St George’s Grammar School looks back on 175 years of history

Celebrating the St George’s Grammar School’s 175th anniversary, from left, are high school principal Julian Cameron high school teacher Caron Olivier, pre-primary school teacher Lucia Nodolo and alumni officer bearer Stephen Bornman.

St George’s Grammer School celebrated its 175th anniversary with a festival at the school on Saturday.

The history of the independent school in Mowbray goes back to 1848, when Bishop Robert Gray founded it.

First located at the top of Adderley Street, where the St George’s Cathedral is today, the school later acquired the Bloemendal Estate in Mowbray, giving it space for a boarding establishment and playing fields.

The preparatory school moved to the estate in 1950 and the high school in 1970, and the school expanded to include new classrooms, a pre-primary section, an art centre and two science labs.

At Saturday’s fair, pupils took part in a tug-of-war, a talent show and a “battle of the bands” contest. There was also a special musical performance by the teaching staff.

High school principal Julian Cameron said his pupils had shown great resilience in recent years, enduring a water-shortage crisis, a global pandemic and rolling blackouts.

“What I love about this school community is how they are willing to serve the community, where the high school runs a soup kitchen where a third of the school is volunteering there.”

He said he was also proud of the school’s IT system, which had made teaching more interactive.

Pre-primary school teacher Lucia Nodolo has a 27-year history with St George’s, having first started as part of the school’s cleaning staff in 1996 before undergoing teaching training paid for by the school.

“I always enjoyed seeing how the children work and when they played and did their art, so I asked myself why don’t I do that? It was so exciting to teach the children. When the children looked at me, they wondered who I was. I really enjoyed teaching them, and St George’s became my home.”

High school teacher Caron Olivier has also been with the school for 27 years. “St George’s has maintained their strong ethos and legacy in their long years, and we are a community school that embraces diversity and inclusivity,” she said.

The school’s alumni office bearer, Stephen Bornman, said they had more than 600 active members who maintained close relationships with the school.

“It’s a big honour to be part of the school’s history, and I try to instill this in the pupils coming through,” he said.

A centenary photo, taken in 1948 for the Cape Times by JW Nicholls, shows St George’s Grammer School at its old premises next to St George’s Cathedral in the City Bowl.
St George’s Grammar School high school pupils compete against each other in the tug-of-war.
St George’s Grammar School staff members along with school pupils at the anniversary festival.
St George’s Grammer School teachers perform a special song to celebrate their anniversary.