Vestigia nulla retrorsum
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History of St George’s College

In 1895 the Rev J T Stevenson, an Anglican priest born in South Africa and educated there and at St Augustine’s College, Canterbury, was invited to go as chaplain to All Saints’ Church, Quilmes, where “there resided 2000 adherents of the Anglican Church, and where there was scope for development.

Many years later he wrote that the information then supplied was erroneous. On arrival he found that there were 200 Anglicans attached to All Saints’ and that there was little scope for development. Consequently, he intended to return to England, but since there existed the possibility of raising money to start a school and since a lady in Quilmes owned a property known as Quinta Rooke which she wished to lease or sell, Canon Stevenson approached the Bishop’s Council for permission. Despite some hesitancy the Quinta Rooke estate was leased for two years with the option of purchase either during or at the end of that period for £5,000, and before the time expired it was bought, due to the generosity of many people and firms. The approximate area was 72,000 square metres, and the building consisted of a large rambling one-storey house, a small cottage and stable accommodation. The Headmaster’s family, the boys, the matron and maids lived in the house, while the assistant masters occupied the upstairs of the cottage and the servants the downstairs of the same.

The motto chosen was Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum taken from the fable of the Fox and the Lion as told by the poet Horace: “Quia me vestigia terrent, / Omnia te adversum spectantia / Nulla retrorsum”, says the Fox to the Lion who invited him into his den. “I am afraid of those footsteps; every track leads to your home but never a one leads back. The words stand for the principles of integrity, truth, the fear of God and true religion, which the Founders of St George’s and their successors have endeavoured to uphold and inculcate.

The Founders had agreed to open the School provided 20 boys, all of whom had to be boarders, were enrolled; but actually St George’s opened in 1898 with only six pupils. This was made possible because the Headmaster, who was still Chaplain of Quilmes, gave his services free and the Founders agreed to cover any deficit from their own pockets.

Progress was slow at first, but more rapid later. From time to time further land was purchased and buildings erected and enlarged. In 1901 the first edition of the school magazine, The Georgian, was published and in 1908 the Old Georgian Club was formed. There are now more than 1500 members. The first Old Georgian Dinner was held in 1910, and in the same year the Sanatorium was built. The pavilion, which still stands, was erected in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George V. On Founders’ Day in 1913 the foundation stone of the College chapel was laid. A cylinder was placed beneath the stone containing current copies of the “Buenos Aires Herald”, “La Nación”, the “Diocesan Magazine”, “The Georgian”, the “College Prospectus” and “The Standard”, as well as examples of various coins of the day. The Classroom Block was opened in April 1919 and in 1923 rugby was first played in the College. In July 1925, Mr Tschiffely, the PE instructor, started his famous 10.000 mile ride on horseback from Buenos Aires to New York. In March 1928 the Library Block, built over the old swimming pool, was opened, and the new swimming pool was inaugurated.

On August 10th 1929 the Preparatory School was opened and in March 1935 Canon Stevenson retired. In his farewell speech to the Old Georgians he said: “I take this opportunity to remind you that it is not what a man gets but what a man is that counts: he should first think of his character and then of his condition, for he that has character need have no fears about his condition, as character will draw after it, condition. Risk, then, everything for that, as your greatest capital in life is your character.

And so the Canon departed, revered and loved, but his spirit was still pervading the School. Canon Jackson, another long-serving Headmaster said in 1942: “Some of us think of schools as cramming institutions; others as a useful way of preparing our children to earn a living. A true school is neither; it is a place where a boy must learn to go straight for the truth, whatever he may be at. Parents send their children to us because they want an education which will provide these principles and which will prepare them to play their part in the life, culture and commerce of the Spanish-speaking Republic of which they are loyal citizens. We regard St George’s College as a preparation for a boy who is going to continue his education in the universities of this country, the USA and Great Britain.

Canon Jackson was a man of vision. He saw that the College would have to build a Junior School to house between 70 and 100 boys by March 1945, that in addition a building with five classrooms for Junior School boys and an extra room for College boys would be necessary as well as two new laboratories, a museum and photographic rooms. But he was planning in 1943, during a war the results of which no one could yet appreciate, and not many of the new improvements could be achieved. The new Junior School, however, was just ready for the boys’ return in March 1945.

Times were hard after the war, and the Great Fire of July 1959 was a crippling blow. Had the boys been in residence, the fire would have never gained such a hold, for someone would have seen smoke or flames, but it was the first Sunday of the July holidays and no one noticed it. The whole of the original building and its contents had to be written off as a total loss.

The situation was critical but Canon Jackson’s leadership and a tremendous effort enabled St George’s to open at the end of the holiday. The gymnasium became a dormitory and in the end 89 boys were able to sleep in the College. In the meantime, plans were drawn up to replace the lost buildings. A new Dining Hall and Kitchen block for 350 boys was begun early in 1960 and was occupied by March 1961. The new Lockwood Building to house 56 boys, took longer to complete because of lack of funds. It was at the inauguration of the new Dining Block after Speech Day 1960, that Canon Jackson made known his intention of retiring. He had spent 30 years at St George’s. The College owes its existence today in no small measure to the faith and courage of Canon Jackson.

Timeline

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St George’s College Foundation.

1898

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The first edition of “The Georgian” was published.

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1901

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The Headmaster’s house was built.

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1902

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The Old Georgian Club was formed.

There were nearly one hundred and fifty old boys of the College at the time. The following year, on 23 April the first Old Georgian dinner was held at the Pheonix Hotel. There were twenty four present.

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1908

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The Sanatorium was completed

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1910

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The Pavilion was erected to celebrate the coronation of King George V.

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1911

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The Foundation Stone of the Chapel was laid.

The four letters carved on the stone, A.D.M.G., stand for Ad Dei Maiorem Gloriam – to the Greater Glory of God. The following year, on 23 April the service of Dedication of the College Chapel took place.

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1913

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The Assembly Hall was built.

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1918

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The present National College block was built.

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1919

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The Peace Memorial Gymnasium was completed. This is now the College Library.

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1920

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The first Rugby match ever played at the College took place between the College and the Old Georgians.

On that year, the school adopted a house system, the four houses being designated Lockwood, Farran, Agar, and Cutts.

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1923

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Gato & Mancha – An epic 10 000 mile adventure

Mr. A.H.F. Tschiffley, who was physical instructor at St. George’s for several years, started his 10,000 mile horseback ride from Buenos Aires to San Francisco and New York. After three and a half years Mr Tschiffley completed his epic 10,000 mile horseback ride.

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1925

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The first marriage in the College Chapel was solemnised when Canon Stevenson’s eldest daughter was married.

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1926

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The new Library block, erected on the site of the old swimming bath, was opened.

It consisted of an Art Room, Library, Reading Room and Lavatories and was at first utilised as dormitories for Junior boys. This is now the Maths department and Reception area.

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1928

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The Preparatory School was inaugurated.

Completely self-contained, it had accommodation for seventy boys aged eight to twelve, in five dormitories, and bedrooms for three masters, with headmaster’s quarters as a separate entity but forming part of the main building.

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1929

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The Prep School Library was inaugurated.

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1934

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The “Chaco”Cup

This Cup, to be contested in an annual soccer match between the College and Old Georgian Club was instituted by Eric “Chaco”Kember.

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1935

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The Junior School Building was inaugurated on 28 April.

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1945

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The Science Laboratories were opened.

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1946

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OG Rugby goes international.

St. George’s had its first rugby international player when an Old Georgian played for England.

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1949

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The Old Georgian Pavilion was inaugurated.

This is now the oldest building in the Kindergarten.

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1950

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A disastrous fire destroyed the old College building where St. George’s was founded sixty years before.

Seven dormitories, the dining room and kitchen, the Master’s dining room, the Matron’s room and three Master’s flats were destroyed. The fire occurred on the first Sunday of the July holidays when few people were about, and when eventually discovered was completely out of control. An ambitious rebuilding programme was embarked upon.

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1959

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The School Captain was, for the first time, not British but Argentine.

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1964

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The Lockwood Building (later School House, then junior boys boarding house) was opened by the Rev. Canon Jackson.

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1967

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St. George’s became co-educational with the entrance of 30 girl boarders and day girls.

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1975

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St. George’s College Kindergarten started with 19 four and five year olds.

It was located in the gutted and restored Old Georgian Pavilion.

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1988

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St. George’s North in Los Polvorines was inaugurated.

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1989

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The Humanities Block was opened.

The teaching block has 6 classrooms. Each one of them is named after illustrious Old Georgians.

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1994

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The School purchases San José and Sanford land.

1996

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The School Museum is opened.

Thanks to the contribution of OG Freddie Pratt, the school museum is inaugurated. It is temporarily located in the College Library.

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1998

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The Infant School classrooms move to the Junior building.

In February 2003 the lower floor of the “boys boarding house” was destined for the use of the Infant School. It remained basically unchanged up to 2012 which marked a new change in the building´s history as the New Prep School Masterplan began.

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2003

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The Chapel is declared a protected building by the Municipal Authorities of Quilmes.

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2005

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The old College Assembly Hall turns into the 6th Form Centre.

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2009

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The School opens a new Development Office

The new Development Office aims to promote the school and strengthen links with the Old Georgian Community.

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2010

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The Kindergarten opens new classrooms.

Following the infrastructure development plan that started in 2010 with the opening of a new multipurpose room and two new classrooms.

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2011

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Peggy Robertson ​​Wing of the Prep School ​was inaugurated.

Named after a teacher who gave 35 years of service to the school, the new building, measuring 930 squared metres, has three floors containing six new classrooms, two music rooms and six rehearsal spaces.​

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2012

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Construction of the 1st HOCKEY ASTROTURF.

The construction of St George’s first synthetic hockey astroturf began in July 2013 and was finally inaugurated on April 12, 2014.
Fundraising efforts started during December 2012 and remained in force throughout the entire construction period. St George’s College thanks all donors who made the project possible and every member of the Community who has actively participated in any of the campaigns.

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2013

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New classrooms.

New classrooms for EP5 and EP6 ​were opened in the new Prep school building during the months of February and August​.

2014

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Construction of the new Boarding House began.

2016