Historical Images

This is an eclectic collection of images and photographs, artifacts and documents from the earliest days of the School to modern times. Sometimes there are two images of the one object, such as two sides of a document.

Albertians, or family members, have donated many of the objects and where this is known acknowledgements are made.

Curated by Brian Murphy, Archivist.

Historical Photographs (Set 1)

Early Certificate - Athletics 1922

This certificate, awarded to MG Jenkins in 1922, was donated by his son Neil. As well as being signed by the Headmaster, it was signed by GS Coldham who is described as the Sports Secretary. George Coldham was the senior French Master.

The Rowing Eight - 1949

The crew won the Thirteenth Annual Head of the Harbour on the Tamaki River.

RC Anderson (stroke), BE Jones (7), BH Ashby (6), JW Ashby (5), RN Stanish (4), D Phillips (3), LR Beck (2), RW Katterns (bow), MY Smith (cox).

Medal Awarded to the Winners of the Earl Roberts Trophy

Each member of the winning team in the Earl Roberts Full Bore Competition received a medal. The obverse depicts a side face of Fredrick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts. He is wearing the plumed hat of a Governor (he was, briefly, the Governor of Natal.) The inscription reads: FIELD.MARSHALL.EARL.ROBERTS.VC.KG.KP.GCB.OM.GCSI.GSIE.

These images was sent to us from Australia by a relative of one of the winners. Since the images were taken, we have received an actual medal. It was donated by Leslie Fallon, daughter of Bob Jones-Parry, who was the Fire Director on the Earl Roberts team.

The reverse of the Earl Roberts medal shows a female figure representing winged victory standing on the world. In her left hand is a palm leaf symbolic of the victor and in her right is a trumpet to proclaim his victor

Staff on the Front Steps for the 1931 Steeplechase

On the steps: Headmaster Gamble, Mrs Ward Baker (benefactrix of the school), JH Harvey (raincoat,cap), Mr Ward Baker (Board member, hat,obscure), AR Gatland (pipe, dark suit), CP Worley (pipe, light suit), W Caradus (trilby hat), HL Towers, CC Lees, CT Harris. In Front: JH Jenkin (standing), JM Tait (leaning on desk), HF Brock, GS Coldham, WRH Martin, RB Hardy (standing, looking at stopwatch) WCJ Perry, EH Boulton.

Historical Photographs (Set 2)

The Undefeated Debating Team of 1972

Mr GJ Moran, SA Walker, JW Turner, CC Ingram, BI Belsham, MY Blyth.

School Farm - 1934

Newspaper and photographer unknown. A gift of Alan C Thom 1937-1940.

School Concert Programme - 1932

The annual School Concert was a large event and filled the Town Hall. It was on one night only, this example, over two nights, was unusual. A few early concerts were augmented by outside artists. The first report of a concert was in The Albertian of 1923. There were two concerts at the start of the second term and the first performance by the School, after all had sung God Save The King, was “… An overture in the shape of the march ‘Under the Double Eagle’…”.

The earliest programme we have is 1926 “In Aid of Tennis Courts Fund” The concerts were money-makers, the 1923 concerts raised 160 pounds, an enormous sum at the time. The last Town Hall concert was in 1967, they were killed off by television.

Dance Invitation - 1925

As well as picture evenings, the Old Boys’ Association ran dances. These were formal affairs with a printed dance programme.

School Boxing Championships - 1935

The caption refers to the bouts being in the “gymnasium”. They were held in the hall. The school did not have a gymnasium until 1954. That gymnasium has, in recent years, been turned into classrooms and renamed C block. The property office occupies the original foyer and showers.

Historical Photographs (Set 3)

The Foundation Staff of 1922

More information on each of these masters can be found in:
Brown, JG (1971), Golden Jubilee . Mount Albert Grammar School.
Stone, RCJ (1997), Mount Albert Grammar School: The First Seventy-five Years. Mount Albert Grammar School.

A 1930 Shooting Target

The trophy for shooting was donated in 1926 by A Afford Esq. This target is that of R Jones-Parry, the fire director of the 1931 British Empire Cadet Champions. The target is a gift of Leslie Fallon.

Form 4C (?) - 1922

This photograph came from Neil Jenkins along with the report and certificates of his father, MG Jenkins. The form master in the photograph is CP Worley, who was Jenkins form master in 4C in 1922. That would make it our oldest class photograph. It is in remarkably good condition. Many, more recent images are less favourably preserved. Note that the boys in the front row are sitting on what maybe canvas, rather on the rough stones.

First XV - 1924

Gifted by Roger Moses in 2001. His father SL (Syd) Moses was a member of the team. Syd Moses became a champion motor-cycle racer and was Chairman of the Decimal Currency Board 1964-1968. This team was the first to win the Auckland Secondary Schools’ Championship.

The Towers' Coathook

In the original staff cloak-room/toilet there were named coat-hooks for masters’ gowns which were worn to the two assemblies each day, and they were frequently worn throughout the day. This is HL Towers’s hook.

The cloak-room/toilet is now the commerce office.

In the refurbishments of the early 90s the staffroom was moved to the original library as the original common room was separated into two parts as part of the seismic upgrade. The two parts are now the classroom called B7 and staff toilets. At the same time the corridor was blocked off.

Herb Towers taught for almost all of his 57 years on the staff in B6. For a few years it was converted into a women’s toilet. It is now a classroom again and is renamed B8.

Historical Photographs (Set 4)

Entrants in the School Steeplechase - 1929

The building in the background is the shelter shed, with prefects’ room on the left and tuck shop on the right. It was demolished at the beginning of 1974 to be replaced by the library building which opened in 1976. The original library is now occupied by the staff room.

The steeplechase has been renamed the cross country.

Form 4A - 1926

The image is a gift of Joan Joass, April 2004. Her father, Hector King, is in the back row, far right. The Form Master is JH (“Bunny”) Harvey. He was the English Master and editor of the Silver Jubilee history. The “little black dog” belonged to the photographer.

The British Empire Cadet Championship

In 1931 a team from the School won the Earl Roberts Imperial Challenge Shield. The photograph shows: Fire Leader Sagt-Mjr R Jones-Parry (back), Sgt RF Wakefield, Cpl WH Jenkin, Cpl JM Jenkinson, Cadet CJ Robieson.


Headmaster FW Gamble with winners of life-saving certificates, 1937.

Early Certificate - 1922

MG Jenkins English certificate for coming first in English in 4C in 1922. Also donated by his son Neil. As well as being signed by the Headmaster (then Head Master), it was also signed by Professor APW Thomas, Chairman of the Auckland Grammar School Board of Governors.

Historical Photographs (Set 5)

Rowing 1950

These two images were published in the 8 O’Clock which was the pink-page sports edition of The Auckland Star. The Star was Auckland’s evening newspaper for 128 years. It folded in 1991. The 8 O’Clock was so named because it came out about that time on Saturdays and was sold from newsstands. It had at least eight broadsheet pages jammed-packed with the day’s sport. The text was set by linotype and all the pictures had to be developed in a darkroom. To have it written, edited, designed, set, printed and on the streets in about three hours was remarkable.

Although there is no date on the paper, The Albertian of 1950 mentions that the event was on, probably, 22 April 1950, which was a Saturday. The Eight won the Head of the Harbour. The members of the winning First Four were: RL Grey (stroke), ET Hughan (3), JA Fraser (2), TI Jones (bow), CB Jones (cox). The Second Four also won their event, they were: CR Beamish (stroke), RY Baird (3), DM Bernard (2), R Tuck (bow), NE Cordes (cox). In all three races the school that was second was Sacred Heart College.

With the help of the West End Rowing Club (Mount Albert Grammar School) and the Waitemata Boating Club (Sacred Heart College) the Auckland Secondary Schools’ Rowing Association was formed, and the inaugural regatta was held between the two schools in 1937. The newspaper clipping was a gift of Ted Hughen, August 2005.

Boxing 1939

We have two copies of this image from The Auckland Star’s Saturday sports edition, the 8 O’Clock. One of them is from Graham Burgess and the other from Alan Thom. This was a time of boxing matches between the School and King’s College. DW (Dud, Doug) Rollinson, who was Head Prefect, was the Auckland Cruiser Weight Champion.

In later life, Ward and Gibson both became doctors, and Archer was the studmaster for Sir Woolf Fisher. Private Ray Amoore, 24 Infantry Battalion, 2NXEF, was killed in action on 26 March 1943, aged 21. He is buried in Sfax War Cemetery, Tunisia. Flying Officer John David Rudling, DFM, RNZAF posted to RAF No 136 Squadron, was a Spitfire pilot and was shot down and killed, on 29 April 1944, aged 22. He is buried in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma.

Old Boys' Luncheon

Alan Thom, Ron Hemus, Maurice Yates, Jock Gardner, Graham Burgess at the Old Boys’ Luncheon at the Newmarket Club in March 1977. These luncheons are still being held four times per year, currently (2012) at the School House. They seldom attract fewer than 70 Albertians, and, at times, considerably more. A gift of Alan Thom,April 2004.

The Hammer Beams of the Hall

The School and the Hall, including the hammer-beams, were designed by the Auckland Grammar Schools’ Board of Governors architect, WA Cumming. The beams are modelled, to some extent, on those of Westminster Hall, built in the 14th century. The beams are supported by the curved braces from the walls. The outer walls were supported by buttresses in the seismic upgrade of the early 1990s. When the Hall was reopened in 1991, the then Old Boys Association named it the FW Gamble Memorial Hall in honour of the foundation headmaster, Frank William Gamble.

In his annual report of 1926 (the year the Hall was opened) Gamble said “…the attempt to inculcate the proper ideals would be supremely difficult without this central rallying point.” and again, “…I have clear visions of the time to come when this hall will be to boys a storehouse of memories and the inspirational point of loyalty and honour.”

A Farm Certificate

The Farm opened in 1933 with a course in Agricultural Science taken by eight third form boys. Long before this certificate was issued, the old School House at 807 New North Road was supplied with milk. In was carried in cans by gig (a small sprung cart drawn by one horse).

Historical Photographs (Set 6)

Foundation Trenches - Library Extension

The trenches being dug are foundations for a two-level building. The lower level extends the library and the upper level is to open from the new wing and serve as a science workroom. May 2006.

General View of Work Area - Library Remodelling

The rough-cast planters are part of the 1976 upgrade that accompanied the opening of the library. The seats and barrier are of an earlier vintage. May 2006.

Removing Three Steps

As a consequence of an earlier gradient, three steps were built to to give a more even grade. They are now being removed to facilitate construction. May 2006.

Foundation Formwork

This work is being constructed to give strength to the floor to support the framework of the upper level. June 2006.

Pumping Concrete

A general view of concrete being pumped into the formwork of the new building. June 2006.

Historical Photographs (Set 7)

Reinforcing Grid

The boxes and connectors are for computers. June 2006.

Screeding Concrete

This exterior alcove became incorporated into the library extension. June 2006.

Erecting Prefabricated RSJs

These steel members are being put in place to support the upper level of the new building. June 2006.

Underfloor Structure for Upper Level

This ribbed galvanized steel will support the ceiling tiles of the lower level library extension and the floor of the upper level. July 2006.

Upper Level Framing

Access to this room will be from the corridor of the new wing. It is to be a science workroom. July 2006.

Historical Photographs (Set 8)

The Pupils of 1933

Sitting in the front row, fourth from left, is the smallest boy in the School, RD Muldoon. He was to grow up, become the Member of Parliament for Tamaki in 1960 and the 31st Prime Minister of New Zealand (1975-1984).

The ivy was removed from the walls in 1956, in preparation for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh. The School was painted for the first time, mostly white, but the west wall of the quadrangle was pink (so was a good part of the map of the world).

Muldoon the Accountant

A gift of Dame Thea Muldoon

Staff of 1958

Gifted by John Willmott (Albertian), son of R (Bob) Willmott who is second from the left in the front row.

A Celebration of Football

Albertian Mike Blamires (1951-1956). Mike joined the staff in 1961. He coached the team for ten years and won five championships. He was at Suva Grammar School from 1966-1968, and returned to school for three years. His 1970 team was the first to win the New Zealand Championship.

The late Frank Douglas taught at the school from 1968 to 2002. His First XI won the Championship in 1971. He coached the team for another two years before handing it to Dave Pinner. Later, Frank became master-in-charge of cricket, taking teams up to his retirement in 2002. He died in 2008.

Evan Gray joined the staff in 1974 and coached the team from 1975 until 1978. At the same time and for many years afterwards, he was in charge of Athletics.

Kevin Fallon arrived in 1997 and has had continuted success with his teams at the highest level ever since.

The occasion was the Albertians Dinner, Alexandra Park, 3 August 2004.

Fume Cupboard

Young chemists at work. Help! Who are they and when was this photograph taken?

Historical Photographs (Set 9)

The Choir of 1946

The image is a gift of John Willmott, whose father, Robert, was the choirmaster. In the photograph Bob Willmott is in the middle at the back.

Prefects' Ball - 1952

Until relatively recently the annual ball was run by the prefects and held in the hall. The double ticket price was eight shillings. New Zealand changed to decimal currency on 10 July 1967. Eight shillings was the direct equivalent of 80 cents. Using the how-many-candy-bars-would-that-buy formula, eight shillings would be more like $32 today.

The ticket is a gift of Lindsay Nash in May 2008. He was at School 1948-1952.

Library Pass

Library passes from pre-computer, pre-photocopiers, pre-women-on-the-staff times. These passes were saved by Warwick Gibbs. They were produced (as was everything else) by typing onto a wax stencil, using a typewriter that didn’t plug into a wall outlet. The only person who typed the stencils was the Headmaster’s secretary since she was the one with the typewriter.

The stencil was used to make copies, on newsprint, by mimeography, on a Gestetner machine, earlier models were turned by hand. This inky technology ensured that there was no blizzard of printed paper.

Prefects' Concert Group

The annual concert at the Town Hall on the evening of 10 August 1939, began like all the others, with the singing of the National Anthem, God Save the King. The first concert item was the whole School singing Gaudeamus. After interval it was time for Spotlights From History.

The pictured item was the prefects in At Madame Tussaud’s. On the face of it, it looks like they formed a tableau and no further acting required. However, this was a studio reconstruction and they may have been more active on the night.

Two Old Boy Historians

Ron Hemus was here as a student from 1932 to 1937. He returned here to teach in 1952 and retired in 1988.
Greg Taylor was here as a student from 1960 to 1964 and returned in 1988 as the first Albertian to be appointed Headmaster.
Ron was Greg’s history teacher, he was also HOD History and Social Studies, Senior Housemaster for 13 years and in charge of rugby for a generation. Greg was dux in 1964.
The occasion was the retirement of Greg, as the fifth Headmaster, on Wednesday, 12 April 2006.

Historical Photographs (Set 10)

School Bell

The Mount Albert fire station about 1910. The bell in the bell tower was donated to the school by the father of foundation pupil Les Kinnear in 1927.

It is our School bell.

Early Certificate - 1930

This Certificate was awarded to Norman Shaw,1927-1931. It is a gift of his daughter, Alison Kelso, June 2007. It was printed by Unity Press whose name was on 1922 publications and last appeared as printers of the 1985 magazine.

Upper Lab - 1937

The south wing of the main building was the original laboratories. The upper level was the domain of Mr W Caradus MSc. Bill Caradus (known as Granny to the boys), was the Senior Science Master and also the Second Master. He was given responsibility for establishing the farm as an educational arm of the School. He was the author of two text books which were used for many years. On the retirement of Mr Gamble he became the second Headmaster in 1946.

Later, this large area was made into two labs, UL1 and UL2, separated by a small prep room. The space is now occupied by B1, B2 and B3. During the seismic upgrade of the 1990s there was an extension to the building that incorporated an internal stairwell. This allowed for the end of the top corridor to become part of an enlarged B1. The emergency exit was closed off and the external metal fire escape removed. The ghost of the door can be seen by standing near the door of the Property Office (Old Gym) and looking up at the end east wall.

The image is a gift of Mrs Rachel Collis, daughter of Philip A Jones 1933-1937.

Presentation of the Earl Roberts Imperial Challenge Trophy

Colonel JE Duigan presents the Earl Roberts Imperial Cadet Trophy to Sergeant-Major R Jones-Parry. (Bob Jones-Parry was also presented with a medallion, as were Howard Jenkin, Arthur Jenkinson, Cecil Robieson and Ron Wakefield.) Jenkinson later explained that the competition consisted of “…shooting the opening application snap and running man exercises, and a run down the range firing one shot at each 100 yards.” A brief history of the shield reported that it,”…bore the names of all the Dominions associated with the competition. The shield bore the inscription ‘The Roberts Trophy for competition by British Schoolboys in the Mother Country and in the British Possessions beyond the Seas’.”.

An Early Report

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Historical Photographs (Set 11)

A Champion Team

The 6A rugby team 1930, winners of the 6A championship.

Rowing - 1945

The 1945 rowing crew. A gift of Bill Tinnock, August 2005.

End of Year Certificate - 1936

This certificate in science for PA Jones of 6B is signed by both Professor APW Thomas and FW Gamble. The certificate is a gift from Rachel Collis, daughter of Philip Jones.

The Reg and Ian Grant Memorial Trophy for the Open Sprints Champion

The Reg and Ian Grant Memorial Trophy for the Open Sprints Champion.

Donated by the family of Wing Commander Reginald Joseph Cowan Grant, DFC and Bar, DFM of 65(RAF) Squadron, who was killed in action, aged 29, on 28 February 1944 and who is buried in the Brookefield Military Cemetary, Woking, Surrey, England.
Flying Officer Ian Allen Charles Grant of 485(NZ) Squadron RAF, who was killed, in action, aged 27, on 13 February 1943, while flying under the command of his brother Reg, and who has no known grave but the sea and who is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.

(A third brother, William Edward Grant, died of illness on 2 February 1932 while serving with the Royal Air Force.)

The second image is of Wing Commander Reg Grant. It was rephotographed from a print on display at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai.

Form VIB - 1936

Notable people in this photograph include Ron Hemus (see another image in this series), Murray Marbeck ran the family music store into his 80s, Richard Dell became one of New Zealand leading malacologists with about 150 scientific papers to his name.

The image is a gift of Mrs Rachel Collis, daughter of Philip A Jones 1933-1937.

Historical Photographs (Set 12)

First Calendar and List

This is the only copy of the Calendar and List for the First Term 1922 known. It belonged to Les Kinnear and on his death, it was gifted to the School. by his sons, Bob and Alan. There is a set of bound copies of the Calendar from 1922 to the last printed issue in 1979, but this begins with the issue of Term Two 1922. In the early years, there was one each term, then as more information was included, two per years and in later year, one per year. In-school copies persisted into the early 1980s.

The School Gate in Earlier Years

The entranceway to the grounds was designed by WA Cumming, the architect for the Auckland Grammar School Board of Governors.

He also designed the original four buildings; the main building, the caretaker’s house (which became unsafe and was replaced by the present Lockwood house), the “sanitary” building (still standing) and the shelter shed (demolished to make way for the 1976 library building).

Mr Cumming also designed most of other Grammar Schools’ buildings on their present sites.

Note, too, that the inner pillars have been removed, the long grass on the verge, the paved crossing and the gravel street, which, at that time, was called Rob Roy Street.

Early Drama

The Albertian reported that “… The play outlines the events directly leading to the mutinous outbreak on the Santa Maria and the subsequent quelling of it by Columbus himself. The whole Club took part in this, and the vivid garments of the many and varied characterisations resulted in a very colourful group. …”

School Farm - 1933

Newspaper and photographer unknown. A gift of Alan C Thom 1937-1940.

The First Testimonial Record

The label from the cover of the first Testimonial Book. While the Headmaster, F.W. Gamble, wrote testimonials before this date they were hand-written and no copies were kept. 1929 was the first year that references were typed and we have carbon copies from then until 1987.

The Book is an alphabet journal. The second image shows the As for 1929 in date order. Under this is the As for 1930. The next page starts with the Bs for 1929 and so on.

Historical Photographs (Set 13)

A Letter from the Governor-General

The text of a letter of congratulations of 20 June 1932 from the Governor-General of the Dominion of New Zealand, Lord Bledisloe.

On His Majesty's Service

The envelope for the letter from the Governor-General. It did not require a stamp, as it bears a seal with the Royal Coat of Arms and the words Government House.

A Mounted Match Ball 2007

This cricket ball was used by Brendan Raj of the 1B team to take six wickets for 39 runs off 18 overs in a match against Howick College.

Having a Ball

Masters and their wives at the Old Boys’ Ball at the Peter Pan Cabaret 1937. The masters are; EH (Ted) Boulton, JH (Jack) Jenkin, WRH (Bill) Martin, MD (Murray) Nairn, JG (Goldie) Brown.

School House Plate

This School House side plate was used at thetop table at the old School House at 807 New North Road.

It is a gift of the late Ron Hemus, who was Senior Housemaster for thirteen years.

Newel Post - Old School House

This newel post was at the foot of the stairs of the old School House at 807 New North Road. It was “rescued” by a House Boy, and returned to the School much later. It now stands inside the front door of the present School House.

It is one of only two known wooden artifacts associated with the old House.The other is the original sign, which is framed and hangs in the new House.

Historical Photographs (Set 14)

An Historic Railway Pass

This pass allowed the named child to travel free to and from school between the designated stations. It is a gift from Graham Burgess, August 2002.

Blazer Pocket

A Lion cut from the pocket of a rep blazer which belonged to NS Shaw (1927-1931) who was a sprinter. It is a gift of his widow, Marguerite, in July 1991.

School House Concert Item - 1928

The School House, in its second year, 1928, performed its first item at the School Concert at the Town Hall. They performed a Spanish dance, “La Careno”. The House Notes in that year’s The Albertian reported that “…Evidently the star performers, the gay maidens, caused not a little amusement with their graceful curtsies and dainty steps. …”

Fees Receipt - 1949

A receipt for school fees, gifted by Max Weston in December 2010. Max was in Special 5A in 1949. His Form Master, HF Brock, was the senior Latin Master from 1922 until his death in 1951. He was widely known as Parvis, the Little One. The fee for each of three terms was 7/6 (75c).

Very few ephemeral documents of this type survive and even though this one has some silverfish damage it is still legible and a valued artifact.

School House - 1949

The original School House was a large historic building at 807 New North Road. Although the building has gone, the tree in the background, a pohutakawa, is still there (2010) in a remnant of the grounds renamed the Alice Wylie Reserve.

The adults in the photograph are:

Mr DA (Des) Anderson, Junior Housemaster, Mr JM (Murray) Print, Junior Housemaster, Miss B (Beryl) Normanby, Matron, Mr JG (Goldie, Butch) Brown, Senior Housemaster, Mr LR (Len) Castle, Junior Housemaster


Gifted by DR Tidswell (1949-1952) on 28 July 2003.

Historical Photographs (Set 15)

Swimming Sports 1936

From 1925 to 1934 the annual swimming sports were held at the Tepid Baths, and in 1935 the event was held at the Mount Eden Baths for the first time.

The School - Foundation Year, 1922

There is a gap between the front of the building and the science wing where construction of the hall began three years later. No photographs of the construction of the original building or of the hall have yet been found. Note the builders’ rubble at the front of the building.

In a 33-line poem, Verse for a School Attaining its Silver Jubilee, AW Beasley wrote:

“…At first a shell of bricks and mortar – grim,
Set in a mass of rubble, grey and bare, …”

( The Albertian, 1946 p. 14.)

A Panel in the Hall

The names of the 1931 Earl Roberts Trophy winners.

Three Old Boy Cricketers Departing for the 1937 Tour of England

This image was gifted by Brett Kingstone in July 2000. Brett’s father, Colin, is in the photograph.

Athletics Programme 1936

This 1936 athletic sports programme was gifted by Jack Connell in July 1996. It is a commercially-produced 32-page booklet, inside the front cover are lists of previous cup winners, then a list of officials (reproduced here), followed by eight pages of 733 numbered competitors. The rest is taken up with 86 named events and spaces for writing in names and times or distances. Jack Connell has written his name and class, 3C, on the back page.

Historical Photographs (Set 16)

The Hanson Brothers

Pictured are the five surviving Hanson brothers; Andrew (1961-1964), Robert (1957-1962), David (1958-1963), Peter (1956-1960), Mark (1966-1971). The eldest brother, John (1954-1959), is deceased. The five brothers returned to School on 6 August 2010.

They were later to attend a Memorial Service for their mother, Betty, who was, for many years, a member of the Auckland Grammar Schools’ Board of Governors, the body responsible for the governance of this School.

The brothers are seldom together as Robert and Mark live and work in the UK. David is holding the Hanson Cup which was donated by the six brothers in 1971. It was given “For Endeavour and Progress”. It is awarded annually.

Professor APW Thomas

Algernon Thomas was, in what he called his “leisure hours”, the long-time Chairman of the Grammar Schools’ Board and he was the guiding hand in establishing this School, as well as AGS, AGGS, EGGS and TGS on their present sites. Apart from the five schools there were three boarding establishments and our farm.

At age 25 he arrived in New Zealand to be the inaugural Professor of Natural Science (Geology, Botany, Zoology) at Auckland. He was a Victorian polymath. In his first year here he also had to lecture in Mathematics. He did gratuitous work in mining and bacteriology as well as being a keen breeder of narcissi. He had a wide interest in music and graphic art and read great literature in several languages. He was a member of learned societies including being a driving force in the Auckland Institute and Museum and the Royal Society of New Zealand.

He was commissioned by the Government to write a scientific report on the Tarawera eruption of 1886 and led a group to persuade the Auckland City Council to set aside 3,500 acres of the Waitakere Ranges as a bush reserve, the genesis of the present regional park.

He was created a KCMG and invested just two weeks before his death in 1937.

A Foggy Morning

The D block quad, early morning, 26 April 2011, showing the hall and what was for most of the School’s life, the science wing. This quad had a comprehensive makeover in 2004.

The Old School House

The old School House at 807 New North Road. It was built in 1844 as a gentleman’s residence. The first Headmaster, FW Gamble, persuaded the Grammar Schools’ Board to buy it from the Child Welfare Department (who had run it as home for destitute children and had built new accommodations elsewhere).

The House opened in 1927 with 22 boys. It grew, and remained on that six acre site until 1970, when the new House was built on a hockey field at School.

The old building was demolished and a fragment of open space remains as the Alice Wylie Reserve.

Liddell Scholars

The first three years of Liddell Scholars returned to the school on 28 February 2011. From left to right: Katherine Reynolds (2008), David Eade (2010), Rachel Peeters (2009), Geoff Gunn (2009), Chris Liddell (1971-1975), Jonathan Wrigley (2008), Ella Davis (2010).

Chris Liddell was, at the time, CFO of General Motors. While he was back in New Zealand he announced an increase in the level of the Scholarships (there are two each year and for a period of three years).

Later in the day there was a gathering in the library of Chris’ school friends, the Scholars, and others to present Chris with the Albertian of the Year award.

Historical Photographs (Set 17)

A New Life for Old Library Furniture

The large varnished tables had yellow vinyl tops and were in later years used, in the mezzanine, as reading tables. Originally they were partitioned into four by low MDF walls and served as private study carrels.

During the reconstruction they were useful as work benches and for displaying plans. The other work being done is the removal of some lower exterior windows. May 2006.

Library Exterior Wall Removed

 A section of the north wall of the library cut out preparatory to extension. The Acrow props are holding up the roof. May 2006.

Library Internal Wall Removed

A digger demolishes a concrete wall at the eastern end of the library to incorporate a storeroom into the main body of the library. May 2006.

Library Extension

A general view of part of the work area. June 2006.

The Wired Library

Cables for power, lights and computers being threaded through framing in the refurbishment of the library. The small room being divided off will be for textbook storage. The original green wall in the foyer has been battened so that a new wall can built over it. July 2006.

Historical Photographs (Set 18)

Entrance Decoration

This curved motif is found under the archway on the walls of the portico to the main entrance. The raised circles is one of Cumming’s recurring themes. A more recent use of the curved design can be seen frosted onto the glass doors and partitions installed in the foyer.

Facade Niche

One of 10 decorative niches in the facade of the original building. Six are on the principal face and four on the northern face. The fasces, the slightly raised circle, the wave pattern and the corbel table are repeating motifs.
As well as these decorative niches there are three plain niches, higher up, on pediments at the ends of the principal face and on the northern face.

Laurel Leaves

Fasces of laurel leaves were carried before the Roman Emperor. This image of a laurel fasces is one of many in the fabric of the main building. The most prominent ones are those found under the front archway. The archway itself has a large swag of laurel leaves in front of it. Just outside the opposite doorway (to the quad) is another archway, also festooned with bound ovoid laurel leaves. Here the discrete fasces are truncated, without the basal flared cylinder.

The second image is of a fresh leaf of Laurus nobilis, the bay laurel.

Upper Level of Facade

Both the lion shield and the blank shield on the side of the parapet have decorations on three sides. The inner elements are fasces of rods in the angles of which are the circle motif. The middle elements are the laurel leaf bundles in the angles of which are the flower motif. The outer elements are lines of Greek key, the most prominent design on the facade.
To the side of the pediment above the oriel window is a semi-circular window with a mock capstone. Also above the oriel window is a corbel table between two lines of different, unique (for this building) decorative elements. Below the top bank of windows are more lines of circles.
On the upper edges there are rows of tiny spikes to prevent pigeons alighting.

Decorative Corbel

The prominent decorative corbel with its rococo swirls, flowers and oak leaves and the central year of foundation oval connects the neoclassical oriel window with the archway laurel swag.

Historical Photographs (Set 19)

Emblems on the Floor

 When the main building was renovated in the early 1990s, new vinyl floor-covering was laid in the foyer and surrounding areas. Just inside the front door was an inlaid emblem. In April 2008 the foyer was carpeted and a new, brass, emblem, flush with the carpet, was installed. This image shows both emblems.

A Sheltered Emblem

 This monocrome lion is found on the half-way shelters used by the First XI soccer team. It is essentially the same lion as the now hidden inlaid one in foyer, though the shading on the motto scroll is a little different.

An Embroidered Gold Lion

This embroidered gold lion (or the blue colourway) is widely used. This example was used for a 1980s style rugby jersey which was presented to to a notional team selected as First XV Team of the 80s. The presentations were made at an Albertians Dinner on 30 July 2010.

Coaches of the 80s

As well as presentations to the players , boxed jerseys were also presented to the coachers. Pictured are Bruce Lovett, Alex Bing and Ness Toki.

A Tablecloth Lion

This blue and silver lion is at the corners of a decorative tablecloth that is commonly used on a small table on the stage when certificates, medals or trophies are being presented. This lion, because it is bicolour. is more distinct than than the gold one.

E Block Lion

This large lion was erected on the north-east pediment of the refurbished E Block on 16 June 2011. It went up in three pieces, each of which was threaded onto steel rods coming out of the wall. The position of the rods can be seen by the positions of the 10 buttons, three on each piece of the motto scroll and four on the shield.

Historical Photographs (Set 20)

Cadet Officers 1941

During the cadet years, and especially during wartime, the members of staff were cadet officers. In 1941 a number of masters were on active service. Many of the senior boys in 1941 would have been in uniform the following year and, after basic training, shipped off to war.

The men in the photograph are:

Back Row: 2Lt. FE Coulthard, 2Lt. GL Weir, 2Lt. J Horrocks, Lt. HL Towers, Lt. NB Body, Lt. MJ O’Sullivan, Lt. JH Jenkin, 2Lt. CB Floyd, Lt. WE King.

Front Row: Lt JG Brown, Capt. WR Martin, Capt. HL Calder, Major CT Harris, Capt. JM Tait, Capt. R Willmott, Lt. WCJ Perry.

Absent: 2Lt. JJ Harvey.

The photograph is a gift from the estate of Nelson Body.

An Early Projector

These two paragraphs about the Balopticon came from The Albertian editorial of  1935 entitled ‘The School and the Future’.
The second image is of a 1925 advertisement for a home Balopticon. The advertised one is an opaque projector of the epidiascope type. The type suggested in the editorial is of the through- the-lens magic-lantern type. (The manufacturers, Bausch and Lomb, still have their international headquarters in Rochester, NY. They now make contact lenses and other eye products.)

Pen and Ink Drawing by Newton Wickham, 4A, 1932

The dirigible that is 4A has already flown over the foothills of the J.F.P., the Junior Free Place. A Junior Free Place was awarded to any pupil who passed the Proficiency examination by a certain age. This examination was at the end of Standard 6. (Which became Form 2, which became Year 8.) Any child who did not get enough marks to enter a “secondary school”, either had to pay to go to a such a school, or try to get into a Technical School, or give up the idea of continuing with school.

The uplands of the Senior Free Place loom at the end of the year. Those who passed this hurdle at the end of Form 4, Year 10, could continue into a third year and attempt the mountains of Matric., Matriculation or University Entrance. Those who were serious about going to university returned for a year in the Lower Sixth Form (Year 12) and a smaller number still returned for a fifth year in the Upper Sixth Form.
The Free Place system was abolished by the First Labour Government in 1935, giving every child the right to a secondary school education.

Athletics Champions 1937

This image is rephotographed from a copy of one that appeared in The Auckland Staron Monday 5 April 1937. It was a gift of Alan Thom, in July 1999, who is the brother of Norm Thom, the Senior Campion.

Coronations Remembered

This plaque was erected by the then City of Mount Albert in a tiny fragment of the grounds of the old School House. An old House Boy of the period claimed that the oak he remembered was planted elsewhere in the grounds. (The only way to know for sure is for core samples from candidate trees to be examined by a dendrochronologist.)

The Albertianof 1937 reported on a ceremony in the Hall on the day of the Coronation of King George VI, (12 May 1937). After that ceremony, The Albertianreported that:
“After the address in Hall Sir Algernon Thomas planted the Coronation Oak in the grounds of the School House. He referred to the historic significance of the occasion and explained that the tree had been grown from an acorn from Westminster Park.
“Miss [Constance] Jackson, who was present at this ceremony, had also attended the planting of oaks in the School House grounds on the occasion of the coronation of King Edward VII. [22 January 1901] and of King George V. [22 June 1911]. There are now three coronation oaks in the School House grounds.”
Miss Jackson was there because she was related to Sarah Jackson, who was in charge of what became the School House when it belonged to the Child Welfare Department.
When the photograph was taken there had been acts of avian lese majeste.

Historical Photographs (Set 21)

Plaque Commemorating the Naming of the Hall 1991

The Hall was opened in 1926. In 1991 the then Mount Albert Grammar School Old Boys’ Association (MAGSOBA) dedicated the Hall to Frank William Gamble, the first Headmaster.

The 1922 First XV Photograph

In its first year the First XV wore Oxford Blue Jerseys with a Cambridge Blue sash. The following year the team had all Cambridge Blue Jerseys.

The photograph was taken in the quadrangle which had rough gravel at the time.

A School Medallion

Medallions in ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ (500mm diameter) with a raised image of the School on the obverse and the name in a roundel were ordered by the then Director of Services, Evan Gray. The ‘gold’ ones were given to boys – in the 1990s – who had won prizes or trophies. The ‘silver’ ones were given to International Students who graduated. The reverse had a small School Emblem at the top and, tied at the bottom was an incomplete circlet of laurel leaves. In the middle was space for an engraved name and the award. The image shows the obverse.

A Chemical Balance and Box of Weights

The Chemical Balance is in first class condition with all parts intact and in the original case.

The box of weights is complete and the original box is beautifully crafted.

Both balance and box were gifted on 17 October 2016 by Dr Simon Marshall (1973-1974) who is a physical chemist working in Perth W.A.

An Old Boys’ Promotional Card 1924

In 1924 the fledgling Old Boys Association produced a professional invitation to a picture evening at the Lyric Theatre.

The Old Boys of the Day would have been late teenagers, yet the committee had tickets printed and mailed out, got responses and likely made a block booking. It is known from correspondence that the evening was a success, sufficient funds were raised, caps were commissioned and the President (then called the Convenor), HW (Herb) Salmon came to the School and awarded the caps to the First XV. The ticket refers to Football Caps. ‘Football’ meant Rugby Union Football. The First XV had won the Championship in 1924. The first team to do so. This became a tradition, the giving of caps to members of 1A or Premier teams that win a Championship continue to this day.


The card mentioned that the programme began at 8 but the issue of The Auckland Star for that day, 19 September 1924 (Papers Past), stated that the event began at 7.45, some Old Boys may have been a bit late.

“Going to the pictures” was hugely popular, it was a relatively new-fangled entertainment as a mass medium. There were 17 ‘Picture Palaces’ advertising ‘Picture Shows’ on the same day, plus two theatres offering variety concerts.