A traditional school with a contemporary heart

History and Tradition

Southland Boys’ High School was established in Forth Street Invercargill in 1881. In 1926 it relocated to its present site, Herbert Street Invercargill. In 1954, Coldstream House was built to accommodate boarders from the wider Southland area.

The school has always had a strong academic focus. From Rhodes Scholars, David Strang and Sir Geoffrey Cox (founder of ITN) to Dr Michael Fraser (currently post-doctoral fellow at Otago University, engaged in researching solar energy applications) our Old Boys excel, on both the national and international stage.

Southland Boys’ has always had a proud tradition in sport and is a strong rugby school, naming 22 All Blacks amongst its Old Boys and being the school that has produced the most All Black rugby captains. While maintaining its strength in Rugby, SBHS also has a proud reputation in cricket as well as in other codes including cycling, athletics and weight lifting. Sport will always be an integral part of the life of the school.

Culturally, the school has produced many notable musicians, dancers and actors. The old Rectory which now houses the Music and Drama Suites is named for Alex Lindsay, accomplished violinist in both the London Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras 1963 – 1967, and leader of the National Orchestra in 1967. Renowned musician, Chris Knox (member of bands Toy Love and The Enemy) and choreographer and dancer, Michael Parmenter are also old boys of the school.

The Band Room, the school’s second oldest building (the cricket Pavilion being the oldest), now houses the school’s Museum where memorabilia and the history of the school are displayed. If you wish to visit the Museum, or to research an aspect of the school’s history, contact the archivist Lynley Dear, telephone 03 213 0058, email [email protected].


Our school Museum is the heart of the history of this historic school, which dates from 1881. The original plans clearly show that the architect, John T Mair (who also designed First Church) intended that the top floor of the school should be a Museum and he clearly labelled it as such, in upper case letters.  

The school was just 24 years old when, in 1905, the pupils suggested that ‘a room be set aside for a Museum where objects of interest collected by pupils past and present might be placed and where trophies won by pupils might be displayed’.  

It has taken more than a hundred years for that wish to be fulfilled - in a world which those earlier boys would scarcely recognise. 

Because of the significantly increased roll resulting from the closure of Intermediate schools in the South, the space designated by the architect as a Museum is now two classrooms. Therefore, just in time for the 125th reunion in 2006, the Museum was installed by school archivist Lynley Dear (QSM) in the Band Room - the schools’ second oldest building (and later the school tractor shed!)

Countless former pupils have been remembered in their achievements, humour, pranks and camaraderie. Sadly, there are also two Honours Boards commemorating more than 200 past students killed in both World Wars. Invercargill’s story is in there too, as well as that of the changing world which the school’s history has spanned.  

Our Museum is a teaching, learning and research tool for the present boys and staff - a gift to all. Lynley feels strongly that you can’t be involved with a school without being aware of its history. In other words, if you don’t know where you’ve been, how can you know where you’re going?