Launceston Church Grammar School

Launceston Church Grammar School (informally Launceston Grammar or simply Grammar, commonly abbreviated to LCGS) is an Anglican co-educational private school in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia for Early Learning through to Grade 12.

Launceston Church Grammar School
Coordinates41°24′29″S 147°7′39″E
TypeIndependent, co-educational, day & boarding
MottoLatin: Nisi Dominus Frustra
(Unless the Lord is with us, our labour is in vain)
ChairmanNigel Bailey
HeadmasterRichard Ford MLMEd
ChaplainPaul Grayston
Enrolment838 (PK-12)[2]
Colour(s)Blue, black & white               
SloganNurture, Challenge, Inspire

Although founded in 1846, the present school was formed in 1983 from the amalgamation of the boys' Launceston Grammar School and girls' Broadland House Church of England Girls' Grammar School. The school celebrated its 170th birthday on 15 June 2016 and retains its longevity, being the longest continuously running independent school in Australia and Tasmania, and being the oldest form of private secondary education in Tasmania. The school is also the second-oldest form of education in Tasmania, after Christ College, Tasmania, the oldest form of education in Australia, now used as a residential college of the University of Tasmania.

Launceston Grammar is affiliated with Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), and the Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools (SATIS).

The school competes mainly with Scotch Oakburn College and St Patrick's College, Launceston for student numbers, the three being the only large-scale private schools in Launceston.

The school is widely regarded as one of Australia's most prestigious schools: from 2001 to 2004 The Australian listed Launceston Church Grammar School among the top ten schools in the country, and in 2010 The Age reported that Launceston Grammar ranked equal tenth among Australian schools based on the number of alumni who had received a top Order of Australia honour.[3]


On 15 June 1846, the School was founded and Henry Plow Kane was chosen as its founding Headmaster. The School began in temporary premises on the South-East corner of George and Elizabeth Streets, but soon after commenced building on the site immediately behind St John's Church. And so began an enduring and close relationship between St John's Church and the Launceston Church Grammar School.

On the day after Grammar opened its doors, 24 boys of varying ages were enrolled and Launceston was described as "a small town with a population of about 8000 people and the town was little more than a scattered village." In 1848 the Visitor, the first Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Francis Russell Nixon, came to the School and a soiree was held in his honour. The current Bishop of Tasmania continues this tradition as the Visitor and comes annually to the School.

An independent school known as Launceston High School existed from 1884 until 1912. It was founded by Edward Alleyne Nathan who had been a teacher at Launceston Church Grammar School. This school was established at Milton Hall in Frederick Street, Launceston. Nathan remained as headmaster of the school until 1899 when he was succeeded by R. Ernest Smith. Launceston High School eventually merged with Launceston Church Grammar School.[4] The alumni of both schools held joint reunions as the Old Launcestonians' Association after the schools merger.[5]

In 1896, Launceston Church Grammar School celebrated its 50th year under the Headmasters the Revd Christopher Wilkinson and Mr Harry Gillett with a Jubilee Service at St John's and a grand ceremony in the Albert Hall. By 1920 the School had outgrown its site and in 1924 its ninth Headmaster, John Bethune, presided over the only major move in the School's History when it went from Elizabeth Street to a new 25 acre site on Stephenson's Farm in Mowbray - purchased for 2,000 pounds.

The School community suffered deeply during the war years as students served their country, many making the ultimate sacrifice. Headmaster, Captain Norman Roff was amongst those killed in World War II action. The next major milestone for the School was its Centenary in 1946 under Headmaster Harold Vernon Jones. Although the School by now had built its own Chapel, history records that "the final Centenary celebration was a church service held in the original church which School members attended, and two hundred present scholars and two hundred and fifty Old Boys lined up outside the old School in Elizabeth Street and marched to St John's Church, as Grammar boys had done for so many years." This was an emotional occasion for many Old Boys as they relived their youth, and the Bishop gave an inspiring address to the congregation of a thousand, telling them they must develop international fellowship.

The past 50 years have brought further major milestones for the School. One was the move to co-education in 1972. Although 100 years before, in 1872, two girls Edith Savigny and Mary Archer both attended Grammar for several years. In 1899, the enrolment was recorded as 150 boys and one girl - Joyce Wilkinson. In 1921, Charlie Irvine, daughter of the Matron, Mrs Irvine, also attended the School. In 1983 Grammar amalgamated with the Broadland House Church of England Girls' Grammar School. Broadland House itself having a fine heritage and its beginning in the 1840s. Broadland House is honoured with a memorial window in St John's Church. This amalgamation, although a shift from Grammar's past heritage as a school for boys, provided a strong foundation for the future chapters of the School's history. Since 1983, Broadland has carried on its proud educational tradition as the Broadland Campus - the Junior section of the School.

The School has a long and proud heritage and has savoured the successes and transcended the difficulties and challenges. The vision of the School's founders has proved sound. In 1996, the School celebrated its Sesquicentenary, and celebrated its 160th year since foundation in 2006.[6] The School also celebrated its 170th year of continuous operation in 2016.


Period Details[7]
1846 – 1860 Rev H P Kane, MA (Cantab)
1860 – 1863 Rev F W Quilter, MA (Oxon)
1864 – 1871 Rev W A Brooke, BA (Cantab), MA (Melb)
1872 – 1885 Rev W H Savigny, MA (Oxon)
1885 – 1895 Rev A H Champion, MA (Cantab)
1895 – 1915 Mr R H Gillett, MA (Cantab)
1915 – 1917 Rev F Shann, MA (Melb)
1895 – 1918 Rev C G Wilkinson, MA (Cantab)
1919 – 1928 Rev J W Bethune, CBE, MA (Cantab)
1929 – 1935 Mr F R Adams, BA (Melb), DipEd (Manc)
1936 – 1940 Capt. N H Roff, MA, DipEd (Cantab)
1940 – 1952 Mr H V Jones, MBE, BA (Tas)
1953 – 1958 Mr B H Travers, AM, OBE, PSC, MA, BLitt (Oxon), BA (Syd), FACE, FRSA, FAIM, MID
1959 – 1971 Mr D V Selth, LVO, BA (Hons) (Adel), MA (Tas), DipEdAdmin (UNE)
1971 – 1978 Mr R P Hutchings, BA (Melb), DipEd (Tas)
1979 – 1980 Mr J B Windeyer, BA (Syd), MA (Oxon)
1981 – 1993 Mr C S Strong, MA (Oxon), DipEd (UNE), MACE
1994 – 2002 Mr P A B Welch, BA, DipEd, MEd (Syd), MACE
2003 – 2017 Mr R S J Norris, MA (Dund), DipEd, GDEA (Melb), FRGS, MACE
2018 – present Mr R C Ford, MLMEd (Newc), EMBA, BA (Hons) (Syd), DipEd (UNE), CRC (ACU), FACE, AFIML, GAICD, MACEL


The Senior Campus is located in the suburb of Mowbray Heights, Launceston and caters for students in Grades 7 – 12. This site includes the School Chapel, Poimena Art Gallery, School Hall, Gymnasium, Boarding House and Swimming Pool. The chapel is a popular location for weddings.

The Junior Campus is located at the old Broadland House site on the corner of Lyttleton Street and Elphin Road, East Launceston. The campus was redeveloped in 2010.

House system

At the beginning of 1924, Launceston Grammar moved to the campus at Mowbray Heights. With new quarters, the house system was inaugurated by the Headmaster, the Revd John Bethune. Four houses were created and named in honour of the Revd William Savigny, the Revd Christopher Wilkinson and Mr Harry Gillett, former Headmasters; and Mr William Hawkes, a generous benefactor. In 1959, an additional day house was formed and named in honour of former Headmaster, Mr Norman Roff. The large number of boarders at the Senior School in 1961 made it necessary to introduce another house for purposes of administration. This was Fraser House and was named in honour of the late Mr Hugh Fraser MBE, who had been actively associated with the School for fifty-six years. Fraser House ceased operation in 1970 until 1997. In 1998,under Headmaster Mr. Peter Welch, the boarding house was renamed Hawkes House and two new day houses were created; Fraser House and Savigny House. In 2001 Hawkes House discontinued as an entity for house competition and the boarders were reallocated across the five other houses. The name Hawkes is retained as the name of the boarding house.

  • Fraser House
    • Motto: "Summum Bonum" (The highest good)
    • Named after: Mr Hugh Fraser MBE, Acting Headmaster from 1928 to 1929
    • Years in operation: 1961–1970, 1997–present
    • Colour: Green
  • Gillett House
    • Motto: "Nulli Secundus" (Second to none)
    • Named after: Mr Harry Gillett, former Headmaster
    • Years in operation: 1924–present
    • Colour: Red
  • Hawkes House (Boys' and Girls' Boarding Houses)
    • Motto: "Per Proelia Ad Gloriam" (Through battle to glory)
    • Named after: Mr William Hawkes, school benefactor
    • Years in operation: 1924–1996 (as Hawkes-Savigny), 1997–present (as Hawkes)
    • Colour: White
  • Roff House
    • Motto: "Meliora Sequamur" (Let us seek better things)
    • Named after: Capt. Norman Roff, former Headmaster
    • Years in operation: 1959–present
    • Colour: Gold
  • Savigny House
    • Motto: "Nil Desperandum" (Never give up home)
    • Named after: Revd William Savigny, former Headmaster
    • Years in operation: 1924–1996 (as Hawkes-Savigny), 1997–present (as Savigny)
    • Colour: Royal Blue
  • Wilkinson House
    • Motto: "Sans Peur et Sans Reproche" (Without fear and without reproach)
    • Named after: Revd Christopher Wilkinson, former Headmaster
    • Years in operation: 1924–present
    • Colour: Black

Student leadership

The Prefect body consists of School Captains, School Vice-Captains and School Prefects. Other student leaders include house leaders, school whips, captains of sports teams and co-curricular activities, peer mentors, asthma peer leaders, activities leaders, school magazine editors, and members of the Student Representative Council (SRC).

One of the Launceston Church Grammar School's aims is to provide a globally relevant education. As such, the school is home to many international students, and has formed international links with countries including:

  • Bolivia
  • England
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Nepal
  • New Caledonia
  • Scotland
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • United States of America

Several exchanges also take place during the year, to countries including England, the United States, Germany and Japan. The school is, in turn, visited each year by three international schools, six mainland schools, and four other Tasmanian schools.

The School's past and present sister and brother schools include Hutchins School, St Michael's Collegiate School, Geelong Grammar School, Melbourne Grammar School, Charterhouse School, Eton College, Harrow School, Rugby School, St Paul's School, Sherborne School for Girls, Shrewsbury School, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Winchester College, Osaka International School and The Barstow School.[8]

Notable alumni

Alumni of the Launceston Church Grammar School (and its predecessors) are known as Old Launcestonians. All students who have attended Launceston Grammar automatically become members of the Old Launcestonians' Association (OLA), the organisation which represents former scholars of the School. Grade 12 valedicts are awarded life membership of the OLA, and honorary membership is bestowed upon all staff members who serve 10 years or more.[9]

Entertainment, media and the arts
Government, politics and the law

Rhodes Scholars

The School has produced a large number of students who have gone on to be awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, an international postgraduate award for selected foreign students to study at the University of Oxford. Many prizes given by the School hold criteria similar to the Rhodes Scholarship. The following alumni have been selected as Rhodes Scholars:

  • Leonard Neil Morrison (1904) (St John's)
  • John Orr (1905) (Balliol)
  • Arthur Herbert Clerke (1907) (Hertford)
  • William John Howard (1912) (Trinity)
  • Laurence Rupert McIntyre (1933) (Exeter)
  • Ralph Lindsay Harry (1938) (Lincoln)
  • Ronald Cecil Gates (1946) (Keble)
  • Oliver Spencer Heyward (1949) (Oriel)
  • Dennis John Rose (1958) (Jesus)
  • Philip Anthony Vere Roff (1960) (New College)
  • Roger Dennis Scott (1961) (Lincoln)
  • Allan Robert Taylor (1963) (Balliol)
  • Richard John Dumaresq Gee (1967) (St John's)
  • Benjamin Jervis Goold (1994) (Corpus Christi)
  • Francisco Fernando Ascui (1996) (St Peter's)
  • Elizabeth Murray (2011) (New College)
  • James Allen Haw (2016) (St Antony's)

See also


  1. "Annual School Report 2006" (PDF). Launceston Church Grammar School. 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  2. Launcestonian 2017. Launceston, Tasmania: Foot and Playsted. 2017. p. 4.
  3. Topsfield, Jewel (4 December 2010). "Ties that bind prove a private education has its awards". The Age. p. 11. The hard copy article also published a table of the schools which were ranked in the top ten places, as follows: (1st with 19 awards) Scotch College, Melbourne, (2nd with 17 awards) Geelong Grammar School, (3rd with 13 awards) Sydney Boys High School, (equal 4th with 10 awards each) Fort Street High School, Perth Modern School and St Peter's College, Adelaide, (equal 7th with 9 awards each) Melbourne Grammar School, North Sydney Boys High School and The King's School, Parramatta, (equal 10th with 6 awards each) Launceston Grammar School, Melbourne High School, Wesley College, Melbourne and Xavier College.
  4. Launceston High School Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  5. "Old Launcestonians' Association". The Advocate (Australia). Tasmania, Australia. 25 July 1939. p. 5. Retrieved 19 June 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  6. Welch, Peter (23 June 1996). Brief history of the Launceston Church Grammar School: The headmaster's address at the Sesquicentenary Founders' Day Service. Launceston, Tasmania: Foot & Playsted.
  7. Alexander, Alison (1996). Blue, black and white: the history of the Launceston Church Grammar School, 1846–1996. Launceston, Tasmania: Foot & Playsted.
  8. Taylor, David. "The Launceston Grammar Chapel, Mowbray Heights". Launceston Church Grammar School Alumni News. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  9. "Old Launcestonians' (OLA)". Launceston Church Grammar School. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  10. Famous alumni on Latham's hit list Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (accessed:26-04-2006)
  11. "Dave Warren – Biography". Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Australian Government Department of Defence. 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  13. Welch, Bruce (5 Aug 1954) History made by Tas Athlete; The Age

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