Mercurius issue 8 – June 2020 - 29 Jun 2020
Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report

Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers,

Term 3 timetable:
On Monday 20 July, there will be a pupil free day as all staff undertake professional learning. Students in all year groups will return to school on Tuesday 21 July. I would like to wish all students a safe and happy holiday and look forward to their return next term.
I would like to thank everyone who has done their part to keep our school safe during the year so far by practicing social distancing when on school grounds and keeping sick students at home. At Fort Street High School, we have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or anyone confirmed to have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive. I would like to assure our community that the department of Education has protocols in place to guide schools through the contract tracing process and communication process and if this situation were to eventuate the school would be notified by NSW Health immediately.
We are looking forward to an almost return to normal timetable in Term 3. The timetable will be published to the Sentral portal in the first week of the school holidays. There will be no staggered finish times next term. Regular Tuesday afternoon sport including those run by external organisations will commence again for years 7-11 along with Special Religious Education and non-SRE. The only alteration to our regular timetable will be the continuation of a late start on Fridays for the first two weeks. At this stage, assemblies are limited to 15 minutes, which is not practical for us, so students will continue to start their first lesson at 9.40am on a Friday. We will be looking at conducting wellbeing lessons in Period 1 (8.45am – 9.40am) on a Friday in week A for years 7 and 8 and Week B for Years 9 and 10 if the restrictions to assemblies continues.

Year 10 Information Evening and other School Events
Traditionally we would host a parent and student information evening in the first week back of Term 3 for Year 10 students and their parents. This is an important evening at which we explain the rules of the HSC, along with the courses available for students to choose from in years 11 and 12. We are currently putting together an electronic presentation that will be emailed to parents covering this information. Students will also receive a subject selection booklet with instructions to making choices online. A similar arrangement will be made for Year 8 students and parents selecting electives for Years 9 and 10 for 2021.
Unfortunately, we have no indication yet as to whether we will be able to conduct school camps or excursions at any time this year. We are also unsure when parents will be able to attend school events again. It may be necessary to livestream some events so that parents can participate. Fort Fest will certainly not be taking place on 30 August as planned. The P&C are continuing to discuss the possibility of a smaller event in term 4 or a postponement until 2021.
The year 12 Trial exams will commence in week three of Term 3. The examination timetable for these exams will be available to students by the end of term.

Cricket Lanes/Nets
The cricket pitches and nets are finally complete and ready for student use. It is certainly exciting to see this area of the school packed with students playing futsal, volleyball and cricket on brand new facilities completed over the course of this year and last.

Thank you and farewell to Mr Leonard
It is with great sadness that we farewell Mr Jono Leonard who has been teaching in the English Faculty and organising school debating. Mr Leonard has been on loan to us from Pittwater High School and must return to his school in Term 3 of this year. Students and staff alike will miss him.

Aboriginal Legal Service
A number of Year 10 students who wanted to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement approached me earlier this term. This group of students took it upon themselves to organise a coin donation drive whilst raising awareness amongst students to the relevance of this cause in Australia. I am proud to announce that they raised over $900 in this collection and have donated that money to the Aboriginal Legal Service.

Australian Invitational Informatics Olympiad

Australian Invitational Informatics Olympiad

In February 2020 Xavier Conney in Year 11 attended the (invite only) Australian Invitational Informatics Olympiad. The competition sees students given a programming challenge solving problems and submitting a source code for each problem in various programming languages. Xavier achieved an amazing Bronze Medal certificate for his participation in the competition, essentially placing him as one of the top programmers in Australia. The school used its first mini assembly to congratulate Xavier on his efforts, with his Year 11 peers giving him a rousing applause. Congratulations to Xavier.

Hugh O’Neill

Water Polo @ The Fort Term 3 Enrolment

Water Polo @ The Fort Term 3 Enrolment

Water Polo @ The Fort is a co-curricular activity run by Mr Adam Semaan and Ms Sarah Wilkins at Fort Street High School. Our activity involves water activities aimed at developing the skills needed to play the game of water polo. The psychosocial development of participants is also a focus of this activity.

Once a week we train at Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre from 7 am until 8 am. The sessions include warmup exercises, shooting and passing drills, as well as game time towards the end of the session. The only experience you need is to be a confident swimmer.

Every year there are Water Polo Gala Days hosted by Sydney North Region of CHS. There is a junior team and a senior team for both boys and girls. Those students who show the strongest abilities will be selected to represent The Fort.

A levy is charged every term to cover the cost of hiring the pool at Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre. The Aquatic Centre also charges an entry fee for all participants. Payment and permission notes are required for this activity. To access the permission note and signup please access the following online form using your child’s login details:
Please contact Mr Adam Semaan if you require more information:

Adam Semaan
Head Teacher – Technology
Fort Street High School

Sport Clubs

Sport Clubs

Ultimate Frisbee Club
This club meets and trains under the expert eye of Edmund Feng (Fortian – Class of 2018) at 7:45am on Tuesday mornings on the oval at school. Edmund has represented Australia in frisbee and has enhanced many Fortians frisbee skills.

Running Club
Every Tuesday morning from 8-830am our runners can be seen zipping across the school grounds under the tutelage of one of our top runners Oliver Simmonds (Y10).

Futsal Club
Up on Fort Streets state of the art futsal courts students from all years run through warmups, drills and play games to test their footballing abilities.

Basketball/Volleyball/Table Tennis Clubs
These clubs meet every lunchtime in the gym. Sessions are broken up into Y7-8 and Y9-12 on alternate days to cater to the high demand. Students are encouraged to check the weekly sports notices email for updates regarding which day is for them.

These clubs cater to students of all ages and abilities.
No registration or fees required, simply turn up and get involved.

Political Discussion Club

Every Wednesday, ourselves and about ten others go to the library, to discuss politics. Whether that be the current political climate, the benefits and drawbacks of the free market, Keynesian economics, the labour theory of value and everything in between. Recently we’ve been discussing the practical application of an anarchist society, along with discussing the labour theory of value, and its neo-classical counterparts. We mainly focus on economics and its practical applications rather than the petty concerns of the culture war. While being a place of discussion we try our best to make it as safe a place as possible for minorities and other oppressed groups.

We’re highly critical of radical politics and believe that change comes about through civil discussion and compromise. The way we see it, there’s no difference between the violent, radical far-left and the fascists they oppose. That isn’t to say that we support the far-right, however, we believe that minds can only be changed in the free marketplace of ideas, and not with violence.

We support the liberal ideals of freedom, equality and capitalism perfectly exemplified by our leader,  the infamous Mackenzie Charles Francis Wise. He’s a performer by night, and political ideologue by day, the great founder of our mighty club.

We have also been successful in the de-radicalisation of many of the youths that come through our doors, the following are some quotes from some of our members;

“I was first an anarcho-communist, then when I came to the club they slowly convinced me that a state was necessary so that no-one would do crime, or infringe on property rights. I then thought that state socialism was the only viable option for the future until we had a discussion on the USSR and  I realised that the only true immortal science was that of liberalism”
-Anonymous Member (former State-Socialist Posadist)

“I used to think that ACAB stood for something else but now I know that it means ‘All Cats are Beautiful’. Defunding the police will only lead to more violence because the police protect us. Instead, we should focus on better training for law enforcement”
-Another anonymous member (former Stirnerist Egoist)

As is clearly shown, our club, through civil discourse and the free marketplace of ideas has deradicalised many extremists to the more reasonable and compromising position, our next discussion topic will be suggested and collectively decided upon by our members in accordance with the ideals of one of the most prolific liberal thinkers, Peter Kropotkin. We hope to see more females join our club to expand the diversity of opinions and worldviews.

“I started the club because there’s a real diversity of political thought here, and there are a lot of people who are happy to discuss politics in a relaxed and friendly setting.”

-Mackenzie Charles Francis Wise, our great founder

Galileo Lima & Johnathan Bonnice

MS Article Yr 10 Charity Committee

MS Article Yr 10 Charity Committee

The Year 10 Charity Committee is supporting the MS Australia Foundation this year and will, if current circumstances subside, be holding various events to spread the message about Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The MS Australia Foundation is a charity focused on supporting MS patients and funding vital research. The prevalence of MS means it is vital to find a cure. Presently, there is no cure for MS, although there are treatments designed to minimise its symptoms and increase the quality of life of sufferers. There are over 25,600 people living in Australia with MS. On average, more than ten Australians are diagnosed with it every week, with three quarters of those diagnosed being women. MS is a chronic disease that disables parts of the brain’s central nervous system, resulting in changes to one’s memory and cognitive functions. This, as one can most likely imagine, can lead to serious ramifications which have drastic effects on sufferers’ lives. Ultimately, there is no cure for MS and research is critical for the advancements in MS treatments. The complex nature of the disease requires comprehensive tests which focus on finding ways of stimulating stem cells in myelin repair, as well as repairing and maintaining the health of nerve fibres. Currently, the wide gaps in knowledge about nerve damage and myelin loss has resulted in significantly reduced funding for MS research. The Year 10 Charity Committee hopes to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and bring to the spotlight the stories of those who live and thrive with MS everyday. Hopefully a short article submitted by our Committee shall come to be a staple and hallmark of this publication. Through this, and hopefully other means once this current crisis has abated, we aim to raise awareness of MS and perhaps fundraise for research into its cure.

Gordon Huang, Andy Chen, Peter Tran, Ethan Nguyen & Oliver Simmonds – Year 10 Charity Committee



Staff Appreciation Lunch
A very sincere and grateful thank you to all parents and carers who contributed to the $2254 collected to say “Thank you to Fort Street Teachers and Staff”.
As mentioned on the Group Together collection – there was an opportunity to leave a message of thanks and upload a photo. The photos and messages can be viewed below. Enjoy!
FSHS Group card
With the funds collected and with the coordinating help of year 11 parents Robyn Elmslie, Sarah Harrison and Maureen Pasfield and the culinary skills of Tony Zouein of Bon Appetit Catering from the school canteen, a Staff Appreciation Lunch was held in the School Hall on June 29th. Seventy four staff members attended the lunch and the P&C hope this shows the great appreciation the community feels towards the teachers and staff at Fort Street High School.
With the balance of the funds collected, gift vouchers for the canteen will be available for staff.
P&C Vacancies – P&C Executive and Uniform Shop Representative
There is one remaining vacancy on the P&C executive and we would encourage any member of the P&C who would like to be more involved to please nominate themselves. The current executive is listed on the school website our uniform shop representative Tracey Chen has resigned from the Uniform shop representative role. We would like to thank Tracey for all her help and support over the past 18 months in liaising between the P&C and the uniform shop and in keeping the uniform shop roster up to date.
Happily in the interim Suzanne Trimmer has agreed to temporarily fill this role, but we are seeking a nominee to fill this role in term 3 and into the future. Traditionally the role involves  liaising between the P&C and the Uniform Shop Manager. Some availability on a Wednesday to visit or work in the Uniform shop is desirable but not essential. The representative is required to present a brief written report at each general P&C meeting.Please email the P&C at if you are interested in either of these roles.

Staying Up to Date
If you would like to be informed about P&C activities or would like to know how you can get involved, please subscribe to our mailing list at or join our Facebook group at As always our email address is

Hope you all enjoy the upcoming school holidays and take care
Fort Street High School P&C
Instrumental Music Program

Instrumental Music Program

Back to rehearsals 

The IMP were very excited last week to return to live rehearsals. After so long in isolation, playing music with friends feels like a luxury we should never take for granted.

If you need your spirits lifted today, listen to this short video of the first sounds Chamber Choir made after lockdown. Here they are sight-reading the opening of Waltzing Matilda, arranged by one of the Chamber Choir members who wishes to remain anonymous.

As we farewell our outgoing Year 12 cohort, auditions will be held to fill these vacant positions. The auditions will take place in Week 1 of Term 3.
Please check your emails for details, and the link to sign up.
Matthew Manchester
Fort Street High School
IMP Coordinator
Director of Bands

The World of Digital Archives at Fort Street

They say between the invention of the camera in the 1820s and the rise of digital photography in the early 2000s, the world took an estimated 375 billion analogue photographs. Hundreds of millions of these photographs are held in the archives of museums, libraries, historical societies, cities, schools, newspapers and other organizations worldwide. The Fort Street Archives, holds many physical images and numerous other visual articles as well, from slides and postcards to lithographs, sheet music, and negatives.

The management these physical images has become a little easier recently when the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) President, Christine Yeats, announced that the Fort Street Foundation and Fort Street Archives will receive grant funding from a successful application to the Small Grants Program for Local History and Archives. This grants program is administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government through the Heritage Council of NSW.

‘History matters and it doesn’t have to be history on a global or national scale to be important. Focusing on history from the ‘ground up’ is the best way for communities to understand and appreciate their place in the world,’ said Ms Yeats.

Grant recipients of the Royal Australian Historical Society Cultural Grants cover a diverse range of projects including research, publications, and conservation of historic material. A number of digitisation projects, including the project from Fort Street Archives, were funded by the 2020 grants program. Digital technology has revolutionised how we record and practice history. These projects ‘will preserve unique historical collections and expand the range of primary sources available to historians,’ explained Mrs Yeats

The successful Fort Street Archives submission – ‘Fort Street Digitisation Project 1849-1999’ – is to digitise a deteriorating collection of approximately 30,000 images of photos and school information from 1849-1999. They will not only be scanned for preservation of this public asset but also as a digitised resource to assist the community in its research of nationally significant history and the local heritage of NSW.

Some of these digitized images can already be seen on 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