Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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WARRINN (Building)

WARRINN (Building)

See Also WARRINN (House System)

Warrinn, according to Pegasus, was originally purchased by Norman Morrison from Mrs Champ in 1906 as a residence for five teachers. Warrinn, on the corner of Noble St and Claremont Ave was to become a notable boys boarding house before eventually being converted back into a residence for the Mackie Head of House. It was not transferred with the rest of the School to the Presbyterian Church in 1908 and was retained by Mrs Morrison. After Norman Morrison’s death the property was rented by the School until its purchase by the Presbyterian Church in about 1914. During its early years it acquired a considerable notoriety - being described as a ‘den of iniquity’ in one reminiscence.

In 1922, Pegasus reported that ‘the Junior boarders have all been transported to Warrinn, which has thus become 'Junior House'. A large sleepout has been added to the cottage which can now comfortably accommodate about 40 boys.’ A new wing, with dormitories, bathrooms and a play room was added in 1925 and by 1927 there were 5 dormitories. In 1977, one of the wings from Warrinn was re-located to the Preparatory School site to form part of Campbell House. In 1938, during the construction of Mackie the matron’s wing and staircase were demolished.

By the 1940s, Warrinn had become popularly known as the ‘The Cottage’- hence the musical revue 'Cottage Pie'.

Warrinn House circa 1907.

Warrinn House circa 1907.

Notes compiled by a Rev Ewen McLean suggested that Warrinn was first built in about 1890 for the Anderson Family and that architects Davidson and Henderson were responsible for the design. In 1898, it was owned by the Whyte Family and had its name changed to Warrinn in about 1900.

Pegasus in June 1952 published the following description of Warrinn:

Warrinn is the boarding house which few visitors ever see. It was originally the home
of Mrs. Champ but was purchased in 1908 by Geelong College as a cottage for resident

Resident masters were described to me by that white-haired gentleman in Warrinn as
'young masters who had been lucky enough not to be married.' These men lived in a terrace
of houses in Prospect Road, Newtown andthen later in a house diagonally opposite Mr.
Money's shop.

In 1908 Warrinn was purchased and the five resident masters shifted into the new house.
These young gentlemen apparently had a wonderful time but later five boys came in also.
Then in 1912 sixteen boys came from Senior House to live in the 'den of iniquity' as some
people call it.

Geelong College had 143 boarders in 1927 and Warrinn at this time had five dorms.
Maggie, the house matron, had a wing of her own, down towards the gymnasium, which
contained the bathroom. Maggie, known as mother of the Junior House boys, had access
to dorm. 6 and took care of these youngest boarders of the school.

The Prefects Room at this time was a boot and box room combined and there were two
sets of steps beside the present position of the boot lockers. Approximately twenty yards
away from these steps there was a fence running down from Noble Street in front of Warrinn.
There were shrubs, and lawns around Warrinn at this time and there was a punishment
for walking on these lawns. A track was worn across the paddock, which later became
Mackie Oval, to the main school and even in those days there used to be a stream of boys
hurtling across the paddock in fear of being late for breakfast. In 1927, Mr. J. H. Campbell
replaced Mr. L. J. Campbell, who had a severe illness.

During this time some boys were living out of school at Miss Dennis's, Mrs. Simpson's,
and Mrs. Hope Johnstone's.

One of the boys was walking down to the bathroom during the night in 1932 and because
of the poor lighting he walked into the door and broke his nose. Ever since bathrooms and
passages have been lighted during the night in the College.

Study duty was a hectic time for Mr. Campbell and Mr. Dunkley until 1938. Fifty-nine
boys studied in the playroom in Warrinn from 7 to 8.40 p.m. Added to this, Mr. MacRoberts,
who used to live in a room, now called the linen room, usually had his wireless going full
blast throughout study time.

Maggie's wing of the house and the stairs which led to Warrinn were demolished to make
way for Mackie House in 1938—part of the fruition of Mr. Rolland's wish 'to pull down
the old barn' but this was not fulfilled because more and more boys wanted to enter the school
as boarders and so Warrinn stayed on. When Mackie was completed and opened in
1939 the 'house master' came into his own. Before this all leave was granted by the Headmaster
and he dealt with pocket money too. He then realised that it was too much to do,
and so the house master took over his duties. In 1940, Mr. Campbell requested that he
should have some prefects in Warrinn. He was granted two and they slept in a partitioned
off part of dorm. 6. The following year he was granted three prefects and it was from one of
these that the suggestion came that 'Cottage Pie' should be performed.

'Cottage Pie' was a great success and raised money for the Red Cross. Since then there
have been four other 'slices' and all proceeds have gone to charity.

During the war various means were used to raise money. There was an Aunt Sally in
Warrinn and an ugly man competition. This competition consisted of a picture of a boy
being placed on the notice board and then he would have to pay for his picture to be taken

The only time that Warrinn really 'got loose' was during the cave-man competition.
Votes cost one penny and the finalists were Tex Reid (dorm 7) who won by 2 votes from
the King of Warrinn, Les Hable. Tex was then crowned at 'Cottage Pie'.

So Warrinn goes on with its mystery shrouded traditions' and no matter what happens
Geelong College will still have the 'Bally Hooligans'.


Sources: Pegasus June 1952 p30.
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