The Anglican Church Grammar School (ACGS), formerly the Church of England Grammar School and commonly referred to as Churchie, is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for boys, located in East Brisbane, an inner suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Churchie, widely recognised as one of Brisbane's most prestigious schools, is among Australia's richest based on earnings and donations from alumni. In 2009, the school raised $30.9million in fees, charges, parent contributions and other private sources, 26.5 per cent more than any other school in southeast Queensland. In the same year, Churchie also received $7.7million in donations, primarily from alumni. This figure was the second highest in Australia, surpassed only by the donations to Sydney Grammar School.
In 1912, Canon William Perry French Morris and his wife (who held degrees in science and medicine) founded a school called St Magnus Hall at Ardencraig, a suburban house in Church Street (now Jephson Street), Toowong, before relocating it to the present site in East Brisbane in 1918.
Canon Morris assigned Saint Magnus, a Norsemen earl, as the patron saint of the school and had hoped that the students would be referred to as 'Magnates'. It is said that he did not like the nickname 'Churchie' at first, however when it had become commonplace by the 1930s and respected around Queensland he accepted the change.
The school's name was changed to St Magnus Hall Collegiate School For Boys and then to The Cathedral School early in 1913 following the move to a new site at St John's Cathedral in the Brisbane central business district. Thirty-three boys completed the school year that year. In 1916, the land that the school currently stands on was purchased and, in 1918, the foundation stone was laid on the school's current site. From 1916 to 1985, the school was officially known as the Church of England Grammar School (CEGS). Prior to the 1985 school year, the school name was officially changed once again to the Anglican Church Grammar School (ACGS), to reflect the 1981 renaming of the Church of England in Australia to the Anglican Church of Australia. However, the school continues to be popularly known as Churchie.
In May 2004, Frederick Roy Hoskins, a former teacher and boarding house head, pleaded guilty to seven child sex offences committed against seven victims aged nine to fifteen between 1947 and 1955. He had taught at the school for ten years.
On the afternoon of 7 December 2007, a fire started in the Lanskey Building between two Year 7 classrooms. The automated fire system set alarms off, and just after 4:30pm the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service arrived to find two classrooms badly damaged.
During April 2008, there was community debate when students were disallowed from inviting male partners to the school formal. The school's Headmaster referred the matter to the School Council, which released a statement saying that it 'strongly supported the headmaster's position on the school's education programs in social settings'.
In October 2009, the deputy head of the preparatory school, Chris Klemm, was stood down due to 'serious allegations' made against him. The Headmaster issued letters to all parents regarding the matter, but kept the allegation, which was revealed in the mid-semester holiday break, confidential. In November 2010, Klemm was convicted of child sex offences and received a jail sentence of five years.
In late 2009, the school began extensive construction work to upgrade its cultural and sporting facilities. Over two years, three new complexes were built at the school's East Brisbane campus: the Barry McCart Aquatic Centre, the David Turbayne Tennis Centre and the $9.9million Sir John Pidgeon Sports Complex, opened by GovernorPenelope Wensley in 2010. In 2011, Morris Hall, the school's "spiritual heart", was upgraded and expanded and the adjacent quadrangle, Magnus Quad, was also relandscaped.
In October 2016, School House, the oldest building on site and home to the boarding community, was refurbished. The following year The Centenary Library was opened and as of May 2018[update] housed Student Services, the Senior School library, classrooms and a research centre focusing on learning environments.
The Canon Jones Memorial Chapel
Canon Morris based much of the school's ethos on its patron saint, St Magnus, a Norsemenearl known for his strength of character and his qualities as an educated Christian man. The Viking tradition is reflected in the school coat of arms, with its shield and battle axes symbolising Viking courage, and its crossed axes signifying self-sacrifice and St Magnus' martyrdom. Many of the school's rowing boats are named after Viking figures, and the school mascot, 'Eric', is also a Viking effigy.
Churchie's twenty-two hectare campus is located in inner-city Brisbane. The school occupies the entire eastern side of Oaklands Parade, a street in East Brisbane, and extends all the way down to the banks of Norman Creek, a tributary of the Brisbane River. The first building on the site was the old boarding house, erected in 1918. Most of the school's buildings are built in the Gothic Scholastic style, characterised by 'decorative, half-timbered gables, red brick face-work, gargoyles and terracotta tiles'. Churchie has all of its sporting and cultural facilities on its East Brisbane campus—including ten playing fields, three swimming pools, two basketball courts, seven tennis courts and gymnasium—on the one campus. The Graham Fowles Boathouse is located approximately one kilometre away in Mowbray Park.
Notable buildings and facilities on the Churchie campus include:
Morris Hall – Churchie's main social, cultural and musical building
Magnus Hall and Magnus Quadrangle – the school's main academic building
The Canon Jones Memorial Chapel – the spiritual centre of the school, named after Canon Thomas Jones, an early supporter of the school. Canon Morris' remains are interred under the chapel's altar
Darnell – originally the school library, now the School Council Room and The Old Boys Room
School House – the school's oldest building and boarding headquarters
The Sir John Pidgeon Sports Complex – contains the school's basketball courts, volleyball courts and gymnasium
The Hayward Midson Creative Precinct – home to Visual Art, Film and TV and Design and Technology faculties
The Centenary Library – comprising the Senior School Library, Churchie IT, Student Services, Churchie Archives and museum, Mawson House, the Churchie Research Centre, Churchie Learning Support, The Arches café and various classrooms and multipurpose study spaces.
The 'Pocket' – a triangle of land bordered by Norman Creek that contains six of the school's playing fields, including the Main Oval
Churchie provides a scholastic environment based on personalised academic pathways for every student developed through academic profiling and examination of each student's individual needs. The school's approach is strongly influenced by the values and writings of Canon Morris, the school's founder, who believed boys needed a clear sense of what was right – honesty, integrity, perseverance, patience, courage and courtesy.
Churchie is involved in a number of educational research programmes carried out by various Australian universities, including the universities of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology. Its new generation learning space and emotional intelligence programmes are examples of such research-led initiatives.
In 2017, Churchie was authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation as an IB World School for the delivery of the Diploma Programme and the Primary Years Programme.
Churchie's Preparatory School comprises Reception to Year 6. Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 must lease from the school their own tablet computer as part of Churchie's tablet computer programme. The subjects available to prep students are:
Integrated Studies (Science, Humanities and Social Sciences)
Health and Physical Education
In 2015, Churchie combined the middle and senior schools into a single Senior School for the secondary school years (7 to 12). Students in Years 7 to 9 use the same curriculum, which focuses on English, mathematics, humanities, science, modern languages (Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish or French), religious education, and health and physical education. Electives include design technology, and visual and media arts, music, drama, geography, engineering technology, advanced science, information technology, film, television and new media and philosophy and critical reasoning. Year 10 is a preparatory year, in which subjects are presented (where possible) as precursors to what can be expected in Years 11 and 12. All subjects are assessed and reported under a criteria-based approach. Year 10 Students study English, mathematics, history, science, religious education, modern languages and history plus three elective subjects. In Years 11 and 12, students study six subjects. English and Mathematics A or Mathematics B are compulsory. The remaining four are drawn from the following list:
Film, Television and New Media
Information Processing and Technology
Modern languages (Chinese Mandarin, French, Japanese, Spanish)
Music Extension (Year 12 only)
Students also receive leadership development training as part of the pastoral learning curriculum and the school's outdoor education programme. Senior students are able to apply their leadership skills during house and co-curricular activities by, for example, mentoring younger students or undertaking duties for the house or School.
Churchie offers a range of sporting and cultural activities to all students. The school is a member of the Great Public Schools (GPS) sporting competition and competes in most available sports. Boys of all skill levels are given the opportunity to participate in numerous sports, including: basketball, chess, cricket, cross-country, debating, football, rowing, rugby union, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo. Churchie has been highly successful in the GPS sporting competition winning the top GPS school premiership over all competitions 3 years in a row, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. This premiership was known as the Bauman Cup which was first awarded in 1953 and discontinued in 1977. Churchie was awarded the Bauman Cup a record 16 times.
Churchie's Premier Chess Team secured the GPS Chess Premiership for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019.
Churchie has won a total of 19 GPS Cricket Premierships since 1919, including 15 outright and four ties.
Churchie has won the GPS Debating Premiership competition three times since it commenced in 2002, winning in 2007, 2012 and 2020.
In 2019, Churchie's First XI achieved the school's first-ever GPS Football premiership since the competition began in 1991.
Churchie's rowing history dates back to its establishment in 1912. Rowing was initially based at the Toowong Rowing Club, near the school's original grounds. Later, in 1917, the school built its own boatshed and rowing facilities at Norman Creek. Shortly after the opening of the Norman Creek boatshed, the school began a rowing competition between day and boarding students, held over a 5/8-mile course, which has been held sporadically since 1920. In 1936, the Elder Hunter boatshed was built on the banks of the Brisbane River in Mowbray Park, East Brisbane. The school's rowing program now operates from the Graham Fowles Boathouse, built in 2005 on the site of the old boatshed.
Since 1918, Churchie has entered both quads and eights in the Queensland Head of the River, Queensland's premier high school rowing competition. From 1918 to 1954, the O'Connor Cup for the Open 1st VIII race was contested in quads. Churchie won the cup six times in quads (1922, 1926, 1936, 1939, 1940 and 1941). Since the introduction of eights in 1955, Churchie has won ten times (1963, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2012). The School has won the Old Boys' Cup, awarded to the school with the greatest number of points, a total of nine times (in 1990, 1991, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2019, 2020 and 2021) since the award's inception in 1988.
Initially, rugby league was played by the GPS schools; only in 1928 did they convert to rugby union. With seventeen premierships as of 2014, Churchie has always been one of the strongest schools in the rugby competition. Only Nudgee College has won the premiership a greater number of times. Churchie's 2005 undefeated premiership-winning 1st XV contained two future Australia players: David Pocock and Quade Cooper. Twenty-four Churchie students have been selected for the Australian Schoolboys national rugby union team, the highest level of schoolboy rugby in Australia, since the team's inception in 1973. In 2010, the school was identified as one of the 'nurseries of Australian schoolboy rugby' by the Australian Schools Rugby Union (ASRU). In all, sixteen Churchie boys have gone on to become Wallabies:
Churchie won both the Senior and Junior GPS Swimming Championships in 2014. In 2015, Churchie won the Junior GPS Swimming Championships (10 Years & Under to 12 Years & Under).
Churchie has won the GPS Tennis Premiership 11 times since the competition began in 1918.
In 2018, the GPS's centenary year, Churchie secured its third consecutive undefeated GPS Volleyball Premiership. Churchie also won the GPS Volleyball premiership in 1998.
The school's music program includes a symphony orchestra, an assortment of bands and choirs and a choral dectet. Individual tuition is available for students studying an instrument or voice and speech. Churchie also provides the choristers for St John's Cathedral.
Each year, the school showcases the work of its Film, TV and New Media students at the Churchie Awards in Media (CAM). Similarly, Visual Art students display their work at CART, the Churchie Art showcase.
Community service, along with scholastic attainment, spiritual awareness and personal growth, is one of the four tenets of the school. Churchie students are regularly involved in a number of charitable events including doorknocks, fundraisers (especially for the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave), nursing home visits and mobile Blood Bank donations. The school also conducts international service tours where students assist local schools and community organisations. Recent international service tours have visited India, China, Vanuatu and Samoa. On the final day of Term two, a Prep School Billy Cart Race is held to support World Vision. One of the most important service activities for the year is the Sony Foundation Children's Holiday Camp Program, where students from Years Eleven and Twelve care for a child with special needs during the September Holidays. In 2012, Churchie won the Queensland Community Foundation's Corporate Community Philanthropist of the Year Award for donating over $2million over the past two decades to charitable foundations.
As with most Australian schools, Churchie uses a house system. Each student is a member of one of its eleven houses, and competes in inter-house events. Churchie's inter-house competition includes swimming, cross-country, track and field, trivia, lightning chess and singing. Points are awarded based on a house's participation and position. In addition to the Inter-House Cup awarded at the end of the year, shields are awarded to the house that comes first in each event. Canon Morris started Churchie's house system in 1935.
Day students from the middle and senior schools belong to one of nine-day houses. (The preparatory school has four houses, all of which are day houses: Jutes, Angles, Saxons and Danes.)
Biggs house was named after E.E. Biggs, a member of the first school council. He attended the school from 1918 to 1923. The Biggs family's association with the school continues to the present day. The house motto is Semper Conemur ("Always Striving"). Colours: blue and white.
Casey house was founded in 1971 and named in honour of Richard Gardiner Casey (1890–1976), later Baron Casey of Berwick, a distinguished Australian diplomat, politician and Governor-General of Australia. The house motto, Vis et Unitas, is usually translated as "Progress Through Unity". The house coat of arms incorporates themes from Casey's own coat of arms, with the addition of the crossed Viking swords. Colours: gold and royal purple (Baron Casey's own colours).
Grenfell, founded in 1935, was one of the first four-day houses at Churchie. It was named after Sir Wilfred Thomasson Grenfell, who was born at Parkgate, England, in 1865. Grenfell was a doctor whose love of the sea and interest in boating led him to becoming a master mariner. A lecturer of his suggested he join a large fishing fleet as their doctor. Within five years he had encouraged the fishermen to stop drinking alcohol and Queen Victoria's interest in his successful persuasion of the crew led to her presenting the fleet with its first hospital boat. In 1891, Grenfell sailed to Cape St. John in the North Atlantic. He was mobbed by people who needed medical attention. The following spring he returned to Labrador with two doctors and nurses, where he set up two hospital bases for the Eskimos who populated Labrador. A third hospital was set up at St. Anthony in about 1898. Sir Wilfred Grenfell gave the school permission to use his personal motto, Loyal Devoir, and coat of arms when the house was established. Colours: red and gold.
Hillary house was named by the late headmaster Charles Fisher, who looked for men who had achieved success in their chosen field. He chose Sir Edmund Hillary, who, in 1953, was one of the first men ever to climb Mount Everest. The house colours and crest were chosen by the first students of Hillary from designs submitted by students. The crest incorporated the symbols of knighthood—a knight's helmet, a castle, and a fist pointing upward. The house motto is Semper Sursum ("Ever Upward"). Colours: black and gold.
Kingsley was one of the original four houses. It held both day and boarding students until 1950, when the two boarding houses were created. In 1971, Kingsley House was divided to create Biggs and Hillary houses. Canon Morris chose Charles Kingsley, a man he considered a Christian with a Viking's courage, as the house's patron. History revealed Charles Kingsley to have been a man who practiced his Christian beliefs and followed his social conscience to help the less fortunate, with whom he chose to live. The Kingsley house motto, Age Quod Agis, translates loosely as "Do What You Do Well". Colours: black and white.
Magnus was one of the original four-day houses. The house is named after St Magnus, Churchie's patron saint. The house's coat of arms is a simple shield with St. Magnus holding a sword and a palm of martyrdom. This image of St Magnus is from a stained-glass window in St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney and dates back probably to the thirteenth century. The house motto is Sibi Fidelis ("Be Faithful To Oneself"). Colours: maroon and royal blue.
Mansfield was named after Sir Alan Mansfield, a distinguished barrister and former judge, Chief Justice and Governor of Queensland. Sir Alan attended the school when it was known as St. Magnus Hall. The house crest borrows heavily from the Mansfield family coat of arms. The house motto is "Steadfast". Colours: white and blue.
Mawson house was named after Sir Douglas Mawson, a distinguished geologist and Antarctic explorer, who became famous for his discovery of the South Magnetic Pole in 1908 and his ill-fated second journey to Antarctica in 1911. He continued to visit and explore Antarctica up until 1931. The house motto is Alis Austri ("On the Wings of the South Wind"). The Mawson coat of arms includes the vessel Mawson used on his voyages south and the Southern Cross. Colours: red and green.
Nansen was one of the original four houses, named after Fridtjof Nansen, a scientist, explorer and humanitarian. The Nansen house crest was established at Churchie in 1938; inscribed on the crest is the motto Fram, which means "Forward". Colours: green and white.
There are two boarding houses, both based on the school grounds.
Gerald house was opened in 1934, as the need for new boarding accommodation grew. Prior to 1959, boarders took part in competitive sport as members of a day house. This changed in 1950, when the boarding houses became sporting competitors in their own right. The house was named after Gerald Sharp, Archbishop of Brisbane (1921–1933). The house crest shows the Bishop's mitre which symbolises the connection with Archbishop Sharp; the large star signifies God; the two smaller stars king and country, and the five small stars signify truth, honesty, duty, comradeship, and charity. The house's motto is Fideliter Et Constanter, meaning "Faithfully and Constantly". Colours: green and yellow.
Goodwin house was opened in 1928, and named after Lieutenant General Sir John Goodwin, most famous for his medical work in World War I. Goodwin took interest in the progress of the school while he was Governor of Queensland. The house motto is Fide et Virtute, meaning "By Faith and Courage". The Goodwin house crest is the family crest of Sir John Goodwin, who suggested it be adopted by the house when he granted permission for it to be named Goodwin. Colours: red and gold.
In 2006, Churchie lessened the number of school houses in the inter-house competition. Five houses—three-day and two boarding—were abolished, reducing the total number of houses from sixteen to eleven. The three-day houses removed were Alban (dark blue and sky blue), Schonell (red and blue) and Halse (gold and light green). Donaldson (blue and gold) and Strong (gold and black) are the two former boarding houses.
Student bodies and leadership groups
A number of student and leadership groups exist at the school. The Prefect Body is a group of seniors selected by the students and teachers of the school to lead the student body in all aspects of Churchie life. It is led by the three school vice-captains and the School Captain, who are collectively known as the Student Executive. The Head Boarder is the leader of the boarding students. The Student Council is a student organisation, led by the Speaker of the House (a school vice-captain) and the two managers-of-business, consisting of the assembly and the cabinet. Service Coordinators is a group of seniors selected within their houses and led by the President of Service who encourage service within the school.
Since 2008, boys in Year Nine must participate either in weekly community service, scouting or the Tri-Service Cadets program. Boys must commit to these until the end of Year Nine. The school also operates the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards and in November 2014, Prince Edward, accompanied by Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey, visited the school to promote the award as part of an Australian tour.
This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations.(June 2019)
Alumni of Anglican Church Grammar School are known as 'Old Boys', and may elect to join the school's alumni association, the Churchie Old Boys' Association. Notable Churchie Old Boys include:
Cameron Dick – former Attorney-General of Queensland, Minister for Industrial Relations of Queensland and Minister for Education of Queensland (2009–2011); current Minister of Health of Queensland and Minister of Ambulance Services of Queensland (2015–)
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