Skip to main content

School House Est. 1888

“Just imagine if you could put your hand on one of the walls somewhere and have the building tell you about its life since 1888 – and know you were part of the story.”
JACK CALLCOTT
FORMER PRESIDENT - PAST GRAMMARIANS ASSOCIATION

* Scroll down for image galleries

School House, the original building of Townsville Grammar School, established in 1888, was closed in 2011 for a  significant renovation program. In 2022, this iconic heritage-listed building was officially re-opened, restored to its former glory and resuming its place as the heart of the North Ward Campus.

School House was built in 1888 as the first classroom and boarding dormitory for the School. In 2002 it was added to the Queensland Heritage Register and is also featured in the Townsville City Council’s Heritage Trail. 

As the oldest secondary school in North Queensland, Townsville Grammar School was established due to the lobbying and fundraising of a group of locals – lawyers, businessmen, clergy and farmers -  under the 1860 Grammar Schools Act of Queensland. Originally a boys school, it become co-educational in 1893, becoming one of the first co-educational schools on mainland Australia.

Townsville Daily Bulletin - Thursday, February 9, 1889
"The establishment of a Grammar School in Townsville has done much to supply the wants of the heads of families in North Queensland. It is now unnecessary to send their children to Brisbane, or elsewhere in the State, to educate them, as they have a well-directed institution in their own part of the country, where tuition of the highest order is available under the direction of one of the best English Public Schoolmasters."

The original School House building was partially destroyed in 1903 by Cyclone Leonta and rebuilt to a slightly different design in 1903-1904 by Townsville architects, FDG Stanley Tunbridge and Tunbridge. The new design was considered a cooler, more suitable building for the tropical environment, with verandahs on both levels used for sleeping in the hotter months. Until 1940, all lessons, with the exception of science, were conducted on the lower level of the building, while the upper level was used as a dormitory for boarders.

The building was used for many purposes throughout the latter decades until it was closed for restoration in 2011, a lengthy process dictated by heritage restoration laws and regulations.

Today School House is a wonderful venue for use by the School and the wider community, with function and meeting rooms available, along with a School Museum.

Community groups are welcome to contact the School for an inspection of School House for possible functions and meetings where possible, around the School’s calendar.

Media Release 2022 History Restored

Excerpt from Media Release - History Restored October 2022:

Townsville Grammar School Principal, Mr Timothy Kelly, said the School community has been eagerly awaiting the re-opening of this building.“We’ve been watching the restoration of School House for several years and it’s fantastic to now be using it and opening it up to the wider Townsville community to use,” said Mr Kelly.

“We frequently have Past Grammarians visit the School, and since the news of the development of the TGS Museum has circulated, we have been gratefully receiving some wonderful items of memorabilia which we are using to populate our TGS Museum.  Once complete, the Museum will form a central hub for our Past Grammarians Association and a place for our alumni to visit and share in the story of the School.

“Townsville Grammar School has grown alongside the Townsville community, almost mirroring the development of the town which was founded in 1865,” said Mr Kelly. “School House not only belongs to Townsville Grammar School; it belongs to the city of Townsville and its community.

“The School’s 135 year history is a fascinating story, one that captures the spirit of the north - one of endurance, resilience and community. It is my hope that we can use School House as a way of capturing this history for past, present and future Grammarians.

“We hope this lovingly and respectfully restored iconic building will become well-known as a part of our city’s heritage and that our community will enjoy visiting and using the space.”