Restored Legacies: Ballarat Clarendon College Honours Founding Figures with Gravesite Refurbishments

Recently, Ballarat Clarendon College refurbished the gravesites of Major John Garbutt and Rev William Henderson at Ballarat New Cemetery. After contacting descendants for permission to refurbish the sites, stonemasons mended the crumbling graves and re-lettered the grave inscriptions.

Major John Garbutt

For almost 150 years, the Garbutt name has been associated with Ballarat Clarendon College. Major John Garbutt was Principal of Ballarat College for 33 years between 1877 and 1910. His impact on the hundreds of students he taught was so profound that, after his death in May 1910, students at Ballarat College organised the following inscription on his grave.

Erected by the Old Boys of the Ballarat College, to the memory of John Garbutt, M A, their friend and master; who was for 35 (sic) years Principal of the College, died 1st May 1910, aged 63 years.

Major John Garbutt's Gravesite

In March, Clarendon’s Archivist, Catriona Banks, was delighted to visit the refurbished grave site with Major Garbutt’s great, great granddaughters and fourth generation Old Collegians, Kizanne Davies (1987) and Samantha Davies (1990), as well as with their mother, Pam. Kizanne’s children, Winona (2015), Neeve (2018) and Xavier (2022), also attended the school, and Samantha’s daughter, Ava (Year 4), is a current student.

Rev William Henderson

In 1858, Rev William Henderson was appointed to the Presbyterian Church in Sturt Street. The small wooden structure was deemed inadequate so a new church, St Andrews Kirk, was built in 1870.

Supported by St Andrews parishioners, Henderson believed that Ballarat needed a school that would provide an education like that offered by other prominent schools in Geelong and Melbourne. In 1864, the small wooden structure became Ballarat College and was opened in July 1864.

Henderson, long considered the Founding Father of Ballarat College, was Chairman of the Ballarat College Council since its inception. He passed away at the age of 57 in 1884.

Ballarat Clarendon College acknowledges and celebrates the contributions made by Major John Garbutt and Rev William Henderson to the history of our school.

If you have a story to share or wish to get in touch with Clarendon’s archives department, please contact