Anglican St Peter's from 1847 provides a private collegiate school on the elite British model
St Peter's College at Hackney.
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia
St Peter's College originated from wealthier early colonists wanting their sons to have private schools equal to those that they attended in Britain.
They founded the Church of England Collegiate School of South Australia, or “The Collegiate School” as a proprietary school in 1847 in the schoolroom of Trinity Church on North Terrace.
The school's foundation was followed by the arrival of the first Anglican Bishop of Adelaide, Augustus Short.
Short brought an endowment of £2,000 from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge to set up a Church of England school.
Short intended to use the Trinity School as the basis for this new school and his chaplain the Rev. T.P. Wilson became headmaster. He also bought the site in Hackney where the school moved.
In 1849, Short negotiated with the Trinity School proprietors to set up a council of governors and rededicate it as the Collegiate School of St Peter at Hackney.
Headmaster George Farr (1854-79) is credited with raising St Peter’s to the standard of elite schools in England. Three Nobel laureates – Lawrence Bragg, Howard Florey and J. Robin Warren – have been among St Peter’s students.
Today, the senior school has the bulk of the grounds and most of the historic buildings. To the south are the preparatory school and Palm House (reception-year 2).
The “Big School Room” is thought to be Australia's oldest classroom still in constant use. The college also owns an outdoor education campus in Finniss, near Lake Alexandrina.