From the archivist - Our Bronze crest
Monday, 15 May 2023

It is hard to overstate how much of a turning point 1976 was. Before then, St Andrew’s Cathedral School had travelled across an astounding eight locations over 91 years and some of our ‘would-be’ locations did not even last a decade.  

The latest was the ‘New School’- a design first considered in 1954 to match growing school enrolments. After a decade of long hours and sleepless nights enacting fundraisers, the first section of the building was completed in 1965. Yet a mere seven years later, it was demolished, to be replaced by St Andrew’s House. The development of this structure effectively undid a decade of work and forced us into the CENEF building on Kent St while the School's future was decided. 

In 1971 the School was almost ousted from the $13 million building plan for St Andrew’s House. The original idea was to have the School layered throughout a third of the building. This was rejected as economically unviable leading to murmurs that the School may have to close. Fortunately, Canon DB Knox, Head of Moore Theological College, prevented us being forced off-site until our future was decided. This led to then-advisor, Stacey Atkins, suggesting the current placement of the School atop the roof and upper levels of the building.  

Hence, the 1976 move to St Andrew’s House was a sort of ‘promised land’ - a significant victory requiring significant commemoration and multiple celebrations.  One such celebration was the Unveiling of the Stone to Mark the Entry of St Andrews Cathedral School into St Andrew’s House on the 19th of September - a service which over 1700 people attended. This ‘stone’ was actually a bronze version of the School crest, a powerful symbol of the School’s longevity over its near-centennial existence. The guest list included the Sydney Archbishop, Sir Marcus Loam; Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Reverend LR Shilton; and Canon MC Newth (Head of School 1941-1979) and Dr AK Beavis (Head of School 1979-1995). As a significant event in the School’s history, it was recorded at great cost by Closed-Capture Television - one of the first usages of such technology by the School. The video of the service survives in digital form to this day. After the service, a procession was led to Kent Street to the tune of Te Deum Laudamus to unveil the crest. Note the entrance to the School was on Kent Street until the current foyer was built in 2006. 

After the unveiling, staff and visitors alike were invited to inspect the new School grounds. This led to a notable moment when three Old Andreans, the same trio that introduced Canon Newth to the School as students, brought him to the new Head of School offices in St Andrew’s House, complete with mimicking the conversation they first had with him. Newth spoke of St Andrew’s House glowingly, describing it as “truly magnificent” and a “visible expression of the values important to our way of life.” 

This crest was revealed for “the glory of God and for the furtherance of true education” and it has recently been installed on the rooftop - regrettably looking a little worse for wear and in need of restoration. The traditional Year 12 gift from the 2022 graduating year, has raised the funds for its restoration, which is currently under way. 

A new crest to match the St Andrew’s Cathedral School crest is also being created, thanks to donations from the School community, to recognise Gawura. It will be wonderful to have the symbols of our Schools, one historic and one new, prominently feature again in St Andrew’ House.