History of the School

The Rosebank Government School, with Mrs Jeanie Henry as the first principal, opened its doors to 30 children on 29 January 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. This is how Rosebank School began.


Rosebank begun to play an important role in the surrounding community. Originally Rosebank School went up to Standard 4 (Grade 6) and then for a while to Standard 5 (Grade 7). Many of the children left school after Standard 5 (Grade 7) to start work.


On 29 October 1909, a small, brick building in Cradock Avenue (then 4th Avenue), replaced the little wood-and-iron building in Keyes Avenue. The original building unfortunately burnt to the ground when the bluegum plantation in Parktown North caught fire. The school was then rebuilt in 1972 in the location where you find it today.


When the school had first opened in 1906, Rosebank was an outlying village of Johannesburg. For many years, you 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.


Many of the children, a large number of them barefoot, would walk 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.


Water at the new school was a continual problem to Mrs Henry. A borehole with a hand pump provided water at times, but ran dry at other times. Throughout its history, Rosebank had a problem of a lack of space and it was only in 1952 when Percy Barnes became Principal that the school was to acquire a hall.


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”.


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


Rosebank Primary School has always prided itself as being a school with a nurturing culture where academic and sporting achievements are encouraged. We have a strong School Based Support Team made up of staff who have the child’s best interest at heart.


The school has experienced many changes during it’s existence. Rosebank Primary installed solar panels in 2021 and now with the use of solar electricity and a borehole, the school is “Going Green”.





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

"Manners Makyth Man" - William of Wykeham

"Manners Makyth Man" - William of Wykeham





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.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt