History - Cranbrook School

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History of Cranbrook

Cranbrook School was established on 22 July 1918 in Bellevue Hill on the shores of Sydney Harbour. The School was founded at a time when the outcome of the Great War was beginning to swing in favour of the Allied forces and feelings of optimism were strong in people's vision of the future.

Cranbrook School was part of this vision. It was to be a school in the Anglican tradition whose mission would be to provide the best possible education for each boy entrusted to its care.

The School, through the combined efforts of its Headmasters, Council members, teachers and its many supporters, has consistently worked to maintain and reinforce these ideas. Within almost 100 years of tradition, the name Cranbrook has become synonymous with an expectation that each boy is acknowledged as an individual and given the opportunity to develop his personal strengths and talents in an environment which is both supportive and nurturing. 

By fostering these ideals, by providing leadership in education and teaching, and by serving the broader community, on completing their education Cranbrook boys leave with the knowledge, skills and confidence to realise their full potential.


  • 2012 to Present Nicholas Sampson MA(Cantab)

    Originally from the UK, Mr Nicholas Sampson was Principal of Geelong Grammar in Victoria from 2000 to 2004. He then returned to the UK where for eight years was Head of the prestigious Marlborough College. Mr Sampson became Headmaster of Cranbrook in 2012.

    Having long admired the unique culture of Cranbrook and its philosophy of integrity, balance and the rigorous pursuit of excellence, Mr Sampson has an ambitious vision for building on these strengths and values to create a blueprint for the future.

    Mr Sampson holds a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of Cambridge. His career in schools has been built on a firm belief in the value of a balanced and expansive education which enable students not only to discover and polish their own talents, but also to admire the gifts of others and to embrace the value of service.

    An avid reader of literature and with a strong interest in the arts, Mr Sampson also played hockey at representative level, and is the father of twin daughters.

    In 2012, there were 1378 boys, of whom 1292 were day boys and 86 were boarders.

  • 2001 to 2012 Jeremy J S Madin BA(Hons) DipEd

    Born in Geelong, Jeremy Madin completed his schooling at Geelong Grammar School, and then graduated from the Australian National University and the Canberra College of Advanced Education. He taught English and History at Canberra Grammar School, moving to Sydney to lead the Social Education Materials Project for the Headmasters’ Conference of NSW for two years. After lecturing in the Diploma of Education Programme at the University of Sydney, he returned to Canberra Grammar School as Head of the History Department and one of the boarding Housemasters. He was appointed Head of Timbertop, the co-educational boarding campus of Geelong Grammar School. He then moved to Perth as Headmaster of Christ Church Grammar School. Mr Madin served as the President of the Association of Independent Schools in Western Australia, the editor of Independence, the journal of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and a member of the Western Australian Curriculum Council.

    In 2001, there were 1399 boys, of whom 1301 were day boys and 98 were boarders.

  • 1985 to 2000 Dr Bruce N Carter AM BA EdM EdD

    Born in Sydney, Bruce Carter attended Knox Grammar School, representing the school in rugby and tennis. He graduated in English from the University of Sydney. He gained his Masters from Harvard University, Boston, USA and a Doctorate from the University of Toronto, Canada. He taught at Newington College and The King's School, Sydney. In 1970, he was invited to Knox Grammar School to be responsible for the creation and development of a new Boarding House for senior boys. From 1971 to 1973 he served as Senior English Master, Knox Grammar School and Deputy Headmaster from 1971 to 1978. From 1978 to 1985, Bruce Carter served as Headmaster, Scotch College, Launceston, Tasmania, which subsequently amalgamated with Oakburn College, to become Scotch Oakburn College. In 1994, he was awarded a Fellowship with the Australian College of Education for his contribution to educational leadership and administration in independent schools. From 2001 to 2009, Bruce Carter served as Principal of Emanuel School, Randwick.

    In 1983, there were 1318 boys, of whom 1166 were day boys and 152 were boarders.

  • 1963 to 1985 Mark Bishop OBE BSc ARACI FACE

    Born in Sydney, Mark Bishop attended Parramatta High School and Sydney University, graduating in Organic Chemistry. In 1946, Mr Hone appointed him to teach Chemistry and as a Tutor in Rawson House. In 1950, he and his wife participated in a teacher exchange for two years to Marlborough College, England, returning to Cranbrook for the 1953 school year. He was appointed Master-in-Charge of Science and a Tutor in Strickland House. In 1954, he became the Housemaster for Davidson House and in 1957, the first Housemaster in the newly created Street House. Mr Bishop was Master-in-Charge of Science until 1963. In 1959, Mr Bishop was a founder of the Australian College of Education and was involved in setting up the new NSW Science Syllabus following the implementation of the Wyndham Report in the early 1960s and in founding the Science Teachers' Association of NSW. In 1977 Mark Bishop was awarded the Order of the British Empire. He was a devoted sportsman and coached athletics, cricket and rugby. He retired at the end of 1985 and died in Sydney in 1988. In 2001, the Australian College of Education honoured him by naming The Mark Bishop Award for Achievement in Education after him.

    In 1963, there were 884 boys, of whom 712 were day boys and 172 were boarders.

  • 1951 to 1963 Gethyn E Hewan MA MACE

    Born in England, Gethyn Hewan was educated at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, and was taught by Brian Hone, Cranbrook's third Headmaster. He attended to Cambridge University, graduating in Mathematics and gaining blues in hockey and cricket. He was awarded the Andrew Mellon Fellowship at Yale University, USA. In 1939, Mr Hewan joined the Royal Horse Artillery as an officer, serving at Tobruk in North Africa. In 1945, he was appointed as a Mathematics Master and House Tutor at Wellington College, Berkshire, England. Mr Hewan was offered the position of Headmaster at Cranbrook in November 1950, arriving in Australia in April 1951. He was a founder member of the Australian College of Education and strongly supported the Outward Bound movement. He was an outstanding golfer, a trout fisherman of great skill and a skier of ability.

    In 1951, there were 737 boys, of whom 552 were day boys and 185 were boarders.

  • 1940 to 1951 Brian W Hone BA MA FACE

    Born in Adelaide and educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Mr Hone played representative cricket and tennis. He graduated from the University of Adelaide, then taught at Prince Alfred College and was granted a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. He served as Head of the English Department at Marlborough College, Wiltshire. Brian Hone commenced as Headmaster at Cranbrook in August 1940 and in 1948, he founded the English Teachers' Group, which revised the English syllabus in New South Wales. He was responsible for the revision of the School crest in 1940 and the development of the modern House system. He established St Mark’s and St Michael’s Kindergartens as feeder schools in 1944. In August 1950, Brian Hone resigned his position of Headmaster at Cranbrook to become Headmaster of Melbourne Grammar School, a position he held until his retirement in 1970. In recognition of his services to education, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire and knighted. Following his retirement, Mr Hone was Deputy Chancellor of Monash University. In 1970, Cranbrook School honoured Brian Hone by naming a new day boy House after him.

    In 1940, due to the war years, there were 190 boys, of whom 140 were day boys and 50 were boarders.

  • 1933 to 1939 Brigadier Iven G Mackay BA LLD(Hons)

    Born in Grafton, NSW, Iven Mackay attended Newington College, Sydney. He graduated in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Sydney and then became a Demonstrator in Physics. He taught at Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) and then returned to the University of Sydney. In 1913 Brigadier Mackay was commissioned in the Citizen Military Forces and in 1915 he served with the AIF in Egypt, Gallipoli and the Western Front, becoming Brigadier-General. In 1922 he resumed teaching Physics at the University of Sydney and in 1925 he became the first Student Adviser and Faculty Secretary. Brigadier Mackay was knighted in March 1941 and was awarded his Honorary Doctorate of Laws in 1952.

    In 1933, there were 212 boys, of whom 186 were day boys and 26 were boarders.

  • 1918 to 1932 Reverend Frederick T Perkins MA

    Born in England, Frederick Perkins attended Townsville Grammar School in Queensland, where he was Head Boy and Senior Prefect. He was a graduate of the University of Sydney with a Masters in Latin. He taught at The King's School, Parramatta and was ordained at Newcastle Cathedral. He became Headmaster of Monaro Grammar School, Cooma and The Armidale School. He was appointed as Cranbrook's first Headmaster in February 1918, five months before the School's commencement. After retirement in 1932, he became Chaplain (1933 and 1940-1946). In 1940, he was Acting Headmaster between the appointments of Mr Mackay and Mr Hone. Perkins House, formerly known as the Classroom Block, was named after him in 1946. In 1994, a new School House based in the Perkins Building was created and named after him.

    In 1918, there were 64 boys, of whom 26 were boarders.


Established in 1974 and staffed by a professional Archivist since 1987, the mission of the Cranbrook School Archives is to ensure the preservation in perpetuity of those official and unofficial records and artefacts appraised to be of permanent value and significance to the continuing history, heritage and management of Cranbrook School. The Archives acts as the corporate memory of Cranbrook School and is an integral part of the School fabric.

These records and artefacts are made available for use on behalf of past, present and future generations and are used to support and enhance current decision-making. The School is committed to making accessible its history, heritage and culture to members of the School community and public. Enquiries regarding access to the Archives should be made to the Archivist.

The Archives includes the in-house records of the School of permanent value and the Heritage Collection of movable objects of cultural heritage significance to the School.  Photographs, items of uniform, school registers, the school magazine, other school publications, prize lists, architectural plans and oral history recordings are examples.

Phone: + 61 2 9327 9475

Email: archives@cranbrook.nsw.edu.au