A family’s home, a family’s gift

The generosity of the gift of 'Harleston' to the School by four Grimwade brothers 100 years ago was recognized at the Centenary Day event.

In his Centenary Day address the Chairman of Council, Mr Michael Bartlett (OM 1973), emphasised that the celebration was far more than the marking of a milestone. “It is an important opportunity to remember and give thanks for the vision and philanthropy of previous generations,” he said.  

He reminded the audience that the word ‘philanthropy’ comes from two ancient Greek words, and means love of humanity, or kindness and generosity to others. 

“We are celebrating what is arguably the most generous gift of all in the 160-year history of Melbourne Grammar School,” he said. “I speak of the extraordinary gift of Grimwade House to the School by the four Grimwade Brothers – Norton, Major General Harold, Alfred Sheppard and Sir Russell – in 1917. They presented the house 
and grounds of Harleston to the School as a permanent memorial to their parents, Frederick Sheppard and Jessie Taylor Grimwade.” 

The Chairman went on to highlight that the generosity and vision of those four brothers continues to be experienced and greatly appreciated today. “We are all the direct beneficiaries of this act of philanthropy and, I am confident that Norton, Harold, Sheppard and Russell Grimwade would be very happy and proud of the legacy that they created, and which continues to evolve.”

He said that the philanthropy and support of parents, Old Melburnians, staff and friends have created “not only an inspiring tradition but also an enduring connection with all the Melbourne Grammar community members who have preceded us. We celebrate today the generosity of the school community in which we live.”  

Complementing the theme of connection, the Headmaster Roy Kelley spoke of the importance of continuity of the School’s values across the decades.  

“Many things have changed in the time since this magnificent gift was given to Melbourne Grammar School,’ he said, ‘but many things also remain the same. Our commitment to a sense of community, to the pursuit of excellence, and to the love of learning are as true today as they were back in 1918.”

About Grimwade House

Grimwade House opened as a boys-only preparatory school (Year 1-Year 8) on Thursday 28 February 1918. There were 120 students on that first day – 90 day boys and 30 boarders. The opening had been planned for 12 February but was delayed to give the builders more time to complete the works necessary for the school to operate. 

The first Headmaster of Grimwade House was Hamilton Fletcher, who had been Wadhurst’s Headmaster for 12 years. In his new role he had seven teaching staff. 

Since 1918 around 10,000 students have attended Grimwade House. Today, it is a co-educational junior school (Prep-Year 6) with 659 day students. Royce Helm is its Head. He is the eighth person to hold this office. He oversees a teaching and administrative staff of 100.

Related topics