Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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The title, Bursar, was archaically applied in schools to the financial and administrative manager of the school. Usually, the Bursar had no direct control of teaching matters.

Bursars are now increasingly known in Australian Schools by different titles such as Business Manager and in many cases the functions of the old position have diversified into different areas.

The term originated in medieval monasteries as the Cellarer or Bursar who had charge of all that related to the food of the monks. The Bursar at the Abbey of St Edmundsbury, England in 1309 was described as follows: ‘He provided all the provision for the Monastery, dispensed the daily allowances and superintended the refectory, the kitchens, the cellar, the brewery, the granary and the bakehouses. It was a post of great importance and profit and the cellarer had his rich apartments and grounds and servants within the Monastery and his many manors without. He owned also a messuage or private dwelling house near the stream by the Eastgate Bridge and here held his own court for the trial of robbers or recalcitrant tenants. His holdings of land in the Liberty were second only to the Abbot's and he had also by ancient custom complete and full authority over the Town so that, as it was said, no man might so much as dig chalk or clay without his leave, nor was there a horse dropping in the streets which he could not claim to dung his fields. In the Town markets he had the first call on all provisions displayed for sale and always at a price lower than that for other purchasers. A Sub-cellarer assisted him in his office and he had many attendants, minor officers and servants.'

Bursars and Business Managers:
1915-1916 Sandford, E. W.
1916-1917 Bowen, W.
1918-1933 Reeves, V. M.
1933-1936 Dancey, G.
1936-1941 Reeves, V. M.
1941-1965 Martin, G. J.
1966-1988 Jamieson, R. B.
1989-1996 Kaye, J. R.
1997-2003 Stewart, B.
2004-2009 Finlay, N.
2010-Current Leach, S.

Sources: Extract from Neil Bell The Abbot’s House reproduced from Annual Report of Public Schools Bursars’ Association (UK) 1967.
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