Brisbane Grammar School

Coordinates: 27°27′33″S 153°1′0″E / 27.45917°S 153.01667°E / -27.45917; 153.01667
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Brisbane grammar school)

Brisbane Grammar School

Coordinates27°27′33″S 153°1′0″E / 27.45917°S 153.01667°E / -27.45917; 153.01667
TypeIndependent, day & boarding
MottoLatin: Nil Sine Labore
(Nothing Without Labour)
Enrolment~1,700 (2016[1])
Colour(s)Sporting: Oxford Blue and Cambridge Blue
Academic: red and gold[2]

Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) is an independent, non-denominational, day and boarding school for boys, located in Spring Hill, an inner suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is the oldest secondary boys school in Brisbane.[1] Some of the Brisbane Grammar School Buildings are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.[3]

Established in 1868 under the Grammar Schools Act that was passed by the Government of Queensland in 1860, the school has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 1500 students from Years 5 to 12,[1] including around 100 boarders.[4]

Brisbane Grammar School is affiliated with the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA),[4] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[5] Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ),[6] and is a founding member of the Great Public Schools' Association Inc (GPS).[7]


First Brisbane Grammar School, Roma St, c. 1874
The original Brisbane Grammar School, in Roma, Street, c. 1875

Brisbane Grammar School was founded in 1868 under the Grammar Schools Act, which had been passed by the Queensland Government in 1860. It was the second school established under this act in Queensland, with the first being Ipswich Grammar School.

The original school, designed by Benjamin Backhouse, was on a site in Roma Street in Brisbane City, approximately opposite modern Herschel Street. HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844–1900), second son of Queen Victoria, laid the foundation stone at the site on 21 February 1868. The school opened in February 1869, with ninety-four students and four masters, under the leadership of headmaster Thomas Harlin.[8] In 1881, the school was moved a few hundred metres away to its current site on Gregory Terrace in Spring Hill to make way for Roma Street railway station to become a junction station.

Following the opening of the boarding house in 1886, science laboratories were constructed in 1912.

On 14 August 1916, the Queensland Governor, Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams unveiled a war memorial with the names of 600 students who had enlisted.[9] In 1921, Brigadier General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson, a former pupil, presented a field gun to the school, an Austrian-made 10.4 cm Feldkanone M. 15, which had been taken from the Ottoman Army by the Australian Light Horse at the Capture of Jenin in 1918.[10]

A new library and assembly hall were constructed in 1969 as a celebration of the school's centenary.

The new school on Gregory Terrace, 1889

During the mid-1990s, the school commenced work on the off-campus Northgate ovals, which now consist of six fields that are used for cricket, rugby union and soccer fixtures. The Indoor Sports Centre was completed in 2000, and the old gymnasium was later renovated to become the new Centre for Art.

In 2002, the school underwent a major redevelopment with the construction of a new middle school, which had its first intake of grade 6 and 7 students in 2003. This middle school consists of a large block of multi-purpose classrooms, functioning as a complete school in itself, with its own teachers and independent timetables. Grade 6 and 7 students spend most of their time in the middle school, although they do use the facilities of the "Upper School" for such activities as physical education and assemblies. In 2014, Year 5 was added to the middle school with 100 new students enrolled.[11]


Thomas Harlin, the first headmaster of Brisbane Grammar School, c. 1870
Period Details
1869–1876 Thomas Harlin
1876–1909 Reginald Heber Roe
1909–1927 F. S. N. Bousfield
1928–1939 S. Stephenson
1940–1947 G. Carson Cooling, Old Boy of Brisbane Grammar School
1948–1952 H. R. Pigott
1953–1956 A. E. McLucas
1956–1963 H. R. Newell, Old Boy of Brisbane Grammar School
1964–1989 Maxwell Howell AM
1990–2005 Dr. Peter Lennox
2006–2013 Brian Short, Old Boy of Brisbane Grammar School.
2014– Anthony Micallef

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Cultural activities[edit]

Students are able to participate in a wide range of musical groups, established by former directors of music, John Broughton,[12] and Bruce May,[13] including two orchestras, five concert bands, three stage bands, eight string ensembles, five choirs, and an array of other instrumental ensembles, including three percussion ensembles. John Callaghan was the driving force behind establishing most of the bands.[13] Student-led ensembles feature in concerts every year. Furthermore, each year the BGS Music Department performs an event known as the Grammar Community in Concert, typically at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. This event brings together members from across the BGS Community, including the BGS Community Choir, incorporating parents, teachers, and friends. The school also has a thriving Drama program, largely established by former Drama Master, Brian Cannon,[14] presenting a range of plays and musicals. In addition, opportunities in debating and public speaking are offered, with the school participating in Queensland Debating Union and Greater Public Schools annual competitions. Additionally, Brisbane Grammar School has recently revamped its participation in enterprise education groups. With the newly reformed Economics and Enterprise Club, students are gaining exciting experiences through external competitions such as YAA, Ecoman and ABW. An array of other special-interest groups exist, including those which focus on Chess, Astronomy, Aviation, Christianity, Environmental aid, and Community Service.


The school offers a range of mainstream sporting activities, including cross country, track and field, rugby, football, basketball, tennis, cricket, gymnastics, swimming, rowing, sailing, chess and volleyball within the GPS association of schools, as well as many others such as water polo, fencing and tae kwon-do.

GPS membership[edit]

Brisbane Grammar School is a member of the Great Public Schools Association of Queensland Inc. (GPS). The school's membership enables its students to participate in sporting competitions as well as engage in endeavours such as Debating and musical events. Most competitions are played out on Saturdays at any of the schools' sporting facilities. The main campus comprises four playing fields in addition to eight tennis courts. Many fixtures, including Cricket, Rugby and Football, are conducted at the Northgate Campus. Sailing is run on Sundays at RQYS, Manly, and the GPS championship is held at the end of the season. The school has had long standing success in Water Polo, winning the competition for 12 of the last 13 years.[citation needed]


Indoor Sports Centre[edit]

The Indoor Sports Centre was officially opened by the Governor of Queensland, Major General Peter Arnison on 3 March 2000. The centre, which is situated on the main campus, is home to a multi-purpose double Basketball court sports hall (which can also accommodate 3 Volleyball courts, 6 Badminton courts, 12 fencing pistes as well as Futsal), an Aquatic Centre with a 10-lane, 25m heated swimming pool, a Gymnasium featuring a deep foam pit, parallel bars and rings and a spectator area with seating for 150 people during sporting events, an indoor Cricket net, as well as a weights room and theory rooms and amenities. This sports centre has hosted local and international sporting teams, such as the Queensland Reds, Australian Wallabies, Brisbane Broncos, New Zealand All Blacks, Australian cricket team, United States Swimming squad and the English Rugby team.

Northgate playing fields[edit]

Work commenced on the Northgate Playing Fields in the mid-1990s, which now have six ovals, accommodating Cricket, Rugby union, Soccer and Australian Rules Football fixtures. The fields are also used during the school week, especially for winter activities training sessions. Canteen facilities are provided on game days. Adjacent to the main oval is a small stadium which caters for seating for one half of the field, which also contains a dining area. The playing fields were used by the Australian Cricket Team prior to the 2006/2007 Ashes campaign, where they trained with the school's First XI.[15]

BGS Tennis Centre[edit]

The Tennis Centre, adjacent to the school grounds, is the location of tennis courts, a carpark, and a private balcony and small grandstand. Students visit this facility for PE lessons as well as sports training sessions. It is separated from the main campus by a public footbridge, which has been recently closed by Queensland Rail. Access is now available via a long walk from the Indoor Sports Centre, or via the Victoria Park side of the site.

Auditoriums and theatres[edit]

The school has 6 major auditoriums and a theatre: The Centenary Hall, The Great Hall, The Lilley Centre Forum, The Music Auditorium, The Amphitheatre, The Gallery and The Theatre.

Centenary Hall accommodates the entire senior school (8–12) student body for weekly assemblies, when The Gallery above is opened up to the Hall. The hall is also used for other events such as breakfasts, music concerts, debates and year-level tests. The Gallery above the hall can accommodate 2-year groups for lectures and information sessions.

The Great Hall is one of the school's most historic buildings. The walls have various honour-boards commemorating academic, sporting and cultural achievements, as well as honouring the names of those who have served in wars. The stage is overlooked by a 10*3-metre stained glass window, with Queen Victoria and her knights of the realm as a central feature. The hall provides venue for Form Year Assemblies, Public speaking, debating and music performances. It is also used for dinner parties (such as the Old-Boys Association's reunions or the 'Mothers of Past Student'’ gatherings) and weddings for old-boys.

The Forum can seat around 150–200 people and is used for collaborative learning exercises, usually housing all students in a subject or 3–4 classes. When using the extra seating available, a whole 250 student cohort can be housed.

The Music Auditorium, established during the tenure of Bruce May as director of music, is a venue used to highlight the school's large music program. During the year a varied program of choral, concert and stage band and orchestral concerts take place. Many groups rehearse here weekly. Percussion equipment is able to fit in the hall.

The Drama Theatre, established under the tenure of Brian Cannon as drama master, can seat approximately 300 for theatrical productions. The school holds a junior school play, a senior school play and a middle school production (play or musical) every year. It is equipped with sound and lighting equipment, including audio and lighting boards operated by students, a green room, and technical storage space. The Centenary Hall for many years was the venue for theatre productions under director, Brian Cannon.[14]

Moogerah Outdoor Education Centre[edit]

Brisbane Grammar School's off-campus centre at Pepperina Hill, near Lake Moogerah, was opened in 1976 and is named the Moogerah Outdoor Education Centre (colloquially referred to as Moogerah). The school sends each form class from grades 8, 9 and 10 out to the campus to strengthen intra-class relationships and morale, as well as develop team-working and leadership skills. Year 11 outdoor education leaders also attend the camp to build the relationship between the senior, and younger students. The five-day programme includes such activities as rock-climbing, bushwalking, orienteering, canoeing, and a camp-out in the bush at the foot of a mountain. Year 5, 6 and 7 students also visit the campsite, but for a shorter duration – one, two and three days respectively.

The centre is also used for various other school activities: Writer's Camps, Composers' Camps, Scientist-In-Residence Camps, sport training, ISCF Christian Camps, Astronomy & sky viewings and fieldwork in senior courses. The rowers utilise the camp's boatshed on the lake's edge for training.

The Lilley Centre[edit]

The most recent construction project of the school is a centre located on the College Road side of the main campus (named after Premier and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Sir Charles Lilley), and houses several classrooms equipped with learning technologies, a library, a lecture theatre (called 'The Forum') and a seniors' study room. The centre was officially opened on 26 February 2010 by former Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh.

Recent incidents[edit]

Pedophile compensation controversy[edit]

In 2003, the school was involved in controversy when it attempted to recover damages from its insurer following students' claims that they had been sexually abused by Kevin Lynch, school counsellor between the 1976 and 1988.[16][17]

Some 70 former students sued the school, alleging Lynch sexually abused them during counselling sessions. Rejecting out-of-court settlements, some of the victims claimed compensation in the Supreme Court of Queensland. Two former students had allegedly lodged complaints about Lynch's conduct with then headmaster of the school, Maxwell Howell, in the early 1980s and the issue was quietly investigated. However Grammar was unaware the details of the investigation had to be passed on to its insurer.[16] For failing to notify its insurer of the complaints made of Lynch, the school thus became liable for A$1.17 million in legal fees and compensation.[16]

Lynch was charged in January 1997 over the abuses perpetrated at both St Paul's School (where he was subsequently employed) and Brisbane Grammar. Lynch committed suicide on 23 January 1997, the day after being charged.[18][19]

Fumes exposure incident[edit]

On 14 July 2010, 120 students were exposed to a chemical solvent being used in school construction works. Many of these students had been exposed for less than 20 minutes. 6 ambulance crews were dispatched to the school, where 35 students experienced sore eyes and throats as well as minor breathing difficulties. Of the students affected, 2 were hospitalised.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]

Judge John Laskey Woolcock n.d.


Law and the judiciary[edit]


Military and public service[edit]

The arts[edit]

Science and academia[edit]



Rhodes Scholars[edit]

Brisbane Grammar Old Boys' Association dinner with the Queensland Governor, 1927
Year of election[39][40] Name[39][40]
1904 Arthur S. Roe
1905 Norman Leslie
1908 Stanley Castlehow
1909 Leonard G Brown
1911 Harold K. Denham
1914 Allan W.L. Row
1915 John N. Radcliffe
1918 Frederick W. Paterson
1919 Victor Grenning
1922 Tom Lawton
1927 Franz Konrad Saddler Hirschfeld
1928 John H. Lavery
1930 Cecil E. Kerr
1939 James K. Newman
1958 Thomas Baxter
1960 Clive P. Hildebrand
1967 John M. Fenwick
1978 Peter J. Wetherall
1981 Donald Markwell
1982 David M. Rose
1991 Craig Arnott
1992 Daniel V. Botsman
2006 Nicholas I. Luke
2007 Ryan A. Goss
2020 Nicholas Salmon[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "2009 Annual Report" (PDF). Staff & Students. Brisbane Grammar School. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  2. ^ Brisbane Grammar School – Grammar History Archived 21 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Brisbane Grammar School (entry 600124)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Brisbane Grammar School". Schools. Australian Boarding Schools' Association. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  5. ^ "AHISA Schools". Queensland. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. November 2007. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Brisbane Grammar, School". School Search. Independent Schools Queensland. Archived from the original on 27 November 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  7. ^ "GPS Schools". Sport and Music. Brisbane State High School. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Grammar History". Brisbane Grammar School. Archived from the original on 17 August 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Brisbane Grammar School War Memorial". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 11 August 1916. p. 6. Archived from the original on 18 January 2023. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Brisbane Grammar School WWI War Trophy". The State of Queensland (Department of Environment and Science). 16 September 2015. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Middle School". Brisbane Grammar School. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  12. ^ Primrose, H., Light Blue Dark Blue, Brisbane, Brisbane Grammar School, p.236 ISBN 978 0 9593 287 6 9
  13. ^ a b Primrose, H., Light Blue Dark Blue, p.236
  14. ^ a b Primrose, H., Light Blue Dark Blue, p.253
  15. ^ "Cricket Australia > Inside Cricket > CA Centre of Excellence > Structure & Vision". Archived from the original on 27 February 2011.
  16. ^ a b c David Murray, School pays sex victims Archived 26 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Courier Mail, 5 November 2006
  17. ^ Board of Enquiry report Archived 16 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, 22 April 2003
  18. ^ Courier Mail Archived 26 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Nearly 200 exposed to solvent at Brisbane Grammar School in suburban Spring Hill" The Australian
  20. ^ McGuire, John, 'Julius, Max Nordau (1916–1963)' Archived 15 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 9 September 2012
  21. ^ Demack, Alan. "Bennett, Sir Arnold Lucas (1908–1983)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016.
  22. ^ Masters, Chris (2019). "John Andrew Olle (1947–1995)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  23. ^ Patron – Major General J. Pearn, AM, RFD Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Brisbane Grammar School Magazine 1913
  25. ^ "Trove". Archived from the original on 18 January 2023. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  26. ^ "David Malouf". Archived from the original on 8 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  27. ^ Primrose, H., Light Blue Dark Blue, p.263
  28. ^ "Christopher Wrench (Organ) - Short Biography". Archived from the original on 8 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  29. ^ Cabaret Puppet Theatre - Archived 16 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine - David Logan, Artistic Director
  30. ^ National Library of Australia - David Logan - Archived 9 July 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Australian Playwrights ~".
  32. ^ Archived 19 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine - Edmiston Collection
  33. ^ "2009 Inductee: Bob Bryan, AM". Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. State Library of Queensland. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  34. ^ Leggett, C. A. C., "Love, Wilton Wood Russell (1861–1933)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, archived from the original on 10 September 2017, retrieved 1 April 2020
  35. ^ McConnel, Katie; Rogers, Jill (19 October 2016). ""To Sir with Love - The Doctor Wilton Wood Russell Love Album" - Dr Love, Dr Borivjoj Franko-Filipasic poster". Archived from the original on 23 March 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  36. ^ "Innovative engineer". The Courier Mail. November 3, 2007. 3 November 2007.
  37. ^ "Staff Profile". Archived from the original on 23 September 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  38. ^ a b "Queensland Rhodes Scholars" (doc). Rhodes Scholarship. University of Queensland. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2008.
  39. ^ a b "BGS History" (PDF). BGS. Retrieved 7 July 2010.[dead link]
  40. ^ "Nicholas Salmon is Queensland's 2020 Rhodes Scholar". QUT News. Queensland University of Technology. Archived from the original on 6 April 2022. Retrieved 22 August 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]