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Killara High School

Killara High School

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Killara High School in the 1990s:


In 1990, in recognition of the reputation that KHS had earned in the area of foreign language study, KHS was designated by the Minister for Education as a Languages High School.

Peer tutoring was piloted in 1990.

The ‘Cluster of Schools’ concept was implemented. The Killara cluster included KHS, St Ives HS and Turramurra HS, together with the primary schools that fed into these three high schools.

New courses that began operating in 1990 at KHS were:

  • Society and Culture (year 11)
  • Contemporary English (year 11)
  • Hebrew (year 8)

In 1990, a 17-year-old KHS student was named the State’s most talented young writer, when he won The Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Writer of the Year Award. He was among 3,666 NSW students who submitted up to 1,000 words of prose on a topic of his choice. The preliminary judges selected his satire as one of the thirteen regional winners. Entitled, ‘There’s no such word as unbrave’, the KHS student’s piece looked at war, international politics, atrocity, the media, death and regeneration.  A short story written by the same KHS student was also to be published in The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Spectrum’ pages.

In 1990, the number of KHS students who entered as candidates for the 4 Unit Mathematics course was one of the highest from a non-selective state high school.

In 1990, year 10 Work Experience placements for KHS students included:

  • acting
  • advertising
  • Air Safety Control
  • architecture
  • costume design & stage direction at the Sydney Opera House
  • the Defence Forces
  • journalism
  • law
  • medicine
  • photography
  • the police force
  • publishing
  • social work
  • television broadcasting
  • veterinary science

In 1990, the Industrial Arts Department acquired new equipment, including:

  • an Amiga 2000 computer
  • a class set of ergonomic, laminated drawing boards (designed and built by the students themselves) 

In 1990, a small group of KHS students decided to meet each week to collect and sort the paper wasted from the school’s photocopiers. Thus, the Student Paper Recycling Committee was formed. Some of the paper was recycled as note paper in the library, while other waste paper was collected by a recycling company.

Computer awareness, Computer Studies and computer training for staff were given a high priority in 1990. An across faculty Computer Committee was convened by the school’s computer coordinator. KHS’s computer room was also planned to be completed in the 1991 school year.

1990 was declared the International Year of Literacy.

In 1990, the number of KHS students who entered as candidates for the 4 Unit Mathematics course was very high – one of the highest from a non-selective state high school.


In 1991, the new subject Computing Studies was introduced at KHS. There were two classes in year 11 in order for the school’s first candidates to sit for the HSC exam in 1992.

It also meant that an upgrade to the computer room at KHS was done with 15 MS-DOS compatible 386SX computers, each with a VGA colour screen and 40Mb hard disk. A menu made it possible to start any program with a couple of keystrokes. The company Edlers sold KHS some high quality desks at a substantial discount and curtains were hung in the computer room so that a projection panel could be more effectively used. Students learnt how to use the following:

  • a database
  • a word processor
  • a spreadsheet
  • a modem
  • a printer 
  • other devices

All KHS students in the course also learnt computer programming, which at KHS at this time was called ‘Pascal’. 

In 1991, a three-day Girls Technology Expo was held at Elanora Heights. Two KHS female students were selected to attend.  The workshops they attended included:

  • constructing computer-controlled vehicles
  • designing computer programs
  • silk-screen printing with computers
  • making a video.

In 1991, The school administration system for NSW schools – Office Automation and School Information System (OASIS) was operational.  KHS had scheduled the library management computer package to come into full operation in 1992.


In 1992, three KHS students in year 9 obtained gold medals in the Intellectual Olympics. They were given a problem to construct a load-bearing bridge out of limited materials. The design of the KHS team was both original and practical, making the examiners impressed and KHS the winner.

In 1992, computer usage was moving fast in the Lion Library at KHS. Six computer terminals were purchased for the OASIS library network, as well as one VHS video recorder for the Audio Visual room and two CD Rom computers.

In 1992, local business people were co-opted into taking a year 9 class for ten lessons to teach students the practical side of running a business.

In 1992, year 12 Geography was mentioned in the social pages of the ‘Cowra Chronicle’ during field work to Cowra and environs.

In 1992, year 8 KHS students listened to a talk by the President of the Australian Antarctic Society on his experiences in Antarctica. This prompted calls from KHS students for the establishment of a Geography Club.

In 1992, year 10 KHS girls went to an ‘Opportunity for Girls Day’ at Macquarie University. The day included various speakers who have been successful in their fields of study, such as Industrial Technology, Business, Optometry, Economics and Horticulture. They discussed the details of entering careers in these fields. The day focused on the career prospects for women.

In 1992, year 10 KHS boys were involved in a ‘Boys in Balance’ seminar. They were addressed by a lawyer; the Principal of Williams Business College; a journalist; and a politician. They spoke to the KHS boys about entering into the humanities, e.g. secretarial work, nursing and hospitality management. After lunch the Playback Theatre Company joined the seminar with an emphasis on choosing the right career for yourself.

As part of the National Drug Offensive program in 1992, the youth director visited KHS to inform students of the dangers of alcohol related violence. The drummer from the band ‘The Angels’, made the message even clearer as he supported the campaign.

In 1992, KHS addressed the Board of Studies requirement for the introduction of a school based twenty-five hour program of Personal Development for its year 11 students. Discussions with staff at the Jindabyne Field Study Centre resulted in the restructuring of their teaching program to insert certain personal development activities for KHS students to account for part of the twenty-five hours. KHS planned and presented its own HIV/AIDS component of this program.


In 1993, the Sydney Morning Herald [newspaper] did a front-page story which promoted KHS as a fine example of the fact that the local comprehensive state secondary school can deliver the highest positive quality educational service. The media had also earlier in the year highlighted KHS’s 1992 HSC results.

In 1993, a special taskforce of parents and teachers drew up a draft constitution for the possible formation of a School Council.

In 1993, a pilot program for gifted and talented students in years 7 and 8 was introduced at KHS – an initiative taken by a number of interested staff members – as a consequence of a School Development Day held in 1992.

One of the KHS School Captains received two accolades in 1993. The first was being chosen by Lions International as their Australian Youth of the Year, the second was being presented with the Minister for School Education’s 1993 Award for Excellence in student achievement.

KHS devised and designed a program called ‘Talking Tolerance to Teenagers’, which was included in a 1993 State-wide Departmental publication which highlights such programs of excellence.

In 1993, to cater for the growing interest in the use of the computer as a tool for teaching and learning, one of the aims for 1993 was to establish a second computer room. Fifteen Apple Macintosh computers were installed at the beginning of 1993 so students and staff could gain maximum benefit from access. Another ten computers were scheduled for installation in 1994.

In 1993, KHS year 11 students were offered two new courses – Legal Studies and Business Studies.

In 1993, the P&C arranged for an outdoor chess board to be located in the school grounds. The first challenge – to complete the delayed 1992 competition – took place with an audience of over fifty students and ten staff. Two KHS staff members played, then the winner played a year 11 KHS student in the final.

In 1993, KHS students entered a number of writing competitions in which the following results occurred:

  • a KHS student won 2nd prize in the Short Story section of the Ku-ring-gai Poetry and Short Story Competition, and two other KHS students were Highly Commended
  • in the poetry section of the above competition, one KHS student was Highly Commended and five KHS students were Commended.
  • in the Young Writer of the Year, two KHS students were commended for their work. Pupils from year 11, 10 and 7 received Certificates for their work.

Also, a group of year 8 KHS students spent a great deal of time and effort writing and illustrating storybooks based on Indigenous people and on animals. These were exhibited at Taronga Zoo in October, 1993.

In 1993, a year 11 KHS student gained a perfect score in the Chemistry Quiz. In the same quiz, KHS students (years 11 and 12 Chemistry students) received the following:

  • 23 High Distinctions
  • 20 Distinctions
  • 23 credits

In 1993, year 8 KHS Mathematics students went to Taronga Zoo for a maths excursion. The students participated in the following activities:

  • measured some of the animal cages
  • drew geometrical shapes from the elephant’s house, as well as patterns that were on the animals
  • created a pie graph of venomous and non-venous snakes
  • drew the patterns of the python

In 1993, KHS students competed in the Science Competition. One year 10 KHS student received full marks, being only one of two students in NSW to achieve this result.

In 1993, new subjects were introduced in the Social Science Department [now the Human Society & its Environments (HSIE)]. They were:

  • 2 Unit and 3 Unit Business Studies in Year 12
  • mandatory Geography and Commerce in years 7-10.

According to the 1993 KHS Green Years, 1993 was called the Big Mac Year in Computing. The use of computers had grown so much that a 2nd room was necessary. The staff chose a group of Macintosh LC Computers to give students and staff a choice of computer platforms. This meant the KHS could now boast of two major types of computers that “the students would find in the world of work”.

The ‘Macs‘ as the computers were known, had colour displayed 14 inch screens; 4 Mb of RAM; 80 Mb of hard disk drives; and they shared a Laserwriter printer.

The computer program that was most used on the computers was called ‘Claris Works‘. It combined the functions of word-processing, database, spreadsheet, communications package and drawing.  The ability of the ‘System 7’ operating system could convert the nationality of the keyboard, so that it was utilised by Languages staff who had been producing documents with proper accents shown over the letters.

The Mathematics faculty were also keen to use the ‘Macs’. They decided that the most suitable program to use was ANUGraph, produced by the Australian National University, that enabled students to type and equation then see the function drawn on the screen.

The interest in Computing Studies grew in 1993 at KHS. There were three classes in year 11 and three in year 12.

In 1993, six year 12 KHS students were interviewed on Channel 9’s ‘Today‘ television program. They spoke about career opportunities and the careers they hoped to enter.

In 1993, year 10 KHS students attended a Gender Equity Day at Macquarie University. This day was designed to broaden the minds of male and female students to the different vocations to which they may aspire. The girls learned a lot about the generally ‘male dominated’ fields like Computing, Engineering, Graphic Design and Horticulture.

In 1993, although still in its early stages at this time, the Education Business Link Program through KHS had started to achieve some results. The pharmaceutical firm, Bayer Australia offered to donate a special medal to KHS’s top science student each year, and to help also with the mock interviews and Careers night for 1994. The company 3M assisted with the ‘Gender Equity Day ‘at Macquarie University in 1993 and offered also to take a number of work experience students, as did the Phillips Language Systems Company.

In 1993, four year 12 KHS students attended a special luncheon at Chatswood Chamber of Commerce where they heard from the producer/director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Brisbane Commonwealth Games and the Los Angeles and Barcelona Olympic Games, speak about his role.

In 1993, approaches were also made in 1993 to a number of local companies to join KIN – the Killara High School Industry Network – a program at KHS an interactive program designed to benefit both KHS and the firms involved.

In 1993, there was a Macquarie Link at KHS.  KHS students participated in this link at Macquarie University:

  • year 12 French students from KHS participated in a 3rd year conversation class
  • Ancient history students from KHS were hosted at the History Museum in the School of History Philosophy and Politics

Students from Macquarie University visited KHS to conduct a pilot survey amongst KHS students dealing with Aboriginal land rights.


In 1994, a third computer room was established in a small classroom with twelve 486 DX computers which were used in the Technical and Applies Studies (TAS) key learning area.

In 1994, year 11 KHS students participated in an AIDS awareness program. The day included informative talks and group talks, including a video showing the effects of AIDS on the individual and the emotional strain it can cause family & friends. A guest speaker shared his experience about living and coping with the AIDS virus.

In 1994, KHS students from various years were commended for their creative writing in the following competitions:

  • Four KHS students were highly commended for their short stories in the ‘Herald Young Writer of the Year’
  • A year 9 KHS female student was a finalist in the Henry Lawson Poetry Writing Competition. She was also commended, as was another KHS student, for her entry in the ‘Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition’.
  • A year 9 KHS student won 2nd prize in the Ku-ring-gai Library Poetry Writing Competition, while another student was highly commended and one  was commended.
  • A year 11 and a year 9 KHS student were highly commended for their short stories in the prose section of the Ku-ring-gai Library Competition.
  • Three of our KHS students were selected from over seven hundred entries  to be part of ‘Youth Writes Number 8’ anthology (four were sent). This book was a collection of young Australian writers from all over Australia.
  • A year 8 KHS student won the Picture Book Section of the ‘Taronga Zoo Book Writing Competition’ in 1993, and this spurred on many more entries for the 1994 competition. The entries in 1994 were both group and individual serious attempts at producing books, stories, poetry and plays that had been processed to publication stage. There were sixteen hundred entries, and thirty-eight prize winners. KHS received thirteen prizes. One of these students, a year 8 KHS student, was one of two major Secondary Prize winners, receiving $400 as well as a book prize. The prize winners works’, along with students from other schools, were displayed at the Zoo.

In 1994, the KHS year 11 debating team had three wins against Peter Board HS, Marsden HS, and Willoughby Girls’ HS. They had one narrow defeat against North Sydney Boys’ HS.

In 1994, year 10 KHS students participated in a ‘Future Directions Day’ at Macquarie University. The program consisted of a number of lectures about the changing roles of men and women in modern society. There were different career talks, as well as tours around the Science Department.

In 1994, each edition of The Killara Newsletter was translated into Chinese (Mandarin).


In 1995, KHS celebrates its Silver Jubilee – twenty-five years since KHS student were on the current building premises.

In 1995, KHS trialled the restructuring of the school day for the year.

In 1995, thirty KHS students attended two leadership and public speaking courses organised by Toastmasters. The students learnt the skills of meeting procedure, speaking and leadership. These courses took place in the house. Four of the students who attended went on the represent KHS in the District Finals.


In 1996, during term 3, a group of year 11 KHS students volunteered their time to help year 7 students with their reading skills. This occurred on Tuesdays each week during lunchtime. Many of these students were also Peer Tutors helping ESL students during 1995.

In 1996, year 8 Maths classes visited Taronga Zoo to examine the many ways in which maths skills could be used in everyday life. Some of the activities included:

  • measuring and calculating the capacity of a pool where a seal swims
  • measuring and calculating the perimeter of a fence
  • recording information in a table after observing the monkeys at the Zoo
  • calculating the area of an octagonal shaped roof
  • estimating the height of a giraffe

In 1996, a year 11 female KHS student was selected for the Chemistry Competition ’95 for years 11 and 12, and to enter the Chemistry Olympiad Selection Process, where only one hundred and fifty students were chosen.

In 1996, as part of the newly introduced Honour Badge System – the ‘Green Achievement Awards’ – were a permanent record of students’ achievements at KHS. They were tabulated by respective year advisers over a general time period of two years, and lead to awards such as:

  • a letter of merit
  • an inscription in the school’s honour book, or
  • the highest level – being awarded the school’s honour badge.

Twenty green cards were required to receive an honour badge, with the first being green, the second yellow and the third (a recent addition) being white. Recipients of each honour badge contributed in various ways to a number of aspects around the school – in extra-curricular activities, performances, service or within the classroom. On the 15th March 1996, four KHS student were the first recipients of the newly introduced honour badge. 

In 1996, two KHS students were offered prestigious Accounting Cadetships for 1997.

In 1996, year 7 KHS students went to Askania Park, Gosford for a geography field trip. The ‘Forest of Tranquillity’ is protected rainforest in Askania Park. The students discovered the names of animals and plants and drew many examples. They learnt how to identify plants such as ferns and about animal habitats.

In 1996, more than thirty-six KHS students and staff participated in the 1996 City to Surf to help raise money for the Australian Kidney Foundation.

In 1996, as part of a special project, junior KHS students entered the Young Scientist Competition. Categories included:

  • scientific creative writing
  • multimedia and photographic studies
  • original scientific research

Some KHS students’ entries received prizes, with their work displayed at the Powerhouse Museum.


In 1997, all KHS junior science students were entered in the Australian Schools Science Competition. The results were as follows:

  • Year 7:  14 Distinctions, 15 Credits
  • Year 8:  7 Distinctions, 19 Credits
  • Year 9:  9 Distinctions, 26 Credits
  • Year 10: 24 Distinctions, 68 Credits

Two KHS students – one in year 7 and one in year 10 – were awarded High Distinctions.

In 1997, KHS pupils from years 7-12 participated in a number of writing competitions for short stories, children’s books and poetry writing. Some of the winners were:

  • A year 11 KHS student wrote a beautifully crafted story, ‘The Trilogy of Life’ and was one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Writer of the Year, and one of the Metropolitan North Regional Winners. Three other KHS students were Highly Commended for their stories.
  • A KHS student won both the Mosman Youth Award in Literature (Junior Section) and the Young Adult Section of the Ku-ring-gai Library Poetry Competition. 
  • A KHS student won the teenage section of the Ku-ring-gai Library Poetry Competition and runner-up in the Mosman Award.
  • A year 8 KHS student was awarded 2nd place in the Maxwell Lakeman Memorial Poetry Competition.
  • Five KHS students were runners up in the Ku-ring-gai awards, and two KHS student were commended for their entries.

In 1997, a year 7 male KHS student won a prize in the 1997 Young Scientist Competition – in the Creative Writing Section with a piece entitled, “Power Problems.”

In 1997, five teams of three year 12 KHS Chemistry students entered a competition held on a Saturday morning at Sydney University chemistry laboratories. The best teams from this stage proceed to the state finals. Three KHS female students reached the next stage. One of these students earned a gold medal, while the other two female students received silver medals. The KHS team finished in the top half of the finals group.

In 1997, as part of the study of Nuclear Physics in year 11, KHS students went on an excursion to Australia’s only reactor at Lucas Heights. After radiation suits were fitted, the group entered the top-secret military installation. They saw the particle accelerator which made isotopes used to cure disease. The authors of a brief article on the excursion – two KHS students – finished their report with this, “Unfortunately I have to stop writing now due to my growth of two extra fingers.”

In 1997, the TAS/Home Economics Department ran a display and muffin shop on KHS’s Open Night. The student chefs from the Hospitality classes showed their culinary skills and expertise in food display.

In 1997, year 12 Food Technology students were involved in the following activities:

  • Fourteen year 12 KHS students sitting for the HSC in 2 Unit Food Technology.
  • Excursions to Tip Top Bakery and the Sydney Fish Markets

In 1997, the year 7 Design and Technology course included units of work on:

  • introduction to Design and Technology
  • barbecue aprons
  • toys for toddlers
  • snack foods

In 1997, the year 9 Food Technology course included units of work on:

  • food and the Australian identity
  • the nutritional status and special needs of people
  • food packaging
  • food for special occasions

In 1997, the Technical Drawing classes produced traditional drawn engineering, product drawings and renderings as well as Computer (CAD) drawings of the school building layouts which  yield valuable practical documents for emergency procedures, planning etc.


After completing the HSC in 1998, two KHS students (a male and a female student) were awarded Macquarie University Sports Association Scholarships for pursuing courses at Macquarie University while also representing the University in sport.

After completing his HSC in 1998, a  KHS student was selected to perform his outstanding HSC Music composition with twelve others, at the Sydney Opera House’s ‘Encore’ concert.

A KHS student gained selection in the Australian Schoolboys’ Soccer team, which played international fixtures against New Zealand, Fiji, and Wales.


In 1999, KHS was the only school to be honoured with the visit by Her Serene Highness Princess Siriwanwaree, the Crown Princess of Thailand. She was accompanied by her father, the Crown Prince of Thailand. The 12-year-old Princess was herself in her first year of secondary school, which was located within the Royal Palace of Thailand. During her visit she was greeted by children around her own age, and it was planned that she would take part in two or three lessons. She was most impressed with the music and dance performances, and the year 12 Industry Studies class.

In 1999, the P&C Association operated through various committees that parents could choose to join. These included:

  • business friends
  • canteen
  • clothing pool
  • grounds maintenance
  • performing arts
  • publicity
  • social events
  • sport
  • technology committee

In 1999, Australian Rugby Union Wallaby, and an KHS ex-student, returned to KHS –– bearing ‘Bill’, that is, the World Cup, the symbol of World Rugby Supremacy.

In 1999, outstanding HSC results in English placed eleven students on the merit list for scoring 90 and above.

In 1999, three year 11 KHS students were Highly Commended in the Sydney Morning Herald Short Story Writing Competition.

In 1999, a year 12 student made it to the final of the Sydney Morning Herald Plain English-Speaking Competition. The student also won the District Award in the Lion of the Year Competition.

In 1999, two staff from the Gosford Reptile Park came to KHS to show year 7 science students a range of reptiles that students may come across while walking in the bush. They brought snakes, lizards, turtles and crocodiles, with most of the reptiles being able to be handled.

1999 was the last year 4 Unit Science was included in the HSC.

In 1999, new occupational, health and safety rules meant that one adult was needed to accompany every twenty students on excursions. In the Social Science Department, some parents volunteered, and therefore allowed the excursion for all year 9 Commerce classes to ‘Coca Cola’ at Northmead, to proceed.

In 1999, year 7 and 9 KHS Geography classes visited Taronga Zoo to study endangered species within grassland, rainforest, mountain and wetland environments. Year 9 students met ‘Coolabah’ the koala, which was to travel to Pretoria, South Africa, as the NSW Government’s gift to Nelson Mandela.

In 1999, Year 12 KHS Design and Technology students worked on their Major Design Projects and designed a variety of products including:

  • a pre-school kit – teaching tolerance through pull-apart and mix and match toys
  • a sun safe outfit aimed at adolescence, including a logo
  • a child’s quilt
  • bedroom accessories with an African theme

Two year 12 KHS Design and Technology students had their Major Design Projects and folios chosen for possible inclusion in the ‘Design Tech. ’99 exhibition’ at the Powerhouse Museum.

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