Founded in 1903
When Mrs Sibella Douglas McMillan started Highbury School in 1903, Hillcrest was a distant hilltop a very long way from Durban. With faith in God and an indomitable pioneering spirit, she gathered together people – teachers, boys, parents, a community – who have grown over the years into the respected educational force which is Highbury today.
Sibella McMillan, commonly known as ‘Granny McMillan’, moved from England to South Africa with her three sons. When her husband passed away, she decided to remain in South Africa and founded a school for boys in the Hillcrest area. Her family in England had been very involved in a school called Highbury House and hence she named the school ‘Highbury’. The story goes that she wrote to her brother in England to tell him the news and he wrote back, sending her the two things she would need most: a soccer ball and a cane!
In 1968 the Highbury Society was formed and a Board of Governors, comprising business and educational professionals, now oversees the well-being of the school. The school also has well-established ties with leading colleges in KZN and is proud of its many boys who have been offered scholarships to these fine institutions.
Being the oldest school in the Upper Highway area has meant that we are blessed with a beautiful big estate of 11 hectares. Our school museum, ‘The Highburian’ tells our story and helps put into perspective the rich history of Highbury.
Highbury’s Boarding School was closed in 2009 as the local area had grown so much that it was no longer needed. The dormitories were converted into our co-educational pre-primary, Weavers’ Nest. Because of being a boarding school, Highbury has an amazing kitchen facility and the school has chosen to continue the tradition of boys eating together in the Dining Hall.
From Grade 3, all food is provided by the school and boys benefit from not only the delicious, nutritious hot cooked food but also from the life skills that are taught as they take turns to be server, scraper and all get to practice table manners, such as eating with knife and fork.
Highbury’s history is full of fascinating stories, funny anecdotes and happy childhood memories for the many thousands of boys and staff who have passed through these gates. If you’d enjoy discovering more about Highbury’s history, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a visit to our museum of follow our #throwbackthursday posts on our Facebook page.