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.

1874-01-01 06:12:00

School Boat Club founded

Charles Fairbairn was the stroke of the inaugural 1st IV. Charles was one of six boys in the Fairbairn family, and his brother Steve, who was also a GGS Stroke at one point, went on to be highly influential in world rowing.

1875-01-01 06:12:00

Annual GGS Journal begins

James Lister Cuthbertson (1851-1910) joins staff as Classics Master and starts GGS Journal (Annual 1875-76; Quarterly 1877-1913; The Corian 1914-).

1878-01-01 06:12:00

GGS win first Headship of the River

The boys' 1st IV won their first Headship of the River rowing event. In total, 33 titles have been won by the boys' crews, whilst the girls' have won 17 since their inception in 1985.

1880-01-01 06:12:00

Volume of boarders continues to grow

In 1882 Geelong Grammar School had 88 boarders and 35 day-boys. Since 1875 the number of boarders has always exceeded the number of day-boys.

1883-01-01 05:56:42

Albert Garrard joins staff

Albert Garrard, the son-in-law of Bracebridge Wilson, had a profound effect on the School. Whether it was in his role working with the Cadet Corps, his fundraising efforts or his position as a driving force behind the push for more boarding facilities, Garrard left a great legacy at the School.

1895-10-22 21:17:49

John Bracebridge Wilson dies

Wilson, who had worked at the School for more than three decades, passed away aged 67. Cuthbertson took over as acting Head Master for the remainder of the school year.

1896-02-22 21:17:49

Leonard Harford Lindon new Head Master

Lindon (1859-1954; MA Cantab) took over as Head Master from James Cuthbertson at the beginning of 1896.

1900-04-22 21:17:49

Old Geelong Grammarians formed

The Old Geelong Grammarians' Association was formed at the turn of the century. Frederick Pincott, one of 14 boys at GGS on opening day in 1855, was the first President.

1902-07-22 21:17:49

The last time GGS won a Football premiership

Despite the Schools proud football history, it has been unable to claim a premiership, APS or otherwise, since 1902.

1904-12-07 16:23:12

Dr Thomas Kennedy joins the School

Medical Officer Dr Thomas Kennedy, the eponym of Kennedy Medical Centre, began working at Geelong Grammar School.

1909-01-14 16:02:32

New Constitution leads to new Council

The new council was led for the first time by OGGs, especially William Manifold (1909-22), Donald MacKinnon (1909-32), Edward Austin (1906-40), Herbert Austin (1908-46), and John Turnbull (1914-46).

1911-01-14 16:02:32

Decision made to move the School to Corio

Following the abortion of a planned move to Belmont a year earlier, the decision was made in 1911 to move the ever-growing School to Corio.

1912-01-14 16:02:32

Rev'd Francis Ernest Brown appointed Head Master

Rev'd Francis Brown (1869-1939; MA Oxon; DD Lambeth; eponym of Francis Brown House) was appointed Head Master and tasked with transitioning the School to Corio.

1914-02-10 17:10:47

School opens at Corio

In addition to the School relocating to Corio, upon which land it remains today, the Perry, Manifold, Cuthbertson and Junior Houses all opened in 1914. The Foundation Stone of the Chapel of All Saints was also laid.

1915-11-01 17:10:47

First Memorial Service for OGG

To coincide with the consecration of the Chapel of All Saints by Henry Lowther Clarke, Archbishop of Melbourne, the first Memorial Service for OGGs who had died on active service was held.

1916-08-04 17:10:47

Gallipoli Oaks planted beside Chapel

Three acorns from Gallipoli, a gift from William Lempriere Winter Cooke (GGS 1906-11), were planted near the Chapel on the first anniversary of the ANZAC landing.

1918-11-11 19:58:29

World War 1 ends

World War 1 ends, with 91 OGGs and three Masters among the casualties.

1922-01-11 19:58:29

War Memorial Cloisters installed

The Cloisters, which honors those that have died on active service, were installed in 1922. The Cloisters were designed by architect Harold Desbrowe Annear and have recently (2012) undergone a restoration.

1925-03-11 09:56:34

Cuthbertson House destroyed by fire

Cuthbertson boarding house was destroyed by fire in 1925, and was later rebuilt with the help of donations.

1927-06-24 19:58:29

War Memorial Bronze Group unveiled

The War Memorial Bronze Group sculpture was unveiled by Lord Stonehaven, Governor-General of Australia, on Founders' Day.

1930-01-11 09:56:34

James Ralph Darling Appointed Head Master

(Sir) James Ralph Darling (1899-1995; MA Oxon) appointed Head Master of Geelong Grammar School. Darling was knighted in 1968; seven years after serving the last of his 31 years as the School's Head Master.

1931-01-17 11:44:27

Influx of new staff to GGS

In 1931 their was an influx of historically-significant staff to Geelong Grammar School.

1933-01-17 11:44:27

Junior House becomes Junior School

The Junior House at GGS becomes the Junior School (Barrabool, Barwon, and Connewarre sections; Houses in 1934) in addition to GCEGPS becoming part of the School (now Bostock House).

1933-01-27 01:24:05

Villiers (Vic) Tunbridge joins Staff

Vic Tunbridge joins the staff (-1967; Cricket, Athletics; Housemaster Perry 1937-62; Acting Head Master 1965; eponym of Tunbridge Pavilion and Club).

1936-01-27 01:24:05

Art School built

1937-01-27 01:24:05

Francis Brown House opens

1938-08-27 01:24:05

Music School opens

The Music School, given by Bell family and Janet Biddlecombe, was opened by (Sir) Malcolm Sargaent.

1941-01-27 01:24:05

Carpentry and Mechanics workshops burnt down

Staff and students proceeded to rebuild the workshops during the school holidays.

1941-01-27 01:24:05

Hugh Montgomery joins the staff

Hugh Montgomery (-1964) went on to be the first Master of Timbertop (1953-63).

1944-01-27 01:24:05

Boys rebuild Mt Duneed church after bushfires

In a display of the virtue of service instilled by the School, the boys helped to repair St Wilfrid's Church in Mt Duneed, along with woolsheds for local farmers, after bushfires ravaged the area.

1945-08-15 01:24:05

World War 2 ends

World War 2 ends, with 149 OGGs and three Masters among the casualties.

1947-01-15 01:24:05

Glamorgan becomes part of GGS

Glamorgan (originally Toorak Preparatory Grammar School) becomes part of Geelong Grammar School.

1949-01-06 13:49:48

Rupert Murdoch revives literary journal

Rupert Murdoch (GGS 1942-49; AC) revives School's literary journal; If Revived published until 1960.

1953-01-05 22:46:14

The Timbertop experience begins

Timbertop, near Mansfield, begins as the designated campus for all fourth form boys.

1954-01-05 22:46:14

Memorial Gymnasium and Pool open

The War Memorial Gymnasium and William Robert Kilpatrick (GGS 1933-39) Memorial Swimming Pool open.

1954-06-05 22:46:14

Athletics Premiership won

1954-06-05 22:46:14

John Landy runs sub-4-minute mile

John Landy (GGS 1945-48) becomes the second man to run a sub-4-minute mile, setting a new World Record in the process.

1958-01-05 22:46:14

Chapel of St John the Baptist opens at Timbertop

Largely constructed by the boys at Timbertop, the Chapel of St John the Baptist opens.

1961-09-05 22:46:14

Thomas Ronald Garnett appointed Head Master

Thomas Garnett (1915-2006; MACantab) appointed Head Master (-1973; the Master of Marlborough College 1952-61; OAM; eponym of Garnett House) following the Darling era.

1961-09-05 22:46:14

School numbers strong across the board

1,139 boys attended Geelong Grammar School in 1961; 612 at Corio, including 552 boarders; 220 at Glamorgan; 172 at Bostock House; 135 at Timbertop.

History of Geelong Grammar School

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