Published on June 25, 2020

In 1989 a group of passionate people had the vision and tenacity to take on the enormous task of creating an institution of excellence, where the children of our region could flourish. They promised a school that would provide opportunities for all students to reach their full potential. They imagined Hunter Valley Grammar School.

The newly appointed Principal, Mr John Weeks told prospective parents; ‘An innovative teaching/learning environment will provide students from Kindergarten to Year 12 with a challenging, disciplined continuum of educational experiences designed to bring out the best in every student.’

At our heart, not a lot has changed…

Kids running on field
1990. Front of the School where the current carpark is.

We were interested to hear from some of our past students about their experience of days gone by. Chris Henry (1996), Lisa Littlewood and Logan (2000) and Pip Francis (2001) shared their reflections.

What do you remember about your first day at HVGS?

On my first day at HVGS I was entering Year 6. It was a combined 5 – 6 class as we only had small numbers – maybe 2 boys and 5 girls on day one! A very nervous time indeed.

I remember the bush and wide-open spaces, the fear of entering a new environment and the excitement of a new beginning (and I absolutely hated pulling my socks up!).


I clearly remember my parents bringing me to the empty lot before the School was built and seeing the 3D model of the School – I was really excited about coming to HVGS once it was built. My orientation day for Year 7 was great because the School matched me up with a friend who already attended the School, and then the first day of Year 7 I was put into Watagan house, in 7H with Mr Kermode, who remains one of the best teachers I’ve ever had!


building under construction
Building the Latter Hall

Favourite memories of HVGS?

The best years of my life! Developing the friendships, embracing rapid change and experiencing a learning environment that was so excited about growth. I loved the school camps, the sport, and social aspects of the School. The integrity of the people was amazing and experiencing the raw transformation of the students was incredible.


All the performances! – from playing “Joseph” in the musical “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” (after auditioning for the role of the “Narrator”, imagine my surprise to be selected by the director Ms McClintock to play the lead), singing with the a cappella group, singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah with the full Senior School choir conducted by Mrs Russell…just amazing.

The school excursion and home stay in France was spectacular as was my trip to Washington and New York for the Global Youth Leaders Conference.


We proudly remember representing the School in leadership positions and cultural activities. Musical performances as part of the choir and the orchestra bring back special memories. We love seeing our children embracing these same opportunities.

-Logan and Pip

“We always felt valued and encouraged by peers and teachers throughout our time at HVGS.”

Logan and Pip Francis

Enrolling your kids at the school…

My husband and I had always talked about sending any children we had to HVGS, in fact we looked for rural properties in proximity to
the School for three years before finding our current home and made the tree change in 2014, moving from Darby Street, Newcastle to Buttai. I was confident that HVGS was the best school for my children.


There was no question that HVGS was the best choice for us. Coming back to HVGS felt like coming home and we have received a lovely welcome from the HVGS community. It was wonderful to see many familiar faces, including long-standing staff and other previous students who now have children at the School.

-Logan and Pip

students getting photo taken
1990 Athletics Age Champions

What do you think has changed? What has stayed the same?

While the School has grown bigger since I left in 2000, I believe it still has a “small school” knowledge of the students, still has fantastic co-curricular opportunities, and is the best place for my kids. I love that teachers who taught me are still at the School today and may even teach my boys when they are a little older.


There is no doubt that the School has grown but the sense of warmth and engagement on a personal level is still there. All the original demountable buildings have now gone and facilities have moved forward with the times. Our daughter is now enjoying the most recent of these new additions-  the new Early Learning Centre.

-Logan and Pip Francis

“I had a wonderful foundation. I wasn’t a smart student, I wasn’t the top of any class, however; I felt welcomed, respected and learned that if I wanted to achieve anything, I needed to work hard for it.”

Chris Henry

Students and builders laughing
1994 Building the Music Centre
What trait did you learn at school that has helped you succeed?

HVGS provided so many opportunities, and so much encouragement to be involved in all aspects of school life: from sports, to cultural endeavours and academic pursuits.

I was awarded Dux of Year in the first two years of high school but I am most proud of the Best All-Rounder Award that I received for the remaining 4 years of high school because I believe it was this well-rounded education that has made me the confident person that I am today, in all aspects of life.