Another GGS treasure from the School Archives

This exquisite gold medal is one of the earliest artefacts associated with Geelong Grammar School. Created in 1858 by Drummond and Co., probably the finest jeweller in Melbourne, it dates from the height of the Victorian gold rushes — the same year in which the legendary 69.98kg ‘Welcome Nugget’ was found at Ballarat. This was also the year in which Geelong Grammar School took possession of its magnificent new stone building in central Geelong, which was formally opened on 24 June. The celebrations proved to be premature, however, and by 1860 mounting debts forced the School to close — the climate of opulence and unchecked optimism that ‘gold fever’ engendered perhaps, in part, responsible.

The medal is beautifully engraved with the date, the name of the school and the Latin words sancte et sapienter, meaning ‘holiness and wisdom’, a precursor to the motto Christus nobis factus sapientia which was introduced in 1863 after the School reopened. It was presented to Joseph Davies, who was a foundation pupil in 1855, following the end of year examinations in 1858. Mr JG Davies, Joseph’s son, presented the medal to the school in 1925 following his father’s death. With the connection back to our foundation year of 1855, to the gold rushes, and because of its artistic merit as an object of beauty and high-quality workmanship, this medal is truly a treasure of our school.