Despite both his parents being Teachers themselves, teaching was not immediately in Robert Henderson's mind and following his school education at Aquinas College, Perth, he graduated Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Western Australia in 1983. His move away from accounting and towards teaching came through his involvement with sport. He subsequently completed a Diploma of Education at Murdoch University in 1987, became Master of Education in 1996 and Master of Religious Education from University of Notre Dame in 2003. Prior to his appointment, Henderson was Headmaster of Christian Brothers College Fremantle before moving to Ipswich in January 2011.
Reflecting the commercial imperatives of modern education, Denis Frederiksen was the first Ipswich Grammar Headmaster to carry the joint title of Headmaster/CEO. Frederiksen gained Economics and Education degrees at the University of Queensland and became Principal of country high schools before moving into administrative roles with Education Queensland. He was named Director of Queensland Secondary Education in 1987 and rejoined the schoolground as Head of Senior School at John Paul College and later as Principal of St Laurence's College. Frederiksen oversaw the changing face of IGS, including the refurbishment of the Auditorium, and was instrumental in the development of the Junior School, Literacy Centre, and Early Childhood Precinct.
Educated at Oakleigh Primary School and Brisbane Boys' College, Igor Lapa received a Commonwealth Scholarship to the University of Queensland and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in History and French. He joined Ipswich Grammar in 1959. Before becoming Headmaster, he was Senior Master and Head of French. Lapa was Deputy Headmaster from 1972 and became Headmaster in 1990. The Igor Lapa Junior School Building is named in his honour. During a visit to the school in 2010 Lapa said, “As I look around I see some lovely changes, but it is still a great school. That indomitable spirit of Ipswich Grammar School is definitely still here.”
The school’s second old boy Headmaster inherited a school which was in some financial difficulty and suffering from inadequate facilities. With single-minded tenacity, driven by his passion for IGS, he set about implementing his vision for a modern school. An ambitious building program was commenced and during the twenty year period of his headmastership most of the buildings now present on site were constructed, including, the auditorium, the Harry G Wilson Science Building, the Ivor G Morris Physical Education Complex, the CA Turner Manual Arts Complex, the Clive Wyman Building, the boarding towers, and the Ladley Centre. Under his leadership, the Board of Trustees also had the foresight to purchase land at Brassall, which was later developed as Grammar Arms Park as well as first-class sporting facilities for the school.
Ladley believed a great school involved more than bricks and mortar and he set about building an excellent team of sporting, administrative, and academic staff. He built a culture of pride and passion for the school, which continues today. He was instrumental in the school’s rising success in sport during the 1980s, especially in rugby and track and field, and academic performance was strong during his tenure.
Tragically, Alan Ladley suffered a fatal heart attack on the last day of the school year in 1989. His legacy is the school as we see it today, and he should best be remembered as the ‘builder headmaster’, or father of the modern school.
Scholar, sportsman, and student of human nature, Basil Heath made a great impression on the school and local community. The boys had a healthy respect for his teaching ability and discipline. Students were amazed by his almost sleight-of-hand mathematical manoeuvres. To Heath, the school was not just a factory designed to churn out passes, but an environment in which a young man could be prepared for life. He said, "We hope to train him in the ways of service and proper conduct; in good taste; we try to encourage good team spirit, sportsmanship and consideration of others. We try to instil a sense of real values, to develop the capacity of 'sift, weigh and analyse'. All these things are part of real education."
Walter Douglas interrupted a well-earned retirement to help Ipswich Grammar through a difficult period following an exodus of staff. A fine classical scholar, able administrator and firm disciplinarian, he worked tirelessly to maintain the school's strong traditions.
After graduating from the University of Queensland, Charles Olsen began his teaching career at the Queensland Tutorial College, Brisbane, in 1934. Later, he joined the staff of the Slade School, Warwick, where he was appointed Senior Master in 1939 and Acting Headmaster in 1952. Charles Olsen was regarded as an exceptionally fine Physics teacher. He was also an efficient administrator under whose guidance many improvements were made at Ipswich Grammar.
Dr Jim Diamond's administration lasted from 1952 to April 1953 when he left to accept an engineering appointment in the United States. Dr Diamond had a brilliant scholastic record at Rockhampton State High School, winning an Open Scholarship to the University of Queensland in 1934 and graduating with a Bachelor of Science. After teaching at Scots College, Sydney, and Barker College, Hornsby, he returned to Queensland to teach at Rockhampton Grammar School. Dr Diamond studied at the California Institute of Technology from 1948-1951.
William Henderson was the first Ipswich Grammar Old Boy to be appointed as Headmaster. At the time of his appointment, he had already been on the teaching staff for 22 years. He taught Chemistry and Physics and wrote a number of Chemistry textbooks. Henderson was one of the best tennis players Ipswich has produced and was champion on seven occasions. A talented cricket player, he coached the First XI as well as the tennis team. Under his guidance, the First IV won the GPS tennis premiership three times. The Headmaster's influence extended beyond the school. He was a member of the Ipswich Rotary Club and the Bandmaster of the Ipswich Salvation Army Band for nearly a quarter of a century.
Richard Kerr is one of the greats of Australian secondary school history. Kerr was a scholar of the highest calibre, delighting in Mathematics and the Humanities. Affectionately known as 'The Boss', Kerr believed it was through the influence of personality and the appreciation of education that civilisation could be assured of abundance, tolerance, and beauty. The years 1922-1924 brought the school international fame when three students from one class were awarded Rhodes Scholarships. At his farewell, the following tribute was paid to Richard Kerr: "He was a very unselfish and gifted man; he dedicated his life to the teaching of the boys attending the Ipswich Grammar School. He fulfilled his destiny in a way granted to few."
Bertram Lawrance's philosophy of education emphasised the broadening of the mind and development of the intellect. He was aware of changing conditions and was willing to move with the times. Under his guidance, Physics and Chemistry were taught to the greatest number of students since the school's founding. Lawrance was also a sportsman and by setting a fine example, he was able to help develop sport in the school. Lawrance once said, "The best brain work can not be done without plenty of exercise, even apart from the point of view of health, such games as cricket and football aid greatly in the development of character. To be able to take knocks with good temper, to sink one's desire for personal success in one's team, to learn to be successful with modesty, and to be beaten without bad temper - this is well learnt on the playing fields."
Charles Flint, a graduate of the University of Sydney, initiated the design of the Ipswich Grammar School badge and worked strenuously to establish the Old Boys' Association. His concluding remarks at his final Prize Day indicate that he had been a worthy successor to Donald Cameron he said, "In bidding an affectionate farewell to you, I would urge you to try and cultivate every virtue, scorn all forms of pretence and so live that neither you nor the world will regret your entrance into it."
The Board of Trustees appointed Donald Cameron on 10 May, 1875. So began one of the finest periods in the history of the school. Under his capable administration, the school won fame scholastically and produced citizens of a high calibre. Cameron was a strict disciplinarian, but was highly respected by the students. He had the great gift of knowing when to stop treating a lad as schoolboy and start regarding him as someone who had responsibilities to meet. He believed sport was important, but should not take the place of scholarship.
John Macrae, who was exceptionally popular with both staff and boys, demanded a high standard of scholarship at Ipswich Grammar. In an annual report he said, "A pleasing feature of the year was that the cane had very little to do, and was now existing in a state of retirement which will not be very soon disturbed." Excellent results were achieved during his tenure, particularly in 1873 when the Government made school scholarships competitive and so academic competition thrived.
Stuart Hawthorne’s appointment as the first Headmaster of Ipswich Grammar was well received by Ipswich newspapers where he was described as, "qualified in all ways to discharge his duties". At the school's opening in 1863, he spoke of his hope that Ipswich Grammar School would become a model for future schools, that these young men would study of the classics, especially Latin and Greek. Hawthorne demanded a sound knowledge of the English language, he saw Physical Education as a necessity and he urged teachers to impart their knowledge with enthusiasm and to educate boys in citizenship, particularly in loyalty to the British nation.