History of the School
The history of the School has been well chronicled, with documented triumphs and hardships throughout the years serving only to add to the rich fabric of the School as know it today - the legacy of the first Principal, Mr TH Richards, who had the foresight to recognise the need for a private school in Orange in the late 19th Century.
On the corner of Byng and Sale Streets, the small school know as Weymouth House was opened on 27 January, 1886. Mr Richards was the sole teacher and owner, having come to Orange from All Saints College, Bathurst.
The School was an immediate success and a larger site was soon necessary. In 1893, the School was re-located to the Wolaroi Mansion and grounds - built by local solicitor, Mr JC McLachlan and his wife Dora, in 1884. The name was changed to Wolaroi Grammar School.
In 1913, Mr Charles R Campbell secured the property and became the third Headmaster. In 1925 however, Mr N Connell who had succeeded Campbell as Headmaster, left Orange and the School was closed. This provided an opportunity for the Methodist Church to purchase the property and assure the continuation of a boys’ college in the west, and so it was that western Methodists and people from all denominations raised with “splendid enthusiasm” enough funds to secure Wolaroi in order that it may once again be a school.
The Methodist Church changed the name to Wolaroi College and classes began in 1926 under the direction of Principal, Mr Stanley Brown. Wolaroi College continued to serve an obvious need in the community for almost another 50 years.
In the meantime the Presbyterian community realised that there was a great need in the western area for a girl’s school that could provide an education based on Christian principles. In response to this need, Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) Orange, was opened in 1928 on a 43 acre property known as “Campdale”, on the western outskirts of town, with Miss Eleanor Linck presiding as first Principal.
PLC Orange had been opened for eight years when Miss Ina Miller became Principal in 1936. For the next 33 years, Miss Miller’s personality and determination dominated the School and set very high standards for the student body.
In 1973, during a period of great change in society’s attitudes toward education, both Wolaroi and PLC decided independently to become co-educational and PLC Orange changed its name to The Kinross School. Wolaroi was in financial difficulty and the Methodist Church approached the Presbyterian Church with a view to Kinross School assuming responsibility for Wolaroi. The Kinross School Council accepted this challenge and in 1975, the newly amalgamated schools became Kinross Wolaroi School.
In 1977, Kinross Wolaroi School became a Uniting Church School following the creation of the Uniting Church in Australia.
After some initial difficulties, the School flourished. This new era of development and change in the direction of the school came under the administration of the new Principal, Mr Allan Anderson.
Mr Anderson, with the assistance of the School Council’s Mr Derek Pigot, and newly appointed Bursar Mr Joe Donnelly, implemented severe financial controls together with an aggressive marketing strategy in central and western NSW which saw a significant growth in the school’s population.
After a significant growth phase the School entered a time of consolidation. An ambitious building program ensured continued improvements to the School’s infrastructure and an extensive array of co-curricular activities saw students involved in a comprehensive program of sport, drama, music, arts, cadets and special programs such as the SES volunteers unit and the Duke of Edinburgh Award programs.
By 1988 the School population had grown to 728 students and was by now the largest co-educational independent boarding school in NSW comprising 384 boarders.
New Zealand born Reverend David Williams was appointed as the third Principal of Kinross Wolaroi School and commenced his role in 2002. In 2007, Mr Brian Kennelly succeeded Reverend Williams as the fourth Principal of the School. Under Mr Kennelly’s leadership, the School has continued to flourish and remains firmly committed to providing students with the opportunity to thrive.
As the School celebrates 130 years of education, and we reflect on the journey from our humble beginnings to our current position as one of the leading independent co-educational day and boarding schools in regional Australia, we will continue our celebrations throughout the year to mark this important moment in the history of the School.