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Our Heritage

In 1896, a French Jesuit Priest, Father Marc Barthelemy, opened the door of a small corrugated-iron, two-windowed hut to admit the first six pupils to Bulawayo Boys’ School. The date was February 7 1896 and the boys were Leonard and Lancelot Makin, Hubert and William Halder, Edgar Rorke and Otto Cooper.

The first assistant teacher was Father Nicot. In 1898 a more permanent building was erected, and Father James Nesser joined the staff. In December at the first prize-giving, the school assumed the title ‘St. George’s Boys’ Public School’. The next year, Father Francis Johanny joined the staff and the Cadet Corps was established. The first English Jesuit, Father Thomas Gardner, joined the staff in 1902 and it was he who was instrumental in establishing organised games like cricket and soccer. 1902 was also the year that the first Rhodes scholarships were awarded in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and they went to St. George’s boys Albert Bisset and Woodford Gilbert. In 1912 the first permanent buildings were completed and opened by Earl Grey.

In the First World War, 198 Old Georgians (OGs) volunteered for service and 26 were killed.

In 1921 the Old Georgians’ Association was founded with Mr. D. Blackbeard as its first president.

Hartmann Hill had been assigned to Father Andrew Hartmann S.J., who had been Chaplain to the pioneers, and when the school had become too large for the property in Bulawayo, it was decided to move it to this locality in Salisbury (Harare) in 1927.

The Architect of the new buildings was Father Aloysius Leboeuf and the principal builder and carpenter was Brother John Conway S.J.

The school’s magazine, The Chronicle, was published in 1933 and apart from a few years during the Second World War it has continued as an annual feature.

Two years later, Sir Robert Stanley opened The Beit Hall.

1939 saw the outbreak of the Second World War: 438 OGs served in it, with 58 losing their lives.

As time passed and finances allowed, various building projects were undertaken, including the Library in 1940 then the ‘Monastery’ and later the ‘Priory’ (dormitories). 1955 saw completion of the new dormitory wing and the new laboratories.

In 1956 it was decided that St. Michael’s and St. George’s could no longer cope with increasing numbers, so the bottom of the Hill was purchased from the munic­ipality and Hartmann House was built, opening in 1957.

Within St George’s itself, the amenities block was built and 1969 saw the Trident Project being launched. A new swimming pool was built as well as the laboratory block which adjoined the ‘Monastery’ and ‘Priory’. Two of the planned four squash courts were built in 1972, a year later the Chapel was completed and in 1983 the Bulawayo wing was opened.

Since its inception, the College’s enrolment of pupils had grown to more than 750 by 2008.

To date, there have been 36 Rhodes Scholarships awarded to the school’s alumni, with the latest recipient being Simon Williams in 2008.

In 1992, three members of the 19-strong Zimbabwe Olympic Team were either staff or pupils of St. George’s and at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Old Georgian Brian Dzingai was a finalist in the 200 metres sprint.

Over the years, 27 Old Georgians have been ordained as Catholic priests, including 12 as Jesuits. One of these alumni, Father Stephen Buckland SJ, was last year promoted to the highest administrative office in the region and assumed the post of Jesuit Provincial Superior of Zimbabwe.

2007 saw the departure of one of the College’s most faithful and longest-serving members of staff, Father Hugh Ross SJ. He left the school after 52 years of  service, to retire to England. St George’s is immensely proud of the achievements of its pupils and of the staff who have served it down the years.