Grimwade House Centenary Celebrations

Grimwade House opened its doors 100 years ago, on 28 February 1918. Staff and students celebrated the milestone earlier this year.

Birthday surprise brings the past to life

Everyone knew that this was going to be a very special celebration. On the front lawns of Harleston, the Grimwade family’s original home, sat 659 students from Prep to Year 6, all waiting expectantly. A large birthday cake, prominently displayed, also gave promise of a great party.

It was 28 February 2018, the 100th anniversary of the opening of Grimwade House.

“A centenary is a very special birthday and so we wanted this to be a truly memorable occasion for everyone,” said Head of Grimwade House Mr Royce Helm. “We also wanted students to learn something about life 100 years ago. What better way to do this than to give them a birthday surprise.”

It was more than a surprise. It was a show-stopper! At the stroke of 9.30am everyone was asked to keep their eyes firmly on the Harleston gates. A hush fell over the audience and for a few moments you could hear the birds singing in the trees... It was like stepping back in time… And then around the corner and through the gates came not one but two splendid vintage cars. They glided up the driveway, just as they would have done a century ago. Inside the cars were three gentlemen and three ladies who seemed to have walked right out of 1918.

“They’re the people who owned Harleston,” a student was heard to say. And she was right, well almost. Out of the cars stepped Sir Andrew Grimwade (OM 1948) and Eve McGlashan, two of the great-grandchildren of the original owners of Harleston, Frederick Sheppard Grimwade and his wife Jessie. 

Melbourne Grammar’s Chairman of Council Mr Michael Bartlett and his wife, Mrs Mim Bartlett, and Headmaster Mr Roy Kelley and his wife, Mrs Anne Kelley — all resplendent in turn-of-the-century attire – stepped down from the cars too. The past, the present and the future were all brought together in front of Harleston. The gasps of the audience were audible!

“I thought it was a great idea to highlight the past in this way,” said Sir Andrew, “and it was a wonderful moment. My great-grandfather loved cars. We were re-creating history in more ways than one.” 

Grimwade House’s Centenary Choir sang and danced their hearts out with a wonderful performance of Keepin’ The Dream Alive! At the end of the formal proceedings, Royce Helm asked the choir to give an encore, saying that no party was complete without everyone having a dance.  The students, teachers and guests needed no further encouragement. They all leapt to their feet and danced along with the choir.

Grimwade House was delighted to welcome The Right Rev’d Lindsay Urwin to its centenary celebrations. Bishop Urwin is the Bishop responsible for Anglican schools. As part of the formal proceedings, he blessed the School. He then led the students in a rousing countdown to the singing of Happy Birthday.  

Every student took home a cupcake decorated with the Grimwade House Centenary 2018 crest.

A place in time

For many students, one of the most intriguing moments of the centenary celebrations has been the opening of the time capsule, which was buried in the school grounds as part of the 75th birthday celebrations in 1993.  

Both Mr Peter Valder, former Head of Grimwade House and former teacher, Miss Bev Kerin, who both oversaw the collection of time capsule items in 1993, were on hand to witness the opening. “I had forgotten how large the capsule actually was,” said Miss Kerin. “It was a big project in the 75th year and it was always intended that the capsule be opened in the centenary year.” 

The time capsule contained items from 1993, such as newspapers and compact discs, and students’ reflections about life and the issues that mattered to them. “Time capsules are incredibly interesting,” said Head of Grimwade House Royce Helm. “Our students will be developing content for a centenary time capsule later this year.”

Archbishop leads centenary chapel service

Grimwade House’s year got off to a wonderful start with the Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne, The Most Rev’d Dr Philip Freier leading a special whole-school assembly and Chapel Service in the Alfred Felton Hall. 

The Bishop responsible for Anglican schools, The Right Rev’d Lindsay Urwin accompanied the Archbishop, together with Melbourne Grammar’s three Chaplains, Rev’d Bill Peacock (Grimwade House), Rev’d Malcolm Woolrich (Wadhurst) and Rev’d Hans Christiansen (Senior Chaplain).

The Chapel Service included prayers of thanksgiving for the life of the School and the lighting of three candles. The President of The Old Melburnians, Mr Andrew Maughan, lit the first candle in recognition of Grimwade House’s past. The Headmaster Mr Roy Kelley, representing Grimwade House today, lit the second candle, and the youngest student in the School, Leah, lit the third candle to celebrate Grimwade House’s future.

At the end of the service, Archbishop Freier blessed the Centenary badges, which were then distributed to students and staff to wear proudly throughout 2018.

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