Our History

Non scholae, sed vitae.1908 RGGS (Small)

“Not only for school but for life we are learning” is a translation of the Latin motto adopted in 1894 by the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School. The motto reflects the philosophy of Miss Helen E. Downs, the first Headmistress of the School (1892-1906).

In 1883 a movement began to establish a Girls Grammar school in Rockhampton and with a decision by the Trustees of the Rockhampton Grammar School to close their female department, the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School began to take enrolments. The prime site on the Athelstane Range was selected as being appropriate and in 1890 the School building, designed by E.M. Hockings, was constructed to accommodate 50 day and 20 boarding students. However these were enlarged three times in 1897, 1899 and again in 1901 to meet growing demands as students were enrolled from kindergarten to matriculation.

Girls Grammar opened its doors to the first four boarders and thirty-three day students on 11th March, 1892. With Miss Downs as foundation Headmistress, the School was officially opened on 19 April 1892. On the departure of Miss Downs, the School presented her with a gold replica of the School badge, and on her death she bequeathed it to the School to be worn by the Head Prefect who was to be known as the Helen E. Downs Prefect.

Helen_DownsPrue McKeague was a 1985 senior who died during the Christmas holidays. At the suggestion of some of her classmates and the Old Girls Association, a platinum replica of the Helen E. Downs badge was commissioned. This badge of office is worn during the year by the other Head Prefect who is referred to as the Prue McKeague Prefect.

Rockhampton Girls Grammar School has been providing a quality educational environment combining its proud traditions with modern educational practices for over 120 years and is looking forward with confidence and enthusiasm to continuing its second century of dedicated service to the young women who pass through its gates.

Heritage Museum

2015 saw the first exhibition in the Paterson Hall Heritage Museum. The Museum has a website of it’s own where you can search our extensive archival material through e-hive. This would not have been possible without the dedicated work of our Heritage Volunteers who meet weekly to process and catalogue our treasures from the past. Click here for the Heritage Museum website.