Thu 23rd May
On 16 April 1888, the very first staff and 23 students of Townsville Grammar School walked into the building named, ‘School House’, for their first day of school.
130 years later, students on the North Ward campus will walk past that same building, standing proudly in the School grounds, on their way to class.
School House is now heritage listed and on Monday, Townsville Grammar School will celebrate by unveiling a special sign to signify the building’s heritage status.
In 1903, School House was virtually destroyed by Cyclone Leonta. However the building was rebuilt, featuring thicker, cement mortared walls and steel roof bracing to fare better in our tropical conditions.
Townsville Grammar School is the oldest co-educational school on mainland Australia, accepting its first female students in 1893 – a revolutionary move in its time.
Many aspects of Grammar have changed in the past 130 years – the faces, buildings, curriculum and more. However there are other aspects of the School, the foundation stones upon which it is built, that have remained rock solid.
The founders of the School, the original Board of Trustees, aimed to provide North Queensland families with a school in which the youth of North Queensland can be qualified for their future careers where local interest watches their progress and stimulates them to intellectual achievements (from the original School Prospectus, 1888). This philosophy, coupled with the values of community, good manners, respect, discipline and personal best academic endeavour, are all hallmarks of the same school 130 years on.
World War Two had a dramatic effect on Townsville Grammar School. The Queensland Government closed all schools in the district and students had to move either south or to Charters Towers. In March, 1942, the Government rescinded their closure of all schools and allowed schools to re-open. As the North Ward Campus had been taken over by the RAAF in January 1942, Townsville Grammar had to move from its North Ward campus and set up a campus in the suburb of Rosslea, with the school operating on that campus from 1942 to 1944.
Townsville Grammarians have proudly served their country as members of various defence forces since the Boer War. Sadly some 60 Past Grammarians have paid the supreme sacrifice in conflicts from WWI to the Vietnam War. An honour board commemorates all students who have served is located in the Front Office of the North Ward Campus.
Many buildings have been built throughout the years, including the Swimming Pool, Gymnasium, Boarding House, Ceramics and Art Studio, Performing Arts Complex and Music Centre, among many others.
In more recent history, the School opened its Annandale Junior School in 1997, which now caters from Pre-Prep to Year 6. In 2015, the School opened another Junior School in North Shore, currently catering from Pre-Prep to Year 3, expanding to Year 6 in the future.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, the School has organised a number of events, including:
- Monday, 16 April - Founders Day celebration - all students will receive a small birthday cake (mini-muffin) on Day 1 of Term 2, as this is the School’s official birthday. At North Ward, at Assembly that day we will be unveiling a special plaque marking the place of School House in the heritage of Townsville.
- Friday, 11 May - Black & Gold 130th Anniversary Mothers’ Day Luncheon
- June - 130th anniversary edition of The Grammarian will be published
- Thursday, 21 June - 130th Anniversary of Boarding - family function on Muller Rugby Oval
- Saturday, 11 August - 130th Anniversary Past Grammarians Reunion Day and Dinner
- Saturday, 25 August - Black & Gold 130th Anniversary Secret Feast