From the Archivist : Elevating the Art of Swordplay to New Heights
Wednesday, 30 August 2023

While St Andrew’s House seems like a rather monolithic building, in truth is it merely one of many buildings SACS has occupied in our time and it’s not even the first with a rooftop playground. Certainly, it’s not the rooftop where this unique duel occurred. 

This picture was in fact taken atop the "New" Building just prior to its demolition in the early 1970s. The 'new' building was only used by St Andrew's Cathedral School for a decade beginning in 1965. The school has used nine different buildings since its inception in 1885 and apart from St Andrew’s House, the School spent longer in the Worker Building than any other.

The building was used as a hostel in 1937, before eventually being occupied by the School in 1939. Compared to the cramped church house before this point, it was quite a relief and was described as “sardines suddenly becoming goldfish”.  Ironically though, the site quickly became cramped due to a rapidly growing school - expanding from 86 students in 1945 to 269 students by 1965.  The then “new’ school” (a story for another time) was a welcome change, proving far more space both to those students and for future growth. 

Fencing has had a long history in our school. The sport was active from 1952 by the earliest records and has remained a mainstay of the School, and at one time was the only fencing school in Australia. Under the leadership of Maestro “Tex” Clarke, our School’s fencing entered a golden age, with an annual fencing championship hosted in Chapter House, the same year as the Melbourne Olympics.   Two Old Andreans from this era - Graeme Jennings and Bill Ronald became Olympians themselves, joining the Australian team for the 1968 Mexico City games. 

This dramatic photograph was likely taken in celebration of the School’s fencing prowess -and features Old Andreans Phillip Oliver (OA1975) and Len Kanaar (OA1975). 

By Kelton Jarvis (OA2012).