Our history

Churchie’s rich history and longstanding traditions date back to 1912 when William Perry French Morris founded the school at Toowong, before relocating to the present site in East Brisbane in 1918.

In his first address to parents, Canon Morris stated his aim was to ‘train characters as well as minds’. He encouraged boys to take part in physical activity as well as their studies.

Early in 1913 the school’s name was changed to The Cathedral School following a move to new premises at St John’s Cathedral in the city where 33 boys finished the year.

Numbers continued to grow and in 1916, with an enrolment of 106 students and the name changed to Church of England Grammar School, a decision was made to purchase land to build a new school. In 1917 the foundation stone was laid on the site where Churchie stands today.

Since 1912 thousands of young men have been educated at Churchie prior to taking their places as well-rounded men and responsible, contributing members of society represented in all walks of life.

Viking Heritage

Of all of the signs and symbols that have become synonymous with Churchie over the years, St Magnus, the Viking saint, is one of the most enduring.

Canon Morris based the School’s ethos on the patron saint St Magnus, a Viking Earl known for his strength of character and his qualities as an educated man with a Christian nature.

Churchie’s four tenets of academic excellence, spiritual awareness, personal growth and service build on the characteristics and attributes displayed by St Magnus. The boys and young men of Churchie are surrounded by St Magnus’ presence every day. References are found everywhere on the Churchie campus and in Churchie culture, including Magnus Hall, Magnus House and the St Magnus statue in Magnus Quad.

Also, there is the Viking Café, The Viking yearbook and an honorary term for Churchie Old Boys at 70 years of age—Vintage Vikings. On their first day of Reception, our youngest boys are invited to look up at the chapel roof, which evokes an inverted Viking ship, and imagine they are about to set sail on the Churchie voyage.

School Crest

The school crest features the Viking battleaxes, which are crossed to convey self-sacrifice.

In choosing St Magnus as patron saint, Churchie’s founder Canon Morris ensured that all students who pass through the School are inspired by the faith and conviction of St Magnus, a man who rejected a life of violence and privilege to give himself to the service of others.

Historic Publications

The Field of Honour

James Mason

The story of the Old Boys and staff who died serving their country.

A Pictorial History of Churchie

James Mason

This book creates a pictorial and chronological journey of the history of Churchie from 1912 to now.

The Making of Men

A History of Churchie 1912 to 1986.

Commissioned by the School Council for the 75th anniversary of Churchie, The Making of Men reveals that the School has had a long and impressive history from the day it was founded in 1912.

Churchie: The Centenary Register

James Mason

Marking the centenary of Churchie, exploring Churchie’s history and recording the significant facts of Churchie’s first 100 years. 

Churchie: A Centenary Portrait

Peter Hempenstall

The portrait tells the story of Morris’ early struggles and his gradual triumph in building a great school on a frugal platform.

Learn more


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