Friday, July 16, 2010

Brisbane Grammar School

This is the view available now to motorists as they drive along College Rd towards the Normanby fiveways. It is the Brisbane Grammar School. For decades the school has been hidden behind large trees, so it is good to now be able to see the structure - however, I notice a fair amount of planting in front of the building, so it may be obscured again in time. (Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

In 1860, the Queensland Parliament passed the Grammar Schools Act which allowed for communities to raise money for the building of grammar schools. The government would add double whatever had been raised, subject to the local fund-raising achieving at least £1,000. The first such school to open was the Ipswich Grammar School in 1863, and in 1864 Brisbane Grammar School commenced at its original site in Roma St. That first school building was designed by Benjamin Backhouse with further work done later by RG Suter. Here is a picture of it from around 1875.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #188167)

The expansion of the railway yards at Roma St led to the school moving to its current location between College Rd and Gregory Terrace with the entrance to the grounds on the Gregory Terrace side. It was designed by James Cowlishaw and built for about £12,000 by contractor W McFarlane, and opened to students in 1881. The new school was enlarged in 1887 with the addition of School House, designed by Richard Gailey, erected to house boarders as well as to provide accommodation for the headmaster. A photo of the school from 1889 is shown below.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APO_010_027_0001)

Obviously a school this old has built its own tradition, and "Grammar" (as it is known locally) has had only eleven headmasters in almost 150 years. Several of the headmasters, including the current head, have been Grammar old boys themselves - thus ensuring that the tradition continues. I don't know much about the school, save that it has a fine academic record and that it is now one of the more expensive private schools in the state. I didn't go there, although my father did - way back in the 1930s. The only thing he ever told me was that he liked rugby and cricket. I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree! I'm not sure of his academic prowess either - I know that he studied French because he could still remember some of it when I was learning French at high school. He also did biology and geology, which he told me were called "guts 'n gibbers" by the boys. Haha.
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane Grammar School prospectus)

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Next: The Zambucks

1 comment:

  1. The most valuable history is the continuity of tradition ; 11 headmasters in 150 years period of time and most of them school boy.


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