‘The School Room (current Old Hall) is our War Monument. Realizing we could not command money enough to erect a separate building we decided to so adorn the walls of the room as to provide a fitting memorial, and a constant reminder to all boy’s present and future of our incalculable debt to all those Old-boys who answered the call of duty. On the left hand wall are the three metal tablets.’ – (Toowoomba Grammar School Magazine, November 1926, page 29).
For many years the School has recognized the Old Boys who made the supreme sacrifice by reading out their names at the School’s annual ANZAC Service. Now we can relate personal stories of these TGS Old Boys so that there is a more personal understanding of their personal military history and background. The purpose of this website is to share these stories with the wider community and to ensure that their sacrifice for our country has not been forgotten. Many years ago families and the School placed Honour Boards in the School’s Old Hall, a fitting tribute so that the younger generation are reminded of their contributions and their sacrifice. Sadly there are some inaccuracies and this website tries to rectify them. This website ensures that all information is accurate and that the information is always available to the general public. Lest We Forget.
The School Magazine of May 1917 states that the War Honour Board for World War One was unveiled by Mrs Freshney on 22 May 1917 which at that time carried 312 names of Old Boys who had volunteered for service abroad. The tablet was designed by Mr Geo Lane and executed by Messsrs Gunerson & Sons of Brisbane. It is entirely metal, the background being gun-metal and the relief work mostly in burnished copper. The Honorable L. E Groom, a distinguished Old Boy of the School who at the time was the Assistant Minister for Defence, then delivered a powerfully eloquent oration:
Dr Freshney, Mr Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, As your chairman has remarked, we are privileged to be here tonight on what is undoubtedly one of the most historical incidents in connection with this great School of ours. This evening, as we turn to this handsome memorial, we have mingled feelings of sorrow, of sympathy, of admiration, of pride. It seems hard to realise, as we read the names on this roll of honor, that the young men whom we remember as school companions have taken and are taking part in the most momentous battles of history and are today taking part in the most stirring conflicts the universe has ever seen.
Some of the names whom we recollect as our companions in studies and in games have written their names in imperishable letters of gold on the page of history, and have brought honor and distinction to their old School, their Commonwealth, their Empire. That so many should be found fighting in the service of their country speaks eloquently of the fine public spirit that has been instilled into them while students of this great School. The 312 boys’ names on the board have passed through this School and those 312 boys have donned the King’s uniform fighting for the cause of humanity. They owed much to the School; but by their deeds of self-sacrifice they have even more than repaid their obligation. Their example has for all time created a wealth of noble tradition.
Their lives of heroism will be lived again and again in the lives of numbers of young souls who will pass through these halls in the ages yet to be. As they gaze on the names on this roll they will be inspired to various noble deeds by the thought of what these men have done. There is a wonderfully mysterious power that flows from noble deeds. Blessed be the men whose deeds are steps of ladders upon which future ages may climb to heights more spiritual still. This School has been linked up with history by the heroism of these brave young men. They passed through these halls and left with their hopes, ambitions and aspirations. Little did they dream of the terrible ordeal through which the nations of the world would pass ; little did they dream the great part which they were destined to play. But when the hour of trial came, they stood their test, and the Empire is the greater, and the Commonwealth the nobler, for what they and their fellow Australians did in the supreme hour. They have brought honor to the School, and tonight there is placed in this School something to perpetuate the memory of those who have done their duty so nobly to their country.
Those names will stand for all that is noble in the traditions of this School. The lives of those who have fallen and will fall in the struggle will not have been spent in vain. The ideal of those who established these schools was to evolve a higher citizenship ; that that ideal has been realised is testified by the large numbers of those who have offered to lay down their lives that the nation might live. Our sympathies tonight are with their parents and relatives. We trust this ceremony tonight will be to them a consolation – a manifestation of appreciation of the sacrifices they also have made. We are thankful that such ceremonies as that of this evening after all are but typical of what is happening throughout our Empire. It is well that it is so ; for there will be much more fighting before we see the end. By their linking up forces with the mighty Empire of ours they have given to the School an historic name. It will no longer be known as the Toowoomba Grammar School; it will be known in future as an Imperial school with Imperial traditions and with Imperial principles for all time.
The fight for liberty, justice, international righteousness and honor, for humanity itself has not yet been won. In the end we believe we shall win through. These young men, whose names are on this board, had life with all its possibilities for their own advancement before them. They had ability and opportunity. Yet at the call of duty they laid aside all thought of self that they might preserve their native land in security. To them the highest offices in the Commonwealth were open. But at the call of duty they have gone preferring death to the defeat of their own nation. To their eternal honor this board shall stand. May it be cared for and guarded as the most sacred possession of the School. But whilst we honor those who have gone forth to fight in the cause of their country, we must not forget to express our feelings of sympathy with those brave women who gave their consent to those lads to volunteer.
We further trust that, as they look at the board, it will be to them an expression of our appreciation for the great sacrifices that they have made. In this war the women of Australia deserve just as much honor as those men whose names are on the board. We all pray that the war will soon end, and that many of those brave lads will come back to Australia and mingle with us in our civic life. This School has many things which it may treasure or ought to treasure, but none is more priceless than this Honor Board. We trust that it will be respected and honored and kept for all time, when the School grows – as grow it will. These halls of ours will appear diminutive in the times that are to come. But one thing will never appear small in the eyes of succeeding generations, and that is the one cause of devotion to duty and sacrifice to the nation’s interest, raised by those brave hearts whom we have this evening on our Honor Board.
Boards for all other conflicts are in the School’s Old Hall and include:
- Boxer Rebellion
- Sudan War
- Boer Wars
- Second World War
- Vietnam War
- Korean War