Foundations – the McClemans years

Christ Church Grammar School opened on 7 February 1910 as the Christ Church Preparatory School. The founder, Canon WJ McClemans, Rector of Christ Church Claremont, ran the School while carrying out his parish duties. He strongly promoted the need for an Anglican school in the main metropolitan residential area of Perth and believed Claremont was an ideal location.

McClemans’ objective when founding the School was to produce men of light and learning – Deus Dux Doctrina Lux – and he hoped it would be every boy’s ambition to become an educated Christian gentleman.

The initial enrolment was nine day boys who were taught in a single classroom on the corner of Queenslea Drive and Stirling Highway. Later two more classrooms were built and the strip of land up to College Avenue was purchased.

Soon after the establishment of the school, requests were made for Christ Church to take on boarders. The first boarders lived in the rectory with the McClemans family. Demand increased and in 1914 McClemans leased Lucknow, a large colonial residence, for student accommodation. In 1914 Governor Sir Harry Barron laid the foundation stone for an expansive boarding house.

School House, built at a cost of three thousand pounds, was opened in 1915. Boys were admitted to the boarding house from the age of six years. McClemans left Christ Church in 1915 to serve as a Captain-Chaplain in the Australian Imperial Force in France.