Dale College has its seeds in educational ventures of an earlier era, to pre 1850 when tuition in basic literacy had been provided for the garrison personnel (particularly the younger men and the bugle and drummer boys of the military band detachment).
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
By 1860 the then King William’s Town was no longer merely a military presence but had grown and was a prospering trading centre. The townsfolk were beginning to realise the need for elementary and grammar-school education.
By 1861 King William’s Town could boast at least two formalised schools – The Nondenominational Public School for Boys – later to be named Dale College, a modest affair but part of the system for national education begun by South Africa’s first Superintendent-General of Education, James Rose Innes. The second was the Diocesan Grammar School, established by Sir George Grey.
The Public School came under the management of the Borough Council of King William’s Town and in its important, formative years was fortunate to have as its headmaster John Samuel, a dedicated teacher who went on to become a deputy inspector of schools. It might be said that the school under headmaster Mr. Samuel, however small and undistinguished its beginnings, was on the move from the start, occupying various buildings around the town and at various times.
These sites included the earliest buildings in which it was housed and is still in commercial use, in Durban Street, opposite the Holy Trinity Church; another was in Smith Street, and there was one in Cathcart Street that later, until 1970, housed the Wilfred Scott Secondary School. Another site was in Eales Street. Thereafter in Albert Road (Dale Junior building) and Dale College on the hill overlooking the town and opened in 1960. The Diocesan Grammar School building, built in 1861, lasted no more than a year, and, having succumbed to the greater popularity of the public school, was leased by Mr Samuel’s school from 1867 and ultimately incorporated into the Undenominational Public School for Boys.
On 6 September 1877, the foundation stone of the new school was laid by Governor Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere on the Queen’s Road site, (Sutton Square) and the then Headmaster, Mr. Fuller, was able to announce that Dr, Sir Langham Dale had consented to his name being given to the new institution and his distinctive heron family crest becoming the school’s emblem.
Undeniably a school with a fine reputation, worthwhile traditions, enviable facilities and a magnificent location.
The naming of Dale College, said Headmaster R H Fuller, was an indication of the respect that the founders had for the Hampshire-born Superintendent-General of Education whose innovative endeavours in the cause of education in South Africa — for which he received a knighthood from the British Crown. Today the distinction earned by Dale College among the top schools in South Africa is a fitting monument to the contribution made by Sir Langham Dale to the development of the educational system in South Africa. Undeniably a school with a fine reputation, worthwhile traditions, enviable facilities and a magnificent location, Dale College is a dynamic institution and one of which Sir Langham Dale would be proud.
A great school is not great because of its achievements. The achievements are the fruits of the identity, values, and dynamism of the people who work together to form the school spirit. Dale College has excelled in academic and sporting pursuits. From Eisteddfods to Olympiads, from Provincial to Springbok and International Colours.
Dale is a spirit of intuitive confidence. Dale is also about optimism. This optimism is not shallow; it recognises challenges and obstacles. It negotiates delay and defeat. However, desperation and surrender are not part of Dale’s vocabulary. As a Dalian internalises and acts out the confidence and hopes which are part of the College’s every day expectation, he learns that with his fellow Dalians he can achieve a special competence for life
Dale is comparable to any of the prestigious schools of South Africa. Nevertheless, what is it that is unique to Dale? Even though Dale has more than a 162-year-old history and has developed priorities and emphases during those years, a Dalian is a particular type of person, aware of resources tapped from depths that are particular to the name of Dale. It is difficult to name the precise dynamic, which is Dale. Nevertheless, in the foreground, firstly, is readiness. This is the readiness to turn towards problems; to respond and not to shrink.
The confidence, hope and strength are significant at this time and for the future. Perhaps Dale’s most poignant image is the lone soldier in the Hallowed Courtyard, facing the Amatole Mountains, but with bowed head as he prays in the words of the memorial song for a “new freedom”. In terms of daily routine, school policy and vision for the future, Dale continues to frame a sure and vigorous response. Dale College does not depend solely on appropriate curriculum, academic proficiency and effective policy. It looks for the dynamic centre of its historic and present family; it voices the silence of the lone soldier, bringing into reality that sense of ongoing purpose, which is the true inspiration of every Dalian.