From the beginning, an education at The Scots College was meant to be different. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that shapes students to an existing system, Scots founders wanted to help each boy discover his strengths, develop his character, and pursue his God-given calling in the world.
On Friday 23 March 2018, The Scots College officially opened the Brighton Preparatory School gates. Located in Southern Sydney, the Dolls Point seaside location has always offered relaxed and stimulating surroundings. When it became a school, it was natural that boys and staff would discover countless sporting and outdoor learning opportunities – ranging from Maths activities under the pine trees to sailing classes at the local yacht club.
Situated within Primrose House, the Brighton Preparatory School is now part of the gentle evolution and social history of a building that began its story in 1890. If we look back, it does not take long to realise that Primrose House has been many things to many people for a very long time. Constructed on the land of the Gweagal people of Botany Bay, it was once known as Scarborough House, a warmly appreciated family hotel in the 1890s.
In its very early life, the building was used as a boarding house and a private club with residential quarters for gentlemen. There followed a period of private occupation during which Fredrick Wimble, a Sydney businessman, and his family made this the social hub of the area.
At the end of World War I, the Red Cross established a repatriation hospital at the site for returning servicemen. When their job was done, the house passed to Barnardo’s, a children’s home organisation from England. The first contingent of boys sent from England to Australia were housed here in the early 1920s. In 1929, the Christ Church St Laurence organisation acquired the building. It was then converted to a school for boys and opened as St Laurence College in 1930. The financial depression forced its closure in 1932.
The change of ownership which followed brought stability for the great house. In 1936, Herman B Primrose, Honorary Solicitor for nearby St George Hospital, recommended that it be purchased and established as a convalescent annex. Then, for the next 55 years, Primrose House, as it was named, cared for thousands of patients and was a significant and well-loved local institution.
Sadly, from 1987, changes to formal health care arrangements indicated that Primrose House would cease to be a hospital. It was decommissioned in 1991 and Southern Sydney Area Health Service established their offices here. For many years, the building suffered from a lack of maintenance. By 2015, it was in a parlous state and placed on the open market by NSW Health.
The Scots College was interested in acquiring the property at that time, and the result of their dedicated involvement can be seen today in the magnificent, yet historically sensitive, restoration work that has been undertaken. The College remains committed to evolving the house to ensure it keeps up with the happily changing demands of the students at Brighton Prep.
Step inside and be embraced by the integrity of the building. Journey from classroom to library to classroom, walking on polished Baltic Pine floors, natural fibre carpets, and environmentally sensitive linoleum flooring. On the roof, Marseille Tiles are still in place, inspired by the 19th Century but manufactured locally in Australia and they have served the building well. With 70 percent of the classrooms having immediate adjoining access to the verandah, the students have the luxury of a big, expansive and beautiful outdoor space for breakout sessions. Free time to play is enjoyed by boys of all ages who have 360 degree access all around the building, secured by a classically beautiful paling fence. The gardens of flowerbeds, paved pathways, grassy lawns and trees that were planted during the time Primrose House was a hospital, are all unique and connected to the house’s history.
The Scots College Brighton Preparatory School is devoted to preparing the next generation of fine young men for the future.
Enrol at Brighton Preparatory School
Enrolment for Kindergarten 2023 and 2024 is now available. If you would like to visit Primrose House to experience for yourself, what our students enjoy every day, or you are already considering enrolling your son, please fill in this general enrolment enquiry form or contact the Brighton Preparatory School on 02 9391 7700.