Our School's History
In 1849 the Government of New South Wales established a Model School in the old Military Hospital, which had been built by Governor Macquarie in 1815. This building stood on Observatory Hill, the highest ground in the city near the site of Fort Phillip and the military barracks. It stands there today, the headquarters of the National Trust.
The school takes its name from a street which was partly incorporated in the playground during the reconstruction of the hospital and which disappeared when the approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge were built. The street name is perpetuated in the small street in Petersham, leading to our present school.
Fort Street was to be not only an institution where boys and girls of the colony could be taught, but it was also to serve as a model for all other schools. Its scholars were to play a most important role in the growth of the colony and in the federation of the nation. Students and staff were selected to attend the Model School. Their contribution is basic to the fabric of Australian society today.
The school became two high schools at the beginning of secondary education in NSW. At this time a headmaster and headmistress were appointed to lead Fort Street Boys and Fort Street Girls High Schools.
In 1916, Fort Street Boys' High was relocated at the present site on Taverners Hill, Petersham; the Girls' High School remaining on Observatory Hill. In 1975 the two schools were re-united as Fort Street High School on the new Petersham site.
Fort Street is proud to continue its co-educational traditions. We value the mix of young men and women learning together. Our young women thrive in this special co-educational, selective setting as leaders in all aspects of school life.
The school celebrated its sesquicentenary in 1999. The current school population comes from over 100 suburbs in Sydney. Of the 930 students, over 600 come from language other than English. Students speak up to 40 different languages. Fort Street truly reflects multicultural Australia
Fort Street remains a selective high school providing a wide choice of subjects for study by talented young men and women. It is a school which has assimilated modern educational methodology whilst preserving the best in a long and honoured tradition.