Brisbane State High School in the GPS Association

Brisbane State High School proudly displays two Honour Boards in the foyer of its Indoor Sports Complex. These Honour Boards record the school’s proud sporting history. The State High Olympians Honour Board celebrates 36 past students who have represented their country in 14 Olympic sports. Recently donated by the State High Past Students’ Association, the GPS Premiership Honour Board records all first division GPS sporting premierships won by Brisbane State High School. Since the golden era in the late 1940s, State High has won many GPS titles including 14 Athletics, 10 Basketball, seven Cricket, 15 Rugby and 12 swimming premierships. These Honour Boards are intended to inspire current and future students to strive for excellence in their sporting endeavours.

Swimming is a sport where Brisbane State High students have excelled; in particular with nine consecutive GPS swimming titles achieved from 1978 to 1986. Sporting legend, Duncan Armstrong was part of this golden era. After Mr Armstrong graduated in 1985, he became an Australian icon bringing home a gold and a silver medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He has also won a number of prestigious awards including Young Australian of the Year, a Centenary Medal and a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Jon Sieben who graduated in 1983, also went on to become a national name in his infamous David verses Goliath 200m butterfly swim at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Beating all odds, he took out the gold medal beating the race favourite, Michael Gross of Germany. Mr Sieben was the Australian 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly champion and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to swimming.

The first four GPS premierships won by Brisbane State High School were for rowing victories at the Head of the River in 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1932. Bo Hanson, is arguably State High’s most successful rower. He is a three-time Olympian, winning three bronze medals in rowing in Atlanta in 1996, in Sydney in 2000 and in Athens in 2004.

Rugby is another sport where State High has dominated, winning its first GPS premiership in 1947. One of State High’s rugby greats is William McLean. After serving six years with the Australian Imperial Force, Mr McLean moved on to captain Australia and Queensland in rugby union. He captained five Tests for the Wallabies, and led the side to tour the United Kingdom in 1947–1948. The McLean family has played 77 Rugby Tests between them.

David Wilson was another stand-out rugby player. He captained the Wallabies nine times throughout his rugby union career. Mr Wilson managed to win every international trophy available to an Australian Test player, which included Bledisloe Cup series wins in 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000, a World Cup in 1999 and a Tri Nations Series win in 2000. Mr Wilson’s injuries forced an early retirement at the age of 35. He now works as a businessman for a global company.

State High’s first GPS cricket premiership was won in 1949. Ian Healy is State High’s cricket legend and he is perhaps the most successful wicket keeper of all time. Mr Healy played for Australia for more than 10 years. Missing just one Test over his career (due to a broken thumb), he collected five world records along the way. Mr Healy holds the record for the most dismissals by a keeper in Test history with his final tally of 395 made up of 366 catches and 29 stumpings. Today, Mr Healy is a television commentator, who is actively involved in special appearances and speaking engagements.

The spirit of fellowship and the pursuit of excellence were proudly displayed at the Centenary Music Showcase in February 2018, where more than 200 BSHS musicians – members of Choir, Orchestra and Concert Band – joined fellow musicians from the other GPS member schools to put on an epic performance.

Since its inception in 1921, students at Brisbane State High School have enjoyed a rich array of opportunities through membership of the Great Public Schools’ Association of Queensland, and are looking forward to the next 100 years of healthy competition, honour and tradition GPS brings.