Pulteney Old Scholars' Association

Meetings of the POSA committee are usually held on the second Wednesday of the month at 6.30pm at The Hyde Park Tavern, 187 King William Road, Hyde Park.

History of the Pulteney Old Scholars' Association

Pulteney’s history started on May 29, 1848 when the Pulteney Street School opened its doors to the first group of students at its premises in Pulteney Street, with Mr E.K.Miller as the first headmaster.

In 1898 the school celebrated its 50th birthday and one of the initiatives to come out of the planning for the celebration was to be the formation of an official Old Scholars' Association.

The first Old Scholars' Association, known as the Pulteney Street Old Scholars' Association, officially started on 6 October 1898. Prior to this there had been an unofficial association, mainly consisting of Old Scholars known as Moore-ites, who had been at the school when Mr W.S.Moore was the headmaster, between 1861 and 1884.

In January 1901 the Old Scholars' Association asked the Board of Governors that the Association be allowed to nominate one of its members to fill a vacancy on the board. In April of that year the first Old Scholars' nominee was duly elected to the board and attended his first meeting in June.

The school remained in Pulteney Street until 1919 when it moved to temporary premises in the Hindmarsh Square Congregational Hall, before moving to its current home on South Terrace.

The photograph below was taken at a farewell ceremony on 4 September 1919 and shows the final assembly of Old Scholars of the Pulteney Street School. Note the two women seated in the front row. When Pulteney started, it was as a coeducational school and remained so until 1884, so the Old Scholars' Association included girls from its commencement.

Final Assembly 1919

The foundation stone for the new Pulteney Grammar School was laid on 11 November 1920 and the Governor-General, Lord Forster, officially opened the school on Sunday, 3 July 1921. Interesting to note that the site of the new school was formerly owned by St Peters College.

At the same time arrangements were under way for the school to move to South Terrace, the current headmaster, Mr W P Nicholls himself an Old Scholar, initiated a revival of the Old Scholars' Association, which had apparently not met since May 1911. In response to a newspaper advertisement, approximately 100 Old Scholars attended the schools 69th birthday and an influx of members saw the association become an active partner in the schools community. The headmaster continued his involvement with the Association and for 18 months was effectively its President and for many years after that continued to be an energetic member of the committee.

The early 1940s saw a major reorganisation of the administrative side of the school, which included the official name change from Pulteney Street School Inc. to Pulteney Grammar School, although it had been commonly known as that since 1921. The administrative changes also included significant of the corporation’s rules and regulations that had been established in 1870. One of those changes was to allow the Old Scholars' Association to nominate two members to the Council of Governors, the forerunner to today's Board. This policy is still in operation today and in 2013 the first female Old Scholars nominee was appointed to the Board. The Pulteney Parents and Friends Association was granted similar nomination rights in the 1970s.

The appointment of Canon W.R.Ray in 1947 was a turning point in the school’s history. In the years leading up to his appointment, student numbers had been dropping steadily and this had impacted on Old Scholar numbers and therefore the Association’s involvement and impact on school life. Under his leadership, student numbers steadily increased, much needed maintenance work was undertaken, additional buildings were acquired and a number of new initiatives were implemented.

One of the factors that contributed to the fall in numbers was the fact that Pulteney did not offer classes beyond intermediate level, year 10. This meant students who wanted to complete their education transferred to other schools and in many cases joined that school’s Old Scholars, rather than Pulteney. This changed in 1951 when Leaving (year 11) was reintroduced after a brief unsuccessful attempt several years earlier and then in 1953 when Leaving Honours (year 12) began.

The Old Scholars' Foundation

In 1985, a proposal was developed that resulted in the most significant change to the Association since its formation. At that time, membership in the Association was by way of an annual subscription, or through the purchase of a life membership. Unfortunately, most students upon completing their schooling did not take up the option of becoming a member of the Association. After nearly 100 years of operation, the Association had assets of approximately $20,000 and a very small annual income. This lack of funds severely restricted its ability to support Old Scholars sporting teams and other activities.

The idea was that when parents initially enrolled their sons (and later on daughters), a percentage of the enrolment fee would be treated as a life membership fee to the Old Scholars Association. This would mean that when students completed their schooling, they would automatically become life members of the Association. This arrangement would include students who left Pulteney and completed their education at another school.

The board approved this arrangement in 1985. As part of the arrangement, the association established the Old Scholars' Foundation and all life membership fees received by it go into the Foundation. The aim was to build up the Foundation to a point where the interest would be sufficient to fund worthwhile initiatives, such as providing scholarships.

Several years later, the arrangement was expanded so that all students who had left the school prior to 1985 were also deemed to be life members of the Association.


An initiative of the POSA committee was the introduction of an Old Scholars’ magazine in November 1976 specifically for the Old Scholar’s community. Initially known as the POSA magazine, this changed to Postscript for the second edition in November 1977. The magazine continued for 16 years before ending in 1991.

Sports Club

The Pulteney Old Scholars' Sports Club Inc, opened in 1965, was located at 181 South Terrace next to the old tennis court and at the time, Pulteney was the only school in Australia to have a licensed club on school grounds. The building was demolished to make way for all weather tennis courts in 1981. The club then moved to the ground floor of the building on the corner of Symonds Place and South Terrace and changed its name to the Pulteney Old Scholars' Club. The new premises were open on Friday 14 August 1981 and named the J S Morgan Building.

Sporting Clubs

POSA basketball club formed a team to compete in the district and Metropolitan amateur basketball association 1977/ 78 summer competition, with Roger Oaten and Chris Boundy the driving forces responsible for the formation of the club.

In 1935, Dennis Hill and Graeme Wilson first mooted the idea of an Old Scholars' football club. They presented their idea to the committee, which supported it and applied to the amateur league for admission to the competition. This was approved and the club commenced playing in 1936. The then president of the association, Mr H.H.Allen became the first president of the POSA Football Club, with Mr I.Hooper the first captain.

The POSA Cricket Club was formed during the 1957–58 season with Mr J.George, Mr D. Sullivan and Mr K. Cambrell being the people largely responsible for its establishment. Initially the club played in the United Church hard wicket association but after one year, moved to the Adelaide Turf Cricket Association.


The Association has always looked for ways to support the Old Scholar community and one such activity has been the establishment of the Pulteney Old Scholars' Association scholarship. The scholarship assists an Old Scholar who would otherwise be unable to send their children to Pulteney by way of a 50% remission on fees for five years of secondary school.

With thanks to Tony McArthur.

The POSA Committee is;

President Jeremy Wheeler
Vice President Grace Chapman-van Duivenbode

Secretary  Dimity Dutch

James Boucher
David Griffiths
Ryan Smith
Richard Drogemuller
Sean Conneely
Peter Bogatec
Mia Boyaci
Emily Johnson
Declan Robertson
Mark Bourchier
Richard Sexton


updated 13 November 2019