Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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The Currie Bookcase was donated to the College by Sir Henry ‘Alan’ Currie (1868-1942) as a memorial to his brother John Lang Currie (1856-1935) in 1939. John Currie (1856-1935) was a College student of 1861, President of the Old Collegians’ Association in 1908 and a member of the College Council from 1908 to 1935.

Pegasus magazine described the bookcase as follows: 'The bookcase is made of beams which were adzed in the fifteenth century, so that the timbers may be regarded as well seasoned. The beams formed part of Darnick Tower, one of the old Peel towers of Scotland, which is still occupied by the Heiton Family who originally built it. The wood carving of the bookcase was the leisure time work of a very famous Scottish sculptor, a member of the Currie Family. His best known statue is that of Robert the Bruce at Stirling. The bookcase is full of unexpected cupboards and drawers, and the figures carved upon it seem to have been chosen as the humour seized the wood carver, and includes such diverse characters as Father Neptune, Moses with his tablets of stone, and Robbie Burns'.

Currie Family descendants have records that show the bookcase as being shipped to Australia from Liverpool aboard the steamer Middlesex and treated by the ‘Hydro Fumigation Department’ in Melbourne before delivery to the College in about 23 May, 1939. The fate of this bookcase is unknown. The Bookcase was housed in the George Morrison Memorial Library and a part of it is visible there in a photograph of 1945 at the time of Rev Francis Rolland’s retirement dinner with the staff. It is possible that it was among the items in storage at the maintenance shed in Talbot St when it was destroyed by fire in the 1980s.

Sources: Pegasus June 1939 p12; Currie Family Descendants; Shaw, Mary Turner, 'Currie, Sir Henry Alan (1868–1942)', Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol 8, 1981 pp180-181.
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