Toowoomba Grammar School, one of the eight Grammar Schools of Queensland, was founded in 1875 under an Act of the Queensland Parliament known as the Grammar Schools’ Act 1860 (Qld). In short, the Act allowed for the establishment of a Board of Trustees to govern the School and, most importantly, it also allowed for the gazetting of Crown land on which the School was to be built. The land on which the School was built remains Crown land today under perpetual leases to the Board of Trustees.
Original School Building
The original school building, known as School House (a title it retains today), was completed in 1876. To fund the construction of School House, the Act allowed for the provision of a financial grant from the Colonial Government and for the calling of private subscriptions from local citizens. These generous citizens were mainly the graziers and farming families of the Darling Downs, and the professional and business people of Toowoomba. School House was designed by Willoughby Powell in a Domestic Gothic style and is one of Toowoomba’s most significant heritage buildings. As part of the design brief, the building had to include, amongst other things, one large classroom for 160 pupils. This large classroom, originally known as “the Big School Room”, later became known as the Old Hall and retains that name today.
The School’s first Headmaster, Mr John Mackintosh, was born in Scotland in 1836 and studied for a Master of Arts degree in classics and mathematics at Edinburgh University. In 1861, Mr Mackintosh emigrated to Australia to commence a decorated career in Australian education culminating in being named the inaugural Headmaster of Toowoomba Grammar School. On 1 February 1877, Mr Mackintosh conducted the first ever lesson taught at Toowoomba Grammar School in Old Hall. Present at this lesson were 44 boys: 24 day boys and 20 boarders. Sadly, at the age of 43, Mr Mackintosh was thrown from his horse at Helidon (just outside of Toowoomba) and was killed. In the School’s history, which extends over 140 years, it has had only 16 Headmasters. The School’s current Headmaster, Dr John Kinniburgh commenced his Headmastership in 2021. Mr Peter Hauser, was the third longest-serving Headmaster with his tenure dating from 2003 to 2020. Mr George Pitty Barbour was Headmaster from 1910 – 1935, and Mr William Dent was Headmaster from 1970 – 1991.
In 1920, Toowoomba Grammar School was invited to become a member school of the Great Public Schools Association of Queensland (GPS) which was founded two years earlier. To this day, we compete in ten GPS sports and activities against the eight other GPS schools (three of which are Grammar schools). The nine members schools comprise some of the most well known schools in Australia. They are:
- Toowoomba Grammar School
- Brisbane Grammar School
- Ipswich Grammar School
- St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace
- St Joseph’s College Nudgee
- Brisbane State High School
- Anglican Church Grammar School (‘Churchie’)
- Brisbane Boys’ College
- The Southport School