Museum and Archive

Imagine the scene at Ipswich Grammar School on the morning of Wednesday 7 October 1863. Inside the building we now call The Great Hall, the polished floors shone and the desks were unblemished by spilt ink. The blackboard had never been dusted of chalk and the open roll on the Headmaster’s lectern was unmarked. In the dormitory, the beds had never been slept in. The grounds had not yet echoed with the plunk of leather on wood and the school bell had never been rung. On that same morning, sixteen boys sat down at the hand-crafted wooden forms, opened their copybooks and quietly made history. These sixteen boys, were the first pupils of Ipswich Grammar School, the first school in Queensland to be founded under the provisions of the Grammar Schools Act of 1860. They carried a heavy burden of expectation on their young shoulders, for they represented the future prosperity of the fledgling colony. In this schoolroom, these boys and those who followed them were expected to become educated gentlemen, equipped to fulfil their destiny as the leaders and policy makers, entrepreneurs and industrialists, of the future. Under their direction, it was hoped, Queensland would cleave its way forward within the mighty arc of the British Empire.

More than a century and a half later, the new buildings have become ancient, blackboards have made way for smart boards and the school bell has been rung with affection many hundreds of times by boys leaving their old school for the last time. Each boy has left his mark, whether on the sporting field or for academic prowess, for good deeds or simply as a name chiselled on to a desk.

Our Museum and Archives Committee exists to preserve our history, the stories of our boys, told through their experiences in the classroom and in the schoolyard, as boarders and day boys, at work and play, for over 150 years. This rich history is displayed in The Great Hall, which still stands today with a new lease on life as our Museum.

The Museum is open between 8am – 3pm Monday to Friday during school term. If you would like to get in contact with the Museum and Archive Committee please contact