Perth Modern School

Perth Modern School (colloquially known as Perth Mod, or just "Mod") is a public co-educational academically selective high day school, located in Subiaco, an inner city suburb of Perth, Western Australia. Perth Modern is Western Australia's only fully academically selective public school. Established in 1911, the school is the oldest public high school in Western Australia and the oldest co-educational high school in Western Australia. Perth Modern caters for students with high academic ability.

Academic selection

Perth Modern is the only fully academically selective school in Western Australia. The academic program is designed to foster the analytical, critical and creative thinking skills of academically advanced students. Selection into Perth Modern is based on a student's results in the Academic Selective Entrance Test.[2] In 2017, 1548 students competed for the 225 year 7 places available at Perth Modern in 2018.[3]

History

Planning and construction

Perth Modern School was the first government high school in Western Australia. By December 1907, the Western Australian Parliament allocated funds to build the first government high school on a site near the Thomas Street School in Subiaco. However, debate continued for some time, and it was not until 1909 that the west building and main hall contract was tendered.[4]

Opening and academic scholarships

The school opened in 1911 with 226 students enrolled.[5] The school charged a fee of £6 a year. Students were prepared for entry to the University of Western Australia, which opened in 1913. Demand for places at the school was high - students came from all over Perth and Western Australia, many staying with relatives or boarding as near to the school as possible. In 1912, the school inaugurated a system of scholarships designed to encourage students of ability to attend regardless of the financial situation of their parents. Students studied comprehensive science and modern languages as part of their courses, in addition to classical subjects.[6] Until 1928,[7] students attended Perth Modern for four years. The focus of the first two years was on basic subjects, whereas the final two years focused on a more diverse range of subjects. Students could choose out of five streams: arts, science, education, commerce and agriculture.[5]

Central to the establishment of the school was Cecil Andrews. As a young man, Andrews was Inspector General of Schools in Western Australia and he had the honour of naming the school and directing the school curriculum. The first principal, Ferdinand Grange Brown, helped the school to a start. He was succeeded in 1912 by Joseph Parsons who led the school until 1939.[8] Noel Sampson was the principal from 1940-1963.

New educational concepts

When it opened Perth Modern School pioneered two modern and entirely new concepts in Western Australian education:[6]

  1. Co-education
  2. No corporal punishment, detention, or arbitrary/authoritative punishment

The first concept allowed young women and young men access to the same higher education pathway. When Perth Modern School opened, it was rare to find women participating in the same endeavours on the same playing field as men. Prior to Perth Modern School, the only high schools in Western Australia were eight independent schools. These schools were sectarian, unisex, high fee paying schools, and only three of the eight schools catered for young women. The school educators helped raise the consciousness in generations of students who were ready, willing and able to advocate change for justice and equality based on merit, as they entered the world and pursued their careers. Although Perth Modern has always been a co-educational school, when it initially opened in 1911, boys and girls were still kept apart in different classrooms and entrances.[5]

The second concept charged each student with the knowledge the school would offer no discipline except self-discipline. Worldwide, it was accepted teachers would use arbitrary and often violent punishments to force students to conform to the will of authority. Perth Modern embraced a new motto, Savoir C’est Pouvoir (Knowledge is Power), and the Sphinx—representing knowledge and wisdom—was adopted as the school emblem. By recognising and by raising higher reasoning in each student, the school educators imparted the gift of education as the key to future success, and this was the motivation for each student to work hard and to achieve the highest results possible.

Local-intake school and music scholarships

In 1958 Perth Modern School became a comprehensive five year high school with a local-intake area; around this time, more buildings were constructed to the east of the original building. By 1966 the scholarship entry requirements were removed, and in 1968 music became a focus of the school. The first music scholarships were awarded in 1968 to 36 first year and 19 fourth year students; the last intake of students on a music scholarship occurred in 2006. By 1970, the school orchestra was formed and the Joseph Parsons Memorial Library opened. The old Thomas Street Primary School, administered by Perth Modern School, became the home of English as a second language in Western Australia in 1990.[5]

Return to academic selection

In 2005, the Premier of WA, Geoff Gallop, announced the proposal for the school to once again become one of academic excellence. Funding was allocated to turn Perth Modern School into a selective high school for academic excellence.[8] This was to recognise that gathering students of high ability in one school encourages students to "be themselves" with like-minded peers, which allows opportunity for the development of higher-order thinking skills and meets the social, emotional and educational needs of gifted students.[9][10] The gifted program is based on Francois Gagne's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent.[11] The first intake of a cohort only on an academic scholarship occurred in 2007, and in 2009, the new buildings at the Western end of the school opened. By 2008, the majority of students attended Perth Modern on an academic scholarship,[5] and since 2011, the centenary year, all students at the school attended based on academic selection.[12] In 2012, Perth Modern became an Independent Public School.[13]

In 2015, the school became a six-year high school when welcomed its first cohort of Year 7 students, who were housed in the Stokes building for their first term.[citation needed]

Relocation plans

In 2017, the incoming Labor government made an election promise to move the academic program operating at Perth Modern into a high-rise building in the Perth central business district, while the current buildings would be re-purposed for use as a local intake school.[14] This $45 million dollar plan was expected to relieve pressure on western public schools after a few secondary schools closed in the area. This was met with pushback by students and their teachers who complained the metropolitan environment would damage the mental and physical health of students and would expose the children to inner-city drugs and crime.[15] The dissatisfied alumni, including former governor Malcolm McCusker, banded under the "Save Perth Modern" campaign. The group organised on a Facebook page,[16] held protests and presented 6000 signature petition to parliament.[17] The pushback lead the Labor Party to drop the plans, and instead announced that Inner City College would be build nearby.[18][19]

Building plans

In 2012, $2.7 million was allocated to fund a new gymnasium to replace the older facility built in 1961. The funding was supplemented by approximately $1 million raised in fundraising for the 'Build the Dream' campaign from 2012 to 2014.[13][20] The new gymnasium was opened in 2015. In 2016, the 'Raise the Roof' fundraising campaign was launched to raise funds to build a 700-seat auditorium.[21] The $10 million plan was criticised by some board members and became the subject of an external audit.[22] In 2019, the fundraising target to build 500 seats was reached. The Education Department subsequently organised a tender for the first stage of construction.[23]

Campus

List of buildings

In 2013 the school’s buildings were renamed after several people who had significant contribution to the school.[24] The school campus consists of the following buildings and centres:

Building name Opened Main use Eponym Notes
Andrews Building 1961 Administration, Mathematics, Science, Gymnasiums Cecil Andrews, the Inspector General of Schools in Western Australia when Perth Modern opened The gymnasiums are colloquially called the "boy's gym" and "girl's gym" referring to the gendered changerooms below each gymnasium.
Beasley Building 1911 Auditorium, Humanities and Social Sciences, Music Hillson Beasley, the building's architect Original Perth Modern School Building.
Casey Drama Theatre 2009 Drama Clare Casey, Perth Modern's Principal Mistress from 1958 to 1975
Embleton Music Centre 2000 Music John Embleton OAM CitWA, a music specialist at Perth Modern from 1968 to 1991
Gardham Building 2009 Design and Technology Walter Amos Gardham, the founding Manual Training Teacher from 1911 to 1930
Mills Building 2009 Visual Arts, Languages, Food Science, Multimedia/Computer Science Frank Mills, a senior art teacher from 1939 to 1957
Parsons Building 2009 Cafeteria, Lecture theatre, Library Joseph Parsons, the Headmaster of Perth Modern School from 1912 to 1939 The Library replaced the Joseph Parsons Memorial Library, which was demolished in 2009. There are also assemblies held in the Lecture Theatre occasionally.
Stokes Building 1904 English J P Stokes the headmaster at Thomas Street Primary School from 1949 to 1951 and Principal of Perth Modern from 1972 to 1979 Originally West Perth School (1904-1906) and then Thomas Street Primary School (1906-1979).[25]
Tyler McCusker Sports Centre 2015 Assembly area, Gymnasium Malcolm McCusker and Don Tyler, alumni who made significant donations to the building's construction[26]
Multipurpose Auditorium TBA Events, Assemblies in the future None In the second half of 2019, construction is planned to start on a new multi-purpose auditorium.[5]

The school also has an oval in the middle of the campus.

Beasley building

Construction

Until 2013, the Beasley building was known as the West building. At the time of its construction from 1909 to 1911, the building was Perth Modern's first and only building. The new school was built on land which was formerly part of the northern common in Subiaco, which had been set aside for education purposes. This land was 4 hectares (10 acres) in area and was located between Subiaco and Mueller Roads (later renamed Roberts Road), west of Thomas Street in Subiaco. On 30 July 1909, S B Alexander was awarded the building contract for £11,637. The contract for the west building and main hall specified eight classrooms, art room, library, chemistry and physics laboratories, lecture rooms, as well as cookery and laundry classrooms. These facilities were grouped around the 27.4m by 14.3m (90 ft by 47 ft) central hall. The building was designed by Hillson Beasley, Principal Architect of the Public Works Department, Western Australia. By 1911, the building was completed for the sum of £18,974.[6]

Design

Beasley’s design of the west building and main hall comprised three parallel two storey wings facing north and south with a courtyard to the west. The west building is linked by a covered walkway to the third heritage listed wing. The building was typical of Beasley's mixture of formality and informality, with interesting interiors serving ritualised assemblies and examinations. The building reflected many key characteristics of Federation Arts and Crafts architecture. It was constructed from red brick with a stone base facade. Decorative exterior features included white painted cement rending to all framing, quoins, and copings. The design and construction also featured a central landmark clock tower with a battlemented parapet, a tapering roof lantern, and dormer windows. The roofs were designed and built with steeply pitched parapeted gables covered with tiles, and with prominent eaves and exposed ends to rafters. The main hall was set two storeys high with a jarrah ceiling. Carved, sloped, roof rafters were designed to give the interior of the building an ecclesiastical feel. The gallery was built spanning east and west on the first floor with staircases at each end.[6] Other notable details of fine design and craftsmanship of west building included the stained glass transom windows and fanlights executed in Art Nouveau style at the north side of the building and inside the entrance foyer.[4]

Refurbishment and heritage listing

The west building was refurbished during the late 1980s and the work was recognised and received several awards. The west building and main hall were interimly registered by the Heritage Council of Western Australia in 1992 and it entered the State Registry of Historical Places in 2001. The building was included on the basis of aesthetics and by the number of notable alumni who hailed from these doors.[4]

Andrews building

Prior to 2013, the Andrews Building was known as the East building. The East building and older gymnasium were built around 1958, when Perth Modern became a local-intake school. Both buildings have been listed as well sited bearing a functionalist aesthetic. The design and construction have been recognised as fine examples of post-war International style. The new administration building (opened 2009) joins and provides lift access to the east building.[4]

War memorial

The Old Modernians War Memorial was unveiled in 1922 to commemorate the service of ex-students in WWI. The outbreak of WWI saw 177 Modernians enlist, 27 of whom lost their lives. 24 names are recorded on the monument. The memorial was designed by William Hardwick, the Principal Architect of Western Australia in 1920, and it is located between at the between the Beasley building and the oval.

City Beach Residential College

Students from regional areas can board at City Beach Residential College. The college is located in City Beach, next to the International School of Western Australia. It is the only boarding facility for students of public schools in metropolitan Perth. It can accommodate up to 66 boarders from rural Western Australia. However, it is not exclusively for Perth Modern students; students who are enrolled in selective gifted and talented programs in metropolitan Perth public schools (mainly John Curtin College of the Arts and Perth Modern School) can board there.[27] As of 2018 the College accommodates 56 students.[28]

Western Australian academic ranking

Perth Modern students perform consistently well in the WACE school rankings. Since 2011, the Year-12 cohorts have produced the highest average ranking when compared to the rest of the schools in Western Australia.

WA school ATAR ranking
Year Rank Eligible students Students with ATAR % students with ATAR Students with 99+ ATAR Students with 99.95 ATAR
2018[29] 1 240 236 98.33 55[30] 5[31]
2017[32] 1 223 222 99.55 46[33] 6[33]
2016[34] 1 222 220 99.1 44[35] 3[35]
Year 12 student achievement data
Year Rank[i] % +75 in WACE[ii] Rank % +65 in WACE[iii] % graduates[iv]
2015[36] 2 40.62 3 66.73 100
2014[37] 2 35.89 1 68.89 99.43
2013[38] 3 32.22 3 63.01 99.47
2012[39] 1 37.03 2 68.42 100
2011[40] 4 34.09 6 67.32 100
2010[41] 15 21.32 18 59.01 97.1
2009[42] 11 50.51 (>75% minimum of one subject) 18 49.9 (64.6% or more) 98.29
  1. ^ Ranking of school compared to other schools in the state
  2. ^ Based on the number of Stage 3 course enrolments in the school where a WACE course score of 75 or above was achieved
  3. ^ Based on the number of Stage 3 course enrolments in the school where a WACE course score of 65 or above was achieved
  4. ^ Percentage of Year 12 cohort that graduated with a WACE certificate

Median ATAR and TER

Prior to 2011, the student ranking system used in Western Australia was the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER). Since 2011, the Western Australian system used to rank students is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). In 2018, Perth Modern broke the state record for the highest median ATAR.[30]

Median ATAR/TER
Year Median ATAR/TER
2018[29] 97.00
2017[32] 95.90
2016[34] 95.55
2015[43] 96.25
2014[44] 93.70
2013[45] 95.40
2012[45] 95.35
2011[46] 94.05
2010[47] 85.0
2009[47] 86.7
2008[47] 84.0
2007[48] 79.6

Beazley Medal winners

Since 1984, a Beazley Medal has been presented to the top ranked academic student in Western Australia each year. As of 2019, five Perth Modern Students have won the award:

  • 2018: Pooja Ramesh[30]
  • 2016: Caitlin Revell[49]
  • 2015: Hui Min Tay[50]
  • 2014: Jamin Wu[51]
  • 2010: Michael Taran[52]

Performing arts

Dance

Perth Modern School hosts the independent Graduate College of Dance, from which a number of acclaimed high-profile dancers have graduated.[53] The Graduate College of Dance is a leading vocational dance school in Australia. The College prepares talented dancers aged 9 to 17 (year 5 to 12) for the dance profession. The college's comprehensive curriculum combines professional dance training with an academic education to tertiary level. The college is a private organisation requiring fees from applicants, enrolled students at Perth Modern School and private students from elsewhere. The Department of Education and Training previously accommodated the Graduate College of Dance at Swanbourne Senior High School. With the amalgamation of Swanbourne into Shenton College in 2000, the department offered the Graduate College of Dance accommodation at the Perth Modern School site due to the availability of appropriate space and suitable dance flooring.[54]

Music

Perth Modern's music programme is available to all enrolled students. Previously, to be accepted into the music program, students were selected after completing an audition.

The programme encompasses the Kodály methodology in its teachings. Most aural and theory concepts are taught with the aid of the philosophies of music by Zoltán Kodály, in which hand signs are used as a way of representing musical notes by holding the hand in a certain position for each note. The music programme places an emphasis on singing. It is a requirement that all students in the programme are in at least one vocal ensemble.

The school has five wind orchestras, three standard orchestras (two string and one symphony) and two classical guitar ensembles as well as various other instrumental groups, chamber choirs and jazz ensembles. The Perth Modern School Symphony Orchestra has the longest tradition of any school ensemble in Western Australia, having been first formed in 1915.

The Perth Modern school song is Moderna Scola.[55] The original Latin poem was composed by John Colman, who was a student from 1930 - 1931. The tune was written by Stephen Dornan OAM, during his time as a student from 1929 - 1933. Dornan later revised the tune in 1998.[56]

House system

Perth Modern School was excluded by WA private schools from joining established interschool sporting competitions. In 1915, the principal, Joseph Parsons, separated the school into Red, Blue, Gold and Sphinx factions to promote sporting rivalry.[8]

In 2007 Perth Modern School introduced a new house system to provide competition and recognition of achievement. Students can earn points for a variety of reasons, including academic achievement and participation in extracurricular activities. Awards are given to students who achieve a certain number of required house points.[57]

The houses were named after the first four Perth Modern School Principals: Fredrick Brown, Joseph Parsons, Noel Sampson and Talbot Downing.[57]

At the end of the year, the house with the highest accumulated total number of house points is recognised as the Champion House.

Year Champion House
2018      Sampson
2017      Sampson
2016      Sampson
2015      Parsons
2014      Sampson
2013      Brown
2012      Brown
2011      Sampson
2010      Brown
2009      Brown
2008      Sampson
2007      Downing

Heads of School

The following individuals have served as either Headmaster or Principal of Perth Modern School:

Ordinal Officeholder Title Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 Fredrick Brown Headmaster 1911 1912 0–1 years [58]
2 Joseph Parsons 1912 1939 26–27 years
3 Noel Sampson 1940 1958 22–23 years
Principal 1959 1963 [59]
4 Talbot Downing 1964 1965 0–1 years
5 William Speering 1966 1971 4–5 years
6 Joseph Stokes 1972 1979 6–7 years
7 Thomas Byers 1980 1991 9–10 years
8 Eric Alcock 1992 1999 6–7 years [60]
9 Robyn White 2000 2010 9–10 years [61]
10 Lois Joll 2011 incumbent 7–8 years

Notable alumni

Perth Modern School alumni are known as Perth Modernians. In 2010 The Age reported that Perth Modern ranked equal fourth among Australian schools based on the number of alumni who had received a top Order of Australia honour since 1975.[62][63] Perth Modernians have received more top Orders of the Australia honours than the alumni of any other school in Western Australia.[62] Fourteen Perth Modernians have won Rhodes Scholarships from the University of Western Australia.[64]

Notable Perth Modernians include:

See also

References

  1. ^ "Student Numbers - Trends". Western Australian Department of Education. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Academic programs - The Department of Education". www.education.wa.edu.au. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Competition heats up among WA's gifted public students". The West Australian. 2 April 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Perth Modern School" (PDF). Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation. Heritage Council of Western Australia . 14 December 2001. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Perth Modern School | Information | History & Tradition". Perth Modern. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Perth Modern School West Building including Main Hall". Australian Government, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Goodes, Joyce (1916-1990) - People and organisations". Trove. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Perth Modern School History and Tradition". Australian Government, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Higher Order Thinking". Popet. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ "DET WA Gifted and Talented"
  11. ^ NSW AGTC: Francois Gagne's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent [1]
  12. ^ Borrello, Eliza (16 February 2011). "Perth Modern returns to its roots". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Perth Modern School Today | Perth Modernian Society". perthmoderniansociety.org.au. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  14. ^ Kagi, Jacob (30 May 2017). "Perth Modern School relocation: Government leaves door open for rethink". ABC News. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  15. ^ Laschon, Eliza (29 May 2017). "The controversial plan to move Perth Modern School". ABC News. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  16. ^ https://www.facebook.com/saveperthmodern/
  17. ^ "Perth Mod relocation protest". The West Australian. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  18. ^ Powell, Graeme (13 June 2017). "Perth Modern School: Community backlash sees Government abandon relocation plans". ABC News. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  19. ^ Gartry, Laura (27 February 2017). "Perth CBD high-rise school: Parents at war with Labor over 'stifling, sterile' plan". ABC News. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Perth Modern School new Jul 2012" (PDF).
  21. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). web.archive.org. 12 August 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  22. ^ Trigger, Rebecca; Mayes, rea (15 February 2018). "More school board resignations after $10m auditorium row". ABC News. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Perth Modern School news Apr 2019" (PDF).
  24. ^ "The Perth Modernian e-Newsletter" (PDF). 5 March 2013.
  25. ^ "AU WA A563 - THOMAS STREET PRIMARY SCHOOL".
  26. ^ "Media Statements - New sports facility for Perth Modern School". www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  27. ^ "Map detail - AUSTRALIAN BOARDING SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION". www.boarding.org.au. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  28. ^ "City Beach Residential College". Community News Group. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  29. ^ a b "WA School Ranking - 2018". Better Education. 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
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  33. ^ a b "The 2017 WACE results have been released today and Perth Modern School has achieved a West Australian record number of General Exhibitions with 13, seven Subject Exhibitions as well as six students who scored a perfect ATAR of 99.95". Community News Group. 27 December 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  34. ^ a b "WA School Ranking - 2016". Better Education. 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
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  49. ^ McNeill, Heather (30 December 2016). "WA's top secondary students awarded Beazley Medals". WAtoday. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  50. ^ "Perth Modern School student Hui Min Tay wins Beazley Medal". The West Australian. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  51. ^ Harradine, Natasha (2 January 2015). "Public school students take out top honours in WA". ABC News. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  52. ^ Styles, Aja (6 January 2011). "Public school boy a Beazley Medal winner". WAtoday. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  53. ^ "ALUMNI & ACHIEVEMENTS / WHERE DID THEY GO?". The Graduate College of Dance. Perth, WA: The Graduate College of Dance. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  54. ^ Ravlich, Ljiljanna (14 September 2006). "Perth Modern School - Music and Ballet Scholarship Programs" (pdf). Hansard. Perth, WA: Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  55. ^ "School Song | Perth Modernian Society". perthmoderniansociety.org.au. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  56. ^ "Perth Modern School news Jul 2012" (PDF). July 2012.
  57. ^ a b "Information Handbook" (PDF). 2017.
  58. ^ "School Teachers of Western Australia". www.carnamah.com.au. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
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  60. ^ Woodman, Alison (April 2017). "The Perth Modernian Society".
  61. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). web.archive.org. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  62. ^ a b Topsfield, Jewel (4 December 2010). "Ties that bind prove a private education has its awards". The Age. p. 11. The hard copy article also published a table of the schools which were ranked in the top ten places in Australia, as follows: (1st with 19 awards) Scotch College, Melbourne, (2nd with 17 awards) Geelong Grammar School, (3rd with 13 awards) Sydney Boys High School, (equal 4th with 10 awards each) Fort Street High School, Perth Modern School and St Peter's College, Adelaide, (equal 7th with 9 awards each) Melbourne Grammar School, North Sydney Boys High School and The King's School, Parramatta, (equal 10th with 6 awards each) Launceston Grammar School, Melbourne High School, Wesley College, Melbourne and Xavier College.
  63. ^ "Top 10 Australian High Schools - Companion of Australia". Better Education. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  64. ^ "Western Australian Rhodes Scholars". University of Western Australia. Archived from the original (doc) on 7 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.

Further reading

  • Sphinx Foundation (2005). Perth Modern School: The History and the Heritage. Cottesloe, WA: B+G Resource Enterprises; Sphinx Foundation. ISBN 9781920715953.
  • Woodman, Alison; Staaden, Ross (2011). Past, Present & Future: Celebrating 100 Years of Exceptional Education at Perth Modern School (1911-2011). Subiaco, WA: Perth Modern School P & C Association. ISBN 9780646557847.

External links

Media related to Perth Modern School at Wikimedia Commons