55 MAUD STREET GEELONG, Greater Geelong City

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Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number


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Level of Significance



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As Executive Director for the purpose of the Heritage Act 1995, I give notice under section 46 that the Victorian Heritage Register is amended by modifying the following places in the Heritage Register:

Number: H0188
Category: Heritage Place
Place: Former Geelong Grammar School
55 Maud Street
Greater Geelong City

All of the place shown hatched on Diagram 188 encompassing all of Lots 1 to 5 on Title Plan 873299.

Dated 7 October 2015
Executive Director

[Victoria Government Gazette G40 8 October 2015 p.2142]

Statement of Significance

What is significant?
The former Geelong Grammar School was built in Maud Street in 1857-58 to designs by architects, Backhouse and Reynolds. Their commission was the result of a competition for the design of a school for 525 pupils and a master's residence. The foundation stone was laid in June 1857 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Barkly, with the Bishop of Melbourne and the Archdeacon of Geelong in attendance, and the school, built with four wings around a quadrangle, opened a year later.

In 1860 the school was forced into bankruptcy and closed, however it was reopened in 1863 with the aid of a new group of trustees and the support of a number of influential Western District squatters. Such well known families as Armytage, Chirnside and Manifold were associated with the school from this time. By the 1870s boarding played a significant role at the school and despite the depression causing a decline in student numbers in the 1890s, numbers of students soon increased again.

Some alterations and additions were undertaken from 1906-1909, including a single storey extension to the north wing. In 1911 the School Council decided to move the school to a new 400 acre site at Corio, north of Geelong. Following the move to the site in 1914, the Maud Street building was purchased by the Geelong City Council, for possible use as a town hall, however the war intervened and much of the surrounding land was subsequently subdivided and sold. The west entrance wing was demolished in 1916 and the north wing became a factory that incorporated most of the quadrangle. The south and east wings were converted into a guest house, Dysart, and were converted again in 1961 into a Reformed Theological College. In 1960 the north wing was demolished.

The school was built in a quadrangular form, with three two storey wings and a small single storey wing placed around a courtyard. Designed in the Tudor Gothic style, the building was of rendered bluestone, with steep slate roofs and an original entrance wing with turretted tower on the west side. The south and east wings of the original building are the only remnants of this school, the former originally containing the principal's residence and the latter the service wing. Despite the demolition of the main west facade, the remaining south wing is illustrative of the style of the original quadrangular building. It retains the steep roof gables, decorated barges, attic dormers, rectangular window openings and contrasting quoined corners.

How is it significant?
The former Geelong Grammar School is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.

Why is it significant?
The former Geelong Grammar School is of architectural significance as an important and substantial work of the Geelong architectural firm, Backhouse and Reynolds. Although a portion of the building has been demolished, the remaining section is illustrative of the original school. The use of the Gothic style, particularly in the quadrangle form, shows connections to prestigious British colleges.

The former Geelong Grammar School is of historical significance due to its association with the foundation of one of Victoria's major private schools and its association with the early development of education in Geelong.
[Online Data Upgrade Project 2004]

Year Construction Started 1857
Architectural Style Victorian Period (1851-1901) Picturesque Gothic
Heritage Act Categories Registered place

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