Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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SUBJECTS The 1863 Annual Report provides the first comprehensive listing of subjects taught in the School. The prize List includes the following 10 mainly academic subjects: Algebra; Arithmetic; Drawing; English; French; Greek; Latin; Physical Geography; Practical Mathematics; and Writing together with Singing; Dancing and Gymnastics; and Drilling. Elsewhere in the Report it indicates that German and Euclid were taught. At the time the Melbourne University Matriculation Examinations tested in only nine subjects and these were all included in the College syllabus by 1863. Four staff members: George Morrison; George F Hutton; Adolph Hebst; and John Johnstone appear to have been responsible for teaching the academic subjects. Four visiting teachers; Mr Sasse for drawing; Mr L’Erson for Singing; Mr Donbavand for Dancing and Gymnastics and Sergeant Cripps of the Victorian volunteers for Drilling taught the remaining sessions. Music lessons were only offered in the evening. Religious Instruction was also offered in 1863 and was taught as Scriptural ‘without any regard to Denominational differences’. The report also noted that ‘particular attention is paid to the morals, manners, and deportment of pupils’.

Two subject streams were identified: that aimed at University and the ‘Learned Professions’ which included Classics and Mathematics; and a Commercial Stream which included English, Modern Languages and the ’usual commercial branches’. Other than Practical Mathematics little clear indication is suggested of which other ‘usual’ commercial subjects may have been taught though they appear to include bookkeeping and mapping.

By 1864 Elocution and Ornamental Writing had made their appearance and only one of the original 4 masters was left. Ominously, they were now referred to not as masters but as teachers employed for the session of 1864. The next published staff list of 1866 revealed yet another change of full-time teaching staff and again, with only George Hutton, the Commercial teacher remaining. By 1866 Natural Philosophy had been added to the subject List.
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