Governor Stirling Senior High School

Governor Stirling Senior High School (abbreviated as GSSHS) is a public co-educational partially selective high day school, located in Woodbridge, a north-eastern suburb of Perth, Western Australia. The school provides both a vocational and tertiary entrance education for students from Year 7 to Year 12.[1]

Governor Stirling Senior High School
Governor Stirling Senior High School Crest.png
Woodbridge, Perth, Western Australia
Coordinates31°53′20″S 115°59′20″E / 31.88888°S 115.98893°E / -31.88888; 115.98893Coordinates: 31°53′20″S 115°59′20″E / 31.88888°S 115.98893°E / -31.88888; 115.98893
TypePublic co-educational partially selective high day school
MottoImagine, Create, Achieve
Established28 October 1959; 61 years ago (1959-10-28)
School districtNorth Metropolitan Education Region
Educational authorityWA Department of Education
PrincipalPasco Putrino
Enrolment1,150 (2017)
Campus typeSuburban
Colour(s)Navy blue and yellow

Opened in 1959, the school replaced the former Midland Junction High School (founded in 1901), at a new site in West Midland. GSSHS adopted the motto of the old school: "Honour Before Honours".

The school campus was used as a primary filming location for the short film, Ronan's Escape.


The school was officially opened on 28 October 1959 by Minister for Education, Arthur Watts. On that day its name was officially changed from Midland Junction High School to the Governor Stirling Senior High School. This day also saw the adoption of a new school crest, which retained the motto of MJHS: "Honour Before Honours". The official crest features a white swan behind a shield; the swan's wings encompassing the central motif.

In 1964, Woodbridge House became an annexe for Governor Stirling Senior High School. Around thirty Students were involved in the High School Certificate courses, and the house provided a unique, non-institutional learning environment for the small close knit student community which developed independently of the main school. The students took an interest in the history of the place and were responsible for the recovery of the wind vane missing from the house, which was discovered in the mud of the river bed. During this same period Woodbridge House became the headquarters for the Midland District Youth Committee; an advisory body representing up to thirteen local youth organisations.[2]

Lecture theatre at the new campus

During a visit from then federal Education Minister Julia Gillard in 2009, the federal government pledged $63m towards the rebuild of Governor Stirling Senior High School on the current campus. The school has now been totally rebuilt and enjoys new facilities such as commercial kitchens, a new gymnasium with fully equipped training room, workshops for design and technology, tennis courts, a fully equipped theatre, TV studio, visual arts rooms, kilns, library and wi-fi. The Maali Centre is a dedicated building for indigenous student support services.

Student Services provide a chaplain, a psychologist and engagement services for all students.

Redevelopment plansEdit

On 8 May 2008 Julia Gillard formally granted $63M to re-build the school on the current site.[3] Donaldson + Warn Architects were commissioned to design the new school campus, and construction began in February, 2011. In the interim years 8, 9, 10 attended the old Midland Primary School site and years 11 and 12 attended Cyril Jackson Senior Campus. The new school was completed for Term 1 in the 2013 school year.

Specialist programsEdit

Main exhibition at the Governor Stirling Artsmedia Exhibition in 2017. (Visual and performing arts hall)

Governor Stirling Senior High School is one of the flagship schools providing approved specialist programs in Western Australia. Governor Stirling offers three specialist programs; Artsmedia, Engineering and Football. All three programs are selective, and of these programs Artsmedia and Engineering are academically selective. As well as the specialist programs, Governor Stirling also offers an approved Gifted and Talented GATE extension program.[4] Specialist programs at Governor Stirling, as well as the GATE programme, give students living outside the school intake boundary the opportunity to attend the school, providing they pass the various examinations. The school also offers other non-specialist programs such as netball, dance and music.


Artsmedia Exhibition 2017 Featuring Projection onto the Administration Building

Artsmedia is a unique specialist academic program delivered only at Governor Stirling. Students learn skills in a wide array of topics within Art and Media including visual arts, digital and game design, film and television, journalism and photojournalism.[5] As the program is entirely selective, students who wish to partake in the program must pass a strict academic exam as well as a practical test. The program is delivered in partnership with Murdoch University, providing opportunities for direct university entry. The program operates from years 7-10 and students have classes for four hours each week. Students can continue studying aspects of the program in years 11 and 12 in the form of VET subjects.


Governor Stirling is Western Australia's specialist engineering school. The program offers a diverse range of engineering studies including electrical, mechanical, chemical, environmental and civil engineering.[6] The program is academically selective, and students must pass a rigorous testing process in order to gain entry. The program is delivered in partnership with the University of Western Australia. The program operates from years 7-10 and students have classes for four hours each week.


The specialist football program is a proud contributor to the school's history of sporting. The football program is renowned for achieving unequivocal success in developing rising stars in the AFL and WAFL.


Governor Stirling Senior High School is readily accessible by public transport. The most popular mean of transport to and from school is by train, and the school is located a short five-minute walk from Woodbridge station on the Transperth Metro Purple line (Midland Line) which runs between Perth and Midland stations. The A Train and the P Train stop at Woodbridge, however the B Train does not. The 36 bus which runs between Midland and Elizabeth Quay via Victoria Park also stops near the school, and is a route well used by students. Transperth also operates special bus routes 311, 310 and 754 after school. These routes leave at 15:05, 15:10 and 15:10 respectively and are a school special services which all go to Midland station, and then to their respective terminuses.

Students enrolled at Governor Stirling receive a Student SmartRider, which entitles them to a 70-cent flat fare for all zones and for all Transperth services on school days.

Colonial era relicsEdit

Remnants of the Stirling era remain on what is now Governor Stirling Senior High School site. Mature Olive trees growing on the high bank overlooking the Swan river are believed to have originated in the colonial period. The school stands on the site of a small cottage built by Stirling during the Swan River Colony's infancy.

In 1930, an obelisk was erected, by the W.A. Historical Society, Which stands on the river bank adjacent to the school gymnasium and it reads:- "Captain James Stirling, R.N., First Governor, Commander-in-Chief, and Vice Admiral of Western Australia from 1829-1839 erected a 'Cottage Orne' here prior to 21 July 1831".[7]


The school cafe operates for the benefit of students and staff. The cafe is organised by a manager under the direction of the P & C Association Cafe Committee. Varied food items, drinks and ice creams are available at prices consistent with making a small profit used for the purchase of amenities to benefit all students.

Notable alumniEdit

Midland Junction School (antecedent of Governor Stirling Senior High School):

  • Digby Blight OA – Director General Department of the Premier and Cabinet and Public Sector Standards Commissioner

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ accessed: 27 February 2015
  2. ^ GOVO Quartania 2007 (school year book)
  3. ^ "About Us - Governor Stirling Senior High School". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Gifted and Talented Program | Governor Stirling Senior High School". Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Specialist Artsmedia Program | Governor Stirling Senior High School". Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Specialist Engineering Program | Governor Stirling Senior High School". Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  7. ^ GOVO Quartania 2007 (school year book)
  8. ^ "Zak Kirkup". WA Liberal. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Kate Lamont" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2010.

External linksEdit