Carey's 99th birthday

On 13 February we recognise Founders Day and our school’s 99th birthday. On this day in 1923, there assembled on Wurundjeri land the 68 Foundation scholars and five full-time staff who were the first members of Carey Baptist Grammar School (pictured).

A few local news outlets reported on the event, including the popular gossip magazine of the day, Table Talk:

‘The Carey Baptist Grammar School is commencing, its career this week under most favorable conditions. The property, purchased from Mr. and Mrs. T. Rand, embraces nearly eight acres of ground and the mansion formerly known as “Urangeline,” at the corner of Barkers-road and Wrixon-street, Kew. The school council has added a fine block of modern classrooms erected under the supervision of Mr. J. Edmund Burke. Extensive improvements which are being made to the grounds will provide a fine sports oval and new tennis courts. The headmaster, Mr. H. G. Steele, M.A. (Melbourne), Dip. Ed. (Oxon.), will be assisted by a highly efficient staff. The project involves an expenditure of £22,000, nearly two-thirds of which has been pledged and partly paid during the last two years. The promoters of the school expect to raise the balance during the present year. Over sixty boys have been enrolled, and, in view of the magnificent situation of the property, the care with which the staff has been selected, and the high ideals which have been laid down as governing principles of the institution, it is safe to predict rapid and solid growth for this latest addition to the fine educational forces of our Commonwealth. The school was officially opened on Saturday, February 10, by Mrs. Moore, wife of the president of the school council—Dr. W. Moore. Dr. W. Moore and Mr. L. E. Tranter have both been enthusiastic workers in the cause of the school, and to them the institution owes much of its present fine prospects.’

While Carey was busy celebrating, just four miles down the road at Parliament House, change was in the air. With the newly formed Country Party unwilling to serve under Billy Hughes, Hughes resigned from the leadership of the Nationalist Party and Stanley Bruce became Australia's eighth prime minister.

Unbeknown to its founders in 1923, Carey would go on to become a large co-educational school, alma mater to tens of thousands of students across the globe and thrown into a global pandemic almost a century later.

Today we can look back with pride on our heritage, pride in the vision and determination of those who founded and guided the School, and pride in its achievements. ‘Not that this should be an unreasoning or sentimental pride; Carey is a human institution and, as such, has had its difficulties and failures. It’s had its times of crisis and even disillusionment but through them all, the qualities enshrined in our school motto “By Courage and Faith” have shown through. As we compare ourselves now with the Carey of 1923, we are different yet the same.’

Unfortunately, we are unable to come together to celebrate on the day this year, but we look forward to celebrating our centenary next year with major events currently in the planning for 2023.

Helen Wolff
Archivist, Community Engagement