150 Treasures

​Brisbane Grammar School has a rich collection of objects that chart our history and give us a wonderful insight into the character of the School. 

The symbols on our trophies and bookplates reflect our values and aspirations. Honour boards acknowledge achievement and commemorate service. Artefacts and memorabilia testify to brave deeds and contributions made to all walks of life. Letters and documents reveal the challenges we faced and the dreams we realised. Architecture, etchings, manuscripts and medals adorn our collection. They all tell stories of endeavour, commitment and vision. 

We hope you enjoy looking at the Treasures of Brisbane Grammar School.

New treasures will be published to this page daily until the last of the 150 treasures is posted on the day of the BGS150 Gala Dinner on 3 March 2018.
  • Jubilee Dinner Menu 1920

    The School’s Jubilee Dinner was held at the popular Roof Garden Café of Finney, Isles & Co. Ltd on 19 July 1920. The dinner was delayed because of the late return of troops from the Front and the influenza outbreak in 1919. This dinner menu re...

  • W. A. Leslie Memorial Tablet

    ​In 1917, this marble and bronze memorial tablet was erected by friends and family in loving memory of Old Boy Captain Walter Aland Leslie (BGS 1901-1903). He took part in the AIF Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915, was severely wounded at Gaba Te...

  • F. L. Jones African War Veterans medal

    This rare and exquisitely crafted gold and enamel Past President's Badge, African War Veterans Association, was presented to Old Boy Major Frank Lionel Jones (BGS 1882), who served as President of the African War Veterans Association Queensland fr...

  • Dead Man's Penny

    ​This bronze memorial plaque, known as Dead Man’s Penny, signifies that Old Boy Frank Granville Haymen (BGS 1905-1907) ‘died for freedom and honour’ in the First World War. He was killed at the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915, and was just one ...

  • F. L. South Distinguished Flying Cross
    ​​Old Boy Flight Lieutenant Frank Leslie South (BGS 1924-1929) was awarded this Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. He had completed many successful oper​ations over Germany as a bomber navigator with the senior RAAF Lancaster squadron in Britain. Th...
  • Bridges letter to Stephenson 1926

    The Poet Laureate Robert Bridges wrote this letter from his home in Oxford, England on 25 February 1926. He was writing to Stuart Stephenson to thank him for a copy of the Annals of the Brisbane Grammar School: 1869-1922, which would ...

  • H. W., Lethem small plaquette 1869

    This small plaquette was engraved for 1869 foundation student Herbert William Lethem, winner of a prize for diligence in 1869. It was originally attached to a silver pencil case presented to him at the School’s first Foundation Day celebration in ...

  • OBA Annual Dinner 1932

    ​The Old Boys annual dinner on Foundation Day is a long-standing tradition that continues to this day. Very few faces have been identified in this photograph of the 1932 dinner, apart from George Carson-Cooling, who is wearing a light suit and sit...

  • F. R. Vincent pockets 1927
    ​​Being awarded a sporting pocket has always been a great honour. These two pockets, awarded to Fitzgerald Roxburgh Vincent (BGS 1924-1929) are important reminders of the evolution of sport at BGS. In 1927 he was awarded one of these pockets for swim...
  • V. Mercer-Smith's pilot log book

    This pilot log book belonged to Old Boy Lieutenant Victor Mercer-Smith (BGS 1910), who served on the Western Front before receiving his commission as a lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. While on a bombing mission he was shot down over ...

  • Ogilvie cricket bat

    ​​​Former Australian Test cricketer David Ogilvie’s cricket bat, commemorating his First Test versus India in 1977 at the Gabba, is now displayed at Northgate. An Old Boy (BGS 1965-1969), he was a member of the School’s First XI, which he captaine...

  • Officers of Cadets 1906

    ​​​​​This 1906 photograph of Officers of Cadets was taken in the School grounds. It shows Captain of Cadets, George Gross and Headmaster and Commanding Officer of Cadets, Major Reginald Heber Roe, with cadets who enlisted in the First World War.​​...

  • G. M. Lumsden Memorial Foundation 1945

    ​​Near the War Memorial Library is a hexagon-shaped sandstone drinking fountain dedicated to the memory of Old Boy Graham Murray Lumsden (BGS 1932-1933) by his parents, W and M Lumsden. 

    ​RAAF Flying Officer Graham Lumsden was just 26 y...

  • R.H. Roe's miniature oar

    Reginald Heber Roe, the School’s second headmaster from 1876-1909, was presented with this commemorative miniature oar for winning Head of the River in 1875 when a student at Balliol College, Oxford. Roe was an outstanding oarsman and the School h...

  • Bicycle Poem by D. Malouf

    This small booklet, Bicycle: A Poem by David Malouf, with line drawings by Noel McKenna, has been signed by both the author and artist. This is a rare item, as only 100 copies were produced. Malouf, a celebrated author and poet, was a...

  • Jottings about Pepperina Hill

    ​These three handwritten volumes, ‘Jottings and Reminiscences of Life at Pepperina Hill’, were written by Form 4 students attending the Moogerah Camp between 1984 and 1994. Their day-to-day experiences are accompanied by many humorous pen sketches...

  • Union Bank first cheque book

    ​This small bank book, showing Union Bank of Australia deposits and withdrawals, dates from 1869 when the original School at Roma Street opened its doors to students. Titled ‘The Treasurer of the Brisbane Grammar School’, the first handwritten ent...

  • A.S. West Travelling Clock

    ​This handsome travelling clock in a leather case is a large pocket watch in a silver square concave mount with embossed garland decoration. It was engraved with a dedication from the Trustees of the School. The clock was presented to Second Lieut...

  • C. Butler's prayer book 1846

    ​​What makes this small 1846 prayer book, Paroissien Complet: A L’Usage des Fideles du Diocese D’Amiens, significant is the folded handwritten note attached to the back page, written by Old Boy Lieutenant Colin Hope Butler (BGS 1906-1...

  • S. Coulton's Zoot Suit 1997

    ​​Shaun Coulton (BGS 1992-1997) wore this zoot suit in 1997 when he rowed in the School’s First VIII which won both the Head of the River and National Schoolboy Titles. In the same year he rowed for Australia in the Junior Double Scull Championshi...

  • C. Flint book prize 1878

    Charles Flint (BGS 1874-1879) was awarded several volumes of the leather-bound Lives of the Engineers VI as book prize for winning the Cockle Prize for Mathematics in 1878. He was awarded the Silver Lilley Medal in 1876, and won an extens...

  • Original Brisbane Grammar School

    ​​This 1869 photograph is probably the earliest photograph of the original Brisbane Grammar School at Roma Street and shows its semi-rural setting with the gymnasium in the background. Architect Benjamin Backhouse’s elaborate plans for the school ...

  • G. Bernard Shaw letter to G. Carson-Cooling

    ​​The playwright George Bernard Shaw sent this letter to Headmaster George Carson ̵ Cooling on 29 July 1943, highlighting their similar views on education. Shaw’s letter has many corrections in ink, and was typed and signed by him when he was livi...

  • E. M. Little's Sonnets and Other Poems

    ​Old Boy Edwin Maurice Little (BGS 1906-1909) wrote a small volume of verse, Sonnets and Other Poems, which was published in 1923. In the foreword, Headmaster FSN Bousfield wrote that the poems reflected ‘the sane and cheerful optimism’ o...

  • Painting by F. Lymburner

    ​This 1947 ink drawing of a man riding an elephant, Circus, is the work of Francis Lymburner, (BGS 1930-1933). Lymburner was a keen art student at the School. His drawings of animals reveal his considerable skill in capturing moment and m...

  • Honour board for Distinguished Service

    ​​​​​This cedar Honour Board for Distinguished Service to the School was a gift of the Brisbane Grammar Old Boys Association in 1938. It recognises Trustees, Headmasters, staff, Old Boys and members of the School community who have given exemplary...

  • Intercolonial cadets' Rifle Match Team 1889

    ​​​​This photograph shows the Intercolonial Cadets’ Rifle Match Team in 1889. The School cadets won the second competition for the Sargood Challenge Shield and scored the highest possible score. The photo includes from left: Sergeant EK Tully ...

  • Parry-Okeden Military Cross 1914

    ​​​Old Boy Captain Uvedale Edward Parry-Okeden (BGS 1889-1891) enlisted on 14 September 1914 in the 4th Battalion and was promoted to captain at Gallipoli. He was awarded this Military Cross on 8 November 1915 for distinguished service in the fiel...

  • James Galt Lilley Medals 1893 & 1895

    ​This is one of very few medals in the School’s medal collection made of 15 carat gold. The Gold Lilley Medal was awarded to James Galt in 1895. He won the Silver Lilley Medal Upper School in 1893. James Galt (BGS 1891-1895) was described in the S...

  • Memorial to R. P. Francis

    This bronze memorial tablet in the Great Hall was erected in 1942 in memory of Old Boy and first master Richard Powell Francis, who died tragically in the 1893 flood. Francis was an outstanding sportsman, mathematician and oarsman. He attended BGS...

  • Septem Contra Thebas student magazine

    ​​Here is an example of the comic-book style of writings and sketches from the student magazine, ‘Septem Contra Thebas’ (Seven Against Thebes, named after an ancient Greek play by Aeschylus) and ‘Punch’, which ran from 1878-1883. The magazine prov...

  • R.H. Roe Inkwell set

    This exquisitely crafted inkwell set, originally belonging to second Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe, has pride of place on the Headmaster’s desk. The individual pieces, made in London between 1819 and 1821, comprise a sterling silver tray with mini...

  • Mason greeted by Lavarack 1955

    In this photograph we see Alfred John (Shon) Mason, a master at the School for 51 years from 1889 to 1940, being congratulated by one of his former pupils, Sir John Lavarack, (BGS 1899-1904), on being awarded the Most Excellent Order of the Britis...

  • The Cadet Honour Board

    ​The Cadet Honour Board, which records the 1903, 1907 and 1914 champion cadet teams, is probably the most visually appealing honour board at the School because of its Italian Renaissance style frame and carved leaf ornament on top. It is divided i...

  • The Woolcock Challenge Cup

    ​​​The Woolcock Challenge Cup, one of the most significant items on display in the War Memorial Library, was presented in memory of Old Boys who died in the Great War. The rim of the goblet is inscribed: ‘These gallant striplings, dead beside ...

  • Harold Plant Memorial Medal

    This 9-carat gold Harold Plant Memorial Medal in its presentation case, accompanied by a miniature 9-carat gold medal on a loop, was won by Samuel Ivar Backstrom (BGS 1916-1920) in 1920 for chemistry and physics. The award was endowed by Colonel C...

  • Student Under Field Gun 1928

    This circa 1928 photograph portrays a young student standing beneath the barrel of the captured Field Gun in front of the War Memorial Library, with the early gymnasium and tennis courts in the background. This familiar image has been copied for u...

  • Painting by Old Boy W. Grant 1940

    In 1940, Old Boy William Grant (BGS 1889-1891) painted this lovely watercolour, Woman Feeding Fowls 2, which portrays the backyard of his house ‘Bimbimbie’, in Nundah. 

    While at the School he was taught art by Drawing Master Ja...

  • Pupils and masters 1919

    This 1919 whole-of-School photo shows the single-storey school with the New Building in the background. Not all staff members are present, but some are pictured in the background near the carriage porch of the Great Hall.​​

    ...
  • Harlin's unpublished textbook

    ​​Though this is likely not his handwriting, Thomas Harlin, MA compiled the work for his unpublished textbook, Treatise on Plane and Spherical Trigonometry over a nine-year period from about 1867 to 1875. Before coming to Queensland, he had studie...

  • OBA Year Book 1898-99

    ​The Brisbane Grammar School Old Boys’ Association was founded on 1 June 1898. This first OBA year book thanks first president and Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe, ‘for providing the means, which many Old Boys have long desired, of continuing the ti...

  • Sir Henry Norman Trophy punchbowl 1890

    This decorative punch bowl, known as the Sir Henry Wylie Norman Trophy, was awarded to the School’s cadets in 1890 for winning the Open March Past Competition. It was presented to the cadets by General the Honourable Sir Henry Norman, soldier, gov...

  • WWII Honour Board

    ​The World War II Honour Board on the western wall of the Great Hall pays tribute to all the Old Boys who served in the armed forces from 1939-1945. The maple honour board was erected by the Old Boys’ Association to a design by Old Boy architect D...

  • Boy Cricketer by Terry Summers

    This white bronze sculpture, cast by Phillip Piperides in 2013, was commissioned by the School Art Committee. It is from the original recycled cardboard sculpture Boy Cricketer by Terry Summers, who made and donated it when he was a resident artis...

  • R.P. Francis Book Prize 1877

    ​This book prize for Mathematics was awarded to Richard Powell Francis (BGS 1870-1877) for winning the Cockle Prize in 1877. The original book prize comprised three volumes of Civilization in England by T.H. Buckle in 1873, of which only volume on...

  • Tuckshop circa 1955

    ​This photograph shows students buying food from the verandah of the School’s tuckshop circa 1955. The cottage was built in 1881 as a home for the School's Janitor/Messenger, George Rilatt (Rylatt). It cost £250 to construct and George started the...

  • Painting by Old Boy E. Colclough 1936

    ​​This 1936 pencil drawing, Quarries, River Terrace, Kangaroo Point, was the work of Old Boy Edward Colclough, (BGS 1880-1882) a renowned watercolourist who became a trustee of the Queensland National Art Gallery, established in 1895. ‘Ned’ Colclo...

  • Carson-Cooling Book

    What makes this copy of George Carson-Cooling’s book, Here’s a Villain, particularly interesting is his handwritten inscription dated November 1949: ‘To my son Carson whose many suggestions helped in the making of this book’. The book...

  • Christ Hospital Medal 1869

    ​​One of the most treasured medals in the Roe family collection is this Christ’s Hospital Medal awarded to Reginald Heber Roe in 1869, when he became head Grecian (Sixth former) at Christ’s Hospital School in London. Founded in 1552, the school’s ...

  • R.H. Roe's Diary 1879-1880

    ​The School’s second Headmaster, Reginald Heber Roe documents his two-month journey from Brisbane to Sydney with his wife Maud in this diary, which spans December 1879 to February 1880. His hand-written account paints a fascinating picture of seab...

  • Centenary Year Magazine

    ​​BGS celebrated its centenary in 1968 with several events to mark this important milestone. This special Centenary Year Magazine, published in September 1968, documents the highlights: the commemoration assembly in City Hall; the laying of th...

  • Lilley Memorial Tablet

    ​​​This bronze Memorial Tablet to Sir Charles Lilley, dated 1899, was designed by renowned architect Robin Dods, an Old Boy (BGS 1881-1886) The Latin inscription on the tablet reads:

    The first found​ations of this building were laid in t...

  • General Register vol 1

    Before digital data bases, BGS administration relied on a leather-bound General Register. Volume I, dating from 1870-1911, is the most interesting of the six General Registers, because it includes a School roll and list of staff and trustees for b...

  • Earliest photograph of new school 1881

    ​​This is one of the earliest photographs of the new School at Gregory Terrace after it opened in 1881 with students just visible under the verandah. The grounds were very bare and enclosed by a paling fence to protect the premises from grazing ca...

  • Hopkins Challenge Cup 1914

    ​A miniature cadet marksman kneels on top of this distinctive presentation trophy, known as the Hopkins Challenge Cup. It was donated in 1914 by Lieutenant Colonel GH Hopkins for the best cadet marksman (the School’s best shot). The trophy was awa...

  • Memorial table by A.T. Fraser

    This beautiful maple presentation table, with its undulating border of acanthus leaves on the table-top, was made by an Old Boy, Alexander Thomas Fraser (BGS 1869-1873), a silver Lilley Medal recipient in 1872. He gave it in thanks for the safe re...

  • World War I Honour Board

    ​​​​​​​The World War I Honour Board on the eastern wall of the Great Hall pays tribute to over 1000 Old Boys, masters and trustees who served in the armed forces from 1914-1918. The honour board was designed by Old Boy architect Thomas Ramsay Hall...

  • Megaphone 1947

    ​Showing signs of wear and tear, this megaphone dates back to 1947 when Rodney John Munro (BGS 1947-1948) was a student. His father made the megaphone out of paper mache, and painted it in the School colours for use on sports days, particularly sw...

  • The Palmes D’Officer D’Academie medal

    ​​The Palmes D’Officer D’Academie medal was presented to Basil Porter in 1933. He was French Master on the staff from 1892-1933. The medal is framed with three accompanying documents, and hangs in the School Archives. One of the documents is a let...

  • BGS at Roma St with staff and students 1872

    ​​This circa 1872 photograph shows the original Brisbane Grammar School at Roma Street with staff and students outside the main building.​

    ...
  • Sculpture by L. Shillam

    ​​​Leonard Shillam’s arresting sculpture, Flight, was installed near the front entrance to the School in 1972. It was purchased at the 1971 School Art Show as a single Albatross. The second bird was commissioned by the Art Commit...

  • The One and Only Magazine 1916

    ​The student magazine, The One and Only, published in 1916, was the one and only combined Brisbane Grammar Schools and Ipswich Grammar Schools publication of its type ever produced. It was subtitled ‘The Brightest, Breeziest, and Best Sch...

  • R.H. Roe's silver inkstand

    ​Reginald Heber Roe, Headmaster from 1876-1909, was presented with this beautiful silver inkstand by the staff of the School when he retired in 1909. It was made in 1906 by Hardy Brothers in Birmingham and engraved with the names of the staff who ...

  • Memorial Bellcote

    ​​The Memorial Bellcote is a familiar landmark in the western wall of the Newall Courtyard. It was erected in 1928 to commemorate George Rilatt, ‘one of the most colourful characters associated with BGS…who for fifty-one years acted as janitor, gu...

  • Board of Trustees minutes of meetings

    This exercise book contains the first Board of Trustees minutes of meetings, dating from October 1867 to December 1868. One of the decisions reached in the first handwritten entry on 22 October 1867 was to appoint Benjamin Backhouse as architect f...

  • Boarding House Drawing 1886

    ​​​Opened in 1887, the BGS Boarding House known as School House provided a home-away-from-home for generations of boarders. This ink and wash perspective drawing is the work of Brisbane architect Richard Gailey. His design complements the Gothic R...

  • View of ovals from New Building balcony

    ​​A sweeping vista of the School’s sports grounds can be viewed from the front verandah of the interwar New Building. Below are the sports’ ovals, cricket pavilion and scoreboard. Looking across the Inner City Bypass, the School’s tennis centre wi...

  • Empire Medal 1907

    ​The School won the Schools of the Empire competition in 1903 and 1907, competing against schools from England, Natal and Australia. This 1907 Schools of the Empire Medal was accompanied by a Challenge Cup presented by the Prince of Wales to the w...

  • Moreton bay trees planted by princes

    ​These two Moreton Bay fig trees were planted by two grandsons of Queen Victoria on 19 August 1881, when they made an official visit to the new School on Gregory Terrace. Prince Albert, (often referred to as Edward, one of his middle names) and hi...

  • Pax and Victoria windows

    Pax (Peace) and Victoria (Victory) are two magnificent stained-glass windows above the entrances to the War Memorial Library. They are two of the 12 windows, designed by stained-glass artist Charles Tute and represent t...

  • Bradman and Nothling 1928 Test Match

    ​This 1928 photograph of the Second Test Match of England versus Australia includes (Sir) Donald Bradman (front row, third from right) and Old Boy Otto Ernst Nothling (BGS 1914-1919) (back row, second from right). The test was played in Sydney, an...

  • Concert Program 1911

    The Protestant Hall was the venue for the School’s concert held on 21 and 22 September 1911. This small program, one of the earliest in the School’s collection, included musical selections accompanied by the School orchestra and choir, a gymnastic...

  • Lilley Medal dies

    The engraving of these Lilley Medal dies was carried out by Robert Capner in Brisbane. The first medals, in silver only, were struck at the Sydney Mint as arranged through Flavelle & Roberts. Myers Badges & Dies (Photograve) was responsibl...

  • Portico etching by V. Sheldon 1927

    ​​This 1927 etching, Portico of the Great Hall, was the work of artist Vincent Sheldon. He delighted in capturing unusual views of the city’s early architecture, and highlighting the beauties of ‘old Brisbane’, the historic corners a...

  • Cedric Hill's Propeller

    ​​Above the south entry of the War Memorial Library hangs the mounted 4-blade propeller from Cedric Hill’s (BGS 1906-1908) Tiger Moth. Hill’s photograph is in the central medallion. He crashed his plane in 1930 while attempting to beat Bert Hinkle...

  • Whole School Photo 1892

    ​​This 1892 whole-of-school photo outside the main School building shows staff and students at that time. The photo includes School Janitor and Messenger George Rilatt, Major George Gross, Second Master Richard Powell Francis and Headmaster Regina...

  • Roe Marriage Locket

    ​​This silver marriage locket in its presentation case is one of a pair of lockets containing photos of BGS’s Second Headmaster, Reginald Heber Roe and his fiancé, Annie Maud Whish.

    The locket is engraved with the interlaced initials ‘M’ and...

  • War Memorial Library foundation stone

    ​​​This photograph was taken on Anzac Day 1923 at the laying of the foundation stone for the War Memorial Library. The event was a momentous day in the School calendar and shows visiting dignitaries, staff and students with pupils from Brisbane Gi...

  • Betty Howell memorial window

    ​This memorial stained-glass window in the Great Hall celebrates 25 years of service to the School from 1965 to 1989 by Headmaster, Maxwell A. Howell and his wife, Joan Elizabeth (Betty) Howell. The Art Committee commissioned artists Tony Vaughan ...

  • Deed of Grant 1878

    Dated 8 April 1878, this beautifully handwritten Deed of Grant details the size, location and conditions of use for land transferred to the Board of Trustees for the new Spring Hill School building. The School’s hilltop position overlooking the ci...

  • Entrance to the school

    From the Gregory Terrace entrance to the School is the vista of the iconic Brutalist architecture of the 1960s and 1970s buildings, flanking a central courtyard leading to the War Memorial Library. These buildings and foundation stone were part of...

  • Sargood Shield 1878

    The Sargood Shield is named after Lieutenant Colonel Sargood, who started the cadet movement in Victoria in 1884. The Shield came to the School in 1890 following the School’s consecutive wins in the Intercolonial Rifle Competition in 1888, 1889 an...

  • Pine Tree Section

    ​​​This pine tree section, salvaged from one of the trees planted in the School grounds, was reputed to be seeded from Lone Pine, Gallipoli.​

    During the early days of World War I, the Turks had cut down all but one of the Aleppo pines th...

  • Rowing First IV 1917

    One of the School’s greatest scullers is featured in this photograph of the rowing First Four in 1917. They are (standing) CR Lawton and A Baynes; (sitting) AK Stewart, E Colclough (coach), JG Hoare (cox), and T Lawton. Arthur Baynes (BGS 1913-191...

  • The Gentle Craftsman Program 1933

    ​This theatre program is for The Gentle Craftsman, one of several plays written for the School by George Carson-Cooling. The Brisbane Grammar School Old Boys’ Dramatic Players performed the play at the Cremorne Theatre on Friday 22 September 1933....

  • C.B. Lethem Lilley Medal 1869

    This Lilley Medal is one of the first four to be struck by the Sydney Mint in 1869. It was presented to 1869 foundation student Basil Charles Lethem for Latin in February 1870 (prize day being the following year). The gold and silver Lilley Me...
  • War Memorial Library site 1923

    ​​​​​​This is the earliest photograph in the School’s collection of the War Memorial Library site in 1923, just prior to the construction of the building. The photo originally belonged to Old Boy John Fletcher Drewe (BGS 1920-1923), a keen photogr...

  • Letter from Governor-General 1925

    ​Before leaving Australia, the Right Honourable Lord Forster, Governor-General of Australia, wrote this letter to the Headmaster, dated 28 September 1925, asking that his best wishes be passed on to the boys: 'Many of them will shortly be ente...

  • Painting by Old Boy D. Groom 2011

    ​​​This large oil painting, A Paradise Somewhere, was painted by Old Boy and artist David Groom (BGS 1985-1986) circa 2011. His stunning portrayal of the view from Beechmont, on the beautiful scenic rim, reflects his love of the Australian landsca...

  • Photograph of Boarders in 1875

    ​​​​This 1875 photo of boarders was taken in Frances Keogh’s house on Wickham Terrace.​

    Keogh was one of the masters at the School who took boarders in a homestay arrangement before the purpose-built boarding house was opened in 1886.​​​...

  • R.H. Roe's Carriage Clock

    The travelling alarm clock of its day, this English brass repeater carriage clock was presented to second Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe on 27 June 1876, the year he joined the School as Headmaster. The clock is in a brass frame and has five bevell...

  • War Memorial Library Opening Ceremony
    ​The official opening of the War Memorial Library by the Right Honourable Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Matthew Nathan, Governor of Queensland, on Armistice Day, 11 November 1924 is commemorated in this detailed program. Proceedings included a prayer, a two...
  • George Rilatt with dog photograph

    Longest-serving BGS staff member, George Rilatt is pictured in this photo with his dog (name unknown). It was taken on one of the classroom verandahs on either side of the Great Hall about 18 months before he died on 14 June 1924. He signed an...
  • Stationery Cupboard

    ​This handsome Australian cedar stationery cupboard is a significant piece of colonial furniture commissioned for the School sometime between 1880 and 1890. It is thought to be made by cabinet maker Thomas Quick, and displays fine workmanship with...

  • Architectural Drawing 1879

    ​This 1879 pen and wash architectural drawing of Brisbane Grammar School at Gregory Terrace provides the first artistic record of the School we know today. Architect James Cowlishaw’s design echoed the Gothic Revival style of the original building...

  • View of The Lilley Centre

    ​One of the most arresting vistas of the School is the reflected image of the 1880 Gothic Revival building in the eastern window of the Lilley Centre, which opened in 2010. The window in this contemporary building, designed by Blair Wilson, encaps...

  • Ralston Challenge Trophy

    ​​Brisbane Grammar School was presented with the Ralston Challenge Trophy by Major Walter Vardon Ralston in 1913 for winning the First Military District cadet competition. The diminutive cadet statue on the trophy is like many memorials erected af...

  • Letter from Princes 1881

    ​This handwritten letter of appreciation to the boys of the School from Prince Albert, (often referred to as Edward, one of his middle names) and his younger brother, Prince George (later King George V) was handed to the Headmaster, Reginald Heber...

  • The Gun
    One of the most familiar landmarks near the Great Hall is the Czechoslovakian ‘Skoda’ Field Gun and timber carriage, which were captured by distinguished Old Boy Brigadier-General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson (BGS 1885-1887). The inscription on a bronze t...
  • 1916 Rugby Honour Cap Winners

    ​This photograph features three 1916 rugby honour cap winners. On the left is Rhodes Scholar Victor Grenning, ‘Best Forward’; Rhodes Scholar Tom Lawton on the right, ‘Best Back’; and in the centre Colin Stewart, ‘Next Best Player’. Tom Lawton, (BG...

  • Valedictory Register

    ​​​This leather-bound Valedictory Register was established in 1994 through the gift of former Headmaster Dr Peter Lennox, who served from 1990-2005. Each page of the register, bordered by the School’s academic colours of red and gold, has a handwr...

  • E. Warner's etching of the School

    ​Ernest Warner's drypoint etching of Brisbane Grammar School, the first print of the edition, was used on the cover of the School prospectus during the 1940s. It shows the School before the Centenary building projects were constructed, with the te...

  • Letter from J. Murdoch 1885

    This handwritten letter was written by James Murdoch, who was renowned for his scholarly pursuits in Australia and abroad. Murdoch, who had previously been Headmaster of Maryborough Grammar School, was writing to the Board of Trustees on 13 July 1...

  • Memorial to W. Wilson and H. Chapman

    ​This memorial tablet was erected by old school friends in memory of two Old Boys, 21-year-old William Benjamin Wilson (BGS 1907-1910) and 20-year-old Herbert Stanley Chapman (BGS 1907-1910), 'who lost their lives in the surf at Southport on 28 De...

  • F. Hopp's boater

    This straw boater belonged to Frederick Hopp (BGS 1928-1930) and is the only one in the School uniform collection. In November 1929, the School Magazine editor commented, 'The revival of the “boater" hat is occupying the minds of many boys of...

  • A.S. Roe typescript memoir

    ​Yielding insights into the Roe family, this typescript memoir was written by Old Boy Dr Arthur Stanley Roe (BGS 1899-1903). Written in 1964, 'The Days are long but the years are short', tells stories of Roe's Kamp on South Stradbroke Island, and ...

  • R.H. Roe Bronze Bust 1926

    ​This bronze bust of second Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe was cast by the Perides Art Foundry in 1985 from a plaster sculpted many years earlier. Daphne Mayo, one of Queensland's most renowned sculptors, sculpted the plaster circa 1926 during the ...

  • BGS First Year Boys photograph 1920

    ​One of the School's most historic photographs is this one titled, 'Brisbane Grammar School First Year Boys, 1869, taken on the occasion of the First Jubilee of the School in 1920' showing the boys 50 years later. Included are nin...

  • R.A. Henderson Scoreboard 1985

    ​The R.A. Henderson scoreboard on number 2 oval commemorates the Chair of Trustees, Robert Andrew Henderson CBE (BGS 1937-1941) who died on 6 March 1985. Mr Henderson played a key role in progressing the Centenary Court Project. He was an outstand...

  • Headmaster's Record Book 1875-1885

    Masters at the School kept an impeccably handwritten record of students' names and results over a 10-year period in this leather-bound volume, 'Headmaster's Record Book 1875-1885'. Each student is recorded alphabetically for each quarter ...

  • Victoria Window in the Great Hall

    The Great Hall's northern window is arguably one of the most beautiful stained-glass windows in Australia. The central lancet is a life-sized portrayal of the young Queen Victoria. On either side of her are men famous in British history, each repr...

  • Boarders' Lawn

    ​One of the most familiar landmarks at the School, the Boarders' Lawn, is in front of the Roe Building the original boarding house designed by architect Richard Gailey and opened in 1887. Once large areas of gravel with trees on islands of tu...

  • School Cadet Corps Bugle

    ​This copper bugle, made by Henry Potter & Co in London in 1900, was used by the School Cadet Corps until they were disbanded in 1975. Since then one of the students plays this much-loved musical instrument at School ceremonies on Anzac Day an...

  • Duke of Edinburgh spade
    ​​His Royal Highness, Prince Philip visited the S​chool on 27 May 1968 during its centenary celebrations. He used this spade to plant a tree on the Boarders' Lawn, a companion to trees planted by Prince Edward and Prince George in August 1881.​...
  • Brigadier Wilson's medals

    This group of 11 medals in a black enamel presentation box were awarded to highly decorated veteran, Old Boy Brigadier General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson (BGS 1885-1887), CB CMG DSO CdeG between 1901 and 1937. He served in the Boer War, and in th...

  • Victor Sellheim Cup

    ​The Victor Sellheim Memorial Challenge Cup is named after Old Boy Victor Sellheim (BGS 1881-1884) the School's champion athlete in 1883, who later had a distinguished career in the army and public administration. Major General VCM Sellheim CB, CM...

  • 1936 Annual Concert Program

    In 1936, the School's musical concert was held at the Princess Theatre. This program included Second Master John Gabriel Nowlan conducting the School orchestra, songs by the School choir, a tap dance, a one-act play and the gymnastics squad perfor...

  • T.J. Byrnes Honour Board

    The T.J. Byrnes Honour Board, which has pride of place in the Great Hall, was designed in 1902 by Old Boy and architect Robin Dods (BGS 1881-1886). The decorative cedar honour board lists winners of Lilley Medals and University Scholarships. It wa...

  • Geography Class photograph

    ​This 1925 photograph shows students attending a geography class. It is a rare classroom photo of the geography room with large rolled up maps lined up against one of the walls. It shows the typical learning environment at that time, where student...

  • Tom Creed's Parents letters

    Tom Creed's (BGS 1875-1877) parents wrote at least 45 letters (which have been transcribed) to their son, a boarder in Mr Keogh's house. Edith Creed wrote many of them from the family property, Langmorn Station. This touching letter written in 187...

  • Portrait of Sir John Lavarack

    This portrait of Sir John Dudley Lavarack (BGS 1899-1904) in full military regalia was taken by renowned Brisbane photographer Dorothy Coleman in 1948. Lavarack was one of the School's most distinguished Old Boys. He had a distinguished military c...

  • Grammar Singers LP

    ​​This is the only long-playing record of the Grammar Singers in the School collection. It was recorded with conductor Barry Montague and organist Christopher Wrench (1971-1976). The record has selections from the Messiah as well as a number of ca...

  • Moogerah Outdoor Education Centre

    Following the opening of the Moogerah Outdoor Education Centre at Pepperina Hill by Air Marshall the Honourable Sir Colin Hannah, Governor of Queensland, on 30 May 1976, an astronomical observatory was built in 1982. Improvements were made ...

  • A. Brooks ink drawing of the bellcote

    ​​​​Based on this ink drawing, Arnold Edwin Brooks designed the bellcote as a memorial to George Rilatt, the School Janitor, nicknamed the 'ringer of bells'. A bellcote is a small gable or turret designed to hang bells in buildings with no tower o...

  • Alan Douglas Groom plaque

    ​There is a fascinating story relating to this small plaque about Old Boy Alan Douglas Groom (BGS 1927-1931). RAF Wing-Commander Groom was captured by the Japanese in Java in 1942, and was repeatedly tortured because he refused to succumb to the e...

  • Twin Schools Agreement

    ​​​This beautiful leather-bound manuscript, with a floral-patterned brocade lining the inside of the front and back covers, and rice paper pages inside, is the Declaration of Twin Schools Agreement between Brisbane Grammar School and Seifu Gakuen ...

  • First XIII football pocket

    This First XIII 1922-23 football pocket belonged to John Bertram Gilchrist Gibson (BGS​ 1918-1923), who was a champion on and off the field. Gibson won the Silver Lilley Medal for the Upper School in 1920, and in 1922-23 was awarded colours f...

  • Herbert J Williams Book Prize

    ​​​​​​What makes this beautifully illustrated book prize interesting is that it was awarded by Maryborough Grammar School to a student who later attended Brisbane Grammar School. This was Herbert J Williams (BGS 1895-1896).​​ When in Form VI in 18...

  • Woolcock Dining Room Table

    ​​A Woolcock family story tells of Justice John Laskey drafting legislation for the abolition of the Queensland Upper House on this 1840 dining room table. Woolcock, an Old Boy (BGS 1875-1880), was a Trustee for 40 years and Chairman for 23. He se...

  • Mrs Walter Rilatt photograph

    ​This circa 1910 photograph, inscribed 'Grandma Rilatt Tuckshop Brisbane Grammar School', is of Mrs Walter Rilatt, daughter-in-law of George, standing on the verandah of her home with bottles of lime juice on the table. This was where George and h...

  • Golden Books

    ​​​​​The 1924 four-volume Golden Book is one of the most valuable items in the School collection. It contains the names and records of the 1020 Old Boys who volunteered for service in the First World War. Each name and record occupies an entire pa...

  • Norman Austin Lloyd honour cap

    ​​Norman Austin Lloyd, (BGS 1905-1910) was an outstanding rugby player at BGS. He was awarded this embroidered velvet rugby honour cap in 1909-1910. He represented the School in the First XV in 1908, becoming rugby captain in 1909 and 1910, before...

  • Silver Fob Watch

    ​​​This beautiful sterling silver fob watch in a case was awarded to 1869 foundation student Francis Fitz-Hugh Kent. The inscription on the back of the watch states: 'The Wallace Prize awarded to Francis Fitz-Hugh Kent by the vote of his schoo...

  • New Building 1919

    ​​This circa 1919 photograph of the New Building shows the rural nature of the landscape with George Rilatt's two cows grazing on the Upper Turf in front of the building. The eight-classroom building was constructed in 1916. It has retained the te...

  • Letter from Lawton to Mason, 1918

    ​​​In this four-page handwritten letter dated 10 August 1918, Gunner Tom 'Tommy' Lawton, stationed with No 2 Battery, Heytesbury Camp, Wiltshire, writes of his wartime experiences to School master 'Shon' Mason. He describes how his ship from Ameri...

  • Pencil drawing by Scott Breton

    ​​Figurative artist Scott Breton (BGS 1995-1999) executed this pencil drawing Rehearsal Space # 3 in 2013. Scott was a boarder at the School and graduated in 1999 as Dux of Art. As a student, he showed outstanding draughtsmanship, and thi...

  • Frank Walker plaque

    ​​​​​This plaque is particularly significant because it recognises the School's most generous benefactor to date. Old Boy Frank Walker (BGS 1893-1897) donated funds for a gymnasium, which was opened on 27 October 1953 by Lieutenant General the Hon...

  • Mameluke Sword

    ​​This Mameluke Sword belonged to Major General Victor Conradsdorf Morisset Sellheim, one of the School's most distinguished Old Boys (BGS 1881-1884). He excelled at sport, with two trophies named in his honour. The sword was made to the 1831 patt...

  • First issue of The School Window

    ​This September 1941 magazine was the first issue of the annual publication School Window by the boys of Brisbane Grammar School. Headmaster George Carson-Cooling wrote the foreword, and its first editor was Lilley gold medallist, Aldolph...

  • Boarders' Lawn Photograph 1912

    ​Here we see some boarders, not wearing the School uniform, playing an impromptu game of rugby on the Boarders' Lawn in front of School House, circa 1912. For many years, the area was covered with crushed stone with small areas of grass ...

  • Whirobo – Roe's Kamp circa 1890

    ​This circa 1890 photo shows second Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe, nicknamed 'The Skipper', sitting with his wife Maud and children on the jetty at Whirobo, South Stradbroke Island. The photo is just one of many in the Roe family collection, recor...

  • 'Pharming' with Madge Roe

    ​​​​​Madge Roe, second Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe's daughter, wrote this manuscript titled, 'Pharming', which she illustrated with line drawings. Madge spelt farming with a 'ph' because her many amusing observations about farm life with her mot...

  • Illuminated address to Thomas Harlin

    ​​This illuminated watercolour address to Thomas Harlin, the School's first Headmaster (1869-1875) was presented to him by former students in 1877 as a mark of their affection and respect. Among the signatories are John Woolcock (later Mr Justice ...

  • Reginald Heber Roe Diary

    ​This 1876 diary of Reginald Heber Roe records his experiences travelling from England to Australia to take up his appointment as the School's second Headmaster. He describes the journey, which included sailing from Liverpool to New York, travelli...

  • Centenary Foundation Stone

    ​​The Centenary Court foundation stone marks one of the School's most ambitious building programs, which included the Centenary Hall and Library. The large black granite foundation stone was unveiled by remote control with due pomp and ceremony by...

  • ​George Rilatt Postcard

    ​​​​George Rilatt, the School's longest serving member of staff, worked at BGS from 1872 until his death in 1924. Here he is portrayed in this delightful 1920 postcard, titled, 'Uncle George'. He is sitting in a goat cart with a checked blanket ov...

  • Harriet Carson-Cooling Memorial Window

    ​​​​​​One of the Great Hall's beautiful stained-glass windows is William Bustard's 1950 Memorial Window to Harriet Carson-Cooling. It was commissioned by the Old Boys' Association to honour the wife of a former Headmaster, George Carson-Cooling (1...

  • 1869 School Prospectus

    ​​​​​The School's first School Prospectus produced in 1869 showed BGS was open for business 'for the reception of all boys, over eight years of age, who can read, write, and work examples in the simple rules of Arithmetic.' Boys were required to l...

  • Presentation Trowel

    ​​​​​​​​​​Following a Freemason tradition, presentation trowels were once the expected gift at a foundation stone-laying ceremony. This Lilley presentation trowel, engraved with a shamrock border, is evidence a foundation stone wa...

  • 1867 ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING

    ​​​​​​​​This 1867 architectural drawing shows architect Benjamin Backhouse's vision for Brisbane's first secondary school, detailing the front elevation and ground plans. Backhouse moved to Sydney in 1868 before the Roma Street building was comple...