From the early days of Dr George Morrison and the Presbyterian Church, through to present day, the school has always relied on generous benefactors to support its insightful building programs and scholarship endeavours.
Funded and built by the Old Geelong Collegians’ Association as a memorial to Norman Morrison (Principal from 1898-1909) at a cost of £3,000. The Hall is now commonly known as ‘Morrison Hall’. Norman Morrison passed away from accidental death in November 1909. In announcing the decision to build the Hall it was said “We do not want anything to remind us of him we cannot forget, but we want our sons and grandsons to see a great, lasting emblem of one we esteemed and loved.”
A dedicated benefactor of the College, Leila M Hawkes presented the school with a new tennis court in Noble Street after removal of the original court on the site of the Norman Morrison Memorial Hall. Mrs Hawkes was the mother of Jack Bailey Hawkes (OGC 1913) who represented Australia in Davis Cup tennis and reached finals at Wimbledon. This court was on the site of where the Garnet Fielding Science Wing now stands.
This building was funded by contributions to a War Memorial Fund following the First World War 1914-1918. The building comprised an isolation ward funded by the OGCA and a convalescence ward funded by Archibald and Jessie Campbell in memory of their son Allan Fairbairn Campbell (OGC 1913) who was killed in WWI. Rev Francis (Frank) W Rolland (Principal 1920-45) described the Hospital “with its two long wards dedicated to the memory of old boys who fell in the war”.
Rev Frank Rolland (Principal 1920-45) insisted an Endowment Fund was needed to reduce debt and plan for new buildings. Frank Rolland and a sub-committee of the College Council, including Stanley Hamilton-Calvert, visited Old Collegians in the Western District, Riverina, Wimmera, Mallee, Sydney and Melbourne as well as overseas. By early 1925, through very generous donations from Old Collegians, the fund stood at more than £25,000.
A bequest of £23,000 from James Hill Boyd (OGC 1882) assisted many boys to stay at the school during the depression. Mr Boyd was a generous benefactor and liberal supporter of the College.
Officially opened by the Governor General, Lord Stonehaven, the Dining Hall and Refectory Building was built using funds gifted by very generous Old Collegians. Tables and chairs in the Dining Hall carry the names of the donors. Rev Frank Rolland (Principal 1920-45) said of the Dining Hall “With its lofty roof, the simplicity of its walls, the glass of its east window, the cheerfulness of its great fireplace, the dignity of its panelling, and its long view of lawns and English trees, it will be a lifelong memory to College boys”.
The construction of Mackie House, modelled on an English Tudor manor house, was completed in 1939. The greater part of the funds to build Mackie House came from the Helen Mackie Trust (£10,000 in 1937) and the rest from generous friends of College.
After initially purchasing 15 acres of land from Louis Melville Whyte (OGC 1908) in January 1945, the school purchased another 19.2 acres eastwards to Minerva Rd and was generously gifted another 15 acres westwards of river front land by Mr Whyte.
£9,000 was raised for the completion of the quadrangle, cloisters and west wing of the main building, including the War Memorial, which opened in 1951. Plaques were erected to those students and staff who served and died in WWI, WWII and subsequent wars.
The new Preparatory School opened in Aberdeen Street. Over £60,000 was raised by the Geelong College community to assist with the construction of the new Prep. School.
It was noted the part played by parents, many of them Old Collegians, and Friends in raising the necessary funds for the extension and modernisation of Morrison Hall. Over $95,000 was raised through the Parents’ and Friends’ Association for this project.
Construction of the Stuart Laidlaw Memorial Pool commenced at the Preparatory School with funds donated by Charles and Patricia Laidlaw. Their son, Stuart Charles Laidlaw (OGC 1971) passed away in a road accident at Easter 1970 at just 12 years of age. It was noted at the time that “it has been a great inspiration to all who are associated with the Preparatory School to see how an event of great sadness has been used to bring benefit to future generation of boys”.
The long-awaited Physical Education centre was opened in October 1970 by Arthur Lindsay (Lindsay) Hassett MBE (OGC 1925) to much delight and is named in memory of the great headmaster, Sir Frank Rolland (Principal 1920-45), who loved sport. A fundraising campaign, part of Project Pegasus, raised over $300,000 for this first stage of the Rolland Centre.
Dr Henry Norman Burgess (Norman) Wettenhall AM (OGC 1929) and his brother Roland Hugh Alexander (Hugh) Wettenhall (OGC 1934) donated 152 acres of land known as ‘Hankelow’ in the Grampians. After continuing difficulties to develop the property as a school camp, this property was eventually sold and the proceeds used to purchase ‘Mokborree’ in the Otways as a school camp in 2006.
The Albert Bell Club raised over $100,000 in 1995 for the construction of a new Boat Shed which was opened by Robert William Purnell (OGC 1944), Patron of the Albert Bell Club, in February 1996. Two metres wider and three metres longer, the new shed is similar in appearance to the old boat shed built in 1933.
Construction of the new Principal’s Residence in Claremont Avenue was completed in 1998 after a generous bequest from the estate of Mrs Hilda L Freeman (on behalf of her husband Arthur William Freeman (OGC 1921) who passed away in 1979). To honour the family name, the residence is known as Freeman House.
The family of Russell James Higgins (OGC 1926) made a gift to the College for the establishment of the Russell Higgins Scholarship after his passing in February 1996. Russell Higgins was the recipient of a scholarship whilst at the College.
The completion of the Aquatic Centre was a significant achievement for The Geelong College and was the finishing touch to the Rolland Centre built many years earlier. Almost $2m of the $3.5m cost of the new Centre was contributed by the College community through direct fundraising. The Aquatic Centre was opened by Olympic medal-winning swimmer Peter John Doak OAM (OGC 1957) in November 1999 at the ‘Big Splash’ event.
The scholarship was endowed by Old Collegian Lex Higgins (OGC 1928) in honour of his late sister Florence Gertrude Higgins who attended Morongo Girls’ College and who passed away in December 2000. This wonderful gift follows the introduction of the Russell Higgins Scholarship, endowed by Florence and Lex several years earlier, in memory of their brother Russell.
Dr George H K Tippett (OGC 1940) was a recipient of the Mrs Venters Memorial Scholarship when he was at College which allowed him to continue to stay at College as a boarder. Dr Tippett had commented “the older I become the more I appreciate my good fortune” and wanted to pass this on by creating a bursary that would help others. Dr Tippett passed away in March 2021.
Established in 2005 through a bequest by John Willoughby Kenny (OGC 1934), a boarder at the College from 1931 to 1936. The aim of the bursary is to offer places to worthy students from a wide range of backgrounds who would not be able to attend the Geelong College without financial assistance. Mr Kenny passed away in 2002. He was an internationally recognized collector of Chinese porcelain and glass.
The most ambitious project the school had undertaken to date, the Keith Humble Centre, as it is affectionately known, was only possible due the extraordinary vision and generosity of Mrs Jill Humble after the death of her husband Keith Humble AM in 1995. Mrs Humble wanted to honour his memory and lifelong contribution to music and teaching.
A substantial and generous gift from Philip Henry Hall (OGC 1936) for the creation of the Philip Hall Scholarship has allowed the College to award a 75% scholarship for a student from Years 7-12. The recipient must show financial need for the scholarship to be awarded. Mr Hall passed away in 2014.
Alan Glover (OGC 1936), son-in-law of the late Oswald Charles Hearne, prevailed upon the O C Hearne Estate to offer the Wurlitzer Organ, built in 1917, as a gift to The Geelong College in 2001. Provision was made for a chamber to house the instrument in the George Logie-Smith Auditorium in the new Keith Humble Centre and restoration, funded principally and generously by Bert Fagg (OGC 1929), commenced. The inaugural recital at Geelong College was played by theatre organist Tony Fenelon in May 2010.
A distribution from a Trust Fund is received every year to go towards bursary assistance known as The Glenwood Bursary. The donor has very fond memories of the school and wants to leave a legacy for students in the future who may not be able to afford to attend the College. Whilst working as a teacher, he saw what wonderful opportunities scholarships gave students who normally wouldn’t be able to afford to attend the College.
The Dr Bill Williams Tjungurrayi Scholarship Fund was established in May 2018 to support Indigenous students attending The Geelong College. The scholarships are to be supported by an endowment fund, to exist in perpetuity. Dr William (Bill) M Williams (OGC 1972) was a social activist and spent an extended period living and providing medical services within an indigenous community in the Northern Territory. Dr Williams passed away suddenly in 2016 and the scholarship was created to honour his commitment and passion to address indigenous disadvantage.
A Steinway Model D Grand Piano was purchased through the sale of 88 keys on the piano at a cost of $3,000 a key. The purchase of the Model D Piano was the first step towards the College’s goal to become Australia’s third and Victoria’s first Steinway Select School.