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News > From the Archives > From the Archives - Which House do you cheer for?

From the Archives - Which House do you cheer for?

Ever wondered about the history of the Gibson Shield and the Houses at Arden? Read on to find out more about their origins.
17 Jun 2021
From the Archives

With the Houses being established during the School’s early days, the House competition at Arden is fierce. A rivalry like no other.

In 1929, PLC Beecroft was put up for sale. Miss Emily Gurney, an assistant teacher, purchased the School from the PLC Council and renamed it Arden. It was under Miss Gurney’s time as Headmistress that the Houses were introduced. With the School being named after the forest in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, the names for the Houses continued this theme - Sherwood, after the forest in Nottinghamshire made popular by Robin Hood and Birnam, after the wood in Scotland, mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The colours chosen for Sherwood and Birnam were blue and red, respectively.

As enrolments increased during the 1960s, Jenolan was added, being named after the Jenolan State Forest near Oberon, NSW. The letter J was chosen as it is halfway between B and S. Initially purple in colour, a combination of blue and red, the House colour was later changed to yellow.

In 1965, Mr Harold Gibson, a stock-stud agent from Epping, increased House spirit and participation by donating the H. A. Gibson Shield. Having been involved in the School over 15 years as a parent of three Arden students, he donated the shield “in appreciation of the magnificent work done by the principals and staff”. Miss Bertha Crane, Mr Gibson’s aunt, donated the honour board on which the winning House and House Captain were to be recorded.

Mr Gibson stipulated that the Shield was to be awarded on the following basis:

             “First and foremost, for the House that secures the highest average in class marks, these points to be awarded in the normal way by House Captains or their assistants under the instruction of the House Mistress. Secondly, also to be taken into account the average examination marks won by any particular class in the House concerned to count in the overall winning shield. Finally, the sports sphere must also come into account. This should be taken on the overall average for the Houses concerned. In the event of a tie taking place between any of the Houses the one which has amongst its members the dux of the school shall be awarded the shield.”

Today, the H. A. Gibson Shield is awarded for academic application, participation in sport, involvement in music and merit certificates received by students throughout the year. The announcement of the winning House at Presentation Night is always met with eager anticipation. Which house will be victorious in 2021?

Do you have memories or memorabilia relating to the Arden Houses? As Arden’s Centenary approaches in 2022, the Archives welcomes donations of relevant memorabilia and reminisces from members of our School Community. This includes contemporary items as these will become tomorrow’s history. If you feel you have something that may be of interest, the Archives would appreciate hearing from you. Please get in touch by email:

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