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A Proud History

Barker College was founded by The Reverend Henry Plume at Kurrajong Heights in early 1890 with five pupils, and was named for Plume’s mentor and friend, The Right Reverend Frederic Barker, the second Bishop of Sydney.

When the Rev Plume established his school he had little interest in school uniform and badges. However, as a concession to prevailing custom, he permitted the boys to wear a red and blue hat band. He selected these colours from Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University in England, where he had been a student.

When the school moved to Hornsby in 1896, he allowed the cricket and football teams to wear red and blue colours when competing against local teams.

Seek Honour Above Rewards

The School Motto, Honor Non Honores, in translation is Seek Honour Above Rewards, and the first known use of the motto is on an illustrated farewell address to the Reverend and Mrs Plume in 1905, in which the motto is inscribed in red and blue. It said – “The high reputation of the School, its best traditions, the inspiration of our motto, Honor Non Honores, has been created, vivified and enhanced by your kindly ministrations”.

When Henry Plume retired from teaching he sold the school to William Charles Carter. Under Carter’s ownership enrolment numbers doubled. Rugby and cricket teams were created, annual athletic sports days were held, the Cadet unit grew in numbers, the school magazine was started and the Barker College Old Boys Union was founded.

Carter also introduced the School Badge, but it was much plainer than it is today. In 1930 it was redrawn, with the mitre added and the scroll reshaped, so that the finished design closely resembled the present Crest.

By the end of World War 1, Carter knew Barker needed a more permanent foundation and would not survive well into the future if it was still privately owned. For nearly thirty years, Barker was a privately owned ‘business’ – a boarding school for country and city boys. Part of his motivation for securing a more permanent future for the school was so that the old boys, who had so bravely and valiantly paid the supreme sacrifice in the War, would never be forgotten.

On 11 November 1918, an agreement was signed between the Headmaster, William Carter and the Archbishop of Sydney, who transferred ownership of the school to the Anglican Church, effective 1 January 1919. The transfer of ownership also meant a School Council was established to govern the running of the school. It also meant the school had more ‘purchasing power’ and could embark on a building and land acquisition program.

Since Carter’s retirement in 1929, there have been six Headmasters at Barker, each making an indelible and defining mark in the history of the School. Under their leaderships, Barker has continued to grow, and new buildings and facilities have been constructed and refurbished that enrich the learning experience of the students.

A significant event in Barker’s history was the introduction of the co-educational collegiate Senior School in 1975 for students. Trevor McCaskill’s vision at that time was to establish a Senior School that prepared students for university and working life.

With a history spanning more than 125 years, Barker has many traditions which it continues to celebrate. Each of the Middle School’s Houses are named after the founding Chairmen of the Barker Council, early Barker students, and a former School Chaplain. Every Anzac Day a moving whole-School service is held to honour and remember the Barker Old Boys who lost their lives fighting for their country.

As they have before, and as they will again, each Barker student makes their own individual contribution to the school, and leaves well-prepared to take their place in the world beyond the Mint Gates!

For more information about Barker's proud history, visit our Archives pages on this website.