History of Port Rex Technical High School

Here we briefly outline the history and heritage of Port Rex. Port Rex Technical High School has its roots in the Technical section of the East London Technical College (1928-1968).


In 1974, on a suggestion by the then headmaster, Dr Johan Brittz, the East London Technical High School changed its name to Port Rex Technical High School. The name ‘Port Rex’ has its origin in George Rex, a British sea captain who landed at the mouth of the Buffalo River in 1823. Up until 1847, East London was named Port Rex. Former headmaster Dr Johan Brittz was also instrumental in the design of the current Port Rex school badge.


By the early 1980’s, the premises in Lukin Road had become too cramped to house 3 separate educational institutions. Urgent attempts were made to look for an alternative location. The De La Salle College (1935-1976) in Devereux Avenue became available and was bought from the Irish Catholic Brothers for R6m. Dr Brittz was again influential in negotiations with the Department of Public Works to allocate the property to Port Rex. After major extensions amounting to R3m, pupils and teachers trekked to the new premises on 9 August 1982. In recognition of our former tenants, the school hall was named the De La Salle Hall.

1983 - 1988

In 1983, Mr Piet Venter was appointed as the new headmaster of Port Rex Technical High School and an immediate effort was made to find suitable sports fields. Port Rex Technical High School then made use of the John Griffin sports fields before building its own rugby fields which were officially declared open in 1988.

1989 - 1993

Previously an all boys school, in 1989 girls were then also permitted to attend Port Rex Technical High School. In 1993, Port Rex Technical High School became a Model C high school with all race groups being enrolled.

1997 - Present

Mr Neville Rudman became headmaster in 1997 and was succeeded in 1999 by Mr Rob Piderit until his sad passing in May 2015. Since Mr Piderit’s passing the following people have served as acting-headmasters:

Mr Dennis Fairlamb (May - December 2015), Mr Willie Dalton (January 2016 - March 2018) and our current headmaster is Mr Ettiene Theron.


The school colours, Cambridge University blue and maroon have an interesting history. Mr Lorton, early Head of Technology at the East London Technical College, studied at the Imperial College in London, where maroon was worn. Similarly, Mr Shannon, early Head of Commerce at the East London Technical College, studied at Cambridge University, hence the colour blue.


The four houses: Christopher, Bisseker, Cowie and Bowie were named after four Board Councillors who served the East London Technical College and contributed much to Technical Education in the border region. Our motto, ‘Mente-et-Manu’ – meaning ‘With mind and hand’, has its origin in the old East London Technical College.