Throughout the Prep and Pre-Prep, the boys are divided into houses, namely Bousfield, Carter, Cullinan and Darragh. At the Pre-Prep level, this usually only comes into effect for inter-house sporting activities, but sometimes the boys may be divided into their houses for classroom activities. Some history on the houses is included below (notes taken from Venture of Faith, the Story of St John's College, Johannesburg, 1898 – 1968, by KC Lawson).
Henry Bousfield, first Bishop of Pretoria, after his visit to the Witwatersrand in 1886, realised that he had to look for a priest with exceptional qualities to take charge of what was then known as the Gold Field's Mission.
Chosen because of the importance of the colour purple in the Church.
The Revd Fitzwilliam Carter, the second headmaster of St John's College, took over from Revd JL Hodgson, who had to return to England at a moment's notice. At that stage, the school was in a grave state, both financially and numerically.
Cullinan (Cambridge blue)
Our greatest benefactor, Mr TH (afterwards Sir Thomas) Cullinan, chairman of the Premier Diamond Company offered to subsidise a church school to the sum of £5 000. The Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company offered to sell the College four acres of land for the sum of £2 500, and a further four acres would be given to the College, all in freehold. In January 1907, Mrs Cullinan laid the Foundation Stone.
John Darragh, the priest whom all loved, was the first rector of St Mary's Parish, and founder of St John's College (1 August 1898).