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.



Interpretative Sign The Geelong College, 2015.

Interpretative Sign The Geelong College, 2015.

The Geelong College is one of Geelong’s pre-eminent coeducational Schools. The College provides a rich, diverse and comprehensive educational experience to about 1300 students across two magnificent campuses - a Senior School campus based around the heritage listed George Morrison Building of 1871 and a spacious Junior and Middle School Campus overlooking the Barwon River. The College is affiliated with the Uniting Church of Australia.

The founder of the school was the Rev Dr Alexander James Campbell (1815-1909). In April 1861, he formed a committee which resolved to establish a school under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. The Geelong College was formally established on Monday 8 July, 1861 at Knowle House in Skene Street, Newtown with an enrolment of 40 pupils. The school aimed to ‘impart a first class education so as to prepare its pupils for entering the University and for following mercantile pursuits.’

The first Principal was Dr George Morrison MA (1830-1898), a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and a man of outstanding scholastic and business ability. In 1864, after three years of operation, the committee assigned the College to the ownership of Morrison and its formal affiliation with the Presbyterian Church ceased. In 1871, the school moved into its new, purpose built building on an initial six-acre site on Newtown Hill – now the Senior School campus.

Following his death in 1898, Dr Morrison was succeeded by his son, Norman Morrison (1866-1909), who remained Principal until his accidental death in 1909. In 1908, after 44 years as a privately owned school, the College was transferred back to the Presbyterian Church to be governed by a Council set up by the Church. Also in 1908, the College became a member of the Associated Public Schools of Victoria. The School published its first history, a Jubilee History and Register in 1911. In 1921, a Preparatory School was opened on the Newtown site.

In 1946, The College Council acquired a property two kilometres west of the Newtown campus. A new Preparatory School was built there and occupied in 1960. The centenary of the School was marked in 1961 by the publication of the School’s second history and register covering the period 1861 to 1961. In 1974, the College became co-educational. In 1977, the greater part of the Presbyterian Church united with the Congregational Union and the Methodist Church to form the Uniting Church in Australia and, along with six other schools, the College became associated with the Uniting Church. In 2011, the College celebrated 150 years of continuous operation.

Extensive information on the narrative history of the College is contained in the three published histories of the School. These include the Jubilee History of 1911, the Centenary History of 1961 and the Sesquicentenary History published in 2011. The text of all three histories may be accessed through this website.
© 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.