Ballarat Clarendon College celebrates 150th anniversary

BALLARAT Clarendon College – Victoria’s fifth oldest private school – launched its 150th year with celebrations at the weekend. 

To mark the milestone yesterday, the school officially opened the David J Sewell Pavilion and presented the Clarendon honour board recognising women who  served in World Wars I and II. 

Victorian Senator Michael Ronaldson said schools did not reach 150 years old unless they had been doing something well. 

School archivist Heather Jackson said it was an important occasion to unveil the new honour board, with the school having similar tributes for  students who had died during World Wars I and II and those who had returned from World War I.

“We’ve been very aware that we didn’t have an honour board for the women, but the information only became available last year,” Ms Jackson said.

She said James Affleck conducted the research and published a book last year documenting the Clarendon women. 

The honour board will be added to the school’s Memorial Hall, alongside the other honour boards, with one for men who returned from World War II about to be added as well. 

Principal David Shepherd said it was significant for any school in Australia to reach 150 years, considering the young society that Australia was. 

Celebrations would mark the milestone throughout next year, he said. 

When the college opened in July 6, 1864, just two seven-year-old cousins attended. 

Within 18 months, numbers grew to 106 and, by 1869, enrolments peaked at 260.

There are 1350 students attending the now co-educational school, with the amalgamation of Ballarat College and Clarendon Presbyterian Ladies’ College in 1974. 

Historian and biographer Ross McMullin gave a presentation on Pompey Elliott, one of BCC’s most famous students. 

“No Australian commander was more revered by his own men and no more well known to outside men,” Mr McMullin said. 

Only Scotch College, Geelong Grammar, Melbourne Grammar and Geelong College are older than BCC.