Queenscliff 1865
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Did you know? – Investigator September 2021

Did you know that Queenscliff had a Grammar School in the 1860s?

It was certainly operating in 1864 when an advertisement in the Geelong Advertiser announced that the Queenscliff Grammar School would be re-opened after the Christmas vacation on the 16th of January [1865].

The school was run by William Behan, who had attended the University College, London. He subsequently was an Assistant Master at the University College School – a secondary school and a ‘feeder’ school for the University College.

The course of instruction was aimed at preparing pupils for the University, Civil Service and individual pursuits and comprised those studies essential to sound intellectual training, general and accurate scholarship.

It would seem that, initially, the school took in boarders only: terms 15 guineas per quarter. The attraction was the sea air. ‘The high sanitary character of Queenscliff, combined with efficient intellectual training, presents to parents and guardians desirable advantages for the health and education of youth.’

An advertisement in the Geelong Chronicle in April 1865 provided another glimpse of the school. By now, Behan was taking in day scholars as well as boarders. Quarterly terms were three guineas for those aged 12 and over; two guineas for those aged under 12 years. Terms for boarders were 15 guineas for those aged 12 years and under; 20 guineas for those aged over 12 years.

The hours of attendance were from 9 to 12 in the forenoon and from 2 to 4 in the afternoon [on week days]. Saturday was a holiday. Behan assured parents and guardians that ‘[t]he progress, health and demeanor of the pupils are objects of especial consideration, and the comforts of those resident, receive assiduous attention.’


The archives of THE ANGLICAN PARISH OF ST GEORGE’S QUEENSCLIFF AND ST JAMES’ POINT LONSDALE contains records covering the life and family history of William Behan first treasurer of St George’s vestry. He conducted a school, Queenscliff Grammar School, at 5 Stevens St Queenscliff [see contemporary photo of house]. Donated to Parish History project July 2014, by Andrew Behan St James’ parishioner and treasurer.

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