Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

Search the Guide

To find information in this Guide please select one of the green coloured options.

To Select a Page Group when displayed, right click and select 'Open'.

Copyright Conditions Apply.



See Also Campbell House
See Also Early Learning Centre (ELC)
See Also Preparatory School

Kindergarten prize giving, 1948.

Kindergarten prize giving, 1948.

The first formal College Kindergarten was commenced in 1929. Prior to this, many boys who continued on to College attended the Morongo Presbyterian Girls' College Kindergarten which did accept boys during the 1920s. Others attended a variety of 'kindergartens' including the nearby 'Neossia' operated by Mrs Higgins. Younger boys had been students at the College since its foundation and junior sections had existed at various times during the Nineteenth Century though the College is unlikely to ever have accepted pre-school age boys during that period.

The College Kindergarten was first reported in Pegasus magazine in December 1928 when the Principal, Rev Francis Rolland reported: 'Next year we are adding to our Preparatory Classes a class for boys of four to seven years of age. It will be on Kindergarten lines and will embody the results of the painstaking scientific observations of the young child which has been going on for the last 30 years'

The first kindergarten was originally opened in 1929 under the direction of Sylvia Baird who was in charge for 3 years though it is possible that pre-school age boys were attending Geelong College prior to this. In 1922, it was noted that Miss Trumble was in charge of the ‘young uns’ and her departure at the end of 1928 may have led to a different approach as Pegasus of 1928 reported that a new class for boys aged 4 to 7 years had been established. Until 1936, the kindergarten was based in one of the classrooms of the original Preparatory School in Aphrasia St but was then moved into its own garden setting in the north-western corner of the property. The kindergarten became firmly established under directors, S Baird from 1929 to 1931, Miss Winning and from 1935, L Bechervaise.

The Kindergarten moved into a separate group of buildings west of the Preparatory School and facing Aphrasia St in 1936. The following year, 1937, a cloak room and dressing rooms were added. The Principal, Rev Francis Rolland described the Kindergarten in Pegasus Magazine in 1936: 'With the idea of giving the Kindergarten a more individual existence and in better keeping with its importance, a change has been made in the north-west corner of the school property. An old house to the west of the Preparatory School has been pulled down, thus leaving a space clear to Aphrasia Street. Facing the street a fence of rustic appearance has been constructed, and direct access to the grounds is given by a stile, guarded by poplars. Surmounting the stile, the little boys face a garden flanked by shady trees, a lawn dotted with silver birch and an oval pool reflecting blossoming fruit trees. By a winding stone path, they reach the school room, which has a fine northerly aspect and a roomy sun terrace. The interior is brightly decorated and furnished in an appealing scheme, the dominant note of which is College green. Behind the school is a playground with swings, sand-pit and other recreational equipment. The trees are the gift of Cr. F. W. Stinton, and as they grow and the gardens flourish, this self-contained estate should be a place of beauty and happiness for the young boys during the important years when, from the age of three and a half, they first come under the care of Mrs. Bechervaise.'

Rapid development occurred after the appointment of Lorna Hamer in 1941 and the first parents’ association was formed in conjunction with the kindergarten in March 1944. In 1947, Miss Chisholm later known as Mrs Sweetman joined the staff and was appointed Director at the end of 1949 when Lorna Hamer retired.

In 1962, it was re-named as part of Campbell House and in 1995, was re-purposed as the Early Learning Centre.

Sources: Pegasus May 1936 p16.
© The Geelong College. Unless otherwise attributed, The Geelong College asserts its creative and commercial rights over all images and text used in this publication. No images or text material may be copied, reproduced or published without the written authorisation of The College.