Rosebank Primary School
Established 1906 - Johannesburg

  • Rosebank Primary School (JHB)

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A Note from the Principal.



Brief History of Rosebank Primary School.

The Rosebank Government School, with Mrs Jeanie Henry as principal, opened its doors to 30 children on January 29, 1906. Jeanie Henry had been sent from County Town by the Church of Belfast to India as a “teaching medical missionary”. After the Anglo-Boer War, education in the Transvaal was in a sad state and soon Jeanie and Nelson Herry decided to build a little school in 7th Avenue (now Keyes Avenue) Rosebank. That is how Rosebank School was born.

The first school sports were held on May 5, 1906. Rosebank had begun to play an important role in the surrounding community. Originally Rosebank School went up to Standard 6 (Grade 8) and then for a while to Standard 7 (Grade 9). Many of the children left at the end of this period to go to work.

On October 29, 1909, a small brick building in Cradock Avenue (then 4th Avenue), replaced the little wood-and-iron building in Keyes Avenue. The tiny first school eventually burnt to the ground when the bluegum plantation in Parktown North caught fire. When this first little school had opened in 1906, Rosebank was an outlying village of Johannesburg. For many years one could walk kilometers along paths and tracks as there were no fences. There were very few motor cars to be seen but ox-wagons were a common sight. Wild animal such as ant bears, jackals, meerkats, hares, steenbuck and baboons were regular visitors to the area – as were snakes and scorpions. Once a leopard was seen prowling where the Woolworths Food is today in Greenside.

Shortly after the Boer War, a lion was shot near the present Boundary Road, close to the local blacksmith’s shop. Water was a continual problem to Mrs Henry, at the new school. A borehole with a hand pump provided water at times, but ran dry at other times.

Many of the children, a large number of them barefoot, walked several kilometers to school carrying their slates, books and lunches. Some came by bicycle, several on donkey or horse-back and others on a horse or donkey cart.

There was plenty of room around the school for animals to graze, but naturally, bad weather had a dampening effect on the attendance of children.

By 1911 there were over 100 children in the school and Miss Farfar, who had taken over from Mrs Henry, then became Mrs Easton.

Mr John Butler became principal of Rosebank School in 1913. He was the man who introduced the school uniform and a badge in 1915. He also gave the school its motto “Manners Makyth Man”.

Throughout its history, Rosebank had the continuing problem of lack of space. It was only in 1952 when Percy Barnes became Principal that the school was to acquire a hall.

The building that stands today has schooled many successful learners and shall do so for many more years to come.


Mission and Vision Statement.


To ensure that quality Teaching and Learning takes place to enable our learners to progress with the appropriate knowledge, skills and values.


The provision of holistic education through a nurturing and caring environment which is directed at inspiring learners to reach their full potential as considerate, responsible and participating scholars.

School Song

Thank you for our school grounds Lord
Thank you for the sports we play
Thank you for making school so pleasant
More fun everyday.

Thank you for our media centre
Thank you for our computers too
Thank you for all the skills we’re learning
Each day something new.

Thank you for the staff we have Lord
Thank you for all the work they do
Thank you for all the variety of knowledge
We keep learning too.

Thank you for our motto Lord
“Manners Makyth Man” our rule
Guiding us towards our futures
Here at Rosebank School.

"Manners Makyth Man"

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