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Churchie's History

Churchie’s rich history and longstanding traditions date back to 1912 when William Perry French Morris founded the school at Toowong, before relocating to the present site in East Brisbane in 1918.

In Canon Morris’s first address to parents he stated his aim was to ‘train characters as well as minds’. He encouraged boys to take part in physical activity as well as their studies.

Early in 1913 the school’s name was changed to The Cathedral School following a move to new premises at St John’s Cathedral in the city where 33 boys finished the year.

Numbers continued to grow and in 1916 with an enrolment of 106 students and the name changed to Church of England Grammar School, a decision was made to purchase land to build a new school. In 1917 the foundation stone was laid on the site where Churchie stands today.
Since 1912 thousands of young men have been educated at Churchie prior to taking their places as well-rounded men and responsible, contributing members of society represented in all walks of life.

Historic Publications

The Field of Honour

The story of the Old Boys and staff who died serving their country.
Each year on Anzac Day the School Captain reads out the names of the Old Boys of the school who died on active service. It is a long list; from the Great War at the start of the twentieth century to Afghanistan in 2011. To the hushed assembly gathered around the Flat, the reading of the names brings a personal dimension to the solemnity of the Anzac service and with it emotions raised from the despairing tragedy of lost youth.
But each year, as the ranks of those who actually knew these young men diminish, the service is also a reminder that the living memory of these Old Boys and their deeds will soon be lost. Conscious of this, the School Council commissioned The Field of Honour to capture the all too brief life and time of these men so that there would be a permanent historical record of who they were and what they did.
Emboldened to serve as best they could, each of them has a story worth preserving. Each left a family and, in many cases, young wives and children to do what they believed to be their duty. The book is their collective story.
Buy your copy online or visit the Churchie Shop during school hours.

A Pictorial History of Churchie: Celebrating 100 Years of Old Boys

Celebrating the centenary of the Old Boys’ Association

A Pictorial History of Churchie: Celebrating 100 Years of Old Boys is now available for purchase for $50. Authored by former Churchie teacher and School Archivist James Mason OAM, the book creates a pictorial and chronological journey of the history of Churchie from those distant days to now.
Featuring almost one thousand images, some never before seen, it is sure to evoke treasured memories and restore previously forgotten ones across many generations of Old Boys.
Orders can be placed online here. Books purchased may be collected from the Churchie Shop (during school term) or the OBA office (during school holidays). Delivery is available for $5 per book. 

The Centenary Register

by Jamaes Mason

One of Churchie's earliest historical documents is Canon Morris' handwritten roll of 1912. Surprisingly, for a document almost a century old, it was discovered only in 2009 having survived in private possession in a battered long-forgotten tin box. 

Andrew Rowan, in 1968, produced An Old Boy's Scrapbook and succeeded in capturing a great deal of Churchie's history material in one book. The Centenary Register has the same intent. The book sets out to record certainly not all the facts, but rather the significant facts of Churchie's first one hundred years. It should answer those increasingly frequent questions people are now asking about either Churchie's past or their own family link with the school. 

As such, although it is very much an historical record, The Centenary Register is not a history book like its companion volume Churchie a Centenary Portrait. It is a book that will be consulted rather than read. This is its role and purpose, a timely and invaluable marker as the school moves into its second century. 

Churchie A Centenary Portrait

by Peter Hempenstall

Churchie was the creation and life work of Canon Morris, born and educated in Melbourne of strong Anglican stock. His wife, Ethel Renfrey Morris, persuaded him to come to Brisbane in 1912 to begin a school for boys. Begun in a house in Toowong, Morris' little school became a diocesan institution and has grown into the state's premier independent church school and one of the nation's Great Public Schools. 

This portrait of 100 years of Churchie tells the story of Morris' early struggles and his gradual triumph in building a great school on a frugal platform. It is the story of a mission to create Christian gentlemen on the foundations of the Anglican faith, and of the characters and adventures of Churchie students, their teachers and the various helpers who have raised the elegant buildings and glorious playing fields on the edge of the Brisbane River and a stone's throw from the centre of the city. 

Peter Hempenstall's exacting research and elegant prose captures the true spirit of the school and the challenges of the generations who were part of it. It is a story that is always interesting and at times profoundly moving. 

The Making of Men

A History of Churchie 1912 to 1986
by John R Cole

Commissioned by the School Council for the 75th anniversary of Churchie, The Making of Men reveals that the school has had a long and impressive hisotry from the day it was founded in 1912. The book was published at the time that Bill Hayward completed thirteen years as Headmaster at Churchie and Christopher Ellis took over as successor. 

The Making of Men explores the stages of growth for the then-named Cathedral School for Boys, to the move of location to East Brisbane, the beginning of the Great Public Schools association and onto the hardships of World War II. The book is a cherished reflection of the colourful and complex history of what it took to create today's Churchie and the story behind our motto 'the making of men'.