THE CAMPUS . . . born 1961, in good shape today

Born on the turbulent Eastern Cape Frontier, Dale College and its precursor has shared more than 150 years of South African history, ranging from bitter conflict to its own transformation into the multi-cultural college of today. On the way it has seen two civil wars, two world wars, economic ups and downs and decades of racial division. It has grown into a great institution which has adapted to the challenges of post-apartheid South Africa, and is proudly representative of the community it serves.

A walk through the college corridors reflects its traditions, achievements and glories of the past. These include historic events, trophies and shields presented to the school, photographs and portraits of distinguished visitors and Old Dalians prominent in many walks of life.

Brief history – The Early Years:

Although the exact date of origin of the King William’s Town Public School has not been found, its existence during the 1850’s is documented. Expenditure noted and needed from the British Government for amongst other expenses is for schools.

Up until 1975, the early years of the schools which later became Dale College were characterised by considerable change and uncertainty as local schools and organisations struggled to assert themselves on the local community.

Development of the modern school: Dale College

In 1875, unhappy townsfolk and local authorities managed to reach agreement on the provision of a “quality” school. Land on Queens Road was donated by the Borough Council on which to build the new school. Permission was sought of, and granted by, Mr Langham Dale, Secretary for Education in the Cape Colony Government, to name the new school, Dale College, after his family name. The Heron in the Dale College Crest and the motto, “Per Ardua ad Astra”, was borrowed from the Dale family insignia, and remain, as such, to this day. The original stone building on Queens Road was built and officially opened in 1878.

In 1904 Dale absorbed the Diocesan Grammar School when it closed at the end of 1903. Scholar numbers rose rapidly with the result that the new school building became too small to accommodate them so approaches were made to the Cape Colony Government in Cape Town to allow and finance the building of a new school. This permission was soon granted and plans to build a new Dale College were drawn up. The new school building arose on the land behind the original Queens Road building and on Albert Road which the Borough Council had, earlier, donated for use as a sports field. The red brick “Herbert Baker” building was officially opened in 1907, later becoming Dale Junior. In 1926 Dale College opened a Primary School, and in 1960 Dale Junior School for Boys was officially established.

In 1923 the Borough Council donated a large portion of land for the development of sports fields. Four rugby fields which doubled as two full-sized cricket pitches were created by the school. Four concrete tennis courts, a squash court, a cinder athletics track, an Olympic sized swimming pool for swimming and water polo and, in recent years, a synthetic-surfaced field hockey pitch have also been developed on this land.

During the mid-1950’s, Dale’s Headmaster, RW Searle, approached the Cape Province Education department to seek their help in supporting the need to, again, build a new building for Dale College. His request was favourably received and plans for a new building were soon approved and building commenced on ground donated by the borough Council in 1958. The new building for Dale College Boys High School for Boys was completed in early 1960 and occupation was taken in June of that year.

In 2011 the school celebrated its 150th anniversary and is, at the time of writing 158 years old. The school is hailed throughout South Africa as a model of transformation, and has produced a number of significant old boys and in particular, esteemed sportsman. Some of these are detailed below: