Our School Tradition

Thus did headmaster, Mr C.R. Harding, on 10th September 1917 chronicle the birth of our school with his first entry in the logbook of the Secondary School Germiston South. The school was housed temporarily in the building today occupied by Germiston South School. In April of the following year, the school became known as the High School Germiston

 However, the Germiston High story had started many years before that. In October 1912, the Witwatersrand East School Board sent the following ultimatum to the Germiston town clerk:

“In the event of your council being unprepared to approve the original recommendation, it will be necessary for the board to look elsewhere for a suitable site, in which case it would be most probable that the proposed high school would eventually be established in some other part of the district other than Germiston. It would be most unfortunate if Germiston were to be deprived of such an important institution as a high school, to which it is fairly entitled on account of the geographical position.” 

The council’s reply was that is had had “no objection to an area of ground, not to exceed 24 acres, on the southern boundary of Victoria Park being allocated as a site for high school, provided space for a roadway is reserved between the north line of the school site and the high water mark.” 

By 1914, the council was enquiring of the Board “When is it expected that commencement will be made in the erection of the school?”. 

A start was eventually made in 1922, and the building was officially opened by the Administrator of Transvaal on August 1st, 1923. There was opposition to the site by many residents of Germiston who complained that it was too far out of town! It might have been so then, as there were few houses beyond the hospital, but how fortunate we are today that this site was chosen, as we must surely have one of the most beautiful settings in the country for a school. Of course, in those early days, there was no Rand Airpot either to disturb the tranquillity!

The new building had originally been intended to meet the requirements of the whole East Rand area, but as high schools had since coming into existence in Boksburg and Benoni, the headmaster feared that the accommodation provided in the new building would not be fully required for some time to come. For the same reason, the school did not become the large boarding establishment that had originally been envisaged.

Colours were selected in 1917 but there was difficulty in obtaining them because of the Great War, and for the same reason, when they were obtainable, they were not of very good quality.

Mr R.J. Johnson became headmaster in 1919, a position he occupied until 1924 when he was succeeded by Mr F.N. Gammidge. At the beginning of the 1925 season, the school game was changed from soccer to “rugger” and during the same year, the cadet detachment had the honour of providing a Guard of Honour to H.R.H the Prince of Wales on the occasion of his visit to Germiston.

 Mr W. Main succeeded Mr Gammidge in 1934 and was headmaster throughout the war years.

 Mr H.C. Robinson was the incumbent after Mr Main, serving as headmaster from 1946 until 1960.

 At the beginning of the fifties, the TED decided to separate the boys and girls. In 1951 the girls moved to Lambton, the building is today occupied by Delville Laerskool.

 Miss E.B Bergen was then appointed headmistress, a position she occupied for the rest of the school’s thirteen years existence.

 The Germiston Boys High School, under Mr Robinson, occupied the Lake Grounds building. Mr J. Lane, an old learner of Germiston High, took over the reins of office when Mr Robinson retired in 1960 and held this position until the end of 1963 when he left to take up the position of Headmaster of Greenside High.

After a thirteen years separation, the girls rejoined the boys in the Lake grounds building and Germiston High came to life again in 1964.

The TED offered Miss Bergen the headship of the newly amalgamated school, but in her own words, “I found myself unable to accept the honour of being principal of the co-educational High School. Like the queen of Scots, I have something written on my heart. It is not Calais, it is ‘Girls’ High’

Dr E. Hudson was acting Headmaster for the first year and was succeeded by Mr (Now Professor) H. Kroes, who held the position from 1965 to 1970.

During this time a mammoth building operation was undertaken and the additions, which doubled the accommodation, included a new hall and a magnificent library. Professor Kroes left to take up senior lectureship as R.A.U (today University of Johannesburg) 

He was succeeded by Mr (Now Doctor) K.R. Paine, who remained with us until the end of 1974 when he was promoted to the inspectorate.

During Dr Paine’s time, the enrolment was probably the largest that Germiston High School had ever seen. In 1973 there were close to 1500 pupils and a full staff of over seventy. So, in spite of the additional buildings, the school was bursting at the seams and many prefabricated classrooms and laboratories had to be erected. The situation was alleviated to some extent by the opening of Elspark Technical High in 1973, Alberton High in 1974 and Sunward Park High in 1977. After the opening of Dinwiddie High in 1981, Germiston High could at least fit comfortably in its buildings. 

 Mr R.J. Gouldie succeeded Dr Paine in 1975 and held the position until 1978. He left to return to the classroom and later became principal at his old school. 

Mr A.F. Wheeler held the position of Headmaster from 1978 to 1990.

An innovation during the eighties was then introduced by the TED of a technical field of study at the school. Huge workshops were built next to the tennis courts (where the ‘farm’ had previously been) and the first technical pupils matriculated in 1989. 

Mr Lilleike was appointed as the thirteenth principal of Germiston High School from 1991 to 2002. During his time some classrooms were joined to allow for bigger groups and exam venues. Basketball was introduced in 1997 and a new staff room was built. 

At the beginning of 1992, Germiston High experienced yet another change when our Standard Six doors were opened to pupils of all races. And in August we became a Model C or State-aided school.

Mr A.J Beukes served as principal from 2003 to January 2017. Mr Beukes left to take up a promotion post at District Office as an IDSO. Under Mr Beukes’ leadership, the school was ushered into the era of technology, with the introduction of e-learning in 2015.

The school has adjusted to many changes in its hundred years of existence and now stands prepared, we are sure to meet both the challenges of the twenty-first century and beyond. The school is currently under the leadership of principal, Ms R. Goosen.