The Grammar Schools' Act, passed by the new Queensland Government in 1860, provided for the establishment of secondary education in this state. By 1868, enthusiastic public subscribers had raised enough money to enable the establishment of our School, Brisbane's first Grammar School and the first independent boys school. In that same year, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, laid the foundation stone at the School's original site in Roma Street.
The doors of the new school opened in February 1869 with ninety-four students and four masters under the leadership of Headmaster Thomas Harlin. In 1881, the School was moved to its present site and the magnificent neo-gothic style Great Hall and classrooms were opened that year. With the opening of the Boarding House in 1886, the School became one of the first to provide unified boarding facilities on site. ‘State-of-the-art’ science laboratories were constructed in 1912.
The School has grown from strength to strength and has consistently anticipated educational needs, providing a resource library and language laboratory in 1968, before Commonwealth funding made them standard facilities in schools. With the purchase of the former Primary Correspondence School in 1993 at the southern boundary of the School, the site encompassed sufficient space to address the future needs of 1200 students. Since 2003, when the Middle School opened for Years 6 and 7, the School has operated at its current capacity of approximately 1400 students.
Two important and impressive sporting facilities have been added within the past two decades – the Northgate Playing Fields in 1997 and the Indoor Sports Centre in 2000. In 2010, the School opened what is the most important academic building in its history – The Lilley Centre – which combines technology-rich, cutting-edge, flexible learning spaces with a well-resourced library and programs designed to assist students navigate their learning in the knowledge era. Also in 2010, the Centenary Building was refurbished to provide the same technology rich flexible learning spaces for Middle School students.
Brisbane Grammar School values the pursuit of academic excellence through a broad liberal education. The preservation of the School's traditional ambience, the fostering of pride in its achievements and its integral place within Brisbane’s history are continuing objectives which we hope will give all students, past and present, a sense of belonging to the BGS family.
Brisbane Grammar School has two sets of colours. The first, introduced by Mr T. Harlin, Headmaster 1869-1876, were red and gold and have become associated with academic pursuits. Mr R.H. Roe, Headmaster 1876-1909, introduced the Sporting Colours of Oxford and Cambridge Blue.