Julie Matheson

CFP Business Specialist | Local Government Expert | Community Advocate

Save Perth Modern in Subiaco

We have a battle on our hands to #SavePerthModern from an election promise made by the Labor Party on 29 January 2017.

The Labor Party wants academically gifted and talented students moved from the historic Perth Modern School in Subiaco to a new 25 storey office block at the North Bridge bus port.

Students come from all over Perth to attend this special high school.  Not only that Perth Modern School is a symbol of the public gift from Western Australia to the noble idea of opportunity for the ordinary people of Western Australia.

“The Perth Modernian Society (Inc) and its forerunner organisations has represented the alumni of Perth Modern School – students and staff (collectively called ‘Modernians’) since the year 1912. The Society has established an impressive History Centre on the School site, and as well a highly successful ‘Sphinx Scholarships Fund’ to assist students to achieve their maximum potential. Modernians along with the Parents and Citizens Association, present day students, and the parents of present day students have contributed enthusiastically to provide significant additional facilities at Perth Modern School, and as well the students contribute thousands of hours of community service each year”, Peter Farr, President.

All of this history, support and purpose-built facilities will be lost to the students and placed back into the hands of the Department of Education for the development of the school if this school for gifted children is moved to North Bridge.

The Department of Education are not to be trusted with site selection of schools.  For instance they will gladly demolish trees and a footy oval at the Doubleview Primary School to build a new public school and use taxpayers land to build a private international school.  They will also sell off school assets too – like the heritage listed Perth Girls School in Wellington Street, East Perth.

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Subiaco Council has decided to help #SavePerthModern too.  The Council will be including submissions and relevant planning policies in its North Subiaco Structure Plan to ensure future decisions makers (MRA, DAP, WAPC, SAT) are fully aware of community sentiment for Perth Modern to stay in Subiaco.  Council will decide this on Tuesday 11 April at 5.30pm.


From its opening in 1911 until 1961, when it became a music specialist school and later Ballet specialist school, and again since 2007, it has been the State’s only specific school with Academic Selective Entry for Gifted and Talented students, drawing students from the entire Perth metro/outer metro area as well as country WA. With only 50 years as a comprehensive high school with a special music program this has resulted in over 20,000 students passing through its gates to receive their secondary education.

As a selective (“scholarship”) school it was for some years the only state (public) school offering secondary education to matriculation level, to those students whose parents could not afford a private school education. It rapidly earned a reputation as a leading secondary school producing many graduates who achieved great success in their chosen careers, and made valuable contributions to the Western Australian community – a Prime Minister, members of parliament, a Chief Justice, two governors, leading medical researchers and academics, to name but a few. In 2016, its results were the highest of any secondary school in WA, public and private. In this, it followed the tradition set over a century ago. No other public school in WA, and few private ones, has this long-standing history and tradition.

The Modernian Society provides scholarships to support needy students and a number of those alumni have made substantial donations to the school; to improve facilities, such as a new gymnasium and hall, for the benefit of the students. A number have made bequests to the school. They do so, because of their recognition of the value to the community of academically selective education and what it means to them.

Heritage value lies not only in the historic buildings but also in the history, tradition and community that develops around them and its contribution to Australia’s social, political and economic success.

Please help us #SavePerthModern.


Consultation on North Subiaco Structure Plan (see page 93 onwards)



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