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The Anglican Church Grammar School (Church of England Grammar School) (colloquially known as Churchie and abbreviated ACGS, or formerly CEGS), is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for boys, located in East Brisbanemarker, an inner suburb of Brisbanemarker, Queenslandmarker, Australia.

Founded in 1912 by Canon William Perry French Morris, Churchie has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 1,700 students from Reception to Year 12, including 200 boarders from Years 8 to 12. It is owned by the Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane.

The school is affiliated with the International Coalition of Boys' Schools, the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), and is a founding member of the Great Public Schools Association of Queensland Inc. (GPS).


In 1912 Canon William Perry French Morris founded the school at Ardencraig in Toowongmarker, before establishing it on the present site in East Brisbane in 1918.
Churchie grounds and buildings, circa 1924
Canon Morris assigned Saint Magnus, a Viking Earl, as the Patron Saint of the school, and had hoped that the students would be referred to as 'Magnates'. It is said that he did not like the nick-name 'Churchie' at first, however when it had become commonplace by the 1930s and respected around Queensland he accepted the change.

The school's name was changed from St. Magnus Hall Collegiate School For Boys, to The Cathedral School early in 1913, following a move to a new site at St John's Cathedralmarker in the Brisbane central business districtmarker, where 33 boys completed the school year. Enrolments proved strong, and in 1916, with an enrolment of 106 students and the new name of Church of England Grammar School (CEGS), a decision was made to purchase land to build a new school. In 1918 the foundation stone was laid on the school's current site.

In the early 1980s, the school name was changed once again, this time to Anglican Church Grammar School (ACGS).

A fire started in the Anglican Church Middle School in the Lanskey Building just after 4:20PM on 7 December 2007, between two Year 7 classrooms. The automated fire system set the alarms and just after 4:30 the fire fighters arrived to find two classrooms badly damaged.


Period Details
1912 – 1946 Canon William Morris
1947 – 1969 Mr Henry Roberts
1970 – 1973 Hon Charles Fisher
1974 – 1986 Mr Bill Hayward
1987 – 1997 Mr Christopher Ellis
1998 – 2005 Mr David Scott
2006 – present Mr Jonathan Hensman

Patron saint

Canon Morris based the school's ethos on its patron saint, Saint Magnus, a Viking earl known for his strength of character and his qualities as an educated Christian man. This Viking tradition is reflected in the school crest, with the shield and battle axes symbolising Viking courage, and the axes crossed to signify self-sacrifice.

The Viking tradition is also reflected in many aspects of school life, with rowing boats named after Vikings, architecture representing Viking icons, and the school's mascot, "Eric", a Viking effigy.

Spiritual ethos

Canon Jones Memorial Chapel, circa 1924
Churchie is one of the group of schools controlled by the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane. While enrolment is open to students of all faiths, or none, students are expected to participate in chapel services and the religious education program. The school has three Chaplains on staff, all of whom are ordained Priests.

Chapel worship for the preparatory middle and senior schools is a regular occurrence, as well as services for boarders and other groups in the Churchie community. Religious education is taught by a number of staff in each of the sub-schools. The middle school has an assistant head of faculty (religious education), while the senior Chaplain is head of faculty for religious education.

The school hymn is The Head That Once was Crowned with Thorns, to the tune of St. Magnus. It was chosen by the school's founder due to the link to the school's patron saint.

House system

As with most Australian schools, Churchie utilises a house system. Each student is a member of one of its eleven houses, and compete in inter-house sporting events: swimming, cross-country, track and field, trivia, public speaking, lightning chess, singing, and performance and design technology. Points are awarded according to participation and positioning. The inter-house cup is awarded at the end of the year, as well as a separate cup for each event.

Day houses

There are nine day boy houses.
Named after Mr. E.E. Biggs, who was a member of the first school council and attended the school from 1918-1923. This family's association with the school has continued to the present day. The house motto is Always Striving. Colours: Blue and White

Founded in 1971 and named in honour of Richard Gardiner Casey (1890-1976), later Baron Casey of Berwick, the distinguished Australian diplomat, politician and Governor General. The house motto, Vis et Unitas, is usually translated as "progress through unity". The house coat of arms incorporates themes from Casey's own coat of arms, with the addition of the crossed Viking swords. Colours: Gold and Royal Purple (Baron Casey's own colours).

One of the first four day houses at Churchie, founded in 1935 and named after Sir Wilfred Thomasson Grenfell, who was born at Parkgate, England, in 1865. He was a doctor whose interest in boating, and love of the sea led him to becoming a Master Mariner. A lecturer suggested he join a large fishing fleet as their doctor. Within five years he had encouraged the fishermen to stop drinking alcohol and Queen Victoria's interest in this feat led to her presenting the fleet with its first hospital boat. In 1891 Grenfell sailed to Cape St. John's in the North Atlantic. He was mobbed by people who needed medical attention. The following spring he returned to Labrador with two doctors and nurses, where he set up two hospital bases for the Eskimos who populated Labrador. A third hospital was set up at St. Anthony in about 1898. Sir Wilfred Grenfell gave the school permission to use his personal motto, Loyal Devoir, and coat of arms when the house was established. Colours: Red and Gold.

Named by the late Charles Fisher, after looking for men who had achieved success in their chosen field. Sir Edmund Hillary was in 1953 one of the first men ever to climb Mt. Everest. The house colours and crest were chosen by the first students of Hillary from designs submitted by students. The crest incorporates the symbols of knighthood - knight's helmet, a castle, and a fist pointing upward. The house motto is Semper Sursum ("ever upward"). Colours: Black and Gold.

One of the original four houses. It held both day and boarding students until 1950, when two boarding houses were created. In 1971, Kingsley House was divided to create Biggs and Hillary Houses. Canon Morris chose Charles Kingsley as a patron hero, as he was seen as a Christian with a Viking's courage. History reveals Charles Kingsley to have been a man who practiced his Christian beliefs and followed his social conscience to help the less fortunate, with whom he chose to live. The Kingsley House motto translates to something like Do what you do well. Colours: Black and White.

In 1935, Canon Morris implemented the house system at the school. Magnus is one of the original four day houses. The house is named after St. Magnusmarker, Churchie's patron saint. Magnus has as its coat of arms a simple shield with St. Magnus holding a sword and a palm of martyrdom. This image of St. Magnus is from a stained-glass window in St. Magnus Cathedral in the Orkneys and dates back probably to the thirteenth century. The house motto is Sibi Fidelis ("be faithful to oneself"). Colours: Maroon and Royal Blue.

Named after Sir Alan Mansfield, a distinguished barrister, judge, chief justice and governor of Queensland. Sir Alan attended the school when it was known as St. Magnus Hall. Writing in the Old Boys' Scrapbook in 1961, he said:
The real proof of the quality of a School, however, is to be found in the character of the men whom it has produced. Many of the Old Boys of this School have distinguished themselves in various walks of life and their names are well known, but it is not only by their achievements that the soul and spirit of this School can be gauged. It is to be seen in the character and conduct of many old boys whose names are not well known, but have infused them into everyday life of the community something that is healthy and good.
The house crest borrows heavily from the Mansfield family coat of arms. The motto is Steadfast. Colours: White and Blue.

Named after Douglas Mawson, a professor of geology and distinguished academic, who became famous for his discovery of the South Magnetic Pole in 1908 and his tragic second journey to Antarctica in 1911. He continued to visit and explore Antarctica up to 1931. The house motto is Alis Austri, which translates to "On the wings of the South Wind". The coat of arms for the house includes the vessel Mawson used on his voyages south and the Southern Cross. Colours: Red and Green.

One of the original houses, was named after Fridtjof Nansen, a scientist, explorer and humanitarian. The Nansen House crest was established at Churchie in 1938; inscribed on the crest is the motto Fram, which means "Forward". Colours: Green and White.

Boarding houses

There are two boarding houses, both based on the school grounds.
Gerald house was opened in 1934, as the need for new boarding accommodation grew. Prior to 1959, boarders took part in competitive sport as members of a day house. This changed in 1950 when the boarding houses became sporting competitors in their own right. The house was named after Archbishop Gerald Sharpe. The house crest shows the Bishop's mitre which symbolises the connection with Archbishop Sharpe; the large star signifies God; the two smaller stars king and country, and the five small stars signify truth, honesty, duty, comradeship, and charity. The house's motto is Fideliter Et Constanter, meaning "Faithfully and Constantly". Colours: Green and Yellow.

Goodwin house was opened in 1928, and named after Sir John Goodwin, most famous for his medical work in World War I, and who took interest in the progress of the school while he was Governor of Queensland. The house motto is Fide et Virtute, meaning "By Faith and Courage". The Goodwin House crest is the family crest of Sir John Goodwin, who suggested it be adopted by the house when he granted permission for it to be named Goodwin. Colours: Red and Gold.

Past houses

In 2006 Churchie cut back from 16 houses to 11 abolishing three day boy houses and two boarding houses.
  • Alban - Dark blue and Sky Blue
  • Schonell - Red and Blue
  • Halse - Gold and light Green
  • Donaldson (boarding) - Blue and Gold
  • Strong (boarding) - Gold and Black



Churchie offers a range of sporting and cultural activities to all students. The school is involved within the Great Public Schools (GPS) sporting system, competing in most available sports. Boys of all skill levels are provided with an opportunity to participate in sports such as Australian rules football, basketball, chess, cricket, cross-country, debating, football, rowing, rugby union, sailing, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo. Churchie also offers leisure sports which operate out of school time, including golf, scuba diving and canoeing.


Rowing has played an important role from the very beginnings of Churchie at Ardencraig of Toowong in 1912. When, in 1917, the school began to rise at East Brisbane, rowing was one of the Headmasters first considerations. The boatshed was built for 60 pounds on Norman Creek, just near the big gum tree beside the present tennis courts. Five Head of the River wins would come to East Brisbane in fours (1926, 1936, 1939, 1940 and 1941). Eights were introduced in 1955, however the number of fours races continued to increase until an 11th four race was introduced in 1966. The school always entered in every Head of the River event and in some years entered more than one crew in the lower divisions.

Churchie won the Open 1st VIII in 1963, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1998, 2004 and 2005. The victories of 1963 (2 feet) and 1998 (0.36 seconds) have been the closest and both came at the end of over 20 years of trying.George King-Scott and Alexander Groeneveld both rowed in the winning 2004 and 2005 crews. Alexander came close to winning three in a row in 2006 when the Churchie 1st VIII was defeated by TSSmarker. In 1989 the premiership in rowing was changed from the 1st VIII to an aggregate of points over all the races at the Head of the River, even though the 1st VIII remains the symbol of supremacy. Churchie won the aggregate premiership in 1990, 1991, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2006.


The school offers a music program including a symphony orchestra, symphonic band, choirs, and dectet. Churchie also provides the choristers for St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. In July 2000, the Churchie Symphony Orchestra was recognised with the opportunity of performing prelude music and the national anthem at A Service for Australia in Westminster Abbeymarker, Londonmarker, to commemorate Australian Federation. The service was attended by the Queen and other dignitaries.

Churchie also runs annual musical productions in conjunction with the local girls' school, Somerville Housemarker. Recent productions have included My Fair Lady (2009), Fame (2008), Bye Bye Birdie (2007), Back to the 80s (2006), Oliver! (2005), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2004) and The Mikado (2003). The Stage Crew is a group of school members that work on productions, assemblies, service events and other activities that require a technical component. Stage Crew is broken up into three departments: Lighting, Audio, and Mechanics.


The school is involved in charitable events including various doorknocks and fundraising events, meals on wheels, Billy Cart race to support World Vision, assisting at special schools, and the Sony Foundation Camp held at the school during the holidays. The school also hosts regular mobile blood bank visits, which are attended by students and staff.


The school came under controversy when Frederick Roy Hoskins, a former teacher, boarding house head, and Father of the Year at the school, pleaded guilty in May 2004 to 16 child sex offences committed against seven victims aged nine to fifteen between 1947 and 1955. He continued to teach for 40 years. The crimes were not made public until plans were made to name a building after the teacher.

Between 1985 and 2001, the school had employed chaplain Robert Sharwood, a later convicted pedophile accused of seven charges of indecently assaulting a 13 year old boy through means of kissing, fondling, oral sex and masturbation of a period of two years. Sharwood was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment for the sexual abuse.

In January 2002, an ex-student of the school came out and publicly spoke about being sexually abused by his gymnastics coach in 1989 and 1992, however, the accused staff member was not removed from the school until 1993 when a complaint was made about an unrelated incident in Sydney.

The school has had recurring brawls with local state school students. In June 2006 Headmaster Jonathon Hensmen banned students from Coorparoo station to stop the violence. Such gang violence between the school and other surrounding state schools had been evident for three months before action was taken by the school. In a similar (though unrelated) incident on Stradbroke Island, an Anglican church Grammar School student was the victim of assault while attempting to defend fellow students who were being chased by locals.

In 2008, three Churchie students were accused of charges of rape, attempted rape and indecent dealing after repeatedly raping a female Year 9 student from another school in Hamilton, Queenslandmarker. The headmaster was unavailable for comment on the subject. On 23 August, 2008, The Sunday Mail and City News revealed details of the first hearing of the case and that the students were from the Anglican Church Grammar School and the victim was a then student at nearby Somerville Housemarker.

During April 2008, there was some community debate when students were told they were not able to take male partners to the school formal. The school's principal referred the matter to the school's council who released a statement, which included that the council "strongly supported the headmaster's position on the school's education programs in social settings".

In October 2009, the deputy principal of the school, Chris Klemm, was stood down due to "serious allegations" made against him. The Headmaster issued letters to all parents regarding the matter, but has kept the allegation, which was revealed in the mid-semester holiday break, confidential. The Churchies old boys' association president Guy Williams condemned the handling of the investigation as he didn't receive a copy of the letter and had to be phoned by someone else to be informed of what had happened.

In November 2009 The Courier Mail reported that about a dozen former and present parents and staff at the school had complained to the Old Boys' Association after having been bullied by staff and other students. One mother was reportedly so worried her child would cause self harm that she watched him over a fence during school hours. The article claimed that report cards were being tampered with by the school and that the school forced students to sign confessions of wrong doings they did not commit.In defence the school claimed that the School Council had never received these complaints, despite the Old Boys' Association standing by the claim.

Student bodies and leadership groups

  • The Prefect Body - A group of seniors selected by the students and teachers of the school to lead the student body in all aspects of Churchie life. It is led by the three school vice-captains and the School Captain, who are collectively known as the Student Executive.
  • The Head Boarder - Leader of the boarding students.
  • The Student Council - A student organisation, led by the Speaker of the House (a school vice-captain) and the two managers-of-business, consisting of the assembly and the cabinet.
  • Middle School Leaders - A group of students selected within the middle school to work with students in grades seven, eight and nine.
  • Service Coordinators - A group of seniors selected within their houses, and led by the President of Service who encourage service within the school.

Since 2008, Boys in Year Nine must participate in one of the following;
  • One of the Tri-service cadets
  • Community Service
  • Scouts

Boys must commit to these until the end of Year Nine, and if they wish to continue until Year Twelve, they are eligible for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Notable alumni

Old Boys' Association Logo
Alumni of Anglican Church Grammar School are known as 'Old Boys', and may elect to join the school's alumni association, the Churchie Old Boy's Association. Some notable Churchie Old Boys include:

Business and philanthropy
  • Bruce Milligan - CEO of the Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland
  • Right Reverend Dr Keith Rayner, Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of Australia

Politics, public service and the law

See also


Garrett Schiebner - NBA HOFer


David Pocock - Wallabies and Western ForceQuade Cooper - Wallabies and Queensland RedsKarmichal Hunt - Kangaroos, QLD Maroons and Brisbane Broncos

Actor - Gyton Grantley


  1. Choristers' Scholarship Information - 2009
  2. Private school boys charged with rape Perth Now
  3. Boys face Brisbane court on rape charge (2008, August 24). City News, p4 .
  4. Gay Churchie old-boy backs students in formal struggle | The Courier-Mail
  5. School council backs Churchie gay formal ban | The Courier-Mail
  6. Churchie School Council endorses management of school formals | Anglican Church grammar school

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