Celebrating 175 Years

We are a school with a rich tapestry of history and tradition. St Peter’s College was founded in 1847, just 11 years after South Australia was established. The first classes were held at the Holy Trinity Church on North Terrace before we moved to our current Hackney location in 1850.

The first Anglican Bishop of Adelaide, Augustus Short, was instrumental in establishing St Peter’s College in the tradition of the great public schools of England. In 1890 the School adopted its motto ‘Pro Deo et Patria’ (‘For God and Country’) to inspire and motivate the boys.

Our Legacy

We are honoured to have been educating the minds, hearts and spirits of students for 175 years. We are proud of our old scholars and their contributions to society and our illustrious alumni include three Nobel Laureates, 10 Australian premiers and 42 Rhodes Scholars. A new generation of leaders and innovators are emerging from the School and our more recent old scholars are actively involved in School life.


We have been a leading school for generations and we are committed to preserving our history. Volunteers assist with the preservation of valuable historical documents and the School’s museum charts our distinguished story.

Exhibitions are held regularly and visitors are welcome by appointment. To volunteer or to donate memorabilia, please contact Elisabeth Bramford, School Archivist on ebramford@stpeters.sa.edu.au

Saint Peter's

A Short History

  • 1847

    The Trinity School Room, located behind the Holy Trinity Church on North Terrace, is the original site for the School. Eleven boys attend the first day of school on 15 July 1847.

  • 1850

    The earliest known view of the School on the current Hackney site, c1852–3. Pencil drawing by Jane Dorothea Cannan, titled ‘Collegiate Institution, Adelaide’ from the collections of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Melbourne.

  • 1865

    65 boys enrolled at the School

  • 1899

    Boer War 1899–1902. Ninety-one old scholars volunteer for the Boer War and three gave their lives. The Collegians’ Association commissioned the installation of a memorial in Big School Room in 1902. The wooden, five-panelled honour board is now located in the foyer of Memorial Hall.

  • 1910

    Preparatory School (now called the Junior School) opens for boys aged six to eleven.

  • 1921

    The foundation stone of Memorial Hall is laid on 25 September 1921 to honour old scholars who served in the First World War. The construction took much longer than anticipated and was finally opened on 29 September 1929.

  • 1939-1945

    The Second World War. Over 2,000 old scholars enlisted; 200 lost their lives and nearly 200 received honours.

  • 1947

    Centenary of St Peter’s College.

  • 1957

    The Memorial Arch and Cloisters in Big Quad are erected in memory of those who died in the Boer War, and First and Second World Wars. The arch contains the names of the old scholars and teachers who gave their lives.

  • 1997

    The School celebrates its 150th anniversary. The START building is opened as part of the celebrations.

  • 2010

    The Junior School is redeveloped – additional classrooms are built, Shinkfield Building is renovated, and Palm Place Cottages are restored and redeveloped to include a new administration centre, library, art room, computer and science laboratories, and lunchroom space.

  • 2011

    Wellbeing and positive education is introduced into all aspects of a Saints education. In time, the School becomes internationally recognised for its pioneering work in the field.

  • 2015

    An extension of the outdoor education program, Pushing the Boundaries, is introduced as a compulsory part of the St Peter’s College curriculum. The program provides a series of journeys in a wilderness environment.

  • 2016

    Introduction of the Middle Years program for Years 7 and 8. The Pentreath Building is refurbished to create flexible learning environments.