The “school” has a long and unique history. Its roots go back to 1897 when the Council of the South Australian School of Mines and Industries realised that there was a need to offer preparatory classes for its diploma students. This led to the establishment in 1903 of the Preparatory School of the South Australian School of Mines and Industries in the Brookman Building on the corner of North Terrace and Frome Road in the city of Adelaide.
The initial enrolment numbered 90 students. The objective of the school was not only to prepare students for School of Mines courses but also to provide suitable secondary schooling for those wanting to enter directly into commerce and industry.
Initially the school catered only for boys. In 1914 the Preparatory School was amalgamated with the Adelaide Agricultural College. The name was changed to the Junior Technical School.
In 1915 girls were admitted and a commercial course was provided. The school continued to operate under the direction of the School of Mines.
In 1918 the Council decided that the School would be rebadged as the Adelaide Technical High School.
From its earliest days, entrance to the school was based on academic merit. Prospective students had to undergo an entrance examination with the acceptance standard based on the highest grade of English and arithmetic taught in Primary Schools.
This had the advantage of providing a means for limiting the number of students since the available accommodation was small as the Brookman building also had to cater for the needs of the School of Mines. This shortage of accommodation remained a problem for the school for the entire duration of its stay at North Terrace.
With the expansion of the School of Mines due to the establishment of new degree courses in the 1950’s, the Council decided that the school would have to transfer as a complete unit to a new site. However, no suitable new site in the city could be found and it looked as though the school would have to close.
Last minute negotiations with the government of the day resulted in a decision to establish a new school at Glenunga. As part of the change, the school was to come under the direction of the Department of Education and all connections with the School of Mines (by then known as the Institute of Technology and now as the University of South Australia) would be severed.
The construction of the new school was completed in 1963 and the whole school transferred from North Terrace in September that year.
Over the next few years the specialised curriculum of the old Adelaide Technical High School, which had been developed to suit particular objectives, gradually changed to a broad-based curriculum similar to that available at other high schools. This was largely bought about because it became government policy to abolish technically focused secondary schools in favor of a broader based and more academically focused curriculum.
This change was reflected in another re-badging of the school as Glenunga High School in 1974. With the introduction of the International Baccalaureate course the name of the school changed again. It is now known as the Glenunga International High School. The school currently has over 1600 students.
A more detailed history of the story of the Adelaide Technical High School can be found in the book “Adelaide Technical High School – The Story” by Bryce Kohler…. copies of which can be purchased from the secretary of the Association.