OUR SPIRIT OF PHILANTHROPY

Philanthropy is in the DNA of Geelong Grammar School. From the very beginning of our history, people have made gifts to the School to ensure that they leave it a better place than it was when they arrived as students or parents. People have given clocks, windows, a chapel and robes for clergy to wear in the chapel.

Many have contributed to the cost of boarding houses and homes for staff to live in. Others have given to Libraries or Scholarships. Still others have helped with trees, fountains, seats and Visiting Fellows.

Those who love rowing have given a boat or an oar. Sailors have given yachts. Musicians have given instruments. Constantly people see needs and work with generous hearts to meet them.

Our Foundation runs Annual Giving, seeks bequests in association with the Biddlecombe Society, and sometimes asks for Major Gifts in support of special projects. But this is not a new high pressure fundraising programme from some other culture, now thrust upon ours. We have always been a community of great generosity, with people of vision seeking to resource the future with funds they have available. Our Foundation exists to open doorways to new opportunities, enabling new benefactors to give to new projects; to invest in the education of their children and those beyond their immediate families for the betterment of society and the strengthening of the School.

We are presently producing a book to be written by Michael Collins Persse, outlining 100 or so acts of philanthropy at Geelong Grammar School, underlining that giving and supporting projects at our School is not something that makes us stand out as unusual. Rather, it’s those who give nothing that seem to stand out in our community. Small gifts or large, it’s participation that matters most.

STORIES OF GIVING

Generosity has its own rewards. We invite you to share some Stories of Giving.

The Gallipoli Memorial Cross

On the north wall of the Nave of the Chapel of All Saints, near the altar in the Lady Chapel, is a simple copper cross, mounted on wood and bearing the inscription "To the memory of Trooper K. G. Ronald, 6 L. H., A.I.F. Killed in action, July 12. Erected by Corporal E. D. Livingstone."

Inset in the wood, below the cross, is the following account of its making and its presence in our Chapel: "Of the Memorials erected over the graves of the Anzacs at Gallipoli, this cross was one of the only two which were left intact by the Turks on their evacuation of the Peninsula. It was made by Corporal Livingstone from the metal of a stranded boiler from the torpedoed warship 'Triumph', and was fastened to a heavy circular stone with copper nails taken from a wrecked lifeboat. The cross is the gift to his old School of Ronald's father and mother, to whom it was sent by the War Graves' Commision after the re-occupation of the Peninsula by Allied Troops."

Kenneth McGeorge Ronald (GGS 1907-13) came from a family represented at the School through three generations between 1898 and 1988. Born on 9 October 1895, he was the second of four brothers to come to the School, grandsons of the pastoral pioneer Robert Bruce Ronald and sons of Robert Wilson Ronald, of Nap Nap station, Hay, New South Wales, and his wife, Veronica Jane, nee McGeorge. Their father had been sent to England for his education at Rugby. The story of the Ronalds is told in Wool Before The Wind (Melbourne, 1987) by Heather B. Ronald, wife of the late Peter Bruce Ronald, CMG, JP (GGS 1932-38), and that of the earlier generations in Henderson's Australian Families (Melbourne, 1941). Two of Kenneth's brothers, Robert Bruce Ronald, MC (GGS 1898-1905), and Angus Cameron Ronald (GGS 1907-15), also served, like him, in the 6th Light Horse Regiment of the AIF during World War 1; the youngest, Ian Alister Bruce Ronald (GGS 1910-17), was in the Pioneer Battalion of the 2nd AIF during World War II.

Kenneth Ronald was Captain of Boats and Athletics Champions in 1913, played in the School's first XVIII for three years, and was a prefect in 1912 and 1913, the last two years in Geelong before the move to Corio and Francis Brown's first two as Head Master. After a few months at the Wagga Experimental Farm at Bowen, he enlisted on the outbreak of war. One of the earliest of the 91 Geelong Grammarians (and three Masters) to die on active service in the Great War, he was commemorated at the second service in the Chapel of All Saints, immediately after its Consecration on All Saints' Day, November 1st, in 1915. In December 1917 an early stained-glass window in the Chapel, depicting the soldier saints George and Alban, was dedicated to his memory - the gift of his parents and probably the work of the artist William Montgomery. In 1923 the copper cross was placed near it and dedicated by Dr Francis Brown during the School's commemoration of the eighth anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps' landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Paddy Handbury (M'72)

“In 2001, I was honoured to be asked to chair The Campaign for GGS. Having grown up in an environment dominated by a culture of generosity, it was easy to learn and experience the pleasure of giving. Watching the time and effort my parents put into their philanthropic work – in dollars and effort – was a great lesson to us all. We were always reminded that the enjoyment and satisfaction of giving is much more powerful than the feeling one gets from receiving.

I believe, as many others do, that we all have an obligation to give back to society at whatever level we can, and to support those causes and initiatives that we believe in. As Geelong Grammar School played a special and significant role in my life, I gain great pleasure from knowing that the small part I play will help in continuing the development of this special school for generations of students to come.

My lasting wish is to see financial support become part of our culture. I know that those who do give will gain the same sense of satisfaction that my family and I have enjoyed over the years.”

Jeff Peck (Ge'42)

“I was born and grew up in Geelong, attending the local state school and two years of high school. At that point, I received two scholarships that enabled me to attend Geelong Grammar School for the next three years. That comparison made me fully appreciate the value of these scholarships.

The Geelong Grammar experience gave me a wider exposure to both Australian and International personnel and their varying cultures. This education was of great assistance to me when later I lived and worked around the world.

My wife, Silver Harris, also received a scholarship to NIDA, which enabled her to earn a living in the theatre.

We have both greatly benefited from these scholarships, and now are very happy to fund ongoing Geelong Grammar scholarships, particularly for local students attending as day boarders, now that the School bus system has expanded its local area.”