21 Mar 2021
Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report

Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers,

Clean Up Australia Day

It was encouraging to see so many students getting involved in Clean Up Australia Day at school this year. I would like to thank the environment committee and Ms Xu for their efforts on this day. I would also like to congratulate all our Fortians who regularly put their litter into the appropriate bins every day. Most of the rubbish that was collected by the student volunteers on this day was along the school fence lines and has accumulated over time from people walking past and throwing things over the fences into our school.

International Women’s Day

On Friday 5 March the Year 11 SRC executive members and I had the opportunity to attend the United Nations IWD lunch at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. It was an honour for us to hear Australian of the Year Grace Tame speaking live at this event.

Parent/Teacher Nights

Parent teacher nights provide a valuable opportunity for our teaching staff to meet with parents to discuss the progress of their children’s education.

Year 12 Parent Teacher Night was held via zoom on Monday 8 March.

Year 7 Meet and Greet information night was held on Wednesday 17 March and was a more informal event which included a tour of the school and an opportunity for parents to meet other parents.

Year 11 Parent Teacher Night will also be held via zoom this week on Wednesday 24 March, bookings are now open on Sentral for Year 11 parents.

Student Support Officer

In Term 3, Fort Street will receive a full time allocation from the Department of Education for a Student Support Officer (also known as a Youth Worker). The following URL directs you to the job advertisement on I work for NSW, if you know of anyone who might be interested in applying for this position please pass this on to them

Hero Video – Jenny is an experiences SSO working at Sir Joseph Banks High School in Revesby. In this video, she shares her experiences as an SSO and encourages others to join the profession. View here:

School Contributions and Fees

In the last week of Term 1, reminders will be emailed home regarding student contributions. The financial support given by parents is crucial in maintaining excellent curriculum programs and physical improvements to our school.

The generous support of the P&C is much appreciated and provides opportunities for our students that may not otherwise exist. Contributions to the tax-deductible Public Library and Building Funds are funding new book and technology purchases and the Rowe Quad refurbishment which will include a covered outdoor learning space for 150 students and tiered seating along the oval. Both of these building projects will commence these school holidays.

Prompt payment of fees is appreciated. If there are any financial problems, please advise me in writing.


SRC Report

SRC Report

2021 SRC Update #2

The SRC has been busy this past month with organising various school events and attending external functions.

Meeting Dr Norman Sydney Hing (Fortian 1935)

On Friday 5 February, members of the SRC, Principal and School Archives team welcomed Dr Hing, his daughter Amanda and friend Dr Olav Nielssen (Fortian 1977) to the Fort. This was Dr Hing’s first visit back to the school after his graduation in 1935. His name appears on three honour boards around the school which celebrate his achievements as Dux 1935, seven A grade passes in the Intermediate Certificate Examination and recipient of the Killeen Memorial Scholarship. The members of the SRC all had an opportunity to chat with Dr Hing, who wished them, and all Fortians success in their future careers and prospects.

Annual SRC Rose Drive

The Rose Drive was once again a success with 1833 roses sold this year, toppling last year’s record. SRC members arrived at school early on Friday 19 February to prepare, dethorn and sort the roses for distribution. A big thank you to those students who supported this annual fundraising event.


Supporting the P&C Uniform Store

Fortians had an opportunity to purchase good quality second hand uniform items at bargain prices on Friday 26 February. This was jointly run by the SRC and Fort Street P&C.

Clean second hand uniform donations will be much appreciated. Please deposit them at the Front Office.


 Year Seven SRC Elections

The Year Seven cohort has been settling into the Fort very well, and recently elected their SRC members. Thank you to all students who nominated themselves for this important role. Congratulations to the successful candidates: Elisa Wong, Miranda Leighton, Cloris Wang, Alisha Ung, Abhijay Beer, Aaditiya Venkatraman, Kai Hall and Aiden Lee. Wishing you all the best with this distinguished role in representing your peers and the wider school community.

United Nations International Women’s Day

On Friday 5 March, the Principal, Mr Micheal Galvin (SRC Coordinator) and Year 11 SRC executive members attended the International Women’s Day (IWD) Luncheon at the Sydney International Convention Center, hosted by UN Women Australia. The theme for IWD 2021 is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. This theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future. Moving keynotes were presented by Grace Tame (2021 Australian of the Year), Elizabeth Broderick AO and Yasmin Poole.

IWD was celebrated internationally and at the Fort on Monday 8 March. The SRC organised a message wall for students to recognise women who lead and inspire their lives. IWD celebrations continued on Friday 12 March where a bake sale and mufti day was organised to raise funds for UN Women Australia.




Prefect Afternoon Teas (PATs)

PATs are an opportunity for student school leaders to network, share ideas regarding school improvement projects and, of course, socialise too. The Year 11 SRC executive members have been invited by many schools and attended PATs hosted by Sydney Boys High and Strathfield Girls High. We have recognised the opportunity to exchange ideas and better ways to engage with our own school community via this forum. As such, we are planning our inaugural PAT to be held later this year.

News Flash

  • New school uniform items are on their way! These include redesigned sport shorts and lightweight cotton jumper.
  • Oval upgrades: Construction of a second outdoor volleyball court and installation of tiered sandstone seating on the oval will begin soon.
  • Canteen will be offering an EFTPOS payment system soon.
  • Construction of new outdoor learning space in Rowe Quad has begun.
  • Get ready for the annual SRC Easter Egg Hunt event at the end of this term! Follow the SRC Instagram @srcfshs for regular updates.


We are always keen to receive your feedback and ideas on any school related issues with a view to improve our community. Please contact your SRC via email (,  Instagram or simply letting one of our members know.


Peter Tran
SRC Vice-President
Year 11


Year 12 Field Trip

Year 12 Field Trip

Year 12 enjoyed a field trip to Tamburlaine winery on Wednesday March 10. They are studying economic geography in this viticulture and wine making case study.

Year 11 Ancient History

Year 11 Ancient History

In what has become something of a tradition, Mr de Bres’ Year 11 Ancient History class marked out the dimensions of Tutankhamun’s Tomb in the Rowe Quad during their double lesson in Week 6. Using precise tomb measurements and armed with the necessary equipment (tape measures, masking tape and scissors) the students, under the expert supervision of Director of Antiquities Declan Dann, dutifully recreated the tomb’s steps, corridor and four chambers. Besides gaining a tangible appreciation of the size and scale of the tomb itself they identified features and contents of each room and reflected on the astonishing range of exquisite treasures that greeted acclaimed archaeologist Howard Carter when he discovered the largely intact New Kingdom Pharoah’s tomb in 1922.

Mr de Bres
History Faculty

Year 9 History Excursion

Year 9 History Excursion

Martin Place 

The excursion began with us meeting together at Martin Place. We studied the Cenotaph which featured two figures (a member of the navy and an army soldier) standing on opposite ends of a tomb-like structure with a wreath in the middle. After an explanation about the significance of the Cenotaph from Mr O’Neill, we set to work on finding some of the symbols strewn around Martin Place that relate to Australian history. The most interesting one to me was the Macquarie Bank symbol, which represented the first coin Australia transferred to after using rum to do trade.

Sobering Visit to the ANZAC Memorial

From Martin Place we made our way to the Pool of Reflection in Hyde Park and from there both classes entered the ANZAC Memorial. We passed various sculptures and artworks – as well as a gift shop – before we were asked to place our bags away and enter a room. In this space we witnessed a performance – a re-enactment of nurses’ experiences in war, based on primary source accounts. Following the performance we were given four moral choice questions. The first question was whether we’d join the army if we had to pay our own expenses, to which I said “no”. The second was whether we’d break the censorship laws about writing to people and possibly get sent home, to which I said “yes”. The third question was whether we’d go back for one person in the event of an emergency, to which I said “no” because it could endanger other people’s lives to hold back everyone to save one person. Finally, we were asked if we’d act as a nurse during the Spanish influenza to get back home, to which I said “yes”.

On our guided tour of the ANZAC Memorial we visited the Exhibition Gallery, the Home Soil Memorial and The Hall of Silence. I was intrigued to see the statues and the autograph book of the nurse who took care of the soldiers in the Exhibition Gallery, but I spent most of my time watching a video about a mechanic’s experience of the war, particularly in detecting mines before they exploded, which I found interesting.

Next was the Home Soil Memorial. Seeing all sorts of earth and sand from places around NSW that Australian men and women who had served had come from was a strangely moving experience. I would love to come here when it’s raining and see the water falling into this exposed memorial space.

Finally, we saw the statue of the fallen soldier in the Hall of Silence. This was another very moving experience; the soldier lying there in an almost Christ-like position with a Spartan shield and stars above him. It painted an almost serene picture, but I also thought that it romanticised the idea of war by glorifying the ‘god-like’ soldiers who have fought and died for their country.

After the tour, we did an activity where we wrote a poem for one of the soldiers during WWI. My group wrote a poem about a soldier whose right jaw war had been shot and his right arm had almost been blown off by a bomb.

Yininmadyemi’ – Thou didst let fall sculpture

After leaving the ANZAC Memorial we visited the Yininmadyemi’ – Thou didst let fall sculpture in Hyde Park. Seeing this Aboriginal Memorial right after the glorious sights of the ANZAC Memorial created a very strange feeling. The bullets standing there did not glorify war; they did not provide solace to the people who died. Instead this sculpture stood as a sobering reminder of the futility of conflict and the forgotten sacrifice of thousands of Aboriginal Australians in conflicts across the globe.


Nicholas Caus









Year 8 French

Year 8 French

Both Year 8 French classes attended the French Film Festival early in March.  They were accompanied by Monsieur Backhouse, Mesdames Maddox and Salisbury to see “Fourmi” (original title).  It is about a boy who hopes to use his talent for soccer to bring his father out of depression.  The opportunity comes when the boy is about to be signed by Arsenal FC…

The tradition of enjoying French style pastries from a local pâtissier in the cool of shady trees continued after the movie.  Students noticed the constant use in dialogue of “oh là là” and recognised other expressions that they had already learnt.

Mark Backhouse (Head Teacher, Languages)


Year 7 History Excursion

Year 7 History Excursion

On Monday, year 7 Fortians from 7R and 7O along with Ms Wark, Mr De Bres and Ms Thompson headed off to Hyde Park to discover some historical artifacts. When we got to Hyde Park, we started on the south side and slowly headed towards there after we completed a worksheet based on the artifacts that were on the south side. These historical objects, statues and artifacts were discussed with your group and there were certain questions we had to answer about them. Other than that, it was quite fun roaming around Hyde Park with your friends and trying to find the next historical item that was on your list.

We had breaks in between and discussed the different and unique things that were found around the place.

Eventually we finished the whole park and went to the Hyde Park Barracks. Everyone was then relieved that there was air conditioning as it was a very hot day. In the museum was a lot of information about different artifacts that were found around the Barracks back when it was a convict accommodation. We learnt how women were significant at the time and also did a little bit of archaeology. There was a sandpit with hidden items in the sand and we pretended to be like professional archaeologists using a sift, toothbrush, hand shovels, and a flat trowel. Honestly, the best part for all of the students were the hammocks. On that hot day of hard work we were awarded with an air conditioned hammock room, amazing. Overall, a great and fun day.

Joshua Lam 7R


On the 1st of March, 2021 we went to Hyde Park and Hyde Park Barracks with Mr de Bres, Ms Thompson and Ms Wark. We caught a train from Petersham to Museum Station and then walked to Hyde Park. We started down at the southern part of the park and received a worksheet (prepared by Ms Wark) that we had to complete in small groups. Our group consisted of Maxaviar, Levi, Denzel, Umasuthan and Lucas.

We walked around and studied historical sites such as The Anzac Memorial, The Yininmadyemi Thou didst let fall sculpture and The Emden gun. A little later we all met up at the Captain Cook Statue to have recess before crossing over to Hyde Park North. There we marked off more sites on our work sheet and wrote answers to the given questions. As we explored and stared back into the past instead of the future we gained an appreciation and understanding of the early history of Australia. When we had finished we met at The Archibald Fountain to have lunch before setting off to Hyde Park Barracks.

At the Barracks we were put in groups for activities.The first activity was a simulation of an archaeological dig. One person dug sand with a shovel, one person sifted the sand and the third person analysed what had been uncovered. We found a bone from the body of a cow which had been sliced down the middle with a large cleaver so that bigger portions of meat could be put in the convicts stews.

For the second activity we walked into the Barracks itself and learned how, after the convicts had gone, the building had been turned into a place for women coming from England, and after that, an insane asylum. We also looked at all of the artefacts that had been discovered there. One crazy thing is the number of pipes that had been found in the building. Afterwards we went to the convicts’ preserved sleeping quarters. At first, the hammocks were comfortable, but after a while they became very annoying.

For the final activity, we walked into a room. There were three tables laid out with miscellaneous items. We were split into groups and using the evidence provided we had to theorise who the owner of the items might have been and their approximate age. For our group, there were gift cards, a vegan biscuit box, a concert CD and others. We came to the conclusion that the owner was a middle aged woman as they had tax receipt, a baby voucher and an old CD.

Once we finished visiting the Barracks we walked back through Hyde Park to St James Station to catch a train back to Petersham. We enjoyed learning about the history of Hyde Park and Hyde Park Barracks on the excursion. It gave us a view on history that was different from just reading something in class.

 Maxaviar Lum and Levi Darcy-Smith  (70)

New improved learning spaces

New improved learning spaces

The school continues to upgrade spaces for student learning.

W16 has been vastly improved to accommodate up to 3 junior classes and 4 senior classes using tiered seating.  Each seat has a flip out writing surface and students can be taught in a lecture style room.  The space can also be used as a performance space.

This project was funded by the Fort Street Foundation using donations made to the Building Fund.


Also in Wilkins is the new flexible space with room over 40 students.  There are 4 screens that are mounted to the walls for group work and one screen on wheels.  The projector will be upgraded next term.

Devices can be connected which means a teacher can share their screen with all screens in the room, and students will be able to share during presentations.

Tables flip and can also be used as whiteboards to facilitate collaborative work.


Superstars of STEM webinars

Superstars of STEM webinars

Are you wondering where an interest in biology could lead you?

Fort Street students and parents are invited to join Dr Juliette Tobias Webb (Behavioural scientist), Dr Sharon Hook (Environmental toxicologist), Amy Coetsee (Threatened species biologist) and Dr Deborah Bower (Ecologist) for a webinar on Tuesday 23rd March (6-7pm).
In the first session of our ‘Superstars of STEM’ series, you’ll have the chance to hear from some ‘Superstars’ who use biology in their jobs every day.
They will talk about what they do, how they got to where they are today and how you can follow in their footsteps.
Then they will answer your questions.
Follow the link for more information about each Superstar’s career and to register for the event.
Where will an interest in biology lead me?

​Follow each link below to learn more about each webinar in the ‘Superstars of STEM’ series and to register for more events:

What is chemistry useful for?                                                                Wednesday 31 March 6pm AEDT

If I study physics where will I end up?                                                  Tuesday 27 April 6pm AEST

What type of jobs use IT skills?                                                              Wednesday 5 May 6pm AEST

How many different types of engineers are there?                           Tuesday 11 May 6pm AEST

I like maths. Is there anything I can be other than an actuary?      Wednesday 19 May 6pm AEST


Students can attend as many sessions as they like, but need to register for each session to receive the log in information.

Kylie Salisbury

Careers Adviser

University Info Days

University Info Days


Year 10 Subject Selection Evenings (Online)

Thursday, 22 April
Wednesday, 28 April
Wednesday, 12 May

For more information and to book click here

Experience UNSW Days
13-15 April (ON CAMPUS)
Year 12 students can experience firsthand life as a university student with hands on workshops, inspiring talks by our academics, and interactive panels with current students:

Arts, Design & Architecture
Law & Justice
Medicine & Health

Sydney University

Year 10 Information Evenings
Tuesday 20 April
Tuesday 4 May
Thursday 6 May (online)
Year 12 Information Evening
Tuesday 18 May
For more information and to book click here


Future Proofing Study with the Black Dog Institute and UNSW

We’re thrilled to announce that Fort Street HS is taking part in Australia’s largest ever wellbeing study for high school students – the ‘Future Proofing Study’. We’ll be working with the Black Dog Institute and UNSW, along with 170+ other Australian schools, to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Australian teenagers.

Starting in Term 3 this year, participating students will try out new mental health apps and complete surveys about their health and wellbeing at school until they are in Year 12. The surveys will ask about a wide range of issues important to young people, including health, emotions, friendships, school, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are looking forward to inviting all Year 8 students to participate in this important initiative. Students will need parent permission and a smartphone to participate. We will provide more information about this study early in Term 2, when you will also be given the opportunity to enrol your child. If you are interested in learning more about the study now, the researchers have recorded a webinar you can watch online here:

We hope you share in our commitment to this project and improving the mental health outcomes for Australian young people through quality research.

Mind your Mate
Researchers at The Matilda Centre at The University of Sydney are launching an Australian-first randomised controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of an online peer intervention to prevent mental health and substance use problems in adolescence. The program is grounded in the latest scientific evidence and has been co-designed by young people, experts in the field, and psychologists.Here at Fort Street HS we are excited to be taking part in this opportunity to better help young people in supporting their friends through tough times. The study will be run with the Year 10 cohort. If you are a parent of a Year10 student, please complete the parental consent form that was sent to your email address. If you would like to find out more about the study, please follow this link:

If you would like to check out The Matilda Centre and the research they conduct, please click here:


National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Year 7 and 8 students viewed a performance presented by Shaun Parker & Company titled Dance Don’t Fight and had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the performers on Thursday 18 March 2021.

THE YARD is an award-winning arts youth education program by contemporary dance theatre company Shaun Parker & Company dealing with themes of bullying, social exclusion, peer pressure, and resilience through dance and music. The program features a performance of THE YARD followed by a short Question and Answer workshop.

THE YARD was created for and with students from Western Sydney schools over a three-year period dealing with the social issues pulsating within the schoolyard. The program’s objective is to not only empower children to deal with the issues addressed in the performance, but to also inspire and motivate them in their future careers and life choices.

We were excited to offer this opportunity to our Year 7 and 8 students and hope that the performance and workshop encourages our students to have a deeper understanding of the impacts of bullying and skills to become upstanders against bullying in our school and the wider community.

Year 7 students will also be looking at further developing their skills to become upstanders during their Fortunae lessons this term, led ably by  the Year 10 Peer Support leaders and Mr. Patulny Year Adviser and Ms Thompson Assistant Year Adviser. Year 8 students will also participate in learning activities about respectful relationships and becoming upstanders in wellbeing lessons and further workshops during this year.

As a whole school we acknowledged the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on Friday 19 March, 2021. Year 7 students reflected on some of the key ideas they gained from viewing the performance at their Year Meeting.

Students in Years 8, 9 and 10 shared an assembly where our student leaders, led by Alyssa Khaw and Jonathan Bonnice recognised the day and initiated conversations about how we could all be more proactive in our actions to combat Bullying.

Year 11 and 12 were engaged in Wellbeing Lessons and viewed the award winning short film ‘Tagged’.

This film and the follow up discussions focussed on cyberbullying, sexting and digital reputation and critically evaluating the social and legal implications of a range of negative online behaviours. Students analysed different ways in which they can exercise self-control and responsibility in managing relationships online.

Teachers also took on some professional learning about the issues of bullying and cyberbullying  presented by the not for profit organisation  Bullying Zero and together looked at what we can do better to combat bullying behaviours in the classroom and the playground.

Police Schools Liaison Officer Talks

Year 11 and 12 students had a visit on Friday 12 March 2021 from Snr Constable Kelly Stewart, the Police Schools Liaison Officer for our region. Snr Constable Stewart spoke to students about legal, social and health issues concerning drugs and alcohol, and answered student questions on a variety of related issues.

You may want to take this opportunity to talk to your children about what they learned or found interesting from this discussion, and about what experiences they, their friends or their peers may have had in these areas.

If you are looking for further information or support in this area, the school subscribes to an online parent resource hub called School TV, which includes an excellent range of resources on Drug and Alcohol Use.

School TV publish new resources each month, which can be accessed through the Latest News section of the school website. Parents may also be interested in the latest Special Report: A Conversation on Consent.

On Friday 26 March 2021 this term Snr Constable Kelly Stewart, the Police Schools Liaison Officer for our region, will return to deliver a talk about Cybersafety and the range of issues about staying safe online to our Year 7 and 8 students.

If you are looking for further information or support in this area, the school subscribes to an online parent resource hub called School TV, which includes an excellent range of resources on Social Media and Digital Reputation, including Staying Safe Online.

Year 9 and 10 students will hear a presentation from the Police Schools Liaison Officer for our region, next term.




Sport Update

Sport Update

Girls Get Active:

​Last week a group of Year 10 and 11 girls attended the Girls Get Active program run by Sport NSW & Innerwest council. This special event included a panel discussion with a range of females in the industry, including both elite athletes and administrators. The panel members shared their inspiring stories with the audience and gave the students an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a participation session where everyone experienced the various sporting activities on offer including boxing, volleyball, touch football and baseball.

CHS Girls soccer:
On Friday the 19th March the Open Girls soccer team played against Cheltenham Girls in the CHS knockout competition. The girls showed great effort and determination playing the majority of the game through torrential rain. The game remained 0-0 the majority of the time but unfortunately Cheltenham scored with 10 minutes to go. Well done to the girls for a valiant effort. Player of the match was Ella Easton.

CHS Tennis:

​On Thursday 18th March Loic Chiang​, Ilha Jung, Karan, Bhasin and Daniel Abdul Khalek​played against Ryde Secondary College in the CHS tennis knockout competition. Congratulations to the team on an outstanding win! They will now play Narrabeen Sports High School in round 3.
Loic vs opponent: 6-0
Daniel vs opponent: 6-0
Ilha vs opponent: 6-0
Ilha + Daniel doubles vs opponent: 6-0 ​

Ms Ezekiel 

Sports Coordinator

The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge is now open!

The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge is now open!

“The Challenge aims to encourage a love of reading for leisure and pleasure in students, and to enable them to experience quality literature. It is not a competition but a challenge to each student to read, to read more and to read more widely.”

All students in years 7 – 10 can take part. Parents’ and care givers’ tips and information can be found here file:///C:/Users/dpage18/Downloads/Tips_for_Parents_and_Carers_for_Participating_in_the_PRC%20(1).pdf
and a video taking you through the student PRC website experience can be viewed here .

If you have any further questions, please contact our Teacher Librarian, Ms Donna Page

Fort Street P&C Raffle

Fort Street P&C Raffle

Well done to Year 10 families – they have purchased more raffle tickets than any other year group! Year 7 families are close behind, however…
Fort Street P&C Raffle 2021
“Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?!”
1st Prize is a $500 credit at the school canteen – that is equivalent to lunch every day for a whole term!
Other prizes include vouchers for cafes and restaurants, a family pass to Taronga Zoo and a season pass to Fanny Durack pool.
Buy your tickets online only at
The raffle will be drawn on 31st March 2021. All proceeds will go towards new sports equipment and an outdoor gym.
Thank you to the businesses who are supporting this fundraiser: Bon Appetit Catering, Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre, Taronga Zoo, White Cockatoo Hotel, FICH at Petersham, Brighton the Corner, Brothers Ben cafe, Coles, Toys and Tales, Q Printing Enmore