Interested in finding out more about James Ruse Agricultural High School and why it is consistently number 1? In this overview, we look at its history, famous alumni, and the experience of past students.
James Ruse Agricultural High School has ranked as NSW’s top school for 25 consecutive years, based on student performance in the HSC. The school is built on the land of the Darug people of the Eora Nation, who are its Traditional Custodians. James Ruse is an academically selective high school, and one of four government agricultural high schools in NSW.
Students can gain entrance into year 7 through the Selective High Schools Test, while a smaller portion of students are admitted in years 8 to 11 by directly applying to the school.
The school initially formed a part of Carlingford District Rural School in 1956 with Charles Mullavey as the Master in Charge. However, by 1959, the school became independent of the Carlingford District Rural School and gained a full high school status as “Carlingford Agricultural High School”. In April the same year, the school was renamed to what we know it as today: “James Ruse Agricultural High School”.
The change was inspired by the then Headmaster, James C. Hoskin. He had become interested in James Ruse, a Cornish farmer who significantly contributed to Australia’s early agricultural development after his arrival on the First Fleet. Moreover, Hoskin noted that the school was serving more than just the Carlingford area, contrary to what its name suggested.
The school was established as a boys’ selective school in 1959, but it gradually became co-educational after an initial intake of 24 female students in Year 11 in 1977. During Hoskin’s time as headmaster, James Ruse Agricultural High School developed its reputation as a quality selective, agricultural and public school. For Hoskin’s service which extended until his retirement at age of 65 in 1978, he was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Australia for Services to Education in 1990.
In 1996, James Ruse AHS placed first in the HSC rankings and has continued to maintain this rank for 25 consecutive years to this day. Since its modest beginnings as a wooden five-room classroom block, a small staff-room and ablution facilities, James Ruse AHS has continued to solidify its reputation as NSW’s best performing high school under its current principal, Rachel Powell.
James Ruse is responsible for producing some significant public figures in government, politics, science, arts, and business.
Business, science, and public service
Co-CEO of Australian software company Atlassian
Economist and Federal Member for Fraser
Astrophysicist: mapped atmospheric plasma tubes aligning with Earth’s magnetic field
Chemist and associate professor at University of Sydney, recipient of RSC Dalton Young Researchers Award
Rhodes Scholar, Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society, CEO of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Prosecutor and State Member for the Electoral district of Seven Hills
Professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan
Mathematics teacher known for Wootube (online mathematics lessons)
Chairman of Bellamy’s Organic, Board Member of Vocus Group, Founder and Chief Industrialist Investor of Janchor Partners
Swimmer, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist for 1650 yard freestyle (1966)
Cyclist, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist for Women’s Road Race (2006)
Footballer, member of the Australian National Rugby Union team
Cricketer, opening batsman for the New South Wales Blues
Anglican Bishop of the Northern Territory (2014 – present)
Anglican Bishop of North Sydney (2014 – present)
Anglican Bishop of the Western Region (2019 – present)
President of the Uniting Church in Australia (2015 – 2018)
Founder of RICE Movement (2001-present)
Deputy Chief of Navy and Former Chief of Staff of Headquarters Australian Forces in Middle East
Repatriation Commissioner and Former Commander of Australian Forces in Middle East
Entertainment and the arts
Journalist, author, and 2008 Man Booker Prize winner
Folk singer and poet
Concert pianist, laureate of the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, Tel Aviv (2008), and winner of the 2002 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Award
ABC election analyst and commentator
Radio and television presenter, actor
Co-founder of swiish.com and co-author of Super Green Smoothies
Journalist, host of Hack on Triple J
Television weather presenter and meteorologist
How many students go to James Ruse? What’s the student diversity like? How does it perform? Let’s take a look.
The total number of students enrolled had stayed relatively consistent over the years, as has the ratio of female and male students. There was approximately 23% more male students compared to female students in 2019.
Total number of students
These results are a snapshot of the consecutive 25 years that the school has led the HSC results. James Ruse Agricultural High School students also make up a significant portion of the top performers for each subject (having achieved a state rank). The full list of school rankings can be found here.
Personal development, health and physical education (PDHPE)
Accelerated by two years (complete HSC in Year 10)
Information Processes and Technology (IPT)
Software Design and Development (SDD)
These subjects are typically not available for accelerated students, however, faculty heads may permit exceptional students to join a class taught at a higher year level. This may include Olympiad students, or students who have transferred from other schools at which they undertook an accelerated subject.
Maths Ext 1
Maths Ext 2
English Ext 1
English Ext 2
Creative and Performing Arts
Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)
Now that you know a little bit about James Ruse, do you want to attend it? Well, in the next article, we go through the entrance requirements for James Ruse High School! Read now.
Written by Matrix Education
Matrix is Sydney's No.1 High School Tuition provider. Come read our blog regularly for study hacks, subject breakdowns, and all the other academic insights you need.