One hundred years, four principals

How many principals would you expect a school to have in 100 years? 10? 15? 20?

It is astonishing to think that just four leaders have been at the helm of Ivanhoe in a century. Not many schools could claim such a stable and successful leadership history and it is apparent that the reign of each principal contributed significantly to the development of the impressive school that exists today.

Reverend Sydney Buckley

Mr Victor Brown

In its first incarnation, Reverend Sydney Buckley succeeded in opening the St James Church of England Grammar School for Boys in 1915 with just fourteen students and the support of the Archbishop. Although the school was in its infancy, Buckley felt compelled to serve in World War I and upon his return acquired Ivanhoe House. In 1920 the school relocated to its current location and was renamed Ivanhoe Grammar School. During World War II, Buckley offered the school to the Army and the school reconvened in Yea for two years.

Following Buckley’s departure, Mr Victor Brown arrived at Ivanhoe in 1948. Recruited from England where he was a Rhodes Scholar and an Oxford graduate, Brown oversaw a substantial building project, including the opening of the Memorial Junior School in 1955. Brown initiated a vast scholastic improvement program, which resulted in a marked increase in students’ annual examination results. Performing arts and student publications also flourished under Brown’s leadership.                                                                                              

In 1974 Reverend Charles Sligo arrived and fostered a sense of both belonging and school pride, which helped to cement Ivanhoe Grammar School’s position as a leading sporting school and stood in stark opposition to the individualism of the 1960s. Sligo focused on opportunities for students to develop their personal and leadership skills through activities such as cadets and outdoor education. It was also under his leadership that girls were welcomed to the school and another campus was established.

As Principal since 1996, Mr Roderick Fraser has overseen a large, multi-campus, co-educational education at Ivanhoe. He has been instrumental in implementing technological programs, including the 1:1 device policy and in developing the school as a truly co-educational institution. Fraser has emphasised an international approach to education and service, as reflected in the introduction of the International Baccalaureate, the school’s membership to the Round Square network and the Cambodia service projects.

Reverend Charles Sligo 

      Mr Roderick Fraser

Mr Fraser’s commitment to education has been acknowledged with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) honour on the 2015. Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The Chairman of Ivanhoe’s Board of Governors, Mr Peter Kempen, says, ‘The Board of Governors and the overall Ivanhoe community are very proud of Rod’s achievements and the award is a fitting recognition of his lifetime dedication to the education of young people both locally and internationally.’

Mr Fraser says he is driven by the importance of education: ‘Access to education is a fundamental component for children around the world; it promotes empowerment, individual expression as well as important developmental benefits.’

In the school’s first century each and every leader made substantial contributions to the development and success of Ivanhoe. The lengthy tenure of all four Principals to date is testament to the strength, quality and value of the Ivanhoe educational experience.

2016 sees the beginning of a new century for Ivanhoe Grammar School and a new Principal at the helm. Mr Gerard Foley has been with the school since 2008 and his knowledge of and experience with the school will undoubtedly facilitate a seamless transition. The school relishes the opportunity to continue to expand and innovate under Mr Foley’s leadership.

Who can imagine what changes will have taken place by the end of Ivanhoe’s second century? If the first 100 years are anything to go by, they will certainly be dramatic, impressive and designed to ensure the longevity and continued success of the school.