Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Mossgiel House, circa 1962.

Mossgiel House, circa 1962.

Mossgiel House located at 133 Noble St opposite Mackie Oval is the home of female boarding. It comprises the original Mossgiel House facing Noble St and the boarding facilities behind the original building.

Mossgiel retains the name of the original private family property on this site although the original main house was renamed Morongo House in 1998 to honour the College’s long association with its sister school, the Morongo Presbyterian Girls' College which closed in 1994.

The original building was owned by the Carson Family during the 1930s who commissioned renowned garden designer, Edna Walling (1895-1973) to plan their garden. Some remnants of this garden including walls, a pond and paving still exist on this site, though overgrown and disused. A copy of the original garden design is held in the School Archives - the original is held by the State Library of Victoria. Edna Walling was also involved in some of the original plantings near Mackie House.

The first title holder of the property on 28 June 1922 was Robert Smith (1881-1928), woolscourer who died on 14 July 1928. It briefly passed to his wife Eliza Caroline Smith but was then acquired by Dennys Lascelles Ltd in June 1929. It was the Smiths who named the property Mossgiel. On 10 November 1933 Mossgiel was sold to John McGill Carson of Barwon Heads, grazier. It was purchased by the School in about 1961 with the assistance of a loan of £11,000 from the Old Collegians’ Association for use as the ’new’ Rolland House. Initially, the original Mossgiel House was used for junior male boarders as Rolland House until boarding facilities were completed at the Preparatory School.

Further land behind Mossgiel was purchased in 1962. The unit style accommodation behind the original Mossgiel House and built as the ‘New Warrinn’ was opened on 26 March 1975 by J H Campbell and F W Elliott, past Heads of House at Warrinn. The house was also then renovated to include the medical centre, linen room, students’ laundry and two residential flats for staff. The old stables or garage were converted into boarders’ recreational facilities including a lounge.

Mossgiel Boarding Units at Dusk, 1990.

Mossgiel Boarding Units at Dusk, 1990.

The units were first occupied by male boarders but eventually became the sole domain of female boarders.

Robert Rennie Smith (1914-1978), the son of Robert Smith (1881-1928) was educated at Geelong College.

Sources: The Herald (Melbourne) 16 July 1928 p5; The Argus (Melbourne) 2 August 1955 p6; Ad Astra April 1962; Pegasus December 1962 p14.
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