Historical timeline

This year we celebrate 160 years since the establishment of Ballarat College and the Ballarat Clarendon College community shares a sense of pride in acknowledging this significant milestone. From the first five students in 1864, we have grown to nearly 2,000 students today. We take this opportunity to highlight our history and traditions and shine a light on what makes us unique.


 Ballarat College Founder, Reverend William Henderson

Reverend William Henderson opened Ballarat College on Wednesday 6 July 1864 when two seven-year-old cousins presented themselves at his church, St Andrew’s Presbyterian. On the following Monday morning they were joined by three other boys to become the first students at the school.


Sketch of first timber building on site of St Andrew’s Kirk


First principal, Robert McCoy appointed


 Timber school demolished and new Ballarat College opened on the same site but in new brick building, designed by renowned Ballarat architect, Henry Richards Caselli. On the right is St Andrews Kirk, constructed in 1884.


Major John Garbutt appointed Principal. Longest serving Principal for 33 years, tenure 1877-1909.


 Ballarat College whole of school including teachers. Ballarat College was co-educational until 1891. The ‘girls’ school’ was run by the ‘Lady Principal’.


Purchase of Wanliss family property on Sturt Street


 Ballarat College gates on the new school


Ballarat College annual publication, the first Minervan printed


Ballarat College’s boatshed being built


Ballarat College assembly hall


 Ballarat College building Dumbarton, Sturt Street. Currently the girls’ boarding house


MacFarland dining hall

1940 circa

Memorial Hall


The first issue of ringaroo published


 Opening of McKinnon Wing with Prime Minister Menzies at the opening ceremony


Students studying science in classroom


In 1974 Ballarat College and Clarendon Presbyterian Ladies College formally joined together to become Ballarat Clarendon College

1974 – 2024


In 2024, we commemorate 160 years since the establishment of Ballarat College. From those first five students in 1864, we have grown to nearly 2,000 students today. While much has changed during this time, the vision and values of Reverend Henderson and Mrs Kennedy remain. Ballarat Clarendon College continues to help shape and influence the next generations, preparing them to become leaders and contributing members of our community.