Brown Era

Mr Victor Brown, Headmaster 1948 - 1974

Following an international search Victor Brown, a Rhodes Scholar and Oxford graduate who was teaching in England at the time, was appointed to the headmastership. When Brown arrived in 1948 he was astounded by the poor condition of the school. The 1950’s saw a gradual rise in student numbers and a pressing need to provide additional classroom accommodation. In 1955, the Memorial Junior School was opened and within ten years the Wilcox and Lee buildings were added along with a further extension to the Memorial Junior School.

Brown emphasised the importance of higher academic standards. He introduced many innovations and encouraged his staff to focus more on the scholastic progress of the students. This shift was met with resistance in some quarters particularly amongst the old Buckley men. Brown pushed ahead regardless and the performance of his students at the annual examinations improved markedly. He championed the performing arts as part of the school’s cultural renewal, and music and drama flourished. Further, and to the chagrin of some Buckley loyalists, he introduced a student newspaper, The IGS Spectator, a Student Council and a Public Questions Society to encourage debating and student interest in local and world affairs.

The 1950s and 1960s were decades that saw the rise of Rock and Roll, James Dean, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Vietnam War. Young people questioned the values and beliefs of their politicians, parents and teachers. Carefully, Victor Brown guided the school through these sometimes tumultuous years while placing enormous trust in his students to interpret them broadly, beyond the immediate thrill of rebellion. Ivanhoe Grammar had become a very different and interesting school.