BULAWAYO MEMORIES

St. George's School




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St. George's College was founded in 1896 by a French Jesuit, Fr. Marc Barthélemy, SJ, who opened the doors to a small corrugated-iron, two-windowed hut to admit the first six pupils to Bulawayo Boys' School in Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia). 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 1898, a permanent building was erected, and in December of that year, at the first prize-giving ceremony, the school assumed the title St George's Boys' Public School. In 1899, Fr. Francis Johanny, SJ joined the staff and set up the Cadet Corps. Three years later, Fr. Thomas Gardner, SJ, the first English Jesuit arrived. In the same year, in 1902, the first Rhodes' Scholarships were awarded in Southern Rhodesia, and they went to the St George's scholars: Albert Bisset and Woodford Gilbert. In 1912, the first permanent buildings were completed and opened by Earl Grey.

St George's College moved to Salisbury (now Harare) in 1926. The architect of the buildings was Fr. Louis Lebœuf, SJ; the main builder was Br. John Conway, SJ. The Beit Hall was established in 1935 by Sir Robert Stanley. In 1940, the Fr. Crehan Library was built, then the Monastery, and later, the Priory. In 1955, the new Dormitory Wing and Laboratories were built, and in 1973 the permanent Chapel was erected.


The school has a family-oriented approach to academic and extracurricular studies; every student belonging to his own house. There are four houses, identified by colour, and named after the prominent Jesuits who were amongst the founding fathers of the school in Bulawayo:

Fr. Marc Barthélemy, SJ: first Rector (French, 1896–1913), Dark Green Vests.
Fr. Thomas Gardner, SJ: first English Jesuit, an anthropologist and a champion of the Cadets, Red Vests
Fr. Andrew Hartmann, SJ: chaplain to The Pioneer Column in 1890, Dark Blue Vests.
Fr. Francis Johanny, SJ: second Rector in 1914, Yellow Vests.

The house system commenced in 1938 with only three houses: Barthélemy, Gardner, and Hartmann. Johanny was created in 1983, as the number of students gradually increased. Each scholar, referred to as a Saint's boy, inherits the house of his previous relative (predecessor); 'new' boys are allocated their houses on a random basis.