Caulfield Grammar School is an independent, coed, Anglican, International Baccalaureate, day and boarding school in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is an Anglican school and offers both day and boarding programs. Caulfield Grammar opened in 1881 as a school for boys. Exactly one hundred years later, in 1981, it started letting girls in. In 1961, the school merged with Malvern Memorial Grammar School, and the MMGS campus became known as Malvern Campus.
Caulfield Grammar has three day campuses in Victoria, Australia: Caulfield (Years 7–12), Wheelers Hill (Kindergarten–Year 12), and Malvern House (Kindergarten–Year 6). It has a campus for outdoor education in Yarra Junction and a student center in Nanjing, China, where the Year 9 program in internationalism is held. Caulfield Grammar is the only APS school in Melbourne that has boarding for both boys and girls. There are 95 boarding students, and the school is the second largest in Victoria, with 3,315 students.
Joseph Henry Davies, who had been a missionary in southern India, bought the land for the school on April 16 for £25; it was next to the Elsternwick train station and had been a small candy shop. His sister and two brothers were hired to teach there. Davies’ goal was for the school to be “completely Christian” and to do “Christian service.”
Even though the school was first in Elsternwick, it is thought that it was named Caulfield Grammar School because Caulfield was the regional locality. At the time, the boundaries of Melbourne’s suburban areas were not clearly defined or named. It is also important to note that Davies got help from the vicar of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Caulfield when he opened the school.
Davies had been a member of St. Mary’s for a long time before he went to India. The church sent him there.
Davies started Caulfield Grammar School on April 25, 1881, with just nine students. Davies’s original plan was to start classes on Wednesday, April 20, 1881. However, for reasons that were never made clear, he put off the opening of the school until Monday, April 25, 1881.
Davies later went to Korea as a missionary through the Victorian Presbyterian church. On August 5, 1889, he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister at Scots’ Church in Melbourne. He had left the Church of England and the Church Missionary Society by doing this.
A year after the school opened, there were 32 students there. As the number of students grew, the school moved to a small building nearby, which burned down in 1890. In 1896, Hawksburn Grammar School, a smaller Christian school in Wynnstay Road, Prahran, was merged into the school. This happened because Hawksburn’s headmaster, Walter Murray Buntine, was hired as the headmaster of Caulfield Grammar. After that, 55 students from Hawksburn moved to Caulfield Grammar. The current site, a piece of land on what is now Glen Eira Road in St. Kilda East near Sir Frederick Sargood’s Rippon Lea Estate, was bought in 1909. Classes started there on February 9, 1909, and the boarding house for the school opened in 1912.
By the 50th anniversary of the school in 1931, there were 500 students, but Caulfield Grammar was still considered small compared to schools like Scotch College, Wesley College, and Melbourne Grammar School. In May, a Jubilee Fair was held at the school to honor the Golden Jubilee. In the same year, the school went from being privately owned to being a registered company run by a School Council. This is a structure that is still used today and is officially linked to the Church of England. In 1958, Caulfield Grammar joined the Associated Public Schools of Victoria school sports competition, which was only open to a small number of schools. In 1959, Caulfield Grammar had more than 800 students and was the fifth largest school in Victoria.
In 1961, Malvern Memorial Grammar School joined forces with Caulfield Grammar School. Malvern Grammar School opened in 1890 as a secondary school for boys only. In 1924, it moved into the Valentine’s Mansion, which used to be the home of a Victorian Cabinet minister named Sir John Mark Davies, who had nothing to do with the school’s founder. Built-in 1892, the mansion has a large ballroom. Both the Victorian Heritage Register and the Register of the National Estate have put Valentine’s Mansion on their lists of historical and architecturally important places.
In 1948, the school’s name was changed to Malvern Memorial Grammar School to honor the boys who had gone there before and served in World Wars I and II.
In 1971, Malvern Memorial Grammar School merged with Shaw House and became the Malvern Campus, a primary school in the Valentine’s Mansion. Its students started wearing the uniform of Caulfield Grammar School. From 1949 to 1979, Caulfield Grammar ran Shaw House, its primary school on Mayfield Street in St. Kilda East. From kindergarten to Year 3, Caulfield Grammar offered kindergarten and schooling at Shaw House
Student activism in the 1960s and 1970s led to changes in the school’s rules about students. In 1970, appointed prefects were replaced by an elected School Committee to represent the students. The students were also allowed to publish a newsletter called Demos, which had editorials about different parts of the school. Senior year religious education classes were made optional, and the position of school chaplain was eliminated. On May 8, 1970, Caulfield Grammar was the only APS school to let its students take part in protest marches against the Vietnam War.
In 1981, the school’s 100th year, the first girls started going there, and on April 26, a second senior school campus opened at Wheelers Hill. In 1969, Caulfield Grammar bought land for a future project. To mark the school’s 100th anniversary, a new campus was built. Wheelers Hill started out as a school for both boys and girls in all grades. In 1993, girls were let into the other campuses, making Caulfield Grammar a school for both boys and girls.
In 1997, the school set up a computer network. Each student and staff member had their own log-in information, email account, and file space.
The school has an online login system, called an Intranet, that students and staff can use with their existing usernames and passwords. This feature is called the School’s sixth or “virtual” campus, and it lets people access their school email and files over the Internet. In 2019, the school put out an app called CaulfieldLife that lets students and staff use their own devices to access a wide range of information.
The historic War Memorial Hall at Caulfield Grammar School was opened by Sir Dallas Brooks, the Governor of Victoria, on April 27, 1958. It cost about £50,000 (about $12 million in 2016) to build.
Early in the morning of November 7, 2000, which was a public holiday called “Cup Day,” a big fire broke out in the building, which was being renovated at the time and was only two weeks away from being done. The roof collapsed, and the whole building was destroyed, except for Alan Sumner’s stained glass memorial windows, which were unharmed.
The school then started making plans to build large halls on both the Caulfield Grammar and Wheelers Hill campuses. They called this project “The Twin Halls.” On July 28, 2005, the Memorial Hall at Wheelers Hill was officially opened, and on October 25, 2005, the “Cripps Centre” on the Caulfield Grammar Campus did the same. Each hall has room for 650 people. The Wheelers Hill hall has a new chapel with a multimedia center, and the Caulfield Grammar hall has a music/visual arts department.
In 2006, Caulfield Grammar celebrated its 125th birthday. Several events were held to mark the occasion. On April 26, 2006, the school community had a day of celebrations. This was because ANZAC Day, which is a national public holiday in Australia, is held on April 25, which is the anniversary of the group’s founding. At the same time, student groups were visiting both the Nanjing and Yarra Junction campuses. At each of the school’s five campuses, staff and students formed the letters “125TH,” and an aerial picture was taken. During the year, there was also a 125th Anniversary Ball at Crown Casino for former and current staff, parents, and students. Governor of Victoria Dr. David de Kretser, who used to go to the school, was the guest of honor at the annual Founders’ Day service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The School Council asked author Helen Penrose to write a book about the school’s history. The book, called Outside the Square, came out in 2006.
On its three campuses, Caulfield Grammar School now has more than 3,000 students. It is the only school in the APS that is based in Melbourne and has boarding for both boys and girls. Almost 100 students from rural Australia, Melbourne, and other countries live there.
The school is part of the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS) and has ties to the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), the Australian Boarding Schools’ Association, and the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria (AISV)
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