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High Schools Guide

Sydney Boys High School | High School Guide

In this High School Guide, we profile Sydney Boys High School - one of NSW's highest performing selective schools in the HSC.

Interested in finding out more about Sydney Boys High School? In this overview, we look at its history, famous alumni, past performance and HSC subjects offered.

All of our information is sourced from the NSW Department of Education website: Sydney Girls High School.


What’s in the Sydney Boys High School Guide?

We’ve created this Guide to provide information to parents and students so they can make an informed decision about applying for Sydney Boys.

This guide includes additional articles discussing:

  • Admission requirements and process
  • Applying to Sydney Boys for Year 7 admission
  • How to enrol at Sydney Boys in Years 8-11
  • Student Life at Sydney Boys
  • Success Secrets from Sydney Boys Students and Alumni


In this overview article, we will discuss:



Sydney Boys High School is a single sex-selective school that has consistently ranked in the top 10 of NSW schools in the HSC. The school is built on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, who are its Traditional Custodians. Sydney Boys High School has gained a reputation for debating, having won the Hume Barbour and Karl Cramp trophies more times than any other school. And also for sports, as a member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW (AAGPS or GPS) and the Combined High School Association, which they’ve won premierships in basketball and rugby several times in the past.

Students can gain entrance into year 7 through the Selective High Schools Test, while a smaller portion of students are admitted in years 8, 9 and 11 by applying directly to the school.





Sydney Boys High School was established on 1 October 1883, making it the first state high school in New South Wales founded solely for the purpose of public secondary education under the Public Instruction Act 1880. Then, it was known as The Sydney High School and consisted of two single-sex schools (now referred to as Sydney Girls and Sydney Boys) on separate floors in a single building designed by Francis Greenway and constructed by convicts.

This building was located in Castlereagh Street in the Sydney CBD, where the Elizabeth Street store of David Jones now stands. Up until the boys’ school was relocated to Mary Ann Street in Ultimo in 1892, Sydney Boys occupied the lower floor and entered from the Castlereagh Street side of the building, while Sydney Girls occupied the upper floor and entered from the Elizabeth Street side.

This building was demolished in 1924 after both schools were relocated to Moore Park in 1921. The school is still situated in Moore Park, but on a different site designed by George McRae — the architect of the Queen Victoria Building (QVB).

Sydney Boys is amongst a handful of schools in NSW that have always been academically selective. Sydney Boys High School, as we know it today, prides itself in facilitating student sporting achievement as well as academic performance, and has been a member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW (AAGPS or GPS) since 1906. Note that the term ‘Public Schools’ here is used to mean ‘private schools’ as is conventional in the United Kingdom, and Sydney Boys remains the sporting association’s only government school member.


Famous Alumni

Sydney Boys is responsible for producing some significant public figures in a wide range of disciplines.


Alumni Contribution
Nicholas Whitlam  Chief executive of the State Bank of NSW
Matt Comyn  CEO of Commonwealth Bank Australia
Henry Halloran  Major property owner and developer in NSW


Alumni Contribution
Scott Morrison 30th Prime Minister of Australia
Sir Earle Page 11th Prime Minister of Australia
John Willcock 15th Premier of Western Australia
John Mason 31st Opposition Leader of NSW
Jon Isaacs 1st Opposition Leader of Northern Territory
Peter Anderson NSW Minister for Health (1986–88)
Paul Landa NSW Minister for the Environment and then Education (1976-1983)
Sir Howard Beale Ambassador to the United States (1958–1964)

Public Service

Alumni  Contribution
James Wolfensohn 9th President of the World Bank
Peter Wilenski Awarded Order of Australia in 1994 for service to international relations and to public sector reform
Sir John Crawford Adviser to the World Bank, Chancellor of the Australian National University (1974–1984), Australian of the Year (1981)
Sir Leighton Bracegirdle Australian military commander and an Official Secretary to Australian governors-general
Sir Roden Cutler Australian diplomat, 32nd Governor of New South Wales and awarded the Victoria Cross
Sir Richard Kingsland Kt. Decorated World War II Air Force pilot


Alumni  Contribution
Hon. John Halden Wootten Justice of Supreme Court of New South Wales (1973–83), awarded Order of Australia in 1990 for service to human rights, to conservation, to legal education and to the law
Sir Gordon Wallace Supreme Court of New South Wales judge (1960–1970), President of New South Wales Court of Appeal (1966–1970), Acting Chief Justice of New South Wales (1968–1969)
Sir Frederick Richard Jordan 9th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1934–1949)
Hon. James Spigelman 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1998–2011)
Hon. Bryan Beaumont Justice of the Federal Court of Australia (1983–2005)
Hon. Marcus Einfeld Justice of the Federal Court of Australia (1986–2001) and President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission




Alumni Contribution
Mervyn Wood Olympic gold medalist at 1948 Summer Olympics in single sculls, NSW Commissioner of Police (1977–79)
Stan Rowley Olympic gold medalist at 1900 Summer Olympics 5000 metres team race
Sam Robson England test cricketer and player for Middlesex County Cricket Club
Colin Love Chairman of the New South Wales Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and Rugby League International Federation
Daniel Arzani Football player for Australia and Melbourne City FC
Vivian McGrath Australian Open Singles Champion (1937) and Doubles Champion (1935)

Medicine and Science

Alumni  Contribution
Dr Graeme Clark Pioneer of the multiple-channel cochlear implant; awarded the Fellow of the Royal Society, Australian Father of the Year award (2004) and Centenary Medal (2003)
Sir Henry Harris Professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, pioneering work on cancer and human genetics in the 1960s
Dr Alfred van der Poorten Number theorist and former president of the Australian Mathematical Society
Dr Kelvin Lancaster Mathematical economist and Professor of Economics at Columbia University; co-developed the Theory of the Second Best
Dr John D. Pollard Professor of Neurology at the University of Sydney, former Chair of Executive and Head, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney
Sir John Cornforth Awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for work on the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalysed reactions (1975)


Entertainment and the arts

Alumni Contribution
Russell Crowe Oscar-winning actor (2000)
Daniel MacPherson  Actor in Neighbours, The Bill, City Homicide and Wild Boys and television presenter for Dancing with the Stars and The X Factor
Ben Miller Film producer for Happy Feet, Mad Max trilogy, Babe
Dr George Miller Film director for Happy Feet, Mad Max trilogy, Babe
Jack Thompson Actor in Wake in Fright, Sunday Too Far Away, The Man from Snowy River and Breaker Morant
George Levendis Head of International for Syco TV (joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment)



Key statistics

How many students go to Sydney Boys? What are their post-school destinations? How does they perform? Let’s take a look.

Student Profile

The student population consistently consists of around 1200 students (all boys).

Year Total number of students
2018 1202
2017 1200
2016 1198
2015 1195

Post-school destinations

Over the past 5 years, almost all students have attained an HSC and progressed to university study upon graduating.


HSC Performance

The full list of school rankings can be found here.

Year Rank B6/E4 results Unique B6/E4 students State ranks Success rate (%)
2020  10  596 250 8 47.49
2019  10  640 261 10 51.45
2018 7  561 242 9 45.87
2017 5  681 251 11 55.10
2016  7  622 262 8 49.80

Note: If you want to learn more about what high school rankings, including what Unique B6/E4 students and success rates mean, check out our Beginner’s Guide to High School Rankings.


HSC subjects offered

Accelerated subjects

  • Business Studies
  • Chinese in Context (Mandarin)
  • Design and Technology
  • French Continuers
  • Geography
  • German Continuers
  • Latin Continuers
  • Modern History
  • Music 2
  • Visual Arts


Non-accelerated subjects

Faculty Subjects
  • Maths Adv
  • Maths Ext 1
  • Maths Ext 2
  • English Adv
  • English Ext 1
  • English Ext 2
Science and Health
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Engineering Studies
  • Software Design and Development
Creative and Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Music 1
  • Music Ext
Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)
  • Ancient History
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Studies of Religion I
  • History Ext
  • Chinese Beginners
  • Chinese Continuers
  • Classical Greek Continuers
  • Chinese Ext
  • Classical Greek Ext
  • French Ext
  • German Ext
  • Latin Ext


What’s next?

Now that you know a little bit about Sydney Boys, do you want to attend it? Well, in the next article, we go through the entrance requirements for Sydney Boys 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.


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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