History of Geelong Grammar School

Geelong Grammar School opened as a private Anglican venture in temporary premises at Villamanta Street, Geelong, about the beginning of October 1855, probably with fourteen boys on the roll though twenty-two have been identified as pupils during the first term.

Moved in 1856 to Skene Street, it owed its existence to five clergymen: Theodore Carlos Benoni Stretch, Archdeacon of Geelong and its original founder, who wanted a school for his sons; George Oakley Vance, his curate at St Paul's, Geelong, whome he prevailed on to open one; Charles Perry, first Bishop of Melbourne, who - himself an Old Harrovian and former Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge - was soon envisaging a future Eton (with his slightly later foundation of Melbourne Grammar School as the corresponding Harrow; when a Government grant of twenty thousand pounds was made to Anglican schools in 1857, whereby private ventures were transformed into "public schools", he alloted nearly two-thirds to the metropolitan school, the rest to GGS); Hussey Burgh Macartney, an aristocratic Irishman, born in 1799, who from 1852-94 was the first, and highly influential, Dean of Melbourne; and the scholarly George Goodman, incumbent of Christ Church, Geelong, for half a century during which he was both parish priest and occasional examiner to the School and secretary to its Board of Management (with Stretch as its first chairman), from 1896 the Council.

1855-10-01 00:00:00

Geelong Grammar School opens

GGS opens in Villamanta Street, Geelong, as a diocesan school on initiative of Venerable Theodore Stretch, Archdeacon of Geelong, with support from Charles Perry, 1st Bishop of Melbourne (eponym of Perry House), and Hussey Burgh Macartney, 1st Dean of Melbourne; (Very) Revd George Oakley Vance (1828-1910; MAOxon) Head Master (-1860; DDOxon; Dean of Melbourne 1895-1910); 22 boys.

1856-01-01 14:31:32

Geelong Grammar School moves

School moved to Skene Street, Geelong (Knowle House).

1857-01-01 14:31:32

Geelong Grammar becomes a public school

School becomes a "public school" by virtue of Government grant.

1857-06-24 14:31:32

Foundation Stone laid

Foundation Stone of new building laid by Sir Henry Barkly, Governor of Victoria, on site opposite Christ Church, Geelong.

1858-10-01 14:31:32

John Bracebridge Wilson joins staff

John Bracebridge Wilson (1828-1895; MA Cantab, FLS) joins staff (-1895; eponym of Hall, House, and Theatre) as does Derwent Coleridge (grandson of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

1859-01-01 14:31:32

School in Debt

Heavy spending in the early years of the School, coupled with Geelong being hit by recession, led to the School's severe debt.

1860-06-01 06:12:00

Revd George Oakley Vance resigns

Headmaster Vance resigns from his post largely due to the School's financial woes and pressure from his own creditors.

1860-06-01 06:12:00

Geelong Grammar School closes

The School closed in June 1860 with debts totalling more than 6,000 pounds. Wilson kept between 40 and 60 boys together at the Geelong High School on Pakington Street.

1863-02-01 06:12:00

Geelong Grammar School reopens

After adopting a new constitution in late 1862, GGS reopened with John Bracebridge Wilson as Headmaster.

1867-01-01 06:12:00

School's numbers increase to 77

The boarding numbers at the School increase from four in 1863 to 32 in 1867, along with 45 day-boys.

History of Geelong Grammar School

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