Happy 94th birthday Wesley!
Monday 13 February is a special day in the school calendar as it is 94 years since the first classes commenced – on 13 February 1923. This year we are blessed with relatively mild temperatures, unlike Wesley’s first day.
Wesley has remained on the same site throughout its 94 years, albeit an extended one – initially the school site was bounded by Swan, Coode, and Angelo streets and along a line roughly where the Angelo Street entrance and car park are now. A process of gradual property acquisition has resulted in the campus we know today.
In that first year there were only 38 students, over half of whom were boarders, mainly from the farming areas south and east of Perth. Day boys were drawn from the developing suburb of South Perth or from North Perth and Mt Lawley, the latter travelling via the Coode Street ferry from the city.
Initially there was only one permanent building, the ground floor of what is known today as the Ward Wing. The upper floor was added in 1926 and the building has been significantly altered a number of times since then. That initial building served as classrooms (2), dormitory accommodation for 20 boys, rooms for 3 resident staff and Matron, and home to the headmaster, Mr J F Ward, his wife and 4 children. The land had been totally cleared of vegetation prior to being purchased for the school – it was essentially a barren sand plain with no shade nor outdoor facilities. The ensuing 94 years has seen the remarkable developments we take for granted.
Barbara van Bronswijk
Wesley College Archivist
The entire school in the playground, 1923. The prefabricated gymnasiums overlooked the beginnings of Ward Oval.
Wesley boys waiting for the ferry.