Trinity Grammar School, Kew

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Trinity Grammar School, Kew
Trinity Grammar School logo. Source: (Trinity website)
40 Charles Street


Coordinates37°48′33″S 145°2′4″E / 37.80917°S 145.03444°E / -37.80917; 145.03444Coordinates: 37°48′33″S 145°2′4″E / 37.80917°S 145.03444°E / -37.80917; 145.03444
TypeIndependent, single-sex, day and boarding
MottoLatin: Viriliter Agite
("Act Manfully")
DenominationAnglican Church of Australia
ChairpersonJohn Gillam
HeadmasterPhil De Young
Key peopleRohan Brown (Deputy Headmaster)
The Rev'd Matt Campbell (Senior Chaplain)
Enrolment1,500 (ELC-Year 12)
Colour(s)Green and Gold          
Slogan"Growing Exceptional Young Men"

Trinity Grammar School, Kew (abbreviated to TGS) is an independent Anglican day and boarding school for boys, located in Kew in Melbourne, Australia.

The school was founded at a meeting of several high-ranking church figures on 14 November 1902. It opened in 1903, operating out of the Holy Trinity Church. Trinity is a founding member of the Associated Grammar Schools of Victoria (AGSV). The school has over 1500 students and around 20 boarding students.


Trinity Grammar School, Kew was founded by members of the Holy Trinity parish in 1902 and opened the next year. The school originally opened in the parish hall of Holy Trinity Church with 23 boys. Edward Taffs was the first headmaster, although G. M. Long soon succeeded him.

In 1906, the school purchased a property, "Roxeth" (now Henty House), a small distance to the south of the church, on the corner of Wellington Street and Charles Street. Trinity quickly built Arnold Hall, the first classroom block, completing it the next year. In the same year, Trinity was registered as a public school of the Church of England. The school leased "Molina", a property on the other side of Charles Street and the site of the former Kew High School which is now further to the north, in 1908. In 1909, the school built a science laboratory beside Arnold Hall.

Two years later, Long left the school to become Bishop of Bathurst and the Reverend A. W. Tonge was appointed headmaster. A second classroom building was built, now demolished to make way for the Richard and Elizabeth Tudor Centre for Contemporary Learning. In 1917, Trinity again appointed a new headmaster, Mr Frank Shann, who would lead the school for the next two and a half decades. Under his tenure, the school grew to a total of 245 boys and many buildings were built, including the now demolished War Memorial Library, the junior school classroom building and the "Health Pavilion". "Molina" was bought from its owner, John Henning, as well as the neighbouring property, "Elsinore". The properties were subsequently renamed in 1925, "Molina" becoming Merritt House, "Elsinore" Roberts House and "Roxeth" Henty House. Frank Shann died in 1943.

Alfred Bright became headmaster upon Frank Shann's death. The school built a second storey for the Junior School in 1952, and in the following year, the Parents' and Friends' Hall, a multipurpose venue, was built between Merritt House and Xavier College. On Alfred Bright's retirement, John Leppitt was appointed Headmaster. The school advanced greatly during his time as headmaster, the number of students reaching 812. The Robertson Science and Administration Building was opened in 1959 and extended later on, and two years later, the junior school building was extended to almost meet Roberts House, providing art and music facilities. In 1968, the Shann Building was constructed between the Robertson Building and the old Arnold Hall, as well as a major sports facility, Cornell Gymnasium.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Trinity purchased land beside Lake Eppalock, near Bendigo, opening the Leppitt Outdoor Education Centre in 1973, named after the headmaster. In 1975, the boarding house, which had been run in Merritt House, closed after more than 60 years. The War Memorial Library was demolished in favour of a new classroom building, the three storey Tonge Building, and the library relocated to one floor of the Shann Building. Several years later, in 1979, John Leppitt retired. The new headmaster, Don Marles, continued the development of the school with a new swimming pool in 1980 and the renovation and renaming to the Bright Laboratories of the original science laboratories housed in the Shann Building. Merritt House, the former boarding house, was converted into a music school.

As a result of new buildings constructed over the previous two decades, the school sought further land for outdoor sports facilities. Trinity purchased land in Bulleen, near the Yarra River, and opened the Marles Playing Fields there. These facilities continue to be used today on a regular basis.

1989 saw the building of another classroom building, the now demolished Poynter Building. The tuckshop, the original canteen, was closed in 1990, and the cafeteria opened on the ground floor of the Shann Building. Two years later, the school finally built a dedicated chapel for weekly services (previously, students had to attend services at Holy Trinity Church, where the school began). Don Marles retired the same year, replaced by Peter Crawley.[1]

The school was interested in the development of curriculum and saw the possibilities being opened up in business and industry by the use of computer technology. Nearby MLC had recently introduced Laptop Computers for the personal use by the students as an everyday part of their learning. Trinity, under the leadership of the new headmaster, Peter Crawley, decided to introduce a similar program at Trinity from the start of 1994. However, the new program did not use the computers in the same way as had been the MLC experience. Trinity decided to use a business model and became the first school in the world to adopt the use of Microsoft Office within an educational setting. This attracted the attention of Microsoft in the US and they sent a film crew to the school to record the way the school was using the Laptops.[2] In 1995 the headmaster received a letter from Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, commending him for his influence on American educators in the area of the use of technology in education.

In 1993, Trinity and nearby sister school Ruyton Girls' School introduced the Coordinate Program, whereby co-educational classes for Years 11 and 12 are conducted across the two schools. In 1996, the school purchased the Kew Municipal Offices, after the City of Kew was amalgamated into the City of Boroondara, in order to further expand its facilities. Two years later, it opened as the Peter Crawley Centre for the Arts. Peter Crawley then resigned in the same year as he accepted the position as headmaster of Knox Grammar School in Sydney.[3] In 1999, Richard Tudor was appointed as headmaster and the co-educational Early Learning Centre was opened.

21st Century[edit]

In 2000, the computers began using wireless technology and, in the following year, the school began the construction of the Science and Technology Building to replace the Bright Laboratories. This opened in 2003, the year in which Trinity celebrated its centenary year.

The school opened a new gymnasium, the Peter McIntyre Sports Centre, to complement the old Cornell Sports Gym, and another block of forested land was purchased at Licola, to complement the Outdoor Education Centre at Lake Eppalock. The school also purchased the Stillwell Showroom in 2005, on the corner of Charles Street and Cotham Road, which is currently used as a multipurpose venue, with impending development of the site in the future.[4]

In recent years, the school was given money to further extend and renovate the old Kew Municipal Offices. This included a junior school hall (named the South Room) and a new facade to the building. This, as nearly all new buildings, was designed by Peter McIntyre. The building still has heritage features with some doors saying "Kew Town Hall" and "City of Kew".

In 2011, the Poynter Building and Tech Centre were demolished to make room for the Richard and Elizabeth Tudor Centre for Contemporary Learning. The building was opened in March 2013 by The Hon. Alex Chernov, the Governor of Victoria. It contains a multi-level library, a cafe and the Year 12 area. It crosses a basement, ground level with a mezzanine and an upper level.

Trinity has developed a reputation as a high-achieving school in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and is known for a well-balanced approach to single-sex education. In 2014, Dr Michael Davies took the position as headmaster, succeeding the highly regarded Richard Tudor.[5]

Towards the end of 2015 the school undertook the demolition of Arnold Hall (to be replaced by the Centre for Business & Social Enterprise). The new Centre for Business & Social Enterprise was opened in March 2017 by The Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Federal Member for Kooyong, and includes 8 classrooms as well as a lecture hall. Trinity and Ruyton celebrated 25 years of the Coordinate Program in 2018.

In November 2017, Old Trinity Grammarians' Association president David Baumgartner wrote to the school's leadership, accusing it of being too preoccupied with high ATARs, fundraising and building projects under Michael Davies' leadership. Baumgartner said the school needed to return to its focus on the "holistic development" and wellbeing of students. He said that there was a "resurgent undercurrent of frustration and anger" among the school community.[6] It was revealed in 2018 that 152 staff had left the school since Davies became headmaster.

Following the dismissal of Deputy Headmaster Rohan Brown in March 2018, many members of the school community – including current and past students, parents and teachers – expressed extreme discontentment with the direction Michael Davies and the School Council were taking the school and demanded changes be made to the way the school operates, including the dismissal of Davies and the Council.[7][8] There were several large-scale protests from students regarding the dismissal of Rohan Brown.[9] Brown was reinstated on the 11th of April before the commencement of Term 2 after the school's independent review showed that he was unjustly removed from his role despite breaching the school's code of conduct.[10]

Michael Davies announced his resignation on 15 May 2018, effective from the end of Term 2. The School Council announced that Phil De Young, former principal of Carey Baptist Grammar School, would be appointed interim headmaster whilst a search for a new headmaster took place.[11] Almost the entirety of the School Council was replaced following the events of Terms 1 and 2. De Young and the new School Council led a process of community consultation and reconciliation to restore the school to a state of harmony. De Young said in a speech early on: "Clearly, it's been a tough six months for the school, but that's all behind us. Let's move forward; let's do so with confidence, with passion, and let's do so in a positive way."[12]


Years Served Name
1903–1904 Edward Taffs
1904–1911 George Merrick Long
1911–1917 A.W. Tonge
1917–1943 Frank Shann
1943–1959 Alfred Bright
1959–1979 James Leppitt
1979–1993 Donald Marles
1993–1999 Peter Crawley
1999–2013 Richard Tudor O.A.M.
2014–2018* Michael Davies
2018- Phil De Young

* Finished serving at the conclusion of Semester 1


Trinity is known for its extensive co-curricular program.[citation needed]

House system[edit]

A significant part of school life is the house system. Each house is named after a notable contributor to Trinity.

Name Colour Junior School
Arnold      Summers
Cowen      Summers
Henty      Friend
Hindley      Inglis
Kent Hughes      Henderson
Merritt      Inglis
Roberts      Henderson
Sutton      Friend


Trinity is highly regarded for its extensive school outreach and community service programs. In the local community, students and staff work in the Habitat Uniting Church's programs for people with mental illness. Senior school students have the opportunity to go on immersion trips to East Africa and the Philippines.

Outdoor education[edit]

The Leppitt Outdoor Education program, named after the sixth headmaster, includes participation in bushwalking, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, first aid, navigation, cooking and rafting. The program is compulsory for students from Year 7 to Year 10. Camps are based around school properties at Lake Eppalock, Lake Nillahcootie and Licola.


  • Main campus, Kew
    • The main campus in Kew covers all sides of the intersection of Wellington and Charles Streets in Kew. The west side of Charles Street houses the Junior School, Peter McIntyre Sports Centre, and the Early Learning Centre.
  • Marles Playing Fields, Bulleen (Sport grounds)
  • Leppitt Outdoor Education Centre, Lake Eppalock (Outdoor education)
  • Licola (Outdoor education)
  • Nillahcootie (Outdoor education)

Old Trinity Grammarians[edit]

The Old Trinity Grammarians' Association (OTGA) was formed in 1909 and continues to remain a notable alumni community.

The aims of the OTGA are:[13]

  • to provide a network of communication for Old Boys
  • to foster support for the School
  • to provide an ongoing employment link within the Trinity Community
  • to support OTGs in the participation of community service activities

Old Trinity Grammarians sporting clubs[edit]

One of the most popular network of communication for old boys is through the OTG sporting clubs. Currently, the following sporting clubs exist:[14]

Indigenous programs[edit]

Trinity has become known for its work in the area of Indigenous Reconciliation as a result of the work of former headmaster Richard Tudor and former Senior Chaplain Chris Leadbeater. The school has an Indigenous scholarship program that has seen large numbers of Indigenous students progress through the senior school. Senior school trips to the Maree-Arabunna area in South Australia take place each year, on which students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of the region and explore the Outback.[15]

In 2007, the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, made a special visit to Trinity to talk to the school outreach group about their work. Trinity also received the 'Dare to Lead' award in recognition of the school's work in advancing Indigenous issues within the community.[15]

In 2018, Trinity opened Dadirri House on Wellington Street, a boarding house for Indigenous students who come to the school in Year 8, before moving across to the main boarding house in Year 10.[16] Trinity is a partner school of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS), founded by former Headmaster Richard Tudor and his wife Elizabeth.[17]


In 2016, Mark Watson, a former employee of the school whose work involved caring for boarding school students, was committed to stand trial over 41 historical sex offences against five boys. The abuse is alleged to have taken place between 1975 and 1978, and is the present subject of a compensation claim.[18]

In January 2017, the school was again brought to prominence over allegations that senior members of the school community – including Headmaster Michael Davies – knew of abuse allegations against former teacher Christopher Howell when it sent a tribute letter praising Mr Howell's "extraordinary legacy" to the school after his death in 2016. This action, which was described as "stupid and insensitive" by lawyers representing Mr Howell's victims, attracted a great deal of controversy to the school.[19]

In November 2017, Old Trinity Grammarians' Association president David Baumgartner wrote to the school's leadership, accusing it of being too preoccupied with high ATARs, fundraising and building projects under Dr Michael Davies' leadership. Baumgartner said the school needed to return to its focus on the "holistic development" and wellbeing of students. He said that there was a "resurgent undercurrent of frustration and anger" among the school community. "There is too much inward focus on things like buildings, fundraising, marketing, ATAR excellence, Cambridge schooling program, etc," Baumgartner wrote in his open letter which made its way to hundreds of parents' inboxes. He said he was also disappointed by the school's treatment of many respected and revered teachers. "The constant change of staff and the disrespectful way in which it occurs seriously concerns me," he said (it was revealed in 2018 that 152 staff had left the school since Dr Davies had become headmaster[20]). Baumgartner, who is also a former parent at the school, warned that the school should not be run like a business and suggested that its culture would start to break down.[6]


In March 2018, the School Council sacked Deputy Headmaster Rohan Brown following a disciplinary issue which the Council felt was "in contravention of school policy and was also inconsistent with community expectations in this day and age". Some members of the school community – including current and past students, teachers and parents – were outraged by this action and protests occurred on school grounds following Mr Brown's dismissal.[21]

In a disastrous meeting held by the School Council to address the community (attended by in excess of 800 people), some members of the community expressed their lack of faith in the council, speculated that the circumstances regarding Mr Brown's dismissal had political motivations, and asked for the council to step down and be replaced by a democratically elected body. Others, who were intimidated by the rowdy and old school attitudes on display, did not support these requests and want the Council to improve governance but continue to focus on improving the school. A large portion of the school community – including a representative of the student involved in the disciplinary issue – demanded that Mr Brown be reinstated.[20]

Both Mr Lyle and Michael Davies promised to consider the issue and reflect on the necessary actions, announcing an independent review by eminent Barrister Ray Finkelstein AO QC into the situation over the 2018 Victorian Labour Day weekend (10–12 March). A perception of lack of decisiveness and transparency on the part of Mr Lyle and Dr Davies angered some members of the school community.

Students protests at Trinity Grammar following Rohan Brown's removal in 2018

Following a town hall meeting of 13 March, which organisers claim was attended by well over 1500 members of the school community, in addition to an online petition with over 6900 signatures, three members of the School Council – John Grover, Roderick Lyle and David Waldren – tendered their resignations. Previous council chairman Robert Utter was installed as chairman, and an independent review of Mr Brown's sacking was commenced (led by former Federal Court judge Raymond Finklestein QC and barrister Renee Enbom).

However, the appointment of Mr Utter sparked only more controversy as it was viewed by many that Mr Utter was an unacceptable choice for chairman as he was an existing council member prior to the incident, that he was partially responsible for the "cultural shift" that the school had faced in recent years, and that – after 24 years on the council – he was no longer connected with the school community. The OTGA called for Mr Utter to resign, strongly urging an independent chairman be appointed.[21][7][8]

Then, on 15 May, Michael Davies announced his resignation from the role of headmaster of the school, sending out a letter stating that it came 'after a great deal of thought and discussion with [his] family.' He left his job at the end of term, on 29 June. The School Council was almost entirely replaced on 5 June 2018. Former principal of Carey Baptist Grammar School Phil De Young was appointed interim headmaster until a permanent one could be found.[22][23] Almost the entirety of the School Council was replaced following the events of Terms 1 and 2. De Young and the new School Council led a process of community consultation and reconciliation to restore the school to a state of harmony.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni of Trinity Grammar School include:


  1. ^ Announcement from Chair of School Council Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  2. ^ Never Mind the Laptops: Kids, Computers, and the Transformation of Learning Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  3. ^ Old boys of Knox Grammar, like me, will always be marked by how close we came to the abuse there Retrieved 25 October 2017,
  4. ^ History of Trinity Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Cook, Henrietta (2017-12-07). "'Too much' focus on high ATARs and buildings: the stoush at Trinity Grammar". The Age. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  7. ^ a b "Rowdy student protest after college deputy head sacked for 'trimming student's hair'". March 9, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Trinity Grammar school, Kew: Council members resign". March 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Cook, Henrietta (2018-03-21). "Trinity Grammar parents ramp up campaign against school over sacking". The Age. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  10. ^ Cook, Henrietta (2018-04-11). "Deputy head to return to Trinity Grammar after 'unjustified' sacking". The Age. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  11. ^ Cook, Henrietta (2018-05-14). "Trinity Grammar headmaster Michael Davies resigns in wake of haircut saga". The Age. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  12. ^ De Young, Phil. Assembly Address. Trinity Grammar School, Kew. July 2018.
  13. ^ Old Trinity Grammarians Association
  14. ^ OTG Sporting Clubs Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b "Publications | Trinity Grammar School, Kew". Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  16. ^ "Boarding | Trinity Grammar School, Kew". Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  17. ^ "Melbourne Indigenous Transition School | SCHOOLS". Melbourne Indigenous Transition School. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  18. ^ "Former Trinity Grammar School worker to stand trial over historical sex charges", The Age Newspaper. 22 August 2016.
  19. ^ "'Extraordinary legacy and hero to many'; school knew of abuse allegation when it sent tribute letter", The Age. 20 February 2017.
  20. ^ a b Bowden, Henrietta Cook, Ebony (2018-03-09). "'Haircut' student says he never wanted deputy to be sacked". The Age. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  21. ^ a b "Trinity Grammar deputy principal sacked over cutting student's hair". March 9, 2018.
  22. ^ "Trinity Grammar headmaster steps down after deputy principal's student haircut saga". May 15, 2018.
  23. ^ "Headmaster of Melbourne's Trinity Grammar resigns after haircut controversy". May 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "UR-Sf 34 Professor Robert Percival Cook, Lecturer in Biochemistry, University College, Dundee and Queen's College, Dundee; Professor of Biochemistry, University of Dundee". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee. Retrieved 20 April 2018.

External links[edit]